August 31, 2009
SONS AND LOVERS by D. H. Lawrence
"The British Novel in the 20th Century"
Why it's relevant: Lawrence was a British writer in the twentieth century, duh. But SONS AND LOVERS displays the transition from the Victorian novel to the modern novel quite well, as it begins as one and ends as the other.
My reaction: I'm not very far into the book; I've just finished Part I. My mother likes SONS AND LOVERS, which prejudiced me towards this class when I saw it on the reading list. Victorian novels aren't really my thing (ugh, Thomas Hardy), aside from the fact abstract sex makes me giggle. Pretty much I'm just trying to figure out where this thing is going to go off the rails and goggling at how autobiographical it is.
THE BEGGAR'S OPERA by John Gay
"Major Writers of the Restoration and the 18th Century"
Why it's relevant: THE BEGGAR'S OPERA was a surprise theatrical success, playing off of Italian opera tropes in a play about the London underworld. The class is focusing on satire, and THE BEGGAR'S OPERA loves to stick it to Sir Robert Walpole.
My reaction: I'm halfway through the play; just finished Act I. I need to read Act II by Tuesday, which is no problem since it's even shorter and it's a very easy read. Gay is somewhat twisted, which I like. I love Peachem and his wife berating their daughter for marrying the man she's sleeping with instead of being sensible. Gay is not worried about subtlety.
INNUMERACY: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences by John Allen Paulos
"Problems in Modern Physics"
Why it's relevant: Apparently the first two chapters will teach me about solving Fermi problems, which is good since I have an entire problem set full of them due Thursday and there will be at least on per test.
My reaction: Haven't read it yet. I want to finish tonight so that I have two full nights to do the problem set.
August 30, 2009
SURF MULES by G. Neri
Summer's almost over, but the Books of Summer list is yet to be completed! Here's another hardcover for the list - one that's far better than it ought to be. I picked this one up expecting it to be so-so, an impression enforced by the prologue that recounts one of Logan and Z-boy's dumber exploits. But SURF MULES quickly becomes an emotional novel that will appeal to boys.
Logan's smart for a surfer, but it takes more than brains to go to college. And when his former best friend dies on the wave he spent his whole life wanting to ride, Logan is thrown for a loop. So when his other pal Z-boy hooks him up with the local drug dealer for an easy job, he takes it. And of course, things go terrible wrong.
(Everything I know about drug muling I learned from this book and Maria eres llena de gracia, neither of which make it an attractive job despite explaining very well why people would do it.)
SURF MULES combines comedy, adventure, and poignancy to create a book that is far less silly than it seems on the surface. Reading about Logan's last summer before college is a good way to cap off your own summer.
August 24, 2009
MAXIMUM RIDE – IF SHE LIVES, THE WORLD LIVES, IT’S THAT SIMPLE.
Read “MAX” - the newest book in the bestselling Maximum Ride series.
On sale in paperback 09/01/09!
Still reeling from their most recent adventure, Maximum Ride and the rest of the flock must head out to sea to uncover the secret behind a brand new series of disasters—fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii, hundreds of ships are being destroyed. As if that weren’t enough, they’re also being tracked by a criminal mastermind with, oh yeah, an army of mercenaries. Can the flock save themselves and the ocean, and the world, from utter destruction?
There are two prize packs available, which include:
-Paperback copies of all five Maximum Ride books: THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT, SCHOOL'S OUT - FOREVER, SAVING THE WORLD AND OTHER EXTREME SPORTS, THE FINAL WARNING, and MAX
-The manga version of Maximum Ride
-A paperback DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X and hardcover DANIEL X: WATCH THE SKIES, from James Patterson's other young adult series
To enter, leave a comment with your e-mail address.
The Fine Print:
The Maximum Ride: Max Promotion is open to legal US residents who are at least 13 years of age as of August 24, 2009. There will be two prizes for each Promotion. Each prize consists of the following eight (8) books: Maximum Ride: Max (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (paperback); Maximum Ride: School’s Out – Forever (paperback); Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (paperback); Maximum Ride: The Final Warning (paperback); Maximum Ride: Manga (paperback); The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (paperback); and Daniel X: Watch the Skies (hardcover). The approximate retail value of each prize is $72.00. Winners will be confirmed on or about September 28, 2009 by email. Prizes will only be shipped to confirmed winners with addresses in the US. Prizes will be shipped within 30 days after a selected entrant is confirmed as a winner.
August 23, 2009
August 21, 2009
But I'm hosting a really cool "Gorgeous Goth Guys and Girls Contest." You can tell how cool it is by the consonance. The prize pack includes a Prophecy playlist CD, Hot Topic gift card, Prophecy bookmark, Prophecy magnet, signed Prophecy poster, nail polish, candy, choice of DVD between Wuthering Heights or Interview with a Vampire. Michelle Zink is a generous lady.
