Archive for June, 2008

How many times…

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Did *you* get peed on today?

I wish I were at ALA. 

No I don’t.

Yes I do.

No I don’t.  But  DRAT that Fuse #8 for making everything funny.

I bet she didn’t even get peed on *once* today.

I bet she didn’t even get drooled on.

Well, maybe she got drooled on.  That red polka dotted dress is HOT!

Late for Poetry Friday!!!

Friday, June 27th, 2008

How did I forget it was Poetry Friday? I did!

Here, today, a poem about literacy.  Well, kinda…


By William Meredith

Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think that this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.

His uncle could have left the farm to him,
Or his parents died before he sent them word,
Or the dark girl changed and want him for beloved.
Afraid and letter-proud, he keeps it with him.
What would you call his feeling for the words
that keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

Why not YA???

Friday, June 27th, 2008

(No, Jessica, you are not grown up. You are a cotton ball)

I don’t read much YA.  In truth, I’ve always kind of disliked a lot of books for “young adults”.   


 Well, partly because there wasn’t much YA writing when I was a kid. There were wonderful books for young readers, books that might be considered YA now.  Because the main characters just happen to be tweens and teens.

And there were lots of adult books I loved, books that might also be considered YA today, for the very same reason.  But there wasn’t much for the YA market that I enjoyed.  A lot of pulp.  There was a wire rack of paperbacks in the middle school library that the preppy girls all fluttered around. I was a snob. I thought these books (and the girls who read them) were kind of dumb.  Sorry.

But really, when I really think about it, I don’t hate paperback fluff. I LOVE Agatha Christie and comic books and sooo… what is it? Why don’t I like YA? 

I think maybe it’s this:

For me, children’s books (especially magical ones) are so incredible because they unlock  the universe.  Maybe because kids are new to the world, and in discover mode.  Kids are looking outward, collecting new information, learning how to be, how to think. Taking cues from the world around them. They are unabashedly gathering vocabulary, context clues.  Good books for kids help them with this journey.  L’Engle and Lewis and Dahl made my world BIGGER!  They made anything seem possible.

And adult books, the ones I enjoy most , do the same. Either by thinking about the world philosophically or metaphorically, or by exposing readers to new information, layers upon layers of psychology and envoronment and image. Like Stegner, Eugenides, Irving.  There’s a vast scope.  When I’m done reading I feel I’ve traveled.

But the YA I remember is inward looking, and I’ve always assumed most YA was inward looking. Not in a revelatory kind of way. Not in Kundera’s deep-search-way or Salinger’s self-awareness-way.  Just self-involved.  Whiny.

I want a boy. Why can’t I have the boy I want?  My mom sucks.  I’m going to sit in my room. Oh, look! Something unexpected happened and now I’m prettier than I thought and now the boy likes me and now I’m still going to sit in my room, but that’s okay, because now I have crap to tell me best friend about while I sit there. The End.

But it would seem that while I was off doing other things, YA books changed. A lot! 

Last night I read Jerk, California.  And it is GOOD!  And though it is still that kind of sorry-for-myself-in-search-of-kisses storyline, because (I suppose) that’s what teenagers think about ALL DAY EVERY DAY, it is also revelatory and deep and expansive. And I learned things reading it. I thought about stuff.

So now I’m revising my idea of what a YA novel is, and I wonder… what’s the absolute BEST YA book you have ever read?

Now, today, this minute…

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Is the RIGHT time to go buy a copy of Jeff Sharlet’s amazing new book, The Family!

I’m not sure if I can reveal why this moment is so important, so I won’t… but I want you to know that by buying a copy you could have a profound effect of the life of this book.  Which would be, in a way, a strike for the forces of good.  Because this book is a book that matters. 

And because it would show some suits that you can’t keep a good book down!

 Seriously, BUY THE BOOK, and then I will not ask you to get out your lightsaber for awhile.

A dragon *must* have a sense of humor!!!

