Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lee & Low

One of the nice things about going to ALA is the exhibits. Oh, yes, there are the free books and other fun stuff (best book promo: the nail file for Beauty Shop for Rent)

But, the other cool thing is to meet with and talk with the publishers. I had the chance to chat with the folks from Lee & Low Books, who I love because they have great books and an amazing website. I stopped by while W. Nikola-Lisa was signing books; among others, he wrote How We Are Smart. How We Are Smart is a great book and is my review is in my draft pile.* While I promise "longer review later," it's a look at the many ways people are "smart", from dance to math, art to science.

Most exciting thing? Finding out about an upcoming picture book about Duke Kahanamoku. Those who don't know me are now saying, Liz B. surfs? No. Hardly. But my brother in law does, so I have a bit of knowledge about the sport and its history.

*Oh, for those of you wondering how I will solve the reviewing problem during my Printz year? I figure going thru my backlog of posts alone will cover 2008; not to mention, I can blog about books from other years, as well as books that aren't eligible for the Printz.

Lions, Tigers and Bears: Why Are Big Predators So Rare?


Lions, Tigers and Bears: Why Are Big Predators So Rare? by Ron Hirschi, photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. ARC, from ALA DC 07, publisher Boyds Mills Press. Publication Date September 2007.

It's About:* Lions, and tigers, and bears!

The Good: ARCs of picture books are different from chapter books; "real" ARCs resemble paperback books, they just aren't bound as well. For picture books, tho, it's all loose pages, and if you're not careful they fall apart and get out of order.

So why are big predators so rare? Disappearing habitats. Many need room to roam; they need enough prey to sustain themselves and their offspring. And for many reasons, their natural habitat is disappearing because people are moving into their backyard. Other reasons: vary from hunters to global warming, war to road building.

While this book is sobering, it's not all doom & gloom; Hirschi includes information about steps people are taking to help the animals. It's rather interesting to read how people can make a difference in the lives of wild animals. Hirschi includes a list of organizations dedicated to helping wildlife at the end of the book. Hirschi offers just the right balance of "things are bad" with "it is still possible to change things."

My favorite bits: "A lioness gives birth to two or three cubs, often at the same time as other females within the pride. As night falls, females typically slink away, leaving their young in the care of sisters, aunts, or grandmothers." Tho the author quickly adds it is not to avoid responsibility, but rather to hunt: "The pressure to capture more prey increases as new cubs are born, and females have better success when hunting at night."

I also like that Hirschi doesn't downplay that dangerous animals are, well, dangerous: "[Tigers] will attack people, making it difficult to maintain tiger-friendly neighborhoods in some regions of the world. It is one thing to visit a zoo and watch a tiger that lives behind steel bars. It is another to reside in a village within a forest where tigers may make you or your brothers or sisters their next meal."

The wildlife photos are gorgeous. Seriously; I think Cheetah will be taking this book apart and hanging the photos on her wall (and since this is an ARC, that's OK!)

Reading level: while this is photo heavy, it is also text heavy. It's not a picture book or easy reader; I'd say elementary school, but kids of any age who like animals will like this book.

Animals include: cougars, polar bears, lions, cheetahs, tigers, grizzly bears, killer whales.

As I'm sure you have guessed, Cheetah loves animals, especially big cats. She will adore this book.

*As you know, I use "the plot/the good" for my reviews. Never liked doing it for nonfiction, but it was what I did. Took me this long to realize "it's about" is a good nf substitute.

Jericho : Please Watch

To recap: Jericho ran a full season on CBS. The story? At first it seems to be a family drama, as the prodigal son returns home, fights with his parents, makes eyes at the girl who got away, then drives off into the sunset.

Actually, erase sunset and replace it with nuclear bomb. The good folks of Jericho, Kansas watch as the bomb goes off in the distance and hear enough radio & TV to know that several cities in the United States have been attacked. By whom? And why? Is it an outside enemy? Terrorists? Is the US at war?

Jericho's storylines include both the "regular folk" adjusting to the changed circumstances of life, as well as bigger storylines, such as survival, the identity of the bombers, and new, unexpected threats.

It is an awesome show. You will like it if you like any type of survivalist fiction, from Stephen King to Life As We Knew It to War World Z.

Now, here's the thing. CBS cancelled this show, and the fans fought back.

And won.

CBS has agreed to a second mini-series; if enough people watch it, they will show a full season.

If you want to watch from the beginning, it's starting soon: CBS to rerun first season of Jericho starting in July - TV Squad.

Why watch?

It's a good show; a lot of slow reveals, taking place over several episodes. Yet, also a ton of action. A lot of "what would I do" moments. Great acting.

And, well -- watch to show TV executives that they didn't make a mistake in listening to the fans and cancelling a cancellation. Because if Jericho doesn't make the numbers this time around, there will be no hope in the future for successful fan-driven campaigns.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm The Blog Your Parents Warned You About

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating



I'm now NC 17, baby!

And here's why: death (11x) sex (8x) dead (7x) shoot (2x) kill (1x)

As far as I can tell, the "shoot" is from my photo shoot posts. I'm not sure why it didn't appear before.

The Paris Interview

Yes, I watched it. And at one point I'll blog more either here or at Pop about Paris Hilton and this whole thing. In a nutshell, why I am obsessed with the story; yet why I cannot understand why anyone, anywhere, would buy anything she advertises. And my obsessed does not translate into like her or willing to spend my money to support her habits. It's more about justice, and how rich people live by different rules, etc.

Anyway.

Best part of the interview? When Paris, who has been saying she spent her days reading the Bible, was asked what her favorite Bible passage was. Anyone want to guess what her answer was?

Oh, Death & Dead

Didn't you know? They are the latest rated R words.

Anyway, I so wasn't going to watch the latest CBS "oh so original" vampire detective show. Tho, the fact that they are bringing back Jericho (more on that later) should make me a little more receptive towards CBS.

But then I found out who is going to be on the new CBS show.

Sitting down?

