Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

1. Here I am handing out stickers to all the children in our Halloween Parade at the library. Pictures were take by Norwich Bulletin photographer. They walked around the second floor of the library gathering stickers and candy

2. Check out some pics from Twilight on EW. I was super happy to see Jacob because from the previous photos I've seen, he looked really young. But look at him now.

3. Melissa de la Cruz gives a RANDOM interview, where she talks about her day and highlights her new book (which I hope to read this weekend)

4. I've decided that I'm never going to be a writer, unless I actually write regularly, SO I've signed up for NaNoWriMo and we'll see how that goes. That might cut down some on my reading time, so if there are not many reviews going up next month, please be patient.

5. It's 2:12 and I haven't eaten one piece of candy. Plenty of other not so healthy things but no candy. That won't last too much longer I'm guessing....

Book Trailer Contest Winners

Check out the finalists here.

Airhead #2: taken from Meg Cabot's blog

I had the good (or bad) fortune to read Airhead before it came out. I loved it, because I got to read it before it came out, but that also means that I've waited longer for the sequel.

I've had at least 2 people ask me about this book in the last 2 days and it comes out in May 2009. But here's the 411 from Meg Cabot herself:

Things aren’t pretty for Emerson Watts.

Em was sure there couldn’t be anything worse than being a brainiac trapped in the body of a teenaged supermodel.

But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who’s gone mysteriously missing, a brother who’s shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who’s intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who’s written a song about her that’s topping the charts.

How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. John - especially when she’s got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side…not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren’t really airheads after all…especially one model in particular.

But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Books Round up

(Comes out January 13th 2009)

Polly, Jo, and Ama just graduated eight grade. Now with summer looming before them, they're not sure how far high school will separate them. They used to be best friends, before they each started going in different directions. But this summer, they are still tied to each other. Their bonds haven't been broken yet. Polly starts a modeling class with her babysitting money. She wants to become someone, someone that people notice. But is modeling for her, or is she walking down a dangerous path? Jo's spending the summer with her mother at the beach. Her parents are trying a separation and she's not sure what to think. It's not like her dad's been around much these past few years. She's got herself a job at a restaurant and soon she's hanging out with high school girls. Could they be her ticket to the in crowd next year? Ama's spending the summer in a scholarship program. She was hoping for an academic track, but instead, she's spending her days hiking through the wilderness. She's not an adventurous sort of girl and this summer is killing her. In their times of troubles, each girl reverts back to her old friendships and wonder how weak their bond has become. If one of them reaches out, will the other two catch her?

This new book by Ann Brashares takes place in the same town as the Sisterhood. These three girls don't know the Sisterhood, but they worship the girls just the same. The book has similar connections with the Sisterhood books, but it's completely different at the same time. They both center on friendship, but there's a different tone to the new book. The Sisterhood books took their friendship and made it stronger during the time apart. The 3 Willows found their way back to friendship after spending time apart. The new book is also younger and perfect for middle schoolers. I breezed through this book and am eager for the next one...there is going to be one I hope.

Billie used to love competing with her horse Valentine's Kiss, but ever since last year, she's just not interested. During the competitions last year, her fellow horse friend went down on a jump. The horse had to be put down. Billie watched the whole thing, horrified and convinced that she could never risk her horse 's health again. Some say she's lost her nerve. When her father threatens to sell her horse, she starts to rethink her options. Slowly, she gets back to competing workouts. There's a new trainer at the stables and together they work out Billie's mental blocks and her horse. She enters a competition late and hopes that winning this one will earn her an invite to an exclusive event.

This short, yet sweet, novel is a little bit different than King's other sports novels because it focuses a great deal on the mental challenges of sports and not just the sport itself. It's a great read for middle range readers looking for something sporty or horse based or just a fun and quick read.

