I *love* New York for a gazillion different reasons, but one of the random ones is the chunks of time that it seems EVERYONE is reading the same book on the subway. It’s like an unofficial book group, except no one talks about the books we’re all reading together apart from MAYBE a nod and a “Hm.” Uttered in a tone of voice sure to convey “I don’t really want to have a conversation, I’m just acknowledging the fact we both live in this city and both love this book. We can now go back to ignoring each other.”
It happened with The Red Tent, the Davinci Code, The Help, The Devil Wears Prada, Harry Potter, and most recently The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The fact is, even though I love that it seems like everyone in New York reads the same thing at the same time, I’ve always opted out of this particular ‘it takes a village to read a book’ activity. There is a great possibility it’s because I’m contrary. Oh yeah, you’re all reading that? Well I”m going to read THIS instead!
And also I was usually reading stuff for work and couldn’t fit in grown-up reading at the same time. And, honestly, the manuscripts I was reading for work were so FRICKING GOOD I wasn’t really upset I didn’t have time to read the The Passage with everyone else.
But now that I’m retired and leading a life of leisure, I have time to catch up on community book group.
Starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
It’s just okay.
That’s a lie.
I am 100% obsessed.
And 100% paranoid that someone is going to tell me something about it that I don’t know already. So if you see me wandering the streets of Brooklyn in an astronaut’s helmet, you’ll know why (why not ear plugs, you ask? they could fall out! too risky).
Yours in book obsession,
Disjointed Memoir = posts with things that will be included in my imaginary memoir
I am standing on the front porch of our little red house in the mountains.
I am five? I’ve just woken up from a nap and wandered outside to the too-bright light of day.
Things don’t look the way they should. I look down at my white smocked shirt with the brown stitching and it looks like its under water.
Then I look down at my hand, and am frozen at the sight of a tiny white spider burrowing its way into my palm.
It hurts, and I can feel it working its way under my skin.
I remember trying to explain it to my dad, but when I showed him my palm, it was just my palm. The hole was gone.
I remember that spider going in, but I don’t remember it coming out. Even if it was a fever dream, I wonder how high a fever I need to watch it wiggle its way back out.
Oh Friday, where have you been all my life?
It’s been so long since you were last here!
And yet, I still have not written a word of my new project. Don’t tell ANYBODY!
Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve written lots of words for the new project. I’ve written first words, sentences, paragraphs, once even the first two pages. And then I deleted it. Numerous times.
Because I’m scared. And I’m so bored of my own fear I groan out loud, “Oh, get over yourself” but it’s really hard advice to take.
I can see the story in my head, I can feel its rhythm. But I can’t write it down.
I know that whatever I write I can change, but every word I write feels so permanent, and so wrong. How can I write a whole book if I can’t write the first word? How can I tell a story if I can’t even start?
I am filled with doubt.
OMG! You know what I need? A session with Stuart Smalley! He can help me get over my performance anxiety.
Seriously, look what he did for Michael Jordan!
If Michael Jordan realizes he doesn’t have to dribble the ball fast or put the ball in the basket, then I can realize I don’t have to write a totally perfectly perfect first draft.
There, I TOTALLY cured myself of writer’s block using the internet! I take back (almost) all my technophic statements. Just not the one related to Terminator, because that sh*t could really happen!
A new How I Met Your Mother AND a starred review from SLJ? This Monday rocks the house!
By Adrienne Maria Vrettos
(McElderry, ISBN: 9781416994695; September 2011; Fall catalog p.79)
Nan has been clean for awhile now. After months of drinking heavily that culminated in a night when she almost died, she willingly went to rehab, got sober, and went home. But now she’s waking up in the subway in a Halloween costume gone wrong, skeleton makeup on her face, and absolutely no idea how she got there or what happened the day before. Did she relapse or is something sinister going on? And, what happened to her friend Seemy? In this exciting and fast-paced thriller, readers get to know Nan through a series of flashbacks that are interspersed with the nightmare she’s in now–scared, alone, and unable to remember anything from the day before. She tries to retrace her steps as best she can by going back to places that were important to her and Seemy before she went to rehab and she and Seemy drifted apart. Although at first readers might think that all that’s important is the mystery of Nan and Halloween night, they will soon be pulled in not only by Nan’s current predicament, but also by the chain of events that led to her implied downfall. The book serves as an in-depth analysis of Nan herself, and readers will become engrossed in her story and the decisions that led her to this breaking point. The novel is gripping and will keep readers glued to their seats, wanting to know if Nan will ever remember what really happened on that terrifying night.
Last night’s book launch party was a blast, and I’m so happy to have been in such great company.
It was a happy, pie-infused blur, but here are the highlights, in order of appearance:
1. Suzanne LaFleur read an excerpt from Eight Keys that was so lovely, and ended with such a hook, I had to keep myself from poking her and demanding she read more.
2. Coe Booth blew me away, per usual, with her reading from Bronxwood, the sequel to Tyrell. It was one billion percent worth the wait. Hearing Tyrell’s voice again was amazing, but ‘seeing’ him with his dad? Unforgettable.
3. Sarah Weeks, David Levithan and Brian Selznick’s Reader’s Theater performance from Sarah’s book, Pie. If you ever meet David Levithan, you really must ask him to do his lawyer impression. Trust me, it’s worth it.
4. Seeing lots of friends, meeting aspiring writers, and BEST BEST BEST of all — thanks to the fact that my husband’s amazing and has no fear of taking two kids on the subway way past their bedtime, it was a total family affair. Celebrating this sort of thing with family, friends, fellow writers and book lovers made it really special.
Still glowing 🙂
First! Please come to tonight’s super-sized, multi-author launch event at Books of Wonder. Click here for the details, or scroll down to the end of this here post.
Second! To celebrate the launch of Burnout, I asked folks what the weirdest thing ever to happen to them on public transportation. And oh my goodness the answers are gnarly. To spare your gag reflex I will tell you only that they involved toenail clipping, lotion, boners, bodily fluid, and a lady doing things with a water bottle that I choose not to go into here.
Third! I bought a new skirt for tonight’s launch event. It’s a 1960’s embroidered A-line from Neiman Marcus and I’m ridiculously in love with it. I bought it at Ana Chronos, a new vintage store in Greenpoint. And what’s weird is even though I no longer require day-job trousers, I am totally stalking their selection of high-waisted beauties.
Details on tonight’s launch event:
If you’re in NYC please come, I’m proud to be in a lineup of truly great authors (and one truly great photographer):
Details below. See you there, I hope!
Books of Wonder 18 West 18th St. New York, NY 10011
Thursday, September 15th 6 pm – 8 pm
DAVID LEVITHAN – Every You, Every Me
JONATHAN FARMER – Every You, Every Me
COE BOOTH – Bronxwood
SARAH WEEKS – Pie
SUZANNE LAFLEUR – Eight Keys
ADRIENNE MARIA VRETTOS – Burnout
There is a reason I’m doing the Running Man in my den (and not just because it feels good) and that’s because BURNOUT pubs today!
And to celebrate, I want to give you a copy. And YOU! That’s right, I’m giving away two copies of Burnout today and next week I’m probably going to give away two more. Because I like you.
Nan, the main character in Burnout, wakes up on the L train with absolutely no memory of the last eighteen hours. What’s the weirdest thing ever to happen to you on public transportation?
*Here’s who can enter: Anyone! Seriously! Even if your last name is Vrettos, or if we just met coffee, or if we’ve written together, or worked together or I changed your diaper, or you changed mine, or if we drove cross-country together, sang Down By the Banks of the Hanky Panky together, or argued over Donnie vs. Jordan vs. Joey.
Welcome! Come in, come in!
I’m so happy to be breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow (stern?) of this new blog with a post chock-full of news. Then I can go back to blogging about donuts and True Blood.
1. My new thriller BURNOUT comes out tomorrow and I am so stoked to be part of a multi-book launch party at Books of Wonder this Thursday, September 15th.
I mean, for Pete’s sake, check out the rest of the line-up:
DAVID LEVITHAN and JONATHAN FARMER: Every You, Every Me
COE BOOTH: Bronxwood
SARAH WEEKS Pie
SUZANNE LAFLEUR Eight Keys
[Links for these are coming, I promise! I’m just writing this while the baby is napping, so time is a-ticking]
That’s my main character, Nan, on the cover. She wakes up on the L train the day after Halloween and can’t remember a dang thing about the last 24 hours, least of all why she’s wearing a too-small Halloween costume, skeleton face paint, and a freshly shaved head. Here’s an excerpt. You’ll have a chance to win a copy tomorrow!
2. I am totally in love with this new blog/website that the ever-amazing Denise Biondo designed for me. She designed the website for my first book, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
3. After years of my fellow writers, readers, moms, book store employees, family, and random people who didn’t really ask hearing me lament the fact that I couldn’t be home with my kids, writing books —- Guess what? I’m home with my kids! Writing books! I spent ten wonderful years at Scholastic, and miss the people so very much already, but I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be with my kids and with my writing work.
And speaking of writing work, I’m off to tap tap tap away.
I’m over at Once Upon a Bookcase this week, with a guest post about writing SKIN, and how sometimes characters barge their way into books and won’t leave.
And, on a totally unrelated note, does it bum anyone else out that everything good on TV happens on Sunday night? Mad Men, True Blood, Entourage. What about the rest of the week? A DVR of Sunday night’s goodies can only last so long!
So maybe it’s time to Netflix some new shows? We did The Wire last summer. What other shows should we watch from the beginning?
Wait, can you bask in the glow of a lobster roll? That makes sense, right? A little bit? Maybe if it were radioactive. Or on fire. Or, in this case, glowing with deliciousness.
We were on vacation last week, up in New Hampshire (crickets, green green grass, cold watermelon, tiny frogs, and a visit to the ‘Swap Shack’ at the town dump) and Maine (lobster rolls, shell collecting, steamers, more green green grass, and sand castles). I had so much great hang-out time with my folks, got to see my grampy and my grandma, cousins, and aunts. It was so clean, and quiet, and peaceful. And then we came back to Brooklyn, and something that was not an animal had taken a poop on the subway platform. I’m not easily skeeved out. I’ve seen lots of things here, but the pile doo doo on the subway platform was almost enough to send us packing back to the land of cricket songs and lobster rolls.
It’s a good thing we love Brooklyn but man oh man is our love being tested.
I’m happy to report that I finished the next draft of the fetchingly titled UNTITLED NYC MYSTERY, but now I am in that nether-world where I’m waiting for the editorial letter, half missing the world of the story, and half not ever wanting to see it again.
And now I MUST go drink some lemonade before I completely evaporate.