Saturday, November 22, 2008

second chances and strange requests

I'm at the point in my reading life where I give up on a book if it doesn't interest me. I'll give it 25 pages before tossing the book aside.

I've been feeling very guilty because I did that to Tamora Pierce's book The will of the Empress. The characters that I've known and loved through the Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens series are so annoyingly teenaged in this book (like Harry Potter is extremely annoying in HP and the Order of the Phoenix) that I couldn't abide reading about them. Time, and the fact that the next book has come out, has mellowed me and I'm trying again. This time, the book is great fun and I'm enjoying every word. Lesson learned: second chances should be given to authors you know and trust.

This week, I went to my first Minnesota Library Association convention. One of the sessions I attended was about romance novels. Being one of those people who sticks my nose up in the air when romances are asked for/discussed, you can imagine my shock when the presenter (Jennifer Brannen from St. Paul Public Library) of When love hurts: taking the pain out of romance RA (reader's advisory--you know, when you ask the librarian to recommend a good book) actually grabbed my interest and piqued my curiosity with, oh horror, a romance! She read the opening of Julia Quinn's Romancing Mister Bridgerton and it was funny, well-written and made me want to read the book!!!!! This morning, for the first time ever, I requested a romance...and I lived to tell about it. I'll keep you posted.

I also heard Will Weaver speak at a breakfast meeting and, from what I remember (I'm barely coherent at 7:00 a.m. after waking at 5: 40 a.m.), he was very enjoyable. I checked out Saturday night dirt, his new young adult novel about stock car racing. He managed to talk his publishers (Farrar Strauss & Giroux) into sponsoring a race car which is parked in front of the schools/stores where he is appearing. How cool is that?

I'm looking ahead to a week of vacation with lots of sewing time (a new winter coat!), furniture building (a trundle for my daybed) and reading. Does it get any better than that?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spirited girls (or is it naughty?)

There is a trio of young girls, original thinkers and independent in their actions, who are (or should be) popular with young readers.

First is Junie B. Jones, created by Barbara Park. Junie starts off as a kindergartner who ages to a first grader after many kindergarten adventures. Junie is full of enthusiasm, doesn't always use proper grammar and is, sometimes, a powerful advertisement for birth control but she is also entertaining and very appealing to young readers. I laughed until the tears were rolling down my cheeks when I read her first adventure, Junie B. Jones and the stupid smelly bus. Her experience with the crutches during her first visit to the nurse's office was priceless. Her first day was so horrendous that it is a wonder she ever went back....

Next is Clementine, created by Sara Pennypacker. Clementine is a third grader, a regular visitor to the principal's office because of a small problem with paying attention. She lives in an apartment building, her father is the caretaker, with her parents and her younger brother who is always referred by a vegetable name. Clementine is full of brilliant ideas which often include her neighbor Margaret, a fourth grader who often pays the price for Clementine's brilliance. Clementine always means well and is blessed with a good heart, even if her judgment is a little questionable.

Last, is Moxy Maxwell, ten year old twin sister of Mark, an aspiring photographer. Moxy is a championship procrastinator with very funny results. In Moxy Maxwell does not love Stuart Little, Moxy spends the entire summer avoiding her summer reading assignment. On the last day of her vacation, Moxy has to face the book she is sure she will hate (she doesn't). In Moxy Maxwell does not love writing thank-you notes, Moxy's mother gives her one day (the day before she leaves for Los Angeles to visit her father, the first time she's seen him in three years) which Moxy fills with packing, using her stepfather's new (and forbidden) printer/copier and a fair share of ten-year-old drama.

All three girls are wonderful companions and great fun to read. And spirited girls are a rarity in this world and they should be encouraged!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

at long last...

I checked my request list this morning and, hurrah! hurrah!, Lorna Landvik's new book, Tis the season, will be arriving today! Suddenly, all my plans for sewing and cleaning and baking have evaporated and I will be spending the next several evenings stretched out on my new daybed (thanks to JAN and FAF for assembling it for me--the best friends anyone could ever have!) with my nose in a book!

I first "met" Lorna when I read Patty Jane's House of Curl. Patty Jane was the reincarnation of my Aunt Verlie so I loved spending time in her company. It is such fun to read a book and know the neighborhoods, the stores, the restaurants, the clothes, the music and on and on.

If you have a chance to hear Lorna Landvik speak, just get in the car and go. She is gorgeous, warm and extremely funny...and she gives out chocolate kisses to anyone who asks a question or makes a comment on her books.

So don't call me, don't send an email, I'm going to be busy for the rest of the week.