Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break Reading

I'm back in NYC for Spring Break! And unfortunately, I missed out on most of the Teen Author Festival because my school chose to push back spring break this year. SUPER.

But all is not lost! For one thing, I visited my sister at Princeton and got a lot of writing done in various libraries. I finally made some progress on a new story I'm working on, which I was inspired to write after reading Versailles by Kathryn Davis earlier this year. It was assigned reading in one of my classes during the week we studied idiosyncratic narrators. The voice of Marie Antoinette was definitely distinctive and a joy to read, but what was really memorable to me was just the language in describing the palace. Really beautiful, like light shot through a glass house - but not without substance. So I wanted to see if I could create that kind of quality with this piece. We'll see!

The second thing is, I'm staying with two friends from college, one of whom is working in publishing. And I raid her bookshelf every time I come here. Like, I literally raid it, and I haul a ton of books back home at the end of the week. This time, I packed light and came with a backpack. So far, I've read:

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. Effing addictive, I stayed up until 3 AM reading it. Told from the points of view of several different characters, it's heavy on dialogue (maybe a little too much so) and keeps the punches coming with the plot.

Abandon by Meg Cabot (April 26, 2011). I won't say too much about it here because I just wrote a review for it, but the teaser reads: She knows what it's like to die. Now Death wants her back. Sounds morbid? Well, according to the back, it's the myth of Persephone, darkly reimagined. So of course I had to read it. Dark retelling? Check. Greek mythology inspiration? Check.

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes. I just started reading this tonight, and so far, I'm captivated by the narrator's voice (so much is already revealed about her, and I'm on, like...page 7). Not to mention the spectacle of a burning man falling through the sky and crash landing in her yard.

Also, on Saturday I went to Ayza, this chocolate and wine bar near K-town (and got a free glass of sangria for liking their Facebook page!) - SO DELICIOUS. If it hadn't been so dark, I would've taken better pictures of the appetizers. We had: angry chicken lollipops, white truffle pizza, roasted French brie crouton, prosiutto di parma (with figs!) tartine, and twenty-layer crème brûlée cake. I'm going to go again before I leave.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book I'm Keeping My Eye On: Divergent by Veronica Roth

I think I came across Divergent via Twitter, and I'm glad I did b/c it sounds awesome! What's even more amazing? Veronica Roth is only 22, and Divergent is the first book in a trilogy.

From the back: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

Divergent will be released May 3, 2011!