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Author of An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska.
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1. Will Grayson, Will Grason Tour: The West Coast Swing

Thanks to everyone who has come out on tour and to everyone who had read Will Grayson, Will Grayson! The definitive information on the second leg of the tour:


Thursday April 22, 7PM
INDIANAPOLIS
Borders
6020 E. 82nd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Phone: 317-849-8660


Friday April 23, 6PM
LA MESA, CA
Mysterious Galaxy
Offsite event:
La Mesa Public Library
8074 Allison Avenue
La Mesa, CA 91941
Phone: 619-660-6329


Sunday April 25
Los Angeles Times Book Festival
10:30AM -12:30PM
Korn Convocation Hall, Panel #2071
John Green & David Levithan in Conversation with Denise Hamilton
TICKETED: The tickets are free, but Ticketmaster charges $1 per ticket. (Which, I realize, means the tickets are NOT free, but right, yeah.)
Tickets: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/tickets-faq/


Sunday April 25
LA Times Book Festival
2:00-3:00PM
Signing at Penguin/Mrs. Nelson's Booth #813


Sunday April 25
LA Times Book Festival
3:00-4:00PM
Signing at Mysterious Galaxy Booth #614


Monday April 26, 7PM
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Books Inc/Not Your Mothers Book Club
601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco CA
Contact: Jennifer Laughran
Phone: 415-776-1111

10 Comments on Will Grayson, Will Grason Tour: The West Coast Swing, last added: 4/18/2010
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2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson: A Rundown

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a book David Levithan and I wrote together, officially comes out today, April 6th. I'm about to leave for the tour (scroll down a bit for information about that), but I wanted to share some reviews and stuff:

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "Green and Levithan craft an intellectually existential, electrically ebullient love story that brilliantly melds the ridiculous with the realistic. In alternating chapters from Will and will, each character comes lovingly to life, especially Tiny Cooper, whose linebacker-sized, heart-on-his-sleeve personality could win over the grouchiest of grouches."

Booklist Magazine has also given WGWG a starred review, calling it "a tale populated with young people engaged in figuring out what’s important and shot through with strong feelings, smart-mouthed dialogue, and uncommon insight."

And SLJ (also starred!) said the book is "powerful, thought-provoking, funny, moving, and unique."

All of these quotes, I assume, refer to David's half, but anyway, I am flattered.

Foreign editions of Will Grayson, Will Grayson are forthcoming in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Taiwan. (And hopefully more countries soon!)

The book should be available at bookstores around the United States; you can also order it from indiebound, amazon, bn.com, or borders.

If you've already read WGWG, let's talk about it in comments.NOTE: The comment section of this blog post will contain SPOILERS.

34 Comments on Will Grayson, Will Grayson: A Rundown, last added: 4/9/2010
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3. The Real, Official Guide to the Will Grayson, Will Grayson Tour with David Levithan and John Green

So in the last couple weeks, I have repeatedly released incorrect information about the tour David Levithan and I will be doing in April to support the release of our collaboratively written novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

The information below is guaranteed to be accurate, unless of course it later turns out to be inaccurate. Right, but anyway, here is the tour schedule...NOW WITH FOOTNOTES:


Tuesday April 6
7PM
Naperville North High School
899 N. Mill Street, Naperville IL 60563
Phone: 630-355-2665
TICKETED EVENT: Tickets are $5 or are free with a HC purchase of WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON. Call 630-355-2665 for tickets.*


Wednesday April 7
7PM
The Theatre Building
1225 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago IL 60657
Phone: 773-293-2665
TICKETED EVENT: Tickets are $25 and include a HC copy of WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON. Call 773.293.BOOK for tickets.


Thursday April 8
7PM
Boulder Bookstore
1107 Pearl Street, Boulder CO 80302 **


Friday April 9
7PM
BookPeople
603 North Lamar; Austin, Texas 78703
Phone: 512-472-5050


Saturday April 10
7PM
Madison Congregational Church, Hubley Hall
26 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison CT
TICKETED EVENT: Tickets are $17.99 and include a HC copy of WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON. Call 203-245-3959 or visit www.www.rjjulia.com to purchase tickets.