Logan Echolls. Er, I mean Jason Dohring. Damn. This show may be good after all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ALA DC 07: The Books

Absolute Brightness by Lecesne
Almost Home by Blank
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Beauty Shop for Rent by Bowers
Before, After and Somebody in Between by Garsee
Beige by Castellucci
Book Of A Thousand Days by Hale
Breathe My Name by Nelson
Clarabelle by Peterson
Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Bauer
Don’t You Forget About Me by Von Ziegesar
Flora Segunda by Wilce
Fly, Little Bird by Burke
Freak by Klause
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Guyaholic by Carolyn Mackler
Hole In My Life by Gantos
How The Hangman Lost His Heart by Grant
I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You OK? By Nye
Indigara by Tanith Lee
Invasion of the Road Weenies by David Lubar
Jinx by Meg Cabot
Lions Tigers And Bears by Hirschi
My Swordhand is Singing by Sedgwick
Right Behind You by Giles
Slam by Nick Hornby
Something Rotten by Meg Gratz
Story of a Girl by Zarr
The Boy in the Burning House by Tim Wynne Jones
The Chicken Dance by Couvillon
The Declaration by Malley
The Last Knight by Hilari Bell
The Rogues by Jane Yolen & Robert Harris
The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep by Hulme & Wexler
The Wild Girls by Pat Murphyt
Thirteen Reasons Why by Asher
What the Dickens by Maguire
Wired by Suen

No, It's Not The Sex

Online Dating

The reason for the R Rating?

Because of the frequency of the following words: death (7x), dead (4x), zombie (2x) and murder (1x).

Yes, DEATH and DEAD are R Rated words.

Sigh.

I saw it at A Year of Reading (PG 13).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Printz

Carlie W. and I just got back from the Printz speeches & reception.

MT Anderson: Great speech; more later, but he said some great things about historical fiction & how we view the past.

John Green: John Green John Green John Green John Green John Green John Green John Green. Oh, and hi Hank.

Sonya Hartnett: way funnier than you would expect from her books -- but I knew she had a great sense of humor from her SBBT interviews.

Markus Zusak: Carlie showed him pics of her cat, Henry. Henry is the cutest cat ever; and was sleeping next to a copy of The Book Thief, upping the cuteness factor.

Gene Luen Yang: Made of awesome.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Blog Blast Tour : Cecil Castellucci

It's Friday, and Tea Cozy's part of the Summer Blog Blast Tour closes with an interview with the most excellent Cecil Castellucci.

I was blown away by Cecil's first book, Boy Proof, blew me away. I loved Egg, with her mix of securities and insecurities, and her strengths and intelligence.

Her next book, The Queen of Cool, featured someone very different from Egg: Libby is the coolest girl in school. Everyone wants to be her, or be her friend; and Libby finds its not enough.

Next came Beige, which I think may be my favorite. Katy is a teen who thinks she has her act together, but realizes that what she thinks she knows and what is true are two different things. She's younger in many ways from Egg and Libby; Katy is still trying to figure out who she is.

Each book is set in LA, but they are different LAs: Egg is Hollywood, Libby the sciences, Katy the music.

Finally, there is Cecil's graphic novel, The PLAIN Janes. Teenage Jane lives in the city, happy with her life; but when disaster strikes too close to comfort, her parents leave the city for the safety of the suburbs. Jane doesn't want popularity; she wants friends, she wants to make a difference, she wants to be real.

So, on to the interview!

Liz B: The PLAIN Janes, your first graphic novel, just came out. Could you talk a bit about the differences between writing traditional novels and graphic novels?

Cecil: Well, you have to rearrange the way that you think about telling a story. The thing I like about a graphic novel is that you have to just get to the heart of a scene. It's a very lean kind of writing. In my first draft, I tried to keep the dialogue really minimal. Once I saw it all drawn and ballooned out, I went back and removed even more dialogue. You can let things rest more, because there are pictures and working with someone as talented as Jim Rugg, who illustrated The PLAIN Janes, you can just let the image do a lot of the story telling.

That said, it was hard for me to figure how to move the action forward at first, because I had to consider what was going to be shown in the panels. That was hard. In a traditional novel, with words, you can meander a bit, you can rest on a moment or have a lot of fluid action. Also, there is something quite intimate about the written word. It's like resting your cheek against someone elses brain, or like whispering a secret because the reader and the writer sort of agree together on creating what the world looks like. It's a collaboration with the reader in that way. With a graphic novel, everything is there for everyone to see. You know what it looks like. As a writer, I am very glad that I now get to play around in both forms. They are very different and they each have there charms and strengths. I love writing both ways.

Liz B: What was your working relationship with the The PLAIN Janes artist, Jim Rugg?

Cecil: It was awesome. Working with Jim Rugg has been and is (we are currently working on the second Janes book, The Janes in Love) a truly amazing and inspiring experience. Besides sort of gently guiding me through those first scary pages of The PLAIN Janes and "having my back," he is just so smart and so talented I pinch myself lucky to work with such a fine talent as him. I always love to listen to what he has to say, about panel, pace and camera placement and about the story.

It's also great to have a buddy who cares about the characters as much as I do. We have long conversations about the Janes and we both really care about them. With Jim as my swim buddy, I feel like I did when I was in a band! It's so nice to have a partner! I have an enormous amount of respect for Jim and I hope we get to work together for a long time. Also, he is totally one of the coolest, funniest, nicest people I've ever met! Go read Street Angel!

Liz B: You're an author; and a director, a performance artist, a musician, an actress (I'm sure I'm leaving something out!) Since I'm someone who was a lawyer, is a librarian, and who knows what will happen next week, I love stories of people who pursue multiple dreams. I was wondering; what was your path from indie musician to YA author?

Cecil: To me, I always was telling stories! It's like when an artist, I mean a visual artist, sketches with pencils or does a water color, or mixed media or oils or acrylics they are still an artist. It's just a different brush, a different way of painting the picture, but the same thing: a piece of visual art.

For me, being in a band or making a movie or doing a performance piece or a stand up show or writing a play, novel, comic book, it's all the same thing. It's a way to tell a story, which is what i always wanted to do. That said, I started off in film school and when I was in film school I started a band with a couple of girls called BITE. When I was in BITE I wanted to write a book about an all girl teen band. The first novel I ever wrote, that is in a drawer never to see the light of day was about that. I think BEIGE is kind of my reworking of that first idea from when I was in a band a million years ago.

Liz B: Why YA?

Cecil: The thing about writing for Young Adults is that is the moment in life when you are declaring and figuring out what kind of a human being you are going to be. You are deciding everything and everything is a first time. That's an incredibly compelling fertile place for story telling. As a writer, it's an irresistible one.

Liz B: And were you reading much YA before you started writing YA?

