July 18th, 2013
You’ve heard me talking about my friend Rainbow‘s second book Eleanor & Park, right? I feel like I’ve been talking about it incessantly for a year or so. Then again, lots of people have been talking about it, including John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars), who wrote an amazing review of E&P for the New York Times. I wrote a less-amazing but still heartfelt review for Goodreads:
Set in 1986 in a working-class neighborhood [in Omaha, NE], this book is funny and sad and geeky. Eleanor and Park are both misfits for different reasons: he’s half-Korean in a mostly-white neighborhood, and is into music and comics instead of sports; she’s big and awkward and poor, and defiantly flaunts her crazy red hair and weird clothes. They find themselves reluctantly drawn together, then falling for each other despite their friends’ derision and their families’ dismay and disapproval. A larger, more dangerous threat looms over one of them, skillfully woven throughout the story and coming to a climax in a way that will have you reading faster and faster to find out what will happen.
This story of first love, of how it’s almost always intense and heart-breakingly doomed, will take you right back to those breathless, stomachache-y days when love was desperate and overwhelming and just holding your beloved’s hand was enough to make you walk on air for weeks.
Awesome dorks in matchy t-shirts (graphic by Brenda Ponnay) at Rainbow’s L.A. signing at Book Soup.
Rainbow happens to be in Southern California right now, doing a bunch of stuff, including appearing on a panel at Comic-Con this Sunday and a couple of signings at bookstores in Los Angeles and San Diego. So I’m gonna take this opportunity to give away a signed copy of Eleanor & Park.
I have some Eleanor & Park and Fangirl buttons to give away too, and some bookmarks with a number on them that you can text to get the first chapter of Fangirl (Rainbow’s next book, coming out in September, “a coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, family, and first love”)! So even if you don’t win an autographed book, you could still win some cool stuff.
To recap and make it less confusing:
- If you’d like a chance to win, just leave a comment before midnight Sunday, 21 July, 2013. If you want to tell me your favorite book character who’s an outcast, like Eleanor, that would be cool. Or if you just want to tell me your favorite book, or your favorite candy bar, or your favorite color, that’s cool too. Basically, I have not blogged in three months (crazy, right!?) and I will be so thrilled with any and all comments that I don’t care what you say to me. Make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you.
- The contest will end at midnight Pacific time on Saturday night/Sunday morning. I’ll contact and announce the winners as soon after that as I can.
- One person will win a signed copy of Eleanor & Park, and at least three more people will win E&P and Fangirl buttons and bookmarks.
If you’re a San Diego local and you’d like to come get your own signed copy of E&P, Rainbow’s doing a mini-panel with fellow YA author Leigh Bardugo tomorrow night, 19 July 2013, at the Mira Mesa Barnes & Noble at 6pm, with a signing after.
By the way…this happens to be my 1000th blog post. That’s part of the reason I have not blogged in so long. I kept thinking, “But it’s my thousandth post! I need to make it SPECIAL.” But that clearly wasn’t working for me, so to mark this momentous occasion you get a giveaway, which is appropriate since without you guys (if anyone is still around…hello?) I probably wouldn’t still be here. Thank you!
April 4th, 2013
I’m truly saddened by today’s news of Roger Ebert’s death. I’ve been reading his movie reviews regularly for the past 20 years, and even when I disagreed with his opinions I enjoyed reading what he had to say anyway. Here are a few quotes mainly taken from his Chicago Sun-Times movie reviews that I’ve collected over the years. I especially love the first one.
Roger Ebert on Danny DeVito:
[H]e has a way of making the taller people around him seem unsure of what to do with their legs.
From Roger Ebert’s review of City of Angels:
Angels are big right now in pop entertainment, no doubt because everybody gets one. New Age spirituality is me-oriented, and gives its followers top billing in the soap operas of their own lives. People like to believe they have had lots of previous incarnations, get messages in their dreams and are psychic. But according to the theory of karma, if you were Joan of Arc in a past life and are currently reduced to studying Marianne Williamson paperbacks, you must have made a wrong turn.
When there’s a trend toward humility and selflessness, then we’ll know we’re getting somewhere on the spiritual front. That time is not yet.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Crime and Punishment in Suburbia:
The MPAA [ratings board] counts the beans but never tastes the soup. Make a worthless movie but limit the nudity and language, and get a PG-13. Make a movie where the characters live with real problems and try to figure out what to do, and God forbid our children should be exposed to such an experience.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Gangster No. 1:
[These events] have been called Shakespearean, which is fair enough, since just about everything is Shakespearean.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Household Saints:
The fact is that modern people do worship false gods and that a life devoted to getting a big car and a town house is seen as eminently more sane than a life devoted to God.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Joe Versus the Volcano, on Tom Hanks’s character:
[H]e is an island of curiosity in a sea of mystery.
Roger Ebert on citizens of a Newfoundland town, in his review of The Shipping News:
But, lord, the characters are tireless in their peculiarities; it’s as if the movie took the most colorful folks in Lake Wobegon, dehydrated them, concentrated the granules, shipped them to Newfoundland, reconstituted them with Molson’s and issued them Canadian passports.
RIP, Roger Ebert. Thank you a million times for changing the way I watch and think about movies, and for teaching me to judge a thing on its own merits.
Note: I would have linked the movie reviews, but Ebert’s review site seems to be down, unsurprisingly. Also, this is my 999th post. !!!
March 13th, 2013
Years ago when we lived in Ottawa, there was a coffee shop in the Glebe that served this amazing sunflower-seed hummus and cucumber sandwich on triangle-shaped multigrain bread. I wasn’t a super-adventurous eater back then, so I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to try this sandwich in the first place. Maybe a friend recommended it to me when we went there for lunch, and I wanted to look cool? I don’t know. Whatever the reason, it immediately became one of my favorite foods.
Sadly, I probably only ate three or four of those sandwiches before the coffee shop closed. Shortly after that, the Navy decided they needed Troy elsewhere and we left Canada. I tried many times to recreate that sandwich at home but could never quite do it, even though I already had a go-to hummus recipe. Eventually I gave up, deciding that maybe it was the bread, or the ambiance of the place, or the company in which I ate it that made the sandwich so tasty.
Today as I was scooping some hummus onto a plate for Elliora’s lunch, that sandwich popped into my head for the first time in probably a decade. Thinking, Eh, what the heck, I threw a quarter-cup of the Trader Joe’s hummus in the food processor with a quarter-cup of sunflower seeds and some toasted flaxseed because it happened to be sitting next to the sunflower seeds in my fridge. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and whizzed it all together as best I could, scraping the sides of the processor bowl a couple of times to make sure it all got mixed in. Then I spread that on toasted multigrain bread and topped it with a few spinach leaves because I don’t have any cucumbers at the moment.
The first bite had me laughing, because it tasted EXACTLY like I remember the original sandwich tasting. Which seems ridiculous, right? The original recipe included cucumber slices, not spinach leaves; and I’m pretty sure flaxseed wasn’t involved (although who knows, maybe it was). What are the odds that I would off-handedly, randomly create an accurate replica of something I haven’t eaten since last century, when all my previous attempts at the time failed? So I’m thinking one of two things happened here: either I really did manage to fairly accurately recreate that sandwich, or it’s been so long since I ate it that my taste buds were fooled by a good-enough facsimile.
Either way, I don’t really care. I’m happy to have a delicious new sandwich filling—one that has the power to transport me to Bank Street in 1999, sitting in a cafe that doesn’t exist anymore, watching the rain through the windows and thinking about that cool kitchen gadget at the Glebe Emporium I wish was within my budget.