Monthly Archives: March 2011

Even Perez Hilton Can Publish A Children’s Book

Perez HiltonMore than a year ago, I let you all in on a little secret: My mom’s reading wasn’t all the stuff of highfalutin literature. She had her fair share of guilty pleasures from Entertainment Weekly and People magazine to Perez Hilton. But I’m not sure even she could get behind a Perez Hilton children’s book.

Yet write a children’s book Perez will do according to the L.A. Times. He’s already a published author with a book out called Red Carpet Suicide. Penguin will publish the blogger’s newest venture, which is called The Boy With The Pink Hair.

Penguin describes it as such:

“The Boy With Pink Hair” is the story of a child born with a shock of fabulous hair that sets him apart from his peers. While some find this difference hard to accept or understand, “The Boy With Pink Hair” uses the opportunity to find what makes him special and share it with the world. The children’s book is illustrated with vibrant retro-feeling art by first-time illustrator Jen Hill, putting into pictures the fun that comes with embracing individuality.

While that sounds just lovely and all and I have certainly read my fair share of PerezHilton.com, I have also seen the crude drawings he has posted. This is the person writing a children’s book? We live in a weird, weird world.

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The Chosen One Gets Recommended

The Chosen OneLast night, Maggie and Stephanie hosted book club. Not only did we eat delicious breakfast for dinner, but we also squeezed in some discussion of The Wednesday Sisters. Most felt, as I did, that the story was a little predictable. However, we liked how relatable  the characters are and got more into the story as it went along. A few people confessed to crying. I was not one of those people, but that’s just me.

After we wrapped up our Wednesday Sisters conversation, we moved on to summer plans, eBay auctions and the book Stacy had just read that she thought she probably borrowed from me. It turned out to be Carol Lynch Williams’ The Chosen One, which is on my mom’s list, and she did borrow it from me, though I haven’t read it yet.

It’s a young adult novel that follows 13-year-old Kyra who has been raised in an isolated polygamist cult. Stacy really liked it and was fascinated by a culture so different from ours. That led to a discussion about Sister Wives and eventually ended with a little harmless gossip. All in a day’s work for book club.

Lessons learned: Book club rarely stays on topic and I should look forward to The Chosen One.

Overly Ambitious Plane Reading Plans

A Gate at the StairsIn the words of my friend Tory, “Epic adventures with old friends all weekend. No time to write.” Except substitute “no energy to write” in for that last part. After two cross country flights (one that started with a 4:45 am wake-up call yesterday), delicious food, and more glasses of wine then I can count, I’m back from my great West Coast trip and trying to catch up on real life and sleep.

Before I give up completely on writing coherent sentences, though, I must say I was a bit over ambitious in my reading predictions for the weekend. I figured since I don’t sleep well on planes I would get through at least one, if not two, books on my flights. I have been known to consume many a book on my travels. But I learned via my Virgin America experience the last few days that sometimes my love of reading is no match for the lure of a flickering TV screen in front of me. I’d like to say I passed up more reading to watch something worthwhile or at least non-embarrassing. However, if that were true, then I wouldn’t be as well versed in Teen Mom 2 and E! News as I am.

All that being said, I’m well into A Gate At The Stairs and enjoying it. It’s not a quick read, but much more than I thought it would be. More to come when I finish. For now, re-hydration and rest are in order.

Westward Bound This Weekend

Napa ValleyI have been quite the jet-setter so far this year, eh? Well it continues tomorrow as I leave the rainy East Coast for… the rainy West Coast!

Laura and I will be visiting Tory in San Francisco with a brief jaunt to Napa thrown in there. Laura is leaving for the Peace Corps in Africa (!) this summer so a big reunion was necessary before she left us and the good ol’ US of A.

However, this will be quite the quick trip. I leave tonight and return early Monday so airport + plane time may just about equal actual California time. Ah well, it’s quality not quantity that counts. And as always, the airport + plane time gives me plenty of reading time. This weekend I’ll be starting A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore, a book my mom recommended a long time ago that I finally got around to buying. If that’s not enough to hold me over for two cross-country flights, I’ve also got The Finkler Question loaded onto my Kindle.

