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Blog: Welcome to my Tweendom
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, arc from publisher
, Scholastic Press
, arc 8/13
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By: Stacy Dillon,
Gordon Korman isn't exactly a newbie in the realm of children's literature. As Canadian kids, we all read This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall and as a librarian I know that he's been publishing solidly all along. But here comes my confession...I hadn't read his books for a long, long time. I am very happy that I picked up the first book in The Hypnotists series. Not only is this book a page turner, but it has humor, big ideas and suspense all rolled into a great story.
Jackson (Jax) Opus is a seemingly regular NYC kid. He's just trying to get to basketball with his best friend Tommy Cicerelli, but the bus just passes them by. In a fit of desperation, Jax jumps out into the bus lane in front of the next uptown bus and stares the driver down until he stops. Jax apologizes upon boarding the bus and implores the driver to get them to 96th Street as soon as possible. The bus takes off and is soon speeding through red lights, passing stops, and terrifying everyone. Once at 96th Street, the driver stops, lets the boys off, and resumes his regular route.
Then comes the basketball game. Jax is not evenly matched against Rodney, but somehow he is managing to hold him off. And when Jax wants him to miss, he does.
What is going on?
After a series of seemingly unrelated events, Jax ends up being recruited Dr. Elias Mako, founder and director of The Sentia Institute as a part of their New Horizons program. Dr. Mako seems to come with his own tagline - "Dr. Elias Mako has devoted his life to New York City education and is an inspiration to every single one of us." Anyone who comes into contact with Sentia seems to repeat these same words.
But Jax's parents are all for it. Jax learns that he comes from some very powerful bloodlines. Both of his parents families had the gift of hypnotism, and Jax seems to have inherited a rare command of his gift. After spending every extra hour at Sentia, Jax is getting uneasy with the whole thing. He has questions and nobody seems to want to answer them. Being able to hypnotize people seemed like no big deal when it involved extra gravy and hopping up and down, but add some political intrigue and scandal and throw in computers and blackmail, and Jax's abilities could take a very different and dangerous turn.
Korman has written a thriller that will get kids thinking big. How are our opinions formed? How are we influenced? Where would you draw the line when it comes to sticking by your values? The relationship between Jax and Tommy is perfect and laugh out loud funny. Their dialogue is authentic and readers will definitely want more from these two!
By: Stacy Dillon,
I told myself that while I was at ALA, I wouldn't pick up arcs. Then a school marketing person handed me two arcs, and publishers gave some to me, and you know how it goes! The result is that I've been reading a bunch, and now that it's summer and my commute is simply from my bed to the lake, I actually have some time to blog.
The first up, is Ellen Potter's new book Otis Dooda: Strange But True
. Potter has stepped out of her wheelhouse with this illustrated novel for the younger set, but since Potter is writing it, you know the writing is tight.
Otis and the rest of the Dooda family are making a move to NYC. They are moving into the 35 story Tidwell Towers, which impresses Otis since it looks like it's made up of LEGO blocks! Otis notices the automatic door and thinks that moving is "kind of cool, like we were moving into a Price Chopper Supermarket!" (p8) The automatic doors aren't the only thing that is different from Otis' old place...there seems to be a kid skulking in a potted plant in the lobby. It turns out that he gives everyone the shakedown for candy and other goods when they come into the building, and if you don't pay up he curses you!
Otis finds this out the hard way, refusing to sacrifice his homemade LEGO lie detector. Otis gets the details when he befriends Perry, a kid on his floor with the strangest looking and smelliest dog you've ever seen. One of the great things about Tidwell Towers is that there are lots of kids, and before long Otis is hanging out with Perry, Cat and Boris and they are hatching plans to put the kibosh on the plant guy.
What follows is an often hilarious tale of the often dysfunctional apartment slash big city life. As I said, this isn't what I would necessarily expect from Potter, however, I know at my library I have daily requests for "something with lots of pictures, like Wimpy Kid
", and this fits the bill. Strange parents, a creepy older brother, rats and poodles, friends with parents with odd jobs, and trying to dodge the inevitable summer enrollment in classes all come into play. The humor is sly and horse read oriented at the same time, and readers will likely laugh out loud along the way.
The Blizzard came and transformed the city.
Before the snow ploughs and the footprints and the salt and the dirt could arrive, I got up early to capture it.
I stepped out of my apartment—and into Narnia. Complete with lampposts.
