Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review Saturday: Taft 2012

Jen: Hello again everyone and welcome to the second part of Book Review Saturday! Lauryn and I are talking about Jason Heller's Taft 2012, which released this past Tuesday. Hi Lauryn!

Lauryn: Hello Jen!

Jen: Taft 2012 is a satire about American politics, following what the author thinks would happen if Taft was found alive just in time for the 2012 elections. I enjoyed this book, but it was not my favorite. How did you like it, Laur?

Lauryn: Well I really liked it! I love President Taft and I thought that it was really interesting seeing what “Taft would do if he came back to life”.

Jen: I have to admit, I didn’t actually know a lot about Taft except that he was fat, so when there were the fake news articles about him disappearing I had to check whether or not it was true.

Lauryn: I wasn’t sure about that either and I’m still not sure about it actually. Since the novel does have some truth to it, I was confused on whether it actually happened or not.

Jen: Oh I looked it up. He did not disappear--he died like everyone else and he hasn’t come back... yet... that we know of.

Lauryn: I think that it’d be pretty cool for him to come back like he did in the book. Do you think he would have the same views about processed food as he does in the novel?

Jen: Probably. I thought it was strange that out of all the political issues in the world, Heller chose to give Taft agriculture to deal with. But I guess it’s appropriate, considering the fatness thing. I kind of agree with Taft’s views in the book because I wish it was easier to get fresh, healthy food instead of resorting to everything being cheap and processed.

Lauryn: I agree with that. I think that its so easy to get the processed food and junk that people just take advantage of it. Eating it on a daily basis instead of going to a natural food market is how the world works today. Although some people do think about what they’re eating and get natural foods instead.

Jen: Except that in this day and age, organic or natural sources are almost always way more expensive. Let’s get back to the book a little bit. What did you like best about it , and what was your least favorite part (without giving away any spoilers!)

Lauryn: Well my favorite part was definitely when Taft found out that he had a great granddaughter and they reconnected. My least favorite part was in between chapters with the interviews with Pauline Craige. I thought she was a real jerk. What about you?

Jen: GUH I know Pauline was so annoying, but she reminded me of a lot of newscasters today, so I thought that part was realistic at least. I think my favorite part about the book was whenever we got to learn about Taft--when he described his trips to the deli or when he reminisced about his wife and how much he loved her. I did not like the ending, I actually thought the book was a little too short.

Lauryn: Me too, I think that adding another couple chapters about years later would be interesting.

Jen: I wonder if the website will fill in the blanks. Have you been following the “Campaign” online?

Lauryn: I follow the “Taft 2012” fan page on Facebook so I’ve seen the status updates in the words of Taft himself. Have you been on the website lately?

Jen: Not since the book came out, but leading up to its release that website was cracking me up. I think one of the reasons I like it is because it reminds me of what Stephen Colbert and John Stewart do with their shows--they comment on real events in politics but in funny ways. They are how I like to get my news, so I love it when Taft tweets about the presidential debates and various candidates in the 2012 race.

: I liked that the author included some of the “Taft connections” to twitter in the book.

Jen: Yes and the website shows how much thought went into the book, like you can read things about Taft’s campaign that aren’t in the book because it wouldn’t have made sense to include them. Okay, final question: who do you think the best audience is for Taft? Obviously we both enjoyed it, but who do you think it was really written for?

Lauryn: I think that it was mainly written for young adult audiences and older. Most of it was pretty kid friendly but there were a few parts when I asked myself “WHAT just happened????”

Jen: I bet I know exactly what you’re talking about, but lets not spoil it for our readers!
Thanks for helping me talk about Taft 2012 today, Lauryn. I think I know who I’m voting for this fall.

Lauryn: Well if I were old enough, I would too.

Jen: Taft 2012 is available now where ever you buy your books!

Lauryn: Yayy!! Now go and read a brand new review about The Thorn and the Blossom 

Jen: haha thanks Lauryn.
Lauryn: Noooooooooo problem. (:

Book Review Saturday: The Thorn and The Blossom

I come to you all today with great news! Quirk Books had two exciting releases this past week, Taft 2012 and The Thorn and the Blossom. Later today, Lauryn and I will dual-review Taft, but for now I'd like to talk about The Thorn and the Blossom, which I may have mentioned is printed in a unique way.

According to an interview with the author, Theodora Goss, the concept for the accordion-style printing was decided on before the actual story. "The format came first, and then the story. I told my editor that a story in an accordion format could either be a mystery or a love story. We both agreed that I should write a love story--that was what felt right to me at the time." And what a love story it is.

I read this book in two sittings, neither of which took longer than an hour. I couldn't put the book down once I had started; I had to see it through from both points of view. The story follows two young lovers, Brendon and Evelyn, as their lives intersect, diverge and then come back to each other over the course of several decades. Their story, however, may be even older than either of them know, as it draws parallels to a legend from King Arthur's court in which two lovers are cursed to live intersecting lives for a thousand years before finally coming together again.

Goss defied my expectations from the very beginning by telling the story from two truly unique perspectives, making both versions of the story highly enjoyable regardless of where you start reading. Without giving anything away the endings of each story were truly unexpected, and avoided any stereotypes that spring to mind INCLUDING the happily ever after. While there are loose connections made to the characters of The Book of the Green Knight, the legend that brings Evelyn and Brendon together, nothing is ever so explicit as to be known for a fact, and each struggles with their own obstacles as they move through the book.

