Monday, August 31, 2009

This and that

You MUST go visit Scott Westerfeld's blog! He's posted the first chapter from the audiobook of Leviathan, and it's read by Alan Cumming!! It doesn't get cooler than that. Also you can download Uglies for free (though you have to give Simon and Schuster your email address...), which I promptly did in case I ever get around to getting an e-reader.

Also, I had meant to post this ages ago, like back when it happened, but I just found a half-written post about it that I guess I never hit publish on. Nothing big, it's just a article in the NY Times about how the Brooklyn Public Library deals with complaints about books. The cool part is a slideshow of documents from the archive—actual user complaints and the library's responses. They respond thoroughly and respectfully to even the most crackpot of complaints.

You know, summer's about over; the air is (temporarily) crisp, and it's getting dark soo much earlier already. For me that means working five day weeks again. With just two day weekends in between. Barbaric! On the plus side, an extra commute means an extra commute's worth of reading time, and cooler temperatures mean more time spent warming up in the tub with a book. So loads more reading time, hopefully some rad website changes, and an all-new YA awards season is right around the corner. There's much to look forward to after a lazy and change-filled summer. See you there!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

WFMAD--it's not too late!

It's almost September, which is shocking in itself, and which also means that I completely failed in my plan to keep up with Laurie Halse Anderson's WFMAD in August challenge. It's like Maureen Johnson's BEDA all over again, only more so. (I'm not really a writer, but we all need a hobby.)

So I didn't actually write a word, but much like watching exercise videos from the couch, I did read every one of her daily entries, full of inspiring writer-y quotes and prompts for the still-uninspired. Plus lots of news about her garden and Bitch magazine (she's a fan!), so it was like all my favorite things at once.

So the point about September is that it's a whole new month, with 30 new days in it, and all of Laurie's numbered posts still exist, so I'm going to do it then. After 7 and a half solid hours of writing spread out over a month my sci-fi trilogy should be well under way. You should do it too! Start here, and go from there.

CBCA Book of the Year

The Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year has been announced (ages ago). The winner in the Older Readers category is Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan.

I haven't read this; I didn't even know it existed until now, but as soon as I post this and take a shower I am going to head straight to the bookstore to buy it. If it's by Shaun Tan, it must be terrific.

Stuff I Read, vol. whatever

It's that time again—where I try to remember what I've read since the last time I posted a list of what I read!

It hasn't been much actually, because I think I've been a little glum, or at least I've been re-reading and re-reading my little pile of frayed comfort books from way back. Adult titles, though, so they don't count here. Here's the YA, most of which I already wrote about, but didn't tally:

Nicholas Dane, Melvin Burgess
The Ghost Behind the Wall, Melvin Burgess
The Cry of the Wolf, Melvin Burgess
Forever, Judy Blume
Knights of the Hill Country, Tim Tharp
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry
Ender in Exile, Orson Scott Card
The Carbon Diaries, 2015, Saci Lloyd
Black Rabbit Summer, Kevin Brooks

Ack! It's useless. If it isn't something I already mentioned here or just finished, I can't remember. I'm sitting here trying to visualize past stacks of library books, but it's not going so well. So:
Total since whenever: 10
Total YTD: 60

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tim Tharp!

Tim Tharp needs more attention! Why isn't he up there with the Chris Crutchers and the John Greens? Is it because of the southern accent?

I loved his National Book Award nominated The Spectacular Now, and I've finally read his earlier Knights of the Hill Country, and it's so great too. There just aren't enough books out there about regular decent boys doing stuff and figuring out their place in their world and having regular complicated feelings about their friends and their families and girls. Hampton's such a good guy, but in the way that real complex guys are good guys, not in a fake lesson-y way. Plus there's football—lots and lots of football. I hear that boy readers like sports, and I also hear that lots of people are very very concerned with boys' lack of interest in reading, so why isn't everyone falling over themselves to get this one into people's hands? I don't understand it.

p.s. Coincidentally, I read this just as Netflix had delivered two discs worth of PBS's "Country Boys" to my house, and they went well together. It turns out the whole show's available online.

Robert Cormier! Melvin Burgess!

I've been a little Burgess-obsessed lately (I keep meaning to post a proper write-up of Nicholas Dane...), so imagine how happy I was to stumble upon this old article on the internet! The original master of dark, complicated, much-banned YA (pictured on the right) and the current one (looking up) talking in the same room at the same time. Awesome.

There's been a burst of internet articles lately/always about how awful and inappropriate for "children" recent YA books are. Like this tiresome piece that all the bloggers but me finished blogging about weeks and weeks ago—"Rape, abortion, incest. Is this what CHILDREN should read?" Boringly predictably, much of the article that's not spent mis-reading Tender Morsels is spent mis-reading Melvin Burgess's entire body of work, which in real life is so gentle and affirming and honest that it feels terribly cheap to just inaccurately sum up the skeleton of his plots and leave it at that. But whatever. He can obviously take it. And the kids who need to read his books seem to find them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Virginia Euwer Wolff Interview Alert

Dave Miller of "Think Out Loud," a show on Oregon public radio, was nice enough to let me know about a very exciting show coming up this Thursday, the 13th: Virginia Euwer Wolff will be on! I think readers of this blog already know how I feel about her books, so you know I'll be there. (Whenever that actually is. I can't seem to figure out what time it's on, but I assume it'll be listenable on the website at some point). So tune in! Yeah, it's up there. Go listen! She's so much more genteel than I was expecting.

Hugo Awards

The Hugo winners were announced over the weekend. It was an exciting year with two of the five nominations for best novel going to books for young readers (and another—Scalzi's Zoe's Tale—can sort of go either way). To no one's surprise, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book won. Like that guy needs another award...

And for those with longish attention spans, here's a video from the 2008 National Book Festival wherein he talks about and reads from The Graveyard Book:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


So I was off reading Forever. It turns out that I had already read it after all (but when??). It wasn't until I got to the part where she's making the Planned Parenthood appointment that I started having vague, vague memories of having read it before. But now I see/remember what the fuss is about. It rivals this blog's namesake for best semi-graphic, awkward-but-sweet loss of virginity scene.

(And the BPL central branch didn't have any English-language copies of The Outsiders this weekend, so that will have to wait. But, really, I'll be chipping away at the YA classics for awhile. It'll have to be an ongoing project.)