Everywhere, everything was brimming with light. Beauty that catches in your throat. Sudden brightness—shining in the air, in the trees, in the skies, at your feet.
Every moment a new landscape. The early pink skies and the gentle light on the snow cushions on benches. The afternoon sunlight that turns trees to crystal, and a park into an enchanted forest.
Snow making everything beautiful. Covering over the ugliness, making everything look new. Almost as if the world has been made again and we are coming upon it for the first time.
Is it the world—or our eyes, that are made new?
A friend reminded me of a lovely C S Lewis quote about children and snow -
"Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven't you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children—and the dogs? They know what snow's made for." [C S Lewis, The Hideous Strength]
Children’s eyes are new. They can see what we have become blind to.
Snow reminds me.
I would like to live every day with the eyes of a child.
I would like to unlearn what I’ve learned.
I would like to step out of my apartment every day with new eyes to see what is always all around me, shining at my feet.
Blog: Welcome to my Tweendom
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, Wendy Lamb Books
, Newbery contender
, copy from school library
, job loss
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By: Stacy Dillon,
After downsizing and moving to an apartment with his family, Georges (yes with an "s") and his dad are in the basement throwing out garbage when they see a sign posted on a door. "Spy Club Meeting -- TODAY!". Much to Georges' chagrin, his dad writes "What time?" on the sign, setting off a series of events that will occupy Georges' days for the next while.
Georges himself, is a big of an awkward kid. He puts up with the daily microbullying that his mom says aren't part of the big picture. The big picture of life is kind of like the Seurat print they have in their living room. If you look at it close up, it's just a bunch of dots, but back away to see the big picture and everything comes into focus. Thinking about the big picture doesn't make school any easier, however. The sarcastic clapping at his volleyball moves, the renaming him Gorgeous, the fact that his friend Jason came back from camp completely different -- these things all pepper Georges days. Add onto this the fact that his nurse mom is always at the hospital, and his dad works plenty as well, and you get a sense of what Georges is going through.
So when somebody answers on the Spy Club sign that there is a meeting at 1:30 and Georges' dad encourages him to go, nobody is more surprised than Georges to find a kid waiting in the basement room. He first meets Candy, then Safer and their family from the 6th floor. Safer says that he's a spy and that he's got his eye on one of the building's tenants. He's creepy -- always wears black and is constantly hauling big suitcases in and out of the building. Safer teaches Georges some of the art of being a spy, and before he knows it, he is in over his head.
Rebecca Stead has written what could be called the perfect tween/middle grade novel. She gets kids, and the situations the characters get into as well as their voices are spot on. Each setting rings true, and the slow simmer and reveal are plotted precisely and perfectly. Stead manages to pay close attention to detail without slowing the pace of the story. There is a message in Liar & Spy about empathy and bullying and being an ally, but it doesn't feel the least bit didactic. Liar & Spy has quickly risen into my top five for the year.
KidLitCon is in NYC this year, September 28 and 29. If you're a blogger who posts about children's books, come and join the fun. The conference will be held at the Public Library's main branch at 42nd Street. Saturday's events are free--that's right--free, so you can't beat the price.
Elizabeth Bird gives you all the details and a link to the registration form at A Fuse #8 Production
Hope to see you in September!
Consider this your warning. I am going to give away the ending of this book. And that’s probably a bad thing, because the big twist ending is kind of the point of The Cinema Murder, and I’ve yet to decide out whether there’s any other reason to read it. I actually did guess the surprise ending pretty early on, but I ignored my instincts and trusted E. Phillips Oppenheim to do it right, as he has done on other occasions.
That was a mistake.
In retrospect, of course, I realize I was meant to sympathize with impoverished art teacher Philip Romilly. And when he showed up to visit his girlfriend, Beatrice, and realized that since he’d last seen her she’d become his cousin Douglas’ mistress, I did. It’s just that when he murdered Douglas and dumped his body in a canal, I stopped.
Conveniently, Douglas was all set to flee to the United States that very day with money embezzled from his failing shoe factory. All Philip has to do is impersonate Douglas until he gets to New York. On the boat, Philip is introduced to a famous actress, Elizabeth Dalstan. She reveals that she was passing by in a train when Philip and Douglas walked under a bridge over the canal and didn’t come out. And then they have a nice technical discussion about writing plays. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with the murder thing at all.
