Friday, February 1, 2013

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story

There are some things I would happily get terminal cancer to make happen. I'd like Superman to fly into Iron Man in Man of Steel (although the winner of the battle of wits is pretty obvious). I'd like J.K. Rowling to write a short story in which Harry Potter kills some vampires. I'd like a character in the Kane Chronicles to run into some weird kid in an orange t-shirt with a pen. Mostly, I'd like there to be a minisode of Doctor Who in which he and Sherlock Holmes walk past each other on a London street and don't notice each other. How hard would that be? Moffat, four cheekbones, two minutes, and one Christmas charity telethon and the donations you'd get would end world hunger and get us colonies on Mars. All in probably less than ten hours.

But everyone seems to be too stuffy for crossovers. Even though an episode of Doctor Merthur Wholock: the Downton Abbey Years could get us to the final frontier, we have to keep our art separate because that's The Rule.  And sometimes, like in the case of something potentially titled Doctor Merthur Wholock: the Downton Abbey Years, I can see why we have Rules. That sounds like a really horrible idea.

But you don't have to look very far down Netflix or the best sellers lists to notice that the artists having the most success are the ones that have started to have just as much fun toying with their work as a fan fiction site.

So anyway, let's congratulate Ally Carter for being cooler than Steven Moffat and writing a short story mash-up between her two lovely series, Gallagher Girls and Heist Society! It made my day to stumble across it. The novella is called Double Crossed and available for free online through this classy little site she's set up on Kindle, iBookstore, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, and as a PDF file for your computer. Does anyone know what Kobo is?

While I haven't finished yet it's been the perfect thing to get me through the last week before Perfect Scoundrels, the latest Heist Society book, comes out (Feb. 5!).

Did I really write the phrase "cooler than Steven Moffat" up there? You should know before you judge me that it's pretty late at night here. I've been reading witty conversations between Macy McHenry and W.W. Hale. The Fifth. And I'm a little too excited I can say that.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Books to Look for this Spring 2013

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Coming Feburary

It seems like I will never outgrow Ally Carter novels: the ultimate cheesy pleasure. Have I mentioned? This newest addition to the Heist Society series has me ticking down days on my calendar. Don't judge.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Coming Feburary

So far I've heard only great reviews about Jennifer E. Smith from my favorite authors. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is also sitting at the top of my Books to Read list. This Is What Happy Looks Like is one of those small town girl meets celebrity novels we never can seem to find in in ourselves to get tired of. And I really love whoever does this cover art.

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead
Coming March

Teenage amnesiac awakes with nothing but a copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. Fulfills both of my most statistically unlikely life goals (be named after an author and get amnesia- I could re-cry over all the Harry Potters) in less than 300 pages.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars John Green quote

When all else fails, there will always be a John Green quote begging to be put online for the billionth time. The internet just can't resist. Swear this is the last one. For a while.

"I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasures of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have and I am in love with you.

Check back on Friday- we're back to weekly posting!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Book Lover's Christmas List

Personal Library Kit- $14
 "Hey Lauren, can I borrow Hunger Games from you?"
"Sure. Here's your check-out card. Let me write you down in my records, this will only take a second. And I'll need to stamp the book with my date stamp and ink pad."
There's something bizarrely satisfying about imagining this conversation.
These book ends are adorable. Trust to come out with something like this first. I feel like this would be great inspiration for a DIY project, to give as a Christmas present. Buy your own plain book ends, and then . . . I'll let Pinterest figure it out. 

Show off your favorite classics. These shirts aren't some tacky Twilight Saga rip-off tees. These are the kinds of tee shirts Belle would wear if Beauty and the Beast took place in 2012. (That means they're for the sophisticated nerds.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) review: John Green is sort of Shakespeare.

I don't have to waste a paragraph disclaiming what a nice guy John Green is. Because when you're a good writer, people don't have to tell other people how nice you are. I complement author's personalities the way people compliment that awkward prom date in the movies: only when there's nothing else to say.

I've never met John Green. John Green could be a real jerk, but it would be okay, because he's a tidy, witty, snarky writer, and in the grand scheme of things, personality isn't that big of a factor when you're a writer. Writers are sitting alone in cafes all over the world, typing out imaginary conversations between imaginary people and crying when figments of their imagination die, all of which requires very little personality.

The Fault in Our Stars is a cancer-patient-meets-cripple love story. I feel like there are a lot of these, but I couldn't actually tell you the title of another one. It's an archetype.
(I also feel like there are a lot of fictional cripples, and I could tell you excatly who they are. All the best people in the world are cripples. It's my motto. Peeta Mellark, Mathew Crawley, Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon.)
For a premise crawling in stereotypes, Fault does its best to be very anti-stereotypical. There's no bucketlist-ing. No one starts a cancer charity. But John Green is like Shakespeare.

John Green is Shakespeare, the way James Dashner books are actually Psych: in this dramatic, metaphorical way that I felt was fitting for a review about such a dramatically metaphorical book. It's not meant to be a form of praise or an insult, if you're the kind of person that hates reading Shakespeare. 

Were Romeo and Juliet alive, they would not be speaking to each other in iambic petameter. They both only have the brainpower to commit suicide at age fourteen and probably wouldn't know what iambic petameter is. But they're Shakespeare characters, and therefore have been infused with Shakespeare. As improbable as it might be, their uneducated nurses and servents know how to speak in philosophical spouts of poetry, too. Because they're Shakespeare characters.