Margo Roth Spiegelman changes Q's life in just one night. She's listened to the gossip mills and has discovered that her best friend is hooking up with her boyfriend. So she decides to get even. She crawls into the window of her childhood friend Q and convinces him to drive the get away car. Q has the night of his life and adventures to last him the rest of his life. He's anxious for morning to stroll into school and see Margo and how the revenge has changed people. But Margo's not there. She's not there the next day either. In fact Margo's skipped town once again. This time Q feels an empty hole in his stomach. He vows to find her leaving the clues she left behind.

First off, this was a great story. And it's being made into a movie by the same people who made Juno. So that's really cool. Secondly, I have no idea why there are two covers. I really think the blue one suits the book more as being mysterious and dark, but it just occurred to me that the yellow cover might signify fun-loving-adventurous Margo. Good story: adventure, friendship, road trip. John Green ROCKS!

Adult titles:

Third in the series, Jane hasn't used her magic in quite some time - six months and now she's in danger of losing everything. She had no idea that this could happen to her, now Jane must desperately stop the reversing loss of her magic. With her warder's help, she creates a magical servant to regain her power. However, the spell backfires as she loses concentration while weaving the magic. Even without her magical problems, her personal life is a complete disaster. She's dating a man who doesn't know she's a powerful witch, her mother is leaving again, her grandmother is getting married, and her job's slowing dissolving before her eyes. Could her life get any worse?

I love this series (and not just because the main character is a librarian), mostly for the magic, the friendship, the romance, and overall good feeling once I've finished the novel. The third novel is right up there with the first two, leaving me hanging for the 4th book.

It's Thanksgiving in Old Town, Alexandria and two childhood frenemies are going head to head in the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. Before the competition begins, things start to heat up when Sophie stumbles over the body of the judge - who just asked her out. She's now a person of interest in the case. It doesn't help the while grocery shopping for her family Thanksgiving supplies, she stumbles across yet another body. With family issues (mainly dealing with her ex and his family), discovering bodies, and deciding to clear her name, her cozy Thanksgiving has been crashed.

I picked this book up at the bookstore the other day. It's the first in a new series and just perfect for November. It was fun, cozy, and a fresh voice in mysteries. There were plently of amusing characters, characters that you love to hate, and a tiny bit of romance. I can't wait for the next one.

Movie Roundup

I've been meaning to this for some time, so these movies are bit old now...
but still better late than never right?

This one was cute, funny, and had enough boy humor in it to keep my husband entertained. I really liked how these two actors appeared together - goofy.

I'm torn about this movie. It was funny, sweet, a little crazy, and had actors I <3. But there was a little too much boy humor for it to be awesome. Though it did have it's moments. I LOVED the part where Sarah talked about him being in sweatpants for the whole week. And he played Gandalf "You Shall NOT Pass." I laughed so hard I cried. I also didn't really get the vampire opera, i found it bizarre, but I think that was the point.

I confess I've never read the books, but I heard about them in You've Got Mail, so I was really happy to see a movie version (especially starring Emma Watson). It was different from what I expected, but it was still really good. Will there be any more in the series?

I was surprised how much I like this movie. I wasn't interested in watching it, but I showed it at my library. And it was great - except that within the first 2 minutes of the movie, I recognized the bad guy. Still, it was fun and I'm looking forward to the sequel(s).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stumbled Across this too: So AWESOME

HOLLY BLACK has a hidden library in her house. How cool is that? Check out more fabulous pictures here.

Thanks for bookshelves of doom 4 posting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My B&N

Check out my new Barnes and Noble page, kinda like shelfari, but a little different. It's hard keeping up with all the books I'm reading, want to read, and have read, but it's also really fun too.

Dylan Thomas

Today marks the birth anniversary of the greatest poet of Wales: Dylan Thomas
His work influenced many, including Bob Dylan (who admired him so, he changed Zimmerman to Dylan) He led a wild life, that eventually caught up to him. Nevertheless, he's a huge symbol for Wales. Read more about him here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I stumbled across this:

At a recent library conference, librarians proved once again they ROCK!

