Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Weeks of XVI: Banned Books and Contests and Interviews

Julia Karr is the author of the upcoming dystopian title, XVI, a novel where turning 16 has dire consequences. In order to celebrate the book's release, Julia's on a blog tour for the 16 weeks before XVI comes out--and this is week 14!

For each of the 16 weeks of the tour, Julia's going to talk about a specific aspect of her book. The kicked off on Julia's blog--for the 16th week, she discussed her 16 favorite things about Chicago (where the novel is set) and gave away the first chapter of her book to everyone. For week 15, Julia was asked 15 questions by MG author Sheela Chari on the topic of vegetarianism (her main character is a vegetarian) and gave away a copy of the Chicago Diner Cookbook. Today, the 14th week, Julia's going to discuss banned books, which feature in her novel, and give away one of her 14 favorite banned books!

So: Here's Julia!

Beth, I’m thrilled to be here today. Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog!

1. What's your opinion on banned books?
I think banning books is wrong. Discussion about disputed books is good. Controversy provides a learning experience and should be taken advantage of. Books should be read and discussed, not banned.

2. Do banned books play a role in XVI?
They do. In my future world, there are certain books that have become self-fulfilling prophecies and the government doesn't necessarily want people noticing that.

3. Which books in your story are banned? Why?

  • 1984 by George Orwell - Because in XVI, government surveillance is the norm.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - It is not so far from certain aspects of society in XVI.
  • Mars Rising (a fictional book that I just might have to write!) It’s about a revolt of the miners
  • on Mars.

4. Why did you decide to feature banned books in your story?
In any future society where the government wants to control the general population, it must
make them stop thinking for themselves. Reading books is a key to unlocking critical thought
processes - therefore, any totalitarian government would need to control what reading materials
their citizens would have access to.

5. What are your favorite banned books?

  • Harry Potter - all seven!
  • Gone With The Wind (hard to believe this book was ever banned!)
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Call of the Wild
  • Brideshead, Revisited

Because this is Week 14 of the 16 Weeks to XVI, we’re got 14 children's books that have, at
some point, been challenged/banned. For this week's contest, (open from Thursday morning to
next Thursday at midnight) commenters (either here or on Julia’s blogwill be offered their choice of one of these fabulous books as a prize!

  1. ttyl by Lauren Myracle
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  5. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
  9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  11. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  12. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  13. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  14. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Beth - thanks so much for having me here today on the countdown to the release of my book.
But, mostly, I’m glad to be here and to be able to talk a little bit about book banning, why it’s
wrong and why people need to read banned books and write books that will be challenged.
Because as writers, I think we have been given an internal charge to be truth-tellers and not to be
queasy about laying out the hard stuff! Thanks again!

There you have it, guys! Now, go forth and comment--and be like the cool kids: Read Banned Books!

Bookanista Feature: Elana Johnson's POSSESSION

The Bookanistas are a group of writers - in various stages of the publishing process – who have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers.  No negative reviews here! We post every Thursday and cover various topics– upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews.

POSSESSION by Elana Johnson

You guys.

I'm in love with this cover.

First, there's the white space, drawing the total attention to the image and the sparse words. The boxy font of the title paired with the script of Elana's name is beautiful in contrast.

And that image? Genius. You have a butterfly* trapped in ice--something beautiful and free contained, controlled--possessed. And can I just say that I love the crack in the ice! It makes it seem almost painful...or almost as if the butterfly can escape...

And last but not least, take a look at that tagline. "Control or be controlled." Guys, this is the epitome of a tagline--short, simple, but perfectly succinct. And what's even cooler? Elana came up with that herself.

*Have I mentioned that I freaking love butterflies? They have such symbolic meaning for me--I did my master's thesis on the myth of Cupid and Psyche, which, of course, reflects back into how butterflies are symbolic for the soul. Blue butterflies (the blue morpho, specifically) were my wedding theme. I love me some butterflies.


Other Bookanista Features Today:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Book, A Mystery & Two Clues

Guys, remember when I mentioned that NIGHTSHADE had some brilliant marketing going on? Well, I got sucked right into the story: this Monday, I received a package from the main character, Shay Doran!

