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Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

2018’s Big Bookish Wrap-Up of the Year

December 30, 2018    Tags: , , , , , ,   

It feels like I posted 2017’s wrap-up just a couple of weeks ago, but here it is, already time for another. I am every old-person-dazzled-by-the-passing-of-time cliche.

Writing-wise:
It’s been a crazy year: Releasing THE COLLECTORS with a round of school visits and amazing festivals, having CANDLE AND PINS: POEMS ON SUPERSTITIONS come out into the world (I’ve been writing, publishing, and polishing these poems for almost a decade, and all I wanted was to see them gathered between two covers at last), finishing revisions on my next YA novel (LAST THINGS, coming at you in May!), publishing poems and short fiction in Wee TalesMirror Danceand Enchanted Living/Faerie Magazineand ALMOST completing rewrites of THE COLLECTORS 2 (to be called A STORM OF WISHES). 2018 was mostly a year of rewriting, revising, and re-revising. 2019 should allow me to start some things from scratch, and I can hardly wait for the chance to sit down with a brand new, perfectly blank notebook and plunge in.

Reading-wise:
MOONGLOW – Michael Chabon (aloud to Ryan)
WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON – Grace Lin
THE DEVILS YOU KNOW – M.C. Atwood
TATTOOS ON THE HEART: THE POWER OF BOUNDLESS COMPASSION – Gregory Boyle
INVISIBLE GIRLS – Nova Ren Suma
THOUSAND STAR HOTEL (poems) – Bao Phi
THE WHITE ALBUM – Joan Didion
ARCHIVIST WASP – Nicole Kornher-Stace
BLISS – Kathryn Littlewood
MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS – Kelly Link
MAGDALENE (poems) – Marie Howe
TED HUGHES: THE UNAUTHORIZED LIFE – Jonathan Bate
THE GREAT GHOST RESCUE – Eva Ibbotson
LATCHKEY – Nicole Kornher-Stace
WALKING ON WATER: REFLECTIONS ON FAITH AND ART – Madeleine L’Engle
THE DARK DARK – Samantha Hunt
BROOKLYN – Colm Toibin
THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY – Natalie Lloyd
LAURA INGALLS IS RUINING MY LIFE – Shelley Tougas
BAYOU MAGIC – Jewell Parker Rhodes
THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS – Beth Hautala
RED BIRD (poems) – Mary Oliver
THE BLACK WITCH – Laurie Forest
A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE – Brittany Cavallaro
THE FIRST TIME I GOT PAID FOR IT: WRITERS’ TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES – Peter Lefcourt and Laura J. Shipro, eds.
CIVILWARLAND IN BAD DECLINE – George Saunders
STRANGER THAN FICTION – Chuck Palaniuk
CRACKED UP TO BE – Courtney Summers
ELSA LANCHESTER: HERSELF – Elsa Lanchester
HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES – Carmen Maria Machado
COLD HARD TRUTH – Anne Greenwood Brown
STONEPICKER (poems) – Frieda Hughes
THE TANGLEWOOD TERROR – Kurtis Scaletta
JEALOUS WITNESS (poems) – Andrei Codrescu
THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH, VOLUME 1
SELECTED POEMS OF T.S. ELIOT (reread)
THE HAZEL WOOD – Melissa Albert
THE GREEN HOUSE (poems) – Joyce Sutphen
WE’LL FLY AWAY – Bryan Bliss
DREADFUL YOUNG LADIES – Kelly Barnhill
WE ARE OKAY – Nina LaCour
DREAD NATION – Justina Ireland
THE 2018 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY (poems) – Linda Addison, ed.
THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL – Barry Lyga
AND I DARKEN – Kiersten White
BLOOD, WATER, PAINT – Joy McCullough
LONG WAY DOWN – Jason Reynolds
SING, UNBURIED, SING – Jesmyn Ward
SNOW AND ROSE – Emily Winfield Martin
CALYPSO – David Sedaris (aloud to Ryan)
THE SECRET OF ZOOM – Lynne Jonell
THE WICKED DEEP – Shea Earnshaw
SMILE – Raina Telgemeier
GOTH GIRL RISING – Barry Lyga
POPS – Michael Chabon (aloud to Ryan)
AMONG THE SAVAGES – Shirley Jackson (reread)
BROWN GIRL DREAMING – Jacqueline Woodson
THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER – Diane Magras
WE’LL BE THE LAST ONES TO LET YOU DOWN: MEMOIR OF A GRAVEDIGGER’S DAUGHTER – Rachel Hanel
FUN HOME – Alison Bechdel
A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES – Christina Sng
AND THE TREES CREPT IN – Dawn Kurtagich
MIDDLEMARCH – George Eliot
ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS – Maggie Stiefvater
THE LAST OF AUGUST – Brittany Cavallaro (aloud to Ryan)
FURIOUSLY HAPPY – Jenny Lawson
THE GRIP OF IT – Jac Jemc
CRAZY FROM THE HEAT – David Lee Roth (aloud to Ryan)
FICCIONES – Jorge Luis Borges
STRANGE THE DREAMER – Laini Taylor
JERK, CALIFORNIA – Jonathan Friesen
BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN – Kirsten Cronn-Mills
THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE GOTH IN THE COUNTRY – Chavisa Woods
THE CASQUETTE GIRLS – Alys Arden
THE LIE TREE – Frances Hardinge
THE ACCIDENT SEASON – Moira Fowley-Doyle
THE LATEHOMECOMER: A HMONG FAMILY MEMOIR – Kao Kalia Yang
THE DOLL’S ALPHABET – Camilla Grudova
THE GRACES – Laure Eve
LUST AND WONDER – Augusten Burroughs
THE MISSING PIECE OF CHARLIE O’REILLY – Rebecca Ansari
CITY OF GHOSTS – Victoria Schwab
THE STRANGERS – Margaret Peterson Haddix
DEAR SISTER – Allison McGhee
TELLING MEMORIES AMONG SOUTHERN WOMEN: DOMESTIC WORKERS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH – Susan Tucker
SPOOK – Mary Roach
A PROPERLY UNHAUNTED PLACE – Will Alexander
A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES – Nova Ren Suma
ROBIN – Dave Itzkoff (aloud to Ryan)
LIFE INSIDE MY MIND: 31 AUTHORS SHARE THEIR PERSONAL STRUGGLES – Jessica Burkhart, ed.
FLANEUSE: WOMEN WALK THE CITY IN PARIS, NEW YORK, TOKYO, VENICE, AND LONDON – Lauren Elkin
DEVILS UNTO DUST – Emma Berquist
DAMSEL – Elana K. Arnold
EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARTNERS – Gretchen Anthony
BAD FEMINIST – Roxane Gay (aloud to Ryan)
THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH FAIRYLAND AND LED THE REVELS THERE – Catherynne M. Valente
THIS ONE SUMMER – Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
HEY, KIDDO – Jarrett Kroscoczka
WADE IN THE WATER (poems) – Tracy K. Smith
THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET – Karina Yan Glaser
THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH, VOL. 2
LESSONS ON EXPULSION (poems) – Erika L. Sanchez
SADIE – Courtney Summers

