18 September 2012

Top of the Charts

Traditionally, Tuesday is when albums release, when incriminating Facebook photos from the weekend are posted, and when new books drop. This Tuesday is more special than all the rest though. Dare we call it historic? Let all future generations of humankind know that on September 18th, 2012, three Asian American YA authors released new books. Three!

Two major releases by Asian Americans would be a nice coincidence but three clearly indicates a conspiracy. Right? (What are those wily publishers planning next?) In a few years, when the entire young adult world is overrun and oversaturated by Asian American authors, you can point back to this Tuesday as the day everything totally happened.

And look at these books: a science fiction thriller, a scifi dystopian, and a contemporary revenge story. Delicious right? Lemme link you to them so you can read the wonderful blurbs and descriptions.
Malinda's a fellow 2009 Deb and I've been watching the creation of Adaptation from afar, start to finish. While her main blog is always full of great posts, Malinda also gives us a behind the scenes of writing and revising Adaptation's sequel. For people like me, who are always curious how other people work, Malinda's a person to learn from because she's a true professional. Seeing her output and discipline is both a challenge and an inspiration. You can read the first four chapters of Adaptation here, but you ought to just get the whole thing so you won't have to pause to take a breath.

Kat Zhang's debut, What's Left of Me, has been eagerly anticipated because I've been following her blog for quite some time -- since before she'd even agented or gotten a book deal. And now her debut is out! Kat sold the Hybrid Chronicles when she was nineteen and is still in college now, which easily makes her the youngest YAkuza member. (I believe.) When I was in college, I could barely get to classes on time, much less handle writing, revising, and handling all the stuff that comes with having a book come out. Clearly Kat is excellent at time management, among many other things. Watch her read from What's Left of Me, straight from a campus dorm room.

And everybody already knows Jenny Han, who wrote Shug, the best selling Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy, and Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream. Burn For Burn is co-written with Jenny's former New School MFA classmate Siobhan Vivian (Not That Kind of Girl, Same Difference, The List) and the two of them are currently on mega tour so go see if they're looping around to a venue near you. Doesn't Jenny have such a great URL? dearjennyhan.com. Also, check out Jenny's tour nails on her Tumblr. See the little bow on the left hand? Perfect.

To top off this historic day, how about also celebrating the release of Lish McBride's Necromancing the Stone? It's the follow up to 2010's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and if these two aren't the cleverest titled books around, I challenge you to tell me what is.

If you don't know what Lish's titles are in reference to, well, I just feel sorry for you. C'mon, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner? Phoebe and Elton John? I want Lish to name everything in the world. Airports, sports arenas, job titles, babies, board games, new animal discoveries, my books, everything.

Lish also just successfully funded her Necromancing the Swag Kickstarter so while you may be too late to get some stickers, buttons, and totes, we can like, time share the t-shirt I'm going to get.

Go congratulate everyone on their book releases today, go go gadget!

14 September 2012

Tiny Furniture

New York, I have arrived (again). How long this time you ask? Well, it'll be anywhere from a month to more than a month. Any more specific and I'd just be guessing and making things up.

I came just in time, as one last week of summer humidity got blown out by a tornado. Of course, I packed only summer and winter clothes. Luckily, I also have a collection of semi-pants to use as in-betweens. They are advertised as bicycle knickers but let's just call them what they are: men's capris. I also do not own a bike even though my shorts try really hard to tell people that I do.

There are lots of bike carcasses strewn around my new neighborhood so I'm hesitant to invest in something that will surely be stolen. Or might cause me to end up in the hospital. I have enough trouble paying attention to the world and walking at the same time so adding additional speed is probably not a good idea. However, I did see Premium Rush the other week and it had some nifty bike skids that I would love to perform.

Sidenote: I wouldn't recommend Premium Rush unless you're a bike geek or really into Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Or Jamie Chung. Everyone should be into Jamie Chung actually, as she's risen from the The Real World vortex into Hollywood fame, and is way bigger than Jacinda Barrett ever was. Soon Jamie will challenge Paris' Mallory, Boston's Sean, and Back to New York's Mike the Miz for post-Real World accomplishments.

It's tough to stomach Jamie Chung's terrible accent though. And the general plot ridiculousness and heavy handed racial stereotyping in Premium Rush. It was very Eighties in that way. The ridiculousness, not the racial stereotyping. The stereotyping was spot on for 2012. Seriously, doesn't every white person play underground high stakes pai gow in Chinatown nowadays?

