Posts by Leah

Announcing the Smart Pop Fall 2012 season

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It’s my favorite time of year again: time to announce a new season of Smart Pop titles.

I’ve included the book-specific sign-up form for each title below, so if any of these pique your interest and you want to get a head’s up when we post advance excerpts or do giveaways (along with, of course, a reminder email on pub date!), just enter your email and hit the submit button.

First up, in December 2012, is The Panem Companion:

The Panem Companion is a new unofficial Hunger Games guide that delves into Panem itself: how it could have come to be; it’s culture, socioeconomics, and ideas of race, ethnicity, and gender; and the effects on the characters we know and love. Plus, it

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The Girl Who Was on Fire – Movie Edition extra movie content now available!

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Last week, the Hunger Games film was released. And after a full week of work by our contributors and our e-book team, we are very pleased to announce that we have officially released The Girl Who Was on Fire – Movie Edition‘s extra movie content: our authors’ reactions to the film, from added scenes (like the behind-the-scenes Gamemaking) and missing details (like District 11’s gift of bread!) to the experience of seeing Panem on the big screen.

We left things pretty free-form for our writers: we suggested they tie their pieces into their original essays in some way, but we didn’t require it. And I admit to being a little nervous leading up to the film. Would we end up with a dozen* essays …

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In Pursuit of Spenser

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Each season we announce our new titles individually, each in their own post, to give you a little extra background behind the book. If you’ve missed any, you can check them all out here. Spring 2012”²s intro posts are here.


One of our upcoming titles is not entirely like the others. I mean, vampires, girls on fire, Mad Men, zombies, Starks–all of that seems pretty squarely up Smart Pop’s alley. Private detective Spenser? Not our usual fare.

I have to admit: I came in to this project not knowing anything about Spenser. When our publisher, Glenn (a huge Spenser fan), brought up the idea, I had only a vague sense of who Robert B. Parker was, …

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Our Hunger Games Talk for One Book Sarasota

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A few weeks ago, we asked you all to help us out by answering some Hunger Games poll questions. More than 200 of you were kind enough to comply (many of you without even entering to win one of the books we were offering as thanks)!

As I mentioned then, the reason for those poll questions was a presentation I was putting together on the Hunger Games for One Book Sarasota. And I promised I’d share that presentation when I returned.

So with the help of Keynote, Quicktime, and YouTube—and with thanks to the fantastic folks in the Sarasota County libraries system and at Bookstore1Sarasota, as well as the Hunger Games fansites that kindly retweeted the poll link (which you’ll see on …

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An Open Invitation: The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook’s Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party

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Virtual Mad Men Dinner Party

We’re having a dinner party to celebrate the return of Mad Men–and you’re invited.

On Sunday, March 18 (one week before the Mad Men season 5 premiere), we’d like to invite anyone who’s interested to join us in preparing and posting a dish of your choice from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook.

If you have a blog, post pictures and your comments–and the recipe!–there . . . and make sure to let us know you’re participating, by leaving us a comment here or emailing us at

If you don’t, we’d love to have you join us at our Facebook page, and post your pictures and comments in our “Party Like a Mad Man” photo album!

(Even if …

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Hunger Games Poll and Girl Who Was on Fire Giveaway

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At the end of this month, I’m headed down to Sarasota, Florida, to give a talk on the Hunger Games (The Hunger Games was their One Book Sarasota pick for 2011). I’ll be talking a little about The Girl Who Was on Fire, and more about some of the ideas in the essays.

In preparation for that presentation, I would love to get you all’s help gathering some data.

I’ve included a handful of poll questions below. And as thanks for your participation: After you give your answers, leave us a comment and we’ll enter you to win one of 3 copies of The Girl Who Was on Fire — Movie Edition . . . INCLUDING the extra movie content you’d normally only …

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Thanks for sharing!

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One of our main goals here at is that, when you visit our site, you’ll enjoy what you read so much that you’ll want to share it–that you’ll want to tweet about it, or post it on Facebook, or email it to a friend.

We’ve just finished a round of changes to our share buttons to make that process a lot easier. They look the same–but using them to actually share is much smoother and simpler. (We’re particularly pleased with the new email button.)

So next time you’re moved to tell someone about something of ours–our Unraveling the Mysteries of The Big Bang Theory giveaway, say, or yesterday’s Psychology of Joss Whedon essay about Buffy and Spike–I hope you’ll be as happy …

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We didn’t blackout today. But we did want to talk a little bit about why we don’t support SOPA.

We are not in support of piracy, obviously. Our continued existence and ability to create books depends on people buying those books, and as e-books are adopted more widely, e-book piracy is bound to continue to grow. But I’m personally not convinced–as many, many people around the web and in academia and in politics are not convinced–that SOPA and PIPA are the way to do that.

We publish books. We’re in the business of making agreements with writers on their copyrighted work, where we pay them a certain amount of money for the privilege of making their work available to book buyers. And so we …

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Beyond the Wall: Unveiling the Cover

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If you, like me, have a permanent Amazon search for “Smart Pop” as one of your browser bookmarks, you might have noticed a new book that popped up a few months back, to be published in late June 2012: Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, a collection of essays on the books. You might have also noticed that this page has remained stubbornly absent of cover image.

Today, I’m very pleased to share Beyond the Wall‘s front cover, which you’ll see over there to the right of this paragraph. The design is the always-excellent work of Charles Brock over at Faceout Studio, who not only put together a whole set of fantastic comps for …

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The Girl Who Was on Fire – Movie Edition

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Why are we putting out a Movie Edition of The Girl Who Was on Fire?

Well, book publishers love new editions. (It gives bookstores a reason to take a fresh look at an old book.) And who am I to resist an excuse to jump back into the Hunger Games series and have a few new writers write a few more great essays?

For our new edition, we drafted Brent Hartinger, Jackson Pearce, and Diana Peterfreund to write essays for us: on mixed opinions of Mockingjay; why we shouldn’t forget about Gale, just because he wasn’t the one Katniss picked; and the game theory of the Games, respectively.  I think they all make incredible additions to the original edition’s fantastic line-up …

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