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Dear online e-book retailers:

I feel compelled to tell you that when it comes to finding YA e-books, you guys make it way, way harder than it needs to be. It might behoove you to hire someone who has a clue about what they're doing to get your teen fiction sections up to snuff - a librarian, perhaps. Someone who has a grasp of authority control, or even basic classification theory. Because while it may in fact be read by some teens, Anna Karenina does not qualify as teen fiction; nor, for that matter, does the Magic Tree House series. Please do something about this situation.

No love,
Alison
In 2009, I had an unofficial goal (unofficial in that I didn't commit to it anywhere except inside my head) of reading 100 books before midnight on December 31. I made it (barely), but this year, I wanted some kind of fun way to structure my reading that wasn't just tied to numbers. So I've decided to do whatever reading challenges strike my fancy over the next several months. First up is the YA Through the Decades challenge, sponsored by the Youth Services Corner blog.



You can find the all the details here, but it's pretty much just what it says on the tin: read one YA book from each decade, beginning with the 1930s (admittedly, YA as we know it didn't really take off until the 1960s, but there were precursors). Anyway, after deliberating for far longer than was probably strictly necessary, this is the reading list I came up with:

1930s and earlier: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield (1936)
1940s: Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (1942)
1950s: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958)
1960s: Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle (1965)
1970s: M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (1975)
1980s: Interstellar Pig by William Sleator (1984)
1990s: The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer (1994)
2000s: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (2002 in Australia; 2005 in U.S.)

The rules state that re-reads are acceptable, but all of these will be new to me. I plan on reading them in order, so expect a review of Ballet Shoes in this space in the near future.

Happy reading, everyone!

My Top Ten Books of 2009

(I really meant to have this posted earlier, but that first week back at work was brutal. It's here now, though, so yay!)

So as I was putting this list together, I came to a problematic realization: I read a lot of series books in 2009. Like, a lot (is anyone even writing stand-alone books anymore? I’m starting to wonder). Series books are tricky, because a lot of the time, they exist not as entities unto themselves, but as installments in a larger story arc. And what do you do when, say volume 7 is your favorite book in the series, but you have to read the six books that come before to really appreciate it? You can’t just hand it to someone cold and say “Read this”. So for this year’s top ten, with one exception, if a book is part of a series, I only included it if a) it’s the first book in the series and b) it has enough closure that I’m confident it can stand on its own. So without further ado, here they are, in reverse chronological order, which is the way I encountered them when looking back through my reading journal (and, just like last year, these are books I read in 2009, not necessarily books released in 2009):

1.Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
I read a piece by Robin Brande in A New Moon (a collection of essays on Twilight) and was so taken with her voice that I immediately sought out this book, her first novel. I was not disappointed. Part of the appeal was distinctly personal - the main character, Mena, reminded me a lot of myself in high school, though I never found myself in any situations as dramatic as hers and probably wouldn’t have been as brave if I had. But I also loved how smart and funny the book was, and how it addressed some heavy subject matter with a light touch. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.

2. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
As a huge fan of Westerfeld's Uglies series, I was very excited about this book, and I am pleased to report I enjoyed it immensely. I confess that I had a bit of a hard time getting into the Alec-centric chapters at first – they were very Prussian, if I might steal an Eddie Izzard expression, and I didn’t really care about the intricacies of the machines – but I adored Derryn right off, and the beasties… oh, the beasties. I was floored by the imagination that obviously went into their creation and read through a lot of the scenes dealing with the Leviathan itself in a state of slack-jawed wonder – there is some seriously awesome world-building going on there. I’m glad this is the first book in a trilogy so I can spend some more time in that world.

3. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Full disclosure: I am pretty ambivalent about the ending of this one. But I liked the vast majority of it so much, it still makes it onto the list. It’s definitely my favorite of Hornby’s novels that I’ve read (I generally prefer his nonfiction – his memoir, Fever Pitch, is one of my all-time favorite books). Like another contemporary writer I kind of love, Michael Chabon, Hornby gets what it means to be a true fan of something, to love it so much it shapes your view of the world. And his witty turns of phrase are downright elegant in their execution.

4. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
So even though I left Catching Fire off the list (see series policy above), Collins worked her way in anyway. A librarian friend of mine had been trying to get me to read this forever, but I kept dragging my feet, because a book populated with giant talking rats and bugs living under the streets of New York? Didn’t sound like my cup of tea. But I finally cracked, and I’m glad that I did. I loved this book, and of all the characters, I think the cockroaches were my favorites (go figure). To be fair, I think the narration is just adequate, but I couldn’t get enough of the dialogue, with its variety of Underland dialects and true-to-life tween snarkiness. And Ripred was awesome.

5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
One of the most lushly romantic books I’ve read in a long time. Worth reading for the candy store scene alone. Trust me on this one.

6. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is one of those writers whose new books I look forward to for months ahead of time. I love them all, but I think this one might be my new favorite (taking the place of the previous title-holder, This Lullaby). It shares a lot of thematic qualities (and even a secondary character) with what is probably my least favorite of her books, The Truth About Forever, and I think that may have contributed to how much I liked it, because just about everything was an improvement. It might sound silly, but I think that this is a more mature book for her – not in terms of the subject matter, but in the quality of the writing and the way all the elements of the story come together into a unified whole. This is one of the first books I’d give to somebody who knows nothing about YA lit but is curious to see what all the fuss is about.

7. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
In my line of work, I read a lot of children’s books that are supposed to be funny. And there are quite a few that, to kids, pretty much are, but to an adult? Say, me? Not so much (maybe that sounds disloyal to all the hardworking children’s authors out there, but, well, it’s true). This one, though – this one is hilarious. Alvin Ho is a boy who, despite being descended from a long line of warrior-farmers, is frightened of just about everything, including wasabi and kimchi. Yet he soldiers on, doing his best to be a gentleman like his dad and not get eaten by his piano teacher. I snort-laughed through a good bit of this book, and the kids in my libraries seem to really enjoy it, too (it was one of the picks for the 2009 Texas Bluebonnet list), so it appears to have a pretty universal appeal. And the glossary in the back is as funny as the story itself.

8. The President’s Daughter books by Elllen Emerson White
So I circumvented the issue of series books with this one by just including the whole series – go, me! To be fair, I read all of them more or less back to back, so in that way they all go together in my head, and I do think the four books make up one basic arc. The first books were originally released in the ‘80s but were reissued in anticipation of the 2008 presidential election, when it briefly looked as if we might have a female president, like Katharine Vaughn Powers, mother of the books’ protagonist, Meg. Meg is a deeply complex and interesting character, and even when you want to shake her (there were many times where I was like, “Gah, enough with the New England stoicism already!”), you never stop rooting for her. The members of her family are equally well-developed, and the way their relationships shift and grow as a result of their time in the White House is fascinating. And everyone – seriously, everyone – could do with having a friend like Preston in their lives. He is pure win.

9. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
When you see the word “haunting” associated with a book, like I had with this one, you can usually count on it being a euphemism for “unyieldingly bleak and depressing”. And while this book is indeed deeply sad, the simple beauty of the narrative and the keen insight into the little details of what it is that makes us human keep it from being soul-crushing. Science fiction advocates often say that sci fi can illuminate our experience in the modern world like no other genre, and I think that is definitely the case here. The sci fi elements are essential to the story, but also really, really subtle; there aren’t any flashy genre conventions, which allows the very human drama to shine. This is the first Ishiguro I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.

10. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I know opinions are wildly divided on this book. I have seen many people complain about how self-indulgent is, and I can kind of see their point, but you know what – who cares? Who among us isn’t self-indulgent a good bit of the time? The way I see it, Gilbert faces up to that reality pretty much right away and then spends the rest of the book learning how to get over herself (which, you know, we could pretty much all stand to do), and she does it with wit, honesty, and grace. In the end, I think people’s opinions about this book come down to whether they would like to hang out with Gilbert in real life or not; I for one would love to have her as a travel buddy.