Cecil: When I was a young lady, and now as an older young lady, or a person who is young at heart, it always bugged me that there was this line between adult and young adult. When I was a young adult, I liked things that were much broader than what teens were supposed to like and as an adult I love things that are supposed to be just for teens. So, yes, in a way I was always reading stuff that was for much younger. But honestly, I think before I started writing YA seriously, I was reading more middle grade stuff. But once I found my voice and discovered that it was 14+, I started reading more mature YA books. But, you know, I'll read anything that's good. I like good books. And I think that YA is defined as being a 12 - 99 age range. So that pretty much includes everything ever written.

Liz B: One of the things I love about your work is the adults. The parents and other adults in your books are well rounded, sympathetic, fully realized characters with virtues and flaws. Much as I love your YA books, I'd love to read a book by you with an adult as the main character. Any chance of that happening?

Cecil: I am pretty sure that at some point, in what I hope will be my very long career as a writer, that I will write a novel for adults with an adult as the main character. For me, a story presents itself to me and tells me how it wants to be told. My plays, my movies and my performance pieces have adults and deal with adult themes. And I don't mean that they are pervy! I mean that right now, those outlets seem to be where I am exploring some of those other themes and narrative questions that I have.

I am also going younger! I have a picture book, Grandma's Gloves and an early chapter book series coming out (both on Candlewick) for the 6-10 year old set! And that includes my first story with an animal as a the main character! Bring on the ducks!

Liz B: You are a "web 2.0" author, with a LiveJournal/blog, a website, and various online additions for your books, from playlists for Beige to Libby's LA. It's the type of stuff I adore as a reader. What was your inspiration? Were these things that weren't able to be included in the books?

Cecil: Well, I just thought that stuff might be a little bit interesting. I think maybe the "2.0" people are just creative and it's nice to be able to do stuff! I don't want to, say, inflict my poetry on everyone. But it's there if anyone wants to read it.

The add ons, like Libby's Los Angeles, and Egg's Los Angeles (this reminds me that I should do one for Katy/Beige) were mostly because I love LA so much and I thought that people might be interested in the real places that my characters hung out. Like, maybe someone would come to LA and be like "Oh, I want to go to Skoobys to get an awesome hot dog!" or "Let's go to the Merry Go Round in Griffith Park!"

The Beige playlist was something I thought would be fun and interesting, as I love a mix list, but these things seemed like they wanted to have their own page, not to be on my "real" blog.

The I Heart YA, which I am planning on doing more of, and more often, is just fun, because I love making little movies, but I don't have time to make little movies anymore. But I travel and hang out with my YA friends a lot. I figure it's like a mini-documentary of the YA world. I am glad that you like it!

Liz B: I saw from your guest blogging at newsarama that you love Joss Whedon. As you may have guessed from my blog name, I adore him. I also have the Firefly theme song and Man Called Jayne on my iPod.

Cecil: I just bought the boxed set of Firefly. That is what brought me to my new found Joss Love.

Liz B: So, for Buffy the Vampire Slayer; favorite episode?

Cecil: Favorite episode? Hush. I think I cried at that Prom episode, too.

Liz B: Favorite character?

Cecil: Toss up between Anya and Willow and I really liked Andrew in the last season. (For the record on Angel it's Cordelia and Wesley but I'm not done watching that series yet so I reserve the right to change my mind.) (And in case you are interested on firefly it's Wash, Kaylee and Zoe. But of course I'm madly in love with Mal.)

Liz B: Favorite quote?

Cecil: Any time any character makes a word end a -y.

Thank you, Cecil! It looks like after ALA Anaheim, I'll add a few days to do the full LA tour.

Want more Cecil? Check out her SBBT interview yesterday at Shaken & Stirred.

Right now, the ALA Convention in DC has started, and Cecil Castellucci will be there. Her schedule is at her LiveJournal.

Finally, don't forget to visit the other SBBT interviews:

Tim Tharp at Chasing Ray
Justina Chen Headley at Big A, little a
Ysabeau Wilce at Shaken & Stirred
Dana Reinhardt at Bildungsroman
Julie Ann Peters at Finding Wonderland
Bennett Madison at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Justine Larbalestier at Hip Writer Mama
Kirsten Miller at A Fuse #8 Production

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Carlie Webber is...

The Best Driver In DC.

And while yes technically I got us lost -- it was really the fault of the drivers who wouldn't let us in the lane we needed to be in.

Technically, I also got us un-lost and to the hotel without a major detour.

We have a room that is great to entertain, but little or no drawer space and a tiny bathroom. I *think* we are in walking distance of the precon.

It looks like we should have free wifi, but I couldn't figure it out so at the moment, we're spending $12/24 hours to use the hotel high speed internet services.

And it's raining. Drat.

Summer Blog Blast Tour: Thursday

The Summer Blog Blast Tour Thursday Interviews!


Eddie Campbell at Chasing Ray
Sara Zarr at Writing and Ruminating
Brent Hartinger at Interactive Reader
Justine Larbalestier at Big A, little a
Cecil Castellucci at Shaken & Stirred
Ysabeau Wilce at Bildungsroman
Jordan Sonnenblick at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Chris Crutcher at Finding Wonderland
Kazu Kibuishi at lectitans
Mitali Perkins at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at The YA YA YAs

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My ALA Schedule

Please note that this is a very rough draft. There are holes mainly because I haven't made up my mind!

Thursday June 21.

Drive down with Carlie Webber. Worst case scenario: we find a Lush store, spend all our money, and have to beg for coffees and danish for the rest of the conference.

Friday June 22.

Sins of YA Preconference. I'm not sure what time it starts or where it is.

YALSA Happy Hour at Old Dominion from 5 to 7.

YALSA 50th Anniversary Party from 10 to ???. Renaissance Ballroom West A/B, Renaissance Washington

Saturday June 23.

Morning, YALSA All Committee at Grand Ballroom North Central, Ren. Washington Hotel, Grand Ballroom. 1030 to 12. Or maybe, 11?

3:00. Exhibits; Ysabeau Wilce & Laura Bowers are signing at booth 3210.
3:30 Book Launch, Mitali Perkins/ First Daughter, DC / MLK Library

After -- Kidlit Fun!

6 - 7. Random House Reception.

8. Random House Dinner.

Sunday June 24.

8 am. YA Author B'fast at 8 AM. AM I INSANE???? Holy Hannah that's early. Yeah, Breakfast is early. But still. Anyway, the Ren Washington. Grand Ballroom.

