Tag Archives: Megan@WPL

Haunted by the Ghost(writer)

The ghostwriter in its natural habitat. Source: http://ow.ly/bepV30fwVZp

Have you ever walked by a shelf in the library and wondered how on earth a particular author has managed to write so many books? *cough* James Patterson *cough*

Before you start to feel like you’re falling behind in the face of such output, though, let’s consider the figure lurking in the dark behind the big name: the ghostwriter, a skilled writer who will do a significant amount of wordsmithing while signing over credit to the person whose face and name will be attached to the book/email/social media post.

Ghostwriters are nothing new to the publishing industry, and can be called in for a number of different reasons. Perhaps, like Tom Clancy, the author has simply become too popular to keep up with demand. Another example of this situation is George Takei, who has a ghostwriter for his Facebook posts. Other times, a ghostwriter will work with someone whose expertise may lie in another area (think politicians or businesspeople). While they may have the insight and information to share, it is the ghostwriter who polishes and presents it to the public!

Ghostwritten Books

Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
As this creepy series became popular, it spawned a number of spin-off series as well, and R.L. just couldn’t keep up with the demand. Cue the reinforcements! A number of authors contributed to the series to ensure young readers could stay up late into the night, reading books that would make the hair on the back of their neck stand up.

The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin

Recognize the name Peter Lerangis? Known for penning some of the books from the 39 Clues series, as well as the Seven Wonders series, Lerangis wrote a number of well-known titles from The Babysitter’s Club, as well as some of the Sweet Valley books, usually credited to Francine Pascal.

Many of V.C. Andrews’ books were ghostwritten, H.P. Lovecraft did a stint ghostwriting for Harry Houdini, and even Ian Fleming had some help with the James Bond books!

 

Ghostwriting Books

With so much power behind the scenes, it’s not surprising that some authors have turned the tables to explore the world of ghostwriters themselves. Here are just a couple:

Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

Jenni loves her job as a ghostwriter – it satisfies her insatiable curiosity about people. It also means that she can hide behind the stories of others and not think about her own life too much. But when Jenni starts work on the memoirs of a survivor of the Japanese internment camps in Java, striking coincidences force her to examine her own past.

Ghosted by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall

Mason, a struggling writer, comes in from the cold after five years of drifting. His childhood friend, Chaz, a small-time gangster, loans him an apartment and finds him a job selling hotdogs. But instead of getting his act together, Mason digs himself even more deeply in debt to Chaz.

Then Mason has a bright idea. He’ll find the cash to pay Chaz back by becoming a ghostwriter of suicide notes, a fitting use of his talents. The trouble is that Mason is hard-wired to rescue people, and no one needs rescuing more than the suicidal.

 

Are there any authors here that surprise you? Or maybe someone I missed that you think is worth a mention? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading,

Megan

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What is Reality?

confabulistAt the January 17 meeting of the St. James-Assiniboia Library book club, Stephen Galloway’s The Confabulist was up for discussion.

Throughout the book, the concept of reality is constantly called into question, and this resulted in a wonderful, lively debate regarding all the nuances implicit in the term. How much of reality is up for negotiation? Do we all experience the same reality, or does it depend entirely upon an individual’s perception of the world around them? If two people experience the same event, but perceive it differently, whose reality is “correct”?

Big questions for a Tuesday night, let me tell you!

Despite our best efforts, we never quite managed to pin down what reality is or is not, but there are no shortage of books in the Winnipeg Public Library catalogue that explore this same question. Some are “New Age” guides to finding your true self, others focus on the physics of it all, virtual and alternate realities are rampant (not to mention reality TV), and even the act of reading is considered a way of altering reality!

Here are just a few titles to start you on the road to reality:

universeYou are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters by Deepak Chopra literally means what it says–each of us is a co-creator of reality extending to the vastest reaches of time and space. This seemingly impossible proposition follows from the current state of science, where outside the public eye, some key mysteries cannot be solved even though they are the very issues that define reality itself.

 

White spacewhite by Ilsa Bick involves a seventeen-year-old girl jumping between the lines of books and into the white space where realities are created and destroyed–but who may herself be nothing more than a character written into being from an alternative universe.

 

 

magic The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins exemplifies how magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the Gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back–earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality–science.

 

mirrorSymmetry is the unsung great idea behind all the big physics of the past one hundred years – and what lies ahead. In the superbly illustrated book The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality  Dave Goldberg makes mind-bending science not just comprehensible but exhilarating. Fasten your seat belt. Objects may indeed be closer than they appear.

 

 

zendegi

In a near-future world, a scientist develops artiticial intelligences called proxies who mingle with humans in the virtual world of Zendegi, created by Greg Egan. After a journalist finds out he might not live long enough to raise his son, he becomes obsessed with finding a way to make a proxy of himself to take care of his son.

 

 

bites

Nearly every night on every major network, “unscripted” (but carefully crafted) “reality” TV shows routinely glorify retrograde stereotypes that most people would assume got left behind 35 years ago. In Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV media critic Jennifer L. Pozner aims a critical, analytical lens at a trend most people dismiss as harmless fluff.

 

 

virtualVirtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business by Chris Ducker is a step-by-step guide every entrepreneur needs to build his or her business with the asset of working with virtual employees. Focusing on business growth, Ducker explains every detail you need to grasp, from figuring out which jobs you should outsource to finding, hiring, training, motivating, and managing virtual assistants.

 

Keep it real, my friend. Happy reading!

–Megan