Monday, November 30, 2009
This article by Nicole Sperling of Entertainment Weekly's website is claiming that the book Beautiful Creatures that I reviewed HERE has it's movie rights optioned to Warner Brothers. Very interesting! It seems like movie studios are trying so hard to find the next Twilight, but I already told how I feel about that comparison in my review. You can't compare apples to oranges people! There will never be another Twilight Saga, that is of course, unless Stephanie Meyer plans on adding to the franchise. Oh, and Nicole, books have had "trailers" for quite some time now...how long have you been writing about literature for EW? Hmmm....
Warner Bros. on the hunt for the next 'Twilight': Is it 'Beautiful Creatures'?
by Nicole Sperling
Categories: Books, Deals, Film
Tomorrow marks the publication of Beautiful Creatures, a young adult novel from Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl that centers on a mortal high school boy living in Gatlin, South Carolina and his love for a very strange girl with some mysterious powers. Her name is Lena Duchannes and she’s trying her best to conceal her powers. Sound intriguing? Well the publishing world has been very kind to Beautiful Creatures with glowing advance reviews. (Little, Brown, the publishers behind Twilight are behind this book.) Hollywood has also been interested in it for some time and the book’s rights have just been optioned by Warner Bros. for writer/director Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You, Freedom Writers) to develop. Erwin Stoff (The Blind Side) is producing. The book doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow but Amazon and other booksellers have been offering pre-sales on it for some time. Here is the link to the book’s home page and its own trailer. (Who knew books had trailers?) So tell us readers, have you heard of this tale? Does it interest you?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Good, smart, literary women tried to resist the romantic-vampire phenomenon. And then, alas, they bit.
By Monica Hesse
Thursday, November 19, 2009
We know. You hate "Twilight." You don't want to hear anything more about "Twilight." That's why this is not another story about the "Twilight" or "New Moon" mania, nor will it rhapsodize on the vampire craze, nor does it contain any interviews with Robert Pattinson.
This is a story about shame.
All across the country, there were women who managed to avoid Stephenie Meyer's series about a star-crossed human/vampire teen couple. (Vampire Edward lusts for mortal Bella, but also for her blood; the books are less plot than endless yearning). They resisted the first three books -- refused to read them, didn't know they existed -- and the lunacy that was "Breaking Dawn."
"Twilight" came for the tweens, then for the moms of tweens, then for the co-workers who started wearing those ridiculous Team Jacob shirts, and the resisters said nothing, because they thought "Twilight" could not come for them. They were too literary. They didn't do vampires. They were feminists.
Then something happened: the release of the "Twilight" movie, which last year introduced $384 million worth of audience members to Kristen Stewart as mortal Bella and Pattinson as lust incarnate.
"Prior to 'Twilight,' my favorite books were by Anthony Burgess" and Ayn Rand, says Jenny West, 32, who had never heard of the series until she saw ads for the movie last year. "I bought 'Twilight' [the book] with the full intention of ripping it apart." Then she read it. In one night. Bought "New Moon" the next day. "I was kind of horrified with myself, and I had to keep going." When she finished the last book, she reopened the first one and started again.
She founded the blog Twitarded, to process what had happened to her. She and co-Twitard Debbie Connelly were last spotted soliciting donations to win a charity benefit date with Peter Facinelli, the actor who plays Edward's dad.
Beware the dark side
People, be warned. "New Moon," the "Twilight" movie sequel, opens on Friday. Everyone is vulnerable.
One minute you're a functioning member of society, the next you're succumbing to the dark side, wondering how deep you're willing to go -- and what that longing says about you.
In "Twilight," Edward Cullen waffled between wooing and eating new girl Bella Swan. He chose love. In "New Moon," the darkest installment of the series, Edward becomes convinced that his girlfriend would be safer without him, so he dumps her in order to protect her and then vanishes. Bella, catatonic from the pain, finds solace in Jacob Black, the devoted friend who has just learned he is a werewolf, and their relationship grows deeper, and this description is utterly, utterly useless because none of it gets at what the "Twilight" series is actually about, which is being 17.
It's a time capsule to the breathless period when the world could literally end depending on whether your lab partner touched your hand, when every conversation was so agonizing and so thrilling (and the border between the two emotions was so thin), and your heart was bigger and more delicate than it is now, and everything was just so much more.
