Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Men: An Appreciation. And OctoberPalooza.

     There are a lot of hot men out there, and, to my shame, it took me a long time to figure that out. I've always been a late bloomer. 
     True, when I was younger I read Richard Peck and Robert Cormier. I loved Stephen King, and will never forget how I read Carrie during a sleepover while Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy played in the background. I stayed up all night with Carrie. I read  and re-read James Clavell's tomes.
     Fast-forward to now.
     I have reveled in untrammeled joy in books by men. Men I didn't know existed until I committed myself to reading  YA exclusively for a year. I have since come to the conclusion that YA as a category needs a name change, but that is a topic for my next post.
     Patrick Ness, The Chaos Walking Trilogy is amazing, heart-rending, true, necessary.
     Matt de la Pena, We Were Here should be required reading for all middle school students. It's real, heartbreaking,  breathtaking, and gritty.
     Michael Grant, you know how to set up a wild ride that starts on page one and doesn't end. Plot maestro. I am not bitter that I can't find the next book after Plague. Really. Not bitter. Because BZRK will be out soon.
     Neil Gaiman, Coraline scared me to bits. The Graveyard Book sings Siren songs to me. I am so glad I can't find a label for you except Neil Gaiman.
     Joseph Lunievicz, Open Wounds opened wounds with the deft precision of one who dances with, and commands, weapons and words. I can only be in a sort of zen-like awe, and loan your book out to my students. Thanks for Lefty.
     Daniel Kraus, with Rotters you took me to places I never thought I wanted to go. But when I arrived, I found I really had to be there.With wide eyes and a slightly bilious stomach I learned of coffin liquor and The Rat King and a saw how a storm should be written and I thought, Shakespeare would have loved this.  I did.
     G. Neri, Yummy is a book I'm just keeping in my room and having kids read. They cluster around it, shoving a little. It gets passed around during class, and I pretend not to notice. Because some of them haven't seen a graphic novel before, and I want them to get hungry on the idea.
     Jay Asher. Thirteen Reasons Why. I am grateful.
     Matthew MacNish, friend, blogger, supporter to all who write and strive for excellence and success, you work for the greater good in more ways than I think you know. You have seriously charged your karma battery, and I believe the universe sees.
      Andrew Smith. Wild rides, grit,  sorrow, moments of grace. Your stories disturb, haunt, and yet hope persists. Ghost Medicine, In the Path of Falling Objects, The Marbury Lens, Stick. And lots of great recs.
     Men, your work is hot. It is vital, necessary, inspiring, humbling. It took me a while. The late bloomer is trying to make up for lost time. 
 Post-script from a mortified Kristen:
James Dashner, I am thrilled that The Death Cure will be out next week on October 11. I have it pre-ordered.
Sherman Alexie and Brian Selznick, you are both authors on my To Be Read list.
I know there are hosts of you who I have not yet read. I'll get there. Late bloomer, remember?


  1. Tremendously well said. Love it. I have yet to read Coraline or The Graveyard Book. My wife has read both and loved them (in fact, TGB was one of the themes at one of the tables at our wedding reception; oh yeah, we had a book-themed wedding). I've read the first in the Chaos trilogy and enjoyed it. I think next on my radar is In the Path of Falling Objects. I've definitely heard wonderful things about Jay Asher's book. I'm fairly certain we have a copy somewhere.

    Have you read any Sherman Alexie, James Dashner, Brian Selznick?

    Another great post!


  2. Thanks, Non! Ay yi yi, I can't believe I didn't mention those worthies. Will revise. I so appreciate your support! :)

  3. Oh wow, you actually edited your post! You didn't have to do that. But you're freaking awesome for doing so. Cheers!