Friday, July 24, 2009

GHOSTGIRL and GHOSTGIRL HOMECOMING by Tonya Hurley

Before you head back to school, you need to take time to read ghostgirl and ghostgirl:Homecoming by Tonya Hurley (picture right).  Part Beetlejuice, part Christina Ricci's Casper, part Bring It On, the ghostgirl books are the perfect end to summer, get you back in the swing of things for the academic year.  'Cause, let's face it.  School's less about Chinua Achebe and quadratic equations and more about the cute new transfers or who will ask you to the first dance.


Both of these books were highly entertaining and written by a hand skilled in pop culture and teen experience.  Hurley sets up each chapter with a song quote and philosophical tidbit.  The themes and plot are in no way condescending nor do they stereotype teen angst, but they're also not too profound for occasional readers.  There's nothing inappropriate for young teens, but the plot is complex and intriguing enough for older teens. 

Still, while the stories themselves are highly enjoyable, the standout quality of these books is their physical form.  In black hardback, the front covers have glassine panes that resemble coffins, and open to a Tim-Burton-like drawing of Charlotte.  The pages are all tipped with silver, and the text is framed by black and pink flowers.  

Given together, these would be the perfect gift for any reader or non-reader girl (or a boy you know likes YA fiction) to go back to school, or for any occasion while they're in school (birthday, good grades, etc.)  Adults should probably check them out from the library, although they do add zip to the look of any bookshelf.

Ghostgirl Ghostgirl
by Tonya Hurley


August 1st 2008 by Little, Brown Young Readers
Hardcover, 328 pages
0316113573 (isbn13: 9780316113571)





Charlotte Usher headed purposefully across the parking lot to the front doors of Hawthorne High, repeating her positive mantra - "This year is different.  This is my year."
Charlotte Usher has always felt invisible, especially to A-List Petula and her Posse.  Then, on the first day of the new school year, Charlotte finds herself paired with Damen Dylan, her Crush and Petula's boyfriend, in Physics class.   The excitement overcomes her, and she inhales her gummy bear.   And dies.  At first, she doesn't understand why she's in a new school with new classmates who all look like they should belong in The Haunted Mansion.  Then, when she discovers she's dead, she tries her best to infiltrate the bodies of Petula and the Posse, to convince the Powers that Be that she belongs with Damen, after all.
Ghostgirl: Homecoming (Ghostgirl)

Ghostgirl: Homecoming
by Tonya Hurley
July 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Young Readers
Hardcover, 304 pages
031611359X (isbn13: 9780316113595)


Dying of boredom wasn't an option.

Damen's off to college, Scarlet worries about their relationship and Petula's repeating a year, which suits her just fine.  She's in the running for Homecoming Queen, and still giving her little sister grief about stealing Damen the year before.  Meanwhile, Charlotte (aka ghostgirl), finds herself working an afterlife hotline for troubled (living) teens. When Petula runs the risk of crossing over, Scarlet puts her life on the line so that she can get help from Charlotte.



In Bed With Books, GreenBeanTeenQuean, Carrie's YA BookshelfLiyanaLand

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Clarity of Night comment trails

Anyone trying to follow the enormous number of comment trails on each of the entries in the current Clarity of Night contest...what do you think of this:

CoN Comment Feeds

It's just an example; it's customizable - is it helpful to anyone but me?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hit Me

Hey everyone - my little flash fiction piece is getting some kind reviews over at Clarity of Night, but I'd love to get my bloggy lovers' thoughts.

I appreciate everyone's comments. I'm not satisfied with this as a flash-fiction piece, but quite pleased with it as a writing exercise in general.

What do y'all think about how much showing v. telling there was? I was really trying to hit that; it's a hard distinction for me. Thoughts?



Presage
by Aerin Rose


Twenty-two hours from San Francisco to Kathmandu. Four hours until the layover in Hong Kong. Caelin will have finished grading papers by then. She arches her back, stretching, then wiggles her toes, and catches the eye of the flight attendant.

“More, please.” She indicates the travel-sized wineglass. The remaining ruby droplets glisten in the spotlight of her reading lamp. The attendant nods from the galley.

“You realize that’s basically grape juice?” Chloe peers around the headrest as her business class bed reverts to its upright position.

“It’s a second growth Bordeaux and you know it, O Queen Food Critic,” Caelin retorts. “How’d you sleep?”