Sunday April 11
1PM
Symphony Space
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre and Café
2537 Broadway (at 95th Street)
New York, NY 10025
Phone: 212-864-5400
TICKETED EVENT: Call for tickets or click here.


Monday April 12, 7PM
Borders
461 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-980-6785


Thursday April 22, 7PM
Borders
6020 E. 82nd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46250


Friday April 23, 6PM
La Mesa Public Library
8074 Allison Avenue
La Mesa, CA 91941
Phone: 619-660-6329


And a couple more California events coming later in April!


I hope to see you there.


* Because touring is not free (or even cheap!) and because wonderful independent bookstores sometimes have to partner with off-site places, and because of various other things that we can get into if you are genuinely bored or curious, some of these events are ticketed, and to get a ticket you may have to purchase a book from the bookstore hosting the event or pay for a ticket or something. I am sorry if this is an inconvenience to you, and even sorrier if it will prevent me from meeting you, but it is an unfortunate necessity. So please call for tickets.

** Events that do not say TICKETED EVENT in big capital letters are free, although of course an excellent way of saying, "Thank you for bringing David Levithan and John Green to this city" is to buy a book from the bookstore that made it possible.

33 Comments on The Real, Official Guide to the Will Grayson, Will Grayson Tour with David Levithan and John Green, last added: 3/29/2010
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4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson: Your Book (And Tour) Questions Answered

Reminder: On Monday, March 15th, I'll be talking about vlogging and books in Indianapolis at 7 PM: Indianapolis Public Library 40 E St. Clair St Indianapolis, IN

On Wednesday, I'll be in New York City with David Levithan, Libba Bray, and E. Lockhart doing crazy readers theater at the South Court Room of the New York Public Library's 42nd Street Central Library branch.

Then in April, I'll be on tour a lot. For more info, scroll down. Now then: I have promised to answer your questions and comments. And if there's anything this blog is known for, it's keeping promises. Also breaking promises. But anyway:

"Is it possible for us to buy books at one of the stops on your tour?"

It is not only possible; it is encouraged.

"Why are you not coming to Canada/Seattle/The Moon?"

I would very much like to quit writing and spend all of my time touring to Canada, Seattle, the moon, and your hometown. However, there are a few problems with this plan, most notably that 1. I have a seven-week old son here in the house who demands (and deserves) a lot of attention, and also 2. David Levithan has an actual job, plus 3. I also kinda have a job writing books.

"Man, I wish you could visit Hawaii sometime, John!"

Me, too! My publisher has never offered to fly me to Hawaii to tour, but believe you me, I WOULD NOT TURN THEM DOWN.

"I figured there would be more tour dates. but oh well"

Again, there is this tiny baby who is counting on me to provide him with fresh diapers and lullabies and the like.

"What size shirt do you wear?"

Large, usually.

"Is there a cost for reserving a seat?"

No. The only event that costs money is the one at Symphony Space in New York. You just have to reserve a seat at some of the venues because they are not-huge.

"Prices? Times? please let us know these things, John."

Right, so the price is almost always free; if I know the time, it's listed below. If I don't, it's reasonable to assume that the time will be "early eveningish," but I will certainly give you an exact start time THE MOMENT one has been decided upon.

Hope to see many of you this month and next!

Hope to see you all

6 Comments on Will Grayson, Will Grayson: Your Book (And Tour) Questions Answered, last added: 3/15/2010
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5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson: The Book. The Tour

Right, so for the last five years, I've been working on this book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The novel is about two different people, both named Will Grayson. (One WG is written by me, the other by David.)

It has recently come to my attention that this book comes out in 28 days. So you should preorder it here! Or here! Or here! Or here!

Also David and going on TOUR! I hope you will come see us.

First, NEXT MONDAY, MARCH 15, I will be talking about vlogging and books in Indianapolis at 7 PM: Indianapolis Public Library 40 E St. Clair St Indianapolis, IN

Then on April 6th, the real tour begins!

