Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great Minds

This weekend I attended the St. Petersburg Reading Festival for the first time as an attendee instead of a speaker. It was great to listen to fellow novelists speak about their work and never stress out that no one would show up to my event. Which is usually how I spend the time leading up to a talk. So far that only happened once. Okay, three people showed up. But two of them were friends of mine, so they don't count. And the other person just wanted to know what my agent's name was and didn't care about my book. So he doesn't count either.

But I digress. During the question/answer session with Jamie Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) the woman behind me stands up and asks: I'm an English teacher. I teach seniors. How can I get them interested in writing?

Good question.

Jamie Ford answers: You have to get them reading. I know you don't have a lot of leeway in your curriculum, but having everyone read the Scarlett Letter (great novel, by the way) won't get them excited. Have them read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and you'll have a reader for life.

How cool is that? I was just thinking that it was the greatest book ever and here, Jamie Ford agreed! I was so excited. This English teacher had never heard of it, so I wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to her. I never told her that I write for young adults too, 'cause I like to stay undercover when out in the civilian population. But my estimation of Jamie Ford just jumped through the roof. Clearly, he's a fine writer and an excellent judge of books.

More later,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Best Book of the Year!

I just finished reading the best book of the year. You should know that I read a lot of books. A LOT. I review some for the St. Pete Times, but most I just devour in privacy, kind of like binging on chocolate, except I've been doing it since I could read. (And it's a big reason I'm a writer, but I digress.)

Some books I read and I can't figure out what the fuss is about. I mean, really, are people blind?

Some books I read and I can't figure out why no one else seems to be reading it? I mean, really, are people blind?

And then, in rare cases (such as this one) I read a book that everyone has been gushing over and I am blown away. Seriously, I felt like the top of my head exploded, it's that good. I read it in one day. Couldn't sleep that night thinking about it. And the next morning, I picked it up to read it again. It's the holy grail of books. It's why I read. To find treasures like this to savor...okay, to stuff my face in but then start over again, slowly this time--which is why books are way better than cake, because you CAN have them and eat them too, whatever that means.

So now I have you on tether hooks...Drum roll please! The best book of the year is:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I will not tell you what it is about. I just want you to run out, buy a copy, and without reading the back flap, without knowing what it's about, just jump in and read it. Make sure you've got a few spare hours, though. Because you will be useless to the world. Senseless. Lost in the this other world, in Katniss's fight to survive, to know who to trust, to try and live so she came return her beloved sister, Prim and her sexy, tough hunting partner Gale (who might be more than that). But first she has to live through the diabolical Hunger Games. There are 24 contestants. Only one will live.

(See, I TOLD you it was good.)

Happy reading,