That was when things started to get weird for me. It wasn’t so much when she was all “the heroine of the play you’re writing is so courageous and strong, while not being at all masculine. I’m just like that.” It was more the way she unhesitatingly accepts a man she knows to be a murderer as her new best friend and keeps reassuring him that murdering his cousin was totally fine. That was the point at which I started wondering if Elizabeth was mentally unstable, or perhaps planning some kind of long con. There seemed to be some support in the text for the former theory, but alas, it was not to be.
Anyway, Elizabeth tells Philip to rewrite his play and promises to produce it in New York, so after arriving as Douglas Romilly, Philip disappears, dons a new identity, and gets to work with the assistance of a cranky but sympathetic stenographer named Martha Grimes (no relation to the mystery writer, obviously). She falls a little bit in love with him, of course, but he’s not any more of an ass about it than he can help.
The play is a huge success, but on the opening night Philip recieves a visit from a detective named Dane, who can prove that Philip is the Douglas Romilly who disappeared from the Waldorf the day after he arrived in New York. Why he doesn’t immediately arrest him for embezzlement or whatever, I’m not quite sure. I mean, Dane explains why, he’s just not convincing. He’s decided that the next step in his investigation is to go to England. Maybe he just wants a vacation.
Theoretically, Philip has little to worry about. He can’t be proved to be Douglas, since he’s not Douglas, and the decomposing body that was pulled out of the canal was identified as Philip himself. Still, he’s increasingly worried, and really I have no objection to Philip becoming a nervous wreck.
Things are complicated further when a midwestern millionaire named Sylvanus Power returns from along sojourn in China. He and Elizabeth have a history: during an earlier, less successful portion of her career, he built a theater and promised her that she could act in it if she would became his mistress. She agreed, but Power left for China almost immediately and she never had to follow through. Now he’s back, and really not happy to find that she and Philip are
Caldecott-winning illustrator Erin E. Stead and debut author Julie Fogliano will be on the road at the end of this month to promote their first collaboration and new book, And Then It's Spring
Here are the dates and times so far:
February 23 at 10:30 AM at Politics & Prose
February 25 at 1:00 PM at Bank Street Books
If life brings you to DC or NYC on those dates, please stop by to meet these talented women!
by John Rocco
Disney / Hyperion 2011
On a hot summer night New York City encounters a blackout, bringing out the best in people. A far cry from the blackouts a few decades back!
All the little girl (or long-haired boy) wants to do is play a board game with her family. His/her sister is too busy talking on the phone. His/her dad is up to his elbows in oven mitts in the kitchen. His/her
of the trip to New York City to spend a day shadowing a real live editor at Simon & Schuster, and some time hanging out with me, is...
WAIT. First, I have to say something, and it's from the heart:
I was absolutely blown away by all of you who entered. It made me happy that there are so many of you out there who love to write as much as I do. I am really proud of each person who put a little piece of him or herself out there for others to see. That's really hard to do.
Narrowing the entries down to the top ten was really difficult. There were so many great stories. Our team of judges had a really tough time deciding! We had a variety of reasons why these ten were chosen, including writing ability, style, creativity, plot, voice, and uniqueness in coming up with an idea that others haven't thought of.
Choosing the winner out of these ten great stories? One of the most difficult choices I've had to make in a while. A long while. I want to congratulate again the nine finalists, and I want you to hear me -- you are talented. You have great potential. If you enjoy writing, you should keep doing it, because you are good at it.
Being a writer, getting published, winning prizes when you're up against hundreds or even thousands of others is a hard mountain to climb. If you have the stamina and can handle the rejections, the near-misses, the not-quites, you will succeed eventually. You have to keep going, and going, and going. I had over a hundred rejections for the first novel I wrote, and it never got published. Nor did my second novel. But I kept writing, and I kept going, and I kept looking at rejection in the face and saying, "You are only making me tougher. You are only making me want to fight for this more."
I want you to keep going too. Everything you write is valuable. Nothing you write is a waste of time. Every word you write makes you better at the craft of writing. So keep going, knowing that you have what it takes.
