Friday, September 24, 2010

FRIDAY FIVE: Book Banning Edition

1. I’m sure by now you know about the book banning heard ‘round the world. If not, go here. Essentially, someone has decided that because he doesn’t want his kids reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, or Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, no one’s kids should . . . which is wrong on so many levels. He has also grossly misrepresented Speak as being “soft pornography.” Seriously? Seriously.

2. In honor of Banned Books Week (September 25 through October 2), I will be re-reading Speak, because it’s one of those books that *must* stay on the shelves. It’s not soft porn: it’s an amazing story about a girl who finds the power to speak loudly against sexual assault, and has helped thousands of girls (and women) cope with past experiences. You should read it, your daughter should read it, and your daughter’s daughter should read it.

3. Also, the Deb’s very own Sarah Ockler has been challenged. To show support, the Debs and Little, Brown are giving away 100 copies of her novel, Twenty Boy Summer. To enter, go here.

4. There are also several contests going on where authors are giving away “Filthy Books Prize Packs,” or copies of all three novels that are being challenged. One of these prize packs is available here, at fellow WestSide author Beth Fehlbaum’s website. She’s also throwing in a copy of her first novel: Hope in Patience.

5. Here are some other related links:

Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog post about the banning.

Sarah Ockler’s post about the banning.

Also, if you’re on Twitter you can show your support with the #SpeakLoudly tag.

And a bonus #6. Please know what your kids are reading. If you don’t feel it’s appropriate for them or your family, then by all means do what you feel is necessary. Mr. Scroggins, you have every right to censor what your children read, but you *don’t* have the right to censor what mine reads.

Laurie Halse Anderson originally posted this on her blog, and I think it speaks volumes:

Happy (Banned Book) Reading, Everyone!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Five: I Can’t Believe I’m Actually on the Treadmill Again Edition

1. I’ve unofficially decided to take September off. I’ve been writing/working on projects non-stop since . . . I don’t know. Last year? Seriously. I’ve either been working on something new or revising projects into the ground, so I think a mental vacay is just what the doctor ordered. Not that I actually saw a doctor or anything. This is a total self-diagnosis. It’s okay, though, because I aced Psych 101.

2. Still, I can’t help the new ideas that are swirling around my head: new projects that I want to attempt, possibly. And when I was reading the first draft of the ms I wrote throughout the month of July the other day, I decided that I don’t hate it as much as I thought I did. This was kind of surprising, actually, because I was full of self-loathing over it for a while there. It took stepping away for the entire month of August to realize that it might have potential: the germ of an idea . . . even if *major* revisions are needed.

3. We have two more days until Mercury leaves retrograde. I have to admit: things weren’t so bad this time around. Seriously. I might be back to thinking the horoscope stuff is just hogwash. For instance, my horoscope today is telling me that “errands” are going to take up all of my free time. So far I’ve made it to the post office, picked up SuperGirl SideKick from school, and hit a drive-thru with the Guy I’m Sorta Married to But Not Allowed to Talk About Online. Now I’m home. No more errands. Yep. It’s all hogwash.
Actually, I think blogging will take up all of my free time. . . .

4. You will also be incredibly pleased to know: I’m Back On The Treadmill! It’s no lie! I swear: We are Back Together! This is four days in a row. And to think, all it took was a flat screen TV on the wall of my bedroom. Who would’ve even thought? Music doesn’t work; books don’t work (yes, I’ve tried reading on the treadmill). Saved by the Bell reruns at 8am: They Totally Work!

5. Yes, I’ve been watching old episodes of SBTB this week. I mean, now that I actually have mornings to myself: why not? They’re so great. And they keep me moving, which makes them powerful stuff. Today, I got an extra special surprise. I was watching one of the college episodes and Producer: Mark Fink flashed across the screen. I nearly fell off the treadmill. Mark Fink! (WestSide Books: STEPPING UP; THE SUMMER I GOT A LIFE). I totally know him! I met him! And he’s *such* a great guy. I also like the older episodes, because Jeannie Taylor is the script coordinator. She and my mom went to school together, and she used to send me stickers in the mail.

That makes me like, two degrees from Zack Morris, right?

I don’t even know how that works.

In the meantime, I hope you have a great weekend! And please, do *not* start a pool to bet on how long I’ll actually stay on this workout kick. I’d like to think that Zack and A. C. and Kelly are powerful enough to keep me *on* the wagon . . . er, treadmill.


Monday, September 6, 2010


This is my MOCKINGJAY post.

If you haven’t read it/finished it, you should stop reading now, because there are *spoilers*.

I’m kind of late to the game, since this released a couple of weeks ago, but I managed to stay away from the reviews and opinions of others during that time. When I did finally check to see what everyone was buzzing about, I saw that several had some of the same concerns/preferences as me.

