No “Faults” For John Green

By Cori Cagide, Publicist

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Okay, so you may be thinking I’m late on the John Green train for this one, and I probably am. I first decided to read The Fault in Our Stars earlier this Summer when I found out about the movie coming out starring Shailene Woodley. I was hesitant because, as I’m sure you all know, it’s a pretty heavy topic. It was the start of Summer, and I was looking for a good beach read, not something that would make me burst into tears next to strangers on the subway during my commute.

However, disregarding my gut feeling, I read it anyway, mostly because people WOULD NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. That, coupled with the fact that he brought out the biggest crowd at BookCon immediately following my first BEA conference – I figured the guy knew what he was doing.

I was pleasantly surprised. I am by no means an emotional person or reader. It takes a lot for things to get to me on a deep level. And even though I had to put it down a few times during my commute to avoid losing all control of my emotions, I thought it was a beautifully written book – one that gives a unique yet accurate perspective into a disease that affects so many around the world. I’d highly recommend it, even to those for whom the topic hits close to home. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’ve heard John Green was extremely hands-on and very much involved in the book-to-movie making process.

Cori_John Green2Next, I decided to tackle Looking for Alaska, also by John Green, and also being made into a movie later this year. That’s when I fell in love with John Green’s writing. I loved The Fault in Our Stars but wasn’t sure if it had something to do with the subject matter hitting me on an emotional level.

I liked Looking for Alaska even more than The Fault in Our Stars. I don’t want to give anything away, but I became obsessed with John Green’s ability to make you fall in love with characters who are so totally flawed. Just read it.

Immediately after reading The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska I read Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines. I’d still rank Looking as Alaska as my favorite, followed (in order) by: The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines. I’m still interested in reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a book he co-wrote with David Levithan and Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances, co-authored by Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson (who was also at BEA and totally awesome).

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking – this chick is OBSESSED with John Green. And you’d be right. But, I will say that it’s not just his writing that captivates me. I love that he is so interactive when it comes to social media and really in-tune with his fanbase. He’s a YA author. He’s not pretending to be anything more or less than that. He doesn’t act like his work is so incredibly profound that it should be recognized as one of the greatest gifts ever given to literature. Rather, he speaks to his audience, interacts with them, and relates to them on a more personal level.

Cori_John Green1I especially love that in the newer editions of most of his books, he responds to fan mail and questions. One of my favorites was from a fan clearly trying to get him to answer a question from a book report template, to which Green replied: “Bottom line dude, I’m not going to do your homework.” Genius.  In fact, most recently, he posted a picture of himself in a hospital bed, letting his vlog fans know that he would be unable to post a video to the YouTube series he created with his brother, Hank.

If I haven’t done enough to convince you to read one of his books yet, check out his social media and get to know John Green the man, apart from the author. It might just be enough to convince you to pick up one of the beloved titles.

If anything, it’ll allow you to have an idea of what not just one, but 2 books-turned-movies are like before you see them in theaters.

 

 

Related: Do You Need To Read The Book Before You See The Movie?

 

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A Look at the Man Booker Longlist Books by American Authors

By Adrienne Fontaine, Senior Publicist

As a part of my summer reading, I read four of the five books written by Americans and named on the longlist for the Man Booker prize. The fifth, Joseph O’Neill’s The Dog, is not yet available in stores.

 

AF_ManbookerI started with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler (best known for The Jane Austen Book Club). The book is about a young woman named Rosemary Cooke, whose father—a psychology professor—adopts a chimpanzee named Fern and tries to raise it as a second daughter within the family, as part of a research experiment. The experiment goes awry and the chimp is sent away to a lab and kept in captivity for the rest of its life. The banishment of the chimp causes an unbridgeable rift in the family, for the young son takes up the cause of animal activism and takes it to domestic-terrorism levels.

The book shows the complex relationships between humans and chimps, between members of a family, between science and morality, between males and females, and between friends in their adolescence. I like how the book uses a stranger-than-fictional plot at the beginning to later realistically portray and comment on animal cruelty.

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Finn Sets Sail: MEDIA CONNECT Reflects on the Third Annual Summer Boat Cruise

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There’s nothing like being on a boat on a beautiful summer day, circling New York, with Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys singing their love songs to the Big Apple. A great day!
-Adrienne Fontaine, Publicist

Last Tuesday, August 5th, marked the third annual Finn Partners summer boat cruise in New York City, a summer outing where Finn Partners employees from all divisions came together to spend the day dancing, toasting and dining on Manhattan’s Hudson River.