11 am. Cecil Castellucci is signing, Candlewick, 3245. (I thought it was Saturday, but hey! I fail at reading schedules.)

The rest of the day I... I'm not sure! I haven't made up my mind. Maybe YALSA Programs? Maybe some other division? Maybe find a spa and get a facial? Go to a museum?

Note to self: Find out where the other cool kids who are not going to the Newbery are hanging out. Note to self: You're not cool. Amend. Note to self: Find out ... Oh, just forget it.

Monday June 25

8 am You Must Write It: 50 Tips for Publishing with YALSA. But 8! And no breakfast! Conv. Center, Room 146 B.

2:30. YALSA President's Program, Convention Center, Room 144 A C

8 Printz Reception.

Tuesday June 26.

Home again home again jiggity jig.

Summer Blog Blast Tour: Laura Ruby

It's Wednesday on the great SBBT, so that means we have Laura Ruby stopping by!

Now, this is one of those times where it's a good thing that the interview happened via email; because in real life, the interview would have turned into one long session of watching Buffy and Veronica Mars, and chatting about families, and growing up in New Jersey. With no interview.

Laura is amazing because she writes for all ages: for kids she has Lily's Ghosts, The Wall and the Wing and The Chaos King; Good Girls for teens and I'm Not Julia Roberts for adults. Her books aren't just diverse in terms of age; she writes ghost stories, fantasy, coming of age and humor.

Good Girls, Ruby's YA book, is a look at love, lust, sex, sexuality, rumors, and emotions. Audrey hooks up with Luke; someone takes a photo; and the next thing, the picture is all over school. It's even been sent to her parents. Last week, she was a Good Girl; this week, she is the slut, the ho. Now, boys think it's OK to say rude things and make rude gestures because, you know -- she's that kind of girl. The girl who would do that.

So, on with the show!

Liz B: Good Girls is such a topical book and has such an intriguing question: what is a good girl? What was your inspiration for writing Good Girls?

Laura: I was mulling over what I wanted to work on next when I noticed that sex was everywhere (I know, I know, DUH). But really, I felt like I couldn't get away from the endless blather about Paris Hilton and Girls Gone Wild and MTV and Maxim and myspace and whatever -- most of it horrible, misogynist garbage. I wondered what would happen if a "good" girl got caught on camera. How would she ever get her life back in this culture? I thought it was a good idea for a book, but I had no voice for the story, no soul. I set it aside and worked on other things for a while, until the day one of my stepdaughters came home from high school and told me that some obnoxious, deeply stupid little boy was spreading rumors about her and it didn't seem to matter to anyone that they weren't true. Something in my head just burst (an aneurysm????) Suddenly, I didn't just have a story about a "good girl" caught on camera, but one about rumors, betrayal, friendship, and privacy invasion.

Liz B: One of the things I love about Good Girls is it is not a message book. If anything, it's a question book; raising questions for the reader to answered about what it means to be a "good" girl, appearances, rumors, private and public lives. Can you share a bit about the writing process? Did you ever find yourself rewriting to avoid it becoming a message book?

Laura: Writing Good Girls was unlike writing any of my other books in that it was a completely wonderful experience; I loved every minute I spent working on it. Even getting that first draft down, usually the most agonizing, wrenching part of the process for me, was an absolute dream. I'm sure it wasn't a dream for my family, however, because it was all I could talk about for months. They did a very good job not rolling their eyes when I would relate conversations between my characters as if they were real.

Liz B: Another thing I love about Good Girls is that I got to the end and had to reread it; because while I wouldn't call Audrey deliberately unreliable, she and the reader discovered things that really changed how a reader viewed some of the events in the book. Was this challenging to write? How did you keep track of what Audrey realized and when?

Laura: I didn't really. I wrote this book in a fever. I didn't keep outlines, I didn't plan chapters, I just wrote as fast and as well as I could and saved the technicalities for later. During the revision process -- my favorite part of the process by the way -- I had to go back and make sure all the "clues" were placed where they should be, that the chapters, though not chronological, were in the right order, etc.

I do understand that writing/revising a book this quickly, easily, and happily will most likely never, ever happen again (sob!!!).

Liz B: You've written for every age level, including adults. Could you share some of the challenges of doing that? Do you ever have a "hmm, I've just strayed from kid to YA" moment?

Laura: I think I did have some of those moments when I wrote my first book, Lily's Ghosts. My editor had me take out some teenage angsty/angry moments in the book. — none were in the least racy, just a hair too old for the 13-year-old POV character. Now, I have a pretty clear idea of the voice and POV of each book -- sometimes even before I start to write it -- so I don't often feel confused about what I'm writing.

I think the challenges are more about the marketing of the books, making sure my audience understands that I write in many different genres and for many different age groups. I'm sure there are days that my agent thinks I'm nuts.

Liz B: Speaking of marketing -- your most recent book is for adults. Did you find the process of this book (from editing to marketing and publicity) to be different from that of books for kids and teens?

Laura: Writing "I'm Not Julia Roberts" was a completely different process because I wrote and revised it over the course of eight -- yes, eight!!! -- years. And then I revised it for my agent three times, and another few for my editor. We were all exhausted, I think! Getting just the right cover was also a challenge, but I love what was done with the book.

As for publicity, that was also completely different, because you have to rely on a lot more heavily on newspaper reviews and magazine placements to get the word out. (With children's books, there are not only pre-pub review sources, but there are school visits, conference appearances, and library talks that can be done to promote books. Also, teachers, librarians, even state organizations that will select kids' books for "best of" and "recommended reading lists). I was lucky as my publicist worked really hard to get my book into some magazines like People and Redbook.

Liz B: Speaking of your book for grown ups -- I'm Not Julia Roberts is a work of fiction about step families. What was the inspiration?

Laura: My whole life! I'm a stepdaughter, half-sister, step-sister and stepmom myself, and have lived in just about every permutation of "family" that exists in the universe (okay, not polygamy, but you know what I mean). When I first became a stepmom some ten years ago and was feeling completely overwhelmed, I read tons of books about stepparenting. Most of them were full of horrible advice guaranteed to make your stepchildren hate you forever. I just wanted something that was true -- not necessarily factually, just emotionally. (I know I sound like that million pieces guy, but I promise I don't have any stories in the book about getting beaten up and thrown in jail). I wanted a little commiseration, not bad advice. So I started writing. My book isn't autobiographical, but I do think it's honest, if that makes any sense at all.

