Showing posts from March, 2012

I Agree That You Don't Know

Joel Stein thinks that adults shouldn't be reading books published for young adults and children.

"I’m sure all those books are well written," he writes. "So is 'Horton Hatches the Egg.' But Horton doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature written for people who have stopped physically growing." Then he goes on to explain that he doesn't actually know what any kids' books are like, because he doesn't read them, because he's a grown up. "I have no idea what The Hunger Games is like.... I don’t know because it’s a book for kids."

The condescension isn't particularly shocking -- it's commonplace. (Even the "I'm sure all those books are well written" part is condescending. Why should they all be well-written? Find me one genre of books in the publishing industry where every single book is well-written. Children's literature has the same range of quality as every other genre.) What&#…

Spring Comes (Early) to the City


Interviews, ARC Giveaways, Reviews, Perspective

In lieu of a post today, I'll link you to Cindy Pon's interview with me about Bitterblue, over at The Enchanted Inkpot. Cindy is running a Bitterblue ARC giveaway, so head over there if you're interested! Many thanks to Cindy, who asks really good questions :).

My 30-second Hunger Games movie review: I had to leave the theater around minute 90 because the camerawork was making me sick. If you're prone to motion sickness, consider taking your meds or whatever, and DO NOT sit close. The frustrating thing was that at the moment I left, they'd just entered the arena, and FINALLY there was some point to all the shaky cam, zooming, fast panning, quick cutting, deliberate unfocusedness, etc. Finally it was effective. But my body couldn't deal with it anymore at that point. Very disappointing. The one judgment I was able to form before succumbing to the horror of "Is the whole movie going to be shot like this? Oh NO," was that District 12 didn't seem all …

Some Musings on Three Books I Love

I recently reread the Hunger Games books, in anticipation of the first movie. I don't have time to write the post I'd like to write, but I'm going to give myself an hour or so to work through some of my broadest thoughts here on the blog. My reread was different from my initial readings. Nothing and no one in the books can feel the same when you know what's coming, know their fates. To be frank, my reread was devastating.

When it comes down to it, these books are about war, evil, totalitarianism, trauma and its aftermath, madness, desperation, loss. They're about how the most seemingly incorruptible good can be shattered into awfulness given the right (wrong) circumstances. They're about being broken so often that you can never fully heal, and about the enormous resilience and courage it takes to keep clinging to hope.

A disclaimer that should be obvious: there will be plenty of Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay spoilers in this post. To those readers unfam…

Working Conditions, Part Two

Sometime in January, This American Life broadcast a show called "Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory," about what Mike Daisey, creator of the theatrical piece "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," claimed to have seen while visiting a factory in China that made iPhones and iPads. It was a hugely popular show, and Daisey's work has led to a closer examination of Apple's practices -- which is a good thing. Then, this past weekend, This American Life put together a fascinating show called "Retraction," in which they retracted the previous show -- because it turns out that Mike Daisey lied to This American Life about a lot of the things he said he saw.

In the original show, Mike Daisey talked about meeting underage workers who were 12, 13, 14; a man whose hands shook from the toxins Apple compelled him to work with in the factory; factory guards armed with guns; etc. It turns out that many of the things Daisey talked about seeing first-hand, he never…

Working Conditions


This One Got Political

I wish every American who thinks we should tighten our immigration laws would watch this TED talk, in which technologist Tan Le tells her own immigration story.

Next, I don't know how many of you are familiar with what's going on right now between the Roman Catholic Church in parts of Missouri and SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. It's kind of confusing, actually. Here's an intro to the situation, ganked from an article in the New York Times: "Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists." SNAP, so far, has refused to comply, out of a commitment to the privacy of its members, who come t…

Bring Him Home

Les Miserables opened in Boston on Tuesday night, and I was there. Holy cow. I knew I'd like it a lot, because, well, it's Les Mis; but I hadn't done my homework beforehand, and was therefore completely unprepared for this stellar, stunning cast. This production didn't start on Broadway; the tour is its only USA presence. Therefore, we had the likes of J. Mark McVey as Jean Valjean (he was AMAZING). Andrew Varela, Chasten Harmon, Jeremy Hays, Betsy Morgan, Julie Benko, Max Quinlan, Richard Vida, Shawna Hamic, the ensemble singing their hearts out, the beautiful design, the beautiful orchestra -- the performance was better than some of the best I've seen on Broadway. Here are photos of the national tour.

