Thursday, April 20, 2006

This post is just to let you know I'm still alive and reading. Right now, I have the new Montmorency book at home (by Updale). Montmorency and Lord George are chasing after a thief who deals in natural specimens. I'll tell you more later.
I also read a book from the Random House Teen Voices Tour A bad boy can be good for a girl. After reading the book, I'm pretty sure the title is supposed to be sarcastic. The book is about sexual seduction and although the sex scenes are not "graphic" as in describing body parts or even naming them, there's enough nudity to make this a PG-13 and up book. Three girls are seduced by the same senior boy. The book is told in the voices of the three girls. He uses the same lines, same charms on all of them and they all fall for it - even when they know better.
I'm thinking this might be a good primer for girls who want to be fore-warned and fore-armed but I doubt any girl will see herself in this book - until it's too late.

The author, Tanya Lee Stone, will be here, at the Parkland Community Library, on Monday April 24 at 5:30 p.m. along with three other authors from the Random House Teen Voices Tour. If you're in the Lehigh Valley, stop by and listen to what the authors have to say.

Friday, April 7, 2006

I'm stuck on Okuni's questions about the responsibilities that audience members have. In the NYT this morning there was an article about how concert halls in New York are denying entry to late audience members until a break in the action. Most of these halls have a room that these late people can sit in and listen to the piped in concert or watch it on a video screen. This arrangement is an acknowledgement that some people are late due to things out of their control. But often people are late because they figure it isn't that important to get to a performance on time.
Movies, radios, TV are all media that we can use as background noise. We don't have to pay attention to those things. The performers are all so far away; we can tape the show and watch it later; we have other things on our all-important personal agendas; we have to take this cell phone call. Paying attention loses its appeal when we have to pay attention to someone else.
I'm glad the concert halls in New York are making latecomers wait outside. One of the responsibilities of an audience member is to be present and on time. Another responsibility is to Pay Attention.
Last night, Shadow Dragon and I went to see "Beauty and the Beast" at a local high school. I love live performances. I got swept up in the pageantry and the music, the dancing, the acting, the special effects. Because most of the audience were there to see someone they loved perform, they paid attention. I'm not sure they were as carried away by the romance as I was, but they behaved respectfully.
That's another responsibility of an audience. It is possible that an audience member cannot appreciate what is offered even if she pays attention. Well, then, unless the performance is a competition judged by the audience's response, she should treat the performance with respect and make her escape as unobtrusively as she can. It happens.
So, there you have it, class - bookkm's rules of audience responsibilities
Be on time
Be present
Pay attention
Behave respectfully
Oh, I forgot! How could I forget!
Show your appreciation!

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Back again, after spending some time thinking about what sunshinegirl said about overwriting. I feel that the overwriting is a symptom of many things in our society right now - not trusting the other person's imagination to be equal to one's own. Also, dumbing down experiences. In order to make the book or the editorial or the movie "reach" the widest audience, watering down the content and making the author's viewpoint accessible. (I'm getting so flustered, I'm using partial sentences here.) Sometimes my messages have been misinterpreted, (rightly, because I have been obtuse,) but sometimes the listener/reader just didn't get it. What responsiblity belongs to the audience in this case? If we don't protest all the overwritten books and the simple minded movies, won't things continue to deteriorate?

Monday, April 3, 2006

Bevador - that's what it says in chrome lettering on the big black cylinder that holds the beer at Threadgill's. There is much poetry in that. Tonight for dinner, I ate at the Threadgill's where Janis Joplin used to perform. I did not, however, get to the poetry open mic.
Bevador. Next week.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

I do not like the fact that school keeps me so eternally busy that I don't have time to do as much reading or writing as I would like. That is why I'm looking forward to this is definitely my goal to read as much as possible.
Currently, I am almost finished with Eldest, the sequel to Christopher Paolini's debut Eragon. Actually, I didn't really like Eragon, but decided to pick up Eldest because it was one of the biggest books I could find in the young adult section, and figured that it would keep me busy for a while, considering it is about dictionary-sized. I have enjoyed it much more than the first book...Paolini has definitely grown as an author since his first work. Still, his writing style seems surprsingly immature considering that both of these books of his have gotten published. He overdescribes everything...he has to learn to let some things (such as the shape of doors and the color of floors and the precise size of things) up to the readers imagination. After all, that is why reading is so much better for your brain than television; it requires thought and imagination. He has created an amazing world, and I can understand that he wants everything to be perfect, but it wouldn't hurt to lay off the descriptions in a bunch of places. Also, some of the plot is extremely predictable, and his foreshadowing blatantly obvious, but that may just be becasue I have read quite a bit in my life. Overall though, it has been mildly engrossing, and I am almost through the nearly seven hundred pages, so that's a good sign.
The only other book that I have read recently is almost half of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. My English teacher had told the class about it, after we read some of her poetry, and I decided to read it. It was quite slow going, and I didn't nearly finish. Then of course as I went to renew it, someone else had it on hold. Now it is doubtful whether or not I'll ever finish. It was a bit strange, I must admit, but it was great writing. I can really see where she was coming from, considering her life story. It does feel sometimes like women are expected to have it all together and to be smart and pretty and everthing. Think about it, men are allowed to be geniuses and spend all of their time working and thinking and reading. Women, especially professional women, are expected to have a career and a family and a social life. I think that this is part of what Sylvia Plath was trying to say, but I won't be entirely sure until I finish the book. The hold system is so annoying!

Saturday, April 1, 2006

It happened again. I picked up a book, positive that I had never read it and two pages into the book I knew that I HAD read it. But what was worse was, even though I knew I had read the book before, I couldn't remember what happened in it. In my defense, it was a Diana Wynne Jones fantasy and they are quite convoluted. Still, I used to think that I could NEVER forget a plot. I'm always telling my husband the ends of movies that we rent or see on TV.
I've decided to put a positive spin on this event and tell myself that now I'll never run out of things to read because I can start reading old books over again and they will feel almost brand new.
The book was The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones. It is so complicated that it needs two narrators, from two different universes, of course, and one of them travels to several universes before the story is over. Nature magic, some social commentary on male and female magic and doing wrong in the name of righteousness, an interesting look at the King of the Dead and an enormous upheaval at the end make this book a very good read for the dedicated fantasy lover.

I just read Kate DiCamillo's latest masterpiece (she wrote Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Desperaux). The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane follows the adventures of a well-loved but very self-centered china rabbit I know what you're thinking, another Velveteen Rabbit or story about a toy that becomes real. Not really. The story is just too well told to be dismissed that way. And if you are at all sentimental, make sure some tissues are in reach.

And why do I blog or write? Because I want to share my thoughts on the things I read with someone and not everyone wants to listen when I talk. So I journal and I blog. And I write stories because they keep me awake at night if I don't. Immortality, shimmortality! We write because we must, darn it!