Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Best Week: Not the Books, but the Readers

My Best Week number TWO!

What do you know—it's about books. I'm liking this trend.

So LAST last week there was a glut of fantastic YA book events in DC, starting with Libba Bray's Politics and Prose event for the release of THE DIVINERS
…and continuing through the weekend's National Book Festival on the mall with JOHN GREEN and LOIS LOWRY and MAGGIE STIEFVATER (and a dozen others).

I don't bring my camera to these things; I apologize.

But really, pictures aren't the point! The point is, I had the opportunity to listen to intelligent, witty authors whose work I admire, in the company of intelligent, witty FYA@DC book club friends (and on Sunday, a long-abroad, just-moved-to-DC, dear teen-hood friend).

Not to mention, I got to see Nerdfighteria nuclear-grade meltdowns at the mere APPEARANCE of John Green*. Not since I saw BSB in their hey-day have I seen so many teen-girl-tears—although this time the tears weren't, thank goodness, mine.

[nostalgia for sale here, if you were so inclined]
Despite John Green's nerdstar status, however, the highlight of my NBF experience has to be watching this pattern unfold in the teen tent on Saturday, in the questions&comments period following each author's talk:
Commenter 1 (to Walter Dean Myers, Library of Congress Children's Literature Ambassador, author of 105 published novels, beloved by many generations): I just loved [insert book title here], and how you wrote the characters, and how…and how… [breaks down into tears]…and I just wanted to thank you, and…
WDM: [serious, gracious, patient] Thank you. 
 Commenter 2 (to Lois Lowry, author of the award winning hard-hitters THE GIVER and NUMBER THE STARS, venerable and beloved by many, etc. etc.): The experience of reading your books, and the heart you put into them, and…[voice breaks with emotion]…I just wanted to thank you so much
LL: [serious, gracious, patient] Thank you.
Commenter 3 (to Maggie Stiefvater, current YA star and author of many beloved books, including the very moving Printz honor winner, THE SCORPIO RACES): I…[pause]…
Maggie: [incredulous] Are you CRYING?!?**
Maggie Stiefvater, ladies and gentlemen. Classic.

Annnnd then we all went for pizza. FYA girls, not Maggie (we wish).

And there's My Best Week, numero dos! See you allllll later.

* srsly: check out the NBF Tumblr tag for proof.
** though I will hasten to point out, while abrupt, this was not mocking or negative—whatever the commenter WAS doing (I couldn't see over there), Maggie's response broke the ice in a GOOD way. I promise.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ghosting…erm, GUESTING at The Adventures of Cecilia Bedelia

Me writing words for blogs, TWICE in one week? Clutch your pearls, folks!

It's all steampunk all the time at The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia this week, and I have a guest post up today, in which I wax erratic (and maybe MAYBE a bit poetic) on the inimitable talents of Kelly Link and Libba Bray and the beauty of writing genre stories in which the genre is incidental.

Go read about it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Best Week: Laughter in the Dark

New layout! New feature! New…erm, season!

It's fall. L'automne. No more heinous heat and humidity. No more tornado…oh, what? There's a tornado watch over DC/MD today? …Oh.

Well. No more heinous heat and humidity, at least. And look! Here I am! With a shiny new blog feature I think I really can keep up with!

I'm calling it the very imprecise-yet-snappy MY BEST WEEK, and the idea is, when a week or so has gone by since my last post, I'll come back to tell all about the best thing that I was in some way a part of in the seven-ish days prior.

Today I have TWO things, because I am an over-achiever.

Best Thing 1:

PITCH PERFECT screening with FYA@DC book club friends last Wednesday, graciously set up by the lovely ladies at Forever Young Adult.

Guys. Guys. GUYS. PITCH PERFECT is so.very.crazy.good. SO GOOD. And SURPRISING, which is always the best part of a good funny story. Surprisingly good singing/vocal arrangements; surprising cameos; surprising abstention from formulaic plot points. Surprising…erm, projections. (I'll let those moments themselves spoil you when you OBVIOUSLY EVENTUALLY SEE IT)

Thank you again, ye goddesses at FYA HQ, for showering big book club cities with PITCH PERFECT screening love.

And you're welcome, Universal Pictures, for ALL OF THE MONEY I will be spending to see the movie again and again and again once it's released for real.

Best Thing 2:

So I read a lot of middle grade, and love a lot of middle grade, and recognize the technical wizardry of a lot of middle grade, but I forget how easy it is to forget what it's like to be ten and find the perfect book that just worms its way into your brain from page one and is THE BEST THING EVER.

Well, no longer.

I've been feeding one of my fifth grade tutoring students lists of potential "fun" books she might like to pick up whenever she finishes with THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, and even though it wasn't even released when I first told her about it, and therefore couldn't offer an informed opinion of any sort, this bright, off-the-walls energetic ten-year-old girl was figuratively DYING to get her hands on a copy of Ellis Weiner's THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA:

Holy BELLS did Weiner and Chronicle Books hit the nail square in the middle with this one. Every paragraph, every irritated narratorial aside, every satiric beat of the questions for review at the end of the four not-actually-prologue Prologues…perfect. My student was literally rolling off her chair laughing.

It was incredible. I mean, INCREDIBLE. I have all these dreams about kids getting their hands on wonderful books and really GETTING them and LOVING them, but it's been so long since I've seen it first hand, I'd forgotten how viscerally moving it is.

So I left my (library!) copy with her. I mean, even if she loves it to destruction (which I think she is far too excited about taking care of it to do), I'm willing to pay the replacement fees to engender that kind of enthusiasm for reading.

So. There it is. Entry one in MY BEST WEEK.

See you all for the next one.

Intense Debate Comments