____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Saturday, February 26, 2011

VANISH revealed

Soooo… you know, the other dayhow I mentioned the partial cover release for Sophie Jordan's Vanish, the upcoming sequel to Firelight????

Well…If you haven’t seen the whole thing—Here. IT. IS.
Guess I didn’t do too bad putting my puzzle pieces together! ;)

So?—Are you LOVING it as much as I am!??!?!?!?!

Also, Kari from A Good Addictions says that it IS the SAME COVER MODEL!!!!!!—I can totally see the resemblance, but it’s amazing what a difference hair color, makeup, and lighting can make!!!—Even her head tilting the opposite direction!—It’s like the difference between fire and ice—The flaming RED-HOT Firelight Jacinda vs. her icy-cool Vanish counterpart with an almost bluish golden glow.  I’m sure I’m reading too much into it, but I feel like the lighting/coloring of the Vanish cover creates more angelic undertones, while the model, herself, insinuates something more, something secret and hidden.  Whereas the Firelight cover gives me a little more of a devilish vibe, but the model gives off more of an innocent feel.—But like I said, I’m just seeing contrasts all over the place!!!!—I keep going back-and-forth—and LOVING them both!!!

But we’ve got plenty of time to contemplate, because Vanish won’t hit the shelves until September 6, 2011.  And if there are any slackers out there who haven’t gotten a hold of Firelight yet, you’re in luck, because the following blogs:


are giving away 3 (THREE) *SIGNED* copies of Firelight to 3 (THREE) lucky winners!!!!
You have until Sunday, March 6, 2011 to enter.

And don’t forget to stop over at



Carrie’s Book Blog                  Mundie Moms


The Elliott Review                         ReadingTeen


to collect the 6 secret words you need to enter the giveaway!!!!


And, as long as your still here…Here is the official Vanish teaser:
************
p.s. you should know better, but since this is the sequel, the blurb might be slightly spoilery;
so read at your own risk
*************
YOU'VE. BEEN. WARNED.
************
But read it anyway, 'cause it's super awesome, and you are going to be DROOLING.
To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.


Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?


In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever


Enough teasing!—I. WANT. THIS. BOOK.  :) 




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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Partial Vanish Cover Reveal

Now You See It, Now You Don't...Kinda...


Yay!!!  So…Thanks to a few amazing blogs out there:

Carrie’s Book Blog                  Mundie Moms
Pirate Penguin Reads        Confessions of a Bookaholic
The Elliott Review                         ReadingTeen



I’ve been able to piece together a little of what Firelight’s sequel, Vanish is going to look like!

A little something like this, as a matter of fact:


I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVED Sophie Jordan’s Firelight, the SUPER AMAZING STUNNING first book in her YA series about the descendants of dragons—Firelight absolutely left me breathless, and I’ve been dying to find out what will happen next…And these puzzle pieces are only making me more curious!!!

Especially because the last time I saw Jacinda, she was a red head…and if I remember correctly, her twin sister is also a red head…But, with the title being “Vanish” and there being a whole mess of people out looking for Jacinda, it wouldn’t be unrealistic for her to try a change of color.  Or maybe there's a new girl in town???

Can you see the resemblance?


Second of all…These puzzle pieces each came with secret words:

ROMANCE—IMPOSSIBLE—CHOICES—DEADLY—RIVALRIES—BITTER

So, are you as CRAZY CURIOUS as I am?????

If so, you can hit all the hot spots above, collect the words, and head over to:


where you can check out the full cover reveals, along with giveaways you can enter to win *signed* copies of Firelight!!!!!




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Monday, February 21, 2011

Miss Match

I HEART Wendy Toliver!!!!

*SIGH*—I just finished reading Wendy’s second book, Miss Match—which would have been completely perfect for Valentine’s Day!!!!  If I had only known!!!!!!!

Soooooo….I dragged my sister to the library the other day, only to find the book I wanted was already wanted and checked out by someone else.  But by the time I’d figured it out, my sister had been abducted by the cooking section…And in the face of the undefined period of boredom, watching my sister oooh and ahhh over cupcakes tauntingly decorated to look like asprin, balls of yarn, and brains—an experience akin to going shopping with my skinny friends and pretending that there’s anything in my size… I told her to pick me up in the YA section when she was done.  Win/win.

