Posts tagged ‘neil gaiman’

October 28, 2011

All Hallow’s Read

Halloween is approaching! I hope you all have your costumes lined up. Are you going as a spooky literary character, like Mrs. Havisham or Dracula or Claudia Kishi’s accessory drawer? I hope so!

Have you heard about All Hallow’s Read? Probably you have because Neil Gaiman started it and Neil Gaiman is directly plugged in to the hive mind of the internet. Seriously. Neil Gaiman is reading your thoughts right now. And he’s tweeting about them.

Anyway, the gist of All Hallow’s Read is that you should give someone a scary book for Halloween! Oooo! I am trying to think of scary books I like. In general, I am not a big fan of scary books. I am what you might call “high-strung” and I don’t need to be reading about ghosts or vampires or whatever to raise my blood pressure. Anyway, if I want to be terrified, I’ll just watch Fox News. (Zing!!) Still, in the spirit of Halloween, I tried to come up with some of my favorite scary reads.

the witches

Noooo witches noooo!

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Eek! Environmental destruction! Totalitarian theocracy! Forced illiteracy! What could be scarier?
  • Sandman #6: 24 Hours by Neil Gaiman. This is collected in Preludes and Nocturnes. If you haven’t read Sandman yet, you are probably tired of people telling you to read Sandman. But seriously though, you should read Sandman. And read “24 Hours” if you want to be scared!
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl. This book is why I don’t trust anyone who wears pointy-toed shoes.
  • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I promise I will only buy eggs if I personally know the chickens!! I promise!! No stop telling me about where eggs come from! Noooo!
  • Eating Animals

    Nooooo corn-fed cattle nooooooo

    What are your favorite scary books? Tell me!! But if they are too scary you have to come over and hold my hand while I read them.

May 12, 2011

Literary Moms

In honor of Mother’s Day, how about some fictional moms?

(NOTE: I started writing this on Mother’s Day and then got distracted and never finished it. But, you know what? In the Dominican Republic, Mother’s Day is the last Sunday in May, so I’m early for that. Also, you should love your mom every day!)

Unfortunately, it’s hard to come up with too many great moms in YA fiction, since YA books nearly always kill or marginalize the parents. This is understandable from a narrative perspective–it really forces teen protagonists to take action if they know they can’t count on help from their parents. But it makes it hard to write Mother’s Day blog entries.

So, the top fictional moms in my book (ha!) come from what should probably be called children’s literature, not young adult literature. But whatevs! It’s all good.

1) Marmee from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Until re-reading this as an adult, I never really realized how very religious Marmee and the March girls are! That is okay, though. It’s just how they roll. Marmee is such a sweet, hardworking lady. She knows how to encourage her daughters to make it through some rough times without going all Tiger Mom on them. Like, remember when she gave them a week without chores so they would realize on their own how terrible it was when the house was so messy? Great parenting, Marmee.ILU Marmee

2) Kate Murry from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Smart, brave, and up to the task of mothering insecure Meg, child prodigy Charles Wallace, and average-ish twins Sandy and Dennys. All this while her husband is being held prisoner on the planet Camazotz and their small-minded neighbors assume he’s left her for another woman. But, please, who would leave Kate Murry?

3) Lowercase will grayson’s mom from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. (Sorry–I don’t remember her name and can’t find it online. It might not have been mentioned.) I love her response when will comes out to her, and I love the way she helps him through his breakup as best she can. She hasn’t had the easiest life herself, but she’s got will’s back.

Then, because I kept thinking of them while I was trying to come up with good moms, here are some of the worst moms in children’s and YA fiction:

1) Renee from the Twilight saga. Flaky, annoying, childish, and responsible for creating Bella Swan, the most irritating female protagonist since, like, ever.

2) The Other Mother from CoPlease keep those buttons away from me!raline by Neil Gaiman. Sure, she seems nice at first, but then it turns out she wants perfect conformity and obedience. Oh, and to replace your eyes with buttons.

3) Petunia Dursley from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Obviously, she’s horribly cruel to her nephew Harry. But she really wasn’t doing Dursley any favors by spoiling him so much. He turned out fat, mean-spirited, and generally awful–not that Petunia will ever see it that way.

Who are your favorite or least favorite literary moms?