Thanks for reading this (even though I know you all skimmed that bit, I hope you went back and read it again). :)
And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, THE WINNER of the Wattpad/Pulse It story contest is... *drumroll*
CRAVE THE RISK, by lucille0912.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! I chose your story because I loved the way you approached the prompt. I love that you made the long-haired main character a boy. I love that you added the hint of a paranormal element with this boy having the strength similar to Samson (and I LOVED that you didn't name him, but made that story sound ominous, and it made the reader wonder what kind of society they lived in), and I liked the twist at the end. Your idea was fresh and different. The thing that clinched it for me, though, was your sense of voice in the story. It was strong and distinct, and I could feel his attitude, I could hear him speaking and thinking in my head. Voice is so difficult to learn to write well -- some writers have it naturally and some have to work very hard to achieve great character voice. Whether you had to work at it or it came naturally, it was there, and it was excellent. Additionally, some of your phrases were really stunning. I remember thinking "I wish I'd written that" a few times as I read your story.
lucille0912, I look forward to meeting you! I’ll be emailing you shortly so we can arrange your awesomely awesome trip to NYC.
Congratulations again to the winner and to all the writers who entered the contest. You are amazing! Keep going. :) And please stay in touch -- you can find me often on my facebook fan page and twitter.
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, Current Affairs
, Law & Politics
, fifth avenue
, michael bloomberg
, Naked City
, new york
, Occupy Wall Street
, Sharon Zukin
, Zuccotti Park
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By Sharon Zukin
Until the early morning of November 15, a few hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters spent the chilly nights of a glorious autumn camping out in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s disapproval with their politics and under the New York City Police Department’s anxious eye, the occupiers captured public attention in a remarkably peaceful way. Regrouping for the winter, they will take stock of what they have achieved so far and the work that remains.
Though the occupation was initially ignored by mainstream media after it began in September, the protest movement attracted favorable attention both nationwide and internationally. Arrests flared in other U.S. cities, notably Oakland, California, where protesters tried to recall a famous general strike of 1946 by marching to the port. But unlike in Oakland, and Portland, Oregon, the encampment at Wall Street survived the constant threat of being rousted by police action on the one hand and cold weather on the other without death, disaster or dishonor.
An official order to clear Zuccotti Park was squelched in October by the intervention of local city council members and other politicians—some of whom, not coincidentally, plan to run for office in the 2012 elections. Many local labor unions support the movement, suggesting that alliances may be possible across “police and firefighter” lines. This kind of alliance recently won a referendum in Ohio overturning a state law that would have limited public unions’ collective bargaining rights.
In Zuccotti Park protesters formed a tiny city within the city. Food, clothing and books were donated and handed out. Electric generators that were confiscated by the fire department were returned after volunteer attorneys complained on the protesters’ behalf. For public safety the occupiers relied on volunteer security guards who used nonviolent techniques to confront, isolate and occasionally expel troublemakers. Women and transgender protesters could, if they wished, sleep in separate tents. Before November 15, few people were arrested by the police for allegedly committing sexual or physical assault.
New Yorkers quickly became accustomed to this remarkably peaceful microcosm of urban life. On sunny weekend afternoons tourists thronged Zuccotti Park and its celebrated neighbors, the World Trade Center site on one side and the financial district on the other. I have never seen Lower Manhattan look more vibrant.
But Occupy Wall Street was only one of Manhattan’s tourist attractions. To put support for the movement’s proposed reforms in a realistic perspective it is suggestive to look at other sites in the city and the desires that they apparently fulfill.
Nearly 50 million men and women are visiting New York City this year. Nearly 50,000 of them ran in the recent New York City Marathon sponsored by ING Bank .
While protesters occupied Zuccotti Park in tents, the average price of a hotel room in New York City is $250 and the hotel occupancy rate is
0 Comments on Memo from Manhattan: Occupying Wall Street—and Fifth Avenue as of 1/1/1900
I'm in NYC for a few days and last night I saw Seminar with Alan Rickman with Teen and Teen's Friend.
For many people, Alan Rickman = Snape. But for me, it's this play by Samuel Beckett that we saw a film of in Paris. At the time, Teen was Kid and she wanted to watch this twice.
... was to the Big Apple, to see the Society of Illustrators
Original Art show. Wow. It's just plain inspiring to see works of art up close and personal. The variety is wonderful– traditional, digital, a mix of both... there's room for everything. Here are some of my favorites:
By: Darcy Pattison
Blog: Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes
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Where will you be on January 27, 2012?
I’ll be in New York City, hoping that the weather is warm!
