Monday, May 31, 2010

Almost Forgot!

I realized today that I hadn't rambled about my trip up to the Virginia Hamilton Conference at my now-alma mater Kent (woot! degree!). It was awesome. Not only did I get to see my friends' house & dog (both of which were FAR cooler than photographs could have shown... seriously, they're remodeling that house posh), but I also got to meet one of my most-favorite authors ever: Laurie Halse Anderson! And I twittered the whole thing like a freakin' junkie. Oops. But here's the play-by-play.
  • From the first evening/ signing: YAAAY!!! Just met @halseanderson and only cried A LITTLE! I did manage to tell her that speak saved my life. :')
  • Accidentally sent this 2 myself not twitter: Pam Munoz Ryan's speech made me all weepy. Really touching! But i'm such a human hosepipe.
That evening, we had desserts (I'm pretty sure I ate at least three people's share of chocolate-dipped strawberries) and listened to Pam Munoz Ryan speak (who was just wonderful and heartfelt), followed by an hour of a Kent-based band... they were somewhat African-influenced, but really a fusion of many styles. Very danceable, but I certainly didn't want to be the only person over the age of two groovin' in there, so I just chair-wiggled a bit and clapped.

The next morning, my friend Lisa had made me cinnamon streusel muffins, so it's not like I could turn THOSE down! (and oh my goodness they were worth it) So I made it a bit late to Pam Munoz Ryan's author chat, but still sidled in to hear about her writing process and all those pieces I normally enjoy learning more about.

It's been long enough now that I can't remember everything that Laurie Halse Anderson talked about in hers, but it was, of course, very funny and extremely intelligent. Once again, it's always so much fun to hear an author speak when you really know their work... you can see how the voice in the two matches up.
  • From the author chat in the morning: @halseanderson was freaking hilarious today! And of course, insightful etc etc hehehe

Lunch was Lebanese food and uncomfortable conversation with a bunch of other loners at the conference. The side dishes were a.may.zing. And then we had Eleanor Roosevelt's pink angel food cake! Yum-o. (Yes, I love eating... can't you tell?)

I'm really disappointed with the third session I attended. It was "books that will make you blush (or not)" and it was a couple of older men book-talking new-ish releases in the least interesting way possible. I was not impressed. And the whole time, all I could think about was all the much better stuff I was probably missing. I did get a free book out of attending, but it wasn't one I was excited about. Bummer.

From the official keynote speech hoopla
  • @halseanderson is a FREAKING BADASS.
  • Schools w/o libraries are zombie schools! A school w/o libraries will produce the children of Voldemort! @halseanderson
  • DAMN @halseanderson is an amazing speaker. Seriously. Whoa.
  • BWahahaha! @halseanderson figured me out! 'are you the tweeting one?' XD
Again, I can't recall much that LHA talked about since I was lazy and didn't write about this right away. But again, it was easy to see why I love her books and why my students relate to her writing so well. And, as noted above, she figured out who I was, which worried me a little... does that make me creepy? I sure hope not. At least if I'm creepy, she took some pity on me, because she sent me a brief but very kind email the next week.
If you haven't read any of her work, her most famous is Speak, which is just awesome. I very recently read Twisted, which I also loved. I've *gasp* not read any of her historic fiction yet, but those are coming this summer.

I've still only read one of Munoz Ryan's "real" books, Esperanza Rising, but it was a lovely little near-fairy-tale store about her grandmother's emigration. Really, just very sweet. You'll read it in an afternoon... and if you're a little hosepipe like I am, you'll just sob, too. I do have a picture book by her that I just love, too, and this summer I'm picking up one she wrote about Pablo Neruda.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Panem Map

Since "dork-tastic" is only one of the many ways to describe ourselves around here, I thought I'd include something for those of you who are, like us, huge fans of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series. This is a map of Panem that I made because I was bored; clicking on the points will give you information about what in the text made me decide this was a functional map.

View Districts in a larger map

Other things we know:
The trains average 250 mph.

Districts 7 & 10 are en route to the Capital for Katniss and Peeta when they first travel to the games. Johanna Mason is from District 7, so it's likely that this is a place that bricks are made or that there are quarries.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Before I Fall

I know that you all have seen it all over my Twitter, but don't forget that Before I Fall comes out next week! I have had the privilege of reading this one early, and it was gorgeous. I know I'm not alone in saying that this was an amazing book.

Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favorite authors; Speak and Wintergirls both changed my life. Oliver's style is in some ways very similar to Anderson's. I think this book is every bit as good as Anderson's, and that is a massive compliment coming from me.

I Got a First Look at Barnes & Noble.  Get Your Copy Now

If you're not pre-ordering this now, you should read my (no-spoiler) review of the book. It still has me thinking three weeks after I read it, and I think I'm going to re-read it this week. Yes, already.