This is me cleaning off my desk prior to a TWO WEEK vacation in TROPICAL PARADISE.
Capital letters, yes! And not because I have been reading Kanye's Twitter feed, although I absolutely had to send Chris Barton (The Day-Glo Brothers) this picture of Kanye in his radioactive Pepto pink suit. I seriously doubt this is what the Switzer brothers had in mind when they invented those colors. Kanye is reputed to be friends with Aziz Ansari, can you figure it? I cannot. I reviewed a biography of Kanye for School Library Journal last year and I am still not quite over it. What is the what there? And Aziz Ansari is on Parks & Recreation, which my husband and I borrowed from the library because our friend TinkerCinderBelleAhontas recommended it, and she had previously recommended Firefly and Nurse Jackie, and so she is never wrong, but we sort of don't see the what in this either.
I have given up on reading kid books for vacation. (Oh you know that's not true) But. So. I bought GQ last night - Vanity Fair was not available - and it was there that I read that Aziz Ansari is friends with Kanye. And that Bill Murray respects Amy Poehler but cannot remember her name, nor the name of Jennifer Love Hewitt, about whose recent TV movie in which she plays I think an accidental prostitute Heather Cocks of Go Fug Yourself wrote THE most funniest thing I've read in a long time.
Also with the cleaning off of the desk: you may read Patrick Carman's Trackers if you wish. The Trackers are a group of four kids using technology to... well it's not too clear what they've been doing prior to the main conflict of the story. But that's not a big deal.
My son loved the banter between the four kids. Sat there cracking up while he read. The narrative unspools as the main character, Adam Henderson, is apparently interrogated by some kind of cop. That format is a natural for building and maintaining suspense, and it worked on my kid like a charm. Adam tells what happened, and shows the cop video and screen captures, all of which are available online using passwords from the book.
Me, I was a bit more meh than my kid. I thought some of the writing was sloppy. But I was truly charmed by the names of the gadgets Adam invents (one's called the Deckard, and anyone who tosses a Blade Runner reference into a kid book gets my respect) and the passwords he comes up with namecheck people like Babbage and Woz.
Good for kids who have gotten into the multiplatform, 39 Clues-type stories. Also for techie kids - as far as I can tell, the technology in this book all works. Likewise the Seattle landscape. Nothing worse than putting a kid on his bicycle in the U District and saying he makes it to Pike Market in 10 minutes. Carman dots those i's, and I appreciate the respect that signals.
Next! OMG did I mention I read GQ last night? Well listen if I hadn't already paid Todd a squinzillion dollars to draw my new banner up there, you know the one that makes me cry it's so beautiful? THIS would be my new banner image:
Tracy Morgan reading The Giving Tree crying til his balls shrivel up and retract into his body. (That's right, I said "balls". I'm going on vacation, ok?) Hey and you know what's really funny? For this photo shoot, GQ supplied classic clowny props like an exploding cigar, balloon animals, bubble shoes, wax lips... and The Giving Tree. Never not funny, The Giving Tree.
And check out Kat Falls on the TODAY Show talking about her book Dark Life! If I had to pick one book from this season that I think is the most exciting, the most intriguing, it would have to be that book. The TODAY Show! Holy crap!
How many orange books do you own? I'll wager it's not enough. For Pride Month, our library did our aisle-cap slatwall displays by color rather than by subject. The orange books and the green books were picked up, the blue and purple not so much. Hmm.
Oh and here we come to the Mac Barnett portion of our clearing off of the desk. Or in this case, the nightstand (imagine a smarmy chuckle). Dan Santat, Mac's partner on Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World, reports that standing next to Mac makes any man 25% uglier. I will disagree - I think Dan is excellent looking, especially when you add the fake mustache. MmmmMMM! Nowadays all these kidlit guys look like hipster models, I swear. Whatever happened to guys that looked like Maurice Sendak? Or Shel Silverstein for that matter. Brr. Scaring kids for decades.
Ergo, you just know that this Oh No!-themed auction to benefit 826LA is going to be absolutely gurgling with delectability. Wish I could be there, but Dan's dramatic video will have to tide me over:
We bought The Clock Without a Face this week and my whole family fell deeply under its spell. I didn't introduce the kids to the web page - they had already spent half a day with the Trackers website. There had been a signing party at Atomic Books, our local superhip bookstore, but I missed it. SRSLY? I missed a chance to locally ogle Barnett and his penchant for linen? (I swear, this guy has his hand on the phone, looking up "restraining order" at this very moment. Dude, don't worry, I'm out of the country for the next two weeks. Plenty of time to get that thing lined up.)
Adam Rex gives up a Fat Vampire playlist on Largehearted Boy. Predictably heavy on the Beck, but also reveals Adam's love of Stephin Merritt. (Nods head in hipster appreciation.) If you ever listened to the audio versions of A Series of Unfortunate Events (and you SOOOO should, *cough*TimCurryIsStillEXTREMELYSexy*cough*), Stephin Merritt is The Gothic Archies, who did the romantically bleak original songs on those CDs. Verbs? Pronouns? I don't care about those things - I am going on VACATION!
In case you missed it, I liked Fat Vampire. Here's one of the promotional videos for it that I find particularly funny:
"Parents: learn to tell the difference between a hickey and a vampire wound." Please note MOAR MAC BARNETT. Guy is EVERYWHERE. It is not my fault.
Lastly but not leastly, I have been asked which books are on the table in the new banner... let's go to the original photo:
Ah! Zhou is reading Horrid Henry. Mao, if I recall, was reading The Search for WondLa. I was reading an ARC of Dreadnought by Cherie Priest. On the table I see family favorites like The Yellow Balloon by Charlotte Desmatons, a timeless wordless classic; The Incredible Book-Eating Boy; The Magic Chalk, which is an extremely cool Norwegian midcentury illustrated chapter book about a witch and a kid; The Ravenous Beast, which I am always pimping to parents; the brand-new and super-fun Oops! by Fromental et Jolivet, the team that brought us 365 Penguins; The Dumpster Diver; Do Not Open, a weird-fact book that the boys always have to have out; and a stack of YA ARCs that I frankly haven't gotten to.
So that's my house. That's my green wall. That's my (crooked) bunny painting, made by Margot Curran. I made Todd put shirts on the boys when he did his drawing.
But they will not be wearing shirts on vacation. I am OUT.