"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, January 09, 2009

Five on a Friday

Why does it feel like FOREVER since I've done a Five on a Friday? Holidays? Other posts taking precedence. Yeah, I guess it has been forever.

Here goes (this ended up very book-centric. Not so much of the slice-of-life. Next week I'll focus on slice-of-life Five on a Friday):

1) I'm reading Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by R. L. LaFevers. Have you read the Theodosia books, yet? If not, you should. This is the second in a series (Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos was number one).

2) I'm going to start doing a book review once a month (at the prompting of fab author Barrie Summy whose book I So Don't Do Mysteries is amazing and you should run out and buy it today!). She's going to do a review roundup on the first Wednesday of each month.

To this point, I've hesitated on actually reviewing books. I don't want to post a "review" that is nothing but "ooh, I loved this". And I feel weird putting my opinions on books out for public consumption.
Regardless, I view this as an exercise in learning to critique better. Praising the positive. And pointing out the room for improvement in an acceptable way.

3) I'm totally looking forward to our monthly SCBWI meeting tomorrow. It's the first meeting at BookPeople (fab Austin independent bookstore), and Jenny Ziegler is going to be the amazing speaker (who also happens to be one of the nicest people I know, BTW). I read Jenny's book How Not to be Popular last year and laughed out loud so many times people started staring at me on the airplane. If you're looking for a great laugh, check it out!

4) On read-alouds...
My son's class is starting The Emerald Tablet as their read-aloud. They'd just started it when the bell to end school went off. So the teacher tells me "All I read was The Mirror Comes To Life".
I said "That sounds familiar" and then it dawned on me that was because it is my book :)

I'm reading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl aloud to my son and daughter. They are way, way hooked. And so far this book is as engaging as I remember it being way back when.
The cover of my James and the Giant Peach, BTW. Don't you love seeing the old covers of the books you treasured?

5) On hooks...
Thank you to Sheri for sharing this story with me. Her daughter's class had the homework assignment of finding a first sentence with a nice hook. As Sheri said, they read first line after first line, and then pulled out The Emerald Tablet. And then they were hooked. She even brought it in to share with the class.

The first line (in case you haven't read it):

"When Benjamin Holt saw his mom disappear into a pinprick of light, he shouldn't have been surprised; his life was already weird."

Thanks, Sheri and Sheri's daughter!

6) Yes, an extra this week :)
Check out my interview over on Keri Mikulski's blog this week. Thank you so much to Keri for hosting me. If you haven't read Keri's book Screwball yet, do it today!

And I keep forgetting to mention, if you didn't see my guest blog over on Cynsations (awesome blog of author Cynthia Leitich Smith), check it out!

Hope everyone has a great week!


lotusgirl said...

I love a good laugh. I'll have to check out that "How not to be popular." It sounds right up my alley.

That's hilarious about you needing a sec to recognize your own book.

Lenore said...

I love the covers for those Theodosia books!

beth said...

Thanks for the book rec...

...And so funny about the teacher reading aloud and your response!!! That is just gold.

Sheri said...

Hey PJ! It's been WAAYYYY too long since I've been out visiting my talented blogger friends...

I wanted to elaborate a bit on the story about my daughter bringing your book to school as a HW assignment because you are WAY too modest. The story went more like this everyone... *clearing my throat*

Daughter: I need a story with a good hook for a HW assignment.
Me: What about Harry Potter's first line?
Daughter: Nah. Too easy. Everyone will know it.
Me: How about Eggs by Jerry Spenelli?
Daughter: Nah...
Me: How about Where the Red Fern Grows?
Daughter: Nah...
(getting a little frustrated now)Me: How about Love that Dog by Sharon Creech?????
Daughter: Nah...
Me: OK. Here's a book with the best hook I've read in a long, long time. There is no better first sentence I can think of. (So I read PJ's first line out loud)
Daughter: Wow! That's good! Yeah! That's the one. Can I see it? Wow. I love the cover! Can I bring it to school to share with everyone?
Me: (now smiling) Yes, PJ will love that and be sure to tell them the book is now on book stands too!
Daughter: Mommy, when I'm finished with Harry Potter can I read this book next?
Me: Absolutely!

And so that is the elaborate details of the story about How Emerald Tablet became a HW assignment in 4th grade to use as an example of a good... no fantastic hook.

The End.

PJ Hoover said...

You should totally read it if you want a good laugh, Lois!

I agree, Lenore! The Theodosia books are some of the most beautifully published books I've yet seen.

You're welcome, Beth! And I know. I just couldn't put my finger on it!

OK, Sheri, you make me blush. So all I can say is THANKS! You're the best!

Hope you guys are having a great day!

Jason said...

Oh, those Theodosia book covers are sweet. It reminds me somewhat of Coraline, or the artwork from that show Edgar and Ellen. I like that kind of art style.

Gottawrite Girl said...

