Archive for: ‘February 2009’

Why do I always feel like the kid on the left?

February 26, 2009


My favorite family photo ever!  Just another reason to check out, which a 13-year-old just shared with me.  This from Relleno De Mono.

So Much Hungrier Than The Hunger Games

February 26, 2009


A 15-year-old just gave me this book, and though I almost couldn't get through the first 30 pages, on exactly page 50 I literally fell out of my chair. Well, not literally. Literally, I rolled off of the couch and onto my brother's off-white shag rug but you get the point, right?  

This was why I fell: sometimes a single page of a single book is so starkly evil that you have no choice but to keep reading, faster and faster, though somewhere down deep you know that your decision to keep reading is your decision to witness violence so indecent that the reading itself feels like a crime.  

Is it?    

The book is Koushun Takami's Battle Royale (1999) – a cult classic in Japan. Two films and several manga later, the translation hit the U.S. in 2003 and all I have to say is HOW DID I MISS THIS?  It makes the Hunger Games seem like the animated Disney version in comparison.

The concept is this: a group of Japanese students are taken to a faraway island and told to kill each other, an annual strategic research exercise known as "The Program." There can only be one survivor.  Here are the killers, at least in the movie version, of the doomed Shiroiwa Class B:

Killers in knee socks, little ties and uniform skirts.  Ah, private school… 

By page 50 you have learned this: that nothing is sacred, that you will see brain matter splatter, even between best friends, that this isn't a network television show where week to week the main cast will survive.  Battle Royale is so much darker than The Hunger Games, because it isn't fighting between strangers, it's fighting between classmates. The Lord of the Flies on steroids. But read all three and tell me what you think.

Anyway, I haven't finished yet, so don't ruin the ending. And if you don't have the book, ask a 15-year-old, because apparently they do. Which is pretty amazing, if you consider this: they wouldn't be old enough to see the movie.

Can you like sign my yearbook?

February 23, 2009



OMG can you believe freshman year is over?  We had, like, so much fun.  Diet Coke Extra Ice SM library Tacos PF the special chair endless emails phone calls wheat thins child slavery midnight Jack in the Box runs Shakes are fine but Do Not Eat Jalapeno Poppers me sobbing you sobbing me swearing you not swearing writing in my bed writing on  your couch trying to keep Stella from drinking my diet coke trying to remember to use a coaster Nick and Stella tearing apart Bank of America Nick’s office Stella hating me for eating her goldfish crackers  back surgery and all the stuff I can’t remember because of painkillers and me babysitting your christmas tree on a friday night just in case the Fed Ex came and most of all FINISHING THE BOOK!  

But seriously, I can’t believe you can even still stand to talk to me after all this.  You are like the best friend ever.  We are going to have so much fun this summer on the beach.  Hope we have a class together next year.  KIT FF BFF Call me k?

Your BFF


“at 600+ pages, at least it’s a good value”

February 23, 2009


That's what my dad said when I showed him the Advanced Reader Copy of Beautiful Creatures.  He's a pragmatic guy, so I took it as a compliment.

It's a book, all right.  It's finally real, even to me.  I don't think I actually realized it until I opened the Fed Ex yesterday and held it in my own hands.  I didn't realize it when Sarah Burnes, our (!) agent, called to say she wanted to represent the book.  I didn't realize it when Julie Sheina and Jen Hunt, our (!) editors, said they wanted to publish it.  I didn't even realize it when France and Holland and Italy and Germany and those other places (!) said the same thing. It was all somehow airy & immaterial, just great emails & phone calls to me.

But this thing, it's definitely a book.  I mean, it feels like a book.  It's made out of paper and ink and a shiny cover and it even smells like a book.  

So, in the spirit of the Oscars, which I am watching as I type, pretend I just pulled this crumpled up note out of my sparkly but fierce gown: thanks to all my beautiful creatures, Raf, for telling us to write it, and Hil, for telling us to re-write it, and Sarah and Julie and Jen and Dave for putting it together in the best way possible. Without you guys, it definitely wouldn't feel or smell or even look like a book.

And of course most of all, thanks Kam, because without being petrified you'd yell at me that I had to work, I don't think I could have held up my end of the stick at all. As you can see, it's hard to make the kind of book you can hold in your hands all by yourself.

And now Slumdog Millionaire has won the big award, the dance numbers are over, Edward Cullen looked as hot as ever, and I'm going to bed.  XO