Tuesday April 6, 7PM
Andersons Bookshop
123 W. Jefferson Avenue, Naperville IL 60540


Wednesday April 7, 7PM
The Book Cellar
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 60625


Thursday April 8, 7PM
Boulder Bookstore
1107 Pearl Street, Boulder CO 80302


Friday April 9, 7PM
BookPeople
603 North Lamar; Austin, Texas 78703


Saturday April 10, 7PM
Madison Congregational Church, Hubley Hall
26 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison CT
CALL AHEAD TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT: 203-245-3959


Sunday April 11, 1PM
Symphony Space / Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre and Café
2537 Broadway (at 95th Street)
New York, NY
TICKETED EVENT: http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/59...


Monday April 12
New York City
TIME AND LOCATION TBD


Thursday April 22, 7PM
Borders
6020 E. 82nd Street
Indianapolis, IN 46250


Friday April 23
Los Angeles
DETAILS TO COME


Saturday April 24-Sunday April 25
Los Angeles Times Book Festival


Monday April 26, 7PM
Books Inc/Not Your Mothers Book Club
601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco CA


If you have questions about WGWG (or anything else), leave 'em in comments. Also, if you want to keep up with the latest goings-on, subscribe to us on youtube or follow me on twitter. Thanks!

23 Comments on Will Grayson, Will Grayson: The Book. The Tour, last added: 3/13/2010
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6. Indianapolis Next Monday: More Info

Several commenters have pointed out that the UIndy web site seems to disagree with me about the scheduled time of my writing workshop next Monday.

This is because there are, in fact, two events.

There will be a free writing workshop at 4 PM on Monday Feb. 8th at the Wheeler Art Center (1035 Sanders Street # 111 Indianapolis, IN). I will talk about writing and we will do writing exercises and have fun. (Hopefully.) To attend that, rsvp to Bryan Furuness: furuness--at--gmail.com

That evening, I will be reading and talking about my books at 7:30 PM at Good Hall, which is at the corner of E. Hanna and Otterbein. More info on that here. Please attend both!

13 Comments on Indianapolis Next Monday: More Info, last added: 2/5/2010
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7. A Free Writing Workshop with Me

Sorry for not blogging much. In case you don't follow me on twitter, I had a baby, which can really slow down your blogging. BUT:

If you live in or near Indianapolis and you are a high school student (or can convincingly pretend to be one), I'll be teaching a free writing workshop next Monday, February 8th, at the University of Indianapolis. The workshop will be from 4 PM to 5:30 PM at the Wheeler Art Center (1035 Sanders Street # 111 Indianapolis, IN).

If you'd like to come, RSVP to Bryan Furuness: furuness--at--gmail.com

34 Comments on A Free Writing Workshop with Me, last added: 2/5/2010
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8. More Questions Answered about The Future of Books

Thanks to everyone who has responded to the essay I wrote for SLJ about the future of reading and publishing in the US. To answer a few more questions:

1. I am not in any way proposing that physical books are dying as a medium, nor do I imagine some all-digital future for text.

I do believe, however, that the survival of printed text won't matter very much from a business perspective, because the big issue is not the medium but the distribution network.

The distribution network--insofar as it still involves bookstores--is in big trouble. (As pointed out in the essay, the stock price for chain bookstores is a good indicator of how serious a challenge they face.) Whether you buy physical books or ebooks has no bearing on the survival of bookstores; all that matters is where you buy the books, and increasingly we buy them either at Amazon or at Wal-Mart.

2. Several librarians have commented and/or emailed that because they are not collection development specialists, they have little or no say in deciding which titles are purchased or how they are purchased.

I (respectfully and lovingly!) disagree, because, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but:

A. Librarians who work with teenagers and children can affect the circulation of titles in their library by being the ambitious bakers I talk about in the essay; collection development specialists pay close attention to circulation numbers.

B. The idea of "collection development" is a lot broader now than it was back before the Internet. You may not buy the books that get shelved in your library, but you can (if you want) turn your kids on to This Is Not Tom or many other hypertext novels, which amounts to collection development.

C. One may feel at times that collection development specialists listen to any person on the street as much as they listen to branch librarians, but you have (and should have!) advantages over the rest of us: You have more expertise and a deeper knowledge of your patrons. If your library system isn't set up to reflect this, then (imho) they're missing an opportunity.