[For those of you not in the know: Shay Doran is one of the main characters from NIGHTSHADE, a book coming out in October. The prequel to the book is being done online in an interactive way--basically, Shay's on Facebook, Youtube, and blogging about the events that lead up to the first chapter of NIGHTSHADE. It's been totally fun to participate; you should give it a try!]

Recently, Shay's been exploring his new home, and he found a creepy library filled with books that had secret messages. Instead of trying to figure it all out himself, he sent the books to his readers, so we can post the clues and try to help solve the mystery. [OMGosh, see how much fun this is?!]

Here's what I got on Monday:
The title is Ramuntcho, and it's by Pierre Loti. It's a deliciously old book with gilt on the cover, but the clue is inside.

First, there's this, found on page 106:
Ink drawings link together random words on the page to create a sentence. In case you can't read the picture, the sentence is:

He accomplished his dream for the dark creation.

[DUDE. I know. Awesome, right?]
But wait: there's one more clue:
This one is definitely more complicated, but here's what the words add up to say:

She return to the world as 4 lost things.

I'm assuming this last one is a bit of a stretch--it should probably read "She returns to the world as four lost things."
But hey--how strange! First, we've gone from a "He" to a "She"--and the clue makes a point that it's a "she"--look at the picture, the "s" and "he" had to be made through the drawing. So we're talking about a girl for sure--and she has to return as four things? Hmmm....I'm thinking there's a chance shape-shifting is involved....

What do you all think? Personally, I think this is great fun, and can't wait to discover what happens next!!

COME JOIN THE MYSTERY AND THE CONVERSATION! Visit Shay on Facebook and see the other clues!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A few quick announcements...



Thank you ALL so much for your well-wishes and good-lucks and happy thoughts. Because man, I was NERVOUS. Nervousnervousnervous. I just didn't want to become known as that-weird-author-who-stutters-and-falls-on-her-face-and-looks-funny. I think I averted that. THIS TIME. c:

I have pictures! And lots of other things to share! But first, a few quick announcements--


There it is ^!!!!! And, did you notice that beautiful, shiny quote on the cover by Kiersten White? *dies of joy*

To celebrate the new cover, the AtU Facebook Page (which isn't run by me, btw), is giving away ANOTHER galley! Just go here, comment on the cover, and you could win! So far, only like 10 people have commented. (PS: I tried to direct link to the contest post--if that doesn't work, go to The fan page also has a poll going on about if you'd choose to stay with your family and be frozen, or stay on Earth and give up your family...)

Also: Jodi just finished reading AtU, and has a review (totally non-spoilerly) here!

Also! VERY VERY SOON this blog page and my author webpage will CHANGE! And I'm freaking excited about it! Because...Manning Krull, the genius behind Carrie Harris's page and Stephanie Perkins's page is doing it! And I've seen it and it is LOVERLY.

OK--tomorrow will be a legit post with news about SIBA and something else awesome that's going on involving NIGHTSHADE and a mystery...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sometimes being a writer involves a drill

So lately I've been watching a lot of David Tennant films because...well, because it's David Tennant.

Anyway, found this one--and although I think the ending is funny, the *best* part is at about 3:50, when you meet David's neighbor who, surprisingly, is a writer.

Because honestly? I've *so*felt like that lately.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wish me luck! First author event!

If you're on my Facebook Page, you know already that this Friday and Saturday I'll be at my first official author event: I'm doing a late-night reading of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show.

I'm hugely glad that my local indie bookseller will be there, as well as some author-friends who, I hope, will let me get some wine afterwards as I'm incredibly nervous!

Bookanista Feature: Catherine Fisher's INCARCERON

The Bookanistas are a group of writers - in various stages of the publishing process – who have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers.  No negative reviews here! We post every Thursday and cover various topics– upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews.

INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher

This is a strange book. The first chapter is brilliant. I won't tell you why. Just read it. I finished INCARCERON a week ago, and I'm still thinking about it. It's a delicious blend of utopia and dystopia.  Here are the thoughts that keep pestering my head:
  • How much of a prison do we make our own lives, whether we're imprisoned or not?
  • How far are you willing to go, for the greater good?
  • At what point should you leave friends behind? Break a promise? 
  • If you could create the perfect world--would you? At what cost?
  • How much of yourself should you give to protect those you love?
  • Is it okay to use a few people, if you're trying to save a lot more?
  • At what point does sacrifice become cruelty?
So...if you like books that make you ask those sorts of questions--"thinking" books that really dig into your brain--check INCARCERON out!


