Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Time Consuming Being Semi-Famous

It's probably even more time consuming being rich and semi-famous, but that's not likely in my lifetime.

As you know, Google and I have an intimate relationship, but sometimes it forgets to tell me things. This morning, for reasons I will never fathom, I decided to check Google News for mentions of me, and by golly, there was one.

Fresh off the pages of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, an article about Allentown High School using Life As We Knew It for their One School One Book.

Ordinarily, such a discovery would be exciting, but not necessarily time consuming. Only I live just close enough to Newark that I could buy actual copies of the Star-Ledger, if I was willing to devote two to three hours to the search.

Of course I was willing. I ate breakfast, hopped in my car, and drove to the glorious Garden State. I found the Star-Ledgers in the fifth place I stopped at (let's hear it for ShopRite. Hip hip hooray!). I bought three, one for me, one for my mother, and one for Harcourt, just in case they'd like one.

I now know of five states that have schools that have used LAWKI for One School One Book, and yes, I can name them- New Jersey, Florida, Texas, California, and Massachusetts. It's a good thing not all of them have had newspaper articles about their schools. I'd hate to drive to California on a whim.

If you're in the mood, read all the nasty comments (and the one nice one) that follow the article. My favorite is Comment #10, that refers to Life As We Knew It as third rate. My guess is she never read LAWKI. If she did, she'd probably think it was fifth rate!


Gretchen said...

I can't believe those comments! Kids are given a fun book and class time to read it, and everyone is up in arms about it??

Lee said...

Indoctrinate? What are we teaching kids? How to survive a natural disaster? As the yoots say, OMG.

At least you get a nice royalty cheque from it, Susan.

Jen's Quilts said...

Also in Texas. . .I used LAWKI as my book club selection a couple of years ago. I got the Scholastic copy that had the pink girls room on it. I really had to convince the boys that it wasn't just a girl's book. I initially ordered 30 copies. As word started getting around all my copies were gone quickly and people were finishing and passing them on to the next person. By the end of the six weeks I had 60 kids come to the book club party (the largest ever). Some of those kids were our special education and dyslexic kids who would never attempt a book like that without peer pressure. It also helped that I went ahead and bought the CD for those to listen to as they read along. Those kids are in high school now, but I get facebook messages from them telling me that they read the D&TG, and did I know that there was about to be a third book? I get so excited when kids get excited from reading. Thank you for being able to do that!

Anande said...

LAWKI is 1st rate, all the way! I checked it out from the library, along with a stack of other books, when I knew I was going to be home sick for a few days.

So I was back home in my living room, reading one of the other library books, and my husband walked by. He's 21, happens to be a very picky reader, and usually distrusts my taste in books. He picked up LAWKI from the stack because of the very interesting cover, and stood there to read a couple of pages. A few minutes later he said, "This book is kind of interesting," and sat down to enjoy it properly.

I remember being frequently interrupted from the novel I was engrossed in because Zack would keep saying, "This book is so gripping! I need to go (do whatever), but I can't until I find out what happens next!" He ended up scratching his plans for the afternoon and evening so he could finish the story, and by the time he was done, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

Not long after that, I read This World We Live In out loud on a road trip, and ever since then we've been waiting impatiently for the 3rd installment. We can't wait to find out what happens to Miranda and her family!

Anande said...

oops, i meant to say, I read The Dead and the Gone on the road trip. Still waiting for Book #3!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi to Gretchen and Lee-

I love the comments (well, I loved the article more). There's something about the Internet that inspires people to write nasty stuff, and unless I'm powerfully emotionally connected, I find it kind of funny.

If I'm powerfully emotionally connected, I don't read the comments.

My word verification is smstiz, which kind of sounds like a nasty Internet word. Go smstiz yourself!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and thank you to Jen's Quilts and Anande-

I love hearing stories about how people read and enjoy LAWKI.

When you write a book, you do it (or at least I do it) in isolation. Occasionally I'll tell a friend or relative what's going on, and even more infrequently I'll share what I've written or ask for help.

But it's such private work, and then it gets published, and suddenly the world (or the tiny part of the world that's interested) reads it and judges it.

It used to be I'd only know what the reviewers thought and what kids (mostly writing letters for school assignments) thought.

Now, thanks to the blog, I get to hear directly from people.

I love it!

Thank you again, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.