Archive for February, 2011

like, totally

February 25, 2011

my mind is a frazzled, stressed out mess right now, so instead of unleashing that on you, my unsuspecting blog readers, i figured it’s best to talk about anything else.

like linda grimesBIG NEWS. *round of applause*

like how after years of me saying, “you should really read HUNGER GAMES,” two more people in my life finally took me up on it. brother G and my friend R. and it’s been great hearing their perspectives on the book because as we all know, you bring your own life experiences to the pages when you read and they certainly have different lives than i do. all in all, it’s easy for me to continue saying, I LOVE THIS BOOK. (books 2 and 3 are a different beast, however.)

like how adriana is opening her heart and her wallet to do a book giveaway. the details aren’t final, but you know it’ll be good. keep an eye out for that.

like how sister E had her first collegiate lacrosse game this week AND SHE STARTED. (this means she’s really good.)

like how i have less than four weeks until the newly designed paperback edition of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by jandy nelson releases (march 22) and less than six weeks until WHERE SHE WENT by gayle forman is released. (WSW is the sequel to IF I STAY, one of my most favorite books EVER, aside from HUNGER GAMES. no other book has reduced me to such a sobbing, slobbering mess in such an enjoyable way.)

like how my parents are awesomesauce.

like how i bought my own squash equipment with birthday money from sister J and how i’m now officially addicted to the game. i’ve moved away from the beginning ball (hee) and onto the one dot ball (tee hee) which means i’m even closer to reaching professional squitty squash player status.

like how these signed bookmarks arrived from lindsey leavitt.

even though i’ve only read one of her books (PRINCESS FOR HIRE is the only one out so far), i believe in her fantastically fantastic talent. PFH is funny and charming and inspiring and real. linds (can i call you that, lindsey?) makes you laugh while sneaking in important life lessons about courage and friendship and family. i can only imagine her next book, SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD (which releases march 1. so soon!), will do the same. in short, lindsey’s one of those authors who’s career i’ll follow and i’ll most likely read every word she writes because she’s that good. oh and it looks like i’ve got a lot more coming from her. congrats!

and for the most uplifting thing, read HERE and behold the power of maureen johnson, twitter, and the publishing community. so amazing! i’m proud to say i donated to the cause.

change

February 22, 2011

i’ve never been a fan of change.

neither the physical coins nor the thing that turns your life upside down. i’m a creature of habit. i like to know what’s happening, when it’s happening, where it’s happening, why it’s happening, and how it’s happening.

i’m a happening kind of gal.

but what i really don’t like is when i don’t see the change coming.

i guess all there’s left to do is take a deep breath, pull on my big girl pants, stock up on raman noodles, and keep looking for the silver lining because perhaps while this is a change i didn’t want, it is one i need.

#teamlucky

February 18, 2011

gather round, kids. it’s story time with aunt abby.

once upon a time some peeps were tweeting.

kelly

and karla

it might have been their close proximity to one another (ish. florida’s a big state!) or perhaps it was their shared sense of humor or maybe it was a result of too much sunshine, but they hatched a plan. a writing plan. to create a story and volley it back and forth with each one trying to trump and stump the other.

they blogged and they bantered and they chuckled and they chatted and they wrote and they wrote and they wrote and it the midst of it all, i fell in love.

*gasps, sighs, cries, waves of horror from the audience*

i know, i know, calm down. you’d know if i had a BF in real life. but it’s a fictional love. wait, no, my adoration of lucky isn’t fake, it’s just that he’s fake, well, no, wait, not like silicone breasts fake, but like fiction fake which isn’t false at all, but really, he’s not someone i could take home to meet mom and dad. (though i could tell them, and YOU, to click on kelly’s and karla’s names above so you too can read and know and love lucky or harper or owen or grace or truman).

so yeah, anyways, LUCKY. he rules. and how does kelly react to my outpouring of love for a character borne of hers and karla’s minds?

first, she gives me a cameo.

and then, SHE MAKES ME A T-SHIRT. and by t-shirt, i don’t mean a hanes t-shirt base with some puffy paint on it, though, come to think of it, that would be rad.

*gasps, sighs, cries, waves of jealousy from the audience*

you know what? let me just SHOW YOU what #teamlucky brings to the table.

my reaction upon opening the package (TWSS).

the front of the shirt (so don’t even think about stealing it, yo).

a little gem there on the sleeve.

isn’t it amazing!?!? and you haven’t even seen the best part of it, the back. i think this deserves a drum roll.

*audience obliges, floors/desks/tables rumble*

and now, i present to you without any further interruptions, THE AWESOMESAUCINESS!

what’s that? you want a close up?

isn’t it fantastic? isn’t she talented? aren’t i SO LUCKY? i bow down to her and her overflowing generosity and creativity.