"I noticed in that first week of reading that I was feeling things I hadn't been able to feel in a long time," says Lauren Ashlock, 27. She'd avoided the "Twilight" series ever since the 2005 release of the first book, because when she saw the passion of so-called TwiHards, she thought, Wackos.
She relented last year only because she wanted to be an informed hater. She snuck the books into her house, at first reading them in the bathroom so her husband wouldn't laugh. The floodgates opened. "I'd locked away a lot of emotions," she says. "I'd numbed out." It had been a terrible year, with unrelenting job stress, and yet suddenly she was feeling alive again.
The behavior that followed will make perfect sense to someone who has read "Twilight" and seem bat-crazy to anyone who hasn't: Ashlock got three dogs and named them after "New Moon's" werewolf pack. She and her husband traveled to Forks, the two-bit town in Washington state where Bella and Edward fictionally live. When the Ashlocks have a child, they will name it from the novels: "If it's a girl her middle name will be Renesmee, and I don't care if you hate the name because I love it."
The people who have not read "Twilight" do not get it. Worse, they think that what happened to Ashlock could not happen to them. They're so smug, talking about how they once read a chapter of "Twilight" in a bookstore and the prose was just awful. Meyer never uses one adjective when she could use three, and most of the time that adjective is a hyphenate combining "dazzling" and "chiseled."
The people who have not read "Twilight" think they are astoundingly brilliant when they point out the misogynist strains of the series, like how Bella bypasses college in favor of love, like how Edward's "romantic" tendencies include creepily sneaking into Bella's house to watch her sleep, like how Bella's only "flaw" is that she is clumsy, thereby necessitating frequent rescues by the men in her life, who swoop in with dazzling chisleyness and throw her over their shoulders.
In response: We know. We know.
The women who have succumbed to "Twilight" have heard all of these arguments before. They wrote those arguments. This self-awareness is what makes the experience of loving "Twilight" a conflicting one, as if they had all been taught proper skin-care routines but chose instead to rub their faces with a big pizza every night.
A love most 'exquisite'
It's embarrassing, to love something you wish you hated.
Witness the progression experienced by West's mother, who agreed to read the books after her daughter's site went gangbusters:
How many times does Bella describe Edward's face as "exquisite?" . . . and that whole scene with Bella riding on Edward's back as he races through the woods . . . cooooorny.
Dad and I just finished watching "Twilight" and I must say we both liked the movie.
I have a serious problem with ["New Moon"]. My problem is I can't put it down.
Where the heck is Edward? The suspense is killing me!
Oh, Mrs. West. Welcome.
Witness the downfall of Sarah Seltzer, a freelance literary critic who also writes for a reproductive rights Web site:
"I wanted to write about the abstinence subtext," Seltzer says, which is why she read the books to begin with. She planned on questioning the allegorical "abstinence only" theme that runs through the series. "But the books are kind of hypnotic, so it's very much that while you're reading them you're sucked in, and then you take a step back and you think, this is kind of troubling. She jumps off a cliff because she misses her boyfriend?" What?!
"New Moon" shows Bella at her most pathetic, and so the grown women who love "Twilight" have methodically come up with rebuttals to the accusations that the character is anti-feminist. Perhaps her single-minded desire for a relationship is actually a Third Wave feminist expression? Maybe it doesn't matter that she's choosing Edward over everything else, as long as it's her choice? Maybe her wish to become a vampire is really a metaphor for asserting her rights over her own body?
Is Bella regressing or progressive? The past or the future?
And Edward -- Edward might be imperfect, might be too possessive, but then why does he still seem so insanely dreamy?
"I remember when the movie first came out," says Mindy Goodin, 36, a special needs teacher in Stafford. "I remember thinking," whoever that boy is, "he really needs to brush his hair."
How things have changed. Recently, when Goodin's 10-year-old daughter wanted to lash out, she did so by yelling the words she knew would cut her mother to the core: "I don't even think Robert Pattinson's cute, anyway!"