And when I say win/win—I really mean *SCORE*!!!!!  I started meandering the shelves, going past the stuff I’d already read, when I was attacked—And by attacked, I mean a cute, outward facing cover that I’d been coveting, suddenly popped out from nowhere and I snagged it immediately!!!!!

I found Wendy through the Books, Boys, Buzz... blog, last year, right before her third book, Lifted, came out.  Lifted was one of those books that was love at first sight—The cover totally pulled me in, and the blurb—how a  girl named Poppy, who moves to a new town and gets sucked into a shoplifting addiction—completely sold me.—I HAD to have that book.  Except I HAD to wait until it was released.

So, in the meantime, I picked up an ebook copy of Wendy’s first book, The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren.  I’m a total sucker for the mythology thing…And everything about Wendy’s writing makes the book so easy to love!!!  It was a super-cute, super-fun read—and I LOVED the twists that Wendy added!!!!

I was SO IN LOVE!!!!—On the high of finding a brand-new GOOD author!!!—I could tell that Lifted would be a completely different tone and atmosphere than The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren.  But that’s the thing about a good author—they can take you anywhere!!!

And I was SO NOT DISSAPOINTED—in the way that I was absolutely BLOWN. AWAY. by Lifted.  It was everything I hoped for—It pulled me in, twisted my insides, and was the first book since my recent discovery of blogging, that made me go, OH. MY. GOD.—I have to TELL people about this!!!!—People NEED to know about this FABULOUS AMAZING AUTHOR (and also one of the coolest people EVER)—And really kicked off my book-blogging journey into wonderfulness.

Back to present day, or as I like to call it, yesterday, at the library.  Sitting there, right on the shelf, Miss Match—the missing piece in my reading of all things Wendy.

Like I said—It attacked me.

So I grabbed it, just as my sister happened to remember my existence, and pull me toward the checkout desk.

Now, I would have devoured it right away…if I’d had the chance…But I had a previous bowling commitment, involving sucking really bad at bowling, followed by a round of sucking slightly less bad at bowling.  My 4th grade bowling-league-glory-days are no more than distant memories.

So, Miss Match would have to wait one more day.

Except I woke up in the middle of the night…and thought I’d read for a little bit.  And then I thought I’d, you know, DEVOUR the entire book.

I was expecting good, you know, because The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren was super-cute and Lifted was just absolutely on a whole ‘nother level of AMAZINGNESS!!!—But this was GOOD!!!!

Miss Match was super-cute, in the same kind of style as The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren, but again, it was so much more than I expected…

And at this point in my gushing, I realize some of you may be curious about what the book is about—Sasha has an innate skill for matchmaking; she’s so good at it, she’s turned it into an after-school (and during school) business.  And everything is fantastic…until the guy Sasha likes, wants her to help get a date with her sister…you see where this is going?

First of all, super-fun!  Sasha wasn’t the over-the-top crazy-antics type of girl; she was the hopeless romantic who loves to help people connect with each other.  She was cute and funny, but also self-conscious—she was a good friend, and the kind of girl, that you’d like to be friends with (or at least I would!)—I loved all the characters—Sasha’s bff Yasmin, was actually a good friend, no flaking/no being flaked on drama.  Sasha’s sister, was a teensy bit on the flaky side, but kind of outstanding on the sister-side.  The boys were completely crush-worthy, none of those losers who just look good in a pair of jeans.  And even though her parents had some divorce issues going on, they still took time to be parents.

But the book really had so many layers to it—while most of the book had a fun upbeatness to it, there was a particular spot, where Sasha and her Sister are trying on bridesmaid dresses—something I myself did not that long ago—while Sasha’s sister could actually go down a size, Sasha is faced with one of the most humiliating, tortured moments any girl can have—Her dress won’t zip.  Here, she’s already self-conscious, and what could be more deflating—especially next to the sister she idolizes?  And especially when I know for a fact that that those dress gowns are NOT true to size!  I wanted to cry for Sasha, because even though none of the other characters seemed to get it—I TOTALLY got it.  And I really loved the way Wendy helped Sasha resolve some of those issues.