Runners-up: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards, Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

And just for kicks, a rundown of the series I’ve been into:
*The Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris
*The Mary Russell books by Laurie R. King
*The Pink Carnation books by Lauren Willig
*The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
*The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
*The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen
So I have this dim memory today of waking up in the wee hours of the morning from a dream about Hamlet and vampires. "That was awesome!" my foggy brain thought. "Don't forget that - it would make a bad-ass YA book!" And then I immediately went back to sleep.

Now that I am fully awake, I have no idea what made it so awesome. I am left with vague impressions of pale, beautiful people in period clothes speaking in a pseudo-Elizabethan kind of way, and doesn't that describe a lot of vampire books already out there?

*facepalm*

I need to be one of those people who has a handy, dandy little notebook to write sudden bits of inspiration down in. Because I find myself spotting inspiration all over the place. Like the other day, there was this SUV in front of me at a red light that had all these Jesus fish on the back - two big Jesus fish, with three little Jesus fish swimming along behind, which indicated to me that they were supposed to be a little family of Jesus fish. But there was an outline of a fourth small Jesus fish that wasn't there anymore, and that got me wondering. What happened to that fish? Did it die? Was there some big fight within the family resulting in the little fish being disowned and his/her decal being pried off the tailgate? Did it just fall off because of exposure and the Mama and Daddy fishes hadn't gotten around to replacing it yet? I became really invested in figuring this out, which I guess is what writers do.

So I guess I really do need to get a notebook. And either get back to writing poetry or start experimenting with short stories, because otherwise, I'll never get around to using a lot of this stuff.

Huzzah! A milestone!

I hit 30,000 words on the novel I'm working on, which is half-way to my projected total word-count. Yay! Granted, it's taken an annoyingly long time to get this far, and I will inevitably change a lot and probably throw some parts out altogether when I start to revise, but still - I'll take it.

At this point, I really need to start figuring out how to structure my time in regards to research. This is a paranormal set in World War II, and it's requiring a ton of research. I've been working some of the information I've found so far into the manuscript, but I've also been devoting my attention primarily to scenes that focus on character interactions/relationships and don't need much specific historical detail. This approach isn't going to work for much longer, because I'm starting to run out of scenes where I can skimp on the history. So I need to be reading so I can keep writing, but I don't want to get so bogged down in the reading that I don't get any writing done. It's a dilemma. I am going to remember this the next time I come up with an idea for a historical project (and then I'll probably go ahead and do it anyway, because history is fun :) ).

YA boys who rock

Inspired by a post over at Persnickety Snark (http://persnicketysnark.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-top-5-ya-boys.html), I have compiled a list of my top five favorite YA boys to crush on (even though I'm old). In no particular order:

1. Dirk from the Weetzie Bat books by Francesca Lia Block - I do love a punk rock boy with a heart of gold. Weetzie Bat gets most of the hype, but the Dirk-centric book in the series - Baby Be-Bop - is tied with Witch Baby as my favorite featuring those characters.

2. Simon from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - Full disclosure: I haven't read the third book in the series yet - I am currently on the waiting list for it at the public library. But I still love me some Simon. I liked him OK in the first book, but his development in the second book (which I found to be generally superior to the first, boding well for book three) brought him up to beloved status. He went from being your garden-variety wise-cracking indie geek boy best friend to a BAD-ASS wise-cracking indie geek boy best friend, and it was awesome.

3. Marcus Flutie in Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty - I wasn't crazy about the direction his character took in Charmed Thirds and I haven't read the fourth and fifth Jessica Darling books yet, but holy cow, I loved Marcus in the first two books. I don't think I would have had Jessica's willpower to resist him as long as she did.

4. Dexter from This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen - Sarah Dessen can craft a dreamy love interest like no one else, and Dexter is my personal favorite. Whether he's crashing through Remy's bedroom window or waggling a fork at her through his front door, he's completely adorable.

5. Nick from Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn - Does this even need an explanation? I mean, really? And can I take this opportunity to go on record as saying I was totally devastated that they didn't put the scene with the Pepsi machine in the movie? It was my favorite part.

As is usually the case when I make lists like this, I'm sure I'll start thinking of other good choices as soon as I post, but still - I think this is a pretty good slate of lovely boys. Don't you? :)

I can live with this.


Your result for Which fantasy writer are you?...