Ohhh, so lucky to have your SCBWI event... and there is NOTHING more comforting than seeing an old cover. They MELT me. Awesome post, PJ, and hope you are well!!!!


TJ Brown said...

I only "review" books I like:) if I'm not enthusiastic about a book I would feel odd about reviewing it. I love reading them though:)

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks for the book rec's. I"m always on the lookout for a good book!

I just ordered my copy of the Emerald Tablet this week. I"m looking forward to getting it! :0)


lynn said...

love the first line of The Emerald Tablet--I'm hooked too!

PJ Hoover said...

You're right, Jason. They do kind of bring Coraline to mind.

I so hear you, Susan! I'm loving my old book collection from when I was young!

LOL, Teri! I will most likely only review books I like, too. Though even in books I like, it's important to try to think what could be improved.

Yay, Christy! Thank you for ordering it! I appreciate it!

Thanks, Lynn! In hindsight, I'm happy with it to. You have seen my original first line. It was some boring, rambling thing that was just so not noteworthy.

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Sarah Rettger said...

I'll indulge in a little bit of book-world showing off here, and say that that it was *so cool* to meet Robin LaFevers at BEA last year and tell her that I'm a Shrinking Violet, too.

Still need to read the second Theodosia book, though.

Kimberly Derting said...

I was *just* looking at the Theodosia books online this morning and wondering if they were any good. I was thinking that my daughter would probably love them!

How funny that you didn't realize right away that they were reading your book. AND, how cool that they were reading *your* book!!!

Keri Mikulski said...

Awe.. Thanks for mentioning SCREWBALL and thanks for reminding me to pick up a copy of HOW NOT TO BE POPULAR! :) Have a wonderful weekend. :)

Sheri said...

Hey, just read Keri's interview with you. It's great! Love to hear how everyone's writing process is so different and that you won't go back in a first draft, not even to change a name. Awesome!

Marcia said...

Wow, now I have another whole list of books. :) And your first line IS awesome.

PJ Hoover said...

Robin seems like she would be a great person to meet, Sarah! Her blog is fun to read. How cool for you! And there is NOTHING wrong with the book-world-showing-off thing.

You should get them for your daughter, Kimberly. They're fun books filled with Egyptian adventure.

Thank you, Keri, for the interview! And you have a great weekend!

If I go back on the first draft, Sheri, I'm afraid I'll never return. LOL!

Thanks, Marcia! And I'm glad you like the books!

Have a great weekend!

Vivian said...

My daughters have been discussing whether they'd prefer to have the power to teleport or the power to know what someone is thinking. Wonder where that comes from?

Glad your kids are enjoying JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. My daughter did a book report on it last month and had a blast with the characters.

Kelly H-Y said...

Wow ... so many awesome books you covered. I've got to pick up "How Not to Be Popular" ... I love things that make me laugh out loud! Congrats on all the continuing success with your book too ... so awesome!

By the way ... the quote on my desk calendar today reminded me of you and your new word, EXCEED ... it is "High expectations are the key to everything." (Sam Walton).

PJ Hoover said...

So what did they choose, Vivian???
And JATGP has GREAT characters!

Thanks, Kelly! And I love inspirational quotes! I get one a day delivered to my inbox.

Have a great weekend!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I'm reading the first Theodosia right now -- and enjoying it so far. The second one is on it's way to me -- I won it on Mary Hershey's site :)

My son loves anything by Raoul Dahl. I'll have to check out some of your other recommendations.

Barrie said...

Thanks for the shout-out, PJ!

Robin L said...

Wow, no wonder my ears were burning yesterday! Thanks for showcasing THEODOSIA, PJ! It's much appreciated! I have THE EMERALD TABLET in my TBR pile (along with about 50 others--I am so far behind!)

Count me as another big fan of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. One of my favorite books ever.

And Sarah, I SO remember you! I remember being so relieved to find another bona fide introvert in that crowd that was BEA!

PJ Hoover said...

How cool you won the book, Sherrie! Winning anything is a great feeling!

You are welcome, Barrie! Thanks for the review inspiration!

You are so welcome, Robin! Your books are just so well published. I love them! And I hear you on the behind on reading thing. I am making a huge effort to catch up!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

kbaccellia said...

I really enjoyed the THEODONSIA books. Very fun.

Christina Farley said...

That's so fun that you found your book on that list! I've always wanted to read "I So Don't Do Mysteries." It looks halarious!

PJ Hoover said...

Me too, Kim!

ISDDM does look funny, Christina. And Barrie Summy is a hugely funny person, so I'd expect nothing less!

Take care!

Heather Zundel said...

Hey PJ! I'm now officially subscribed to you, so I will be posting much more now! I've read Theodosia! I'm so glad someone else has read it too. And I also love finding old covers of my favorite books. You like James and the Giant Peach? You are my best friend all over again.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Heather! I try to spread the Theodosia word when I can because it seems like it should have more acclaim. And JATGP is so good even by today's standards (which is not the case of some of my old reads). I'm awed by it!