Monday, February 28, 2011

Okay, so I've decided to go on a middle grade reading binge. That means putting down Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible and making a quick trip to Bookmans.

Story time!

This is the story of me accidentally impersonating an aunt of an out-of-state 5th grade nephew whose birthday is coming up.

      Me: "Excuse me, could you give me a quick rundown of all the topnotch MG you carry so I won't have to search?"
      Counter associate: (to an associate he just flagged down) "She's buying a few books for a  middle grade reader. Perhaps you could show her?"
      Associate: (to me as we walk) "About what age?"
      Me: "Oh the usual, 8 to 12-ish."
      "Fifth grade?"
      Me: (revving up to deck out my bookshelves with some tasty MG) "Yes, exactly!"
      "Young man or young lady?"
      Me: (pausing; I haven't considered whether my binge would be boy- or girl-angled. But then, I'd read long ago in my own middle grade years most of the girl MG books, so...)
      Me: "Boy books."
      Associate: "Great! Now what kind of activities does he like?"
      "Your young man."
      "Oh, he's not mine!"
      "He's not?"
      "Uh . . . no?"
      "Are you a neighbor, then? Or a teacher? Because maybe you could bring him in and we could figure out exactly what he'd be interested in. Are you with a church group?"
      Me: (flabbergasted) "I don't - I'm not sure . . . Not a church group, no."
      Associate: (a very patient, kindly fellow) "We do get a lot of out-of-staters. Is this, by any chance," (he winks) "a birthday present?"
      Me: (defeated; there's no wiggling out of this) "Um, yes. I'm his, um, aunt, and he's out of state, so I'm not exactly sure what he's into these days. Maybe just . . . maybe we'll just take a look at a broad range of books?"
      Associate: "Absolutely! Right this way, then. I'm sure we'll find something he'll gobble up."

What I bought for my fictitious nephew's birthday:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just read

...and thoroughly enjoyed Liza Palmer's

Seeing Me Naked

Solid, lucid writing. Round characters. Great pacing. Emotionally rich.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Time to do laundry

It's a fairly common practice among writers and readers to cozy up with a book in a specific location - a carved, pastoral niche in an otherwise crazy day/messy house/restless mind.

With the advent of the e-reader (which I rapturously and erroneously thought would make me some sort of super reader, getting in a few lines at all hours of the day or night - anytime, anyplace), I'm finding my reading niche slowly piling up with laundry. Literally.

If I can make a late New Year's Res (since I only purchased the reader at the tail end of Dec and couldn't know what wonders and devastations it would wreak upon my reading habits, it seems only fair):

Reading niche must remain laundry-free. It's like a prayer closet, a holy, sanctified place, and it musn't be left to the whims of an agent/writer who overestimates the power of a portable, electronic library. Reading niche must not become her glorified clothes basket.

As a side note, my official position on e-readers: they belong in reading niches as much as the next sexy hardback.