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Two Reading-Related Announcements

1. The lovely blackholly aka Holly Black, one of the co-authors of the Spiderwick Chronicles, solicited help creating Latin for her book Care and Feeding of Sprites. I caught sight of it while I was on my medicine run at Target today and flipped through.

You see, I’m something of a Latin expert, what with having a Master’s degree in teaching it and a couple years of experience under my belt with the teaching aspect, plus another 10ish years of reading it. At least, my friends tell me it’s okay to consider myself an expert, so I do. So when blackholly put out the call, slayground sent me her way and her mine, or something, and I did indeed provide her with some scientific names for her Sprites. I’m not sure how many of mine she used. I checked my records and I know at least the Glowing Toadfly and the Little Blueberry Sprite have scientific names I found for her. (The process was: she gave me English names. I used my knowledge of grammar, which dictionaries are good, and what specific connations are to come up with the Latin. Then I sent it to her.) I think she used half of the name I gave her for the Dancing Pondneedle, but only the dancing part. I think.

As you can imagine, it was very exciting for me to see in a store a book to which I had, in some way at least, contributed. (I suppose I contributed an interview to Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy as well. Every time I see that in a store I about have a fit.)

2. A quick plug for Sonja Foust, as well! Sonja has been my friend since we were baby high school freshmen, and the most exciting thing has happened. She’s going to be published! Her e-book romance short story Love in Shadow will be published by the Wild Rose Press. I feel compelled to warn you that this is a romance, with all that entails. I can’t be held responsible for Sonja’s text!

I’m off for a nap, after which I hope to be up to posting the earlier promised post on blogging, writing, reading, and other stuff.

Coming soon…

Later – today, I hope – I will be writing a response to Bookseller Chick’s Writer as Blogger, Blogger as Writer post. I will talk about why I started this blog especially, when I had others I could’ve written. I’ll talk about why I chose LJ as my publishing platform. I’ll talk about some other stuff too.

But I want to do that when I’m coherent enough to make sense, and now is not that time.

So I’ll just tell you the tiny revelation I had today while out picking up my medicine:
I don’t need to read books in the order they are on my bookshelf, or for the express purpose of cutting down on the number of books I have. That takes all the joy out of it. I need to read books because I want to read them. That is how one should go about reading, especially as a leisure activity. Just as I don’t read books because they’re “good for me,” so I should not read them just to see if I can bear to part with them.

So I’m doing away with the “Upcoming” part of my booklist, because if I make that part? I feel like I have to stick to it.

And that’s silly.

More later!

lectitans’s day off

Synchronicity

Truth: I’ve been blogging for years. I don’t even know how many. Six maybe?
Truth: I have had an LJ for over 5 years.
Truth: I don’t spread the URLs for them all over because I’m a teacher. I know nothing is private on the internet, but there are some degrees of anonymity we can preserve. If my students find this journal, I don’t especially mind.
Truth: If you want to read about my daily life or my ideas about fashion, I’ll be happy to provide you a link. Just drop me an email – lectitans (at) gmail (dot) com.

(After seeing that Miss Erin has a theatre blog I’m inclined to start one of those, too, but I’ll save it for when I’m doing more than a show a year, because content will be hard to produce, no? Though, hm. I suppose I will be stage managing this summer. Maybe I’ll make one then.)

So, remember how I was going book shopping today?

In the end, there was little time. I needed to go to my parents’ house, because my aging dog is not doing well and it’s important I see him as much as possible. He was feeling better today, so it’s possible he will be with us a while longer. So I only hit Target, where they did not have any of the books I wanted.

But in my mother’s bedroom, what should appear but Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. Of course she let me borrow it. Booklending is one of a mother’s primary responsibilities.

So now I have that to read! And I didn’t spend any money or have to make a special library trip for it, either. Yay!

Miss Erin’s Character Meme

This Character Meme was created by Miss Erin.

Character you’d most like to have over for tea?
Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. I think Elinor and I would get along very well, and could talk about how much we love our families while we sipped our tea and ate scones. Mmm, scones.

Character you’d most like to have as a sibling?
Harriet M. Welch from Harriet the Spy. My actual sister was nicknamed Harriet for a long time, because when the movie came out, she and Michelle Trachtenberg looked a lot alike. They don’t really look alike anymore but there were enough similarities between bookHarriet and my sister that it wouldn’t seem an odd addition to the family.

Character you’d most like to be friends with?
Lola Cepp from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, in whom I see myself entirely, and Cyd Charisse from Gingerbread et al, who is nothing like me. Lola is the sister of my heart, the kind of person you could be friends with for a lifetime. Cyd Charisse is so much wilder than myself, but she’s a little crazy and I think there’s a level on which we’d understand each other very well.

Character you’d most like to have as a cousin?
I don’t have any first cousins at all in real life! I’m not really sure what a cousinly relationship entails. I think I would like Claudia Kishi from the Babysitters’ Club as my cousin. She could teach me all the good places to hide junkfood, and also how to dress well.

Character you’d most like to have an adventure with?
Sequiro from Piers Anthony’s mode books, because he’s a telepathic horse.

Favorite quirky character?
Pippi Longstocking leaps to mind. Do I have to explain?

Favorite love-to-hate character?
I don’t love to hate anybody, but I do think The White Witch from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is incredible.

Favorite bad guy?
Snape, because he’s not. But he is. But he’s not. But he is. Etc.

No one tagged me specifically, so I’m not going to tag anyone else specifically, but if you want to do it, you should.