I’ll be squeezing in as much reading as I can while squeezed into the plane seat because in between flights it will be nothing but good food, good wine, and great company!

Next Up: Drinking: A Love Story

Drinking: A Love StoryNormally, I’m against there being two colons in my post’s title, but I had to make an exception.

After so much fiction, I decided to take on one of the many memoirs on my mom’s list next. I’ll be reading Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp about the author’s struggle with alcoholism.

If this title sounds familiar, it’s probably because I’ve mentioned it before. Caroline Knapp is the subject of a new book called Let’s Take The Long Way Home in which Gail Caldwell celebrates her now deceased best friend’s life.

While Drinking: A Love Story is the next book on my mom’s list I’m planning to read, I may have to squeeze in another book or two. Thanks to a Groupon to Barnes and Noble and a bit of an e-book spree, I’ve bought many books I’m excited to read in a short amount of time. Fortunately, I’ve got enough time for it all.

My Favorite Series Gets a Prequel

Boxcar ChildrenWell before I read Stieg Larsson, even before I read Mary Higgens Clark and Agatha Christie, I devoured Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children. That makes it sound like I ate little Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, but really I just loved the series. It was probably my first taste of mysteries and I couldn’t get enough of those orphaned children and their exploits.

Now the series is (sort of) being resurrected. GalleyCat reports that award-winning children’s author Patricia MacLachlan will be writing a prequel to The Boxcar Children series. The book will be published in September 2012 just in time for the 70-year anniversary of the series’ debut.

While I’m probably just a tad too old to go back to The Boxcar Children, it makes me happy to know that a new generation will be introduced to those clever kids.

That Time I Read a Book In 24 Hours

RaptureThat time I read a book in 24 hours was this past weekend. That book was Rapture by Susan Minot.

My mom simply had Susan Minot’s name on her list, leaving me to pick the specific title. The only Minot title I recognized was Evening. For whatever reason, the fact that there is a movie based on the book that I can’t remember if I’ve seen parts of while flipping the channels on TV made me not want to read it.

Instead I went for Rapture. The speed with which I read it should not be taken for an infatuation that drove me to read it feverishly. The speed has everything to do with the fact that the book is a mere 128 pages. It’s more novella than novel. This is pretty much why I picked Rapture in the first place. (The best part of reading a 128 page book on my Kindle is that almost every time I turned the page my progress increased by 1%. It’s so satisfying.)

The book is described as such:

Using a single interlude–a brief encounter of old lovers; two bodies entwined on a bed at midday–Minot defines the distance that erupts at what seems to be the height of connection, as well as the extent to which the senses deceive, and the intensely private eroticism of fantasy and the imagination. Minot’s lovers are mesmerizing in their individual journeys–one moving toward a kind of holy consummation, the other toward abnegation and blank despair. This is the wayward history of their efforts to make contact with each other while deluding themselves about the nature of the contact they’re making. Graphic, erotic, provocative, Rapture is a meditation on romantic love, sex, and their reflections in the life of the mind.

So yes maybe it was an odd choice of reading material for me, it being outside of my typical preferences. But did I mention it was only 128 pages?

The book takes place entirely during a sex act between Kay and Benjamin during which both reflect on their rocky affair up until this point. The purpose seems to be to show how one relationship can be viewed so differently based on the perspective.

As this was a book picked sort of off my mom’s list, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I did not want to think about my mom reading this book. For more explanation, re-read the official description as well as mine above.

Not that I was shocked. It was not particularly scandalizing. And, despite how quickly I got through it, not something I particularly enjoyed. For being a brief 128 pages, it rambled. The characters thoughts wandered and went over the same issues over and over again. There was little to no dialogue (a definite Robin no-no), I didn’t find the characters that interesting, and nothing really came together.

I’m not someone who craves a lot of action, but maybe I just needed something more to happen.