More questions? Leave 'em in comments. Thanks!

4 Comments on More Questions Answered about The Future of Books, last added: 1/10/2010
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9. The Future of Reading: Your Questions

School Library Journal has just published an extensively footnoted essay I wrote about the future of reading, book publishing, This Is Not Tom, and some other things.

I'm going to use this blog post as a space to answer questions about the essay and continue the conversation about the future of publishing, but none of this will make sense unless you've already read the essay. Feel free to leave more questions in comments; I will update this post frequently over the next few weeks. So now, the questions so far:

---

Q. I like the smell of books, and I like cracking a book spine, and books aren't going anywhere.

Well, okay, you might be right, but I would argue that whether you're right doesn't actually matter. What keeps me up at night is not the thought of the format changing but rather the thought that there will be no physical place to buy books, and therefore a totally unregulated market.

Ebooks don't need to take a larger share of the market for the bookstore business to be in big, systemic trouble. We knows this because the bookstore business is already in big, systemic trouble.


Q. Can you explain why the millionth copy of a book makes more money for a publisher than the first copy of a book?

Yeah. Much of the essay relies upon the fact that publishers would rather sell a million copies of one book than a thousand copies of a thousand books. I promised that an explanation of why this is would make your eyes bleed with boredom, and because I don't want that to happen, I'm going to keep this brief, but:

A. The more copies of a title you print, the cheaper it is to print it. (This is particularly true if you are printing it in China, which you probably are).
B. A lot of the costs associated with a book--layout, editing, copyediting, jacket design, and much of the marketing--are upfront costs. The backend costs are much lower.

There are a lot of other reasons, but those two are significant.


Q. When are you going to finish This Is Not Tom?

A. Yeah. Soon. I told noted nerdfighter Valerie2776 that I'd finish it by the end of 2009, but that ship has sailed. I hope to finish it very, very soon and put it up with satisfyingly difficult riddles, but it's hard to balance my desire to finish TINT with my desires to 1. pay the mortgage, and 2. prepare for baby.

20 Comments on The Future of Reading: Your Questions, last added: 1/4/2010
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10. For those of you who do not regularly watch the videos...

...you should probably watch this one to the end.



(Also, why don't you go subscribe to our youtube channel? It's far better than this old thing.)

13 Comments on For those of you who do not regularly watch the videos..., last added: 1/5/2010
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11. The Sex Scene in Looking for Alaska

The novelist Varian Johnson has written an essay about the dual sex scenes in my first novel, Looking for Alaska. The essay is much smarter and more interesting than anything I've ever said about the role that oral sex scene plays in the book.

I am profoundly grateful to Johnson, and I hope you'll read the essay.

EDIT!!! The blog post contains SPOILERS. (Sorry I failed to mention that before; I kind of don't believe in spoilers so I am always forgetting that. Sorry!)

8 Comments on The Sex Scene in Looking for Alaska, last added: 12/6/2009
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12. A Video Response to Twilight and New Moon



All of your comments on last week's blog post led me to think more and harder, which led to this video, so thanks!

14 Comments on A Video Response to Twilight and New Moon, last added: 12/3/2009
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13. On Liking Twilight

Okay, briefly, because I'm trying to do NaNoWriMo:

The Washington Post* has published a story that basically argues that enjoying Twilight, like getting your period, is just an unfortunate fact of womanhood. (The piece also argues, albeit subtly, that women are weak-will creatures who will cannot help but give in to their lesser, shameful urges.)

And I just want to say: I am a man. I am a reasonably intelligent, well-educated adult man, and I think Twilight is insanely fun to read. Of course, I am glad we do not actually live in a world where it is socially acceptable for 107-year-old pedophiles** to have romantic relationships with high-school students, and I think Edward and Bella's relationship too often confuses obsession with love. But the books are fun and sexy and incredibly engrossing, and you don't have to be a woman (or ashamed!) to know that.