Liz B: Let's talk Veronica Mars.

Laura: Oh, let's!

Liz B: Do you think there should be a wrap up movie?

Laura: Yes. I think there should be an entire series of wrap up movies. At least six. Or twelve.

Liz B: What was your favorite episode? Favorite character?

Laura: I adore Veronica and her dad -- the dialogue was always amazing on that show. But I have to admit a heavy fondness for Dick Casablancas. He was so hilariously clueless, and yet had just those teeny, tiny few moments of humanity that made it so hard to hate him completely.

As for a favorite episode, I honestly can't pick. I can't! Don't make me!

Liz B: (who also had a mini crush on DC): What will you watch now that its gone?

Laura: I'll probably just keep watching reruns of Law & Order, hoping against hope that there will be one episode I haven't seen yet. And I'm thinking a Buffy marathon might be in order.

Liz B: And as an aside, I just got a copy of Neptune Noir, essays about Veronica Mars, and that is helping.

Laura: A book I obviously need.

Beyond that... I think I'll spend the summer rewatching either Buffy.

Liz B: You read my mind.

So, faithful readers: what do you think should be the TV Series On DVD Summer Event for Laura and me and other Veronica Mars fans? Vote now!

Want to read the other interviews with Laura, and find out more about her middle grade books?
On Monday, Laura was at Writing and Ruminating; on Tuesday, she was visiting Miss Erin; tomorrow, she'll be at The YA YA YAs; and then she'll take a well deserved rest!

Other interviews today:

Mitali Perkins at Hip Writer Mama
Svetlana Chmakova at Finding Wonderland
Dana Reinhardt at Interactive Reader
Holly Black at Shaken & Stirred
Hilary McKay at Bookshelves of Doom
Kirsten Miller at Miss Erin
Julie Ann Peters at A Fuse #8 Production
Carolyn Mackler at The YA YA YAs
Jordan Sonnenblick at Writing and Ruminating

Remember to stop by Chasing Ray, where in addition to the list of interviews. Colleen includes fun quotes from the interviews.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What does it take to feel rich?

I was tagged by Robin Brande for the What does it take to feel rich? meme.

Now, the answer cannot be something like paying off loans or buying a house. As Robin explains, it is "some secret gauge of what it means to be wealthy."

So -- "What one item or service do you hold in your mind as the very definition of being rich?"

I tossed around the idea of a car and driver; but then ... then, I thought, oh no. I have a much better idea.

I love movies. But movie theatres? Not so much. I don't like other people talking during movies, I don't like the sticky floors from spilled sodas, I don't like the food smells from other people's dinners. But I love movies, and seeing movies in a darkened theatre, on the big screen.

So -- I want my own home movie theatre. With stadium seating. And, of course, films that are in the theatres. And popcorn and raisinettes.

I tag Kelly at Big A little a; Betsy at Fuse #8 Productions; and MotherReader.

A SBBT Reminder

Don't forget that the Summer Blog Blast Tour started Sunday with Gene Luen Yang at Finding Wonderland

Summer Blog Blast Tour: Justine Larbalestier

The Summer Blog Blast Tour starts at Tea Cozy with Justine Larbalestier!

Justine is the author of the Magic Or Madness Trilogy, Magic Or Madness, Magic's Child, and Magic Lessons. Magic Or Madness begins with Reason, 15, on the way to her grandmother's house... plotting how to escape, reminding herself not to eat the food lest she be poisoned. Reason's mother, Sarafina, has taught her well: stay away from Esmeralda. The two have spent their whole lives running from the woman. But now Sarafina is hospitalized, Reason is in Esmeralda's home, and Reason is about to find out: magic is real.

Magic or Madness recently won the Andre Norton Award. Justine blogs, where, among other things, she addresses the age old question: zombies or unicorns?

On to the interview!

Liz B: I love how the magic in "Magic or Madness" is treated as something real. It's not an instant cure for things; and it has real consequences. How much of the rules and science of magic as it exists in your trilogy did you plot out before writing "Magic or Madness"?

Justine: I knew the central conundrum from the beginning: use your magic and die early; don't use it and go mad. The rest fell into place (*cough*) as I wrote.

Liz B: Once you established your rules and 'verse in Book One, did that impact your writing of "Magic Lessons" (book two) and "Magic's Child" (book three)?

Justine: Yes! I had an outline for the three books. Magic or Madness more or less followed it, but Magic Lessons went right off the rails, and then Magic's Child bears no resemblance at all to the original outline. I'm very impressed by writers who are able to stay faithful to outlines. My books are much more recalcitrant than that. They keep twisting and changing as I write. I work a great deal out on paper which means loads and loads and loads of rewriting.

Liz B: Did you have any moments in the later books when you thought, "oh, I wish I could revise "Magic or Madness" in order to do x or y in this book"? (As a total aside, I think I freaked out a YA writer when I said something similar to her...she's writing a series and the first one is published, and I wondered, what if you get to book 3 and realize the main character should have had an older brother?)

Justine: I was able to go back and make changes to Magic or Madness while I wrote the first draft of Magic Lessons. It was fabulous! Unfortunately, I was so late with Magic's Child that it wasn't possible to change Magic Lessons to fit. Instead I had to make Magic's Child fit the first two books. Which, yes, was maddening. If I ever write another trilogy (which I have taken a sacred vow---along with Libba Bray---not to do) I will write all three books first and then sell them.

Liz B: You travel so much that I get jet lag from reading your blog. How does having multiple homes, and traveling, impact your stories?

Justine: I thought you were going to say "impact my life" and then I was going to start crying. :-) It might look glamorous from the outside but it is chaotic and insane from the inside. It would be so lovely never to get on another plane again. I do love seeing other parts of the world though. I'd go back to Buenos Aires in a heart beat. I just wish I could teleport there.

One obvious impact of travel is that I get to write about places other than Sydney. I'm one of those writers who needs to have visited a place in order to write about it. The more places I spend time in the broader my range of settings. Of course, there's no where on Earth I can write about as easily as I can about Sydney.

Travelling also forces a writer (or anyone else) to see that there are many more ways of being in the world than just what you've grown up with. I truly believe travelling broadens the mind. Think of how much more amazing Emily Dickinson's work would have been if she'd gotten out some. Of course, there are some people who manage to travel without learning a thing about themselves or anyone else. Don't know how they do it.