For mothers of tweenage girls, there are added complications. Is it sweet or twisted to share the same crush as your 14-year-old? (Taylor Lautner as Jacob. Ahhhhhhh. Only 17. Ewwwww.) How do you reconcile cooing over an on-screen relationship that, if your daughter had it in real life, might be worth a restraining order?
What women want
It's just a movie. It's just a movie. It's just a movie.
It's just a movie -- well, movie and books -- but it's a movie that's come to represent such big things, from the future of girls to what women really want (they want men who will shut up and come to watch "New Moon," and not ask how many points they're getting for the evening).
Men feel perfectly comfortable slathering their chests in greasepaint and screaming like half-naked ninnies at football games, but women too often over-explain their passions, apologizing for being too girly or liking something too trashy.
The grown women of "Twilight" will no longer apologize. They will go to those midnight "New Moon" screenings.
But as for telling them how silly they're being, how Edward is not real and neither is Jacob, how their brains are rotting and their sense of reality is being distorted and this obsession is crazy, just crazy? There's really no need.
They already know.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The brand new poster for Eclipse hints at a darker tone with its brooding storm clouds. With 30 Days of Night director David Slade at the helm, it's unsurprising. "Every movie is different because we work with a different director on each one, which I love," Taylor Lautner tells RT. "David Slade is perfect for the third film because it's darker. Eclipse was my favourite book." Ashley Greene, who plays vampire Alice, tells RT that Slade isn't just a prince of darkness. "David is actually hysterical," she laughs, "He has such a dry sense of humour that sometimes you don't know if he's kidding or not. Eclipse will be amazing because he has made it far edgier and more dramatic. It's going to look very cool."
"Eclipse isn't as intimate as Twilight or New Moon," Robert Pattinson explains to us. "We're at war, so I get to interact with more characters, not just Kristen. You'll also find out more about the other members of the Cullen family. It just feels bigger." But -- fear not, Twihards -- that isn't to say the love story is cast aside altogether. "New Moon set up a love triangle with Bella, Edward and Jacob," says Lautner. "So we explore that further in Eclipse. It's a tough situation for all of them because Bella is torn between two guys, Jacob can't get the girl that he loves and then there's Edward, with all of his issues."
"We all know the appeal of the vampire family," says Nikki Reed, who plays vampire Rosalie. "But the werewolf boys are on a whole different level. They interact with a youthful, playful, comfortable warmth. It's very sexy."
As for Pattinson, he admits that his personal jealousy about Taylor Lautner's newly-ripped physique actually comes in handy for the role. "In Eclipse, Taylor and I have lots of scenes together where we have to be jealous and petty with each other," he says. "So it helps that I actually do feel inadequate when I see his body, especially because he's younger than me. He fulfills every criteria of what teenage girls want, physically, in a guy. I felt like a had to prove myself against him."
Fact #4: There's More Action
"Filming Eclipse actually changed my life," says Nikki Reed of the arduous training regime the cast had to endure. "I have never been so fit -- this is the first time in my life I have actually had a bicep. It's bizarre to compare how we look now to how we all looked in the first movie. The entire cast turned up on set for Eclipse looking super-buff."
New cast member Bryce Dallas Howard tried to play a prank on the crew during one stunt, but she didn't count on Pattinson's awkwardness. "We had a fight scene where Bryce had to grab my hair," he laughs. "So she took a clump of hair from my stunt double's wig and was going to pretend she had pulled it from my head. She told me to scream and storm off set, but it was so embarrassing. She had this huge clump of hair in her hand, and I was like 'oww,' really unconvincingly." While the rest of the cast were having fun with stunts, spare a thought for poor Taylor Lautner. "Eclipse is a lot more physical for my character," he explains, "but any time I have any kind of action, I'm a wolf, so it's all done with CGI. It's a bummer."
Fact #5: The Ending Will Be Nicely Set Up For a Fourth - And Perhaps Fifth - Film
There are four books in The Twilight Saga: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. But Ashley Greene gave RT the strongest indication yet that there might be five films. "We have finished filming Eclipse and one would assume that, if New Moon does as well as Twilight, then we'll start filming Breaking Dawn next year," she says.
"The only thing is, Breaking Dawn is a very large book so it would be a really long movie. We're thinking they might decide to split it into two parts, like they did with Harry Potter. Either way, we need to get on with shooting them because, unlike Harry Potter, vampires don't age. So we all need to look the same!"