“Not well. Looks like fourteen bottles of questionable Bordeaux didn’t help you sleep, either.”

“Excited?”

“And nervous. What if she hates us?”

“Sweetheart.” Caelin strokes her wife’s cheek as Chloe unfolds the passport she’s been clutching. A little girl with dark eyes and copper skin gazes at them, unsmiling and unafraid. “She liked us well enough before. Any kid will hate her parents at some point. Let’s just focus on getting her home.”

The flight attendant materializes with the bottle of Château Cos-d'Estournel 1989, which streams like scarlet silk into the stemware.

“Like the orphanage is going to let her come home when you show up drunk,” Chloe teases, leaning close. Caelin smiles into her spouse’s black curls. Points of light play on the surface of her wine, casting images against the back of the seat in a rosy haze. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ROSEY IN THE PRESENT TENSE by Louise Hawes

Rosey in the Present Tense Rosey in the Present Tense
by Louise Hawes

March 2001 (first published 1999)by Walker Books for Young Readers
Paperback, 144 pages
0802776035 (isbn13: 9780802776037)

4 of 5 stars

Rosey spreads her arms out like an airplane, then dive-bombs off the rock.


Franklin Sanders - lacrosse player, poet, teenage boy - loves Rosey Mishimi. When Rosey dies in a car accident, Franklin can't stop thinking of her in the present tense. When Rosey's spirit appears to Franklin six months later to help him move on, Franklin refuses to acknowledge any truth except that she is there with him. Is it better to be depressed or insane?

Let's be honest. I bought this book because Louise Hawes is Queen of Awesomeness. I knew I was predisposed to like it (especially since my nickname is Rosey). I probably would have reviewed it in a positive light no matter what.

Fortunately, this novel totally merits a positive review all on its own.

A quick little read (only 128 pages), Rosey in the Present Tense appealed to me in a variety of ways. Mostly, however, I loved the characterization of Franklin. It would be easy, I think, to show this adolescent boy and reduce him to a stereotype. Hawes, of course, doesn't take the easy route. Franklin is an honest human character, ageless in his experience of loss. Only a touch of teen angst infuses his actions. He's one of the best teen male characters I've read since Harry got his very first letter from Hogwarts.
I'd recommend this book for ages 12 and up (really up - all the way to adult), but probably not as a gift.  On one hand, this may be a book you want to get from the library. I'm not sure I'd read this book a second time: I know I will cry every time I read it, and I don't really need to cry that much. On the other hand, you might want a copy of your own. I find myself pulling it off the shelf to read snippets here and there, beautiful bits of Rosey's life and Franklin's devotion to her. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Newsweek's Top 100

Megan over at write meg! posted Newsweek's list of Top 100 Books: The Meta-List.

Since I'm on my third margarita, it sounded like a good idea to me to count up how many I've read.  I put them in bold (there are only 20 titles I've read completely.  I've read excerpts of most everything, but I don't think that counts.)  For laughs, I put in italics the books that are on my Fill-in-the-Gaps list (21 of those).  And still no Margaret Atwood.

Want to play along? How many of the books have you read?

1. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
2. 1984, by George Orwell
3. Ulysses, by James Joyce
4. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
5. The Sound and The Fury, by William Faulkner
6. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
7. To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
8. The Illiad and the Odyssey, by Homer
9. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
10. Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri
11. Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer
12. Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift
13. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
14. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, Margaret by Mitchell
17. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
18. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
19. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
20. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
21. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
22. Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie
23. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
24. Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
25. Native Son, by Richard Wright
26. Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville
27. On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
28. The Histories, by Herodotus
29. The Social Contract, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
30. Das Kapital, by Karl Marx
31. The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli
32. Confessions, by St. Augustine
33. Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes
34. The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides
35. The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
36. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne
37. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis
38. A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster
39. On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
40. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
41. The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version
42. A Clockwork Orange, by Antony Burgess
43. Light in August, by William Faulkner
44. The Souls of Black Folk, by W. E. Du Bois
45. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
46. Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
47. Paradise Lost, by John Milton
48. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
49. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
50. King Lear, by William Shakespeare
51. Othello, by William Shakespeare
52. Sonnets, by William Shakespeare
53. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
54. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
55. Kim, by Rudyard Kipling
56. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
57. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
58. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
59. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
60. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
61. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
62. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
63. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
64. The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
65. Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust
66. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
67. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
68. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
69. I, Claudius, by Robert Graves
70. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers
71. Sons and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence
72. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
73. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
74. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
75. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
76. Night, by Elie Wiesel
77. Rabbit Run, by John Updike
78. The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton
79. Portnoy’s Complaint, by Philip Roth
80. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
81. The Day of the Locust, by Nathaniel West
82. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
83. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiel Hammett
84. His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman
85. Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather
86. The Interpretation of Dreams, by Sigmund Freud
87. The Education of Henry Adams, by Henry Adams
88. Quotations from Chairman Mao, by Mao Zedong
89. The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James
90. Brideshead Revisted, by Evelyn Waugh
91. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
92. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, by John Maynard Keynes
93. Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad
94. Goodbye to All That, by Robert Graves
95. The Affluent Society, by John Kenneth Galbraith
96. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
97. The Autobiograhy of Malcom X, by Alex Haley & Malcom X
98. Eminent Victorians, by Lytton Strachey
99. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
100. The Second World War, by Winston Churchill