And my other FAVORITE part????  Sasha’s concert concoction and then her realizing that the concert is sold out, and she has to find the tickets some other way…Definitely my favorite scene—But I don’t want to spoil it—You should totally pick up Miss Match and read it for yourself!!!!!




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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SWEET VENOM COVER REVEAL

If there is a goddess or a fairy or saint of amazing covers, all I can say is that Tera Lynn Childs is in their good graces.

Based on her past covers, I expected greatness.

I expected pop and pizzazz, dazzle and sparkle, dark and dangerous—I had a myriad of images swirling in my mind.

But the real thing?  Surpasses greatness.

IT. BLEW. ME. AWAY.

I got CHILLS the first time I saw it.  It still gives me CHILLS.
WOW!!!!---I am SOOOOOOOOOO looking forward to this!!!!!

CHILLS I tell you!!!!

What’s the book about?—Geez, do you have to know EVERYTHING?!?!?!?!

Ok, I’ll tell you—
GRACE. GRETCHEN. GREER.

Three KICK ASP girls who find out they are the long-lost triplet descendants of Medusa.
Oh, and they have to save the world from evil.
[collages courtesy of Tera from her post on the Books, Boys, Buzz... blog]



Sooooooooo…are you as psyched as I am!?!?!??!?!?!

Well, good news then—It looks like SWEET VENOM is going to be released just in time for my birthday!!!!—Bad news…I’m a Libra.  (February, March, April release of Fins Are Forever, May, June, July, August, September, early October 2011=7½ months?)

But in the meantime…you can check out Sweet Venom in a variety of venues:
Sweet Venom Goodreads page, like and add to your shelf

Also, suspecting that there may be more goodness, teasers, blurbs, what have you, I will be keeping a close eye on some of Tera’s known to hangouts:
Her blog (well, it makes sense, because it IS her blog)

↑ I don’t think I’m a stalker just ‘cause I know that…there are probably other reasons, too… 



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Monday, February 14, 2011

LOVE...and other stuff I LOVE

Valentine’s Day

Sooooooooooooo…  I thought today might be a good time to talk about things I LOVE.

In no particular order…BOOKS.

I am so going crazy with book love right now!

Daisy Whitney’s The Mockingbirds.  AMAZING. GRIPPING. ON-THE-EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT EMOTIONAL TWISTER.  I still have feelings and thoughts washing over me about this book.  LOVE.





And everything I just said about The Mockingbirds?—These Things Hidden, by Heather Gudenkauf, moved me in a similar gut-twisting way.  Was I still on my Mockingbirds high?  Maybe.  Less LOVE?  Definitely not.  LOVE.




And then there’s my constant Tera Lynn Childs high.  Every time I think I could be no happier or excited—She comes back with something else!!!  She’s one of my I’ll-read-anything-she-writes-because-she’s-so-awesome, happy-mythy-romantic-fun-adventure authors.  While I’ve been cresting post-Forgive My Fins waves with ill-concealed anticipation of Fins Are Forever, I tried biding my time with a little Eye CandyEye Candy is an early, unpublished novel of Tera’s that she decided to share with her fans, releasing one new chapter on her blog every Friday.  I went from biding my time to COMPLETELY CRAVING Eye Candy.  D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. D.E.L.E.C.T.A.B.L.E. and 100% calorie-free!!!!  And Tera has chosen TODAY to crush all of our hearts—Yes, she’s revealing the ending[s]—GAVIN or ELLIOT. (p.s. you will definitely want to start at the beginning before reading the end; that's how it works, I'm just saying) (p.p.s. Team ELLIOT—HELLO!?!?!??!) But I’m talking about the end of Lydia, Gavin, Elliot, Ferraro, Dyl, and the KYs.  

