Monday, August 27, 2007

They make it too easy to stalk authors in NYC.

Reading Matt de la Peña's blog up at http://www.3stonesback.com/ (the site for his book/movie Ball Don't Lie), he mentions something I read about about a month ago, and meant to post about. He is reading at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sept. 16 in, well, Brooklyn (duh).

Now, the reason this festival caught my eye when I came across it was, besides the sheer number of REALLY AWESOME authors involved, the fact that Edwidge Danticat was listed. I will do anything to meet her. I'm not obsesssed with her to epic Nicole/JSF proportions, but I really admire her greatly. Her short story "Children of the Sea" is my #1 favorite short story ever, and it's what I read to put myself in the mood to write. [The story is a series of letters, written by two adolescent lovers, who never read each others letters, but keep writing anyway. It takes place during a Haitian civil war, and what follows are heartbreaking, parallel words of love, despair, hope and hopelessness.] Her writing is lyrical and nostalgic without being overly sentimental, and she manages to make even the most heartbreaking and tragic of tales incredibly beautiful. I've read several of her other books as well, and will soon be starting on The Farming of Bones. There is a quality about her writing that I want to be able to capture myself one day, and I'd consider her one of my biggest influences in writing. Not because of her content, or necessarily that we have similar styles. But she is just so damn poetic. The first time I read "Children of the Sea", the ending brought tears to my eyes. And it was right then that I scribbled a little note to myself on an older blog, vowing that I'd one day do for somebody else what she just did for me.

On a separate note though, Matt will be reading from his book Ball Don't Lie at this festival. I read his book while I was taking class with him a few months back. It's a YA book, with a center on basketball, so of course, at first, I was a little intimidated by the whole sports aspect (I'm a football girl myself...). But once I slowed down, and visualized it for myself, it worked really well for me, even though I'm not a HUGE bball fan. And then once you get past the first few pages, you realize it's actually pretty accessible for everyone. It's a really moving story about a kid in the system, trying to maneuver his way through all he's had to deal with, and trying to find himself. What makes him him. One of the really awesome things about this book is the rhythm (if you can't tell yet, I'm easily sold by the poetry of prose.), because it's just got this really edgy quality to it that's perfect for the subject matter. And yet it doesn't prevent the book from being acutely touching and heartbreaking at key moments. I also really like the fact that, well, it's not your typical teenage story. I've mentioned this before, but I went to this teen book thing a few months ago, and it was AWASH with teen chicklit. I counted maybe 3 books for guys. I think it's important that 1) there's books out there for teenage boys (because, as Moonrat's posts [this one and this one] illustrated, guys, even as adults, just AREN'T reading, and so the teenagers definitely aren't) and 2) that they're relevant, important, and offer a different perspective than your typical whiny teenage dramas. Which this book does fabulously. Anyway, I really love the rhythm of the book. It's words like these that makes you wonder how it would sound outloud. Luckily there's such things as book readings........

[Come on, we all sort of read our pieces outloud to ourselves to see how it sounds right? Well, I do, anyway...]

Other randoms I wanted to call out -

-David Bouley? Um, did I mention my third passion is food? And I love his restaurant?

-Gail Carson Levine - okay, I read Ella Enchanted when I was home for the holidays in college, because my sister had it. She didn't like it as much but I LOVED it (sucker for retold fairy tale concepts). There was a period of time when my sister was obsessed with her mini-fairy-tale series books (when she was something like 7). I even bought her a signed copy of The Princess Tale from a small children's bookstore on the UWS one year. It's too bad my sister isn't in NY for me to bring her... though she's not a big fan of readings. She thinks it "ruins" the book. Fair enough.

Of course all your other usual suspects from this area... too many good ones to name obviously.


Okay, so things like this make me wonder why I'm crazy that I want to go to school in Cali. The abundance of writers here is amazing.

Um okay, so, Moonrat, care to go author stalking with me? [I really need a life.]

4 drops:

moonrat said...

dude. you already know i'm onboard here.

stalKING! stalKING!

cyn said...

sounds like a great book festival. /jealous where do you want to study in cali? i know uci has a good creative writing program (i'm assuming that's your interest)? cal must as well...

i'm in southern cali. holla! =D

but i went to nyu for my masters. (not writing. boo.) holla x 2

angelle said...

cyn - my reach is the completely elusive irvine. but my backup, so far, is sdsu. but the remaining schools, probably still in the nyc area.

i'd love to be in cali though. just to experience it out west.

cyn said...

that's pretty awesome. i worked at sdsu for three years before i became a full time mommy / sometimes novelist. =) i <3 san diego. it's much diff from nyc, tho. haha! good luck! i can live vicariously thorugh you when you get your mfa.

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