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It is always nice to get outside in the summer but to see life from the vantage point of a boat is even more special. We got so close to Lady Liberty that I felt like was going to step out of her pose and give me a hug. I think it’s always a good idea to connect with your colleagues outside of work. It makes work seem like anything but.
-Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer

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Top row, left to right: Adrienne Fontaine, Emily Labes, Cori Cagide, Karissa Hearn, and Anna Patrick. Bottom row: Lindsey Hall, Johanna Dickson, Alexandra Israel

This was my second year on the boat cruise, and it seems like each year it gets better! It’s great to see everyone letting loose and having such a good time. I already can’t wait for next year! -Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

The boat was a blast, getting to know my colleagues in an entirely different environment was a great experience. I had no idea we had some serious dancers on our team! But joking aside, sometimes with the daily hustle and bustle it’s easy to overlook that we work in such an amazing city, and the 360 degree view of the Big Apple was both humbling and necessary to reignite a sense of mindfulness and appreciation of where we are and the work we’re doing. Looking forward to next summer!
-Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist

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Left to right: Brian Feinblum, Steve Matteo, and David Hahn

It was a great time connecting with other people in various departments. We work in a big office, so oftentimes you tend to pass right by people without ever really getting to meet them, and so the day was a nice way to create relationships. And it’s always nice seeing people outside of their suits and ties just relaxing. Brings the sense of camaraderie closer!
-Lindsey Hall, Associate Publicist

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Left to right: Emily Labes, Anna Patrick, Lindsey Hall, Cori Cagide, Johanna Dickson, Alexandra Israel, Karissa Hearn, and David Hahn

What a blast the cruise was this summer!   Great weather; great food and great dancing!  Especially enjoyed Mick’s historical description of the waterfront!  Nice to have a local historian (and photographer) on the team. Look forward to next year’s outing!
-David Hahn, Senior Partner and Managing Director

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Adrienne Fontaine and David Hahn

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Left to right: Emily Labes, Anna Patrick, Lindsey Hall, Cori Cagide, Johanna Dickson, Alexandra Israel, Mick Andreano and Karissa Hearn

I loved  the sense of camaraderie and community – everyone was excited to spend the day with one another. Since we work in a fairly large company with different divisions it was nice to meet people (and put names to faces) that I see regularly. I am already looking forward to next year!
-Alexandra Israel, Publicist

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Keegan Abrahams, Dave Lieberson, and Dave Rosenthal

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Left to right: Alexandra Israel, Johanna Dickson, Anna Patrick, Karissa Hearn, Cori Cagide, Emily Labes, and Lindsey Hall

I had a great time at the cruise, it was a great group work experience. The dancing surprised me the most. Finn Partners and MEDIA CONNECT have some talented dancers!
-Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist

It’s kind of obvious I enjoyed the dancing segment the best! But I also enjoyed talking to my colleagues and dining with them.
-Dawn Frederick, Receptionist

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Adrienne Fontaine, David Hahn, Anna Patrick and Cori Cagide

 

For more photos, please see our official album on Facebook.

 

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Should You Attend Writers Conferences?

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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

 

I recently attended the Willamette Writers Conference where I spoke before 50 eager self-published authors, talking about how one can make his or her book marketable and how to promote books to the news media. The conference was in Oregon, a state I’d never been to, but I realized that after going some 5500 miles round trip the community of writers is not only alive and well, but it is one that replicates itself across the country.

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7 Life Lessons I Learned From Children’s Books

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By Dee Donavanik, Publicity Director

There has been lots of discussion about why YA books are gaining popularity among adult audiences, especially as several blockbuster adaptations are hitting the theaters. We’ve accepted that YA books have mass appeal and are not just for “young adults,” but what about the books from our childhood? Maybe it would serve us well to go a bit farther back and revisit the stories we loved as kids. When life gets hectic and we start to get cynical, we can think back on some classic tales to remind us of the bigger picture.

Here are some of my personal favorites and the lessons I learned (though there are many interpretations). Also SPOILER ALERT if you’ve never read any of these classics.