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had read reviews that called this novel the next 'Twilight Series', and after I got over the fact that this book is NOT like Twilight, I was able to process the novel on a different level and allow myself to form an honest opinion. I HATE IT WHEN PUBLISHERS COMPARE YA FICTION TO THE TWILIGHT SAGA. Not only does it set the book up for unintentionally disappointment, but it cheapens the Twilight Saga in the process. No wonder so many people are sick of hearing about Twilight! Marketing agents need to quit peddling the Twilight name for other books. It's not fair to young adult fiction and makes it seem like the only thing teens will read has to have TWILIGHT stamped across the cover. Ugh. Talk about beating a dead horse...or undead (ha!)...nevermind.
Beautiful Creatures explored the realms of (dare I say) witchcraft and Southern-style voodoo that have been thrown together into a big mixing bowl with a dash of superstition, and a tablespoon of tradition. I'm interested to see where Garcia and Stohl take the next installment of BC, and whether Ethan and Lena can deepen their relationship in ways that do not involve them overcoming prejudice from their peers or battles with Dark members of the family tree. Just a suggestion, Kami and Margaret, but can we see them have a little fun? Maybe a bit more light-hearted, teenage interaction that allows us to see the good side of their tumultuous relationship, because after so much strife and problems, I start to wonder what the point of being together is if they are never ENJOYING each other's company. Other than that obstacle, the book as a whole was a fabulous find! I loved the writing style of Garcia and Stohl, and the fact that it was told from Ethan's perspective gave readers a refreshing break from drippy, teen, female narrators. I think I have a new series to obsess over...at least until Eclipse is out, or the new Sookie Stackhouse book hits the shelves!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Like anything that is popular among the masses, there are always those "rebels" who claim to hate anything that the rest of us like because they like to tick us off. Remember that kid on the playground when you were younger, and it was FREEZING outside, and that dip-stick kid would claim that is "wasn't cold" and insist on not wearing his/her jacket to prove to the rest of us that we were stupid? I'm sure that kid is now an adult that claims the Twilight Sage is "stupid", when I bet that jacka@&* has never even read the books. That is the same kind of guy who usually works as a movie review critic.
Very, very RARELY do I agree with a movie critic. Some of my favorite movies are constantly slammed by cinematic "experts", and many of my favorite books are not considered literary greats. Usually movies that are critical "darlings" are boring and suck or are so depressing, you can't get through them. After reading several reviews of New Moon, I'm PISSED. They keep saying things like "if you're not a fan of the books" you won't like New Moon, or New Moon moves too slowly for non-readers of the series. Then read the FREAKIN' SERIES and quit your whining. Same with Harry Potter films, READ THE BOOK if you think the movie is confusing or doesn't explain everything the way you think it should. Chris Weitz has been quoted several times, stating that he made this movie for fans of the book. READ THE BOOKS, PEOPLE, then we might actually care about your opinion of the movie.
If you want to read a review that is objective and honest, check out Lisa Schwarzbaum's review of New Moon.
Friday, November 20, 2009
WOW! I expected greatness and wasn't disappointed. Chris Weitz, you made a beautiful movie that was true to the book and even (dare I say) exceeded the novel's imagery as a whole. The colors, the effects, the music, the acting, were all phenomenal! New Moon kicked Twilight's butt and then came back for a second jack-slap! New Moon was a HOME RUN, and I really wish Weitz would sign on for Breaking Dawn. Batter up, David Slade!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Don't forget that you can catch up on episodes at http://www.hulu.com or here:http://www.cwtv.com/shows/the-vampire-diaries
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The amazing feat of bringing a puppet to life draws many admirers, and the most dangerous of Yann and Tetu's fans is the evil Count Kalliovski. Harnessing the powers of Yann and Tetu would bring Kalliovski much power, and he lures the entertainers to the chateau of Marquis de Villeduval, who hires the pair to put on their show for the Marquis's rich friends. Tetu and Yann suspect evil and danger far too late, and narrowly escape the Count with the help of the Marquis's neglected and ignored daughter, Sido. Yann and Tetu know that they have only a matter of time before the Count hunts them down, and Tetu devises a plan for Yann's escape to London without him. The story unfolds as we learn more evil and dark secrets behind Kalliovski and his control of Paris's elite, the significance of the red necklace that is found on the neck of murder victims who have borrowed money from the Count, and his master plan to harness magic and create the world's first human like automata. Whew! Lots of scheming and unravelling to do in the last 200 or so pages!
