Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Get Mentioned In The New York Times (And Nobody Tells Me)

The New York Times has a front page article today called Students Get New Reading Assignment: Pick Books You Like. It's a very fine article and is currently the most emailed article from today's Times.

The article doesn't mention me, but it's worth reading anyway.

Here's where The Times does mention me. There's a list of one class's favorite books and one of them is Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (that's me).

Okay, technically they call it Life as We Knew It, but it's still me.

Now it's not exactly the same as winning the Pulitzer, but a mention in the New York Times is a mention in the New York Times, and that happens to me, well, not very often. This is the first time in 2009, I'm pretty darn sure. The second, maybe third, time this century.

So you'd think people would congratulate me. My agent. My editor. My former editor. My brother. Any of my New York Times reading friends and family. One of you. Google. Somebody.

Ha! If I didn't read the Times myself, I still wouldn't know.

The only person who came even close to congratulating me was Todd Strasser, who sent me an email that said "Congrats." But since I hadn't read today's Times then, I had no idea what he was congratsing me for.

Now I know. And in my opinion, the century has definitely taken a turn for the better!


Susan said...

Hi Susan,

Congrats on children loving your book!! (Like we didn't know that already...) :o)

I read the article itself and was so peeved at what some of those teachers were saying. That essentially anything that wasn't a classic had nothing to it, and there was nothing to write but plot summary in a book report.

Whhhat? Last I saw, even soap operas have themes and motifs and red herrings and all those "literary" plot devices. James Patterson's books have them just as much as Charles Dickens's books.

Thanks for sharing the article. It was a great educational experience.


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Susan and thank you-

It's always a pleasure and something of a relief for me to find that kids like my books. I think they respond to my lack of high class vocabulary.

Somewhere in my educational background I had an English teacher who was very big on theme. I hated having to figure out what the theme of a story was.

Then again, I was a cranky and difficult student. With a very limited vocabulary!

Jen Robinson said...

Congratulations! I didn't see that sidebar, but I would surely have noticed and been happy to see Life As We Knew It on the list if I had.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Jen Robinson-

I got a phone call from a friend of mine this evening, a New York Times reader, who also hadn't noticed the sidebar with its list of titles.

She'd read the article with great interest (she's an English teacher herself), but it wasn't until a friend of hers called to tell her about the sidebar list that my friend found out about it.

Oh well. I noticed it. I guess that'll have to do!

Nora said...

Congrats! Having kids single your book out as one they love is a great honor. I just handed LAWKI to another reader at the library last week. I love telling kids about this book and watching their eyes get larger as I give my brief description of the plot. No one ever "passes" on the book after I tell them how great it is.
And I can't wait for the next one!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Nora-

It is a great honor, and one I really appreciate (well, I guess I appreciate all great honors; I just don't have that much experience with them).

I spent a lot of this morning scrolling through the comments on the Times about the article (which remains the #1 emailed article; it must have really struck a cord with Times readers). There were over 400 comments, and they made for fascinating reading, even if none of them mentioned me!

Syd said...

I don't read the times. (We can't get it in Indy). But it's weird because another Author (Rick Riordan) mentioned the same article in his blog yesterday.


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Syd-

It doesn't surprise me that Rick Riordan also mentioned the article in his blog.

It's the kind of article that writers would find interesting. We like knowing what books are being taught and what books are being read (and we always like it if it's our books that are being taught and our books that are being read!).

Dawn said...

Clearly we are all falling down on the job!

<3 Dawn

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Dawn-

Well, you don't live in New York, so you're forgiven.

Everyone else I know, I'm not so sure!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! This is exciting.
W. Slezak


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you W. Slezak (I'm too sleepy to deal with your alternative names).

My friend Hilarie pointed out that I was in the NY Times when LAWKI made the best seller list. So that's definitely three times in this century, and possibly four.

Each time has been a delight, although clearly some have been more memorable than others!