Liz B: You won the Andre Norton Award for "Magic or Madness", and Printz Honors have gone to books by Australians Marcus Zusak, Sonya Hartnett and Margo Lanagan. Are Australian writers plotting to take over the world? Seriously, though, how are the markets and audience for YA books different between Australia and the United States?

Justine: Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! I yelled that out at Markus when he was giving a speech at BEA but I don't think he heard me. Le sigh. I am absolutely astonished by the quality of writing at home. Ursula Dubosarsky is astonishingly good as is Jaclyn Moriarty, Simmone Howell, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Melina Marchetta and Garth Nix. And then there's writers like Scot Gardner who haven't been discovered in the US yet. Wait till he and all the other geniuses back home start publishing in the USA. Then you'll see a total takeover.

Liz B: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and we can pretend that most of Season 7 never happened.) Favorite character?

Justine: Oz and Faith.

Liz B: Favorite episode?

Justine: "Once More with Feeling" (the musical episode)

Liz B: Favorite quote?

Justine: Xander: "I'm a 17 year old boy: looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex."

Justine, thank you very much!

Want more? Justine will be at Big A, little a on Thursday and HipWriterMama on Friday.

On a final note, let me add that I've had the pleasure of meeting Justine twice. During the past New Jersey Library Association Conference, and at ALA in New Orleans.

Please visit the other Monday stops on the SBBT (Summer Blog Blast Tour):

Tom & Dorothy Hoobler at Chasing Ray
Mitali Perkins at Big A, Little a
Sara Zarr at Interactive Reader
Justina Chen Headley at Hip Writer Mama
Dana Reinhardt at lectitans
Brent Hartinger at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at Writing and Ruminating
Jordan Sonnenblick by Bildungsroman
Ysabeau Wilce at Finding Wonderland

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Get It Now: June 2007

Get It Now!

The following books reviewed from ARCs are now ready to be read; the official publication date is here so you can find them in stores and libraries.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

A Girl, A Boy & A Monster Cat by Gail Gauthier

Using "Get It Now" to announce publication dates was suggested by Little Willow here. Other good suggestions included "On The Shelf," "Out Now" and "Ready to Read".

Summer Blog Blast Tour: Sunday

Gene Luen Yang is at Finding Wonderland today!

Click here for my review of his graphic novel, American Born Chinese.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hattie Big Sky


Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. Copy from author. Cybils short list 2006. Newbery Honor. My Best Books For 2006 (sidebar).

The Plot: It's 1918; Hattie Brooks is 16; she's an orphan, shuttled from relative to relative. When she finds out that an uncle she didn't know about has died and left her his homestead claim in Montana, she resolves to go, prove the claim, and create a home for herself.

The Good: I adored Hattie Big Sky. And at this point, I do think I am officially the last blogger to review it.

When I read this back in the fall, I immediately wanted to pass it along to everyone -- not only does this work for teens, but for younger kids reading up and for adults. One of the ladies I work with came into the library raving about it, saying how it's the first time in a long time she stayed up late reading, and crying. And refused to believe it's a teen book, much less a kids book.

And that shows just how amazing a title this is -- that it can work for multiple readers. I imagine sixth graders reading this, then rereading it ten years later and marveling at the things they didn't pick up on earlier. There is nothing objectionable for younger readers; yet at the same time, there is a lot going on, from politics to depth of character to motivation, that is best appreciated by older readers.

Hattie is alone in her struggle, alone as she has been all her life. Except she's not. She has neighbors who become friends; including a warm, loving German family. Remember the year. World War I is raging, sons have left to fight in the war, sacrifices are being made for the war effort, and a family that speaks German is not popular, to say the least. But this family reaches out to Hattie, and she discovers that family can be people who are not bound to you by blood.

I love the details -- we know exactly how much Hattie has in the bank, how much things cost, we add and subtract and hold our breath, hoping it will work out. $400 is a lot of money -- will it be enough? How can a teenage girl earn more?

The language is wonderful: "The stew tasted of sage and carrots and hope."

Now for some spoiler stuff.

1918 is also the year of the Influenza Epidemic. So the flu visits Hattie and her friends. And yes -- there is a death. I cried, hating the death. But the death had to happen. One of my great grandmother's sons died from the flu; she was pregnant with her last child and just buried her husband. Death happens, it's not fair, and it would have been a lie not to have a death. But man, it tore my heart out.

The ending was note perfect: Hattie starts out wanting to create a home by proving up her claim. She sacrifices, counts pennies, learns to build fences and plant. And at the end of the book, she has create a "home", a sense of belonging -- but not in the way she thought.

And some more spoiler stuff.

S
P
O
I
L
E
R

You see, Hattie doesn't prove her claim up. Not only that; she ends up in debt. But Hattie has hope; and while some people mock books that end with hope, I love hope that is realistic and earned. Hattie has a sense of belonging now, a sense of home, because of the friends she has made. She doesn't stay with them -- she has to go off on her own to make money to pay down her debts -- but Hattie realizes that if you have people in your heart, if you have people who care about you, that it all that matters.

I cried. I adored it. And that is why it's a book for grown ups. Because by traditional standards she has lost: she has no home, is in debt, is separated from friends and loved ones. Yet in her heart she has won. "Though I should feel a total failure, my time on the prairie has branded this hope on my hear: next year it will be better." And I think I love this book, and Hattie, and Kirby Larson, because that is my own hope.

Links:
My interview with Kirby Larson at The Edge of the Forest.
Bildungsroman/Little Willow interview.
Bildungsroman / Little Willow review.
Newbery and Caldecott medals awarded in Seattle (SeattlePI.com)
Deliciously Clean Reads review.
The Longstockings: About Hattie
Swarm of Beasts review.
AmoxCalli review
Jen Robinson's review
A Fuse #8 Production review
Miss Erin review
bookshelves of doom review

Kidlit Drinks In DC

OK, here's the deal for ALA DC.

A lot of us have crazy schedules with meetings and the like; but we have managed to pull something together! By "we", I mean "other people, I just show up when they tell me."

So, MotherReader has details and addresses and stuff. In a nutshell: we'll be at Mitali's Book Launch (you have to RSVP) and then continue the party at the nearby Capitol City Brewing Company.