 

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Kindle Unlimited: Critics Weigh In On Amazon’s New e-Book Subscription

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By Nicole Martineau, Publicist

 

Last week, Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Unlimited, a new e-book service that allows customers to read as many books as they want from a digital library of over 600,000 titles and thousands of audio books. The service is available for $9.99 a month and works on all Kindle devices and any device with a Kindle Reading app.

While this may sound like a great deal to consumers, many industry professionals have been very critical of the service in recent days, especially with two successful start-ups already on the market: Scribd and Oyster Books.

According to Associated Press technology reporter Anick Jesdanun, Kindle Unlimited beats competitors in several ways, however, Scribd and Oyster both offer better value for avid readers of popular books:

“It turns out that the library of 600,000 is a bit like a small bookstore with a few current titles such as The Hunger Games, attached to a block-sized bargain bin of obscure stuff mixed with Robinson Crusoe and other classics that are in the public domain and available for free online anyway… Though Oyster has only 500,000 books and Scribd has 400,000, both offer extensive libraries from two of the largest publishers, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Kindle Unlimited doesn’t.”

That brings us to another weakness of Kindle Unlimited: the absence of several top publishers. This topic was hard to ignore as media outlets began to report the absence of the ‘Big Five’: Penguin Random House, Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.

While this absence is most likely due to the on-going feud with Hachette, Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch  explained that it could also be due to several on-going negotiations between Amazon and top publishers:

“The biggest publishers ask for a large (read: at least seven figures) up-front fee, and services have to pay each time a user reads a book, plus new releases are kept for traditional sales methods. Amazon is likely looking for a better deal from publishers, or for greater access to current titles, which could be why they aren’t included in these test pages.”

Other critics of the service were quick to point out that Kindle Unlimited is yet another way Amazon is taking advantage of self-published authors. In his recent post on Digital Book World, publishing veteran Michael Sullivan compares Kindle Unlimited’s roster of self-published authors to ‘second class citizens’:

“What Amazon is offering traditional publishers (full wholesale price without exclusivity) is a pretty good deal… But the self-published authors can be had for much less. They have been conditioned through several years of Select and those in Select are more than willing to give up other venues for higher visibility on Amazon. I can’t help but think I’m Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, trying to tell people at the Bedford Savings and Loan that Potter isn’t offering them a deal; he’s buying them cheap.”

Dino Grandoni of Huffington Post points out that you can already rent e-books from your local library, just like from Amazon. He argues that Kindle Unlimited is just “a $120 glorified library card.” Chances are you can probably find several e-books at your local library that Kindle Unlimited is unable to offer, but if you are still curious to check it out without signing up for a subscription, Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial.

 

 

Related: Meet our MC Team: Nicole Martineau

 

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5 African Writers You Should Read Now

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By Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist

 

There was a time in my life when the only books I read were by African writers. I was an African Studies major in college, and in addition to my coursework on campus I spent a semester living in Cape Town, South Africa and traveling throughout the country and its neighbor Mozambique. When I returned for my senior year I took a course on African literature that introduced me to many phenomenal writers.

Here are five to check out if you are new to African literature:

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Getting Support For Your Book

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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

 

To promote your book you need time, money, ideas, a good book, a market and support. Who will help you become a book marketing machine?

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Summer Reading Requirements: Why It Shouldn’t Be Just for Kids

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By Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

As kids most of us were assigned the dreaded required summer reading list sometime towards the end of the school year. I remember choosing which of the three uninteresting books I wanted to read, and preparing to procrastinate as long as possible before having to read and do the assigned project that went along with it. Actually, that’s a lie – I was a goody-two-shoes and always finished my summer reading project within a week after the school year ended, and didn’t think about it again until the first day of school. However, I know at least 90 percent of my friends held off until the very last minute to get it done.

Shouldn’t that say something about the required material? Particularly with the younger generations. If we want them to read, we have to give them some incentive. I’m not sure how much things have changed since I was in grammar school, but I remember having very few options to choose from, and having to get extra creative in the project portion of the assignment in order to peak my interest.

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Do You Need to Read the Book Before You See the Movie?

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By Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist

 

In early June my mother notified me via email that she needed to see The Fault in Our Stars when it came out. She works in a middle school library and often reads many of the popular books they lend to students. It took her no time at all to finish the book, and as much as she sobbed her way through it she loved it. She could not wait to see the movie. As I am her frequent movie date, she was alerting me that she wanted us to see the movie together. There was just one issue: I hadn’t yet read the book myself.

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