Welcome to the Escape from YA, hosted by Nicci over at Paper Dreams.
This event is dedicated to spreading the love for books that are not Young Adult.
I have decided to focus on adult short stories and short story collections.
This week I will read stories from the following collections:
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
Hart & Boot & Other Stories by Tim Pratt
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Anyone can participate in Escape from YA!
Head on over to Paper Dreams to learn how!
I’d love to see what other types of books y’all are interested in!
And how about a little giveaway to get things going?
-Must be over 13 years old. If you are under 18, you must have parent/guardian permission.
-Giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to you. Check here.
-Giveaway ends on October 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM PST.
-Two winners will be chosen by random.org.
-You contact information provided on the form counts as your entry.
-You are not required to follow me to enter this giveaway, but it is appreciated.
I will send an email to each winner after the giveaway ends.
The winners must respond within 72 hours or a new winner will be chosen.
Now, what do you get?
I’m offering two of you your choice of one of the following short story collections.
(Click on a title below to find a summary at Goodreads.)
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Good luck everyone!
Thanks for stopping by!
Come back for more Escape from YA goodness later this week!
Remember to visit Paper Dreams to see who else is participating,
and what other giveaways are going on!
All right, time for some short story reviews! Haven’t done one of these in a while. These are two stories you fantasy lovers don’t want to miss.
The story follows a hitman’s job that is more complicated and surprising than one would expect. To say much more, I’m afraid, would spoil the read so I’ll hold back.
This is a story that played with my expectations right from the start, and from the first twist I fell in love. If you happen upon a summary of the story, I’d suggest not reading that summary and allowing yourself the full experience if you like good fantasy. Just know that there is an assassin and there is a guy who has lived a really, REALLY long time.
As good writers do, Pratt treats the fantastical elements with a weight that makes them real and believable. It helps so much that his characters are so unique and filled out, even in the limited page space. They seem so human, even if some are physically barely that.
It isn’t just craft that impresses me here, though. Pratt has taken a great what-if scenario (think: very long life) and worked out the real-life (though fantastical) consequences of the scenario. It’s a fairly common what-if, if I think about it, but I’ve never seen it treated this way before. Great world-building and thoughtfulness involved that really sank into me.
Apparently there is more of this hitman in Pratt’s Marla Mason series?… I’m gonna have to get onto reading those books!
This story is available as an ebook from Barnes & Noble and Amazon for 99 hot cents! I’d suggest buying the whole Hart & Boot & Other Stories collection for just $3, which includes this story. I haven’t gotten through the whole thing, but just from what I’ve read, the collection is so worth it!
A retried Grim Reaper and a discharged cherub investigate a very odd traveling carnival run by the mysterious Mr. Kite. Kind of like The X-Files, but stranger… in a cool way.
Yes, we’re back with Mr. Ortiz! I don’t know if you remember my reviews of his other stories, but the more I read his work, the more I love it. My particular affection for this story might have to do with the fact that the angel has wings and is self-conscious of them. And that’s at the beginning of the story.
Ortiz wastes no time introducing the odd pair of investigators. The story starts in a scene and lets the details of the scene slowly build up and organically inform the reader. There isn’t much introduction necessary, anyway, the real story is the secret behind Mr. Kite’s odd shows, such as the “Seven-Second Empires.”
As the story goes on, I am really drawn into the strangeness of the whole situation–a Grim Reaper, a cherub, really weird carnival shows. I love that Ortiz has imagined a world where the various oddities can exist on the same plane. The writing is fantastic, really doing justice to bringing the fantasy to an imaginable life.
My only gripe, and it is a small one, is that the ending doesn’t have as much oomph as I want it to. I don’t think this is exactly a negative aspect of the story. Rather, I feel as if I want to read more about these characters so I know how they manage to do what they do. I feel like I’m missing part of their story in a larger sense… But there could be more stories in the future, so that’s a good sign!
BLOGFEST 2011 GIVEAWAYS CLOSED SCOTT WESTERFELD GIVEAWAY CLOSED
Wowsers! Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the blog and welcome to you new subscribers.
BlogFest 2011 is ending in some hours but I’ve already received over 130 entries! Get those entries in while you still can! And mark your calendars: the next giveaway hop starts on July 24th.
And thanks to everyone who left their blog links or short messages in the forms. I appreciate reading the comments and I’m looking forward to visiting all of your blogs!
Now for the point of this post: I was inspired to write about libraries. (And you know about me and inspiration by now.) I’ve posted some reviews, and a little bit about writing, but another huge part of my life is underrepresented. Time to change that!
I think libraries are awesome. I’m not just saying that because I work at one. (Although I will admit I am biased.) Even if I didn’t work at one, I’d still be a student, a reader, and a writer. (If you’re a writer, you should definitely be a reader.) And I’d still be a patron of these libraries:
Yup, those are my library cards. I’m not counting two library systems where I’ve let my cards expire (though I do still frequent one of them). I’m also not counting my privileges at the university libraries. But when you consider that most of these are cards are for library systems, I actually have borrowing privileges and computer privileges at over 100 libraries throughout Southern California. If I renewed my other cards, that would put me at over 200.