Other Bookanista Features Today:

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Can you loan me $200,000?

    Because I want to go to space.

    Have you heard about this? Virgin Air has gone Galactic--and is building a commercial spaceship.

    I've been researching spaceships recently (for obvious reasons), and came across this. Virgin Galactic isn't live yet--but you can reserve your spot for a mere $200 grand.

    Sound crazy? I don't think so--this is definitely the future. Check out this simulation of what a ride to space will be like:

    OK, so c'mon, tell me: if you had a spare $200,000 just laying around, would you go up?

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Another ARC Giveaway!

    PJ Hoover is hosting an ARC giveaway on her blog! 

    If you've not checked out PJ yet, you so should. Not only is she the brains behind the timer method of writing I blogged about recently, but she's also about the friendliest person you could meet--and the author of her own trilogy, the Forbidden Worlds trilogy!

    Creative Marketing: Andrea Cremer's NIGHTSHADE

    I know you've heard of this book, right? It was part of the Penguin Five, and all my favorite writers have been raving about it.

    Here's the GoodReads description:
    Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

    But I admit being a bit reluctant to read it. I mean...another werewolf book?

    Then Kiersten White tweeted this:
    And I sat right up.

    So I did a bit of poking around. And I saw how Penguin's got some really cool marketing going on for Andrea Cremer's NIGHTSHADE. First, some bloggers have been getting this:

    This is the box that was sent to Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. That's a calla lily, wrapped in purple paper, to match the cover. Pages from CRIME AND PUNISHMENT surround the flower, and do you see that tiny key tied to the ribbon? It's actually a flash drive with some videos!

    And that's cool--but the videos (also on YouTube) are *way* cooler:

    This is, essentially, a video prequel to the book. And even though I haven't read NIGHTSHADE (yet) I'm *so* going to now, and I *so* see what Kiersten means. This video is told from the POV of Shay, the male MC of the book, and there's actually a series of them (four so far) as Shay explores his new home in Vale, CO. And...I so want to know what happens. It almost looks like ghosts are involved, but I don't think it's as simple as that.

    This is an entirely interactive experience--Shay not only has his own YouTube channel (although I suggest that you start there), he's also got a Facebook Page. And, after video four...I'm wondering if some of his friends commenting on his wall are really his friends....

    But he's also got a blog page, and it's filled with creepy pictures, sketches by Shay, and more.

    Look, I know it's all marketing--but it's pretty darn creative marketing, and it's a lot of fun! This is all supposed to be a sort of "prequel" to the book, and the idea of making the background an interactive discovery is just brilliant.

    As for me? I so pre-ordered the hardcover. And now I just have to wait until October 19! And if you're still on the fence about it, here's the teaser trailer for the novel:

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Music Monday: Broken Bell's The Ghost Inside

    I have AWESOME Twitter peeps--one of them, Charissa, clued me in to this AMAZING music video that is poignantly beautiful.

    I'll admit, there's a bit of a slow start, but it's got an awesome ending and a very cool premise. I don't want to ruin it for you. Just watch!

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Speak Loudly: The Rights of Americans

    So this happened.

    And while this is a PG blog, I'm gonna knock that rating up to PG-13 to say simply: that's bullshit.

    If you've not heard (it's lit up Twitter) a man claiming to be Christian has written a newspaper article calling for censorship on certain titles, including Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK. His reasoning? He claims that the novel contains scenes that are "soft pornography."

    In case you've never read this book, it's about a young girl who's raped and--throughout the course of the novel--gets up the courage to speak about this rape.

    Which means that this censor's objection to the book--the "soft porn" scenes he's talking about--that's when she's raped.

    Now, there's something inherently wrong (and rather sick) about someone who thinks that rape is equivalent to pornography. And there's also something wrong about someone who wants to ban a book that has made hundreds of thousands of people think about consequences:

    • the consequences of a young man taking advantage of a young girl
    • the consequences of adults who don't listen to their children
    • the consequences of friends who forget the true meaning of friendship
    • the consequences of fear and malice and jealousy and hate
    • the consequences of silence
    And it is that last one, I think, that has prompted so many people to #SpeakLoudly, a twitter movement to tell the world about this book.

