Category: Miscellaneous


Happy Belated Halloween!

We carved pumpkins but this one is by boxercab. Click the photo for more art by this artist.

I was enjoying Halloween last night rather than writing my blog.  I know.  Bad Kate.  But honestly, we got an adorable little angel and a bunch of other cuties.  Also, since we did up our yard like a graveyard and dressed like ghosts, many little kids had to be coaxed up to get their treats!  One little ninja brandished his plastic sword when he approached me.  Brave little soul!

Anyway, I’ll be back on Wednesday, hopefully sans my sugar hangover.  I hope your Halloween was as fun as mine!

What scares us?

The Halloween movie poster is from Wikipedia. Although it's copywrited, I'm claiming "fair use". 🙂

I planned on writing a blog post, but instead got sucked into a two-hour bio show on the making of the movie “Halloween”.  I always loved that movie and now  I love it even more!  A few things I learned:

  1. The Michael Meyers mask is actually a re-worked William Shatner mask.
  2. It had the longest single shot in movie making (4 1/2 minutes which they actually admit did have one break, but they do have an uncut version of the shot).
  3. The movie was shot in California so all of those October leaves are painted Maple leaves that had to be gathered after each shot.
  4. The whole thing was made for $325,000.  $25,000 of that was Donald Pleasence’s pay.
  5. There’s a shot where you can see John Carpenter’s cigarette smoke.
  6. John Carpenter wrote the score.

As far as writing goes, this solidifies my belief that simple is best.  Think about “Halloween”.  Do you remember any extra people on the streets?  Was there much in the way of background in the original movie?  Think about the score.  Just a simple one-fingered melody.  Did we need to know motivation for it to be scary?  Of course not.  Bare bones simple can work just as well, sometimes even better, than all the explosions and CGI in the world.

The same is true in a book.

In honor of Halloween, tell me about your favorite spooky movie.  Is it a simple, terrifying concept like “Halloween” or a more complicated plot, like “The Ring”?  I know this is a book blog, but this time of year makes me crave cinema.  Have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

Banned Book Week

This literary bonfire is provided by pcorreia and I found in on Flickr. For more photos by this artist, click on the picture!

Happy Banned Book Week!

If you know me, you know that I’m an opinionated person.  I am very strongly opposed to censorship.  I have problems with book banning  and suppression of free speech in any form, including the written word.  New books that make the Banned Book list fly to the top of my reading list because I know there’s a good chance that my ideas will be challenged, my beliefs will be questioned, and my morals will be tested.  If the unexamined life isn’t worth living, these edgy books help us wade into the pool of self-examination.

In 2009, over 450 books were challenged, meaning that someone, somewhere had a problem with the content of a book and has appealed to have it removed from a school or public library.  If you would like to find out more about Banned Book Week, have a look at the American Library Association website.

I wanted to mention a few of the current members of the 2010 Banned Books List and I hope you will add one or more of these to your weekend reading.

  • I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS by Maya Angelou.  This book was challenged in 2009 by the Newman-Crows Landing, California School District on the grounds that the content was inappropriate for children and the white school teachers were not equipped to teach about African American culture.
  • TWISTED by Laurie Halse Anderson.  You’ll remember that I blogged about SPEAK, by the same author.  This book was challenged in Montgomery County, Kentucky for inappropriate content and not being intellectually challenging enough for a college prep classes.
  • THE HOUSE OF NIGHT SERIES by P.C. and Kristin Cast.  This book series was banned from the Henderson Junior High School in the Stephenville, Texas Independent School District.  This isn’t just one book; this is a series of books.  An incomplete series.  So they’ve actually banned books that have yet to be written.
  • ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank.  This book was challenged by Culpeper County, Va. Public school in 2010.  The school district decided not to assign this book due to sexual and homosexual content.  After much national attention, the school district decided to teach the book at a higher grade level.
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee.  This is one of my favorite books.  It was challenged in 2009 by St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada for the language.
  • THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY.  Was challenged in the Menifee, California Union School District in 2010 because one student came across the term “oral sex” in the dictionary.  The School district is now considering a permanent ban.
  • THE TWILIGHT SERIES by Stephanie Meyers.  This series was banned in 2009 in Australia because the books are too racy.  Students were asked to leave their personal copies at home, too.

For the full list of the 2010 banned books, look here.  You can also get a list of the most frequently challenged books.

If you’ve read one of the banned books on the list, tell me about it!  How do you feel about Banned Book Week?  And how would you feel if a book you wrote showed up on this list?

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of labor day, I’ve decided not to labor. 🙂  I’ll be back on Wednesday with the introduction to my next book deconstruction which will look at TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN by John Marsden.  Mr. Marsden is Australian and this book is set in Australia, so it has a very interesting voice.  I’m looking forward to exploring it.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Monday!

The photo is by br3akthru and I found it on freedigitalphotos.net.

Welcome to Kate’s Book Blog!  I love a good book.  If you’re a reader, you know just what I’m talking about. You think you can walk away from story at the end of chapter three to make dinner or feed the cat or pay some attention to your significant other but something MAKES you pick that sucker back up.  You won’t sleep or eat until you know just what happens to the main character.

I’m not just a reader; I’m a re-reader.  I buy all my books because I know there’s going to be a passage or a turn of phrase that I want to revisit.  HOW did the author deal with a first person narrative where the MC knows something the reader doesn’t?  WHY did that scene leave me so satisfied?  HOW did the author make me feel for such an awful character?  I deconstruct books so that I can try to figure out what makes them tick.  And subsequently write a break-out best-seller  that makes readers speak my name with awe (not there yet–not even close).

Mostly, I read (and write) young adult–usually fantasy.  And what I’d like to do with this blog is deconstruct the books I’m reading.  I’ll do my best to not spoil any key plot elements.  To me, most books break down into three main areas: character/setting, plotting, and writing style.  So, I plan to write a post to introduce the book I’m working on, and then individual posts for how character/setting, plotting, and writing style work in these books.

Am I qualified to do this? Probably not.  Which is why I welcome any and all comments.  And book recommendations.  I think that the first book I’d like to attempt is THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman.  I just finished it and it’s utterly brilliant.

Kate