Mar 5, 2010

FuFri and, uh, stuff. have you ever noticed people using 'fleeces' instead of 'fleece'? It really irks me.

Please, my PB friends, visit Verla Kay's blog and provide answers to the questions she currently has posted, if you have time, it's a lengthy process.

I am almost finished with The Catcher in the Rye. I cannot yet tell you my feelings because they scare me, not in the way you think, I am sure. I am breaking the rules a little and reading The Secret Year this weekend because they just got to me on the hold list and if I decline it will be forever until I can read it again and it's only 292 pages. Watership Down follows.

No one has asked any SAMS questions this week, so I am not planning on posting tomorrow.

I forgot how much I love Coldplay, "Scientist", espec.

Goals for the day:
- Complete two critiques for my YA group. They are due March 8. I have exhausted one and am in the early stages of another. I've got the whole weekend.
- Work on secret stuff and pray the FBI isn't tapping the line.

Token puppy pic:

puppy - ignore + hour walk in the woods = a simple success!


  1. Your puppy is so dang cute! And, I decided to read Watership Down with you, Catcher in the Rye will have to sit on my shelf a little longer. Coldplay is my favorite, every single thing they play! I keep trying to talk my husband into playing more of their songs on his guitar *sigh* he remains a Clapton fan. Which is cool too. I really have never noticed people saying 'fleeces' instead of 'fleece'. Now I'm going to be looking for that. Have a great weekend Jon!

  2. my husband's family says "acrosst" instead of across. It irks me. :)
    I have disappointed in my lack of SAMS questions this week and for that I am sorry. But now you don't have to worry about posting tomorrow! Use that time wisely (or sleep in).
    I will be finishing Shiver this weekend! (It does have a Twilight feel, but I like the mc girl so much better than Bella)

  3. I really enjoyed the secret year, so curious to hear your thoughts! And Coldplay gets me through almost every day on my Pandora radio!!

  4. I too am guilty of dropping everything when a library request comes in, but really anything to get out of reading Watership Down is probably a good thing. Okay sorry for excessive negativity but it is one of my least favorite books of all time. Your puppy is insanely cute!

  5. Crystal - I am excited that you'll be reading WATERSHIP DOWN with me! secure today, I am starting on Monday.

  6. Kelly - I do the same thing...I am trying to reform my tongue though. No worries about the SAMS, no one likes me. Tear. So kidding, also kidding about the no post. it was a bluff, but I'll just post about regular old boring stuff instead.

  7. Christina Lee - I will def post my review, as long as it doesn't interfere with March is Classic. Pandora radio!! I totally forgot about that. I used to use it in Middle School all the time. N*SYNC, Christina Aguilera, Boys2Men...that's how I rolled in the late Nineties.

  8. Alissa - I am shocked to hear you say that about WD, especially after all my other commenters have been throwing themselves at that book. I hope to not join you, no offense.

  9. JONATHON: As promised (sorry takes up so much space):

    There's nothing like a persistent John Green fan. A number of you begged me to get an interview with the author, and because I like me some John Green as much as the next guy, I, in turn, begged John Green. The result is below.

    QUESTION: Are you really that smart or do you do a lot of research (and I realize the answer to both questions could be yes) ? Specifically, I'm thinking of all the footnoted trivia in AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES. Did you know all that stuff or did you look it up?

    ANSWER: I don't think knowing a lot of trivia makes you smart, but regardless, I'm not that smart. For much of the time I was writing "Katherines," I worked for a brilliant trivia magazine called mental_floss--I wrote stories for the magazine and then also cowrote several books they published. So I was thinking a lot about trivia, and why we find it so interesting, and how/whether it matters--which seemed to dovetail nicely with the questions at the heart of "Katherines" about how/whether individual humans matter. But it must be said that even with the constant engagement in triviality, I still had to look up a lot of things. (For instance, I do not know the first 100 digits of pi. Or how to curse in Dutch.) Like a lot of novels we've seen in the last decade, "Katherines" would have been impossible without the Internet.

    Q: What are some of the best/worst points about writing a novel versus a screenplay?

    A: Well, I don't know very much about writing screenplays; I've only written the first third of the first draft of the screenplay adaptation for my new book "Paper Towns" (which I'm writing for the nice people who produced "Juno"). The main difference is that a screenplay is not a finished product. (It feels to me more like cartography or something.) Also, you are making something for a LOT of people. If people buy 100,000 copies of a book, it's a huge bestseller written about in newspapers all over the country. If 100,000 people see a movie, it's an abject failure.

  10. AND MORE:

    Q: What is your advice to all the Nerd Fighters out there who aspire to one day publish novels?

    A: Read. Reading is the only apprenticeship we have. But it's not enough simply to look at all the words on the page and understand approximately the scene they're trying to get into your head. The challenge of reading critically is to understand HOW that transformation is happening, how scratches on a page turn into something inside your head. So reading a lot if not enough; one must read critically, which is a long-winded way of delivering the bad news that basically you should try to listen to your English teachers.

    Q: Which character(s) in your book(s) do you relate to most? Why?

    A: Well, my high school self was in many ways like the character Alaska in "Looking for Alaska." Mercurial, self-destructive, in love with love. (I wasn't as well-liked as she is, of course, but one must be allowed a little wish-fulfillment here and there.) But they're all me, really. Like Whitman said, "every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."

    Q: Did you or your publisher worry that by having two of your three book covers feature girls you would be limiting your audience to female readers?