And I have not arrived at that conclusion because I have become light-headed in my oh-so-tight corset. I am a dude. I like sports.***

Nor am I embarrassed to admit that Edward is a well-drawn idealized other. (You don't have to be attracted to individuals who share his genitalia to recognize that; in fact, if you change Edward's name and gave him slightly larger pecs, he'd have a lot in common with some of my more celebrated ex-girlfriends.)

There are books that teach us something about the world in which we find ourselves, and then there are books that help us to escape for a few hours the crushing pain of humanness. To deny that these books have value is to deny the reality of suffering (or, to argue, as the WaPo story seems to, that suffering is limited to young and/or uneducated people).




* The Washington Post was a newspaper. Newspapers were these paper-based ways of distributing information.

** Which Edward is, make no mistake about it. The reason it's wrong for old people to have sexual relationships with children is not because we old people LOOK old. It's because we ARE old.

*** I particularly like soccer, and off topic, but I am so disappointed to see a great match between France and Ireland end with a flagrant handball, and while I'm disappointed in Thierry Henry for failing to tell the ref he cheated, it seems to me that the bigger problem is that no one in soccer ever owns up to violating the rules unless s/he is caught. It's as if a rules violation isn't a rules violation unless an official notices it.

25 Comments on On Liking Twilight, last added: 12/18/2009
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14. The Whole National Book Awards and the Death of Genre and Stuff

(This post is for publishing nerds only. And probably not interesting for anyone other than me. But anyway, please come see me live and in person at the Main Library in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday at 6:30. There will also be a smaller event at the Hilliard Branch of the public library at 1 PM that day. 4772 Cemetery Rd / Hilliard, OH 43026.)

So, okay. The National Book Award finalists were announced yesterday, and one of the finalists in the books for young people category, David Small's STITCHES, was not published as a children's books and arguably is not a children's book. This has led to a bit of a stir. (The stir is probably also partly due to the fact that the most heralded book of the year, WHEN YOU REACH ME, was not a finalist.)

Full disclosure: I know and really like David Small. I also really like the book STITCHES. And I know and really like some of the judges in the category. (It's a small pond.)

To be honest, I have lately become totally uninterested in the question of whether a book is or is not for children. Ultimately, I think it is kind of a how-many-angels-can-you-fit-on-the-head-of-a-pin question.

It's also a question that's starting to matter less. The main reason books are organized the way they are is that it makes it easier to sell them at bookstores and circulate them at libraries. As acquiring (and reading) books become less physical experiences, we'll have the opportunity to think differently about how we relate one book to another. (In fact, the Internet is already doing this in some interesting ways.*)

Books for teens will become books for teens because teens read them. Not to sound like a capitalist or anything, but I kind of look forward to a day when the market is free enough to tell us how many angels are on the head of each pin.



*Like, for example, my YA novels do not live in the same part of the bookstore as Katrina Vandenberg's brilliant book of poetry. But our audiences have gotten so intertwined that Amazon says we are "frequently bought together," the online equivalent of being in the same genre. These books have nothing in common except that the same people like both of them, but I would argue that "the same people like them" is the ideal definition of genre.

18 Comments on The Whole National Book Awards and the Death of Genre and Stuff, last added: 10/18/2009
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15. Upcoming Appearances

TOMORROW, Tuesday Oct. 13th, I'll be in LaGrange, Illinois Tuesday, October 13 at 7 PM at the LaGrange Borders. (1 N. La Grange Road) This event will also be livecast at Penguin's cool new web site, www.pointofviewbooks.com

NEXT TUESDAY, October 20th, I'll be in Columbus, Ohio, at the Main Library, at 6:30. (96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH)

Hope to see you!

10 Comments on Upcoming Appearances, last added: 10/16/2009
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16. Hey Hoosiers

The Indianapolis public library is currently doing this amazingly awesome thing with my books called Pass the Book. Hoosier readers should check it out and participate; in fact, anyone working in libraries should check it out, because you should totally steal this idea.

10 Comments on Hey Hoosiers, last added: 10/10/2009
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17. Banned in My Hometown: What's a Kid to Do

So my hometown (or at least my home region, since Orlando is not so much a place as a series of interconnected geographical ideas) is dealing with a challenge to many books, including Looking for Alaska.