Normally I devour a book as soon as I open it, I have absolutely no will-power, but this lengthy torture serial-release style, well, let’s just say it’s, SERIAL KILLER!  I’ve never been so on-the-edge-of-my-seat-every-waking-moment thinking about a book like this.  It’s usually good, and then it’s gone.  And I’m afraid to read the end now, because then it will be gone…  And when it’s gone, I’ll have nothing to console me…EXCEPT for tomorrow’s cover release of SWEET VENOM, Tera’s upcoming trilogy about triplet-descendants of Medusa.  I AM SO IN ANTICIPATION of this book.  To recap: Eye Candy, Fins Are Forever (in April), and Sweet Venom (in October).  LOVE.  LOVE.  LOVE.



And as if dying in excitement over all that isn’t enough, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall and Other Lands:   A Collection of Other Tales is coming out FEBRUARY 22, 2011.  Tamora Pierce is one of the few author’s I’ve met in person, and she was SO worth it, I went to another one of her signings, and I’d go again and again.  She changed my entire perception of authors—I don’t know why I used to think an author might be any less cool or fantastic or amazing than their books, but she is MORE.  And if you’ve read any of her books, you’ll know how awesome that is!!!!  And if you haven’t read any of her books, you NEED to.   She’s one of my authors that goes everywhere with me.  I’ve been reading and rereading her books since middle school/high school, and trust me, there is only betterness!!!!  GIANT LOVE.
 
Diana Peterfreund.  LOVE.  Killer unicorns.  LOVE.  She’s the newest-comer to my list of favorites, but I’m keeping her towards the top.  First there was Rampant.  Now Ascendant.  LOVE.  LOVE.  I SO cannot wait for more.  I must find a way to get my hands on everything she’s ever written.

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But as a booklover of many and varied interests, I like to branch out, so, other things I LOVE?  MOVIES.

Right now, I am SO in LOVE with True Grit.  It just blew me away in AMAZINGNESS.  I want the book by Charles Portis.  I want to see the John Wayne version.  I want everything about this movie.  Did I mention STUNNING. CAPTIVATING. and FREAKING AMAZING.  It leaves me with limited powers of speech and great awe.  LOVE.


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I know I’m a little late to the game, but BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER!??!?!?!??!??!?!  How did I miss this!?!??!?!?!?!  Thanks to Netflix, I am totally rectifying this.  Thanks to slow-internet speed, this is taking longer to rectify than absolutely necessary.  And Giles!?!??!?!?!?  BEST. WATCHER. EVER.  E V E R.  Season 3, this-close to season 4.  I SOOOOOO cannot watch enough!!!!!  LOVE.
Giles.  LOVE.


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HOUSE OF ANUBIS.  LOVE.

Yes, Nickelodeon has once again drawn be back into their clutches with their new show, something akin to campy-Harry-Potteresque-charm mixed with Are You Afraid of the Dark.  First off, there is something about it that borders on the ridiculous, but it knows it, it plays on it.  Secondly it
FREAKING. SUCKS. YOU. IN.
It’s like a mystery/paranormal-boarding-school-soap-opera.  Is the House alive?  Where’s Joy?  What makes her the chosen one?—Is she REALLY a student, or could she have been drinking some eternal-youth-elixir on the side???  What’s the deal with the potion of eternal life?  Victor—good or evil?  Rufus—definitely evil.  Teachers—good or evil?  Mara—kind of psycho-Mick-stalker-crazy, a little.  Nina. Fabian. Patricia. Amber. Mick. Alfie. Jerome.  The magic pendant?

When I saw the previews, I wanted to watch this show, and then laugh at it and never have to watch it again, now I dvr it every day (except last week, when for some reason they SKIPPED. ONE. WHOLE. WEEK.)(WHY!??!!?)(WHY!?!?!?!)(WHY!?!?!?!?) so my sister and I can watch it together—And then we both groan at the end, because after the extremely abrupt cliffhanger ending, it always says “we’ll be right back” right before they ask you “what will happen next?” followed by previews of the next episode.  And we scream, “YOU LIE, YOU LIE!!!!” because, why do they have to say they’ll be right back, when they know that they won’t, that people will have to wait until tomorrow, why do they have to lie and taunt us?  WHY!??!?!?!?

