Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm in the mood for controversy....

Literary controversy, that is.

In the name of Christmas, I am taking a brief hiatus from my manuscript.  I know that is commonly frowned upon, but there are more distractions then I can handle right now.  When I try focusing on my novel, my computer and I end up competing in a staring contest.  Any guess who wins???

PLUS, I, the fantasy football virgin, am going to my league's Super Bowl.  Yes, you read that correctly.  My team, the Jaded Joes (9-4), will battle Make My Baby Proud (7-6, though they are much better then their record suggests).  With the possibility of winning some much needed cash, writing sessions end with little productivity.

BTW, don't be confused.  I still don't know a darn thing about football. But I do know how to read, and as I said from the beginning, that is the only skill you need...

Some may recall I enacted a personal reading sabatical effective Labor Day until my manuscript was finished.  Again, I know this is frowned upon, but I was desperately looking to limit distractions, and personal reading occupied a lot of time.  Besides, I read more than enough books this summer to hold me over.

But, with the holidays here, I anticipate more personal time than normal, and I'd like to read a book.  Last week, we had our office party, and to the surprise of no one, my Secret Santa gave me a gift card to B&N.  The question is, what book do I buy?

If you've been to my page even once, you know I'm a fan of YA literature.  I read it, I write it, and I have a special place in my heart for teen characters.  Yet, although it is my preference, I'm open minded.

I'm in the mood for a controversial story.  I want something that will make me think and reflect; something that could potentially make me angry (in a good way) and force me to analyze the story internally.  I like laughing; I like yelling at the pages more.  I want to react to the book; I want to think about it long after reading the last word.

Of course, all standard features must apply.  It must hook me from the beginning, it must force me to turn the page regardless of the time of night, and it has to be relatable.  The last novel I read was Nineteen Minutes, which I blogged about here.  Naturally, I enjoy books that focus around educational issues, but for now, I'd like to hold off on the special needs topics.

I have a lengthy list of novels to read, but am never opposed to suggestions from my literary friends.  In fact, it's usually how I choose a book.  My online readers have such diverse taste, there is no doubt in my mind I'll be presented with several outstanding choices. 

Got a title for me?  Please share it below.


  1. I'm drawing a blank, but I'll be thinking about this over the next day or two.

    By the way - congrats on reaching your league championship. I myself, on the other hand (who knows far too much about football), finished second in my league in scoring during the regular season...and lost in the first round with my worst game in a month and a half. Needless to say, my productivity has skyrocketed since the loss...which is some small consolation.

  2. Hmm... let me think?
    One to get you thinking... and crying (sometimes with anger) is a few years old - Life of Pi?
    Another which was excellent, but again totally different from anything I was used to (and I think I may have similar tastes to you) is The Book Thief.
    But then... it's Christmas, don't you want to read something fun, easy and laid back??

  3. Suzy - That's funny, "Life of Pi" was the first book that popped into my head. Paul did set forth the (somewhat standard) stipulation of "It must hook me from the beginning," I wasn't so certain I wanted to leap forward with that one. The first 94 pages of that book are pretty least, compared to how tremendous the rest of the book is. Having said that, however...well, the rest of the book IS tremendous. One of my all-time favorites.

  4. JM - I feel for you. I'm truly sorry about how your fantasy year ended. Had I not placed 2nd in the regular season and earned a bye, I would have been knocked out right away. I scored extremely low that week. Once upon a time, up until 16 weeks ago, Sunday was my most productive writing day. I'm looking forward to getting back on my normal schedule.

    Suzy - I also have a feeling we have similar tastes. Actually, someone gave me a copy of The Book Thief over the summer, which I forgot about until just now. Life of Pi is also on my list of books to tackle, so you had very good suggestions. I'm thinking that I have struggled to go for it because of the reasons JM mentioned. Patience is no virtue of mine; I've never been one who can give a book the time it needs to really take off. I'm working on that. However, since both of you mentioned it, and I know it pertains to my interests, I'm going to definitely plan on reading this soon.

    Easy is always good, especially since I am the slowest reader in the world. Fun and laid back? I never thought of that. I'm a young guy with an angry soul - I tend to avoid anything that would jeopardize my trademark, haha. Maybe changing it up would be a good idea.

  5. You forgot about "The Book Thief!" I gave another copy to my sister-in-law for vacation reading, although I wouldn't call it a "beach" read. Right now, I don't have any other suggestions that would be of interest to you. The last book I read was a Hemingway novel and now I'm reading a travel memoir about a small atoll in Micronesia.

  6. I highly recommend The Book Thief, but it may be heavy for the holidays.

    If you want to hold off on that one- go for Marcus Zusak's other novel "I am the Messenger". He is a young author as well-- so this one may not be a controversial novel, but you will be supporting and exploring a great author.

    I also am starting to read Tom Perrota books.... not sure if you will dig him or not.

    I read Benjamin Lebert's Crazy in high school--and the character is a 16 year old boy... I saved the book because I remember thinking...I feel like this guy "gets it".

    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is also NOT very light but so interesting.....

    Then there are John Green novels..which I am starting to collect as well...

    What am I reading right now? Finally plucked Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why off my "to read" pile- talk about being hooked after the first page......
    Happy Holidays Paul

  7. How about mine? It is a very controversial novel that has strong religious overtones, drips with suspense and makes you think long after you set it down. I won't say more than that. I could use an honest beta reader though.

    Draven Ames

  8. Greta - I didn't entirely forget about it. I packed it away before I painted the room and am still in the process of getting everything squared away. Hope to get things back to normal by the end of January.

    Marie - Please touch base when you finish your Jay Asher novel. I would love to discuss it with you. I too have been collecting John Green novels, though my Looking for Alaska has somehow disappeared.

    Draven - If you truly would like me to read your book, I would be honored. I have never served as a beta reader before, but think it would be a great opportunity I can learn a lot from. As I've said before, I am always impressed by your words and insight. I enjoy visiting your blog, and you have already taught me a great deal. I would take the job very seriously, though you should know I'm very slow. I will do my best to offer whatever it is you are looking for.

  9. Paul, I was joking! And Marie, I really liked Into the Wild and hope Paul does read it at some point.

  10. I'm woefully behind on reading, so nothing to suggest that you likely haven't already read. I just started The Body Finder. Wanted to stop in and wish you Happy Holidays. And btw, I think ms breaks are good! Sometimes a little distance does wonders for what we see in our writing.

  11. Hi Paul,
    You can warm up with this short suspense I just posted at smashwords - already downloaded 108 times (FREE).

    And then you can have at TEN DEAD. I'm sending it your way, so watch out.

    Also, I just bought The Family Bones, by Kimberly Raiser - Darkness Under the Sun, by Dean Koontz & The Red Church, by Scott Nicholson. I should be scared shortly.

    Have fun reading and refueling your creative mind!
    Jeff Bennington


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