Shakespeare isn't writing the way people speak. He's using these characters as vehicles to get his ideas and his words across, not theirs. Of course he had to. His stories weren't original. His writing, and not the stories he was writing about, were what made the plays worthwhile.

John Green's characters are like Shakespeare's. They're vehicles. They're pretty interesting vehicles. But that's what they are. I know people like these characters exist and I appreciate it. But the probablitiy of a seventeen-year-old boy sitting down, opening his mouth, and saying, "I fear oblivion like the proverbial blind man who's afraid of the dark," is slight.

And the probability of the sixteen-year-old girl sitting beside him saying, "There was a time before organisms experienced conciousness and there will be time after," is slight.

I wish sometimes I lived in a world where stewardesses either did or didn't permit metaphors onto airplanes and told you so. Where we all had great debates about whether or not "the breakfastization gives the scrambled egg a certain sacrality," or if that's "buying into the cross-stitched sentiments of your parents' throw pillows". Where my teenage friends and I discussed paradoxes that 19th century philosophers came up with. I would really like to live where ever this is, actually. But I don't.

I know every author has a specific style. No book is completely realistic. An author taints a story to the way their head sees things. John Green has a way of doing it excessively and it's noticable, like the way Shakespeare characters sound like Shakespeare wrote them. Does this mean the literal story is not worth reading, or the characters are uninteresting? Does it mean I didn't stay up until one AM reading this book? Does it mean I didn't cry at the dramatically metaphorical ending? Is Shakespeare a bad writer?

If I heard someone on the street speaking in iambic pentameter or discussing the Tortoise Paradox, I would be able to pick up pretty fast whose writing I had stumbled into. But I don't mind knowing the way these writers write. Because when (always) they stylize their works, they both are shown to have a talent that so many writers don't have:

A good writer can describe things in a way you've never thought of before. But a great writer can describe things in a way you've always thought about your whole life and never realized before. A good writer has a way of taking a story we've heard before and turning it into something new. But a great writer has a way of taking a story we've heard before and turning it into something familiar.

This is the difference between nice guys and the ones that have every right to be jerks. And if it means that the profound words I have tacked onto my wall came out of the character of an airplane stewardess, or a fifteen year old boy as he played video games, then by all means.

"Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than the stories and people we're quoting."
-John Green

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Reads: RMP acknowledgments with a better SEO

Happy Christmas Music is Finally Appropriate day. To celebrate, the Read My Print team would like to send a special thank you to:

1. Goodreads. Because if I can't vote in the presidential election, at least I can vote in the Goodreads best books of 2012. I cared about both equally.
2. Orson Scott Card. For finally selling the movie rights.
3. Orson Scott Card's cellphone carrier. For kind of sucking, whoever they are.
4. The screenwriters of the Twilight series for giving me such confidence in my writing abilities.
5. Ally Condie, for being completely nice enough to sign a copy of Reached out to "Read My Print" even though that is totally against the rules.
6. James Dashner. Because he's such a nice guy.
7. Elise, who posed for that 40 second video ad for about 3 hours and now can only walk in twitches from pose to pose.

Review on The Fault in Our Stars tomorrow, if you want to know what John Green and Shakespeare have in common.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The King's English: 35 Reasons to Buy Local in Salt Lake City

  1. It's not a store. 
  2. It's a bookshop. 
  3. Try saying "I'm off to the bookshop" without smiling.
  4. "I'm off to the bookshop!"
  5. The shop is converted from an old house. Isn't it charming? I would have lived there before it was stuffed full of books.
  6. Okay you caught me, I'd still live there.
  7. The book signings held at King's English give you the feel of having a personal chat with the author. 
  8. Luckily, any books signing that's any book signing takes place through King's English. For example:
  9. These are the people responsible for me meeting Rick Riordan. 
  11. These are the people responsible for me meeting Shannon Hale. 
  12. These are the people responsible for me meeting Ally Condie.
  13. These are the people responsible for me meeting Gail Carson Levine. 
  15. These are the people responsible for me meeting Ally Carter. 
  16. These are the people responsible for me meeting Neal Shusterman. 
  17. Their weekly newsletter is the only email I ever read all the way through. Sorry if you email me.
  18. I once heard Shannon Hale say, "When a book is put up on display in Barnes and Noble, it's because somebody paid to have it there."
  19. "When a book in on display in King's English, it's because somebody read it, and they loved it."
  20. They have ivy-covered walls. 
  21. One of their booksellers this past year got engaged there. 
  22. The bookseller's boyfriend asked her to help him find a book- with a ring inside it. 
  23. Would it really matter WHO was proposing to you if they proposed like this. 
  24. I guess so but still. 
  25. Their reception was on the patio of the store bookshop.
  26. You know, next to the ivy-covered walls.
  27. I love their children's section. I'm not ashamed of children's books on Read My Print and neither are they.
  28. In fact, their children's section is the coolest part of the shop.
  29. You just about have to have a PhD in English literature to be hired.
  30. I can't get over that proposal.
  31. They're responsible for the signings with Ally Condie and Lemony Snicket I'm going to cover this month. 
  32. Working there is on my bucket list. 
  33. "I'm off to the bookshop."
  34. This fall, the shop is celebrating its 35th birthday. 
  35. If you're near Salt Lake, celebrate by heading up to The King's English and buying a book.