Sunday, September 30, 2007
Yesterday I spent all day in Naperville (an hour away, without traffic) at the Anderson's Bookshop Young Adult Author conference. It was fun being there as an author and a librarian. Copies of Get Well Soon were for sale (even though the official release date is not until Tuesday), and people bought it. I signed quite a few books. I really wanted to keep a running tally sheet, but I thought that might look weird. I wish I did, though, looking back. Do you think it would be absolutely tacky to call/email Anderson's to see how many copies I sold? Do authors do that?
I was also on a panel of newer authors with two other people: Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, author of The Shadow Speaker and James Lecesne, author of the forthcoming Absolute Brightness. They were very nice and fun to be with on a panel. James acted as the moderator, and he was very funny (and had on shiny silver Converse!). I have not yet read their books, but I definitely will. After I finish reading the two books I'm reading now. One of which I have been reading for at least two months. If only I weren't so tired all of the time...
I had two people come up to me for autographs and tell me that they, too, had been hospitalized. It's amazing how many people have. One woman said to me she hopes my book helps remove the stigma of being in a mental hospital. That's a tall order, and I almost feel too goofy of a person to have any real effect like that. I do hope people relate and laugh, but I don't think I could ever go on Oprah as a spokesperson for mental hospital stays. Not like Jenny McCarthy and her autism soapbox. I don't know what to think, O Lady with the Breast Implants. Kind of takes away from the whole authority thing, in my opinion.
Two more days until Get Well Soon is in stores!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I had a bunch of things I wanted to blog about, but I forget. One of the things was this dream I had. In real life, I will be doing a reading of Get Well Soon at The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL on October 6, and I know a bunch of my students will be there. I am worried about reading the swears aloud and am debating censoring the reading. So the dream was that I was on Oprah, holding a copy of Get Well Soon that was filled with crossed out words. I did a terrible reading, stuttering and blurring all of the words. And the worst part is that it was live. It’s such a classic dream situation. No question about what I was dreaming about there.
In other news, I got another great review of Get Well Soon. First I just have to say that I got one lame review in School Library Journal. That makes two for two lames reviews in SLJ (my first book, Toby and the Snowflakes, was reviewed by a college librarian. Hello? Do you even read to little kids? How would you know what they like?). I wasn’t going to blog about it, but now that I am vindicated by three good reviews to one bad one, I feel OK about. I think the reviewer had some serious issues with therapy of her own. She commented on the relationship with the mother in GWS, which was so insignificant (deliberately, by the way, so I wouldn’t upset my mom) and something a teen wouldn’t even notice. And she said something about my swearing, like it was unnatural or gratuitous (I don’t feel obligated to quote the review directly, since the review suggests that perhaps the reviewer didn’t look very closely at my book anyway. Nyah.), and if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s swear. Whatev. Here’s my great Booklist review:
“I am a huge waste of life and space, and I’m tired of being alive and having to deal with it.” After a period of panic attacks, depression, and cutting school, Anna Bloom’s parents send her to Lakeland , a Chicago mental-health facility. In letters addressed to her best friend, Tracy, Anna recounts her three weeks in the adolescent ward. Debut author Halpern drew from her own teen experiences with depression, and Anne’s voice, filled with spot-on musings, sarcasm, slang, and swearing, is uproariously funny and authentic, whether offering vivid accounts of “Lake Shit’s . . . booger green and vomit brown” decor, bewildering therapy sessions, or the shock and pleasure of finding friends, romance, confidence, and belonging: “This place seems to erase all social stereotypes. There [is] absolutely no pressure to be cool or skinny or entertaining.” Many teens will connect with the vague anxiety that lands Anna in treatment as well as her subtle, realistic sense that her life is her own to value and shape.
— Gillian Engberg
My favorite line is “uproariously funny.” Love it!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
For those of you in the Chicagoland area, I will be at The Book Stall at 2:00 on Saturday, October 6 signing copies of Get Well Soon. I will also do a little reading, but I can't decide if I should leave in the swears. My fear is that some of my students will be there, and I pride myself in not swearing in front of my kids. But it will be in a different context than school. Hmmm... I can't decide.
In cold update news, I have a sinus infection. I always seem to get sinus infections now. So annoying. I have been quite dizzy for days. The antibiotic hurts my tummy, although I am grateful there hasn't been any barfing. Matt cleaned the toilet for me the night I started the antibiotic. Isn't that sweet?
