Critical Linking: June 15, 2014

Art therapy or anti-stress colouring books are extremely popular in France, with publishers pointing out that these books now sell faster than cookbooks in the country. Currently, nearly half of the nation’s top selling books in the “practical” category are colouring books.

Do you destress by coloring? In France, adult coloring books are all the rage as a way to unwind and refocus.

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A healthy appreciation for a tightly plotted, fast-paced read, and a nostalgic longing to remember the rawness of adolescence: So, exactly the reasons adult women read young adult fiction! Imagine that. 

Turns out that men who read young adult fiction do so for the same reasons everyone else does.

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A larger body of research has examined the causes of old book smell, mostly because people use smell as one way to assess the age and condition of older volumes. The smell, the blog says, is caused by the chemical breakdown of lignin and cellulose compounds in the paper, which give off a wide variety of organic compounds, including those with smells described as being reminiscent of almonds, vanilla, floral, and sweet. Furfural, one byproduct, is often used to date the publication of old books.

What makes a “new book smell” and an “old book smell?” Here’s science to explain.

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“I’m sure we’ll see knockoffs because this is the knockoff business,” says Erik Feig, co-president of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, who is steeped in the ebbs and flows of the YA business, having shepherded Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent. “It’s like those old perfume ads: ‘If you liked Obsession, you’ll love Perseverance.’ You always see a success and then the wave it fosters.”

Indeed, in the wake of Fault, based on John Green’s wildly successful YA novel, look for a shift from the epic/expensive toward the personal/modestly budgeted.

So Fault did great, but it also had a huge media blitz and Green himself a massive fan base to help make it happen. When other “grounded” YA books made into films lately came out, we didn’t see that (The Spectacular Now being just one) and we’ve yet to see the campaign pick up for August’s If I Stay. I remain a bit skeptical about the shifting market.

Also, “grounded” YA is about the worst phrase I’ve heard used to describe realistic story lines.

 

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