To: B. Nagel

Dear Betty,

You win.  (Okay, Pete helped.)  Rather nasty trick, there, invoking the Boss's name.  You know I am powerless against the Co-Dictators of the Universe.

My entry to the current Clarity of Night contest is here.  Or you can read it in the postscript.  I keep hoping for one of those magical epiphanies that write themselves, 250 words of such depth and perfection that it reduces Parrish to tears.  Sadly, no such epiphany occurred for this contest.  I will jump cartwheels if only I can stay in the Forties Club (do not even dare to suggest that has anything to do with my age).

I've read but not commented on all the entries.  Some, like this one, are way too profound for my summertime brain.  Some (like Tessa's, and Sarah's are poetry: I stink at appreciating poetry.   

Quite a few of my peeps entered: Merry, Ello, Chris, Aniket, wolfie, Paul, Pete, Parrish, J.C., Precie, Angelique, Dottie, Sandra, Absolute Vanilla, Surly Writer, Whirlochre. Am I well-connected or what? (Yes, I hobnob.)

My current favorites are da Boss's and Sylvia's and Tre'von's.  I think.  At least right now.

Not only is my Clarity entry not to the level I'd hoped, my word counts on the WIPs are lagging.  McKoala's going to claw me soon, I'm afraid.  I know your own poetry and Rumpelstiltskin writing is going well, even if I haven't left comments.  I'm all-knowing that way.

I hope that your home ownership and kitchen remodelling are going well.  You will certainly need to get ahead of things in order to fill the Boss's shoes when he's on leave.  First thing you can do is raise my salary.  Royalty needs bling, you know.

Do give my best to Mrs. Betty and to Zora.

Cordially,
the Queen

PS - I haven't mailed your books yet, but I also haven't forgotten.

PPS - Here's my entry:

Presage
by Aerin Rose


Twenty-two hours from San Francisco to Kathmandu. Four hours until the layover in Hong Kong. Caelin will have finished grading papers by then. She arches her back, stretching, then wiggles her toes, and catches the eye of the flight attendant.

“More, please.” She indicates the travel-sized wineglass. The remaining ruby droplets glisten in the spotlight of her reading lamp. The attendant nods from the galley.

“You realize that’s basically grape juice?” Chloe peers around the headrest as her business class bed reverts to its upright position.

“It’s a second growth Bordeaux and you know it, O Queen Food Critic,” Caelin retorts. “How’d you sleep?”

“Not well. Looks like fourteen bottles of questionable Bordeaux didn’t help you sleep, either.”

“Excited?”

“And nervous. What if she hates us?”

“Sweetheart.” Caelin strokes her wife’s cheek as Chloe unfolds the passport she’s been clutching. A little girl with dark eyes and copper skin gazes at them, unsmiling and unafraid. “She liked us well enough before. Any kid will hate her parents at some point. Let’s just focus on getting her home.”

The flight attendant materializes with the bottle of Château Cos-d'Estournel 1989, which streams like scarlet silk into the stemware.

