First, one from Bookpeople - A massive independent bookstore in Austin, Texas who are "proud purveyors of Austin's famously weird vibe"
I'm down with that.
And secondly, Colleen Mondor, whose blog Chasing Ray fulfills my smart YA and adventures-in-remote-places needs:
These are batch reviews, and the other books in the batch look like corkers - particularly Ron Koertge's Deadville - I love his books but they are rare as hen's teeth in these here parts.
EB comes out in the UK today! And there's been some pommie love too:
Book 3 goes snarly. I'm writing in circles again. It could be the weather, or because I have a crick neck... or it could be because I still don't know exactly how I can write what I'm writing. I have done a kind of plan but I like to keep things loosey-goosey, allow for the element of surprise. I'm less worried about this faff-writing now, though, because it's book 3, and faffing is part of my process (must remember to put that on the next grant application!) So. Crap words today may come golden tomorrow. I hope. I have signed up for week-long workshop at the end of January and I bloody better have something to work with.
Meanwhile I have been reading books by Megan Abbott. It's like having a Mildred Pierce party. Look at her lovely lovely covers
Starts like this:
I rarely feel the urge to respond to articles in UK Elle magazine, but a recent ‘My World in 24 hours’, featuring Lenny Kravitz, got me thinking about lifestyle and wondering about mine…or if I even had one. Lenny, in case you’ve forgotten, once had a hit single, married actress Lisa (The Cosby Show) Bonet and might have been slugged by Mickey Rourke back when ‘sexy’ meant stonewash and acne-pitted complexions. In 1989, Lenny was like Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Terence Trent D’Arby stuffed into a snakeskin jumpsuit. He’s 44 now and, as the article claims, lives his life “to the full in New York”. I’m 36 and live my life semi-consciously in a mid-size country town, but the contrasts don’t end there ...
NB: A disclaimer. When I wrote about Megan Follows' facial tics, I meant Shanae Grimes. I blame Shania.
This is my first attempt at trying to be a freelance writer type. I had the idea that I would write heaps of these and send them off willy-nilly ... but then I started working in earnest on Book Three and that gets dibs on any freewheeling brain power. Maybe later.
Bob Dylan and Barry Feinstein's Hollywood Foto Rhetoric -
And W got this:
In other news: I read Charles Willeford's Sideswipe. It's genius.
"Hoke showered, slipped into slacks and a sport shirt, and walked to the Tropic Shop in the Ocean Mall to see if his jumpsuits were ready yet. he had ordered two yellow poplin jumpsuits when he bought his surfer trunks, but had asked the shop owner to have the sleeves cut off and hemmed above the elbow. This was Hoke's first positive step towards simplifying his life. He would wear one of the jumpsuits one day, wash it at night, and then wear the other one the next day. That way he wouldn't need any underwear ..."
I also have to say that as far as last lines go, Willeford rules the world. You'll have to read it to see what I mean.
Santa also brought me a blisteringly good review of Everything Beautiful from the Sydney Morning Herald. Here 'tis:
It is good and hot. Yesterday I swam in the local waterhole and it was divoon.
2. (because I loves a visual and the note under 'imagine')
My life is meaningful because I have friends and family that love me. I might not have a lot of money but I don't need any because I'm happy with everything that I've got.
My life is also meaningful as I like to read funny blogs and videos like the book trailer for Everything Beautiful. X]
Camp at the beginning of Year 7 was my worst – they had it at the start of the year to help everyone get to know each other, which in my opinion was a terrible idea. In the course of three days, I managed to:
1. Become entangled in the ‘spiders web’ – a group activity where you have to wriggle through gaps between ropes. I was the last, after everyone else had gotten through to the other side. And, believe me, it was the pressure of everyone watching me, that made me somehow end up hanging by my arm, with fifteen classmates I didn’t know resisting the urge to laugh. The teacher actually did laugh. It was mortifying.
2. My birthday fell in the middle of camp, and my parents brought up cake. At dinner, when everyone sang happy birthday and watched me blow out the candles, a girl sitting on my table pointed out I had food in my teeth. I’m pretty sure it was spinach. I was smiling a lot, which it made it all the more worse.
3. A girl was moved into the cabin I was in, for talking in hers. We pretended to be asleep when the teacher brought her in, but resumed talking as soon as she left. Of course, it just so happens I’m remarking on how a certain girl dressed like a tart – and it was the girl who’d just come into our room. It got worse. I spent fifteen minutes insisting the girl in the room with us was a different girl than the one I was talking about. I learnt a very valuable lesson about shutting up, which was later forgotten.
4. I became the lost when the group was on a nighttime nature walk. I figured I’d find them sooner or later, but made the most of being by myself and began to sing, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt.’ Really, I’m quite the moron. I’d actually wandered ahead (god knows how) and luckily was only heard by one boy. Who’d been sent ahead to find me when the rest of the group stopped. Oh, yes.
5. I fell into the lake with my clothes on. The lake was about a metre deep, and filled with mud. I managed to crawl back to camp with one of my friend’s laughing deliriously, and my muddy clothes were hung on the fence outside our cabin. I discovered muddy clothes turn stiff when they dry.
I think you can gather from these five instances (and believe me, there are many more) that I’m extremely self-unaware and a klutz. I say awkward things at the most inopportune moments. And camp only exacerbates it, considering I never get any sleep.
(Sorry for the extremely long comment. If you could find it in your heart to forgive me…)
"Anyone wanting to have a go at Howell for writing dirty subversive teenage literature had better read the book to the very end ..."
Dang! I'm trying to write dirty subversive teenage literature!!
and this was nice:
"Everything Beautiful is bound to appeal to all the young girls who drink, sleep around, do drugs, and read.
(What is she trying to say? That they don't read? Or so few do that it's worth noting?)
It's funny, too because it's all about the content and nothing about style (or maybe the style - there is some, honest - gets swamped by the content. Or maybe that's just a YA problem - as in a problem of older people, possibly parents of wilful teenagers reviewing and not the target audience. (Though having said that, a young girl from Minnesota said EB was "boring and lacking in action for most of it" so maybe I'm better off if people get the shudders at mentions of pole-dancers and Jagermeister.)
Ack. It's all so subjective.