 

My six very favorites of the year — HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, CALYPSO, THOUSAND STAR HOTEL, THE LIE TREE (with DAMSEL, SADIE, and LONG WAY DOWN tied for second in the YA category), SING, UNBURIED, SING, and THIS ONE SUMMER — happen to fall into six different categories (short stories, essay/memoir, poetry, YA novel, adult novel, and graphic novel). They’re wildly different from each other, obviously, but they share that thing about really great books: not only can you barely stand to put them down, but you remember exactly where you were when you read certain passages, what the light was like, where you were sitting. It’s weird that it works this way. You’re completely absorbed in the book, but at the same time, the book is changing you, making you open your eyes and notice the world around you in a new way. So a great book is like a fresh pair of contact lenses.

Happy reading, happy writing, and happy end-of-2018, everybody.

 

 

Spectacles

THE COLLECTORS gets ready to hatch, a giveaway, and my next YA…

August 1, 2018    Tags: , , , , ,   

Just over two months until THE COLLECTORS arrives.

The final weeks of book gestation are some of the weirdest and longest. It’s less like having a baby than laying an egg (I imagine): You’ve done all the work, and then you just have to sit there and worry and try not to lose your mind, and then, FINALLY, out hatches this thing that only sort of feels like yours, because it’s been outside of you for so long.

Now it belongs to itself. And to readers.

And reviewers.

This might be the hardest part of all: when the reviews start coming in. Luckily, the couple that I’ve seen so far have been extremely nice. Booklist called it “a brilliant fantasy adventure exploring the consequences of getting what you wish for.” And according to Kirkus, the most nervous-making reviewer of all, “Readers may not wish to leave this magical world.”

So that’s pretty great.

Speaking of reviews, the book is up and running over at Goodreads, where you can add it to your to-read list (please), review it (once you’ve read it, obviously), and enter a giveaway for one of five advance copies (do it do it do it): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34614114-the-collectors

Tour details are still being finalized, but I can share one big piece of news: I’ll be a guest at this year’s Tweens Read Festival! It will be held on Saturday October 13, in Houston, Texas, and this year’s line-up is incredible. I feel the usual mixture of honored and sheepish to be included. 🙂 Lots more info here: http://www.tweensread.com/index.html

I’m planning to host a special giveaway of my own via Instagram in the near future, so if you’re not already following me there — jacqueline.west.writes — you might want to change that.

Finally, some big big news: My next YA novel, a modern-day Minnesotan retelling of the guitarist-selling-his-soul-to-the-devil legend, is coming next summer. It’s going to be called LAST THINGS, and honestly, I have never been more excited about anything that I’ve written.

Check out the Publishers Weekly announcement:

Spectacles

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