How do you get there? Well, find MR at Mitali's party and follow her. Meanwhile, let MR know if you'll be there!

Oh, legitimate fanfic, how I love thee

From Fuse #8 Productions comes the wonderful news that there is a new Little House book told from the POV of Nellie Olsen. Somewhere, Allison Arngrim is smiling.

Won't it be great if it takes the Nellie Olsen story thru the High School years?

Next: I want the story from EJ Wilder's POV.

Seriously, I love this type of stuff -- as evidenced by my reviews of March. and Ishmael.

Friday, June 15, 2007

PoetryFoundation.org: Thank Goodness It’s (Poetry) Friday

I don't care that everyone else in the kidlitosphere has already posted about this; I just have to say, Susan, great article!

Susan T. of Chicken Spaghetti's article, Thank Goodness It’s (Poetry) Friday is up at the Poetry Foundation. As befitting an online Happy Hour, I am currently sipping my much-earned TGIF glass of white wine.

It's an excellent article about the history of Poetry Friday, including the origins, the whys, and the growing pains. I think my favorite bit is about copyright; but maybe that's because I'm the "lawyer-turned-librarian Elizabeth Burns". I'm also a "Poetry Friday Regular"; the sidebar of regulars is also a great guide to blogs. (Yes, long time readers know, it's always about me.)

I love Poetry Friday, because it pushes me to think about Poetry, whether I'm reviewing a book or digging up a poem I loved as a teen or looking for something more current. I love that it's a great way to meet new people in the blogosphere; and it's an easy way for even a shy blogger to be part of the crowd. Like today; all you have to do is go over to The Simple & The Ordinary and leave your name and your link.

Interestingly, when Poetry Friday began we all sort of did mini round ups until one day we looked at each other and were all, "Dude! Isn't it easier on all of us if we, like, take turns, you know?"

My first Poetry Friday post.
My first round-up.
My favorite round up.

The world is drunk with lambs

OK, I just love that phrase. Much thanks to Liz In Ink for sharing it.

So you all know when I see you in DC this week ... I'll be the one mumbling, Great God, the world is drunk with lambs.

Poetry Friday: Wildly Romantic




Wildly Romantic: The English Romantic Poets: The Mad, The Bad, And The Dangerous by Catherine M. Andronik. Reviewed from ARC; source: ALA Midwinter 2007.

The Plot: Ah, some of the original bad boys. The revolutionary who became Mr Conservative; the drug addict, brilliant, who constantly disappointed; the man who inspired the infamous "mad, bad, and dangerous to know;" the free love, fire-starting, bigamist; and the guy with the talent from the "wrong side of the tracks" who just as it looked like he could have it all -- got TB and died.

The Good: Andronik does a wonderful job of introducing us to William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats, weaving mini biographies of individuals against the broader story of England in the early 1800s. She explains how these five not only lived lives that were far from boring; but how poetry influenced them and how they influenced poetry. As a teen, I loved Shelley; in college, it was Byron; and now, after reading this, John Keats is the man.

This is a great sampler, of both the poets and their poetry; it's for older readers, because Andronik doesn't shy away from such topics as illegitimate children, incest, and drugs. About the only thing missing is rock'n'roll... and wow, these men and their groupies would have given any present day musician a run for their money. It's like Almost Famous: The 1800s version.

And yes, respect is given to the sisters, wives and daughters, who may not be as famous (well, except for that book about that monster....) but were also talented and bright.

So, a Poetry Friday sampler for you:

Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

by William Wordsworth

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

The rest of the poem is at Poets.org.

****

Kubla Khan Or a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

The rest of the poem is at Poets.org.

*******

She Walks in Beauty by George Gordon, Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

******

Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

and finally

Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

....
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mus├Ęd rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 55
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod.
....
The full poem is at Bartelby.com.

Links:
Today's Poetry Friday round up can be found by clicking the button, above, or going to The Simple & The Ordinary.

propernoun.net book review

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer Blog Blast Tour

The good things about a Summer Blog Blast Tour:

1. You don't have to worry about parking.

2. You save gas!

3. Instead of worrying about how to get to two different authors in two different towns and making a decision, which means not visiting one, you can do it all!

4. And, most important, you get to find out what some of your fave authors think about Buffy and Veronica Mars.

Actually, what is most important is I'm less likely to do something silly (spill coffee on myself, trip & fall, bump into something) when it's a virtual tour.

The complete schedule:

Sunday, June 17

Gene Yang at Finding Wonderland


Monday, June 18

Tom & Dorothy Hoobler at Chasing Ray
Mitali Perkins at Big A, Little a
Sara Zarr at Interactive Reader
Justina Chen Headley at Hip Writer Mama
Justine Larbalestier at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Dana Reinhardt at lectitans
Brent Hartinger at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at Writing and Ruminating
Jordan Sonnenblick by Bildungsroman
Ysabeau Wilce at Finding Wonderland


Tuesday, June 19

Laura Ruby at Miss Erin
Bennett Madison at Shaken & Stirred
Shaun Tan at A Fuse #8 Production
Chris Crutcher at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at The YA YA YAs
Kazu Kibuishi at Finding Wonderland
Christopher Golden at Bildungsroman
David Brin at Chasing Ray
Kirsten Miller at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Sara Zarr at Big A, little a
Sonya Hartnett at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast


Wednesday, June 20

Mitali Perkins at Hip Writer Mama
Svetlana Chmakova at Finding Wonderland
Dana Reinhardt at Interactive Reader
Laura Ruby at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Holly Black at Shaken & Stirred
Hilary McKay at Bookshelves of Doom
Kirsten Miller at Miss Erin
Julie Ann Peters at A Fuse #8 Production
Carolyn Mackler at The YA YA YAs
Jordan Sonnenblick at Writing and Ruminating


Thursday, June 21

Eddie Campbell at Chasing Ray
Sara Zarr at Writing and Ruminating
Brent Hartinger at Interactive Reader
Justine Larbalestier at Big A, little a
Cecil Castellucci at Shaken & Stirred
Ysabeau Wilce at Bildungsroman
Jordan Sonnenblick at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Chris Crutcher at Finding Wonderland
Kazu Kibuishi at lectitans
Mitali Perkins at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Laura Ruby at The YA YA YAs


Friday, June 22

Tim Tharp at Chasing Ray
Justina Chen Headley at Big A, little a
Ysabeau Wilce at Shaken & Stirred
Dana Reinhardt at Bildungsroman
Julie Ann Peters at Finding Wonderland
Cecil Castellucci at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Bennett Madison at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Justine Larbalestier at Hip Writer Mama
Kirsten Miller at A Fuse #8 Production


Saturday, June 23

Justina Chen Headley finishes out the week at Finding Wonderland


Of course, THANK YOU to Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray who organized the whole thing!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

bloggers represent a dead end

So sayeth NY Sun book critic Adam Kirsch. The article is called The Scorn of the Literary Blog (Thanks to galleycat for the link.)