Style from the Stacks:
Project Runway at ILA
Book jacket met evening jacket. MARC records met Marc Jacobs. The library world met the fashion world on Thursday, 25 September at the ILA Annual Conference. Conceived by 2008 ILA Annual Conference Program Committee member Maria Pontillas of the Glenview Public Library, the event was based on the popular Bravo Television series, Project Runway. Library staff members were encouraged to submit design proposals inspired by libraries and literature

Here are my two favorites:

Schaumburg Township District Library
Carrie Van Eaton, "Book Jacket"

Cicero Public Library
Victoria Correa, "Party Librarian"

You can visit the rest here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


my first book trailer

what do you think?

Teen Read Week 2009

Read Beyond Reality @ your library

Now I need to start thinking of sci-fi/fantasy programs.
This could be very fun.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teens Top 10 -Winners

The votes are in … and Stephenie Meyer again rises to the top of the Teens’ Top Ten! More than 8,000 teens voiced their choice for their favorite books.

Here’s the full list:

  1. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  5. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
  6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  7. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
  8. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  9. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
  10. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Books to read while dreaming of Snow

Let it Snow contains three short stories that take place in the same town during a blizzard that starts Christmas Eve.
Maureen Johnson: Jubilee Express
Jubliee's parents are arrested on Christmas Eve, forcing her to take the train to her grandparents' house in Florida. However, the snowstorm forces the train to stop for the night. Jubliee gets off the train when she spots a Waffle House, hoping to find some refuge. She meets a boy instead who insists on bringing her home for the holiday. Could she find love during the holidays that started out so badly?
John Green: Cheertastic Christmas Miracle
Three best friends sit watching a james Bond movie marathon when they recieve a phone call. There are 14 cheerleaders at the Waffle House, having been stranded from the train. Their friend calls them to intice them to the Waffle House. They set out on the journey through the storm. The streets are in no conidtion to drive, but the three attempt to cross town. The two boys have different thoughts about cheerleaders, but Duke (the girl) is only going for the hash browns. They race to the restaurant, but on the way, things change. Do cheerleaders make the best girlfriends? Or do friends?
Lauren Myracle: Patron Saint of Pigs
One night at a party, Addie hooks up with another guy in wake of a fight with her boyfriend. Now she's super depressed and isn't sure what to do. She writes her ex-boyfriend an email and hopes that he'll meet her at Starbucks. When he doesn't show, she goes across the street and chops off and dyes her hair. Then she wallows in grief and finally calls her best friends. They come over to console her, but they end up sharing the truth about Addie. She's self-absorbed and doesn't see the world around her. She vows to change, even though she has no idea what they are talking about. As the new day dawns, she comes to understand their concern. Can she become a better person and win back her boyfriend?

I liked this book, which didn't really surprise but, but generally I do not like short story collections. Mostly because I find that they would make great books instead and I'm always wanting to know more. However, these stories were long enough for me to enjoy the characters, the changes, and the outcomes. I really liked how the stories were all set in the same town and characters from each story appeared in other stories, intermingling in the best of ways. The perfect winter romance tales to enjoy on a cold day.

Try also: Fireworks
and Mistletoe

Lexi and Cameron have been together for so long that she feels they've lost their spark. She has no idea how to regain it back, but she does know that come next year things with be very different as they head to college and move on with their lives. Lexi has planned the next few stages of her life and they do no coincide with Cams. She figures "Why wait for the inevitable?" Lexi can't break Cameron's heart, but she comes up with a plan to make him break up with her. She sets him up with a girl completely opposite of her and watches her boyfriend's politeness morph into something more. When they do break up, Lexi tries date other boys, but her heart isn't in it. When she's out on a date, she spies Cameron out with his new girlfriend and it pangs her heart. Did Lexi make a mistake letting Cameron go? And if so, will it be too late to get him back?