FREAKING. LOVE. THIS.

SIBUNA!!!!

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Soooo…that’s me.  How ‘bout you?  Anything you’re loving?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!!!




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Friday, February 11, 2011

Do I Have To Have a Reason?

Wow, just when I feel I have something to say…my internet slows down (inversely proportionate).
It reminds me of when I was a little kid—I was old enough that I could write, but didn’t know cursive yet.  I had a story in my head that I just HAD to get down on paper—but my pencil couldn’t keep up with the speed of my thoughts.  I ended up dictating the whole thing to my mom.

And I feel like that now—The slower my internet connection is, the more I want to write about.  Although, I guess I shouldn’t completely blame the internet… I feel like I have bundles of inspiration coming out my fingertips, and I don’t know where to start—I want to READ, and tell EVERYONE ALL about what I’m reading…I want to WRITE.  I want to read the next thing on my list…Then the gears start turning in my head—I’ve mostly been reading YA, but then I read something not YA, but I still want to share it, because it was GOOD.  And my book budget has been pretty minimal lately, so I’ve been hitting my tbr shelf, many of which haven’t even been released this century…And then I read a couple of COMPLETELY. AMAZING. books.  ABSOLUTELY. FANTASTIC.  And also, kind of on the serious/mildly depressing side, so I’ve been wondering if it’s a good idea to review them so close together—even though I was just in the kind of mood for that kind of reading… I was even wondering if it’s a good idea to put so many good reviews together?—Does that make me sound easy?—Or does it just speak to how many AMAZING novels are being put out there for us???

And then part of me keeps hearing weird whispers and goings on in the book world—questions about whether book bloggers are valuable to the book industry—and also my little rant the other day, about how I felt a particular author was being bullied.  And then I just heard that one of my favorite authors was fired from one of my favorite series???  And does anyone even care what I have to say?—Would it make a difference?

Yeah, yeah, paranoid much?

And then I started realizing that all my indecision has lead to a lack of…what I love.  Because I’m too much in my head, just winding myself up.

So then, I started thinking of what I think about other bloggers, why I like the bloggers I like.

I like the reviews, yes…I like seeing the new books, yes…But I also like the sharing…I like the how to’s, the Q&A’s, I like hearing other people’s opinions, not just about what they like or don’t like, but about random things that are going on.  I have my moments where I cannot physically BE WITHOUT A BOOK—I have this ravenous hunger that only a book can fill.  And I have my slow days, days when I want to watch tv, or have a life (it could happen).  I’ve read a couple of blogs where the blogger said they needed some down-time—And, honestly, it’s a relief!—Because I see some bloggers who do it every day without breaking a sweat.  They are my heroes!!!!  But I can relate to the other bloggers.

And here’s what I would say to any of them—Things happen; don’t put so much pressure on yourself, I like you/think you’re cool, and I’ll be here when you get back.  No worries.

And while I totally plan to see what I can find on the blogger dissing (because I’m of a curious and nosy nature), here are my thoughts:

I blog because I like books, I’ve always liked books, always will.  This would be my dream job, I would be in heaven to get paid to do this—But I do it for free, because I love it, and want to share the stuff I love.  I don’t do it for free books, but that doesn’t mean I would turn them down, either.  Also, if something is free, I’m more likely to try something out of my comfort range (*THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO VEGATABLES*).

Personally, I’m not big on negative reviews—20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, aside, I’ve rarely come across a book I didn’t enjoy.  Maybe it’s not going to be one of my favorites that I’ll read over and over for the rest of my life, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it or didn’t enjoy it.  But I’m also not going to lie about it—I’ll tell you what I liked, and I’ll tell you what I loved, but whatever I tell you, it’s honest.  And that’s me.

