Posted in Reviews

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

A passage of Lamott’s made me pair two quite disparate characters, those being herself, a Christian dreadlock-haired old white writer lady, and Neil Gaiman‘s beloved Sandman character Delirium, because both follow goldfish. Lamott is talking about creativity in writing, and following it wherever it takes you. And Delirum happens to be a great representation of creativity, with her ever-changing hair, colorful spontanaiety, and her dedication to the strange. Lamott is often lauded for her ability to inspire and encourage, and Gaiman himself is also quite adept at such, as can be seen here. I think the overall message to receive from Bird by Bird is to be curious and fearless and honest in the pursuit of writing our best.




Posted in Jobe Update

Predictive Text

It occurred to me that it was something of a sweet little list to go through what web addresses appear for the numbers and letters I often use. What’s your list look like?

5 –
6 –

a –
b –
c –
d –
e –,
f –
g –,
h –
i –
j –
l –
m –
n – netflix.com
p –
s –
t – turbotax.com
y –
z –



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 Mid-September Reads

Since I’ve been reading a lot of short books this month, I thought I’d check in twice for readers.

September 4

For “a classic with a twist” (my reading group updated “a classic romance”) I read The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman. It is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale with Snow White as its protagonist. It has absolutely stunning artwork and is a clever, super fast read. I definitely recommend this one.


September 7

For my non-fiction book I read On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I’ve been reading this book in little bits every few days for months. It is a lot of good advice to take in and is good brain food. It is full of such, such good advice. What else can I say? If you’re interested in writing as craft this book is awesome.


September 9

I choose a lot of books based on their covers, but most recently I grabbed one of the newest from Murakami Haruki, which turned out to be a picture book. The entire plot, if you can call it that, is very dreamlike. And I came away from this simpler work the same way I come away from his complex work — feeling like he’s a bit of a genius, and really, super weird. The Strange Library.


September 10

For my SF book I chose Acorna the Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball. I’ve seen it in libraries and bookstores for nearly 20 yrs, and always been intrigued, but I didn’t expect it to actually have ships and space travel, which it did. I always guessed it was Fantasy that gets categorized as SF. So it was good and fun and fast and I’m considering reading the whole migley books in the series.


September 11

For a book recommended by a friend I read the graphic novel God Save the Queen, written by Mike Carey, art by John Bolton. It’s about the war between evil queen Mab and good queen Titania and a human girl who gets caught in the middle. The art style is great and the story is interesting, too.


September 12

For my mystery book I read the eleventh Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. I couldn’t remember which one I’d left off on, so I ended up rereading one from years ago, but it had been long enough that I didn’t remember what would happen. I remember now why I stopped reading at this point — book 10 had felt so momentous, so game-changing, that book 11 felt like a let-down, back to the same old thing as if nothing had gone horribly awry in the previous book. I got that feeling at some points with the Harry Potter series too. In any case I’m ready now, and there are 2 left in the series I know I haven’t read yet. So those go on the list w the rest of the Acorna series.


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