The challengers involved say that my book would meet Florida's legal definition of obscenity, and that it shouldn't be available to teen readers in the public library of Leesburg. First, just let me note that I am not a pornographer:



Let me make this clear: An individual scene from a novel cannot be read out of context. It won't make sense. It will seem other from what it is. You cannot know whether a novel is obscene from a screenshot of a single page on television news.

Alaska is a novel about radical hope and the power of forgiveness, not about oral sex. The scene between Lara and Pudge--that humorous, massively unerotic scene--exists to argue against casual sexual encounters.

Readers get this. If a parent doesn't think his or her children have the intellectual sophistication to read critically, that's fine. Don't let your kids read the book. But a well-organized minority shouldn't be allowed to make collection decisions in our public libraries. As a community, we hire well-educated and highly qualified librarians to make those decisions. Those librarians serve the public, not just the shouting activists, and librarians should not be made to fear their collection decisions by cowardly city commissions.

As always, any parents with questions or concerns about any of my books are welcome to email me at me --at-- sparksflyup.com. This includes the parents in Leesburg.

25 Comments on Banned in My Hometown: What's a Kid to Do, last added: 10/2/2009
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18. Some Recent Videos

My Puppy's Secret Shame:



My brother pwns CSI in one take (on his 23rd try):



And lastly, a video about Caster Semenya, sex, and the role of ambiguity in life and sports:

0 Comments on Some Recent Videos as of 9/14/2009 11:51:00 AM
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19. Omnivoracious

Paper Towns was an Omnivoracious Daily Crush yesterday, complete with a very thoughtful and kind review. I know that Omnivoracious gets a daily crush on someone every day, but I still feel special.

10 Comments on Omnivoracious, last added: 9/13/2009
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20. Paper Towns Giveaway (and my puppy's secret shame)

To celebrate the forthcoming paperback release of Paper Towns I am giving away one copy of the paperback each day for the next two weeks to my favorite ten-word comment. You can comment here, too, to be part of the contest. For aural/visual learners, the exact same information is contained in the video below (plus footage of Willy's secret shame):

48 Comments on Paper Towns Giveaway (and my puppy's secret shame), last added: 9/13/2009
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21. The Health Care Debate



The brilliant people at Thought Bubble took a video I made about the health care debate and used it as a script for the video above. Amazing, eh?

15 Comments on The Health Care Debate, last added: 9/7/2009
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22. A Book Reviewer's Apologies

So first, anyone who hasn't should read this brilliant blog post by Shannon Hale about book evaluation v. self evaluation.

(Hale's blog is one of my favorites about books, and that particular post brilliantly articulates a bunch of things I've been trying to think about, but I kept finding my brain unequal to the task, and it's such a relief when someone says things you've been trying to think, which is also one of the things I enjoy so much about Hale's books.)

I've written many hundreds of book reviews for Booklist Magazine, and I've also reviewed books elsewhere. I stand by most of those reviews, but Hale's blog post made me think about the times I've been dead wrong.

All reviewers are sometimes wrong, of course--but in the spirit of Hale's post, I thought I'd post a couple re-evaluations.


1. Hale points out in her blog post that contemporary reviewers often place way too much emphasis on whether they "like" a book--as if the only thing a book can do is be likable. (One often hears, for instance, that Catcher in the Rye is a bad book because Holden isn't likable. Teenagers may have a hard time liking Holden, because the things that annoy other people about us are the things that annoy us about other people, but this isn't an indication that the book is bad; it is an indication that the book is good.) Roger Ebert taught me that the question is not whether the thing was fun; the question is whether the thing accomplished what it wanted to accomplish, and whether that thing was worth accomplishing.

Anyway, I have totally made this mistake in my reviewing career. The example that stands out most is Chuck Palahniuk. I don't think Chuck Palahniuk's books are finally very good, but I totally missed what is good (or at least seductive) about them, because I find his stories (except for Fight Club and to an extent Invisible Monsters) so disgustingly gratuitous. I was so overwhelmed with not-liking-it that I did not give his books their due. Instead, I should have acknowledged that they accomplish the thing they set out to accomplish, although I still believe that thing is not worth accomplishing.

