Friday, May 28, 2004

What is This Thing, Anyway?

While cleaning my desk, I found a copy of The Horn Book, the January/February issue, I believe. While thumbing through it to make sure I'd read the thing, I found that not only had I read it, I had marked part of an article that referred to a new literary journal for young adults. Rush Hour is edited by Michael Cart, a name that often turns up when the subject of YA fiction is being discussed.

Rush Hour is supposed to come out twice a year with themed issues. The first one is Sin, the second Bad Boys. I have to say, I love those titles.

What is confusing me a little is that I usually think of literary journals as being, well, literary journals. I usually think of them as collections of writing that are published by a separate independent company that specializes in doing just that. These journals are published by Random House, a book publishing company. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just think of a book publishing company as publishing individual books that take time to put together, not journals that come out twice a year.

Clearly, I need to free up my mind.

Actually, it makes a certain amount of sense for a publishing company to publish a journal. The things frequently cost as much as a high-quality paperback and usually look like one, too. And new publications of all kinds are very risky businesses because it costs so much to pay authors, editors, printing costs, etc., for a journal no one knows anything about and thus aren't likely to buy. A publishing company has a lot more money to play with and can take the risk.

Still, if I take my Barnes & Noble gift card to the store where will I find Rush Hour? Displayed with the journals and magazines or on the shelves with the books? Where will I find it in the library?

Oh, I'm just nitpicking. I'll let you know where I find Rush Hour.

By the way, this article says that Michael Cart has more than 10,000 books and papers. I am so lazy. My first thought when I read that was "How does he take care of all those things?"


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