Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13 - Lisa's Musings (on reviewing books) and Every Day Life

As a book reviewer for all the Heritage papers, I have a chance to read a lot of great books.

Some not-so-great ones, too. But I spare you the agony of having to read about them because, well, why bother?

There's no sense wasting your time (and mine) or fill already precious and limited space in the newspaper by reviewing a title I hate.

And if there's something I've learned in this new chapter of my life, it's don't waste time trying to push through bad books, when there are so many good ones out there.

The trick is finding out which is which before it's too late.

So I make this pledge to you -- if I review it, it's a dandy. And, the same holds true in my other life -- as the editor of I Love Cats magazine. I'm sent a lot of cat books, and after 21 years you'd think I'd be used to just how bad so many of them are. But I'm constantly amazed that each year, they get worse and worse.

What are these editors thinking? And just how many times should the same information or story be repackaged and turned into a book by different publishing house? Don't these people check out the competition? Even with the long lead-time involved in publishing, surely, there's a buzz out there.

But enough about bad books, onto three great ones.

I'm about to finish reading the third book by author Louis Sachar. He'll be in Ann Arbor at Nicola's Books Friday at 7 p.m. I was sent an advance copy of his latest young adult book titled "The Cardturner" a few weeks ago and devoured it.

Yesterday, two more ("Holes" and "Small Steps") arrived and I'd already finished reading one and a half of them before I interviewed the author by phone this afternoon. So now I'm REALLY looking forward to meeting him in person tomorrow night.

His newest title, "The Cardturner," is about a 17-year-old boy named Alton Richards, who must take his great uncle to bridge clubs four times a week. Since bridge is a card game that's always intrigued me, I dove into this book and finished it determined to learn how to play.

The book took me back to my childhood when my mother would have a group of friends over to play bridge -- usually in the early afternoon when I was at school. I wasn't invited to play, but I was allowed to nibble the yummy leftover food that was an essential part of these monthly card parties.

So, although I never witnessed the bidding or learned anything how to take a trick, I vividly remember my mom's excitement on bridge club day.

So thank you, Louis, for a great story and great memories, too.

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