2. Sometimes, you react negatively to something for stupid personal reasons that you don't have enough self-awareness to recognize. There are many examples of this in my life, but the one that stands out is TTYL by Lauren Myracle. I reviewed that book tepidly when it came out, because I felt like it was gimmicky and didn't really sound like kids IMing.

But in fact it did sound like kids IMing, which we know because a gajillion young people love that book and its sequels. And in fact, so do I--years later, I still find myself thinking about TTYL and the girls in it--the ways drama comes from within and without, and the weird mix of fragility and strength in teen friendships.

The reason I felt like it didn't sound like actual teenagers IMing is because it didn't sound like me IMing, and I was not yet accustomed to the idea that my way of experiencing the internet might be dated. I fancied myself such an expert in online communication that I felt I could be very high and mighty about emoticons.

Okay. That was embarrassing, but also kinda cathartic. Anyone else want to share book re-evaluations?

Here's to the transformative role books can play in our lives--even (perhaps especially) the ones we initially think we don't like.





(Except The Fountainhead. It just sucks.)

43 Comments on A Book Reviewer's Apologies, last added: 8/30/2009
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23. My Birthday: An Overview

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. Getting old is one of those things--like marriage and childbirth and standing in line at the grocery store--that happens to everyone but feels particularly significant when it is happening to you, which makes the triteness of the feelings involved sort of maddening. So, yeah, for the last week, even though I know birthdays are meaningless constructions and etc., I was feeling all those totally cliche feelings associated with not-being-as-young-as-you-used-to-be, and worrying that the best of it was behind me, and that I had failed some really important test, and yeah. You know. Or if you don't, you will.

But then, my actual birthday was amazingly fantastic. First, I got up and watched Liverpool FC's 2005 come-from-behind victory against AC Milan.

Then I read for a long time. (I finished this book, which was excellent and is an obvious hint.)

Then Sarah and I went to see Inglorious Basterds, which I liked a lot.

Then I got a pretty amazing birthday present: Tickets to see Inter Milan play Udinese IN ITALY in October. (Those are Italian soccer teams.)

Then Hank and the nerdfighters made me this, which was amazingly nice of them and made me cry and everything. (Also: ZE FRANK WISHED ME A HAPPY BIRTHDAY.)



Thank you nerdfighters, and thank you Hank, and thank you Internet--for making my birthday so nice, and also for reminding me what awesome looks like.

18 Comments on My Birthday: An Overview, last added: 8/28/2009
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24. Truth or Fail: The John Green Books Edition



Okay, so here's how this works. First, play the video. Then, click on the answer you think is right, and it will lead you to a series of more questions and answers about my books. (That is, unless you have somehow turned off youtube annotations, in which case it won't work at all. But it should work.)

Truth or Fail is an internet video gameshow that Hank and I have created. If you like this episode, you can check out many more at Truth or Fail Headquarters.

6 Comments on Truth or Fail: The John Green Books Edition, last added: 8/25/2009
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25. A Window into Book Challenges

There's a story on the New York Times web site today about the Brooklyn Public Library's response to book challenges. The story mentions my book Looking for Alaska in passing:

"The 11 written objections to Brooklyn’s collection include complaints about “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison (sexual content), and “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green (obscenity and denigration of religion)."

First, let me just say what a pleasure it is to appear in the same sentence as Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Anyway, the coolest thing about the story is that the Times reprints the complaint letters and the library's responses.

Everyone who has to deal with challenges should take the time to page through those documents, because I think the library's response is pitch perfect. They don't try to argue that Alaska isn't obscene (although it isn't) or that it doesn't denigrate religion (although it doesn't*); instead they just point out that lots of people feel the book has literary value and that libraries aren't in the business of being parents. Amen.

Also, this complaint letter about Beloved is totally worth reading because it begins, "It said stuff about [word blacked out] cows," and it is fun to imagine what that word might be.



*This of course I find particularly galling, obviously. But it's not the library's job to defend the religious cred of the book, or to defend it against charges of obscenity. That's my job.

24 Comments on A Window into Book Challenges, last added: 8/21/2009
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