This Simon Pulse Romantic Comedy was different than the others in the same line. Mostly because the book dealt with getting rid of a boyfriend and then unhappy with the outcome. It took me a little while to wrap my head around the new scenario, but in the end, I really liked the idea. It became about flaws and second chances and mistakes made in relationships.

Try Also: So Inn Love
Kissing Snowflakes
and Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Friday, October 17, 2008

Books Round up number 2

Solomon aka Shifty can talk his way out of most situations. However, this new foster home begins to test his limits. Shifty finds himself telling more lies and trying to get out more situations - mostly due to driving the van - without a license. When a new social worker comes knocking on the door, Shifty does his best to try to smooth things over. He feels lucky to be living with Martha and his foster siblings. But helping out around the house means taking the van which only brings trouble. Soon Shifty's in so deep, he doesn't know what to do next. He's trying to help out an elderly woman in the hospital, entertain his sister, and help keep the social worker from discovering any demerits. Can he keep his new family together?

I wish the cover of this book had been a little different, maybe with a city scene in the background. I have a hard time thinking teens will pick this book up on its own. However, once they do, they will be hooked. I was drawn into the book because Shifty kept getting into situations that needed some sweet talking. The drama and seriousness of the situation pulled at my heartstrings and it's a great read for teens digging urban realistic fiction.

Try Also: Tyrell
and 13 Reasons Why

For her sweet sixteen party, Ashley's father sent her and a group of friends on cruise in the Bahammas. On the first day she realizes that she's not happy with her boyfriend (especially with so many other cute boys on board). They break up, leaving her free to flirt with Logan, who works on the ship. Ashley's having a great time except for the fact that someone's out to get even with her. At first, she thinks she's just being paranoid because of the missing girl from last year's cruise she just heard about, but then she faces the facts. A loosened balacony rail, a message in lipstick on her mirror, her dress torn to shreds, and a boulder almost crushing her leads her imagination running wild. She's so focused on her "accidents" that it barely leaves her time for fun with her girlfriends. Could her life really be in danger?

I waited for this book to come out and I'm excited to read more of her work. I really like mysteries and I'm happy that a bunch of teen mysteries are appearing. This book was good, except that I was 90% sure of the ending about halfway through the book. I wish that the ending of the book had played more into the suspect list, which was short. Romance and suspense make for a fast and fun read.

Try Also: Sleepless
A Year in Europe
and Wuthering High

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Books Round up

Fern is strange, even within her own family. Light bothers her eyes, she can talk with the family dog, and can predict the weather extremely accurately. Her twin brother looks nothing like her, but he's her best friend and the only one who sticks by her in school. The other girls make it clear she's nothing but a freak and thus she spends most of the lunch period alone and recess hiding up a tree. And then one day, something significant happens: one minute Fern is sitting in class (secretly reading a book) and the next minute, she's one a beach. Fern's discovering a whole lot more information about herself: she can teleport and control water. More importantly, she discovers that she's a vampire and she's adopted. This explains so much to Fern, but it also terrifies her. She's torn between not having all the information and is forced to chose sides. She must choose and soon before the biggest dangerous she's ever faced comes to power - if she helps him. She doesn't know which side to trust, but must quickly figure things out if she and her family is going to survive.

This book is very different from the other vampire tales. It's more a good vs evil fantasy tale - with vampires thrown in. I'm curious to see if there will be eleven books, based on the eleven "Unusuals" that makes Fern so powerful.

Try Also: Glass Houses, Evernight, and Keeper of the Winds

Jasmine and her family moved to Venice for her senior year in high school - and she's not pleased about it. However, she trying to become the model daughter in hopes of returned home to visit her friends and her new boyfriend. The plan fails when instead of plane ticket home, she's rewarded with a visit from her cousin. When one of her new friends believes she's being dangerously stalked. Previously Jasmine resisted the urge to help her friend, but no, the gloves are off. She's no longer interested in becoming the model daughter. When her friend turns up dead on her way to meet Jasmine, Jasmine knows it wasn't suicide. She takes matters into her own hands, even if they are a bit clumsy.

