[DWJ] Best of 2017??

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Jan 20 13:19:27 EST 2017

Yes, please!

Melissa Proffitt

-----Original Message-----
From: Dwj [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of Gili Bar-Hillel
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2017 12:43 AM
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
Subject: Re: [DWJ] Best of 2017??

If anyone is interested, I've compiled an Excell sheet with all your recommendations. I can send it to people who ask for it. It contains author names and titles, no additional info, and without people's opinions about books that were mentioned, though mostly I assume books were only mentioned if they were enjoyed or important-or-interesting-despite-not-being-fully-enjoyed.

As many of you know, I'm a publisher now, and I publish Hebrew translations of certain books, many of which I discovered directly and indirectly thanks to this list. So I take your recommendations very seriously. I've build a career off them! That's also why sometimes I recommend a book that's not actually out yet, like Garth Nix's "Frogkisser". I honestly can't keep track of the pub dates. I know I've read other books that people are waiting for - such as "The Pearl Thief", Elizabeth Wein's prequel to "Code Name Verity" - but I try not to be frustrating in my recommendations...

As people have posted their syllabi here, I might as well post my publishing list, no? Needless to say, EVERY book on the list is a book I feel strongly about. Unfortunately there are many books I could not publish because they had already been claimed by other publishers! "Uprooted" was one of these.

Currently I run a publishing house devoted to children's and YA books, which I founded myself about three years ago. It's called "Utz", which is Hebrew for "Oz" (as in the Land of) So far I've published:

* 4 of the sequels to "The Wizard of Oz" by Frank Baum

* "Poor Cecco" by Margery Williams Bianco. At this point I was still cutting my publishing teeth on public domain books, and this is a very sweet one from the 1920s. The author is better known for "The Velveteen Rabbit", but I knew several competing publishers were planning translations of that as soon as the rights expired, so I thought I'd take a lesser known book (but one I like much better). Another nice thing about Cecco is that there are (sadly too few) illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

* "The True Meaning of Smekday" by Adam Rex. There's a sequel out now in English, but I found it dissappointing.

* "Cakes in Space" by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. This has proven to be my best-selling book, absolutely loved by the readers. I feel it fills a big hole for 2nd-4th graders who still want a book that's not too long and has plenty of illustrations, but also want something to sink their teeth into, that doesn't talk down to them. Reeve and McIntyre have collaborated on 4 books that are now being marketed as "not so impossible tales", though they're not really a series: four standalones in the same format. I recently published "Oliver and the Seawigs" which was the first of these, and am planning to continue soon with "Pugs of the Frozen North" and "Jinx and O'Hare Funfair Repair". Delightful stuff, all of it.

* "Gobbolino the Witch's Cat" by Ursula Moray Williams. One of those books that's quite well known in the UK, but all but unheard of in the USA. I consider it classic. And Kathleen drew illustrations for my edition! It was the first of my books to make it to the bestseller list, by virtue of word-of-mouth alone as there's no current "buzz" around it.

* "Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein. For older readers than others I've published, but I am planning on branching out into more YA.

* "Mars Evacuees" by Sophia McDougall. Starts out a bit slow, but once it finds its pace is an unputdownable proper Science Fiction book for middle grade and up.

Next in line to be published: "The Lie Tree" by Frances Hardinge. This is actually my least favorite of Hardinge's books, but as with DWJ, I feel she's SO GOOD that even my least favorite leaves other books in the dust.
I'm starting with it because it will be the easiest to promote, having won the Costa prize last year. I think my favorite of all her books was "Cuckoo Song", but they're all so good. (tangent: Frances Hardinge is friends with Rhiannon Lassiter who also writes terrific books that have not gotten the attention they deserve)

After that: "Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" by Robert C. O'Brien, oldy but goldie.

Also planning to publish "Bone Gap" by Laura Ruby, a book that somewhat defies definition. It's coming-of-age-in-rural-America interspersed with dreamlike sequences that don't seem to add up, until they do.

And at some point I'm committed to publish, as a book with original illustrations by Ofra Amit, Christina Rosetti's "Goblin Market". It took years to translate and I have a grant to publish it, so I do need to get stepping with it.

I also published many terrific books at my previous two positions, but this is getting long enough as it is!


On Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 12:36 PM, Tina <liril at gmx.net> wrote:

> Hello
> and belated good wishes for the new year to everyone!
> I was wondering if anyone made some best of list for 2016 - I remember 
> getting such good recommendations via these.
> Since I am have a long train commute this year, I'd love some tips. 
> And since I'm afraid I am a bit out of the loop, they need not be "new books"
> (first published in 2016).
> Unfortunately I don't have a real list to offer.
> My highlight were the Flora Segunda books by Ysabeau S. Wilce - I 
> especially loved the audio version of the first book, read by Danielle 
> Ferland. (I even bought another audiobook read by her because I wanted 
> to continue listening to her, but it wasn't the same. Maybe it was 
> because to me she was just such a perfect match for Flora...)
> My favorite DWJ re-read was Deep Secret.
> My favorite weird genre mix were the first two Laundry Files books by 
> Charles Stross. Lovecraft meets Dilbert meets James Bond...
> Bettina
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