Of ceiling wax and cabbages

YA, graphic novels and the spaces in between

You can call me Doc

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Ubby's Underdogs Launch Invitation I’m reading Ubby’s Underdogs: The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon by Brenton E. McKenna, Australia’s first Indigenous graphic novel. I’m looking forward to blogging about it when I finish. Magabala Books is launching this exciting tale of adventure and mystery on Friday week, 20 May in Broome. If you’re in the area join the fun at Sun Pictures – click on Ubby’s Invite to see the details.

And now for why you can call me Doc…

‘All of his [Poe’s] books were burned in the Great Fire. That’s thirty years ago – 2006.’
‘Ah’ said Mr Bigelow wisely, ‘One of those!’
‘Yes, one of those, Bigelow. He and Lovecraft and Hawthorn and Ambrose Bierce and all the tales of terror and fantasy and horror and, for that matter, tales of the future were burned. Heartlessly. They passed a law. Oh, it started very small. In 1999 it was a grain of sand. It began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves’

Ray Bradbury (1950) The Martian Chronicles

Luckily for us, Ray Bradbury’s future didn’t eventuate. Now that we’re inundated with comics and graphic novels, I wrote a thesis on them (and it swallowed way too many years of my life). Cos my baby Graphic novels: Enticing teenagers into the library is out in the world, googleable for all, you can read it. I don’t recommend you read it all, just dip into the bits that take your fancy. There is a table of contents, but sadly no index.

This is a nice short summary:

This thesis investigated the information habits of teenagers, including their recreational reading and internet use, and means of encouraging library use among teenagers, particularly through graphic novel collections in public and school libraries in Australia. A mixed methods approach was used which included focus groups with teenagers, a survey of public libraries, and interviews with public and teacher librarians.

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Written by ClareSnow

11 May 2011 at 8:36 am

You are the light of the world

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Shine by Lauren MyracleThings happened. Things changed. A girl full of light could get that light snuffed out, and when everything around her was dark, she could roll up in a ball and ignore the whole world, starting with her best friend.

I decided to read Shine by Lauren Myracle (Amulet Books, May 2011) because a few years ago I read ttyl and liked it. I hadn’t even read the blurb of Shine and expected something light and fun, um no. Since I’d only read one of LM’s books I wondered if her books were diverse, but someone on twitter said Shine was very different from LM’s other books. And I agree, Shine is amazing. It’s more like the books I usually read, full of angst and heartache, so I was quite at home, despite initially expecting something different. And Lauren Myracle has quite a way with her words, my favourite kind of author.

It was delicious telling secrets in the hushed privacy of the forest, where not even the sunlight could cut a path to the leaf-covered ground.

Shine is the harrowing tale of the brutal beating of Patrick because he’s gay. He’s left for dead at the Come ‘n’ Go gas station where he works, with a gasoline nozzle shoved in his throat and the words “Suck this, faggot” written on his chest in blood. Patrick’s friend Cat narrates the story of her search for who did this horrific crime. During her search for the truth she has to face the demons which have plagued her for the last three years. The story encompasses a myriad of issues: growing up gay in a small town with its ingrained homophobia; poverty; domestic violence; rape; drug abuse; as well as the mystery of who attacked Patrick. There’s even a slice of romance on the side.

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Written by ClareSnow

6 May 2011 at 5:27 pm

when finding an angel in the creek, run the other way

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Sally Rippin is a talented artist and has many picture books to her name, including The Race for the Chinese Zodiac which has just been named by the Children’s Book Council of Australia as a Notable Picture Book for 2011. Congratulations! Sally Rippin’s talents extend to writing and Angel Creek is a delightful little read, perfect for a dreamy day down by the creek. Hopefully you won’t find an angel there. While you might think it would be delightful, it really wouldn’t.

Angel Creek by Sally Rippin She gazed through the shivering leaves. Pale stars glittered in the darkening sky and a huge yellow moon hung on the horizon. It was Christmas Eve.

When cousins Jelly, Gino and Pik the annoying little brother find an injured angel in the creek behind their house, it’s only the start of a downward spiral into learning the care and feeding of a baby angel. Clingy, petulant, and not at all used to being locked in a tin shed with summer’s “heat pressing down,” who would have thought a baby would entail so much work!?

Looking after an angel was turning out to be nothing like looking after a bird.

The kids aren’t allowed to go down to Merri Creek, but its one of two places Jelly likes about her new house, as she waits out the holidays to start at a new highschool without any of her friends. Jelly, Gino and Pik escape a stupid Christmas party to investigate the creek. A tunnel swallows up the water as it winds under the road and Jelly and Gino dare each other to follow it into the darkness. Gino spots a pile of white feathers trapped behind a rock in the water. What they first think is a bird that might not be dead, turns out to be a very live angel, which clutches Jelly when she pulls it from the rubbish and refuses to let go.

That’s when their troubles begin. Where do you put an injured angel for safekeeping? (and Jelly isn’t even sure if it’s more human or animal)

It was hard to tell. It looked like a human, but it sure acted like an animal.

