Monday, June 7, 2010

What I'm Reading, What I'm Writing (Starring Jandy Nelson's THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE)

*added- I'll announce the winner of Free Book Friday next blog. (Wednesday). 

Holy cow. First day of summer vacation. The kids are running around, begging to be fed. Even worse, they're demanding to be entertained. I did not sign up for this. 

When I was little, my mother gave me a piece of string, some used chicken wire and a garden shovel, and told me to "use my imagination" until dinnertime, as she shoved me out the door. 

You can bet I used that chicken wire, piece of string, and garden shovel to build myself a treehouse, complete with satellite television. (At least, that's what I tell my kids I did).

Where have those days gone? How am I supposed to live like this? How am I supposed to blog like this?

Since summer used to be the time when I'd sit around, reading, under a tree, little Toto nuzzling at my feet, I thought I'd do a "What I'm Reading... What I'm Writing" blog. 


I've been reading realistic fiction lately. Not a vamp/demon/witch in sight. 

So I thought I'd share my thoughts on them, but since I get in trouble whenever I recommend anything, let me just say this first: I am not recommending anything. 

I don't want to get any emails that say, "Brodi said she totally loved this book, and my little Jenny read it, and now my little Jenny is anorexic, therefore Brodi causes anorexia." Because yes, I've gotten these emails before when I've talked about books on my blog. (Okay, not ones that say I cause anorexia, but you get the drift.)

Here's the official disclaimer:

*Disclaimer: I read these as a mother of two young boys, who are not about to read any of them. I read them because I love Young Adult books. Just because I like something does not mean I'm issuing a blanket statement that it's safe for all ages. I am not the arbiter of values and morals, or individual tastes.

Whew. Thanks. I feel better now.
First up was Jandy Nelson's THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE.

Oh my goodness, I can't say enough about how much I loved this book. The writing is like poetry, which isn't surprising because the author wrote poetry first before she wrote a novel. 

It's about a girl, coping with the loss of her sister, and juggling two boys. I know I love a book when I lend it to a neighbor, and I'm mad at myself for letting it escape my bookshelf where I can reach out at a moment's notice and read my favorite passages. (So, neighbor who shall not be named, light a fire under that bushel, or a burr under your bunny, and get reading it!)

Here's a preview:

Next were Carol Lynch Williams' THE CHOSEN ONE and Laurie Halse Anderson's WINTERGIRLS.

These both tackled serious subject matters (polygamist cults and anorexia respectively) Although I really liked both books, I probably won't be reading either of them again. 

The endings left so many questions unanswered, which is probably appropriate given the subjects. And they each had one or more scenes that made me cringe. I liked them both, I thought about them both long after the last page. They are both powerful reads, and I probably won't be reading them again.

So, that's what I'm reading.


Um... nothing much. Just waiting on revision instructions from Michael. 

What about you guys? What are you reading? What are you writing? 


  1. Just finished THE HELP, which I L-O-V-E-D. Started Holly Black's WHITE CAT but only a chapter or so into it — no verdict yet. And scrambling to get revisions done before prego brain gets any worse. I think I'll hit the 3rd trimester next week, though I suck at keeping track of that stuff.

  2. I have heard so many good things about The Help. I need to get my hands on that one!

  3. I am still really enjoying Stieg Larsson's trilogy. I should finish '...hornets nest' this week. It is sad that this is his last book--unless the rumor of him having one more book on a laptop, before he died, are true.

    Summer seems to be a lot more awesome when you are kid and not a parent.

  4. I've been devouring everything by Jenette Rollison--she writes YA fiction--some with fantasy, some not, but all are really fun. Wish they were around when I was in High School.

    I broke my writing-every-day streak this weekend because I was on vacation at a family reunion... and because re-reading Eclipse seemed more interesting than my own book. Damn that Stephenie Meyer!

  5. Sam- You and your girl with a dragon tattoo... get a room already!

    Robin- I hate it when I get reading other people's books, instead of mine, and thinking, "I'll never write like this!"

    The lesson learned: don't read.

    Oh... wait...

  6. Funny you mention that book you lent to your neighbor. She finished it last night. Or rather, this morning around 3:00. I'll let her know how much you would like it returned.
    On a positive note, at least she didn't keep this one for 3 months, right?

    Word verification: hersin. As in HER SIN for not reading it in a more timely manner.

  7. Brodi-
    I'm a blog stalker who has decided to go public. I stumbled onto your blog through Anne Creager's. We were in Cleveland with them and they are great friends. I just got done reading your "I Hate Cancer" post. Well put and right on!
    Sorry for the comment unrelated to the post at hand. Did I just violate blogging etiquette? I just had to comment and say hi. Keep running-


  8. Heather- Thanks for returning the book, although I don't understand how you inferred from my subtle post that you were the neighbor I was talking about. Glad you liked it okay.

    Erik- ah, man, I loved Anne! How lucky you got to know them in Cleveland. Thanks for de-lurking, and I assure you no rules of blogger etiquette were breached.

    (However, if you start to reveal embarrassing stories from my past, the blogger SWAT team will be called. It's okay though, because they're not allowed to carry weapons. But they do have some harsh vocabulary, and they're not afraid to use 4-letter words.)

    I won't comment as to my running regimen these days...

  9. I've been on a realistic fiction kick lately. My favorites were Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Dairy Queen by Catherine G. Murdock and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.
    Jellicoe Road hit my all-time favorites list, just know that it takes probably about half the book until you really know what's going on.
    What am I writing?
    Grocery lists. My kids are eating me out of house and home. Seriously, I know they don't eat all day in school, so why do they feel the need to graze all summer long?!
    What am I creating?
    Messes. And some pretty fun puppet shows for the library on the side.

  10. Thanks for the recommendations ... I've been dying to get my hands on a good book lately, but I'm waiting until the kids get done with school this week before I dive into one. I've been reading Mansfield Park for over a month, but I just can't get into it. I feel like I'm being unfaithful to dear old Jane for not loving all of her books, but I think it's time to give up on this one and move on.

    As far as writing, I'm still revising last WIP. Oh fun!

    That is one of the most professional, captivating book trailers I've seen BTW. Love it--cant' wait to read it!

  11. Reading:
    1. I just got done with Night by Elie Wiesel. It was really good, very heart wrenching, but good.
    2. I'm 64 pages away from finishing The Hobbit. Then, it's on to the Lord of the Rings.

    1. Class assignments
    2. Final paper :P
    3. Work stuff

  12. Writing: do contracts and invoices count? Oh, I just payed bills, do checks count?

    Reading: I've been on a fantasy kick, just finished the latest book in Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels series. Now I'm reading the fourth book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series (historical mystery) and I have the latest Vampire Academy book on deck.

  13. Kayla- I know! I feel like I'm feeding Kid C all day long. It's not like he's a newborn or anything. Why do we do this?

    Folksinmt- Don't feel bad about Mansfield Park. That was the hardest one for me to get into. I don't think Jane will hold it against us. Good luck with the revisions!

    Jenni- Man, you are reading some heavy stuff! Can't wait to hear what you think about LOTR!

    Una- I'm definitely going to have to check those ones out. And invoices totally count for writing. They can be down right poetic! Or maybe I've been doing mine all wrong.

  14. Have to chime in on how jealous I am that Una has read the most recent Kate Daniels. Kate's world is fascinating! I devoured the online teaser chapters to the fourth book and can't wait to read the rest! Wish I could borrow it! (Do read the series in order, though....)

  15. Um, I just read the funniest, loopiest post ever. But, it doesn't exist for me to comment on. I hope that's a preview for tomorrow's post or Friday's, maybe.

  16. Ha ha. Yeah, sorry, that post is going on my family's blog. (The Clot). I accidentally posted it here for a few seconds! Feel free to comment on it on the other blog, though. (Link's in the sidebar. Ashton Clot)

  17. Whoops. It wasn't on the sidebar. But it is now, under writer friends.

  18. I recently read Hex Hall and really enjoyed it--it's laugh out loud funny. Most of the other stuff I've been reading lately, I haven't been interested enough in to actually finish, sad as that is to say.