MARKETING FOR PROFESSIONAL WRITERS INTENSIVE DEBUTS AT THE 2012 SCBWI WINTER CONFERENCE
Registration opens today for the 13th Annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators International Conference. SCBWI will hold its first Marketing for Professional Writers intensive on Friday, January 27, 2012 which, along with a Marketing for Illustrators intensive that day, kicks off a jam-packed conference weekend. The Marketing for Writers intensive brings today’s market leaders together to talk trends and marketing tactics in social media, websites, ebooks, mobile & games, apps, book trailers, publicity, working with publishers, Amazon, the education market and more.
The 13th Annual SCBWI International Winter Conference is held January 27-29 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City and brings together publishing professionals, including agents, editors, publishers, and other experts in the field to conduct workshops, panels and presentations for writers and illustrators. It’s a unique networking opportunity designed to help new and published writers and illustrators have their careers soar to the next level.
Registration opens at 10am Pacific Daylight time on October 17th .
Watch for conference announcements and updates at: http://www.scbwi.org and follow us on Twitter #NY12SCBWI and Facebook http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/.
Book Trailers and Social Media Events
I’ll be speaking about book trailers and social media events.
Available August 15
As the author of the ebook, The Book Trailer Manual
, I’ve studied what works and what doesn’t for book trailers. Drawing from a wide variety of research about video marketing, I’ll dispel some myths and make solid suggestions on the content of your book trailers.
Drawing on the experience of Random Acts of Publicity, especially the Random Acts of Publicity event on Facebook, we’ll discuss social media for special events. The Random Acts of Publicity saw about 500 people join us in promoting their friend’s books for a week.
By: Stacy Dillon,
Here is a book that I originally blurbed over at Booktopia. It's a go-to historical fiction and one of my favorite NYC stories.
Bird and Thomas are growing up in a Brooklyn apartment just as the bridge is rising. Over on Water Street, Bird is the youngest of 3 - daughter of a bridge worker and a healer. Thomas is pretty much on his own - Da being down at the pub all the time.
Thomas dreams of being a writer. He has fashioned himself a notebook and makes sure to write everything down. He has a shadowy memory of a woman in lace sleeves who told him that writing can change it all.
Bird has her own dreams of following in her mother's footsteps and becoming a healer herself. She has a notebook where she writes down remedies ... sliced onion for bee stings, coal from the turf fire held under the nose for sneezing.
Bird always needs to fix things. She needs to get her brother Hughie to stop fighting in the backs of pubs. She needs to get sister Annie out of the box factory. She needs to save all her money to help her mother buy a farm in New Jersey.
Thomas needs to find his past and try to fix his family.
This is immigrant Brooklyn in the 1870s. Patricia Reilly Giff has managed to bring in so many aspects of daily immigrant life without making it seem like school. The streets come alive (especially when Thomas and Bird venture into Manhattan) with sights and sounds and smells. It was a pleasure to read about Brooklyn instead of the Bowery.
This book is equally suited for older tweens and younger teens. There is a bit of detailed gore described in some healing scenes that may have queasy readers blanching. Told in alternating chapters, the stories of Bird and Thomas come to life and are a pleasure to read.
Welcome summer! I know summer starts for a lot of you the day after school ends. Or after Memorial Day. But for me, summer always begins on the first day of summer. Which is the summer solstice. Which is tomorrow. I will try to focus on the happy fact that sunset is at 8:30 instead of getting that sinking feeling I always have when daylight hours start decreasing. We have the greatest amount of daylight hours all year on the summer solstice (about 15 hours in New York), which means that the day after tomorrow...nope. I will not think about that. I will think about getting my summer on.
Actually, I've already begun the funtivities. Section two of the High Line just opened. I was so there. As if more High Line in my life isn't enough, there's an outdoor art installation right at the end called Rainbow City with all these interactive balloons. Balloons! Plus more High Line! These are the days, yo.
You know how some offices have summer hours? Well, I'm the boss of a one-person corporation over here, and I say my only employee Susane gets to enjoy summer hours, too. Sort of. If it's a sunny morning that's not, like, a thousand degrees, I'm allowed to lay out on the beach volleyball pier instead of being online. It's this new thing at Hudson River Park where volleyball courts are fenced in on a pier - with sand! My entire floor is now covered with sand. Looks like summer. And, um, time to vacuum...
