Friday, July 29, 2011

Uncle Stevie, YA Fiction, Wacky Book Titles, Hype and Obsessions

It dawned on me this morning that since I tend to not post on weekends (uh, hardly ever), that I better get with the blog filler to bridge the gap until Monday.  Hang on to your hats!


Via Shelf Awareness, this little gem from Uncle Stevie (uh, Stephen King) about finding a book about "how kids really are" in the adult fiction section of his local bookmobile when he was a wee lad.  This brought home for me how far the whole concept of "young adult fiction" has truly come.  I'm firmly in the Gen-X camp, so I'm hardly ready for a walker and bingo nights yet, but even my choices were limited to Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High (seriously, just shoot me), and those tragic teen "romances" where the heroine has some mysterious illness and the popular jock-strap who falls in love with her holds her hand and cries copious tears as she lies on her death bed.

Seriously, dang kids don't know how good they have it these days.  And yes, I did walk five miles to school, up hill, both ways, in blinding snow storms, with no shoes.  Why do you ask?


From the Huffington Post, the 15 Most Ridiculous Book Titles EverBe Bold With Bananas?  Uh, OK then.


So I finally read a copy of (apparently) everybody's favorite parody book, Go The F To Sleep.  This would be another perfect example of how much I deplore "hype." 

Basically it's about a parent who is annoyed that their precious snowflake won't go to sleep and the F Bomb is dropped on every single page.

Yeah, I don't get it people.

Now the reason I don't "get" it might have everything to do with the fact that I have a Gone Fishin' sign hanging over my ovaries.  Or maybe I just didn't think it was all that funny.  Or maybe I just expected something "more" after reading all the frackin' hype about this stupid book all over the Internet.

Or maybe I'm just bitter that I didn't think of it first and it's not me currently rolling around naked in a giant pile of money? 

Let's go with that last one.


Next on my reading tap is Obsessed: Erotic Romance For Woman, an anthology from Cleis Press edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.  I agreed to review this one on the basis that I like shorts and Portia Da Costa contributed a story.  I haven't actually read any of these stories yet (lunch break, today), but I did get through Caridad Pineiro's introduction last night before bed, and she wrote something that really struck me:
"Daring women are present in each story of this anthology.  They are daring because each of them is wiling to explore their needs and find ways to satisfy them.  They are women who are up to the challenge and open to new possibilities."
Yeah, that.  That right there is the reason I fell in love with erotica so hard, and so fast, shortly after rediscovering the romance genre.  Back when the idea of "erotic romance" was so new that the very formation of the Kensington Brava line (and later Harlequin Blaze) was seen as the downfall of the genre as a whole, and sure to bring certain ruin upon all of our heads.

And while some were throwing themselves in the streets, wailing and pulling out their hair - the whole time I had to resist the urge to drink wine straight from the bottle and dance naked around a bonfire.  If even half of these stories hit me the same way that snippet of the introduction did, oh happy day indeed.

Stay tuned.


A Library Girl said...

Oh, Lurlene McDaniel. I had a period when I loved great gobs of tragedy (which is about all I can remember about her books - it's been ages since I read them). Would she be considered the YA version of Nicholas Sparks? And you're right, kids don't know how good they have it. I started raiding the adult section of my public library when I was 14 or so, because there was so little in the supposed young adult section of the library that I wanted to read.

15 Most Ridiculous Book Titles - I kind of think the only book that should be allowed on lists like this are books where the titles were intended in all seriousness. There are several books that I would disqualify because they're supposed to be ridiculous, like You Are Worthless (notice that one of the authors is the editor-in-chief of The Onion).

Wendy said...

Library Girl: You know, this might explain why so many adult readers are hitting the YA section these days. We want what we didn't have access to when we were that age! Most of us fled to the adult stacks early on because we were more desperate than anything else :)

Yeah, some of those titles didn't feel like good choices to me either. The Al Franken was another one. But the banana and shopping cart books were priceless.

JamiSings said...

Eh, I don't blame you for not being impressed by the sleep book. It doesn't take any talent to use a cuss word. Any moron can do it. Talent is finding a way to say the same thing, with the same emphasis, without cussing at all.

jmc said...

I didn't read the Go the F*** to Sleep book...but I did listen to Samuel L. Jackson's audiobook of it. As a nonparent, I didn't really *get* it as it was intended, but I appreciated Jackson's reading, mostly because I kept seeing him as his Snakes on a Plane character as he read.

Renee said...

I have to admit, I totally cracked up at Go the F*** to Sleep. As a parent, it's the thing I've felt (when the kid pops out of bed for the umpteenth time with some lame excuse, and I'm dying for a break, given that he wakes up between 5-6am) but of course, would never actually say to my child. Almost like potty humor for parents. And, Samuel Jackson's reading is great!

The current bonanza of YA is exactly why I still love to read it. As much as I enjoyed Anne of Green Gables and Madeleine L'Engle books when I was younger, I'm thrilled theres's so much out there now! The dearth of YA books when I was a teen is why I started reading adult novels in jr high. I'm making up for it now, though. ;-)

Lil Sis said...

Haven't read the sleep book - heard about it. I think I laughed when I heard about it but again, haven't read it. I guess I'll have to read it now. I wouldn't say it to Lemon Drop of course but totally can relate when she won't sleep - especially now that she's older.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

Didn't even have Sweet Valley growing up. I am the in-between of Boomers and Gen X. Perhaps early Gen X. Nothing, nada, zip. 'Course I started reading Gothic romances in the 5th grade so I kinda jumped ahead a bit. :)

RRRJessica said...

As a parent, when I heard about the Sleep book, I laughed and laughed. I thought the idea of the book was so funny, and so true!

But then I picked it up and read it in a bookstore ... and I thought it was kind of unfunny after the first few pages, and actually a bit mean spirited. I kept hoping for a final page where the parent hugs the child, but no go. *shrugs*

Carrie said...

As mom to five, I cracked up at Samuel L Jackson's audible version of Go the F* to Sleep. Like many forms of entertainment, the book allows a person to be/do/say something they would never actually be/do/say! Of course I would never say that to my kids! But parents get frustrated and tired, and it's great to know *other* parents also feel stressed. It's a relief to think, wow, I'm not the only parent who feels at the end of my rope some days. Plus, laughter is great stress relief!

Wendy said...

You know, I think if I had heard Samuel L. Jackson reading it - it would have worked better for me. But on the printed page - RRRJessica's reaction pretty much nailed it for me. Yeah, what she said.

The other thing that always confounds me about novelty books like this one are who buys these things? You can read it in less than 5 minutes standing in the bookstore to see what all the fuss is about. Is it really something you NEED to own so you can read over and over again?

But whatever floats your boat I guess. My theory is it's probably been making the rounds as a "gag gift" for poor, sleep-deprived parents.

Kate said...

Love Stevie's take on YA! I was stuck somewhere between boys with dogs and dying girls. Blargh. But also there were those romancy books with a girl at some point in history who's torn between two men, one obviously unsuitable, set around some Big Moment In Time, like the Battle of New Orleans. They were always titled after the girl's name. Yeah, I sucked those up like water.

Wendy said...

Kate: OMG "boys with dogs" LOLOLOL!

And I know exactly what books you're talking about re: titled after the girl's name. Never read them myself, but I always saw scads of them at the library growing up.