“Like the orphanage is going to let her come home when you show up drunk,” Chloe teases, leaning close. Caelin smiles into her spouse’s black curls. Points of light play on the surface of her wine, casting images against the back of the seat in a rosy haze.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Children's Book Bits #1

The OK Book The OK Book 
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

April 24th 2007 by HarperCollins
0061152552 (isbn13: 9780061152559)
3 of 5 stars
Turn "OK" on its side and you've got the stick figure of a kid! Rosenthal's character explores a lot of way that he/she is "okay." The book is better than okay, but not great - a little long, a little overly "precious." Still a great one to get from the library to read to your own kidlings.

Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-ZooProfessor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo
by Mercer Mayer
September 7th 2001 (first published 1976) by School Specialty Publishing
157768687X (isbn13: 9781577686873)
 4 of 5 stars
a more playful version of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, this book is the story of Professor Wormbog, who can't see things right under his nose.  I was a little sensitive to all the animals he kept in cages, but mostly this is a fun romp of a book.  Another one to get from the library.
Jamaica Louise JamesJamaica Louise James 
by Amy Hest
August 5th 1996 by Candlewick
Hardcover, 32 pages
1564023486 (isbn13: 9781564023483)
3 of 5 stars
sweet story about a budding NYC artist who lives with her mother and grandmother; too wordy for preschoolers, best for older kids, maybe ages 6 and up

Wombat WalkaboutWombat Walkabout
by Carol Diggory Shields
March 19th 2009 by Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 32 pages
0525478655 (isbn13: 9780525478652)
 4 of 5 stars
a counting poem chock-full of Australian terms and equally whimsical artwork; for preschoolers and older (there's a dingo who wants to eat the wombats)

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (Reading Rainbow Book) Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
by John Steptoe

March 31st 1987 by Amistad
Hardcover, 32 pages
0688040454 (isbn13: 9780688040451)
4 of 5 stars
one of my favorite stories from around 5th grade or so when I fell in love with fairy tales; an excellent gift book for any little girl who's learning what it means to be a princess; unparalleled artwork

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saundra Mitchell, contests, and query helps

Hot Topics

I've been continuing to think about undiscovered gyrl.  My comparison of Burnett to Salinger was less than specific.  I meant to say that I think that Burnett's undiscovered gyrl will elicit responses similar to those of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.

Still, I'm amazed at how many of the reviewers of undiscovered gyrl still think the story is actually about Katie.  Imagine my surprise, as I researched for the Shadowed Summer review, that Saundra Mitchell was key in cracking open the Kaycee Nicole hoax.  How much more do we adore Mitchell - and question Burnett - now?

Linkspam For Writers
 
CHILDREN'S BOOK CONTEST
(thanks, InkyGirl!)


Linkspam For Readers
  • Win these books:

 
Book Reviews by Jess

FANTASTIC BOOK REVIEW

Steph at Reviewer X


Classifieds
I'm having issues with my blog redesign.  I decided to hire someone to help, but the only people I'm finding are uber-experienced professionals who charge an arm & a leg.  If CSS and XML don't scare you, and you have a little design background, would you email me?  Or make a referral?  aerinblogs AT aol DOT com  Thanks!!

SHADOWED SUMMER by Saundra Mitchell

Shadowed Summer Shadowed Summer
by Saundra Mitchell

February 10th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Hardcover, 192 pages 
0385735715    (isbn13: 9780385735711)

rating: 4 of 5 stars

 "Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared."

Iris spends lazy summer days with her best friend, Collette, practicing spells and magic more to combat boredom than from any conviction in witchcraft. One afternoon Iris is contacted through these spells by the ghost of Elijah Landry. Elijah was born and died before Iris was born, and no one in Ondine knew what happened to him. Along with Ben, Collette's new "boyfriend," the girls work on solving the mystery Elijah's disappearance.

I'm hard-pressed to find anything lacking in this, Saundra Mitchell's debut novel. The pacing moves an original plot along nicely, the characterizations are deft and believable, and I assume that Mitchell's screenwriting background is what makes her dialogue so expertly natural. She writes small-town Southerners authentically, without stereotyping.

What I love most about SHADOWED SUMMER, though, is that that Mitchell doesn't sacrifice an absorbing story for anything inappropriate for her target age group. The 14-year-old girls are aware of boys and kissing, but Iris has reservations about being giggly and fake for them. Iris herself is a darling mix of preteen and teen, tomboy and girl, self-assured and self-doubting. In other words, her character reads just like that of a real kid.