    Others have spoken more eloquently than me about the subject, the best being, I think, CJ Redwine's account. She speaks truly, and her account is certainly more Christian than the man objecting to SPEAK's validity. And since we're arguing in terms of whether something's Christian or not, Veronica Roth's rebuttal is spot-on.

    As for me, I can say that I taught this novel once in high school (I only taught American literature once). And I loved watching the hulking, towering football players crouched in their desks over this slender volume. I loved watching the kids tell me they didn't want to do an activity or watch a movie: they wanted more reading time. I loved the group of girls who snuck off on their bathroom break to run to the library and check out the rest of Laurie Halse Anderson's books.

    The kids did art projects based on the book--the main characters first learns to "speak" through her art, so I gave the kids a chance to try that. 

    And some of them "spoke" of harsh things. Not rape, thank God, but things I wish sixteen and seventeen year olds didn't know. But because of that book, they all knew they had a chance to speak, and that we were all listening.

    On the wall of my classroom, I made a poster. It's one of my favorite quotes, and it's by the French philosopher, Voltaire:

    I may not agree with what you say, 
    but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    It became a favorite quote among my students, too. When debating, many students (without my prompted) would end their debates by quoting those lines. They recognized that the freedom of speech is one of our greatest rights as Americans.

    I think the man calling SPEAK soft pornography is wrong, misguided, misleading, and, frankly, bullshit.

    But he has the right to say it.

    But he does not have the right to silence me. Or my students. Or the students in his school district.

    My views on censorship are simple:
    • You should censor yourself and what you expose yourself to.
    • Parents & legal guardians have not only the right, but the obligation, to censor their children and what their children are exposed to.
    • No one else ever has the right to censor anything else.
    The idea that one should stop anyone from speaking--which is, essentially, censorship--is actually a central theme of the book SPEAK. 

    Censorship is about about absolutes. "If I don't like it, no one will!" When has there ever been a book that everyone liked? There isn't one. And just as there's not a book that is universally loved, there is not a book that is universally hated--and therefore, there is not a book--not a single book in the entire world--that deserves censorship.

    It is fine if a parent doesn't want his or her child to read SPEAK. But it is not fine for one man to try to rip the book out of the hands of every student in a school district. 

    I need your help.
    Please share your experiences with SPEAK; your own response to the book, or the way you’ve seen it work in a school setting. Tahleen has already posted her thoughts on her blog. You can do the same. Please share links to your blog in Comments.
    But then, please speak up to the people who can make a real difference in Republic, MO.
    You can submit a letter to the editor of the News-Leader.
    You can write to the superintendent of the Republic School District, Dr. Vern Minor, or to the high school principal, Daren Harris.
    You can comment directly to Scroggins’ opinion piece.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    The Effects of War

    When writing about conflict and battles and power struggles and war, I think it's important to remember that no one is a monster, even the enemy.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    A Little Inspiration

    Whenever I get stuck or need inspiration, these are some of the videos I've been checking out lately. I'm so glad I write sci fi.

    The first is the longest, but prettiest: views of Earth from space.

    This one just fascinates me: the Earth rising over the moon.

    And finally: lightning storms seen from space. The video quality is poor, but can you imagine how beautiful it would have been to see in person?

    Sign Up for Swag and Review Copies!

    Guys--I promise not to turn this into the All-AtU-All-The-Time channel. One last thing, then we're moving on to different subjects! Sorry for the extra booky news lately!

    Even if you're not a book blogger, please read this post for a chance to get free stuff! Free for everyone--not just book bloggers!

    So, lately I've been getting a lot of requests from book bloggers for ARCs. And...uh....I don't have any more left to give. I didn't get many to start with, and they went FAST! But if you want an ARC, never fear!

    1. There ARE going to be some contests  on this blog to win one! And they'll be open internationally!
    2. There are contests open RIGHT NOW to win one: here, here, and here.
    3. I'm also taking up information that I will pass on to Penguin.

    Basically, I'm making a list of book bloggers to send to Penguin, and Penguin will then decide what to do with any remaining ARCs. This doesn't guarantee that you'll get an ARC, but I'll make sure Penguin knows that you're interested. 