I think that’s pretty neat, and I humbly admit that I’m very lucky to have access to this multitude of resources. If I can’t find a book in one system, usually another will have it. Or if I frequent a certain area, I always have some place to go and study. That’s pretty much why I have so many cards. =)
But Library Page, you may be asking, how does this matter to me?
I don’t have to tell you how ridiculously cool it is that libraries let you take home books for weeks at a time just so you can read them for free. I think that’s pretty universal. In my library posts I’ll try to illuminate “trade secrets” that aren’t really secrets, or give you reasons to be a more active library patron. Or both.
Today’s topic: your library needs you (part 1).
My library system keeps track of the number of items that are borrowed each year. As you can imagine, more is better. It makes us look worthy and keeps us funded. It also keeps books you love on the shelves. (If a book isn’t going out, it will be weeded to make shelf room for other books. Sad fact.) If you can’t donate materials, buy used books, or volunteer, a great way to support your library is merely to keep coming back and checking out materials.
Another way to love your library is to participate in library events. My library has great family events like magic shows and storytimes. We also have a dog come in every other week so the kids can read to him. :) He’s very cute.
I know the amount of planning and set-up and advertising that goes into some events and it gets really intense because of our small staff. If good events are not drawing attendees, much like unpopular books they’ll probably get the ax. (I’ve seen it happen.) A great way to show your appreciation and encourage more great events is to attend and bring family or friends along, even if they don’t have library cards. I’m always on the lookout for cool things like author talks or special book sales at my local branches, and I never regret participating.
A huge event every year is the summer reading program. Well, there’s more than one because there’s one specifically for children, one for teens, and one for adults. Yes, adults too! This year’s themes are “One World, Many Stories,” “You Are Here,” and “Novel Destinations” respectively. I’ve noticed that different library systems are all hosting the same themes, so if you’re in the US, it’s worth a shot to seek them out at your local library. They should still be going on. Usually the programs offer prizes, and it’s free to sign up! Joining a reading program is a great way to get your read on and get free stuff. Let’s be honest, you’re probably here because you like reading. And who doesn’t love free stuff?
One of my favorite events this year was Literary Orange. Hosted by the Orange County Public Libraries and the UC Irvine Libraries, it was basically a book festival, or a mini-con, I suppose. I got to meet some great authors like Lauren Kate, Tim Pratt, and Gail Carriger, and get my books signed, and library swag. There was a registration fee, but there was a huge discount for students. And they provided a really good lunch, too. It was relatively small (500 attendees), but a quality experience. Really, you never know what your library is up to!
Your library is there for you, so take advantage of its resources and keep it up and running. Trust me, they will love you for it.
I’d love to hear in the comments what cool programs or events your local library is hosting!
Well, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a blog about being a graduate student for a couple of months. I know there are so many blogs out there that are pretty much writing about writing, but I’m hoping my academic experiences, library shenanigans, and book reviews will keep things interesting around here. I was also partially inspired by the Clarion Write-A-Thon to create a blog to track my my writing throughout the summer.
I started a new novel on Sunday (five days ago), and I intend to finish it in the coming months. I know I am capable of writing 50,000 words in three weeks if I am inspired, so here’s hoping that kind of inspiration magically appears again. At the very least, I’m aiming for an average of five pages a day. It’s doable. Rough, but doable.
There is another novel I started in December 2010. I’m a couple hundred pages into it, but stopped working on it when school got started again after the winter break. I’ve submitted excerpts to workshops and have gotten some very insightful comments, some of which I will use to inspire blog posts. This novel also needs to be completed before the summer ends. Mostly because I’m not sure which of the two is going to become my thesis. But more on my thesis woes in another post.
When I’m not going on about writing and graduate school experiences, I’m pretty sure my main source material will be my vow to read at least one book each week until school starts up again. I’m currently more than halfway through book the first, and I’m really enjoying it, so I’m excited to write my first review as soon as I finish it. I’ve never really written a full-fledged book review before, so I’m very eager to try on this new genre of writing.
One thing you have to know about me before we proceed: I may be in a MFA program, but I write fantasy stories. The level of fantasy varies. One of my screenplays is about stage magicians and the other was described by someone as “Inception meets The NeverEnding Story meets Tron.” Some stories of mine feature angels and ghosts, a couple of novels are epic fantasies. You can imagine what I like to read. A lot of it lately has been YA fantasy, because that’s what tickles my imagination. But, sure, I like adult stories, too. I love Neil Gaiman, Aimee Bender, and Tim Pratt. I also like Caleb Carr, Banana Yoshimoto, and James Baldwin. I’ve got great book recs from my professors, and I’m always open to more.
So don’t expect drivel from me, but don’t expect me to quote Kafka either.
Well, it’s quite late (or early) here, and I’ve got a graduation ceremony to attend tomorrow. I’ll end by posting an article on the contention over the privatization of libraries here in CA. It’s a very concerning issue, and may require a whole post in the future. We’ll see.
Thank you for reading. It’s a pleasure to meet you.