Excuse the randomness of this post. I think I will make an exciting poll that all two of you reading will answer. I do love making polls.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Is anyone watching the new Tim Gunn show? I like it, although I haven't been able to watch any of the episodes more than once; they're a little depressing. The women seem so insecure, it makes me sad. At least they feel better at the end. I wish I felt better. My head feels worse as I type this. Cross your fingers that I can get an early doc appointment tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It's too bad that I'm sick because yesterday a photographer from the Chicago Tribune came by my school to take pictures of me for an upcoming ____ in the Trib. I'm not quite sure what it is yet or when it will run. They said they may do an interview, and there will probably be a review. I just wish I felt better yesterday because I know I looked lethargic (ooh- like Britney!) and probably a little pasty. Oh well. I'm not super vain when it comes to photographs (although we'll see how I'm feeling when the thing actually runs). I'll keep you posted when I know more. Or, if you are a subscriber, you can keep me posted.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
1. Watch Whoopi on The View (too bad Hassleback hasn't had her baby yet, so I don't have to look at her annoying mug).
2. Play Sims 2 Bon Voyage.
3. Type for at least an hour and a half (editing my new book).
4. Try to get on the treadmill.
5. Try not to eat all of the chocolate cookies I baked for Matt's birthday.
6. Head to my aunt's house for dinner.
Things I SHOULD do tomorrow:
1. Actually exercise.
2. Not eat the cookies (I may ask Matt to hide them tonight).
3. Work on my mailing list for my Get Well Soon.
4. Type for more than an hour and a half.
5. Some laundry.
Wishing everyone a sweet, happy and healthy new year!
Monday, September 10, 2007
In much better performance news, I watched the movie Air Guitar Nation last night. It's a documentary about the International Air Guitar Championships that take place every year in Finland. I LOVED it! I couldn't sleep, I was so jacked up on air guitar excitement. It didn't help that the main "character"- C-Diddy- "played" the excellent "Play with Me" by Extreme (um, I had NO idea that's who played that song until I looked it up under the listing for Bill and Ted's Excellent Advneture soundtrack.), which is funny and rockin' at the same time. Click HERE to listen to it at YouTube. Listen to the beginning, then fast forward to 2:30 for the gist.I may have to watch the movie again tonight. It's the feel-good hit of the year! Sorry. I'm being a dork. Must be the Extreme combined with the whole air guitar thing. Now if I can only find my mullet...
Saturday, September 08, 2007
In other news, I believe there is a shortage of Haribo black and red raspberry candies because the mall candy store was out (the bin only filled with the remnant black and red beads), and when I went to Walgreen's to buy a bag, they were out. Curious. So instead I bought a small bad of Autumn Mix. I am not one of those people who only likes to look at Candy Corn (because I know there are people out there who just sit around staring at candy all day. Yeah.). I truly enjoy it's mellow (HA! Because aren't they officially called "Mellow Cremes? Or is it mello? Whatev.) flavoring and happy, autumn colors. The pumpkins in the Autumn Mix are a bit much, and I find myself biting away at them with my front teeth. I normally just alretante between the chocolate and regular candy corn.
I have this weird (or not) feeling that I wrote about the exact same thing around this time last year on my blog. So after I publish this, I'm going to go back and check.
Friday, September 07, 2007
New teen review of Get Well Soon at teensreadtoo.com
Sorry for the continuous lameness of my recent blogs. I'll try to try harder.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I got my second published GET WELL SOON review today from Kirkus Reviews. I have heard they are notoriously negative, so this is quite a good review. There's just a confusing (sort of negative, but more babbly) sentence toward the end, and the rest is good. Here it is:
GET WELL SOON
In funny, easygoing prose, 16-year-old Anna writes letters while spending three difficult, involuntary weeks in a mental institution. Anna’s parents placed her there because she stopped going to school due to panic attacks, crying jags and death wishes. Socially insecure and self-hating, Anna sardonically notes the hospital’s arbitrary rules and “sticky, slightly padded” walls. Very slowly, she makes friends and even manages a romance (despite a strict no-touching rule). The staff seems useless and harsh (responding to tears, her therapist says, “Shut up, and stop being such a baby”), but Anna’s immense improvement over the three weeks may imply that the doctors help more than she reports. Alternatively, the change could be from anti-depressants and time away from her parents. She develops from an overly obliging bundle of nerves to someone who gets angry. Muddled textual messages about attractiveness portray weight loss as both an unfair (and non-feminist) requirement and also an exciting accomplishment; otherwise, this is an appealingly comic cousin of Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (2003). (Fiction. YA)
Monday, September 03, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
In slightly related news, I had a dream last night that J.Lo was filming a video for her new song (The new song was a completely made up song in my dream. Do you guys ever have dreams with entirely fake- and catchy- songs?) in a library. She was supposed to be a sexy librarian.