    However, I've been having trouble keeping track of everything, and it's resulted in a lot of back and forth in emails. SO...I made a simple form to fill out! Then it goes straight into a spreadsheet that can then go straight to Penguin! So: wanna sign up for an ARC? Click the link below!

    But, why stop there?

    Because I'd like to do something for everyone, book blogger or not. I'm not sure what I can do--it's going to depend on how many people sign up for stuff--but at the very least I'm going to send out some postcards. I'd also like to send out some swag--bookplates? bookmarks? Maybe a special print newsletter? I don't know! It's a mystery! A surprise! So, if you'd like to sign up to win free surprises from me in the mail (and NEVER spam or junk mail), then just sign up here!

    ☆☆★:*¨¨*:★ ★*¨¨*:★☆☆

    ☆☆★:*¨¨*:★ ★*¨¨*:★☆☆

    Whoops! I forgot to include a spot for country code for my outside-the-US peeps! If you're not in the US, please just put your country code in the zip code section. Sorry! 

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Personal Demons Winner!

    Hi all!

    Did you go to all the awesome blogs and piece together the clues? Did you go to Lisa's site and enter for the grand prize, including an iPod shuffle?

    Hey, probably want to know who won all the swag from Sunday, don't you?

    OK, without further ado, the winner of swag is....

    Natalie at Mindful Musings!


    I only have a handful of ARCs to give away--literally. Right now, I think the number is only at 3. I plan on doing two giveaways here on this blog, and the other one I donated to WriteOnCon.

    WriteOnCon was an entirely free writer's online conference that a group of very selfless and giving bloggers. They donated time--and money--in order to bring this conference to several thousand writers. And they want to keep doing it--but they need help buying server space and with other expenses to keep the program up.


    • If you want a signed ARC--one of only a few--all you have to do is comment on the WriteOnCon page for it.
    • If you want extra entries, all you have to do is donate. Any amount will get ten extra entries. They actually recommend a small amount, such as $5.
    • If the comments go over 75 (and that looks like it will happen any time now), you get a query critique on top of the free ARC.
    • If the comments go over 150, you get a query critique + first ten pages critique + the signed ARC.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Much Muchness

    Many things going on!

    First: All this week on the League, we're posting our top writing tips. A lot of people lately have been asking about the first chapter of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE since Penguin released it.  So, today I'm posting about how that first chapter came to be.

    Second: WriteOnCon was an entirely free online writer's conference run by a group of awesome bloggers who just wanted to give back to the writing community. But while they made sure it was free for the THOUSANDS of participants, it's not free to buy webspace, serverspace, and internets. So, they're holding a fundraiser. And, um, listen guys--one of the prizes? It's from me. I'm not going to say more, but it's something a lot of you have been asking for, and it's signed, and it's going to be announced tomorrow at 7:00 AM.

    Third: I've decided to extend the swag giveaway until Tuesday, when Lisa will also pick a grand prize winner! Be sure to enter--just comment for a chance to win swag, but visit the other blogs to gather the word to make the phrase that you can enter to win the grand prize! OK--that sounded confusing. But it's not. Trust me. And go enter at Lisa's blog for the grand prize, which includes an iPod!

    Fourth: Shameless plug for my church, which is holding a fundraiser. If you need flower bulbs, please buy from my church!

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Personal Demons!

    I told you to come back on Sunday!!

    I am happy to be a part of Lisa Desrochers's blog tour for PERSONAL DEMONS, her debut from Tor MacMillan, which comes out SEPTEMBER 14th!!!

    PERSONAL DEMONS is...well, why don't I let Lisa tell you what it's about?

    Frannie Cavanaugh has always been a bit of a loner. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance, even her closest friends. That is, until Luc Cain enrolls in her school. He's hot, sarcastic, and dangerous—and Frannie can't seem to stay away.
    What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. Because Frannie isn't exactly ordinary. She possesses a skill so unique that the king of Hell himself has taken notice, and he's sent Luc to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy: All he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come.
    Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and he's just started making progress when the angel Gabriel shows up. Gabe will do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for, and his angelic charm might just be enough to keep Frannie on the right path.
    It isn't long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie's soul. But if Luc fails to win her over, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.
    Sound awesome? You know it! So...wanna a chance to WIN stuff? TWO grand prize winners are going to win a signed copy of PERSONAL DEMONS, an iPod shuffle pre-loaded with awesome music, swag, and other items. To win a grand prize, write down the red, bolded words in this post, then check out the posts on the other stops of the blog tour for more bolded words...put the words together, and you'll find the hidden sentence that's the key to winning the grand prize at Lisa's blog on TUESDAY.