Possibly my favorite part of the book is the fact that it's written in a very modern world where magic is waiting just under the surface, ready to boil over at any moment. yes, it takes place in the 21st century, but it was written in a style akin to Epic poetry, exactly the kind of tale that would fit in an anthology of fairy tales. It was the kind of book that warmed my heart and made me want to come back to it again and again. Not only was the story enthralling, but the world was beautiful and the characters so intricately crafted that I'm only just getting to know them. In a market quickly becoming over-saturated with supernatural love stores, The Thorn and The Blossom is a pleasant surprise.

You can pick up The Thorn and the Blossom at a bookstore near you!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And another round for the Goonies

I guess.... I don't know.
I have been absent for a few days because of personal reasons that do not amount to a good excuse. HOWEVER. I will be back tomorrow to continue the challenge, and soon (Jan 17th) Lauryn and I will be back for a blog chat regarding Taft 2012. So excited! See you soon!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Review of The Office Dunder Mifflin Paper (Ream)

Originally submitted at NBC Universal Store

Are you so obsessed with The Office, that you'd buy a ream of Dunder Mifflin brand copy paper? Yes, yes you are! Fans can purchase a ream (500 sheets) of Dunder Mifflin brand copy paper (bright white), which works well in copiers, inkjet or laser printers. Turn your business or home office into The...

Can't decide whether to use, or display!

By JimImJimMyNameIsJim from Clifton, NJ on 1/13/2012


5out of 5

Pros: Detailed, Mint Condition, Authentic

Cons: Common

Best Uses: Adults, Memorabilia, Teens

Describe Yourself: Collector

Was this a gift?: No

Seriously I can't decide whether to use this as real printer paper or just keep the whole thing on a shelf somewhere. I wish there were an option to buy stationery with the Dunder Mifflin header on it or a wider variety of Dunder Mifflin products.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Poetry is NOT my Strong Suit

You know the drill. here's today's challenge, from the Writer's Digest 12 days of writing:
Day 5: Write a 20-line poem about a memorable moment in your life.

A long time ago
In a place far away
I lived with a girl named Sarah

Sarah and I had a love for trains
that sometimes, put simply
could not be contained

We decided to honor 
our train-shaped obsession
by patronizing museums, both near and far

Our fine city of Baltimore has many fascinations
but none so fine as our favorite
which of course is the museum of trains

There we saw parked trains, and moving, and broken
some that had buttons, and levers, and doors
one had a ghost, or at least so we thought
and one had crashed into a wall, long before

Many hours later, our feet were quite tired
our cameras were full and our brains had been fried
we wanted to remember every moment from train day
and on our way home, in the car, nearly cried


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day Four: A Letter To Agents

It's been a rough couple of days, but I MADE A PROMISE DAMMIT. Here's the Original Post, for good measure, and here's today's prompt:
Day 4: Write a letter to an agent telling her how wonderful you are.
To Everyone In the World Who is Even Entertaining the Idea of Hiring me:
Not all of you can have me--and not all of you even want me, I can promise you that. 
I know far too much about the history of Disney, about cheeses, and about Chaucer. I get very excited about Victorian theatre, and would prefer if it rained every day. I do not enjoy reading Jane Austen, or movies where animals are in trouble. My favorite Shakespeare is Midsummer Night's Dream. 
When I write, I write what I like--and that means the subject matter can be unpredictable. Of course, that also means my writing comes from a place of passion. I write plays and essays and young adult novels. I have written my fair share of fanfiction and movie reviews, and I have worked in entertainment journalism for almost four years now.
I have written a play about being in middle school on 9/11, and another where Mario escapes from his video game world. I have written a novel about being a princess on an imaginary planet, and one about high schoolers dealing with Geeky Love. My writing has been featured on several blogs and websites, including video game blog read by millions of fans each day. One of my favorite months of the year is November, because that is when I get to participate in the international National Novel Writing Month challenge, where participants write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. 
In short, I have a very specific way of rising to any occasion, and would be honored to work with you on continuing to diversify my portfolio!

That's it for today. Convincing someone that I am even okay when I am having the kind of week I'm having at the moment is... not easy. I welcome any and all comments. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Very Belated Day 3 Writing Challenge

Let's talk about the writing challenge. Day 3 is to create a setting based on the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I started this a month ago, so here is the original article.

Day 3: Write a setting based on the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.
There was green for miles. Sometimes people say that and they don't really mean it, but seriously--there was green for miles. In fact, it was almost all there was to be seen, if it hadn't been for the enormous cathedral rising from the middle of it all. You could tell that the architect, when they were constructing the school, placed it with the cathedral in mind. There was no other way that it would be in the dead center of the dining hall window. 

Sometimes I would get up early and just sit in the empty hall, watching the sun rise from behind the cathedral. And sometimes I would stay up late to watch long after the lights came on and the moon took its place in the sky. The sunny days were stunning, but the country was really magnificent in the rain. The skies were a sentimental shade of grey, the kind they didn't have at home. From inside the dining hall, the rain sounded like it was everywhere, as though there couldn't be a single place on the planet where it wasn't raining.   

Outside of the dining hall, the air was crisp and clean all year round. The grass was impossibly green, even on the dullest of days. She could walk right into town, over cobblestone roads and through ancient walls. Everything in town had a certain gravity to it--there was a Starbucks built into the wall around the cathedral, which had been there since the 13th century. It was the only Starbucks I've ever tolerated.
It was the kind of place I could be a writer. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This is an Apology Post

Remember that time I disappeared for a month? I really need to stop doing that. I'm back today with an apology post and a promise:
One of my new year's resolutions is to write on this blog on a regular basis. Once a week for starters.

I'm going to finish the 12 Days of Christmas challenge, starting tomorrow. And then we will go from there. In the mean time, I have been working away on ten thousand projects and I'm hoping to make serious project on Jer's Jedi costume while he watches football this afternoon.

See you tomorrow! (And this time, really, I mean it.)