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

So, I have been reading Merlin’s Dragon, which I brought home from BEA and with me.  And falling asleep over it last night (because I find it incredibly tedious) I realized something– that I cannot abide dragon-and-wizard books.

I LOVE books with dragons in them.

And I LOVE books with wizards in them.

But I cannot think of a single book I like with both a dragon and a wizard in it.  Except Harry Potter.  And as we all know, the rules that apply to other books never apply to Harry Potter.  (EDIT!  I think maybe Sarah Prineas also has dragons in her wizardy book. But it is a wel documented fact that the presence of bacon and biscuits negates the dragon/wizard problem, obviously, and in any case, Sarah doesn’t count. She’s special!)

Maybe it just takes a certain kind of high-fantasy author to put both a dragon and a wizard in the same book.  Someone who takes such things seriously.  I’m not really into serious dragons and wizards.  I like my magic to be goofy.

All I know is that dragon-and-wizard books remind me too much of high school Renaisance Festivals. 

And Jethro Tull.

When a wizard meets a dragon, someone is always playing a flute.

Book Reviewer Interviewer…

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

–Okay, so we haven’t gotten a chance to interview Michiko Kakutani (I just loved this picture). But anyway, kidlitosphere bloggers are just as cool.

These interviews with book blogger/book reviewers are GREAT!  Methinks we should be doing more of this kind of thing.  Talking to the people who work in various aspects of the publishing industry.

Publicist interviews?  Copyeditor interviews? 

Know what I’d really LOVE is an interview with the receptionist at each of the BIG houses. How fun would that be? I bet they field a lot of crazy phonecalls!

Anyone ever read BEAUX?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Am I the only person in the universe who remembers the book Beaux, by Evan Commager, with art by the astounding N.M Bodecker (Half-Magic, etc)?

Brand New Favorite!

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

My new favorite blog (and I don’t, as a rule, read mom-blogs) is Mimi Smartypants!

Moms who stop cussing and ranting when they have kids (as though when the midwife stitched up their tear, she also stitched up their mouth) scare me.

As do the kind of parents who carry Purell everywhere (just in case) and fear the world– not to mention all of the dirt, sugar, and noises in it.  One of these days I will revolt myself, and say to someone (in response to a 2 year old birthday evite), “Will there be cake there? Real cake? Because Mose is not allowed to eat things that look like cake but are made with prunes and spelt-flour instead of chocolate. He is allergic to healthy alternatives.”

(Thanks to Elizabeth for the link!  If I start a revolution in the name of chocolate cake, I bet she will be in the front lines with me!)

Hummus is keeping me alive…

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Been a rough week here.  Both kids are down for the count. Ever since the croup passed (RELIEF!), we’ve had someone with a fever every day for a week.  Noses are running. Coughs refuse to lie down and die.  A mommy could lose her mind…

OR she could lose herself in food.  She could find herself eating every other second.  Munch munch munch.

Isn’t it weird how sometimes you get on a kick? 

I have become obsessed with Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus.  In a whole-wheat pita, with cukes and Trader Joe’s Cilantro Chive Yogurt Dip.  I eat this sandwich all day long.

When I am not wiping noses.

I am out of control.

(how pathetic is my life?)

My first blog-review!!!

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

From the incredible Miss Erin!  She says:

What a lovely little book.The author writes with rich, delicious prose in a similar vein to N.D. Wilson. The plot felt like a classic fairy tale with its plucky maiden, neighboring prince, and an exciting quest; yet it never once seemed cliché. It was wholly original while having the added charm of being comfortingly familiar. It’s a sweet, dear book with hidden gems under each rock you might turn. Very enchanting.

This makes me soooooooooooo happy.  “Comfortingly familiar” is just what I was shooting for and “cliche” was my great fear. !  This book began as a bedtime story, and I never wanted it to be a big crazy  adventure. I wanted it to be about playful words and simple stories.

Miss Erin, I love you!