How To Finish a Book

safe_image.phpNeil Gaiman, author extraordinaire, gives some advice to a fan who would also like to write a book, but is having trouble getting things down on paper. I thought this was appropriate, consider we’ve had so many writers working on books in our library this past year. If only they’d known this before!

Write the ideas down. If they are going to be stories, try and tell the stories you would like to read. Finish the things you start to write. Do it a lot and you will be a writer. The only way to do it is to do it.

I’m just kidding. There are much easier ways of doing it.


To find out the easier way of doing things, click this link to visit the article on his Tumblr page.

What did you think of his advice? Frankly, it’s brilliant.

Very Good Lives

Earlier this week, Little, Brown Book Group announced they would be publishing an illustrated version of J. K. Rowling’s 2008 speech during a Harvard University commencement where she talked about the benefits of failure.


Sales from the book, called VERY GOOD LIVES, will benefit Rowling’s charity called Lumos which aims to transform the lives of disadvantaged children. Similarly, it will also go toward providing financial aid to students at Harvard.

You can watch the original speech here, claimed by many to be one of the most memorable speeches in Harvard history. The book is bound to be just as riveting!

Author Visit!

Next week, the Carleton Place Public Library is pleased to welcome the author of IF…A MIND-BENDING NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT BIG IDEAS AND NUMBERS, David J. Smith!  While he won’t be speaking at the library, he’ll be joining us at St. Mary’s Catholic School to visit with the students there. If you aren’t aware, we have class visits from St. Mary’s students quite regularly here at the library, and we thought this visit would be a nice way to reward them for coming and using the library. It’s going to be a fun visit!


Mr. Smith will arrive here in Carleton Place next Tuesday, November 4th, and we’ll whisk him over the St. Mary’s where he’ll talk about his latest book, as well as some of his other great non-fiction for young people.  He is a teacher with more than 25 years experience in a classroom setting, and his books show that he’s well aware of the difficulties in teaching young people about size and comparison.  This should be a really fun talk, and we’re hoping he’ll be able to sign a few books while he’s here. We have his collection available here in the library, and we encourage anyone who might want to purchase one of his books to drop by our local bookstore, Reads Book Shop, and order a copy. If you have a young person aged 8-12 at home, it’s a great book to consider.

We’re looking forward to next week!

Be Thankful, Day 1


Thanksgiving is just ahead for all of us Canadians, and while many of us are thinking about pumpkin pie and turkey dinners that will burst all our zippers, I’m hoping to take a few days to help put you in the “Be Thankful” mode. It doesn’t just include the person making the big meal, or the people coming to your home for the long weekend. Why not say thank you to a few different people?

Today, we should say thank you to the authors who write the books we love. They spend long months or years toiling away on the stories that stay in our hearts, make us laugh or make us weep, and yet, after we finish a book, we rarely think about the person who created the world we immersed ourselves in for that short time. Most authors out there have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, websites and even Instagram accounts where you can stop by and say thanks. Maybe you’ll post a photo of yourself reading that amazing book they just wrote. (Don’t forget to tag them in the photo!) Or maybe you have time to send off a quick email to say how much their work means to you.  Whatever you do, today is the day.

Take a few minutes to thank an author!

Paying it Forward

Author Eleanor Catton, winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2013 for THE LUMINARIES, announced recently while accepting a prize for the New Zealand Post, that she intends to establish a grant that will award writers $3000  to provide “time to read”. 



There will be no strings attached, except that the author will have to write a short non-fiction article to be published at the end of the three-month period, stating what they read and what they learned from each book. She hopes it will help others understand the need for authors to have time to read, as well as to write, simply because a well-read author will write stronger works as a result.

Yay to Jon Klassen!

The first time I ever read Jon Klassen’s THIS IS NOT MY HAT, I knew I that to read it for storytime. The story made me laugh, the simple illustrations were delightful, and the theme was perfect.  If the kids didn’t like this, they were going to be a tough audience.


