Archive for January, 2012

like the Iditarod, only for idiots

It’s 11:30pm, and I need to get to bed ASAP (instead of sitting here eating ice cream from the carton, as I am currently doing), because tomorrow I have to be up early for the Idiotarod.

“What is the Idiotarod?” you may want to know. Well, do you know what the Iditaord is? It’s a thousand-mile sled dog race across the frozen landscape of Alaska. The Idiotarod is exactly like that, only instead of being a thousand miles in Alaska, it’s roughly six miles in Brooklyn. And instead of being a sled, it’s a shopping cart. And instead of being pulled by dogs, it’s pulled by idiots.

Get the picture?

Also, each shopping cart has a theme. So my race preparation involves absolutely no running, but an awful lot of shopping for costumes and decorations. I prefer that to running.

In 2009, we went as the Oregon Trail of Death:

In 2011, we went as Clam Rock (like glam rock, only with clams):

What will we be this year? It’s a SURPRISE! Just hope I make it back tomorrow with photos, and without any majorly pulled muscles, and then I will tell you all about it.

Best Fiction for Young Adults

PAST PERFECT made YALSA’s 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list! My roommate and I celebrated with cupcakes.

The full BFYA list is here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bfya/2012. What follows is my annotated list of the BFYA titles that I’ve read so far. Get ready for some personal anecdotes that don’t tell you anything useful about the books in question.

CHIME, by Franny Billingsley: This was my favorite book of the past year. Briony is an amazing character.

STRINGS ATTACHED, by Judy Blundell: 1950s showgirls!

BEAUTY QUEENS, by Libba Bray: Read this for book club.

WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, by Sarah Dessen: I actually entered in copyediting changes for this. That was a long time ago.

THREADS AND FLAMES, by Esther Friesner: My claim to fame with this book is that I noticed an early draft of it used the phrase “kina hora” incorrectly. I pointed this out to the editor so that Esther could change it. I was like, “If there is one thing my mother taught me, it is when to say ‘kina hora.'”

RUBY RED, by Kerstin Gier: Time travel!

LEGEND, by Marie Lu: This is not in my typical genre, but when I saw that it got five stars, I had to check it out. Guys, it was so good.

EXPOSED, by Kimberly Marcus: Counting this title on this list may be cheating, since I read this as a manuscript on submission like three years ago. Presumably it has changed since then. I’m just trying to get my numbers up here.

THE APOTHECARY, by Maile Meloy: London, history, and magic– they get me every time.

DELIRIUM, by Lauren Oliver: All-around amazing, cannot wait to read the follow-up.

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, by Stephanie Perkins: I would totally make out with St. Clair, which is probably weird, since he is many, many years younger than I am.

DIVERGENT, by Veronica Roth: As you may recall from a previous blog post, my team won children’s book trivia, in part because I remembered all five factions of DIVERGENT. Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite. BOOM.

OKAY FOR NOW, by Gary Schmidt: I just finished this book. It was also amazing. It’s not about topics that I would think I would care about, but the writing is so extraordinary that it simply didn’t matter.

WONDERSTRUCK, by Brian Selznick: I read this the week after I saw HUGO. I was having a very Brian Selznick time.

THE SCORPIO RACES, by Maggie Steifvater: Magical horse races! It’s like horse races, which are my favorite, only MORE MAGICAL.

THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING, by Catherynne Valente: Read this for book club, too.

So counting my own book, I’ve read 17 out of the 113 BFYA titles. That’s kind of impressive. But I’m sure I can read more. Can and will.

Boston Is Like No Other Place in the World, Only More So.

I’ve just returned home from a long weekend in Boston. I grew up just outside of Boston, and I always miss it. New York is an amazing city, but I hold a special place in my heart for my hometown.

This weekend I hit up many of my old haunts, including the Pill, my favorite dance party in Allston, and Soul-le-lu-jah, my favorite dance party in Cambridge. I also tried out some new haunts, like the South End Buttery.

Good lord I love things made with butter.

I did NOT get to go to my favorite Boston-area ice cream shop, Cabot’s, which was the inspiration for the ice cream shop in PAST PERFECT. I was terribly sad not to go to Cabot’s, especially since I looked at their menu and saw that they have all sorts of SEASONAL FLAVORS, like eggnog and pumpkin-spiced ice cream. Is there anything that I could want more than SEASONAL FLAVORS?! I ask you.

Below is a poem by E. B. White (author of CHARLOTTE’S WEB, one of my favorite books, not to mention THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, which is also a pretty good book in its own right). It’s called “Boston Is Like No Other Place in the World, Only More So.”

When I am out of funds and sorts
And life is all in snarls,
I quit New York and travel east
To Boston on the Charles.

In Boston, life is smoother far,
It’s easier and freer,
Where every boy’s a Harvard man
And every man’s a skier.

There’s something in the Boston scene
So innocent, so tranquil,
It takes and holds my interest
The same as any bank will.

For Boston’s not a capital,
And Boston’s not a place;
Rather I think that Boston is
A sort of state of grace.

The people’s lives in Boston
Are flowers blown in glass;
On Commonwealth, on Beacon,
They bow and speak and pass.

No man grows old in Boston,
No lady ever dies;
No youth is ever wicked,
No infant ever cries.

No orthodox Bostonian
Is lonely or dejected,
For everyone in Boston
With everyone’s connected.

So intricate the pattern,
The barroom of the Ritz
Becomes a jigsaw puzzle
Each life a piece that fits.

Each Boston girl is swept along
Down the predestined channel
To where she meets a Boston boy
Alert in Brooksian flannel,

Magnificent in fallen socks,
His hair like stubble weeds,
His elbow patch an earnest of
The fellowship of tweeds.

When Muzak plays in Boston,
It wakes celestial stings,
And I can sit in Boston
And think of many things.

For Boston’s not a capital,
And Boston’s not a place;
Rather I feel that Boston is
The perfect state of grace.

After a week of Boston
I rise and take the train
And I am always very glad
To see New York again.

New York seems doubly beautiful,
Its air as clear as Heaven’s;
New York – where life is always
At sixes and at sevens,

Where no one ever marries right,
And girls go off their trolley,
And young men go to NYU,
To Fordham, and to Poly,

Where hackmen have peculiar names
And relatives afar,
And one can watch the Chrysler spire
Bisect the morning star.

Notes from my sickbed

Things I have accomplished today:

1. reading the January issue of Glamour magazine cover to cover
2. doing one load of laundry
3. making and drinking a hot chocolate
4. ordering an earring holder from Etsy
5. napping

Things I have not accomplished today:

1. changing out of pajamas
2. writing
3. washing my face
4. brushing my teeth
5. leaving the house

Hopefully I will recover from this cold soon, since it has turned me into a disgusting person. (Though, hopefully, a disgusting person with a charming new earring rack.)

On the upside, someone who is not me managed to accomplish something more remarkable than drinking a hot chocolate; namely, Brian (who maintains leilasales.com) has accomplished updating this website! Some of the changes are small, like there are words on here that used to be illegible that are now legible. Some of the changes are bigger, like how there are videos of me on the links page. Take a look around!

P.S. ACCOMPLISHMENT NUMBER 6: I wrote a blog post. Suck it, illness.