The sequel to Bad Kitty and another fun and tricky mystery. Jasmine friends come to her rescue several times in an amusing fashion. I love that she's accident prone and attracts trouble like a magnet.

Try Also: Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging

Everyone has a personal fairy in Charlie's world. And she HATES hers. Charlie has a parking fairy, which means that everywhere she goes not matter what tiem of day, there is always the perfect parking spot just waiting for her. Because of her fairy, she's often borrowed in emergency situations or for running errands. She's completely fed up. Isntead of riding, she's now taken to walking everywhere in hopes of getting rid of her new fairy. In doing so, she becomes late for everything. Soon Charlie's racking up demerits at school and desperately trying to work them off. So she's performing community service for hours after school, does her homework, and gets very little sleep. She seems to be getting nowhere until one day, her BFF has an idea. She needs to talk to her arch enemy's parents - who are experts in fairies. Now armed with information, she's determined more than ever to ditch her fairy.

Chock full of humor, this book lets your imagination run wild. I even want to move there, just to see what my personal fairy would be. Very clever and completely different.

Try Also: Frog Princess
Wicked Lovely
Enchanted Inc

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Percy Jackson news: from Rick Riordan's website

Coming Feb. 10 to a bookstore near you: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: THE DEMIGOD FILES!

If you can't wait for THE LAST OLYMPIAN to arrive in May, this is the perfect book to tide you over. ("Tide" you over, get it? . . . little Poseidon humor there.)

The Demigod Files feature three Percy Jackson adventure stories to fill you in on what Percy does during the school year. You will see Thalia, Nico, Annabeth and all your favorites, plus cool new monsters, titans and godlings.

The Demigod Files also contain top secret exclusive interviews with characters from the series. What does Annabeth really think of Percy? Who would Clarisse most like to pulverize? What was the Stoll brothers' greatest prank? What magic item would Percy most like to have if he couldn't have Riptide? What is Grover's favorite song to play on the reed pipes? You'll find out the answers to these questions and more only in The Demigod Files.

You'll also get to see pictures of the major characters, a map of camp, and many other cool graphics and games.

Look for The Demigod Files on Feb. 10, and of course remember that Percy 5: THE LAST OLYMPIAN, will be released May 5!

Pretty Little Liars: not done yet

I had thought this was a four book series. It did end, kinda. But now there's more secrets and more wickedness...
who doesn't love a good drama scene?
(I can almost hear Gossip Girl saying that...xoxo)
coming November 25th

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TEEN READ WEEK: Books with Bite

First be sure to VOTE for your favorite book: you can vote for three books

Then Vote for next year's theme

If you haven't seen the full TWLIGHT trailer: check it out. I 4 1 am dying to see this movie

Pimp out your own coffin, take quizzes, and other fun things

Finally, check out READERGIRLZ Nite Bites chats

Thursday, October 9, 2008

French Kissmas

Nicole's been traveling in Europe after graduating high school because of her S.A.S.S. experience. She's more than happy to go back to Paris and film a promotional video for the studying abroad. Nicole meets up with her best friend from the program Annik. They're rooming together and can't wait to catch up. Nicole also wants to catch up with Parisian friend Luc. Last time she was in Paris, she had a boyfriend. But this time, she's single and free to be romantic with Luc, if she chooses. Since she's only there for 2 weeks, she wants everything to be perfect. When she meets another S.A.S.S. student, Mike, she soon realizes that she might have competition for her heart.

A fabulous holiday tale with romance, friendship, and fun. I really enjoyed the friendship dyanamic of the book and the catching up of old friends (from Pardon my French). I sometimes wonder what happens next and this is a perfect example.

