Things we enjoyed this week and hope that you will too! James Patterson's holiday bonus, elegiac writing & naturalism, Worldbuilders charity, and a reviewer on Christian fiction.
Texans among recipients of James Patterson's annual "holiday bonus": Blockbuster author James Patterson gives out a holiday bonus each year to employees of independent bookstores. Patterson's goal is to reward people in the independent bookstore business who go the extra mile and who actively seek to make a difference in the industry and in their communities. Patterson reviews all nominations and selects the recipients. This year, five Texans from four different bookstores (three of them in Houston!) made the list. Employees from Blue Willow Bookshop, Murder by the Book, Brazos Bookstore, and BookPeople all won. These bookstores are well worth your time and support. If you don't live in Houston (Will and I are a little biased), check out the list for an independent bookstore near you!
Elegiac writing in the modern era: The Paris Review has published this excellent article by Megan Mayhew Bergman entitled "The Long and Pretty Goodbye," which discusses modern elegiac writing and the way it confronts the reality of loss in the twenty-first century, particularly in the natural world. Bergman offers her own perspective as the mother of two daughters and the knowledge that they will grow up in a world where certain species (the northern white rhino) and natural wonders will only be a memory. Though this is not the most cheerful of topics, Bergman's article captures the importance of writing and memory and the role, and responsibility, of writers to capture pain and loss, to preserve the memory of things that have been lost, and to give a voice to the voiceless.
Patrick Rothfuss's charity Worldbuilders: If you are still shopping for the perfect gift for that book lover or geek in your life, the Worldbuilders store is a great place to start. Worldbuilders is a charity founded by writer Patrick Rothfuss, who we mentioned in our last link round up, and its goal this year is to raise $2.2 million to be donated to Heifer International, Mercy Corps, and First Book. You can donate outright, of course, but you can also purchase some of the cool items for sale. There are signed books by Rothfuss and other writers, ARC (advanced reader copy) editions of books, games, and artwork. There are also more unique "items" such as an author naming a character after you and a review of your manuscript by Holly Black, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles. Some of these items are available in a lottery, auction, or outright purchase. And some of the writers will match whatever total is raised by their item. So purchase something cool and know that your money will be supporting organizations that help the vulnerable and needy in our world.
A Reviewer Looks for the Next Great Christian Novel: Some of you may balk at the title, especially our readers of a less-than-religious persuasion. Hear us out, though: we think it makes great points for anyone writing within a deeply-held belief system, since the problems so common with Christian writers will be common with anyone trying to use their art as a means of persuasion to their own point of view. In this article, Sarah Arthur challenges us to pursue excellent writing, compelling characters, innovative plots, and themes (theological or otherwise) with depth and honesty.