Goals and Booklist

The Great Library Tragedy

I want to go to the library ASAP to return Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) and pick up Lisa Yee’s Millicent Min, Girl Genius. Sadly, the branch library by my house isn’t open on Sundays and the library downtown is open only exactly during the hours I’m at rehearsal tomorrow. What does this mean?

A trip to the bookstore, naturally.

My bookshelf is overflowing. I’ll take a picture sometime and show you. It’s a bit scary, actually. The shelves bow under the weight of all the books on them.

But as much good as I’ve heard about Lisa Yee, I am wary of buying an author’s books all untried. I only put $30/month in my budget for books, you see. Of late its been spent on “market research” – vampire romance, most recently. (There’s another genre I’m writing in but I already own so many examples of that I don’t need to buy any.)

So my book shopping list for tomorrow:
Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston (I’ll admit this purchase is entirely inspired by Nothing But the Truth. I originally intended to pick this one up at the library, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like a reasonable book to own.)
Shrimp by Rachel Cohn (but not Cupcake because it’s not out in paperback)

I decided that since I have Gingerbread and won’t be parting with it in my book purge, Shrimp is a safe purchase.

The question is: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – library or bookstore? slayground? Anyone? Advice?

Truth: Reading Is A Lovely Way to Spend a Saturday

A quick rundown of my life at the moment: I teach full-time and I’m in a play. I’m only in my second year of full-time teaching. My house is a mess! I have so many papers to grade, and I’ve been sick on and off a lot recently.

So today was going to be catch-up day: I was going to clean the house, grade papers, and of course schedule in a little relaxation.

I didn’t wake up until 10:30 am, and all I’ve done so far is lounge in my pajamas, play on the internet, eat cookies, and read Justina Chen Headley’s Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies).

I fear I’m not a very good book reviewer, because I can’t find words besides “This book is good! Read it!” I think what happens in this book, and indeed in most good books about young girls, is a transformation and a self-acceptance. In Nothing But the Truth it happens over a summer; for some people it takes longer. I’m trying now to figure out when it happened for me. At this point in time, I like myself a lot. Not in the sense that I think I’m vastly superior to others, but in the sense that I’m never worried about trying to fit in. So books like this one make me think “How does that process happen?” Of course it’s different for every girl. (I’m sure it happens to boys, too, but I never was a boy.)

As a high school teacher, I see a lot of girls who aren’t satisfied with themselves. I see others who are. I wish sometimes I could follow some of them, and see how they change when they are adults. I think that has to be one of the most wonderful things you can do – watch a person grow up. I liked watching Patty grow up. I liked watching her grow from awkward to self-possessed. I liked watching her ideas about others change as her ideas about herself did.

A great strength of Nothing But the Truth is the interaction of its female characters. Patty, our protagonist, is at the heart of the story, but we see how the other girls and women in her life help her grow and change. When we discover why Patty’s mother is the way she is, for us as much as for Patty, life takes on new levels. When Jasmine pushes Patty outside her comfort zone, we wonder what exciting opportunities may lie outside our own. And what is most reassuring is that after this transformative summer, Patty hasn’t had to give up any of her former self; she’s only added new dimensions.

In Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), we see how a girl can grow and change and find out who she is, without losing a sense of who she was. We can be in the present, look to the future, and remember the past. And I think Patty’s most important discovery, and mine too in reading this book, is that the events that shape us do just that – they shape who we are and what we become. But they don’t determine it. That’s up to us.

Book: Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) (Affiliate Link)
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Original Publication Date: April 5, 2006
Pages: 256
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of Book: Public Library
Other Blog Reviews: Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Bildungsroman

Books to Read

I am going to keep a list of books to read. This way I won’t forget the title/author of a book I want to read, and have to look it up based on keywords and just hope I happen to bump into it.

To start:
Rules by Cynthia Lord. Why: It’s about a girl whose brother has autism.
The Same Difference by Deborah Lynn Jacobs Why: It’s about a girl whose twin has autism.
Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith Why: It’s a gothic YA fantasy that appeals to the Buffy audience.
The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun Why: It’s a fantasy novel with a protagonist who has bipolar illness.
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series – ancient mythology!

From the Cybils:
The Bartimaeus Series by Jonathan Stroud
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

readergirlz pick #1 and miscellaneous ramblings

Today I dropped by the library and picked up the readergirlz pick for this month, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies).  I’m only a few pages in but I like it so far.  I’ve gotten away from YA lit and that’s a shame as it brings me fond memories and a lot of times it’s better than the other stuff.  In the past couple of years I’ve really enjoyed Rachel Cohn’s Gingerbread and Dyan Sheldon’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.  Lola Cepp is my alter ego, you see.  (Even though her parents gave her my sister’s name, if a bit misspelled.)

I’ll be writing more about the book as I read and finish it.  My reading goals for 2006 were to read 26 books, which I surpassed, and to keep a list of them, which I did.  To keep up with that rate, I’m a bit behind.  I need to read 5 books in the next week to catch up.  That’s not going to happen.  Two might be achievable, though.

When I was at the library looking for Justina Chen Headley, I looked at the YA paperbacks.  G is right next to H, and so I stumbled on many, many books by Chris Golden, who is both an excellent author and a nice guy (and, for the record, should really not make phone calls while he’s driving – nor should anyone else).  I was tempted to snatch up as many of Chris’s books as I could carry but then I realized the library loan period is 3 weeks, and I’m just not going to finish all the books of his they had in that time.

So I said, “Self, it’s the library.  They’ll still be here.  You can read his books later.”  And believe me, I will.

And now it’s time for me to go to bed.  More soon!