Try Also: Other S.A.S.S. titles, Flirt series, and Secret Santa

Twilight news from EW

'Twilight''s new poster and soundtrack revealed

Oct 7, 2008, 02:46 PM | by Amy Wilkinson

Categories: Twilight, Twilight Bytes

Twilightmovieposter_l As I type this, the Twilight trailer premiere widget on reads 2 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 18 seconds -- wait -- 17, 16, 15...oh, you get the point. And while I can hardly wait to see new clips from the most hotly anticipated flick of the fall (according to Amy Wilkinson), we've got other business to tend to, namely the movie's new poster and soundtrack list. (Be sure to check back on Friday for our full analysis of the final trailer.)

My first thought upon seeing this image was, Why is it so difficult to make my boyfriend Robert Pattinson look properly dreamy? Here are my top three complaints:

1. The eyes. Not only do they look slightly off-kilter -- is it just my imagination or is his right eye higher than his left? -- but the color is creeping me out. I realize our smoldering vamp is supposed to have topaz-colored peepers, but these look like they're about to shoot laser beams like those Sphinx-lady statues in The Neverending Story.

2. The skin. Though I'm no bloodsucker, I am a card-carrying member of the SPF 70 club, so I know a thing or two about porcelain (read: pasty) skin. It's white, not gray. R Patz needs more Nicole Kidman and less Gargoyles.

3. The pose. I have a feeling Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were shot separately and melded together in Photoshop. Their bodies are at such odd angles and look really disconnected to one another. Where's the love?

Things I do like:

1. The release date is correct.

Anyhoo, moving on to the soundtrack: In case you haven't seen the full list, here it is, after the jump:

1. Muse, "Supermassive Black Hole"
2. Paramore, "Decode"
3. The Black Ghosts, "Full Moon"
4. Linkin Park, "Leave Out All The Rest"
5. MuteMath, "Spotlight" (Twilight Mix)
6. Perry Farrell, "Going All The Way (Into The Twilight)"
7. Collective Soul, "Tremble For My Beloved"
8. Paramore, "I Caught Myself"
9. Blue Foundation, "Eyes On Fire"
10. Rob Pattinson, "Never Think"
11. Iron & Wine, "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
12. Carter Burwell, "Bella's Lullaby"

The album includes several Meyer playlist regulars like Muse, Linkin Park, and Collective Soul, whose Tremble For My Beloved already appears on Meyer's Twilight mix. Team Edward fans will want to note that Mr. Cullen himself has a song on the album (click here to see Rob Pattinson's folksy singing at L.A.'s Whisky a Go Go).

Now it's your turn, Twilighters/PopWatchers. What do you think of the new poster? Did your favorite artists make it on to the Twilight soundtrack? And will you be downloading every song when the album drops Nov. 4?

Death By Latte

Aphra lied to her father and hopped a plane to Seattle to try to catch a glimpse of her mother - whom she hasn't seen in four years. She finds her in the market place, selling pottery. But when her mother looks up and notices her daughter, her first reaction isn't happy. Immediately she takes her daughter back to her apartment base and looks into a flight back. Where her mother looks at her child and sees danger, Aphra just wants to see her mom. On the way back to the airport, her mom receives a phone call. Since there's time before the flight Alphra doesn't mind her mother running an errand. But the errand turns into something much more dangerous involving hiking down a rocky mountain side, kayaking through treacherous waters, and escaping rogue CIA agents gunning for them.

This is the Sequel to Death By Latte and as far as I'm concerned Death by Denim can't come out quickly enough. I want to find out: what happens with Seth and Aphra, what her father thinks of the whole mess, and if the agents are still after Aphra. The action made me fly through the book, hooking me at every possible point. if you're into suspenseful mysteries, give this one a try.

Also try: Killer Cruise, Sleepless, and Fake ID

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pendragon prequels

Although I have yet to read #9 Raven's Rise, I'm really addicted to this series. So I was quite happy when I heard the announcement of prequels -although not by the same author. And this got me to thinking:

1. Are prequels good?
2. Why isn't D.J. MacHale writing these books?
3. Can another author capture the correct tone and engage the audience in the same way?