And that’s not saying I’ll never write a negative review, either.  But mostly, I want to share things I enjoy; I don’t want to waste time on the things I don’t.  For example, I never like to read (professional) movie reviews, because they’re almost always negative—I look at them and just feel sorry for the critics—Here you are, a person with the most amazing job in the world, but it’s like you go into the theater planning to pick apart the movie—Sucks to be you!  But book bloggers (or at least the ones I read) are different, we’re full of love and passion, and we look longingly for the next amazing thing that we can love.  And the few negative reviews that I have read always come with trepidation, the blogger doesn’t WANT to be negative, but the blogger has something they want to say, and they don’t want someone else to be disappointed the way they were.  The negative reviews don’t come from people looking to knock down other people; they aren’t thrown together haphazardly—even the negativity comes from love, and it comes with considered thought and reasoning as to why it didn’t sit well with the reviewer.

But that’s just my experience.

And my final thought to anyone who doesn’t like book bloggers is, so what?  I don’t know anyone who’s blogging out of anything but passion, people blogged before there was free stuff, I’m pretty sure lack of free stuff isn’t going stop most bloggers, if that’s your issue.


But I don’t want to just leave you with my words; here are a couple of posts that really moved me, so I’d like to share the links with you and invite you to check them out:

Update—Just found this AMAZING post by Story Siren, Blogging Retrospective and Confessions—Obviously lots of goings on going on in the internet world, but this is definitely a MUST READ!!!

Happy weekend everybody!!!! (just remembered my sis has off tomorrow=3day weekend=Buffy the Vampire Slayer Marathon!!!!)


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Saturday, February 5, 2011

!!!!GO PACK GO!!!!

SUPER BOWL XLV UPDATE:
THE PACKERS WON 31 TO 25


!!!GO PACK GO!!!



Um, yeah….so have I mentioned that I’m a PACKER FAN?

Let me clarify, I know what a football is.  That’s about the extent of my knowledge of the intricacies of football.

It was one of those sports that they taught the boys in gym class, while the girls had to do jazzercise or something.

Honestly, it doesn’t particularly interest me…I rather be…doing anything else than watching a game.

That being said—Would I turn down a trip to the Super Bowl?—Hell no!  I’d love to go to a game, or even join a pick-up game—Again, I’d have no idea what I was doing, but unless it’s the Olympics or American Gladiators, I start to zone out when I see sports on tv.  They just don’t capture my attention.

And all that being said, I am a lifelong GREEN BAY PACKER fan.  I would never have picked this color scheme for myself, but it’s what I was born with.  I grew up in the land of GREEN and GOLD, and while I may not bleed GREEN and GOLD, when injured, I do make certain to use official Green Bay Packer band-aids (or Strawberry Shortcake, whatever’s handy).

We are a proud and loyal people, and yes, we like cheese.  But the Packers are more than any other team out there—and Packer fans are like no other.

Church services are known to get out early on game days—Because the clergy are just as much fans as their congregations.

We show up in the bitter, below-freezing cold, and we like it.

The news once showed traffic footage during a game—Not a car in sight—The streets were empty, while the stadium was filled—Every tv and every fan tuned to the game.

We are the heirs of Lombardi—The trophy is named for us, our people, our team.  The first two Super Bowls are ours.  And every thereafter is just waiting to bring it home again.


And yes, we like cheese.





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Friday, February 4, 2011

Bully Bully

So…this topic came about in the usual round-about way that topics seem to catch me.

I was thinking of a movie.  I happened to have a free Netflix trial.  I was going to search for said movie, but first, I thought I’d just browse, see what was available.  And there it was.  But I didn’t feel like watching it right then.  So I didn’t.  Then Netflix started to recommend the movie to me.  After a week, I was finally in the mood, so I gave in and watched the movie.

Why’d I wait so long?  Because I was pretty sure that I knew the ending, and that it would be heartbreaking.  And I just have to be in the mood for that kind of emotional torment.

I hadn’t seen the movie before, so how did I know?—I read the book of course.

10 years ago.

I love Kevin Spacey, and when I saw the previews for Pay It Forward, it instantly went on my MUST SEE list.  It looked SO good.

SO GOOD that I did the one thing I never do.  I read the book first.

Bad move.

