Sunday, May 30, 2010

Catching up on fav. authors

Ok, so you know I'm not feeling too hot when I spend an entire Sunday (even though it's pissing rain) laying about the couch with my laptop & jumping from one blog and website to another. But, and here's the gave me the chance to catch up on a few of my fav authors. Take David Levithan for example. Not only does this guy write awesome books like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with the equally talented Rachel Cohn), The Realm of Possibility and Boy Meets Boy (this one is so good...on second thought, they're all so damn good) but he's also the founding editor of Push Imprint for Scholastic, a press dedicated to finding new authors and new voices who "tell it like is is" (featuring writers like Markus Zusak for example). Of course the guy couldn't stop there and leave us poor shame-faced, inadequate, creative types to wallow in his well-earned glory. Noooo. He had to go and come up with more of his genius collaborations, this time with another fav author, John Green of An Abundance of Katherines fame. The book they collaborated on, Will Grayson, Will Grayson will be joining my precarious "to read pile" just as soon as I'm well enough to get off this couch and hit one of several local independent book stores I'm lucky enough to live near. In the meantime, you may want to check out this interview in Out with two of this decades great YA writers.

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

One of the few advantages of being sick is more reading time. So, being couch bound, surrounded by kleenex, herbal tea, and bland rice crackers, I managed to marginally whittle down my precariously high pile of books to read.

The Duff: designated ugly fat friend by Kody Keplinger is one of the ones now on my giveaway pile. This is a book sent along by my agent Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management. According to the back copy on the ARC (advanced reading copy) Kody Keplinger is younger than my kids (yikes) so it wasn't a big surprise that she has her finger on the pulse of the high school scene. But what did surprise me was Ms. Keplinger's ability to handle a complex plot and an interesting set of richly drawn characters with such sophistication.

This debut novel about being the designated ugly fat friend is a great read. The main character, 17 year old Bianca Piper is a smart, sassy, cynic considered the "duff" by high school hottie Wesley Rush. The "manwhore" of the school plans to use Bianca to hit on her two friends. The tables get turned in a most interesting way though, and Wesley finds that two can play the using game. There's a whole lot more going on in this debut novel, but I'll let you discover the rest for yourselves. Yes, The Duff has a few of the failings of a first novel (I should know...been there done that), but WOW! This is a girl who can write. Enjoy her first book when it comes out in September and definitely watch for the next.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Just finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by the late Stieg Larsson on the ferry ride home...yep, all 841 pages of it. It's one of those 'can't put it down' sort of reads. It's an incredibly well plotted, but I did sometimes find I could have lived without some of the extraneous detail. Still, Salander is one of those unforgettable characters that you just don't want to let go of. In fact, I rushed into the ferry bookstore (yes, BC ferries usually have a bookstore on board) to see if I could pick up the second in the series, The Girl Who Played With Fire. While Mikael Blomkvist (the journalist hired to investigate the forty year old mystery of the disappearance of Harriet Vanger) is engaging, I was much more drawn to Lisbeth Salanger, the punk, pierced and tattooed security researcher that can hack into pretty much any computer going. She's both tough and vulnerable so utterly real that you want to by turns shake her or give her a hug. There are some pretty graphic scenes that involve sexual violence, so sensitive souls beware. For those of you who are more visually inclined, I hear a movie is coming, but I can't imagine it doing the Stieg's complex and compelling story justice.