The story is complex and difficult to summarize, but I did enjoy it, even though I know only the basics behind the French Revolution. Gardner has a vivid imagination, but her usage of third person perspective limited reader's from learning too much about one character at a given time. There is also so much build and explanation to get through in the first 100 pages, which will turn many teen readers off, but those who stick around are in for a whirlwind of action in the last 3/4ths of the book. Sometimes the action is TOO FAST and can cause readers to lose track of who-is-who, and what-is-what in the novel.
I'm sure that the historical aspect of this book is what garnered so much literary recognition, because historical fiction is very hard to pull-off and for authors to not ramble on about historical facts. Gardner made you feel like you were apart of the time period and aware of the important events, without going off on a tangent about the historical implications or giving too many frivolous details about the Revolution. Yet, like I said before, the first part of the book was a little slow and full of explanation, but then hit warp speed toward the middle and end. I felt like parts of the plot were rushed or needed to be further explored (Yann's mother's connection to the Count) and more development in character relationships (between Sido and Yann and perhaps even Tetu and Yann's mother). Yes, we know that Yann and Sido felt a connection from the time they first met as young teenagers, but one dinner and a cafe doesn't rekindle automatic love, in my opinion! I'm hoping Sally Gardner's sequel, The Silver Blade further explores the connection between Sido and Yann and divulges how Yann plans to use his powers to help the people of Paris.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
With Catherine Hardwicke receiving more film offers, and similar projects ''The Vampire Diaries'' and ''The Hunger Games'' underway, we ponder the flick's influence on Tinsletown
Hollywood would like to disagree. Besides Hardwicke's projects, Kevin Williamson is producing an adaptation of The Vampire Diaries for The CW, while Lionsgate just scooped up The Hunger Games, a futuristic teen-fiction series that Meyer endorsed on her blog. ''Twilight shows what we've known since Titanic,'' says Games producer Nina Jacobson. ''If you speak to young people in a way that resonates emotionally, they'll show up again and again.'' If none of those works, Twilight fans can turn to the big-screen sequel New Moon, out Nov. 20. ''People always ask me who the next Stephenie Meyer is,'' says literary agent and producer Ellen Goldsmith-Vein. ''The next Stephenie Meyer is Stephenie Meyer.''
I bet Steph's husband is happy for her random dream about vampires! Did you see her house, her pool, her awesome hair and perfectly waxed eyebrows? Edward Cullen has definitely set her up for life! I'm still amazed that the woman was able to write with three small children at home! I'm on page 54 after a year of writing my so-called-book, and I NEVER have time to sit down and work on it! This interview has definitely made me understand that you have to MAKE TIME. No matter what jealous critics may say, I think she is an amazing writer and I hope she has future novels on the horizon. Who wouldn't want to read more about Reneseme and Jacob's future together? I know I would! I also read an interview last year before Twilight's release in which Stephanie mentioned that she is exploring different realms to write about, like possibly a ghost story or the world of mermaids, but not in the sense of Ariel and King Triton. I'm interested to see if any of these ideas come to fruition in the future! Keep writing, Stephenie!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Stephenie Meyer on 'Oprah': Question about possible fifth 'Twilight' book cut for time, says Harpo rep
by John Young
Categories: Books, News, Television, Twilight
Earlier today, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show for her one and only interview before the highly anticipated release of the movie The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Before a commercial break, Winfrey teased the rest of the interview with this promise: “Coming up, will there be a fifth book in The Twilight Saga? Stephenie answers that later.” However, as a number of EW.com readers pointed out, Winfrey subsequently never asked Meyer that juicy question.
What happened? “It’s a live show, so sometimes they don’t get to every question,” a spokesman for Harpo Productions told EW. “Know that if (Oprah) didn’t get to the question within the show, it would have only been cut for time.” Luckily, someone at Oprah managed to ask Meyer the fifth-book question backstage, and the author’s answer can be viewed at the show’s website.