Thank you, you wonderful, dear people, for coming to my backyard.

Do What Makes You Happy

First, it's come to my attention that Amazon has the prologue and first chapter of Bitterblue online, for anyone who wants a sneak peek.

MORE IMPORTANTLY: As you may or may not know, in conjunction with the soon-to-be-released Hunger Games movie, THERE IS NAIL POLISH. I've always been led to believe that the ultimate goal for an author is the movie deal. Now I understand that the movie deal is merely a MEANS TO A MUCH HIGHER END: NAIL POLISH. And listen, I think my books would make for some great nail polish. There are so many bright and sparkly colors! While I was trying to convince a friend of this the other day, she mentioned that Bitterblue couldn't really pull off nail polish. I must agree. (Um, if you are BONKERS about spoilers, don't read the next sentence, but really it's a joke, not a spoiler, and would be understood by anyone who'd read the first few chapters:) Helda would do Bitterblue's nails and send her off to bed, then in the morning, Bitterb…

This Week in Women

Sometimes I wonder if Rush Limbaugh is a secret liberal whose strategy is to make the far right look JUST THAT BAD.

If only. But listening to all the conversation and outrage that's followed his most recent vile contribution to the national dialogue, I can't help but feel like he's accidentally done feminism a favor. There's a lot of stuff worth reading out there, but I'll only mention a few: Here's a Slate article by Emily Bazelon about the whole thing, plus some of the positive changes that are happening these days in rape legislation. Here's a Salon article by Maureen Andrade that injects some reality and common sense into the issue of human relationships and pregnancy prevention. Both Slate and Salon have other related articles I've enjoyed reading -- poke around. Here, Tamora Pierce calls for an end to "women slut-bashing other women. Using the words that have ripped women apart for centuries." And finally, if it's all too upsetting a…

Randutiae for a Monday, Plus, a Bitterblue-related photo

First, I recommend the show "Ocean Giants" on PBS's Nature. It's about HOW AMAZING WHALES ARE. (It's also about how adorable whale videographers are, but I think that's accidental.) Did you know that bowhead whales, which are only found in the Arctic, are believed to be capable of living 200 years? They are extremely wary of humans (unlike some other kinds of whales, like right whales). The narrator of the show speculated that this could be because some of them are so old that they remember the great era of whaling! In 2007, a living bowhead whale off the coast of Alaska was found to have a harpoon embedded in its neck blubber that was manufactured in the 1890s. Just think about that.

Next, Saturday was so dark that it didn't seem like the sun was up at all, it was raining, and I woke up really needing to listen to Gustavo Santaolalla's "De Usuahia a la Quiaca" (the link plays the song automatically). It's part of the soundtrack of The M…

Coming Up with a Subject Line Requires Brain Juice

I try to avoid turning my blog into a publicity machine, but this has been the kind of week that leaves a gal uninspired, in addition to which, I have two nice pieces of news. So brace yourselves.

The first comes with a thank you -- to Kirkus Reviews, for their review of Bitterblue, which is beautiful (the review, I mean!) not just in content, but in form. At the moment, the full review is only available online to subscribers.  I'm sorry about that, because it's a really lovely review. The most spoiler-conscious among you should probably avoid it (YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), though all things considered, it manages to be nice and vague about plot. Here's a (spoiler-free) excerpt for those of you who aren't subscribers, but would like a taste: "Gorgeous, textured prose is filled with images of strange beauty and restrained horror. It propels an intricate narrative dense with subplots and rich in characters familiar and new."

The second news is a mention of Gracel…