Posted in Reading Challenge

What is a backlisted book?

So I had to do a little digging, because Book Date’s category “backlisted book” had me stumped. By swimming against the tide of the internet sea (my Google searches wanted me to be looking for the much more common phrase, “blacklisted book,” which is another way of saying “banned book”) I think I reached a workable conclusion, with two equally valid definitions to choose from.

backlist 1. the most well-known works of a well-known author

When an author comes out with a new work, say, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology (from this handy list of “books published in 2017,” another category for the same challenge), new fans may read the newest book and then refer to the backlist, or that author’s list of published works. New fans of Gaiman would find that he has been quite prolific indeed! The backlist is especially comprised of books that have sold well over time; the non-new books that bookstores keep on hand, because they’re likely to keep selling anyway. So, while any book (besides the newest work or few) would qualify as part of an author’s backlist, his most well-known works might be most exemplary: in the case of Gaiman, works like Coraline or American Gods. (Seattle Times backs us up on this one.)

RT Book Reviews uses the same definition in their own discussion of how well Young Adult (YA) novels tend to do over time, “Backlisted Books: With exceptions few and far between, not many adult fiction books appear on the bestsellers list months, or years, after they are published. However, for YA titles, this doesn’t seem to be the case. John Green’s Looking for Alaska was first published in 2005, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief hit shelves in 2006. And in one instance, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, the book was published last century! (Although it does help that this last title was recently made into a film starring Harry Potter’s Emma Watson.)”

backlist 2. the lesser known works of a well-known author

Meanwhile! The Backlisted Podcast (also available on Facebook) is using a different definition, but you’ll see how they related. In their case, they’re spot-lighting less famous works by famous authors, or just lesser known works worthy of our attention. Author Lloyd Shepherd, who seems quite taken with the book list idea in general (check out his awesome list of lists here), mentions the Backlisted Podcast here. An example from this kind of backlist, or lesser known work of a well-known author, would be The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is known for The Great Gatsby.

This second definition makes more sense in the context of Wiki’s entry on Publishing, which explains, “The ability to quickly and cost-effectively print on demand has meant that publishers no longer have to store books at warehouses, if the book is in low or unknown demand. This is a huge advantage to small publishers who can now operate without large overheads and large publishers who can now cost-effectively sell their backlisted items.” If I’m not mistaken, that sounds to me like not wanting to publish too many copies of a book before you know if it’s going to sell or not.

So! That is my handy-dandy two-part backlist definition. Hope it helps!!!



Posted in Reviews

Jobe’s October Reads

Trimalchio by F. Scott Fitzgerald. An earlier draft of The Great Gatsby. Read for Novel Revision class to compare the two. An interesting look into one writer’s process.

Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker. Phenomenal book by phenomenal author. Very spiritual. I opted for the audiobook and the voice acting is beautiful, too.2

Finally finished Acorna’s Quest, the second in the series. I get caught up in the decent writing and decent plot, but I get irked by predictable characters and formulaic happy endings. The rest of the series is co-authored by a different person so I might give the third one a try. Anne McCaffrey, as we all know, is a genius.

The God Engines by John Scalzi. A very short work (only three discs on audiobook) and an extremely gripping tale. I was put off by the chauvinism but the story is worth a ponder. My husband, who loves this author, tells me his other works are very different.


“Roswell” (book 1) by Melinda Metz was written way back in the 90s, and it was the YA paranormal romance series that they based the TV show Roswell High on. But here’s where it gets meta–then they wrote a new book series based on the TV show! Too weird? I’ll give you a spoiler–aliens are definitely involved.


We went on a road trip this month to see a friend married out of state, so we had extra time for audiobooks. This collection, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, was a fun addition to my reads. Short story collections by various authors are a great way to break into unfamiliar territory and get an idea for authors whose longer works you might also enjoy. Plus, I already knew I liked Charlaine Harris.


“Rock Your Revisions” by Cathy Yardley is a little book with a silly title and some terrific revision advise. I read several revision books when I did a summer independent study and this was the one that was the most helpful with the most solid, usable advice.


Posted in Reviews

Jobe’s End of September Reads

Of course the minute I think I’m going to rocket ahead in my reading pace, I slow down. That’s okay. One of the joys of a book is that it waits right there for you, as soon(er) or late(r) as you are able to get back to it.


The first two books I finished reading in the second half of September were unpublished manuscripts. My friend and classmate Heather Breed Steadham wrote “Things Worthwhile,” and I definitely look forward to future drafts and the final print edition! The same goes for “Arthurian Legend” by Briget Laskowski. These ladies are very fine writers indeed!

Along with these two books I read “The Great Gatsby” (not for the first time) by famed F. Scott Fitzgerald in preparation to read Trimalchio, an earlier version. These are all part of the Novel Revision class I’m taking with Dr. John Vanderslice, as is Cathy Yardley’s “Rock Your Revisions.”

I’m still in the process of reading:currently reading

Stay tuned, keep reading, keep writing.