After that I couldn't bear to watch the movie—The book was that AMAZING.  And heart wrenching.  And after I’d read it, I just couldn’t imagine how the movie could be anything like this masterpiece of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s.

Especially because Kevin Spacey isn’t a black guy.  And nobody is going to mistake Haley Joel Osment for Hispanic.  From the previews alone, I could tell that Eugene’s scars were nowhere near as severe as what I imagined Rueben’s looked like in the book.  Oh, and in the book, Eugene’s name is Reuben.

On the face of it, the movie seemed whitewashed compared to Hyde’s melting pot of characters.  It made me wonder if the movie’s willingness to change such superficial details as a character’s name, race, and identity were indicators of far more significant changes.  I kept going back and forth, unable to decide how superficial the changes brought on by casting really were.

I don’t think it makes too big a difference whether or not a character is blonde or brunette.  Big deal.  But whether we want to admit it or not, a person’s skin color colors their formative years, how they interpret the world, and in turn, how the world sees them as a person.

Eugene was a victim of abuse, whereas Reuben was a Vietnam vet—Both situations evoke strong notions of what kind of battles that these characters have fought in their lives.  But Eugene’s history doesn’t necessarily preclude him having a similar development to the book’s character.

And then there’s the matter of the actors versus the characters.  Does an actor have to fit a certain race, sex, or age to portray a character?  Doesn’t that depend on the ability and caliber of the actor?

While I do feel a certain authenticity is added to movies when actors perform their own stunts—If an actor is REALLY climbing a mountain, or jumping from a plane, or being eaten by a shark—Is it still ACTING?  Or does it start to blur the lines between fiction and reality?

I am a strong proponent of staying as close to the book as possible; my feeling is that if you wanted to rewrite the story, then why not make whatever story you want?—Why bother using the book?

But if an actor can recreate the character from the book, his essence, his feelings, and bring the audience the same kind of feelings as the author does for her readership, well, then I think the actor’s capacity to tell the story should trump any physical shortcomings.


So…It’s ten years later, and all of a sudden I find myself thinking about the movie, again.  Thinking that maybe a decade is enough time to watch the movie objectively.  And then, there’s also Netflix, with its not so subtle nudges, urging me to watch the movie.

So I do.

And it was as absolutely heart-tearing and gut-wrenching as I’d hoped it would be.  The book and the movie are different.  But the things that they made me feel were the same.  The story was still there.


And, of course, it made me want to read the book again.  And, of course, my copy was somewhere back home at my parents’ house, on a bookshelf with a bunch of other books that haven’t quite caught up with me as an adult.

So, I thought about the book all night, but as much as I wanted to read it, I hate re-buying books I already have.  I went to sleep thinking it was a moot point.  I’d just have to pick it up the next time I was home.

But I didn’t have to wait that long—The very next day, my sister nudged me into stopping at a second-hand store with her.  25 cents later, a slightly-used copy of Pay It Forward was in my hands.



I went to add my little find to my In My Mailbox post, planning to do a little review of the book, or a comparison of the book and movie, you know, things us bloggers do.  But when I went to add a link to the author’s web page, I stumbled onto something that has made me very uncomfortable, something that made me change what I wanted to write about and share with you.

Catherine Ryan Hyde had a note on her blog about her newest book, Jumpstart the World, and a recent statement released by estranged biological relative, Leslie Feinberg.

The post made me curious, and I was nosy, so I read another post, and another, which only made me more and more curious.  Hyde sounded so hurt and I immediately felt for her—But I still didn’t know what had precipitated these posts, what the catalyst was.  So I googled it—Leslie, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Jumpstart the World.

Hyde, herself never told us Leslie’s last name, nor more than that Leslie was an estranged sibling.  I had no idea of knowing if my search was enough to go on.  It turned out to be more than enough.

Entranced, I read Leslie’s statement to the public—I found myself feeling just as passionately for Leslie as for Catherine, as both are fraught with anguish and hurt.

I went back and forth over my thoughts, wanting to reach out in support of both, wanting to take sides; feeling as emotionally compelled and torn as I was while reading Hyde’s novel, but much sadder knowing that this matter is all too real for its protagonists.