This is definitely one I'll encourage my own kids to read (in ten years), and one I'd feel comfortable giving a girl in grades 6-9 as a gift, even if I didn't know her very well. While I'm not sure parent & grandparent aged folks (male and female) would like to own this volume, they would enjoy it as a quick read from the library.


 Reverie's review; Pub Story with Reviewer X; Juicilicioussss Reviews; and For the Love of Books

Monday, July 6, 2009

NO AMUSEMENT TODAY - Again. For Different Reasons.

UPDATE: Sorry to confuse y'all.  No Amusing Monday because I don't have time because I am working on the site reconstruction and anyway I already have all of these books to review, titles which, all but one, I've read since the beginning of June and haven't written reviews for yet. Yikesity yikes.  I gots a lotta work ahead of me!

BOOKS TO REVIEW
Garden Spellsghostgirl: HomecomingLabor of Love: A Midwife's MemoirBoyology: A Teen Girl's Crash Course in All Things BoyRunning Out of TimeShadowed SummerJinxAll the WorldGhostgirlSilver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of XiaFireThe Wet Nurse's TaleMufaro's Beautiful DaughtersLament: The Faerie Queen's DeceptionThe OK Book Fairest of Them AllValeria's Last Stand



not to mention the blog redesign, wherein css kicks my ass
stay tuned!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

UNDISCOVERED GYRL by Allison Burnett (review, sort of, and CONTEST)

Undiscovered Gyrl (Vintage Contemporaries Orig) Undiscovered Gyrl
by Allison Burnett

August 11th 2009 by Vintage
Paperback, 320 pages
0307473120 (isbn13: 9780307473127)



From the publisher:

Beautiful, wild, funny, and lost, Katie Kampenfelt is taking a year off before college to find her passion. Ambitious in her own way, Katie intends to do more than just smoke weed with her boyfriend, Rory, and work at the bookstore. She plans to seduce Dan, a thirty-two-year-old film professor. 

It seems like a great idea, an awesome book along the lines of If I Stay or Wintergirls.  Just watch the trailer:



The publisher  continues:

Katie chronicles her adventures in an anonymous blog, telling strangers her innermost desires, shames, and thrills. But when Dan stops taking her calls, when her alcoholic father suffers a terrible fall, and when she finds herself drawn into a dangerous new relationship, Katie’s fearless narrative begins to crack, and dark pieces of her past emerge. 

Sexually frank, often heartbreaking, and bursting with devilish humor, Undiscovered Gyrl is an extraordinarily accomplished novel of identity, voyeurism, and deceit. 

Vintage itself has mounted a "huge, strange online campaign" fueled by social networking as its marketing strategy, complete with its own little army of grassroots publicists.

The biggest problem I have with this whole hoopla is that, while undiscovered gyrl is being marketed as a YA book, it's really an exercise in postmodern reflection that should only be undertaken with discussion and analysis.

In a book group or an English class or with a friend over coffee.

If you like (and understand) J.D. Salinger, this is the book for you.  Allison Burnett definitely seems to be the next Salinger.

I do not at all care for Salinger.

Though it will not be released until August 11, undiscovered gyrl has already caused a buzz in entertainment news because of the alleged reports last summer that Miley Cyrus will play the protagonist - even in the nude (Cyrus denies it as an internet rumor) in the movie version (something I've difficulty conceptualizing.  The movie, not Miley.)

Some bloggers (like Melissa) love undiscovered gyrl, some hate it (Holly is one), some find it disturbing (like Kelly does).  Some aren't sure.  Reviews can be submitted by site users at the original undiscovered gyrl site.

However, I can find few who have really analyzed it.  I'm not ready to do so here because so few people have read it yet.  But I will say that if you need a topic for a paper, the societal perceptions Burnett invokes by using the word "gyrl" is a good place to start.  And that I'm absolutely astonished at the number of people who say they can "relate to Katie."

You may remember that I questioned the validity of a white man writing a black point of view.  Well, how about a middle-aged man writing as a teenage girl?  Yes, that's right.   Allison Burnett is a man.


So much more about the novel makes sense, knowing that.  It shouldn't, I understand.  An author's genitalia have nothing to do with plot and structure and style.  But what I perceived as poor characterization instead is explained by gyrl's publicist, as intentional to a
novel [that] keeps readers guessing as to the identity of its narrator by “putting traditional point of view on its head and playing around with the major identity issues of our age.”
It's the whole point.   Burnett is a precipient interpreter of postmodern life.  To stop at the surface story is to miss the entire point of undiscovered gyrl.