    BUT...someone's winning prizes TODAY. All you have to do is comment on THIS POST today, SUNDAY, and you're entered for a random drawing of the swag pictured below--including a Personal Demons tank top and...yes...some ACROSS THE UNIVERSE swag!

    Here's the rest of the schedule, so make sure you visit these blogs throughout the tour.

    Thursday: Carrie Harris
    Friday: Myra McEntire
    Saturday: Lisa and Laura Roecker
    Sunday: Beth Revis
    Monday: Andrea Cremer
    Tuesday: go home to the author of Personal Demons herself, Lisa Desrochers

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Ready Your Time Machines! SUNDAY PRIZES

    Please calibrate your time machine to come back to this blog THIS SUNDAY.

    I know that I don't usually post on the weekend, and that Sundays are kind of everyone's day off anyway, but if you return to me on Sunday, then YOU WILL WIN A PRIZE. I mean, maybe. If you comment on a post and are randomly selected.

    BUT! The prize! Is awesome!

    Why YES. There is ACROSS THE UNIVERSE swag included! As well as tons of swag for PERSONAL DEMONS which is coming SOON. And! And! And! You might win a grand prize that includes an iPod Shuffle AND MOAR!

    So be sure to check back on SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY (<--read that in your best Demolition Derby voice.)

    Bookanista Feature: Elizabeth Gilbert's EAT, PRAY, LOVE

    The Bookanistas are a group of writers - in various stages of the publishing process – who have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers.  No negative reviews here! We post every Thursday and cover various topics– upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews.

    EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert

    Oh, dear.

    I'm afraid I'm going to lose all Bookanista street cred with this one.

    This book is a memoir, not fiction, and it's certainly not YA. It's not at all my usual fare. That's evidenced by the fact that this book has been out forever, and I've only now picked it up.

    In looking at other reviews, it seems people either LOVE this book...or HATE it. I'm going to take a little bit of a different route with this Bookanista Feature, therefore.
    • Complaint 1: the narrator is a typical rich white woman, and her problems are nothing compared to, say, the suffering in the third world. It comes off as whiney.
      • BUT: that's not what this book is about. It's a memoir of one specific person in one specific situation. Yes, it's a bit narcissistic, and yes, there are bigger issues in the world than one woman's divorce and recovery from heartbreak. But we each have our own stories, and this is hers. And honestly? Even if this was nonfiction, I have to admit I read it a bit as if it were escapist fiction. I'd be lying if I didn't say I imagined living in the apartment in Rome, flying to Bali by myself...
    • Complaint 2: the solution to the narrator's problems are to travel the world in search of herself. Yeah, that's great--but how realistic is it? It's not like we can drop everything to have a life-altering adventure. 
      • BUT: wouldn't we want to if we could? I mean, I know I don't have the means to literally stop my life for a year and explore foreign countries. I don't. I probably never will. Most of us probably never will. ...but wouldn't we want to if we could? If I can't do it, at least she can, I least I can read about it.
    • Complaint 3: this book is so self-centered. The author goes to Italy, India, and Indonesia--and it's all about "I, I, I" 
      • BUT: this is a memoir. Isn't that a little the point? And actually, I didn't really think it was all about "her, her, her." What really made this book interesting to me is that Liz sprinkled in other people's stories with her own. You get a sense she really got to know the people she surrounded herself with.
    So, yeah: there are a lot of complaints out there about this book. But in the end, I just found it fun--and beyond that, the author is a brilliant writer. She knows how to make a simile! They stand out so wonderfully--at one point, she describes "grapes with skins as tight as showgirls' leotards." Try to tell me that's not a brilliant simile.

    As a side note: I listened to this book on audio book, narrated by the author, and it really enhanced the story. I loved hearing her voices to the different characters, and she really sounded like an old friend telling me about her adventures.

    Is this book the life-altering spiritual memoir some people claim it to be? For me--no. It was light, fun, and an adventure.