In further moments of awesome casting, Michael Cera has been cast as the titular hero in Scott Pilgrim's Little Life, Edgar Wright's adaptation of the graphic novel series of nearly the same name.
Well, we all know how I feel about Michael Cera. (In case you missed the memo, I love him.) And the Scott Pilgrim series is one I've been meaning to get to for ages. So now I will stop procrastinating.
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr Grafitti Girl by Kelly Parra
Sadly, I've only read Wicked Lovely, though I'm pretty sure I have a copy of the Elkeles lying around here somewhere and I KNOW I have a copy of Graffiti Girl (again, lying around here somewhere). There are a couple of YA titles on the Best First Book list, too.
They seek, in short, to do for America's public signage what spell-check software has done for interoffice e-mail: smarten it up and make it easier on the eye. Their weapons: Wite-Out, markers, ink pens, tape, and nerves of steel.
"I figured, Steinbeck had his dog and Kerouac had his drugs. I'd have my typos," said the 28-year-old Deck of what he calls his Typo Hunt Across America tour.
Juniors T. C. Keller, Augie Hwong and Alejandra Perez's English assignment is to write an essay entitled My Most Excellent Year*. The book is comprised of those essays, of diary entries, transcripts of their IM sessions, letters, notes between their parents, student advisers and others, emails and other related documents. It's split into alternating chapters, so we get the story from all three perspectives.
But even though Augie and I had never talked to each other before, he was the only one who knew what to say and how to say it. (Everybody else thought they could get away with blowing smoke up my ass about Guardian Angels and Eternal Paradise, like my mother had gone on a Princess Cruise.) ... Well, anybody who can pull off something like that for you isn't just a best friend--that's brother territory. So Augie told his mom and dad that they had a new son, and I told Pop the same thing. Screw biology.
My father and I are both ABCs (American-born Chinese), but that's where the resemblance ends. He once played Bruce Lee in a college production of Dragon, and I once played Ethel Merman in a living room musicale for Grandma Lily.
Naturally there were bound to be a few conflicts with Papa, Mamita, and Forever Flawless Carlos. The family business depended on tact and diplomacy, and meanwhile they were raising a ten-year-old activist who could find a social issue in a box of Kleenex. After I'd told the Korean ambassador that I had little use for either half of military Korea but at least the south knew how to say "May I?" before they shot you, I was persona non grata all along Embassy Row.
Among other things, over the course of their ninth grade year: T.C. falls in love and meets a six-year-old boy who can predict (with perfect accuracy) which balls T.C. should swing at, Augie falls in love, figures something out about himself that everyone else (his parents, T.C., his friends) have known pretty much forever, and Alé (surprise!) falls in love and comes to terms with the fact that her vision of her future doesn't at all resemble her parents' vision of her future.
Fans of Last Days of Summer will recognize a lot of subjects and themes: family (not just the families we are born into, but the families we choose and the families we create), baseball, musical theater, Japanese internment camps, friendship, politics and true love. I do think My Most Excellent Year could have been a bit tighter and for me, it didn't quite reach the same heights as Last Days of Summer. But it had me grinning most of the way through, occasionally made me guffaw and yes, got me a little bit teary here and there. The word 'heartwarming' generally makes me want to barf, but in this case, it's very definitely accurate. It's a most excellent romantic comedy, and will be a totally enjoyable springtime read.
Oh, a note: I loved it that Augie's coming out was never an issue. That angle of the book made it fall into avengingsybil's "Gay = Yay!" genre. Which is such a nice thing -- I'm always glad to find more books to put onto that list.
*Actually, the assignment originally was to write an essay entitled "My Totally Excellent Year", but as T. C. says, that "would have been like so 1995", so they changed it.
What preparation do you do before writing? I procrastinate in spades. In my defence, I also try to have all other distractions solved before I can concentrate on writing. My small theory is that to write for three hours, you need to feel like you have three days. To write for three days, you need to feel like you've got three weeks, and so on. Ultimately, though, it's the feeling in my stomach that's similar to the night before the school assignment is due...and you haven't started yet. That's my preparation.
He's Thomas Sangster, who I just saw (last night!) in a Doctor Who two-parter*:
I could see him being a good Tintin.
*Which I liked a lot, by the way. And one that followed it up, "Blink", was my favorite of Season Three so far -- I love it that there are occasional episodes that don't star the Doctor. And the Weeping Angels were REALLY creepy, especially before they got all fangy.
I read about the relaunch a while back, promptly forgot* about it, and then received review copies of the firsttwo in the mail yesterday. I read the first chapter of the very first book. (That was all I could handle at the moment. I'll go back for more later.)
They may have changed some things -- the Wakefield twins are no longer "a perfect size six", now they're (get ready...) "a perfect size four"** -- but wow, they haven't changed Jessica Wakefield. She's still a bitch.
Massie Block would love her. And that, I guess, is exactly why they're being re-released.
I'd be tempted to read them purely for snark purposes, but that's what we've got The Dairi Burger for. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably break down anyway.
There's a fantastic round-up of responses (as well as Gwenda's own response) over at Shaken & Stirred. Don't miss it.
*I, personally, wasn't a SVH girl -- I read a couple of them in middle school, said "Wow, these suck!" and went on a two year fantasy*** and Stephen King kick.
**Yes, yes, sizes have changed. You know what? I don't care. It's gross.
***Not that read my share of the craptastic over my middle school years -- I went through all of the Xanth books. Four times. Each. At least. Also, I read four billion Doctor Who novelizations, but I still maintain that those all achieve a very high level of literary excellence.
Plotwise: Someone is murdering ley line witches, Ivy's vampirism is making living with her difficult, an extremely dangerous pizza-making master vampire has taken an interest in Rachel, the demon Rachel tangled with last time is back, Rachel thinks she's got a chance to nail Trent Kalamack for murder, and she looks into Kalamack's mysterious background.
Okay. Sadly, this one really didn't do it for me. I felt that the Last Book Recap was far, far too long, so that made the first third of the book kind of, well, dull. I got the distinct feeling that the Ivy-goes-vampy-and-attacks-Rachel scene is going to happen again and again and again, and it's already feeling kind of old. Also, I should just get over myself, but there were a LOT of typos in the edition I read, and it was distracting.
But my main problem is this: I hate Nick Sparagmos. I hate him, hate him, hate him. I don't understand why Rachel is dating him, he's untrustworthy at best, and also just plain lame. He might be book smart, but he has no common sense, and I think it wouldn't take much of a push for him to go over to the Dark Side.
If he goes away** later on, I'll be much more likely to continue with the series. I really like the world Kim Harrison has created, the politics and the magic system. For the most part, I like the characters. The action is well done, and the big sex scene in this one (while a tad long, didn't feel gratuitous -- well, much) wouldn't have even made me blink if it had been with pretty much anyone BUT stupid Nick Sparagmos.
I am very curious about the history between Rachel's father and Kalamack's father, as well as possible team-ups between Rachel and Kalamack and especially Rachel and Quen. And I do love the pixies. So, yeah. I talked myself into it. I'll probably continue with the series.
*Against her better judgment, my lovely co-worker finally taught me the official KFL procedure for ILLing materials. Now she's worried that she's created a monster. Honestly, she may have.
**I'd prefer to see him get killed off, but I'd settle for a move to Japan or something.
Weird Tales came up with the list, which includes some authors/illustrators well-known in the children's/YA world: Dr. Seuss, Madeline L'Engle, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl, Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, Shirley Jackson...
Um, yeah, you should probably just click through before I re-type the whole thing.