First, let me say that despite the few things I didn’t “prefer,” this book rocked. Is it my favorite of the series? I don’t know.

Also, let me say that I’m the type of reader who wants the girl to get the guy. I enjoy tears and some drama and I’m 100% girl power. So in that regard, my Hunger Games trilogy would’ve ended with Katniss kicking some serious butt and rising to power as President of the free world. She totally would’ve taken over . . . happily ever after.

That didn’t happen, but it wasn’t *supposed* to: Katniss was being used—the entire time. I do appreciate that Suzanne Collins kept the realities of war at the forefront. I hate that the survivors were cast off; that Haymitch (still a raging alcoholic) and Katniss and Peeta were sent home, disregarded and even forgotten. It’s not the shiny, happy ending I expected. But then, that’s how life works, right? Revolutions happen, people are overthrown, but everyone eventually moves on.

I didn’t like that Katniss was never really given the opportunity to choose between Gale and Peeta. There should’ve been more drama there, I think. I wasn’t so deeply involved that I read this story just for the romance plotline—the war and the games were always at the forefront for me—but neither Gale nor Peeta gave Katniss much reason to choose either one in this chapter of the trilogy. And Gale just seemed to drop out of the way. He didn’t put up much of a fight, in my opinion. Fight for the girl, show her why she needs you: give her something to wrestle over and cry about (not that Katniss didn’t have plenty to cry about already). I just didn’t feel, in the end, that Katniss convinced us she needed Peeta.

There were a few parts that could’ve used more development—especially the places where Katniss was drugged/recovering and we had to find out what was happening from secondhand sources. That was hard for me. It was also hard to read about specific people who died (and Good God they were dropping left and right) and not see more about how it affected her. As a reader, I needed time to mourn.

I didn’t particularly care for the Epilogue, either. Yes, I like that we saw a glimpse into the future and how it works out for Peeta and Katniss, but the future was so bleak. It’s almost as if more Games are right around the corner. For me, this would’ve been better left to the imagination.

That being said, this is how the book *should’ve* ended, because the reality is that war sucks and heroes are forgotten and everyone is left to pick up the pieces and forced to move on . . . but it’s impossible because they’re forever altered. And the fact is, war happens and revolutions happen, but how fast are we to forget? To fall back into the same trap? It doesn’t take very long—and in District 12’s case, only a generation.

It’s hard to consider the end of MOCKINGJAY and feel satisfied. It doesn’t feel like I picked up a novel to escape the realities of the world; I opened it up and saw reality.

But then, that was the Point.

Collins was successful in her final book, because it ended in the most realistic way possible. I’m still thinking about it hours later. Both nights I was reading it I had nightmares. And I could barely put it down. In some places I had to remind myself to breathe. Compelling stuff, and I admire her for creating such a complex world that nearly mimics our own.

At the end of the day, Collins is the author, she knew what she was doing, and it all makes sense. It’s a fitting conclusion. I know I’m going to have to pick up the series again and read all three straight through—because there *have* to be things I missed. Maybe then some of these subtleties will show themselves and I’ll have the answers to a few of those questions that still linger.

For instance: what happened to the pearl?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Five on Friday Morning. I know, right?

1. It’s *really* quiet here. I mean, scarily quiet. My SuperGirl SideKick started Kindergarten this week, so she’s gone this morning. This is kind of hard since she’s been home with me for the last, oh, FIVE years. It’s also nice, though, because I know she’s having a blast with her friends and I actually have time to *think*.

2. The dog is licking my carpet. I have *no* idea why. I think she misses SuperGirl. This doesn’t bother me either, though, because when SuperGirl and SuperPup are together, it is *mass* chaos. The dog thinks SuperGirl is her puppy or something, so it’s constant running and jumping and climbing and claws scratching the wood floors. SuperPup is a *much* better dog without SuperGirl.
But really, this is the third time: “STOP licking my carpet you Crazy Dog!”

3. A hurricane came through last night. Well, it kind of passed overhead: nothing major. It rained most of the night and this morning it’s cloudy and a comfortable 73 degrees outside. I have the window by my chair open. It’s kind of relaxing, actually. Very Zen. I’m not sure how to handle this.

4. Borrowed my brother’s copy of MOCKINGJAY, so I will hopefully be reading it this weekend. I feel like I am the last person on the planet not to have started/finished this yet. I’m totally excited about it, obviously, but there were some other things that had to come first.

5. This is kind of a low-key entry. Truth is, I’m not really used to being up and dressed and fully functioning by 9am. Us “work at home” types are usually just rolling out of bed. The good news about being up in time for school is that my day seems longer, and I feel like I get more accomplished. The bad news? I will never see the other side of 12am again. My late nights, I think, are over.


“Bailey Dog, please *STOP* licking the carpet.”

Have a great weekend!