Normally, I would avoid such close proximity to balls zinging in all directions. But they have these cool curvy chairs to lay out on and a sweet summer breeze off the water and it's just too awesome to resist. I watched some fierce Chelsea boys playing a highly profesh game this weekend. It was good to desensitize myself. Back in junior high and high school, I was terrified of getting smacked in the head with any type of ball - baseball, kick ball, dodge ball, basketball, and especially volleyball. Because when you're playing volleyball, you are under attack from overhead. Scary much? Now that I'm (technically) a grownup, I think it's time to be a bit less afraid of volleyballs. So I sat right there and read my book and didn't get hit. Small steps, people. Small steps.
I have to say that I was shocked by how many people borrowed my sunblock. If you're going to be outside for a while, bring protection! One new product I'm loving is Neutrogena Wet Skin.
You know how when you're laying out and sweating and even if your sunblock is waterproof, it still comes off sometimes and you burn? And then you're furious because, hello, you spent half an hour putting on sunblock before you left and you even reapplied it and now look? Or is that just me? Well, if you can relate then you'll love Wet Skin. It's sweatproof, waterproof, and you can spray it right on wet skin. I'm using SPF 85 and loving it. This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
In online news, The Guardian
has come to my attention with this piece
on authors' responses to that ridiculous WSJ article about how teen novels are all corrupt a few weeks ago. Then When It Happens
got a sweet review
. "It's like Twilight without the vampires!" I'll take it. Also, the Book Blog Experience is running a giveaway of So Much Closer
to go with
written and illustrated by
When the star of a famed Italian puppet theatre is stolen fro his owner he goes on a mischievous romp through modern day New York City only to realize there's no place like home... unless you get to rip off someone in the process.
Landing in New York, Il Professore Tucci-Picini (all Punch puppeteers are referred to as Professor) has
yes I already told you I know but that was completely deliberate and so you'd have advance warning... and be ready to go with your picnic and folding chairs at a moment's notice.
Here's your moment's notice. And the scoop on where to stand when.
(In case you don't know what I'm on about: two days a year, the sun sets along the east-west axis of Manhattan's street grid. So it's exactly aligned with the streets. This year it's May 30 and July 12.)
Which means here it is today. Happy Manhattan Henge Day! Here are the precise times to show up to see manhattanhenge (note: arrive half an hour before the times below):
Monday May 30: 8.17pm EDT (to see half sun on the grid)
Tuesday May 31: 8.17pm EDT (to see full sun on the grid)
For best effect (so says Hayden Planetarium and she should know) go as far east in Manhattan as poss but ensure you can still look west across the avenues to New Jersey. Here are some good ones: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th (and Empire State Building on 34th and Chrysler Building on 42nd give the view even more spectaculary-fabulousness)
(All this is all very well but what if it's raining as it has been for the past oh 700 years in Manhattan and you can't actually see the sun?)
Oh well. Never mind. Someone must have thought of that. Happy Manhattan Henge Day anyway!
I miss you every day. But especially today.
You gave us the kind of music that transcends time. Music with a message. Songs that speak to us and encourage us to make our lives better. Songs that make us want to change the world. Songs that make us imagine.
You are an indelible part of New York City. When I want to remember you best, I go to Strawberry Fields. No matter what time or which day, people are always there, playing your songs and bringing you flowers. You fought so hard to stay in this magical place because you understood its energy, an energy you translated into music and art. I still feel your passion every day, John.
I wish I could tell you that we're all living life in peace today, 30 years after you were taken from us. Sadly, we are not. But Imagine lives on, as do all of your words, and they continue to inspire us to live and let live.
And so you shine on.
Like the moon and the stars and the sun.
On and on and on...
As of January 6, I've been a proud New Yorker for 15 years. Carrie Bradshaw said that you're not a real New Yorker until you've lived here for at least 10 years. But in my heart, I always knew this magical place was my true home. I moved here in the Blizzard of 1996 from Philadelphia, which had just gotten over two feet of snow. But nothing could stop me. Actually, nothing could stop my friend Tim from helping me move. He was the one who shoveled the snow and drove the U-Haul. And now he lives here, too, which is awesome.
I was going through this crazy stomach churning thing at the time. For weeks before the move, my stomach was perpetually upset. I couldn't eat anything without feeling sick. I didn't realize it at the time, but the stomach churning was caused by severe stress. Even though I was beyond excited to finally start my life in New York City, it was really scary. I had like 73 cents in my bank account. I didn't know anyone here. I didn't even have a job lined up. All I knew was that I'd be starting grad school and that I had a tiny studio waiting for me in Chelsea. But I guess that was enough. Because as soon as I saw the Twin Towers in the distance, my stomach instantly felt better. For reals. And I never had that weird stomach churning again.
