Books

Book Review: Carry On (Rowell), The Scorpio Races (Stiefvater)

The theme of this post is “books by authors I have met recently!” Which is not so much a theme as it is the only thing these books have in common, but okay. No, wait! They have one more thing in common: I am in total, head-over-heels, frothing-at-the-mouth in love with them.

Rainbow Rowell came to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in October as part of the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures series. Here’s how that week played out: Tuesday, Carry On arrived at my doorstep. I read it in its 522-page entirety on Wednesday instead of studying for the GRE, which I took on Thursday afternoon, mere hours before Rowell’s lecture. Clearly my priorities are in order. I told Rowell that I had no regrets for my abysmal time management and she signed my book to that effect, which was pretty great. Rowell is exactly as charming and delightful as a person named Rainbow ought to be.

A few weeks later Maggie Stiefvater spoke at Carnegie Mellon University as part of PARSEC’s YA lecture series. Stiefvater has been for a while now one of my “problematic faves,” as the kids say, and she was so irreverently hilarious in person that I no longer feel any qualms about having her on my “people I want to be when I grow up” list. (Although she should, perhaps, step away from Twitter every now and again.)

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The Great Green Reread: Intro

I’m taking a class on young adult literature called Representing Adolescence, and I’ve been really lukewarm on almost everything we’ve read so far. We’re almost halfway through the semester and I’ve only really had strong feelings about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which for me is a Very Important Book. Otherwise, though, the books have been decidedly lackluster, so after spending a week aggressively defending Frankie I’ve been pretty quiet in class.

This is about to change, however, since we’re starting to discuss The Fault in Our Stars at the end of the week.

I have a lot of problems with the things that John Green chooses to be, both as a writer and a human. Eh, maybe not a lot, but definitely some, but considering that the general consensus is that the sun is located somewhere in the vicinity of Green’s rectum I am rather alone in my opinions. This is not to say that I think he’s a bad person or a bad writer — he’s perfectly adequate at both. I just take issue with the way he writes gender and his massive cult of personality, among other things. In the past I’ve had a lot of difficulty expressing just what it is about him that bugs me, so in the interest of clarifying my arguments I’ve decided to reread all of his books.

For the purposes of this project I’m sticking to his five novels: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve read all of them already, but I don’t think I’ve read any of them more than once, and haven’t read most of them for many years. I’m going to reread them in order of publication, although I might have to skip ahead to TFIOS to finish it in time for Friday’s class, and I’m hoping to get a feel for how Green has developed as a writer. I’m also looking to see if the issues I have are valid for his entire body of work or if they’re isolated to certain novels.

Gonna try to read and recap one novel a day this week. Nothing like hitting the ground running.

ETA: Okay, one novel a day is definitely not going to happen. Revised schedule: TFIOS this week because class, then double back to Alaska and go from there.