*round of applause for kelly*

another point for team twitter. it’s keeping me well dressed.

BOOK HUNGRY: 13 reasons why

February 17, 2011

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is:

13 REASONS WHY by jay asher

i originally read this book after i won it in a contest hosted by karla nellenbach. admittedly, i hadn’t heard of it until then, but considering she named it one of the five books that inspired her to be a better writer, i knew i was in for a treat.

this book is an odd little duck in that if you break down the parts, it’s not really anything that hasn’t been done before, but when all the pieces are put together, well, honestly, IT KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF. and considering my apartment is at a constant 58 degrees and i wear slippers over those socks, it takes a lot to knock them off.

the premise is this: When Clay Jenson plays the casette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah’s voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah’s voice and Clay’s thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape. The message about how we treat one another, although sometimes heavy, makes for compelling reading.

it came out in 2007, but it’s particularly timely with all of the bullying in the headlines these days. high school is hard and the students don’t make it any easier for themselves or each other. we may learn it in class, but this book really shows us how each action has an opposite and equal reaction.

unfortunately, all of those events pile up on hannah and it becomes too much for her to bear. she creates a set of tapes (yes, tapes) as a suicide note/type of revenge, and on them, she points out how certain individuals’ actions drove her to despair. this in turn reveals/reminds us just how interwoven our actions and our lives are, especially in high school when every class, project, and party feels oh so important. hannah is self-aware enough to realize that she is as guilty as everyone else she names, so she doesn’t leave herself or her actions out of the tapes. it’s brave, and in a weird twist, it’s the very plotting of her death that reveals the true strength of her character. she is crafty, organized, stubborn and smart. if only she could see herself as the readers do, maybe then she wouldn’t have gone through with it.

and clay, oh clay. he’s sweet and quiet and had almost worked up the nerve to spill his feelings for hannah to hannah. he’s exactly the kind of guy you wish had a crush on you.

the structure of this book adds to the overall haunting feeling. hannah and clay are both the narrators and their alternating viewpoints transition continuously and seamlessly from one to another. hannah’s words are eerie and vengeful while clay’s voice is honest, sad, hurting, and yet, romantic. the combination of hannah’s version of events plus clay’s own memories is terrifying and nerve-wracking and you can’t help but wish you didn’t already know the end result.

verdict: read this book and be prepared to be stunned in a way that educates, uplifts, and ultimately, inspires you.

p.s. join us next month as we read kelly’s pick:  NATURAL BORN CHARMER by Susan Elizabeth Philips.

//

SPAM! or i’m going through twitter withdrawal

February 15, 2011

i haven’t been addicted to many things in life, besides coca cola, coffee, chocolate, reading, and twitter, and thus far, i’ve only had to cut myself off from one, coffee, and that was because it was physically making me sick. it’s easy to cut something out when the NOT having of it outweighs the having of it.

’tis not so with twitter, even though it was self imposed.

friends, i’m going through withdrawal.

i find myself thinking in 140 characters. copying links and then pasting them into bit.ly so they’re shareable. wondering what everyone’s up to. pondering what uproarious conversations i’m missing. flailing in the real world without the digital world for a compass. wondering who can hear me now?

however, i must remind myself this is what i wanted. not forever, OH HECK NO, but for now until i can establish better boundaries and stronger writing habits. i need to think first in people characters, not 140 characters.

and thus, my banishment continues.

BUT since it’s only been a week and change since i cut out my heart closed twitter and my bad habits are slow to diminish, i had to find a new way to procrastinate. what did i do? i cleared out my blog’s spam filter. i found that someone or something hawking cheap laptop batteries had made it their mission to flood my blog with comments about the band mumford and sons. i get it. my last name is mumford. i’ve written about the band. but why write multiple unrelated comments about the weather and the band on a post where i’m talking about going dark/offline for awhile? and what does that have to do with cheap laptop batteries?

seeing all those spam entries one after the other got me thinking because with this departure from twitter, i find myself without a platform to talk, *cough* she says while writing a public blog post *cough*. what i mean is that with twitter, it’s instant gratification. you pop on, type up a quick thought and BOOM, instant audience. BUT THEN i realized, all those times where i’m sharing a link or trying to be funny or weighing in on writing or blabbing about books and hoping someone will join in on the conversation, it’s THEN that I’M NO BETTER THAN A SPAM BOT. well, okay, that’s a little drastic. i am better than that, but you know, twitter encourages and even exacerbates this behavior because unless it’s an @ reply, all of what we write is offered up for the whole internet to read. of course i don’t write each tweet 25x or incorporate offensive swear words or talk about cheap laptop batteries until someone responds, but i guess what i’m saying is i understand the spam.

perhaps, though, it’s a good thing i’m taking a break because i don’t like having this as my reflection: