YA Novels to Read (Instead of Twilight)

When I read all four books in the Twilight series last year, one of many thoughts I had afterward was that I would never let my (future) children read any one of these books. At least, not unless they'd be smart enough to make fun of them. In which case, we would bond by talking about all the ways the Twilight series basically suck: how the prose is vapid at best, nauseating at worst; how the heroine is unremarkable except for her incredibly bad judgment; and how not even the hero's good looks and loads of cash can redeem these stories.

But making fun of bad books can only last so long (diba Ging?) and afterwards, you need to read some really good ones to make you remember that good writing still exists. So I started doing some research (by which I mean, I started reading). Here are the ones I'd recommend to all of you:

1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Frankie, the title character, is clever, pretty, and fearless–the complete antithesis of Bella Swan. Read this book if only for that. Or read it because E. Lockhart writes like E.L. Konigsburg, weaving bits of trivia to the story (so you learn while reading) and using characters to drive the plot (instead of the other way around).

2. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow – Orwell's 1984 is one of my favorite books; Little Brother is a bit like 1984, only with the adrenaline rush. If you still need more convincing, check out Neil Gaiman's review.

3. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – Fair warning: you're probably going to cry at some point. And it might take you more than a day, or a month even, to finish because you'll want to stop, put it down, and forget all about the Holocaust and Death (the narrator). But eventually, you'll want to pick it up again. And when you're finally done, maybe you'll have learned something. But even if you haven't, you'll find that, surprisingly enough, you've also been entertained.

4. Fly On The Wall by E. Lockhart – I liked The Disreputable History.. so much I deliberately sought out this book and ended up reading it in one day. The story slightly parallels Kafka's Metamorphosis but where the latter is dark & disturbing, this one is lighter and has a charming love story, to boot.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Again, shades of 1984. But also The Lottery (Shirley Jackson). And most of all, Battle Royale. Even if you don't like any of those, it's pretty hard not to get caught up in the Hunger Games. Stephen King did. And so did Smeyer. Okay, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that last one. But did I also mention that it's really really good?  

*If I had to pick a favorite, I'd choose between The Disreputable History… and The Hunger Games, which are at the extreme ends in terms of story. Start with the former, if you're looking for something light and insightful, but go for the latter, if you want something dark and exciting. And before you ask, romantic subplots are present in all the books except for The Book Thief. Well…maybe even including that one.

Reposted from the LDG

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post #81

Had dinner with some friends last Wednesday. We were having a belated birthday celebration for the mayor of Davis who's Filipina. Tita Ruth, as the mayor's asked us to call her (though my Bisaya sensibilities cringe at using such a familiar term), was regaling us with stories from her trips back to the Philippines. One of them was on her meeting with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim—a result of the matchmaking efforts of some people who, apparently, had nothing better to do with their time and came up with some silly event to get them together. In any case, this is how it went down:

Mayor Lim hands Mayor Ruth the key to Manila.

Mayor Lim: "I suppose I don't have to tell you what this key is for."
Mayor Ruth: (coyly) "Why, I thought this was the key to your room."
Mayor Lim: (somewhat surprised but laughing) "I've heard about you. They told me you were single."
Mayor Ruth: "And they told me, that you're a widower."
Mayor Lim: "Yes, I am." He eyes her speculatively then calls out to the band (yes, apparently, there really was some hokey band playing) 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco'
Mayor Ruth: "Wrong city, you know," then, "Shall we dance, anyway?"
And off they went.

Of course, I've embellished a little. But that's really, more or less, how it happened. A few weeks after that meeting (which happened a little over a year ago), Tita Ruth calls up her now good friend Mayor Lim and asks him to be the honorary speaker for an event she's organizing in the Philippines. He says yes. When she tries to follow-up and confirm his attendance a few weeks before the actual event, it turns out he's committed to two other events on the same day. Realizing that he's basically going to stand her up, Tita Ruth calls another good friend of hers, former President Ramos, and asks him instead to be the guest speaker. Happily, Ramos shows up and saves the day. So there you have it. A modern-fairy tale played out among political players. Guess happy endings are just as scarce in the political world as they are in real life.

Here's a picture taken of us last Wednesday during dinner:

Links I wanted to share:

Blog ni Inday: Ang sosyal na katulong – got this from Tippie.

How to join the Power Book Club – blog post from my friend, Tobbie who hosts the meetings. Mae, apil na!

Pretty Bitter: Stationary that pushes the envelope

Finally, this isn't a link but someone posted this on a message board once and it made me laugh: "Zac Efron is jealous of Edward Cullen. But Edward Cullen is jealous of Dean Winchester." My god, these tweens take their teenage idols seriously, don't they?

p.s. Macks, I checked out your friend RJ, and nalingaw raba ko niya. Unsa na imong nakit-an sa iyang work? Any faves?

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jessica, homer, sookie, and adrian

I promised Mackie some time ago that I would post the Jessica Rabbit un-tooned pic that the guys at Pixeloo did, so here it is:

Though the point wasn't to make Jessica Rabbit look as real as possible (hence the exaggerated eyelid), I have to say, she looks a lot like a redheaded Angelina Jolie. Or at the very least, she looks more like Angelina Jolie than Heidi Klum in her Jessica Rabbit homage for GQ magazine:

The Pixeloo artists also did some un-tooning of Homer Simpson (and Mario of the Nintendo game) that were a little bit creepy, to say the least. For Homer un-tooned, I prefer this picture by artist Roberto Parada better:

A little bit stern-looking, like you should be afraid of him instead of invite him over for some beers but not bad, I think.

On the topic of fictional characters…since I just read the latest Sookie Stackhouse book that came out a few days ago (Book #8: From Dead to Worse), and found out that the next one in the series isn't slated to come out till next year, I am so looking forward to seeing Sookie in live-action for the HBO series, True Blood. When I first heard Anna Paquin was playing the character, I wasn't exactly thrilled but since coming across these pictures from Boston Common magazine, I have to admit, she looks better as a blond than I would have imagined. And I love those Christian Louboutin shoes she's wearing on this page. They're pretty cute, don't you think? And if Anna as a blond isn't enticement enough to watch the show when it debuts, then Alexander Skarsgard as Eric should be more than enough to get everyone's attention. His IMDB bio also says the guy was voted Sweden's sexiest man five times. Ooh-la-la. Let's just hope he can act too.

Finally, to wrap up this post, I just found out that our favorite actor-playing-fictional-actor, Adrian Grenier, has a book club. AND is doing something to benefit developing countries. Can you imagine? His coolness factor just went up a notch. Or ten. 🙂

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Harry Potter Author Confirms, “Dumbledore Is Gay”

Just came across this article from tvguide.com: "At a Friday night appearance at Carnegie Hall, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling confirmed that which many fans had suspected: Albus' wand leans the other way. According to the AP, during a question-and-answer following a brief Deathly Hallows reading, Rowling responded to a query about Hogwarts' headmaster finding true love by saying, "Dumbledore is gay." The writer proceeded to elaborate that Dumbledore was smitten with Gellert Grindelwald, whom he defeated long ago in a battle. Upon seeing his good friend go bad, she says, Dumbledore was "horribly, terribly let down."

Interesting. Though not entirely surprising.

In other semi-related news, my Statistics professor held class early last Thursday because his wife had won a free trip to New York to meet with J.K. Rowling and they had to leave early to catch their plane. I asked him to give my regards to J.K. and get more information on some of the other lesser-known characters in the book. Not sure how it turned out but if I find out anything interesting, I'll be sure to post about it here.  🙂

Just Added: Here's the link to another article (from ew.com) saying the same thing. This also has some more answered questions from the children.

Here's another related article from ew.com talking about the positive implications of Dumbledore's outing (p.s. There's one spoiler for those who haven't read Books 6 & 7 yet).

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