Here's the cover for the 1st of 3 prequels.

Read more about the books here.
These are already on my list of books to read, but this type of new still makes me curious.

I know that other series have succeed at situations like this such as: Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and more recently Gossip Girl.

I know there are times when I don't want the story to end and would love a continuation but I think there could be times too when the story is ruined.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Teens Top 10

Read these books to vote during Teen Read Week for your favorites
I know who'd I vote for
Do you?

Matt de la Pena

He's a favorite here in my library with his book

and his new book

Interview from Random Teen

Author Spotlight

Do you love sports? Find out how Matt de le Pena grew from an athlete into a writer, and why basketball will always be important to him.

Matt de la Pena

Matt de la Pena

It’s raining in Brooklyn today, and I’m at a coffee shop, writing.

Man, I always seem to be writing these days. I’m here at a coffee shop, or I’m at the Writers Space, or I’m solo in my room late at night, in the dark, writing inside undecorated white walls, writing under a Brooklyn-style skylight that's more tar than starry sky.

Guess I've traveled a million miles from how I was as a kid. Used to be just me and basketball. Pick up games and talking head with the fellas. But these days hoop is a little smaller in the rearview mirror. The jumper isn't quite so trustworthy. The first step doesn't hurt as many feelings. Instead of hip hop and R&B, it's Sufjan Stevens, M Ward, Iron & Wine. Elliott Smith. These days come a little more literary, a little more solitary.

But early this morning I went back in my head for a sec. Went back to the face of the first girl who told me she loved me. Jen. This was way back in San Diego. We were both 15 and fresh-faced, sitting on my buddy's couch–his parents' couch. We were so awkward, so overwhelmed by having just kissed for the first time. Man, I hadn't seen her face in years. But there she was. In my mind. Every beautiful detail. Her eyes so big and brown and pure, dark hair so straight and long. And the look on her face . . . man, this girl actually dug me!

We were like that for a good 15 minutes. Silent. Unaware of how to act in our brand-new romantic skin. She circled a finger around my right kneecap, cleared her throat and brought her face up to mine. “Guess what,” she said.


She took the basketball out of my hands and set it in her lap. She spun it around and pointed at the “I” in “Spalding.” She looked up at me and smiled, then pointed at the “L.” She shifted the ball around to the word “Official,” pointed at the “O.” She searched and pointed, searched and pointed, until she had completely spelled out the phrase “I love you.”

I felt something move in my chest and asked her if she wanted to be my girl. She blushed, nodded. We grabbed a hold of each other and kissed again, this time a little less awkward.

This morning, when I woke up remembering this, it hit me how deeply rooted the game has been in my life. Here I was holding my basketball while I kissed my first girlfriend. She used it to spell out that she loved me.

No matter how far I move away from the game, into this new life as an author, no matter what strange direction my literary interests lead me in next, or where I go, or who I meet, I will always carry the game of basketball in my chest. This game was my best friend growing up. It was my confidant. My passion. My ticket to college, to education, to books and words, the rhythms of poetry.

Soon the day will come when I can no longer dunk, when I can no longer scoot around the skinny kid at the Y with the big head. Eventually my skills will deteriorate to the point that a basketball court stops feeling like a haven and starts feeling more like a prison cell. But I will never forget you, Basketball. You were with me every step of the way. You gave me the confidence to try and be somebody (an author!). You gave me this incredible life.


Kelly Perra is celebrating the release of her new new book
with tons of fun - she's having authors spill all kinds of secrets on her blog, plus giving away tons of books. Check it out!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Movie opens today starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings based on the book of the same name.

Check out some early reviews: here's one from School Library Journal (SLJ)
Here's one from Entertainment Weekly (EW)

There's also an interview from SLJ with the co-authors of the book here.