    A: Yeah, I think we both worried about it. But with "Paper Towns," it's very hard to look back and feel anything but total elation, because the book has done so much better than anyone expected, and I think the cover designs helped. There will be a different, more gender-neutral cover for the paperback, and I think we may move toward repackaging "Katherines" as well in a more post-gender way. The problem, to be frank, is that publishers believe (and to an extent their evidence is unassailable) that 16-year-old guys do not purchase books. Now, I'm all for marketing to guys and convincing them that books make a better investment than (say) video games. I believe that all of us who love books and work with teenagers need to be out making that case every way we can. But I don't really buy the argument that the only reason guys don't buy books is because book covers don't do a good job of appealing to them. So I think we have to take a broad focus in our outreach to male readers (which is a big part of the reason why so much of my creative work is made for youtube).

    Q: For every book you complete, do a lot of other ideas for books get thrown in the toilet?

    A: No ideas get thrown in the toilet, because I never lose hope on them. I have inexhaustible hope for all my bad ideas. First, I will get the idea and fall in love with it. Then, I'll talk about the idea constantly with my wife and my editor, and then finally they convince me that the world does not need a book about a 17-year-old alcoholic entrepreneur. And then I will put the idea aside, but I'll never quite give up on it. Every few months, I'll get frustrated with whatever I'm working on, and I'll say to anyone who'll listen, "I should ditch this book and get to work on that book about teenage Chechen terrorists holed up in a school." (These are real abandoned ideas.) And I'll waste a day or two waxing poetic about the immense potential for the Chechen terrorist book, or the alcoholic entrepreneur book. And then I'll remember that writing is not ultimately about idea creation but about idea execution, and I'll get back to work. But one day! I mean, just you wait. Teenage alcoholic Chechen separatists, coming to a store near you.

  11. I haven't picked out "fleeces" yet, but "yous" bothers me. That's more common in Australia than here, I guess, but it still sounds odd.

  12. I've just read your "hottest celebs" SAMS answer which I somehow missed. Holy crap, you are hilarious.

    Loved your Islands of Blue Dolphins review.

    SAMS question:
    if you could wake up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be?

  13. Rena - How do you mean? Like, "Yous are my favorite person"?

    Terry - I am not funny at all. not. at. all. So my sibs say.

  14. *sigh* Coldplay ~ Scientist...we were meant to be friends.

  15. I love Watership Down almost as much as I love your puppy. Which is a LOT, because you have the world's cutest puppy.

  16. Sounds like a good day =) Hope you have fun!!

    I tried to think of a question for you, but I came up blank =(

  17. I'm very interested in what you think of Catcher. I'm aligned w/Zeph and think Holden is the phony.

  18. Aww, jeeze, your puppy is adorable. I'm very curious what secret stuff you're up to.

  19. Coldplay! I'm wearing a Coldplay t-shirt right now!

    The fact that the plural of cul de sac is culs de sac bothers me.

  20. Tina Lynn - I agree!

    Marisa - I love Belle too! probably more than I'll love WD, but we shall see.

    Nat - Your first sentence has earned your second a reprieve.

  21. Robert - Hm...............

    MG - You'll find out very soon.

  22. Ri - This may make you feel better: 'cul-de-sac' comes from the Catalan phrase for "bottom of the bag". With similar rules to those of French, the Catalan phrase doesn't want to become cul-de-sacs. There are multiple bottoms, not sacs, therefore culs-de-sacs. You pluralize the word that stands for the now greater number of items. Make any sense? Feel better? No? Sorry.

  23. I should also add that etymology is a very time consuming habit off mine.

  24. I don't have too much to say about all this--except that I'm bummed out I forgot to ask you a SAMS question this week. Hmmm. Have you answered: Who is your favorite Superhero? What Superhero does the world at large need now? Who would play you in the movie of your life?

  25. I hate it when people say they warsh clothes instead of wash them! Argh!

    I soooo love the puppy pics. :-)

  26. Cute puppy! Enjoying your classics? I wish I was in the mood for classics - but I'm not. Maybe I'll get inspired. I would like to read Secret Year, but I don't think our library has it yet. :(

    Hope you get a lot done during unplugged week. :)

  27. Oooh, be sure to let me know what you think of The Secret Year. I haven't gotten to that one yet.

  28. I love many songs about scientists. What makes them so wonderful? And why are scientists such an inspiration to musicians?

    So nice that Anita just gave you a whole interview. No time for it now though. I will come back later.

  29. Oh, wow on Anita's interview. Why isn't that on her blog? Or was it? I'm confused...but impressed.

  30. Heather - Thanks for the token SAMS Q!

    Shannon - My stepdad says warsh...he's from Tennessee...

  31. Laura - I am enjoying the classics! And I too hope to get a lot done. A lot of relaxing.

    Elana - Will do!

  32. Tina LL - Good question about the scientists...I'd say the Coldplay one isn't really, but neither here nor there...
    Isn't that interview saweet?!?! She's awesome, JG is awesome, and now we can all be awesomeness too.

    Kelly - I am not sure the history of that interview, but Anita promised to me like a month and a half ago. She totally delivered though!

  33. I *love* Bella. Might have to drive all the way to MI just to give her a squeeze. Tell her to never grow up. She's perfect just like she is.

    Also, I miss WOODS. We don't have WOODS out her in Utah. You said the other day that you didn't understand how I could move so far away from the ocean? Well, I cried. Seriously. We drove from Nova Scotia to Rexburg Idaho and as we came out of Yellowstone and drove into the land of sagebrush, lava rocks and dirt, I cried and cried and cried.

    I still get lonesome for my WOODS and the sound of crashing waves (that aren't generated by my sleep-noise thingy) *sigh*