Some stuff I’m enjoying, and maybe you will too…


98% of the books I’ve been reading lately are of the YA genre. (That’s Young Adult, in case you’re unfamiliar.)   It’s a label that should never stop someone of the OA (Older Adult) variety from picking one up.   Much of the best writing out there these days is YA in my humble opinion.

So let’s get started.  Right now I am reading the ‘Uglies’ series by Scott Westerfeld.   (Book 1 is Uglies, and I’m currently reading book 2, titled Pretties.)

I have a background story for this, which is that earlier this Fall Maya’s book club decided to read Uglies as their January book selection.   Then, sometime in October we went to Books of Wonder to see a panel of YA authors speak; specifically Gabrielle Zevin, whose books Maya loves.   When we arrived, we realized that Scott Westerfeld, author of the ‘Uglies’ series, was also in attendance.   (He was there to promote the latest book in his newest series, ‘Leviathan’.)    Exciting!   Two authors we were interested in on one panel!   We decided to buy Uglies and Leviathan, so that he could sign them.   During his 5 minute presentation,  he talked about how the illustrations in Leviathan affect his writing of the book, and then at the end said, “I didn’t really talk about the book at all, because I guess I rather arrogantly assumed you’ve already read them.”   And we all laughed.

Cut to Maya and I walking up to him at the table, two of his books in hand.   We said hello, and then I said, “We are actually some of the people who haven’t read your books yet, but we are excited to start.”  I laughed.  He didn’t.   Maya then went on, “Yeah, I’m reading Uglies for my book club in January and I’m really excited.  I just hope I can wait that long!” to which he responded “Why would you wait?”   Maya answered, “Well, I don’t like to read the books too far in advance of the meeting.”   And at that point Mr. Westerfeld, without answering her, turned to see who was next in the line.   No “Thanks for coming.”   No “Hope you enjoy the books.”  We were effectively dismissed.

Luckily, Gabrielle Zevin was next and she was lovely.

So to all you writers out there – no matter how popular you are or how many fans show up at your book signings dressed as characters from your latest offering, gushing and blushing and asking for photos – it is bad form (not to mention bad business) to be rude to people who aren’t fans yet but who have purchased your books in the hopes of becoming fans.    Honestly if Uglies had not been on the book club list, I probably would never have read it, being so put off by Scott Westerfeld’s dismissal of Maya.

As a result it almost pains me to admit that the books are very good, and I am willing to put aside my annoyance with the author and enjoy them.    You’ve never met him (have you?  Gee I hope you didn’t meet him on some day when he was completely charming, thanked you for buying his books and wished you joy, peace & prosperity.  ‘Cause then I’d think maybe the problem was me!), so you can enjoy them without taint.

After Uglies – or, what the heck.  Read this next one BEFORE Uglies.  Take that Scott Westerfeld! – you should definitely read Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  I am such a wimp when it comes to ghost stories that I normally keep my distance, but when I saw this one at Barnes & Noble, I had to have it.    It’s genius from start to finish and I hope there’s a sequel….


Just one.  Sent to me by my friend Martha Jansen.  Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’ll enjoy this.  It’s fun and creative and made me smile.


“The Muppets”.   (Did I mention this already last week?)  It is fantastic.  Go see it.  Take a day off work if you have to.  Drag grumpy children and spouses along with you.    It is SO. MUCH. FUN.  More so if you happen to remember the old Muppet Show episodes, but even if you don’t….go!   The only other thing I have to say about it is…. Manamana


Ok, only two and they both have to do with education.  (Are you surprised?)

First, “AP Classes: Absolutely Preposterous”, written by teen blogger Sophie W. out of San Diego.  (The link is through Huffington Post, but the article was written for the print version of TeenInk Magazine).

Second, from Alfie Kohn on How Children’s Play is Being Sneakily Redefined.  Sounds like he and I have been reading from the same playbook.  (Pun definitely intended.) Remember the blocks?

So have fun.  Read a little, sing a little, laugh a little and maybe even cry a little.

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