Bottom line? I didn't care for this book, and I can't get it out of my head.  I can't even say that about Catcher in the Rye, which so failed to elicit response from me that I forgot it pretty quickly.  I might decide I like undiscovered gyrl (though I doubt it.)  I need someone with whom I can marinate on it.

So here's the contest:

When I post this article on the undiscovered gyrl site, I'll be eligible for two additional ARCs of the book.  Help me circulate this post and get chances to receive one of them.  I will pass one ARC on to the person who can generate the most traffic to my site and one to the person who submits the best reason I'd want to discuss this book with him or her.  Shameless plugging?  Yes, but I also really, truly think this is a book whose true nature needs to be known.  Think of it as me keeping Starbucks in business, since you'll be headed there for delicious intellectual chats over the enigma that is undiscovered gyrl.

CONTEST DETAILS
You're responsible for letting me know if someone sent you here, if you share this on any social network, or if you beat it out in smoke signals;  and/or for convincing me you are the right discussion partner for this novel.   Leave comments or email me at aerinblogs AT aol DOT com. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celtic Woman: Isle of Hope and O, America

I've never been a particularly patriotic, especially since I realized (sometime in my late teens) that the United States is one of the countries that still bestows the death penalty.  I'm aware of the great things about my country and of the (many) skeletons in our closet.  With the election of Barack Obama, I find myself hopeful that the United States reclaims its potential.

On Wednesday night, at the Celtic Woman concert, there were two songs about the United States.  All I could find online were fan-videos taken live, but you should still watch (at least) the first one.  (The second one is pretty but the lyrics are...repetitive, which reminds me a little too much of wartime propaganda.)

Happy Independence Day!



The song "Isle of Hope" is about Ellis Island, in New York Harbour, where Irish Immigrants and others were processed.
image from http://bhuvi.sweetcircles.com/
The first Immigrant to be processed there was Annie Moore, from County Cork.
She arrived with her brothers on 1/1/1892, her fifteenth birthday.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Moore

The statue of Annie and her brothers in Cobh, Cork:



Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears
Lyrics By : Brendan Graham



On the first day on January,
Eighteen ninety-two,
They opened Ellis Island and they let
The people through.
And the first to cross that threshold
Of that isle of hope and tears,
Was Annie Moore from Ireland
Was all of fifteen years.

CHORUS:
Isle of hope, isle of tears,
Isle of freedom, isle of fears,
But it's not the isle you left behind.
That isle of hunger, isle of pain,
Isle you'll never see again
But the isle of home is always on your mind.

In her little bag she carried
All her past and history,
And her dreams for the future
In the land of liberty.
And courage is the passport
When your old world disappears
But there's no future in the past
When you're fifteen years

Chorus

When they closed down Ellis Island
In nineteen forty-three,
Seventeen million people
Had come there for sanctuary.
And in Springtime when I came here
And I stepped onto its piers,
I thought of how it must have been
When you're fifteen years.

Chorus






O, America
Music: William Joseph
Words: Brendan Graham


O, America you’re calling,
I can hear you calling me:
You are calling me to be true to thee,
True to thee… I will be.

O, America no weeping,
Let me heal your wounded heart:
I will keep you in my keeping,
Till there be… a new start.

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand,
And lead you… to the sun:
And I will stand by you…do all that I can do,
And we will be… as one.

O, America I hear you,
From your prairies to the sea,
From your mountains grand, and all through this land,
You are beautiful to me.

And… O, America you’re calling,
I can hear you calling me:
You are calling me to be true to thee,
True to thee… I will be.

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand,
And lead you… to the sun:
And I will stand by you… do all that I can do,
And we will be…as one.

O, America you’re calling…
I will ever answer thee.

O, America! by Brendan Graham and William Joseph (C) 2008 by Peermusic (UK) Ltd. (PRS), Songs of Peer, Ltd.(ASCAP) and Paybill Publishing (ASCAP) All Rights on behalf of Peermusic (UK) Ltd. Controlled and Administered by Peermusic III, Ltd.(BMI). All Rights of behalf of Paybill Publishing Controlled and Administered by Songs of Peer, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.




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