caycepollard: (books)
( Oct. 26th, 2009 04:17 pm)
These are mostly YA. I was on a kick, I think because I read some snippy review of a YA book somewhere that was all 'This is really, really good for a YA NOVEL,' as if there's no dreck in srs grown-up literature.

First, half a review: The Spellbook of Listen Taylor. )

The Secret Twin )

The Forest of Hands and Teeth )

Finally, I read Devilish, by Maureen Johnson. I have nothing spoilery to say about it. It involves demons and highschool girls and is very funny. Unlike some of the books described here, it is very clearly a YA novel, although I think anyone who enjoyed demons and humor might get a kick out of it. Light stuff, but yummy, not unlike the cupcake on the cover.
caycepollard: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2009 09:10 am)
[personal profile] beer_and_research and I are planning to do NaNo again this year. I wasn't going to officially sign up, I was just going to sort of muddle along in November on my own, but then I saw the Pep Talk list for this year. Emails from Jasper Fforde, Maureen Johnson, Gail Carson Levine, Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce on the topic of writing, appearing in MY inbox? Yes please.

Why do NaNo? My personal motivations are highly similar to my sister's:

Inner Voice: But Sally, you write all the time. Why is NaNoWriMo such a big deal?
Me: Lots of writers joining together on the internet to suffer and create together! A deadline that feels more hardcore than the ones I give myself.
IV: I see.
Me: Also, I'm just a tad bit competitive. If my writing buddies get ahead, it spurs me on to write more.
IV: What if you get distracted by a cute little story idea in a fetching outfit?
Me: I won't flirt with it! I'll stay true to my NaNo Novel. I swear.
IV: We'll see...

I think the real charm of NaNo is that a whole bunch of people who are PROBABLY #lofnotc, I'm just guessing here, get very excited about trying to write novels. Does everybody have a novel in them? Sure. Is it a good novel? No. Do I care? No. It's about making up stories. I think there's something fundamentally good about people sitting down and trying to make up stories, and telling each other stories, and participating in the act of storytelling together. NaNo is a giant virtual fire circle, around which we all sit and raise our voices in telling tales. I've read some awesome stuff that's come out of NaNo, and I've read some real crap. It is a MONTH-LONG PARTY ON THE INTERNET about WRITING. That is the point, from my perspective.

Here are some useful and amusing NaNo tools:

Write or Die: I am more charmed that this exists than I am likely to use it. You type words into a box. If you're not typing, the background slowly turns an angry red. There are Other Consequences.

Some word meters for keeping track of progress.

Also, Scrivener has a special deal for NaNo participants. Scrivener can only be used on Macs. Cue tears. Recommended free software for Windows Users includes yWriter, which supposedly has all kinds of handy methods for organizing various projects.

So, anyone else on board this year?
caycepollard: (Default)
( Sep. 16th, 2009 09:19 am)
Book Meme )

This one was ganked from [profile] the_blue_fenix

And another book meme. )
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books
From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq

Fernando Baez

On the cover, Noam Chomsky is quoted as saying this is the best book written on this subject, and I am not one to argue with Chomsky. This is a book for people who love books, but it's a bit like urging a humanitarian to read a comprehensive account of genocide throughout human history. Tread carefully. Prepare to mourn. The loss recorded within is devastating. Blow after blow, library after library, collection after collection destroyed, as empires fall and are rebuilt, emperors and monarchs ascend and descend, and people simply change their minds. Religion burns books, as does anti-religion. Authors burn their own books, or order their wives, children, and friends to burn them after they are dead. People burn books because they think the books are dangerous, they burn them as acts of vandalism, and they burn them as acts of damnatio memoriae - the conscious, specific act of removal from memory.

I've been a bit obsessed with memory and personal record keeping lately, and as I held this book I felt a compulsion to own it. I will have to buy another copy before I turn this one back in to the library. A history of lost things is a way of keeping the things.

A side-note: wherever people have burned books, other people have fought to preserve them. Hidden beneath false covers, enclosed behind hidden panels, even buried in caves and tombs, throughout history, people have risked and sacrificed their lives to preserve books.

These excerpts are merely a sampling, a few tastes of this history of the destruction of books.

Wherever I couldn't turn a page because I was so struck with something I'd read, I stuck in a bit of paper to mark the spot. )


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