In a nutshell, Meyer said she’s not sure about a fifth Twilight book at the moment. “I am a little burned out on vampires right now,” she said. “I think I need a little break. I might go spend some time with my aliens. I might do something completely different. I’ve got to cleanse the palate. I may come back to it. I did envision it as a longer series. But I wrapped Breaking Dawn in a way that I felt satisfied with, so if that moment didn’t come, I’d be okay.”
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1 whole store-bought roast chicken (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 container (7 ounces) chopped onions
6 cans (14 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 container (14 ounces) pre-cut carrot sticks, chopped
1 container (14 ounces) pre-cut celery sticks, chopped
1 roll (16.3 ounces) golden buttermilk biscuit dough
1 can (10.5 ounces) condensed chicken gravy
Remove skin from chicken and shred meat into large pieces. Set aside.
In a small frying pan, add vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions and saute until soft.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, add broth, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, carrots, celery, and sauteed onions. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes to soften vegetables, and then add shredded chicken. Continue to simmer while making dumplings.
While stew is simmering, prepare dumplings. Open can and remove biscuits. On a lightly floured surface, roll each biscuit to 1/4-inch thick. With a knife, cut each biscuit into 4 pie-pieces. Set aside.
Skim surface for any scum that has risen to top. Stir in chicken gravy.
With the stew still simmering over low heat, stir in dumplings a few at a time. Once all dumplings are in to pot, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 10 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve piping hot.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I wanted to apprise you all of a few upcoming things.
You know I’ve been doing the hermit thing this last year, in so far as media is concerned, and I’m not changing that now, but I am making an exception. I’m doing this for a good reason: I am so pleased and amazed and thrilled with what Chris Weitz has done with New Moon that I want to talk about it, and to show my support for him. And since I’m only doing one interview, better make it big. Really big. So….I will be on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday, November 13th. Check the local listings on Oprah’s website to find out what time it will be on where you live.
Of course, most of the questions for Oprah will be designed for a broader audience than just die-hard Twilight fans, and I imagine people who read this site and other fansites will already know most of the answers. To rectify this, I’m going to answer your more specific questions on-line. The official Twilight Saga website (www.TheTwilightSaga.com) will be taking any New Moon movie-related questions you might have for me, and then I’ll answer those most frequently asked. I’ll post the answers on the Twilight Saga website and also here on my own site. Questions can be submitted to TheTwilightSaga.com from noon (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday, November 9th through noon Tuesday, November 10th. The answers will be posted Monday, November 16th—or New Moon Premiere Day, as it is known around my house. (Details about submitting the questions will be posted first thing Monday morning at TheTwilightSaga.com, you can also get more information below.)
I’m so very excited that you’ll all get to see New Moon in just two weeks! Then you’ll see what I’m going on about. Until then, think up some good questions for me.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Twilight fans, I challenge you to read this first sampling of Nightlight without cracking a grin..... (from entertainmentweekly.com)
1. FIRST LOOK
The hot phoenix sun glared down on the car windowsill where my bare, pallid arm dangled shamelessly. My mom and I were both going to the airport, but only I had a ticket waiting for me, and that ticket was one-way.
I had a dejected, brooding expression on my face, and I could tell from the reflection in the window that it was also an intriguing expression. It seemed out of place, coming from a girl in a sleeveless, lacy top and bell-bottom jeans (stars on the back pockets). But I was that kind of girl — out of place. Then I shifted from that place on the dashboard to a normal position in the seat. Much better.
I was exiling myself from my mom's home in Phoenix to my dad's home in Switchblade. As a self-exiled exile, I would know the pain of Diaspora and the pleasure of imposing it, callously disregarding my own pleas to say one last good-bye to the potted fungus I was cultivating. I had to coarsen my skin if I was going to be a refugee in Switchblade, a town in northwest Oregon that no one knows about. Don't try to look it up on a map — it's not important enough for mapmakers to care about. And don't even think about looking me up on that map — apparently, I'm not important enough either.
''Belle,'' my mom pouted in the terminal. I felt a pang of guilt, leaving her to fend for herself in this huge, friendless airport. But, as the pediatrician said, I couldn't let her separation anxiety prevent me from getting out of the house for eight or so years.
