Betsy-Tacy News and More

June 12, 2009 @ 1:50 pm | Filed under:

Early afternoon lull here, and I’ve got so many shreds of discussion fluttering around inside my head that I thought I’d try to catch hold of a few of them and see if they can be stitched into a patchwork post.

Author Gail Gauthier and I have been having an interesting conversation about “negative” and “positive” book reviews. It started in the comments of one of Liz B.’s excellent posts at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, and has continued on Gail’s blog. I love what Gail says about abandoning those terms—negative review, positive review—in favor of “analytical response” and “recommendation.” It can be a terribly uncomfortable thing for a writer to voice her frank criticism of another writers’ work; I generally find myself choosing to say nothing at all (on the blog, at least) rather than post anything negative—but I think Gail is completely correct in saying, “I don’t believe a thoughtful discussion of a book’s pros and cons is ‘negative.'” Blogging makes for complicated boundaries, sometimes.

Very exciting Betsy-Tacy news. You know how I’ve lamented their going out of print. This fall the four high-school Betsy books, plus Betsy in the Great World and Betsy’s Wedding, will be reissued in the Harper Perennial Modern Classics line. These will be double-volume books, three in all. I will be laying in a set for each of my daughters. Jennifer Hart of HarperCollins tells me there will be new forewords by Laura Lippman and Meg Cabot, and Anna Quindlan’s excellent foreword will be reprinted in the Great World/Betsy’s Wedding volume. You can get a sneak peek of the wonderful vintage-style covers at Deep Valley Sun—and while you’re there, read up on the Betsy-Tacy convention that will take place in Mankato, Minnesota, this July. I’d love to be there, but it’s the weekend before Comic-con. I must pace myself.

Here’s a post I wrote about my love for the Betsy-Tacy books, especially the (related, but not part of the main B-T series) moving and thoughtful Emily of Deep Valley.

You may already have seen this in my sidebar, but don’t miss Terrible Yellow Eyes, a collection of quite amazing paintings inspired by Where the Wild Things Are. We used to have a set of framed Wild Things prints in our girls’ room; I rescued them from an oversized calendar Harper issued one year. I’d love some of these tribute paintings on the wall!

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9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah says:

    Interesting. I read somewhere this week that, if you write on your weblog a “negative” critique of an author’s work, word gets around the publishing field and you have less chance of being published yourself. Smacks of blackmail to me!

    As a writer, I would much rather a thoughtful critique, even if it did include “negative” points, than silence. For me, nothing is harder to bear than silence, as I fill it with all my own negative opinions! And actually I’d also rather a critique than a cheerful one-liner, as it shows the reader has engaged with the book and given it thought.

    I can’t imagine you have had any “negative” reviews of your books, but I’d be interested in reading how you personally view the reviews you get. Do they help or hinder you in your writing?

  2. Book Club Girl says:

    Thanks for posting news of the Betsy-Tacy reissues! And I’m sorry that we won’t get to meet at the convention this summer. My sister is visiting this weekend and we’re going to the convention together, on a literary pilgrimage of sorts and we’re getting so excited making our plans!

  3. Sara says:

    Thanks for the B-T news. Oh, how I love those girls! KT is reading them now to my youngest 2 for the first time. I’ll have to look out for a set for my little one to have; I know my oldest won’t give hers up.

  4. Hannah says:

    I ADORE those new covers, and even though my dd’s are 6 and 3, I will definitely be investing in a set, if only for ME to reread after all these years!
    (I think I can still recite from memory the text of the telegram Joe sent Betsy when she was in Europe.)

  5. Karen Edmisten says:

    Oooh, thanks for the Betsy-Tacy update. Such good news.

    And, I love the discussion about reviews as well. Great stuff.

  6. Pattie says:

    I bought the Betsy-Tacy books with the pale covers about six years ago…just in case they went out of print again. I obsessively checked out the ancient hardbacks in high school from the library…having to do ILL for several of them, each time! Loved them. Someday I’d love to go to Maud’s home in Mankato…

  7. Susan Gaissert says:

    Thank you! I’m very excited about this, and my daughter will be, too. Our high-school copies from the last reissue are in tatters from many readings. Thank you!

  8. Jessica Snell says:

    Hurrah for Betsy-Tacy! I love Betsy and the Great World – going where they do the passion plays, the trip to Venice, Joe’s telegraph to her at the end . . . ah.