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Brian Murray, President and CEO, HarperCollins

Though he may not be as recognizable as Brad Pitt, George Clooney or A-Rod, I think he’s more deserving of his fame.  Is he famous, or is that only my skewed, publishing-obsessed view?

Now off to class to see other amazing speakers, hope this teaser holds you over until I can get back and give you a review of Murray’s “What’s A Book: The Digital Transformation of Publishing” speech!

It’s official, the recession has hit the publishing industry.  Announced yesterday in a multitude of news sources, HarperCollins has undergone “ferocious” lay-offs and closed the Collins division (home to books such as “The Dangerous Book for Boys” and the “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook). Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, HC is one of the last major publishing houses to announce lay-offs.  The full NYT article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/books/11harp.html?hp

I guess my dream of breaking in to the publishing industry may have to be put on hold for a little while… :(

For as much as I read the writings of others – their deepest secrets, hopes, desires, scandalous tales and laughable stories, I am selfishly terrified to share my own.  As public extrovert and closet nerd, I am engaged in a secret love affair with the quiet written word, and the concept of putting myself out there (aka this public blog) to be at the expense of society is not one I’ve taken lightly.  Probably why I’ve been trying to write this first post for three weeks now.  As my only two friends who know I’m attempting this quest have so kindly pointed out, I do have the power to delete, re-write, or just cover my eyes and live in ignorance that this will actually ever be read.  So, here goes nothing.

In my “moat” of partially read books which surrounds my bed (seriously, there are at least ten down there at any given time) there are a couple sophisticated novels I was hoping to open my new, exciting, literature focused-blog talking about. Then I realized I was trying to be pretentious, and having zero fans don’t know why I feel as if I have to start out on a classy note.

Last night, being unemployed (hm I conveinently forgot to mention that) I grabbed a book off my shelf to read before drifting off to sleep.   While I don’t have a strict bedtime, I do try to stay on schedule to get up before 9am so I’m not a total loser.  Since it was already close to 11 when I was going to bed (The Bachelor was pushed back an hour due to Barack’s speech, so Jason didn’t break Naomi’s heart until 10) I was only expecting to read a few chapters.

I somehow became incredibly immersed in “The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc.”  Ever heard of it?  Doubtful, as I myself found it in the “75% off already-reduced clearance price” bin at the Barnes & Noble After Christmas Sale – obviously not a best seller.

After a rather slow beginning, I began to enjoy the book as it unraveled the story of Sissy, Peewee and Parker, jumping from current time, back to 1956, and even further into Sissy’s childhood, all to set up the climatic murder that was alluded to in the very first chapter.  While not a particularly happy tale (Sissy got pregnant at 16 and married the son of the baby’s father, got that?), the story did effectively bring the characters to life and allow them each to grow and develop relationships that were believable, fallible, and (scarily enough) relateable.

I suggest this book to any woman who has ever felt stifled in a small town or from mistakes and decisions made at too young an age. You will laugh and cry alongside Sissy, and may even end up learning something about yourself.  While I don’t suggest this for a night of intellectual reading, it could generate great discussion and reminiscing of each woman’s own scandalous teen years at a book club.

Needless to say after staying up to finish this book I missed my bedtime, which led to oversleeping my alarm and not getting up until 10am – a luxury of the unemployed.

Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc

  • Title:  The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
  • Author: Loraine Despres
  • Publisher: Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins
  • NovelWhore’s Grade:  B

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