I got down on my knees and held her hands. ''Belle is only going to be gone for the rest of high school, okay? You're going to have a lot of fun with Bill, right Bill?''
Bill nodded. He was my new stepdad and the only other person available to take care of her while I was gone. I can't say I trusted him, but he was cheaper than a sitter.
I straightened up and crossed my arms. It was time to cut the crap. ''The emergency numbers are above the phone in the kitchen,'' I told him. ''If she gets hurt, skip the first two — they're your cell phone and Domino's. I've cooked enough meals to last you both the first month if you split one-third of a Stouffer's Lasagna a day.''
My mom smiled at the thought of lasagna.
''You don't have to go, Belle,'' said Bill. ''Sure, my street-hockey team is going on tour, but only around the neighborhood. There's plenty of space in the car for you, your mom and me to live.''
''It's no big deal. I want to go. I want to leave all of my friends and the sunlight for a small, rainy town. Making you happy makes me happy.''
''Please stay — who will pay the bills when you leave?''
I could hear my boarding number being called. ''I bet Bill can run faster than Mom to the nice Jamba Juice man!''
''I am the fastest!'' my mom shouted. As they ran off, Bill pulling her shirt to get ahead, I slowly backed away into the gate, through the jet bridge, and onto the plane. None of us were very good at saying good- bye. For some reason, it always came out good-BUH.
I was nervous about reuniting with my dad. He could be distant. Twenty-seven years of being the only window-wiper in Switchblade had forced him to distance himself from others by at least a windowpane. I recall my mom breaking down crying on the sofa after one of their rows and him just watching her stoically, right outside the window, wiping in powerful, circular motions.
When I saw him waiting for me outside the terminal, I walked towards him shyly, tripping over a toddler and soaring into a keychain display. Embarrassed, I straightened up and fell down the escalator, somersaulting over the roller luggage inconsiderately placed on the left side. I get my lack of coordination from my dad, who always used to push me down when I was learning how to walk.
''Are you all right?'' my dad laughed, steadying me as I got off. ''That's my clumsy old Belle!'' he added, pointing to another girl.
''It's me! I'm your Belle,'' I cried, covering my face with my hair like I normally wear it.
''Oh! Hello! It's good to see you, Belle.'' He gave me a firm, gripping hug.
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING....
At least in my classroom, that is! I've been challenging my students to read the books on the Texas Lone Star Reading List that is compiled by the Texas Library Association(click on this link if you would like to read the list that has annotations for each book). If I'm going to make my kids do it, I figure I better get with the program and start reading! Lucky for me, many of the books on the 2009 list are already some of my favorites. The Adoration of Jenna Fox and The Hunger Games are two of my all-time favorite teen reads. Check out the list below and be sure to pick up as many of these titles as you can. Each title is chosen because it is GOOD, so you are guaranteed a satisfying read. If you live in Texas, all public libraries have a set of the 20 books on the list, so you can almost guarantee that you will find at least one of them in stock. I'm starting The Red Necklace tonight and hope to work through as many of these as possible during my Christmas break. Want to read with me? Let's get to work!
Here is the 2009 Texas Lone Star list:
1. Bodeen, S.A. The Compound
2. Brande, Robin. Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature
3. Colfer, Eoin. Airman
4. Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games (It's no secret that this is a favorite of mine!)
5. Connor, Leslie. Waiting for Normal
6. Dowd, Siobahn. The London Eye Mystery
7. Freitas, Donna. The Possibilities of Sainthood
8. Frost, Helen. Diamond Willow.
9. Gardner, Sally. The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution.
10. Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Found (The Missing, Book One).
11. Herlong, M.H. The Great Wide Sea.
12. Higgins, F.E. The Black Book of Secrets.
13. Meehl, Brian. Suck It Up.
14. Pearson, Mary E. The Adoration of Jenna Fox. (LOVE THIS BOOK! See my review of it here.)
15. Pfeffer, Susan Beth. The Dead and the Gone.
16. Shusterman, Neal. Antsy Does Time.
17. Shusterman, Neal. Unwind.
18. Smith, Roland. I, Q.: Independence Hall.
19. Ziegler, Jennifer. How Not to be Popular.