As a child, I read before the sun came up. Today I still remember many of those books like old friends. In the early Seventies, I read A TRACE OF FOOTPRINTS by Ruth Wolff, a book I wanted to read again. It is out-of-print, but one of our readers found me a copy at some point, and after I re-read it I placed it on my bookshelf where I love seeing it along with my current favorite titles. The pleasure of finding a great book like this is why I love running The Book Report Network so much.
My house is filled with books; most are shelved double deep. My older son Greg, who will be a junior in college, thinks these past summers have been terrific because he had no required summer reading and thus he could meander his way through whatever he felt like reading. His interests include ocean liners, shipwrecks, lighthouses and geocaching, which keep him reading a fair share of nonfiction as well as fiction. He has quite a library of books in his room and it's interesting watching what books get carted back and forth from his dorm apartment to the house. He's been working with us for the past six years doing production work and features and he also weighed in on our Teenreads.com Ultimate Reading List.
My son Cory (age 15) never goes anywhere without a book. He's sure to take one when we gets into the car, even for a short trip to the grocery store. In fact, he most often gets in the car twice; the second time he has the book that he forgot the first time. His current favorite authors include Anthony Horowitz, Garth Nix and Eoin Colfer. He has been known to greet me at the door with a list of books that I need to get for him and he has done blurbs for publishers for a couple of the books that he particularly loves including The Hunger Games trilogy. He has interviewed a couple of authors with me and prides himself on his book collection, which now fills five bookcases double deep and trading books with friends. He takes special bookish joy in turning his reluctant reader friends onto books that he thinks they will enjoy. He proves to me day after day that there are GREAT books out there for boy readers.
My husband Tom can sit on a couch reading a book for an entire day and feel no guilt. In addition to thrillers he reads expedition and history titles. He's broadened his reading horizons as our shelves boast a pretty wide range of work these days.
My reading taste spans a wide gamut as I have the pleasure of discovering new authors every day. I love suspense-thriller writers as well as a number of literary fiction and women's fiction authors. I love well-written memoirs. As I look at my shelves it's pretty cool to see how many of the authors whose work is there I now count as friends. There is something wonderful about reading a just-done manuscript or an early reader copy of an author whose work I really love. I also love reading reader comments at Word of Mouth --- there's always a great idea there on what to read.
Before logging onto the Internet for the first time in 1995, I spent 17 years at Mademoiselle magazine in Promotion and Marketing. I relish the online medium for its immediacy --- and for the ability it gives me to work anywhere, anytime, so long as I can log on. Any bets on where I am writing this?
I am enormously proud of the network of sites we have launched that includes www.bookreporter.com, www.readinggroupguides.com, www.graphicnovelreporter.com, www.faithfulreader.com, www.teenreads.com, www.kidsreads.com and www.authorsontheweb.com.
I would love to hear what you enjoy about TheBookReportNetwork.com and what you would like to see more of. Feel free to drop me a note anytime. I appreciate the feedback from our readers --- it's some of the best reading that I do.
As a child, I always enjoyed visiting my local library and borrowing as many books as I could carry. During one of these excursions I discovered the fabulous CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE series of books. I couldn't believe that I had the ability to control the various plots and determine what happens to the characters in each story. This concept of "interactive reading" fascinated me, and I quickly became obsessed with the series.
I had my first taste of historical fiction at the age of 13, when my eighth grade Literature teacher introduced me to the NORTH AND SOUTH trilogy by John Jakes. Although I'm not the fastest reader in the world, I was so captivated by these books that I literally could not put them down. It took me less than two months to read all 2,500+ pages of the series.
Throughout my high school and college years, I was an avid reader of the classics and devoted much time to the works of William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway, among others. My reading preferences have since expanded to include such genres as contemporary fiction, mysteries and suspense/thrillers.
I was in the midst of re-reading the NORTH AND SOUTH trilogy when I joined The Book Report Network in October 2002. In addition to various editorial projects, I have the pleasure of working with our marvelous reviewers, emailing them regularly and keeping them up to date on books that are available for review. I always look forward to reading their notes and appreciate the enthusiasm they have for our network of sites.
Working at The Book Report Network has been such an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me. Little did I know that the many months I spent looking for a job --- which was a long and sometimes frustrating process --- would pay off so well.
For as long as I can remember, books have been a constant presence in my life. My earliest experience with publishing was the creation of my own personal copyright label, Dana Incorporated, when I was seven years old, and I self-published my first novel, BOB THE FISH, on carefully stapled printer paper. I was the kid who won summer reading contests at the public library, keeping organized daily records of the books I had read. I have distinct memories of becoming totally absorbed in various books: CORALINE by Neil Gaiman, which I read in one terrified sitting during a Christmas blizzard; LILY’S CROSSING by Patricia Reilly Giff, a book I must have reread at least 14 times; everything by Roald Dahl; and all of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Princess Diaries books. My favorite weekend excursions were always trips to the local independent bookstore, and when it came time to apply for my first high school job, I could think of nowhere else I wanted to work.
During high school and college, I frequently traveled --- throughout the country and internationally --- for various summer jobs, studies and trips with friends. No matter where I was in the country or world, the opportunity to browse through a local bookstore was one I could never pass up. My friends would often roll their eyes when I insisted upon spending hours perusing bookshelves. As an English major in college, I loved that my homework was to read and write about books, and some of my favorite books emerged from literature classes: WHITE TEETH by Zadie Smith, MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie and THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt.