What's sad is up until the blog stuff, Kirsch had some interesting things to say, examining book reviews, what they are, what they aren't, why people read them, what's going on with newspapers.

But then . . . well, here are some highlights:

"People who write about books on the Internet, and they are surprisingly numerous, do not call themselves reviewers, but bloggers." Call me anything just don't call me late for supper. As I've said before, blogs happen to be a way we publish online; don't confuse content with the format. This is one of the most silly things I've seen in a long time. Discuss amongst yourselves the truth of it; I think some bloggers (myself included) have danced away from the "r" word when when should embrace it. I REVIEW BOOKS. DEAL WITH IT.

"But book bloggers have also brought another, less salutary influence to bear on literary culture: a powerful resentment. Often isolated and inexperienced, usually longing to break into print themselves, bloggers — even the influential bloggers who are courted by publishers — tend to consider themselves disenfranchised." Isolated, inexperienced, longing to break into print, and disenfranchised. At least he didn't mention 18 cats in basement, right? For myself, I don't long to break into print; I long to make money so I'm not living in a cardboard box in 20 years. So, I look for ways to write and get paid, and, along with that, have things I want to talk about and do that here. But resentful of those who do write and get paid? No. Disenfranchised? No; rather I blog about books that are, frankly, the redheaded stepchild of newspapers and magazines; books that have not gotten the coverage and discussion they should and that readers, parents, teachers and librarians want.

"As a result, they are naturally ready to see ethical violations and conspiracies everywhere in the literary world. As anyone who reads literary blogs can attest, hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned. And the scorn is reciprocated: Professional writers usually assume that those who can, do, while those who can't, blog." Again, generalizations. And truly, in the kidlit world, we have been so free from the flamewars and trolls that go on other places, for which I am eternally grateful. If anything, it's the literary world who sees bloggers having ethical issues; and the "professionals" who have started this whole mess. I have yet to see a kidlit blogger bash a nonblog writer. (Link to it in the comments if you have!)

I don't want to cut and paste everything; but then Kirsch attacks the "blog form" as being incapable of creating a "literary review." It's like saying, oh, a graphic novel form is incapable of creating a Printz award book.

And the wonderful ending words: "But there's no chance that literary culture will thrive on the Internet until we recognize that the ethical and intellectual crotchets of the bloggers represent a dead end."

So, if I start posting in a different format, say a wiki, I can get lit review cred? I stop being a dead end when I learn how to code?

What great timing that Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray has started her Summer Blog Blast Tour. (Disclosure: I'll be blasting off with the blog tour myself, so more details to come!)

Edited to add:
Here is In For Questioning's take on the article. IFQ addresses some of the blog stuff, but also some of the assertions about what reviews are and aren't. Interesting stuff; because there are many reasons for reviewing books and for reading reviews. It's no one size fits all.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunny Side of the Street

Seriously, I have no problem with a Pogues song being used for a commercial. But, it just seems very strange that Sunny Side of the Street is being used to sell Cadillacs. (It's the one called "Morning Ritual"). I really admire the person who thought of this and convinced the company to produce it, because it's just so bizarre. In case you're having time understanding Shane MacGowan's singing, the lyrics are here.

Eh, at least it's not Rain Street.

48 Hour Book Challenge Totals

Books Read: 5

Pages Read: 1959

Hours Read: 18

The Angel of Death

The Angel of Death by Alane Ferguson

260 Pages

Two hours

Mystery

The Hounds of the Morrigan

The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea

469 pages

Three & a half hours

Fantasy based on Irish mythology.

So Far From the Bamboo Grove

So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

183 pages

Two hours

Historical fiction/memoir; Japanese refugees, end of World War II. Reminds me of The Silver Sword. Will blog more about it eventually!

On to another book....

Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake

Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake by Jennifer Allison

Pages: 339

Time: About three and a half hours

Loved it! Cannot wait to blog more about the dramatic and confident Gilda Joyce and her wonderful investigative powers; and the mystery plot with a touch of possible ghost.

Also, liked that while GJ is part of a "series" each so far works as a standalone.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Long May She Reign

Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White, ARC, pub date November 2007, Feiwel & Friends. Since this is a 48 Hours Entry, bare boned links

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

after the 48 Hour Challenge is over, I'll blog just enough more to let you all know that whether or not you've read any other EEW titles, you MUST read this book.

And then I'll follow up closer to the pub date with a more detailed review.

And then after the pub date, I'll review all those OHMYGOD moments.

In the meanwhile:

Was it as good as I prayed?

yes, oh yes.

All 708 pages.

All I have to say is.... when is the next book coming out?

Title: Long May She Reign

Author: Ellen Emerson White

Length: 708 Pages

Age Level: Upper YA/ crossover to adult

Plot: Meg Powers, teenaged daughter of the first female President, recovers from a brutal kidnapping. I laugh, I cried.

Edited to add: Time spent reading? It was a lonnng book that while went quickly (a real page turner) was also one I wanted to savor (hello, EEW!!!!). Plus, while I began at 8 on Friday, I had to go to work and other stuff. So I think this baby took me about 7 hours.

Friday, June 08, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge

I started Friday night, 8:50 P.M.

Poetry Friday


The round up is at HipWriterMama's; click on the button to go!

Because I could not stop for Death By Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

The rest of the poem is here.

For my great aunt Mary Klopman.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Second Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge


A final reminder of The MotherReader Second Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge.

In a nutshell: 48 hours. Read and blog about books. Full details at MotherReader's Blog.

I'm really looking forward to this! Now, hmm... I just have to decide on the books I'll be reading.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Buffy Quote of the Week

Xander: "Oh, okay. You and Willow go do the superpower thing. I'll stay behind and putter around the batcave with crusty old Alfred here."
Giles: "Ah, I am no Alfred, sir. You forget; Alfred had a job."
Ep: The Yoko Factor

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