About Me

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A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blogure (like failure, only more public)

I started this blog in part because I love to read, and hate to forget. Specifically, I hate to forget where I read things I found interesting.

So it didn’t help when I read Carl Hiaasen’s YA novel (yes, my Indian name is Reads Like Teenager) Hoot. noticed something interesting about it, and then my sister-in-law gave us the Hunger Games trilogy.

(Brief note on Suzanne Collins’ awesomeness for now: [drools] the excitement surrounding her series is justified by the craft in the first 50 pages of the first book. 2nd brief note: I am so glad I didn’t start reading until I had all three books in hand. It would have driven me nuts to have to wait!)

So what’s the blogure about? Hiaasen’s really funny, and Hoot is, well, a hoot. It works on so many levels! (Read that in Homer Simpson’s voice, and if you get the reference, congratulations! You are my loser twin.)

But I noticed something a character did that didn’t make sense. And it irks me, because so much of the book seems so effortlessly good, so effective without resorting to patterns (the overlapping cascade of crises of a Rowling book, or, in a slightly different pattern) Collins’ series that I so want ro finish this very minute). Hiaasen manages to push the conflict in irregular and unpredictable directions – well, I didn’t predict them, any way – without any rupture from our current, real-life way of doing things.

(This is not to detract from fantasy and sci-fi, where coming up with new rules is part of the fun. Sure, it lets the author advance the plot by revealing a rule that doesn’t exist in our experience – the Quarter Quell in Collins’ Catching Fire, for example, or the traditions of the Triwizard Cup at Hogwarts – but that can only work if it’s credible, and if the reader is invested in how the rules affect the characters. Collins and Rowling ace that one.)

So I’m considering contacting the eminent Floridian, Mr. Hiaasen, and asking about this late turn of events in Hoot. It’s going to be awkward for me, because I don’t know is other work, I’m not published (Heck, I can’t even get a pair of chapter past myself!), and it’s a lousy way to introduce myself… [imagines]

Hi, Mr. famous author, I’m some jerk who read your latest book, and I think you screwed up on suchandsuch a scene.

See? Tone’s all wrong. Hard to make a good impression.

So that’s what’s bothering me. After reading Hoot, I thought about this, and then I got all three Hunger Games books dropped in my lap, and I devoured the first two, turned into one of Collins' zombies, and forgot what I meant to insult Hiaasen about.

I guess I'd better just keep my observations to myself.

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