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Written by ClareSnow

30 April 2011 at 9:16 am

Diana Wynne Jones and me

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Diana as a child

Diana as a child

Vale Diana Wynne Jones 16 August 1934 – 26 March 2011

Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories. Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, which you can find if you look – Fire and Hemlock (1985)

Diana with Dorabella

Diana with Dorabella

It’s been a month since Diana Wynne Jones’ sad passing. I haven’t read many of her books, but as a child and teenager what I read captivated my imagination and left lasting impressions into my adulthood. There was much internet writings on her passing and JudiJ compiled a useful list.

The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones I met Diana Wynne Jones somewhere on the boundaries between worlds and she showed me some astounding places. I’m not sure when this was, sometime in the late 80s when I was 10 or 11. I visited those boundaries many times. It was one of the books I read over and over as a kid. I wanted to live there, hiding behind my hair, with an arm which may or may not have been inhabited by a demon. My boring existence didn’t even come close. Despite the innumerable times I read The Homeward Bounders, I couldn’t remember the title when I thought of it in the middle of a sleepless night the week after DWJ died (btw I wasn’t sleepless because of her death. I just get really bad insomnia sometimes). I do remember Prometheus living his painful day over and over, the shadowy strangers playing war games with real peoples’ lives, the dirty, nameless cities Jamie found himself in, no matter how many boundaries he crossed, and the constant fear of running from Them. [1]

That’s the trouble with boundaries you often don’t have time to catch your breath – The Homeward Bounders (1981) [1]

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Written by ClareSnow

27 April 2011 at 12:50 pm

the sky really is everywhere

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The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson Put your head under the water, open your eyes and look up at the sun. Your whole world will be filled with sparkles of water light*

I txtd that to SpiderSam two months before he died, not knowing The Sky is Everywhere, from where I stole these words, would follow my grief so closely. While I’ll admit to wearing his clothes, the other thing is not to be discussed :P

Tomorrow the US paperback of Jandy Nelson’s heart wrenching The Sky is Everywhere is released. I read JN’s poignant story last year but my own grief meant only now can I write about this book which helped me so much when SpiderSam died.

The Sky is Everywhere made the shortlist of last year’s Inkys in Sept/Oct/whenever and I hoped it would win the Silver Inky but Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater won the 2010 Silver Inky. I have no idea why I haven’t read Shiver, what with it being about dogs and all. I read eleven of the contenders before the longlist was announced, and five on the shortlist. A few of my fav books of last year were longlisted but didn’t make the shortlist, Loving Richard Feynman by Penny Tangey, The Wrong Grave by Kelly Link and my favouritetist The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff. Again the dog worked his magic.

Each evening she held his head in her hands and ran her aching fingers thru the thick ruff of fur around his neck. He burrowed against her, sighing devotion

I’m not sure dogs b a judging criteria in the Inkys, despite Inky himself. Cos I didn’t read all the titles perhaps there’s even better dogs in the other books. ie. Shiver.

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Written by ClareSnow

21 March 2011 at 11:31 pm

what do you see in me?

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whatever. maura can snort until all the brain-mucus has left her head and pooled at her feet. i will not respond.

the trevor project I just discovered Will Grayson, Will Grayson by those gods of the letter John Green and David Levithan is the first YA novel with a gay main character to make it to the New York Times Best Seller List. Lee Wind told me this while spreading news of a new online book club for LGBTQ teenagers at The Trevor Project. The first book is Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, but who cares about that when the book club will officially launch with Will Grayson, Will Grayson on April 29. Woohoo!! Get reading if you haven’t already. I done my homework and how could I not love those two Wills? I did, it’s just Will2’s depression made things somewhat distressing.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson what could i say? that i didn’t just feel depressed – instead, it was like the depression was the core of me, of every part of me, from my mind to my bones? that if he got blue, i got black? that i hated those pills so much, because i knew how much i relied on them to live?

I have a thing for reading words that could have come from my head. The words in my head continue with something else that I won’t write here.

i couldn’t say any of this. because, when it all comes down to it, nobody wants to hear it. no matter how much they like you or love you, they don’t want to hear it.

Or you’ve told them so many times, the record is well and truly shattered. There was one person I could tell these words to. It was those same words he thought and told me, that killed him. Reading Will2’s thoughts made me think what I thought every time SpiderSam spoke the same words that went through my head,

Excuse me, that’s my line!?

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Written by ClareSnow

1 March 2011 at 12:53 am

leave through the window flying

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Jack and I found another poem Sam wrote. He wrote it in his high school folder so that might have been 1998. Compare the progression of his poetry in 12 years.

far from sound

by Sam Cropley

I’m from an english background
my life is far from sound
for I am bound by the rules of society
even if it doesn’t apply to me
by its floors, by its see of doors
by the people that control
by the thugs that roll
You for your money and possessions
for u don’t carry any weapons
for you see no need
as my life isn’t run by greed

As with At the door I changed no words. I only added a title and (not much) punctuation. It b all his own words

Written by ClareSnow

24 February 2011 at 10:03 am

Posted in poetry

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