And then I read it to my group.  I chuckled to myself as they talked about the silly hat on the fish. They giggled about the bigger fish chasing the little one, and thought it was pretty funny that the little fish thought he was soooooo clever.  I couldn’t wait for the big reveal at the end. (Don’t worry… spoilers here!).  When I turned the page, expecting everyone to laugh………the kids weren’t really sure what happened, although the parents were!  We had lots of discussion as to possible reasons for the ending….none of which even touched on the REAL idea.  I was shocked!  But it was okay.  The kids used their imaginations, and came up with something that was acceptable to them.  It was great!  They surprised ME.

Now, THIS IS NOT MY HAT is one of the books on our Forest of Reading® Blue Spruce™ list, and the kids aren’t saying much. I wonder if they’ll choose this book as their favourite. I know I would.  We’ll have to have a discussion about it on the voting night. It’ll be interesting to hear from older kids.  Maybe 5 year olds just aren’t as sophisticated yet.

The really great thing is that Jon Klassen and his witty humour are really taking center stage. It seems that this book, along with I WANT MY HAT BACK, have together sold one million copies worldwide. That includes translations. Isn’t it amazing? Picture books don’t usually achieve such great heights, so I’m thrilled for this author. He deserves it.




What Happens When They Die?

Recently, I had a chat with a patron about an author who had died…but was still producing books. After looking for a book by Robert Ludlum on the shelves, I realized the book he was looking for was actually written by another author, but carried on the legacy of the original author’s books. This, of course, confused the patron to no end. First, he didn’t know the Ludlum had died, and second, he had no idea why someone else would be writing his books.  Yes, it can be confusing.

In this case, Robert Ludlum was a prolific author of the action packed Bourne Series, along with many others. When he passed away in 2001, he left a huge following, and the publishers were reluctant to leave them hanging. In comes several other authors who picked up the series and have been writing ever since in the style of Ludlum’s originals.  If you drop by Ludlum’s website, it’s interesting to note that there are current entries, updated regularly. Playlists inspired by the series, old interviews and movie trailers, and lots of input from fans. It’s as though Mr. Ludlum is still around and writing.  Amazing!

The wife of author Robert B. Parker recently had this terrible decision to make when he passed away: to let his famous detective Spenser continue on using other writers, or to let him go as well. After much discussion with Parker’s publishing house, they decided to carry on and let Spenser remain. Parker’s latest book WONDERLAND was released earlier this year and will probably become as popular as all of his others. It seems that people don’t mind when another author takes over, as long as the writing remains familiar. There’s a great article here about Parker’s “afterlife”.

There are other authors who have passed away but hadn’t published everything in their catalog yet, such as Michael Crichton. Many times, the publishers will have someone edit the drafts and publish as though the author were still alive, all profits going to the author’s family/spouse/charity of choice etc.  It’s a great way for a company to keep earning off a big author, and a way for fans to feel like they haven’t missed out.


This can be wildly debated, however, as we saw in the case of the untimely death of Stieg Larsson and his GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO series. Larsson didn’t leave a will, and was not married to his partner of 32 years, so according to Swedish law, Larsson’s estate was inherited by his father and brother. His common-law partner still has the uncompleted 4th book in the series on a laptop that she has refused to give up, and will only do so if the law allows her full rights to manage the series.  It doesn’t look like this is going to happen any time soon, and so the world will have to wait.

How the new authors are accepted is anyone’s guess. While they are probably hired to continue on in the same style as the author they’re taking over for, I’m sure their own style also appears. Hopefully, readers accept it right away and are just happy the series will continue. Often, I think, readers don’t even notice the change, especially if they aren’t keeping up with the news or looking at an author’s website. That seems to be the case we see most often here. As long as the books keep coming out, people are happy.

Do you follow a series written by an author who has passed away? What are your thoughts on the new authors?