Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Report Time

You probably came across today's blog because you did a Google search using the term "Book Report" and then either "Niki Burnham" or the title of one of my books.  Since I can only assume you typed in those phrases because you're actually writing a book report, I hope you find today's blog useful.

I decided to write about book reports because I can pretty much guess what time of year it is by the subject lines that pop into my e-mail inbox.  If I'm getting e-mails with headers such as, "Help! Book Report on YOU!" or "Royally Jacked Questions" or "Sticky Fingers--Very Important!" I know that it's the week before Thanksgiving (when many book reports seem to be due), one of the last two weeks in February (ditto) or the week before April break.  Such is the cycle of the school year and projects.

While I am truly flattered that you chose one of my books for a report (I'm going to assume you chose it, because if you were assigned the book and didn't want to read it, I don't want to know), and I am glad you took the time to find my website and e-mail me, it's not the best way for you to get information for a book report. 

First off, book reports usually have a due date.  My inbox doesn't, so when I'm traveling or on deadline, it's easy for me to get a few weeks behind on reading and responding to e-mail.  By the time I see your e-mail, it's quite possible your deadline will be long past.  Second, if I answer one person's book report questions I'd feel obliged to answer them all, and I don't have time to write, eat, AND answer book report questions.  (I'll admit it, it's mostly because I like to eat.)  Finally, there are a lot of questions I can't answer, even if I want to answer them.  "What's the theme of Goddess Games?" is a question only you, as a reader, can answer.  And I couldn't begin to tell you about symbolism.  Again, these are for the reader to interpret.

That being said, I don't want to leave you frustrated!  There are a few things you can do to help with your reports:
   1)  If you're writing about a specific book, go the main page of my website and click on the link for that book.  There is an excerpt (which you should have already read, since you have the book and read the whole thing) and a section called Behind The Scenes.  The Behind The Scenes might be helpful to you. 
   2)  You can go to the About Niki page of the website to find out more about me.  Anything that you see there is fine to use in your report.  There is more biographical info on the Press Kit page, but that requires downloading a PDF file.
   3)  There is a page on the site called FAQ with answers to common questions about each book, about my writing process, and about where I get my ideas. 
   4)  You can always search this blog by clicking on the keywords at the bottom of posts.  That will bring up all the other posts on that topic.  To help you, I put the titles of all my books in the keywords at the end of this post.  Click the one you want, and it will bring up every blog about that book.

Hope you find that helpful!  Again, as much as I wish I could explain themes and motifs, if I took the time to answer every e-mail I receive about book reports, it would mean that no more books of mine would be published, because I wouldn't have the time I need to write them and would miss my own deadlines.  Which, in turn, means I would not eat.  (Did I mention that I like to eat?)  I work hard to meet or beat my deadlines, just as I know you work hard to turn in your book reports when they're due.

However, if you think this is rather uncool of me and that an author should simply write your book report for you (because admit it, some of you who have e-mailed me in the past were hoping for this!)  I urge you to check out author Pete Hautman's website.  He's the author of several phenomenal books you may have already read, such as Godless, Blank Confession, and Hole In The Sky.  Pete has an entire page of book reports ready to go, right here.  I think you'll get a better grade if you follow my suggestions, rather than going for Pete Hautman's reports, but that's your call.  Good luck!

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