I meant to leave it alone and stop reading, but my curiosity got the better of me, wondering if perhaps there was any resolution, if there were any happy endings out there.  And so I kept clicking on the other search results, and clicking.  Most were reviews for Jumpstart the World,

I went back and reread the statements made by both, and I started reading the comments.

I haven’t read Hyde’s newest book, so I can’t comment on it other than to say many of the reviews are very positive.

But something else surprised and unsettled me—every single review I found was accompanied by a comment about Hyde and a link to Feinberg’s statement—Many reviews are linking and referring to the matter.  But what I find so unsettling is that some bloggers are being criticized for not doing so—for laying aside a matter, that while not unrelated, can be considered out of context when someone is concentrating on a review of the book at hand.


I had a hard time sleeping; tossing and turning, feeling acid build up in my stomach.  It kept nagging at me.

Hadn’t enough people already weighed in on this matter?  Hadn’t enough been said?

What could I say that that hadn’t been said?  What could I contribute?


At first I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I had strong opinions after reading both statements—I had a lot to say.  But I also felt like it was none of my business.  I like to read books, but when it came down to it, this felt more personal, and my strongest opinion, was that the matter at issue, when all was said and done, doesn’t have anything to do with the story itself.  I felt that the side issues raised offered very good topics for discussion.  And at the same time it still left me unsettled.

What was it that I couldn’t let go of?

I kept going over and over everything in my head, when it finally hit me what didn’t feel right.  EVERY SINGLE REVIEW had unflattering comments about Hyde in conjunction with links to Feinberg’s statement.  Bloggers were being admonished over their REVIEWS for not including information about Feinberg’s statement.  Ugly rants appeared with tabloid titles and defamatory, derogatory, and libelous statements made about Hyde, taking quotes from Hyde out of context and presenting them alongside Feinberg’s statement.  Hyde was assaulted in the comment section on her own blog, attacking and picking apart anything she’s ever said.  Or if Hyde’s words weren’t incriminating enough, she was attacked because she HADN’T said things.  No matter how Hyde explained and defended herself, or how she tried to clarify things, Feinberg supporters continued to pick Hyde apart.  And after Hyde closed her comment sections on the post, Feinberg supporters used that as another example to denounce Hyde.

I have no objection to open discussion, except, suddenly it feels more like bullying.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about bullying and cyber-bullying.  I’m not in school anymore and I don’t have any children, so I didn’t really think this was a topic that affected me.  When I pictured bullies, I pictured the jocks and the mean girls.  When I thought of their victims, I thought of the nerd and the fat kid, the insecure ones, the unpopular ones.  I pictured it happening on playgrounds and in dark alleys, and on facebook.

I certainly didn’t picture it happening to published authors or on book blogs.  But that’s what it feels like.  It feels like all of a sudden a few of Feinberg’s supporters have gone from spreading awareness of a sensitive and deeply emotional topic, to ATTACKING Hyde, leaving her unable to defend herself without leaving herself open to more attack.

That’s bullying.

The people I’m talking about aren’t interested in discussion—Unless you share their opinion.  Their tactics have gone beyond spreading awareness about a sensitive issue, to drawing others into a matter of contention, abetting anger and argument and blame.  The most prominent of these critics openly admit to not having read the book in question and seem to have no problem openly denouncing it and dismissing it as without merit.  These critics seem bent on forcing the issue, and I object to these bullies subverting our book reviews to promote their own agenda—not an agenda of stimulating dialogue, of encouraging civil debate, or of awareness, but attacks of vitriol, condemnation, and defamation.


Maybe my saying this doesn’t change anything that’s been said, but my only hope is that by saying something, maybe it will change how things are said.

Our words are just as powerful as our actions; I don’t wish any voice to be silenced, but I wish every voice the opportunity to be heard.


UPDATE


Here is a Facebook link I feel addresses the matter in a beautiful and thoughtful manner:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/del-lagrace-volcano/re-a-hostile-relative-rewrites-my-life/10150131328792597


Danielle at There's A Book has also written a great post: Jumpstarting the World One Book at a Time





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