You'd think that I was planning to live here all along. New York City has had an intense pull on me since I discovered Late Night with David Letterman when I was 12. But I never made a definite plan to live here because it felt like a fantasy world. Like this unattainable dream that would always be impossible for me to achieve. That felt especially true back in high school. Back then, it felt like forever until my real life would start. Books and shows and music saved me. But what saved me even more was the hope that I would one day be living my ideal life. I held on to that hope and refused to let go, even when it felt like I wouldn't survive.
One song that helped me hold on was "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty. I still listen to it (and this other song of his called "Right Down the Line") often when I'm writing. These lyrics helped me keep hope alive, like if I could just keep holding on things would get better:
Another year and then you'll be happy
Just one more year and then you'll be happy
But you're crying
You're crying now
Two days before my New Yorkiversary, I was folding laundry and listening to NPR when "Baker Street" came on. They said something like, "You probably recognize this song, but might not remember the artist behind it." And I was like, "Gerry Rafferty!" Then they said that Gerry Rafferty had died. One of the people who helped me survive and would never know it was gone forever. And I was folding socks.
Let's just say I was relieved to have season one of Glee.
I'm not finished with season one yet, but do I really need to tell you I'm a proud new Gleek? Not just because I'm crushing on Mr. Schuester (as if I really need another crush). Not just because another one of my Hold On songs back in the day was "Don't Stop Believin'" (along with several other Journey classics). But that "Defying Gravity" diva-off between Rachel and Kurt? Has been on repeat mode in my brain for days. Seriously, I'll be at the gym doing a mash-up of whatever's playing in class and "Defying Gravity" in my head. Their voices are incredible. I mean, everyone is super talented, but that song just got me. Of course Kurt is my fave character. But you already knew that.
So yay for Glee! Yay for everything in this world that makes us happy and
By: Brian Minter,
Blog: First Book
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, First Book Partners
, Barclays Capital
, Gramercy School
, New York City
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On Thursday, some of our staffers met up with volunteers from Barclays Capital for a reading event at the YAI Network‘s Gramercy School in New York City. The preschool serves children ages 3-5 who have developmental disabilities and/or learning delays.
The kids especially enjoyed In the Snow, Bear About Town and stories from Eric Carle’s All Around Us collection. Barclays volunteers also participated in classroom lessons that the Gramercy teachers developed specifically for the occasion, like making sure that Bear was ready to go to town by helping glue his scarf, jacket and boots on.
Best of all, every child at the event received a backpack with three brand-new books to keep.
These books are part of Barclays’ ongoing commitment to helping First Book bring books to children from low-income communities. Thanks to their support, we’ll be launching a special section dedicated to financial literacy and college readiness on the First Book Marketplace next month.
Learn more about this event here.
Blog: the pageturn
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, Candace Bushnell
, Carrie Bradshaw
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, Sex and the City
, Summer and the City
, The Carrie Diaries
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THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell introduced the world to Carrie Bradshaw as a teenager, leading up to her move to New York City (wasn’t the end line of THE CARRIE DIARIES the most perfect thing?!).
Now there’s SUMMER AND THE CITY. Carrie Bradshaw is loving NYC in the summer, especially since she’s taking her first real writing class. But making it in the big city isn’t all glamour and gorgeousness, as Carrie soon discovers.
SUMMER AND THE CITY is the continuing story of Carrie Bradshaw, an icon of fashion and New York City. On-sale April 26, 2011.
Can’t make it to New York this summer? We have the next best thing: we’re giving away TWO gift packs containing an advanced readers copy of SUMMER AND THE CITY, a letter from Candace Bushnell, and a “I <Heart> NYC” t-shirt. Tell us in the comments what you love about Carrie Bradshaw and/or New York City, and you’ll be entered to win one of the two prize packages. Contest ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 20th. Winners will be announced Monday, March 21st.
Today and tomorrow is MoCCA Fest, the premier indie comics event in New York City. Doors are open each day from 11am-6pm at the Lexington Avenue Armory (68 Lexington Ave between 25th and 26th Streets). I exhibited there last year and highly recommend MoCCA: lots of terrific artists will be in attendance, remarkably low-key and relaxed, and the focus is purely on comics and art.