Here's how to enter:
Dress up in your own interpretation of Victorian Gothic. Entries can be traditional, steampunk-inspired, contemporary Gothic ala Hot Topic, etc. Participants get an entry for each picture or video submitted.
However, I know some people are uncomfortable with showing their face and such and I'm not giving ya'll that much time. Therefore, I'm allowing you just to find a really cool photo that represents Victorian Gothic to you or to draw something.
This contest will end September 4th.
August 19, 2009
Teen themes and Harlequin TEEN
by Natashya Wilson, senior editor, HQ TEEN
Welcome to the latest stop on the Harlequin TEEN blog tour, and many thanks to In Bed with Books for hosting us today!
One thing I tell agents and authors when I attempt to explain what we’re looking for in Harlequin TEEN is a story that is “more than” a good, solid story—a tale that offers something extra, something universal that the reader will continue to think about after finishing the book. A strong theme is one thing that can make that happen. Coming of age, friendship, loyalty, peer pressure, challenging authority, puberty, first love, popularity…these are some popular themes often found in YA stories, and many of them are at work in Harlequin TEEN books.
Coming of age is one such theme, whether a story focuses on a literal age and rite of passage a character goes through to be considered adult or, less specifically, shows a character learn important lessons and attain a new sense of self by the end of the story. One thing that is marvelous about a series of connected titles is the opportunity to see a character come of age over time.
When Rachel Vincent’s My Soul to Take (August 2009) opens, Kaylee Cavanaugh doesn’t yet know why she can sense when someone is about to die—or why she can’t stop herself from screaming nearly hysterically when that happens. Watching Kaylee learn that she’s a banshee and learn to handle the responsibilities that entails over the course of three books is part of what resonates throughout the Soul Screamers series and makes it stand out in the crowd.
Other Harlequin TEEN titles that bring out this theme are Elphame’s Choice (October 2009) by P. C. Cast, in which the heroine journeys far from home to find her true calling and true love, and The Iron King (February 2010) by Julie Kagawa, the first of three books throughout which the heroine learns about her faery heritage and surprising destiny.
Friendship is another timeless theme with powerful resonance. Friends are there for the best and worst times of our lives. They can lift us up…or bring us down. What does it mean to be a true friend, why do we get along with some people so well and with others not at all? And where is the line between friendship and love?
One of the things I found so intriguing about Gena Showalter’s , Intertwined (September 2009) is that the two main characters, Aden and Mary Ann, do not wind up as each other’s love interest. Instead, once they meet, they feel an undeniable rightness of being together…as friends. Exploring that friendship and the connection they have is one theme that resonates throughout the Intertwined Novels.
First love—as they say, you never forget it. As of right now, all Harlequin TEEN titles contain a romance or romantic element. But so do many good stories. So what made this theme stand out in the titles we have acquired? Well, in Tagged (March 2010) by Mara Purnhagen, the author developed the heroine’s romance alongside the mystery that drives the plot as well as the heroine’s run-ins with the popular crowd, another favorite theme. The way the author made use of these themes helped the story stand out.
In The Oracle of Dating (May 2010) by Allison van Diepen, the heroine faces the consequences of anonymously giving her own friends dating advice—and having it go awry—while trying to get a handle on her own runaway romance. The parallels and contradictions in the simultaneous situations helped to make this story more than just another fun romance.
Challenging authority is part of growing up. And no one does it better than Trella, the heroine of Maria V. Snyder’s Inside Out (April 2010). Though she means only to carry on her own personal rebellion quietly, sneaking into forbidden places and keeping to herself, Trella’s actions eventually spark a revolution and create an unforgettable read.
What are some of your favorite themes in YA books? What makes a story stand out in your crowd? We’d love to hear! Comment here for a chance to win a copy of My Soul to Take or Intertwined, or a fun Harlequin TEEN T-shirt. And we hope to see you next week on our tour, with a more personal post about me at Kay Cassidy’s blog on 8/26 followed by a trip to The Page Flipper on 8/28!
Harlequin TEEN is offering two of each MY SOUL TO TAKE and INTERTWINED, as well as one each of the shirts, which means there will be six winners. Pretty good odds, no? This contest will remain open until for two weeks, until September 2 - the day after INTERTWINED comes out.
August 17, 2009
And speaking of fun . . . Wanda is the winner! Oddly, she only had one entry in the hat. I love it when the underdog wins. In fact, my next contest (coming in just a week!) will have no bonus entries. (Mostly because I'm tired of numbering contest entries.) So be prepared for everyone to have a single chance!
And though I couldn't get it done before the contest finished, expect an interview with Jennifer Banash.
August 11, 2009
August 10, 2009
I believe this is Jesus College, but I forgot by the time I uploaded the photo.
The Roman Baths . . . at Bath
One of the entrances to Christ Church
On the cliffs by the seashore (near Sussex)