After graduation, the Columbia Publishing Course, an intensive six-week summer program covering all aspects of the publishing industry, seemed like a natural next step. Upon completing the course, I was excited to learn that The Book Report Network needed a new Editorial Assistant, and as soon as I met Carol, Tom and the rest of the team, I knew it would be the perfect place to begin my publishing career. While many of my friends spend their days getting coffee and making photocopies, I get to write about books all day --- not to mention that the office is full of them! So far the job has exceeded my expectations, and I am so happy to be able to channel my natural love of books, reading and writing into my professional life.
Editorial Promotion Assistant
Knitting, Tina Turner and pugs. These are three things I like almost as much as reading.
I figured I would start with the facts that distinguish me from the others at The Book Report, as loving to read certainly does not. I will read almost anything, but what I like best are the books that leave me confused --- the ones that allow me to persist in my belief that authors are god-like figures with linguistic capabilities I never could come to understand, let alone dream of having.
However, books are a lot like...let’s say wine. Sometimes you want that great, complex blend of flavors that you can swish around in your mouth and say pretentious, incomprehensible things about until it gets all warm and kind of gross. Certain books also tend to come with the kind of opaque language that makes you wonder if the people talking even read the same book that you did, and if their obsession with picking it apart even allowed them to enjoy the reading process.
But sometimes you just want a huge pint of "Tinto de Verano," a Spanish delicacy born of blending Fanta (flavor of your choosing) with wine (preferably from a box). Nothing is quite so refreshing on a hot summer day.
So, truly, I like to read a bit of everything. Though I wrote my senior thesis on Charles Dickens, James Joyce and Don DeLillo (I went to Williams and graduated in June 2011 with a BA in English --- surprise!), I have spent many hours with other favorites like Agatha Christie and Philippa Gregory.
As a New Yorker born and raised, books have always been, for me, a way to cultivate an interior life set apart from this frenetic city that I love, but that also sometimes just plain freaks me out. Although I have fostered all kinds of obsessions ranging from Japanese screen prints (kindergarten) to train wrecks (fifth grade) and mozzarella cheese (high school), reading has always been my thing. So when The Book Report Network offered me this job (my first salaried job), I happily accepted, and here I am!
Promotions and Advertising
Stephen Bedford is a former bookseller, having served as the marketing/publicity coordinator for an independent bookstore in Colorado’s Vail Valley for nearly three years. He is a 2009 graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver before relocating to New York City. Prior to the book publishing world, he was a sportswriter for various newspapers and publications in North Carolina. He is a 2003 graduate of the University of Richmond and was born and raised in the Boston area.
Stephen manages advertising and promotional opportunities for Bookreporter.com, ReadingGroupGuides.com and FaithfulReader.com. He currently resides in Hoboken, N.J., and enjoys playing and watching sports, a variety of music and creative writing.
When I was a child, neither my parents nor my teachers could understand how someone they saw as intelligent would refuse to read. I was shuffled into remedial reading classes for the first few years of my education. I enjoyed stories, but I hated reading.
All through my grade school years, the hardest thing anyone could get me to read was Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary or Choose Your Own Adventure. In high school something changed. As a freshman, I was told to read GONE WITH THE WIND. I laughed. I, who hated reading, was going to read this giant super-long novel? I started out by skimming, and failed the first quiz. I sighed and read the chapters --- and was amazed that I couldn’t put it down! Sure that was a good story, but I wasn’t really compelled to read anything independently. Until sophomore year.
My high school handed out suggested reading lists for each grade level. In an attempt to get me to read, my parents pulled all the matching titles from their small collection and put them on a shelf in my room. One fateful day, I was really bored. I had gone through the shelf of books on many occasions, and this time I was determined to read something from it. A title caught my eye, THE HOBBIT. My father would only tell me it was an adventure story.
After I read the book and told my father how fantastic it was, he informed me that there was more. Excited, I asked him for the next book. THE LORD OF THE RINGS did not look as daunting as it did when I was younger. After initially accompanying my father to the neighborhood bookstore, I starting going there on my own.
One of the employees gave me a suggestion: ARROWS OF THE QUEEN by Mercedes Lackey. I ended up joining the fan club after reading this book, and as far as the world is concerned, the rest is history. I have gone through many series, and while I do enjoy stand-alones, I am rarely satisfied by them. I ended up at the bookstore I had frequented, working part-time...for 12 years. I only left to move to New York.
When I walked into the offices of The Book Report Network for the first time in January 2007, I was impressed by the shear volume of books that were in the office. It looked like a smorgasbord and I wanted to dig in. The friendly staff clinched it for me, and I couldn’t wait to become a part of it all. When I was hired, I was ecstatic. It combined the best of several things I love --- books, the Internet and friendly co-workers.
Coming from a family of teachers, I grew up surrounded by books. Mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, fantasy and historical fiction quickly became --- and remain --- my favorite genres.
I became seriously interested in the book industry in the mid-1990s after a bookstore owner friend introduced me to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's books. After becoming a huge fan and initiating a correspondence with Yarbro, I began assisting with online publicity projects. This eventually led to online publicity jobs for novelists Suzy McKee Charnas and Tamara Thorne.
During all of this I stumbled across The Book Report Network. I volunteered for the company from 1998-2002, first as one of the chat hosts and later as a message board monitor.
The Book Report Network hired me in February 2002. As Marketing Director I help develop and oversee Internet Marketing campaigns for our author and publisher clients.
Wonderful colleagues, supportive family and friends and books. Who can ask for more?