Allison's Book Bag

Best Selling Author John Green

Posted on: March 10, 2014

Anyone who knows anything about young adult literature knows who John Green is. With spring break here, I decided it was high time for me to read his books. For the next four days, I will post reviews of his novels, all of which have been mainstays on the New York Best Seller list for the past year. Save the dates: March 11-14!

JohnGreenAlthough he was born in Indianapolis, John Green’s family soon afterwards to Florida. For the last three years of high school, Green attended Indian Springs School, a boarding and day school outside of Birmingham, Alabama which he later used as the main setting for Looking for Alaska. Wikipedia mentions that Green has shared about being bullied as a teenager and how it made life miserable for him. In Biographical Questions, Green also talks about growing up as a nerd and often being anxious, isolated, and scared.

In 2000, he graduated from Kenyon College with a double major in English and Religious Studies. Both in high school and later in college, Green took creative writing classes. According to his FAQ, without a hugely helpful fiction writing class at Kenyon, Green says he probably would not have ever written a book.

After college, Green spent five months working as a student chaplain in a children’s hospital while enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School which he never actually attended the school. Wikipedia says Green intended to become an Episcopal priest, but his experiences of working in a hospital with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses inspired him to become an author and later to write The Fault in Our Stars.

For several years, Green lived in Chicago, where he worked for the book review journal Booklist as a publishing assistant and production editor. While there, he reviewed hundreds of books, particularly literary fiction and books about Islam. He has also critiqued books for The New York Times Book Review and written for NPR’s All Things Considered and WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station. He also credits training received from writers and editors at Booklist for helping him on his path to becoming an author.

In his FAQ, Green shares that he has always liked to write. Indeed, he kept on writing, even when he didn’t show much potential, and never had any plans to make a livelihood from it. In  his twenties, while Green was living in Chicago, he began writing his debut novel Looking for Alaska. Following on the heels of its publication in 2005, Green’s second and third novels were published in 2006 and 2008. The success of his books enabled Green to resign from Booklist to write full time.

In the middle of his writing success, in 2007, Green and his younger brother launched an experimental video blog. In Brotherhood 2.0, the brothers communicated with each other via videos they posted daily to the blog site. Alabama Literary Maps notes that the site proved so popular with fans, the brothers continued posting videos after the one-year experiment ended. In addition, although they have long since resumed textual communication, the two continue to upload videos each week to their YouTube channel, vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed more than 200 million times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online video.

Later Green moved to New York, while his wife attended graduate school there. Then the couple moved from New York to Indianapolis, where they now live. Green was 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than a dozen languages.

Below are a couple quirky interviews:

Here’s an interview about movie for Fault of our Stars

Last, listen to what John Green says about the importance of books for kids:

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