All these Real World name drops are relevant because the new season of MTV Challenge is around the corner. This time it's Battle of the Seasons and our fantasy league is gearing up to draft right now.

Here's the thing about New York, there's always too much to do! Swamped with moving, having guests pop in from out of town, getting work stuff done, cranking out some writing, and just, well, stuff, I've managed to squeeze in a few things. Like the Rumpus Loves NY event to see Stephen Elliot and Sari Botton. And then dropping by to catch the tail end of Kate Milford's The Broken Lands release party. I also attended a pig roast. And celebrated a birthday with eight desserts.

Of course, I totally forgot about Teen Author Reading Night. And I missed out on Zadie Smith reading in Union Square tonight. Worst. There's not a lot of writers I'd put anything aside to go watch, but Smith is one of them. All my online-ness and I didn't even know she was coming. Upcoming the next few weekends: Brooklyn Book Festival and KidLitCon. Both of which I hope to attend. I forgot that everything in New York is likely packed or sold out, even when you don't think it'll never be. Which is horrible for a no RSVP and last minute decision maker like me. #makethatchange

What has been cured in me is my napping problem -- hopefully only temporarily as naps are the best. There is no time to nap here though, none. Not when the weather is beautiful and the schedule is packed. And, just when I thought I was over this song, I'm so not. Frank Ocean forever.

09 September 2012

Stuff I've Been Consuming 8

  • Popular Crime, Bill James
  • Brave, Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman
  • Total Recall, Len Wiseman
  • Safety Not Guaranteed, Colin Trevorrow
  • Ruby Sparks, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
  • Bright Star, Jane Campion
  • Bourne Legacy, Tony Gilroy
  • Celeste and Jesse Forever, Lee Toland Krieger
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin
  • Expendables 2, Simon West
  • Make Believe, J. Clay Tweel

Well, the wheels completely came off the wagon this month. One book read. Just one. That is pathetic. I'll accept laughter and berations (not a word) via email or any social network. Even in person you can make fun of me. How can I expect to hit fifty books if I only got through one in August?

I was doing so well too, maintaining a minimum of at least four books a month. Now I'm gonna fall behind. Note that four books a month would not get me to fifty either, so I should really be trying to read about five books a month.

In my defense, there was a lot of fantasy football I was getting into this past month. August is a huge month for fantasy football geeks. You gotta buy the magazines, listen to the podcasts, look online for the ranking and projections. It's a ton of work preparing for multiple drafts. I know I know, that's hardly an excuse. But that's the one I'm going with.

Hey at least the one book I read was a good one. Bill James is more widely known for his advanced baseball stats, think Moneyball, but it turns out he also has had a lifelong obsession with crime books. In Popular Crime, he shows that he's an authority on the topic and presents us with a combination history, review, and appreciation of crime books. If you like reading about serial murderers and unsolved crimes, Popular Crime is the book for you.

With only one book read, maybe I compensated by watching a ton of movies. During one week I think I went to the theater five times. I think it was midnight Total Recall, followed by Safety Not Guaranteed the next day, then Ruby Sparks, which naturally led to Celeste and Jessie Forever. All of that was bookended by another midnight showing, Bourne Legacy. Overall I dropped in ten movies in August, pushing me way past fifty for the year. I'd feel better about this if I was closer on books. Oh well.

I loved everything about Ruby Sparks. I feel like it was written just for me. The premise is that Paul Danno is a writer who suddenly materializes his dream girl. It's Mannequin plus Stranger Than Fiction. While I'm no fan of Danno -- for inexplicable reasons -- he was great here. And Zoe Kazan. Oh let's talk about Zoe Kazan. I'm in love with her, it's impossible not to be after watching Ruby Sparks, which she wrote as well as co-starred in.

And of course her grandfather is Elia Kazan, director of A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront. Zoe Kazan is wonderful, and while Ruby Sparks plays to every Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope out there, it's fantastic and worth a watch. And I've been putting on the soundtrack while writing, which is like life imitating art imitating life imitating productivity. Or something.

Someone in Hollywood must have decided the end of summer is a good time to dump counter programming for all the explosion and action movies. How else to explain the release of so many faux indie romantic comedies? I watched them all of course. Because it's my calling. That and dance movies. If anyone ever successfully combines the two genres, it would be freaking over. I'd go buy that collectable special edition director's cut DVD right now. Twice over.

Who else is dead frightened/excited about a sequel to Before Sunrise/Sunset? It's set in Greece and titled Before Midnight. I'm so scared.