Plenty of animators will be exhibiting, among them, Devin Clark and Dan Meth (A17), Bill Plympton (B6), Meathaus (A11), Kaitlin Sullivan and Polly Guo (C16 ½), Jake Armstrong, Dan Pinto, Maya Edelman and others at D12, and Rob Kohr and Tom Eaton (L19 ½). Also on Sunday evening at 5:30 pm, there’ll be an animation screening of recent indie films. Tickets are $12 for one day or $20 for both days.
Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation |
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Post tags: MoCCA Fest, NYC
You know those mystery novels that are preoccupied with time and alibis and maps, where you’re constantly being asked whether a suspect could have made it from one place to another in however much time? And how it’s more like a word problem in a high school math textbook than a story, and you keep having to flip back to the map in the front of the book, and every time you do that you lose the thread of what’s going on, and the characters are like puzzle pieces, and it just never really works, even when Dorothy Sayers does it?
I’m exaggerating, but I do get really irritated when mystery novels give too much space to maps and alibis and such, because so often authors focus on those things to the exclusion of the characters. I’m okay with train schedules and clocks, I just want the people in the book to be the most important thing about the book. I get that that’s hard, but one cannot live by plot alone.
Geraldine Bonner, however, doesn’t seem to have a problem keeping her people and her plots balanced. I’m very much indebted to Cathlin for recommending her, because this is the first time a mystery author has made me like flipping back to the map in front of the book (and by flipping back to the map in the front of the book, I mean saving the image of the map from the ebook and having it open in a different window). Also, the narrator reminded me of Nancy from In the Bishop’s Carriage, and that’s always a plus.
Molly Morgenthau narrates all of The Girl at Central, about half of The Black Eagle Mystery, and maybe a third of Miss Maitland, Private Secretary, and I’d like to say that the more she narrates, the better the book is, but Miss Maitland is kind of better than The Black Eagle Mystery.
When we first meet Molly, she’s the switchboard operator in a small town in New Jersey. She’s got an enormous crush on Jack Reddy, who owns a fair amount of land in the neighborhood, but Jack is in love with Sylvia Hesketh, who would be everything a wealthy young lady in a novel should be if only she weren’t an incorrigible flirt. Molly starts eavesdropping on calls to Sylvia’s house in hopes of hearing Jack, and so when Sylvia is found dead, she’s able to bring forward some useful information. Soon she and Soapy Babbitts, one of the reporters who arrived in town after the murder, start investigating the case together. And eventually solve it, of course, although that’s sort of an accident.
During the Sylvia Hesketh case, Molly meets Wilbur Whitney and his son George, both lawyers, and it’s through them that she gets her next two cases. The Black Eagle Mystery involves a financier hurling himself out of the window of an office building, and it’s the least good of the three, mostly because of the contrived romance plot. You know how teachers are always exhorting their students to show, not tell? I’d be the first to admit that telling rather than showing can be good, too — just look at the collected works of Anthony Trollope — but romance is not the place for it. I did really enjoy the twist at the end, though.
The ending of Miss Maitland wasn’t so cleverly twi
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It all started with a vegetable.
My corner deli had a brand new awning made. It is green. It is huge. And it says something like this right across the front:
"Deli, groceries, beer, snacks, vegetable."
Dude. They have one vegetable.
Really? Just one?
As my friend Rachel Vail said, You better go in quick and snatch that vegetable up before someone else gets it!
Actually, this all started way before the vegetable. I've always been extremely annoyed by typos. Typos in books are bad. But typos on signs? Are the worst. Those typos are like nails on the chalkboard to me. They grate on my nerves and every time I see them they irritate me all over again. Whenever I see a typo on a store's sign, I'll tell the person working there about it and how it should be fixed so we don't perpetuate the stupid.
Yeah. I'm that girl.
Not that they care. No one ever changes their signs. Even the handwritten ones that would take two seconds to correct. What makes me sad about the vegetable example is...well, so many things, but mainly that they just spent all this money on a new awning and didn't even bother to proofread. It's like with the grocery store around the corner. They just did a whole big renovation. Now they have street signs hanging above the aisles. One the the signs says "Bleecker Street." Or it's supposed to say "Bleecker Street." Tragically, it says "Bleeker Street."
And they're one block from Bleecker Street.
Seriously? You couldn't walk one block to check how to spell Bleecker Street? Or freaking Google it?! How hard would that have been?!?
Before I puff up in an even bigger rant, let me leave you with this image. It's the new (of course) awning of my fave vegetarian restaurant. It speaks volumes all by itself.