Susan Cooper (b. 1935)

7 High-Brow, -11 Violent, -5 Experimental and -3 Cynical!

Congratulations! You are High-Brow, Peaceful, Traditional and Romantic! These concepts are defined below.


Though born in England, Susan Cooper currently lives in the United States. She is most well-known for her The Dark Is Rising sequence, which has received substantial critical acclaim, the second book (also called The Dark Is Rising) in the series winning a Newbury Honor and the fourth book (The Grey King) being awarded the Newbury Medal, one of the world's most prestigious awards for children's literature. The series is one of the finest examples of contemporary fantasy: the kind of fantasy where magic happens in an actually existing place. The Dark Is Rising is set in Britain, where two common themes of fantasy are combined; that of a magic world parallel to ours, which later became so popular with the Harry Potter books and that of ordinary British school-children playing a role in the struggle between Good and Evil, which had earlier been explored by C S Lewis.


Cooper manages to use the idiom of traditional children books to tell a tale of epic proportions, as evil beings from Celtic legends appear on Earth to do battle with the Old Ones, a secret society of people with magic powers. She is also able to combine this rather romantic vision with important messages, the compassion of one of the children being vital to the cause of Good at one point in the story. In Cooper's world, what you think and do matters on a grand scale, a message children and adults alike should take to their hearts.


You are also a lot like Ursula K Le Guin.


If you want some action, try China Miéville.


If you'd like a challenge, try your exact opposite, Lian Hearn.



Your score



This is how to interpret your score: Your attitudes have been measured on four different scales, called 1) High-Brow vs. Low-Brow, 2) Violent vs. Peaceful, 3) Experimental vs. Traditional and 4) Cynical vs. Romantic. Imagine that when you were born, you were in a state of innocence, a tabula rasa who would have scored zero on each scale. Since then, a number of circumstances (including genetical, cultural and environmental factors) have pushed you towards either end of these scales. If you're at 45 or -45 you would be almost entirely cynical, low-brow or whatever. The closer to zero you are, the less extreme your attitude. However, you should always be more of either (eg more romantic than cynical). Please note that even though High-Brow, Violent, Experimental and Cynical have positive numbers (1 through 45) and their opposites negative numbers (-1 through -45), this doesn't mean that either quality is better. All attitudes have their positive and negative sides, as explained below.



High-Brow vs. Low-Brow



You received 7 points, making you more High-Brow than Low-Brow. Being high-browed in this context refers to being more fascinated with the sort of art that critics and scholars tend to favour, rather than the best-selling kind. At their best, high-brows are cultured, able to appreciate the finer nuances of literature and not content with simplifications. At their worst they are, well, snobs.



Violent vs. Peaceful



You received -11 points, making you more Peaceful than Violent. This scale is a measurement of a) if you are tolerant to violence in fiction and b) whether you see violence as a means that can be used to achieve a good end. If you aren't, and you don't, then you are peaceful as defined here. At their best, peaceful people are the ones who encourage dialogue and understanding as a means of solving conflicts. At their worst, they are standing passively by as they or third parties are hurt by less scrupulous individuals.



Experimental vs. Traditional



You received -5 points, making you more Traditional than Experimental. Your position on this scale indicates if you're more likely to seek out the new and unexpected or if you are more comfortable with the familiar, especially in regards to culture. Note that traditional as defined here does not equal conservative, in the political sense. At their best, traditional people don't change winning concepts, favouring storytelling over empty poses. At their worst, they are somewhat narrow-minded.



Cynical vs. Romantic



You received -3 points, making you more Romantic than Cynical. Your position on this scale indicates if you are more likely to be wary, suspicious and skeptical to people around you and the world at large, or if you are more likely to believe in grand schemes, happy endings and the basic goodness of humankind. It is by far the most vaguely defined scale, which is why you'll find the sentence "you are also a lot like x" above. If you feel that your position on this scale is wrong, then you are probably more like author x. At their best, romantic people are optimistic, willing to work for a good cause and an inspiration to their peers. At their worst, they are easily fooled and too easily lead.



Take Which fantasy writer are you?
at HelloQuizzy

So it goes.

While perusing the links coming through my Bloglines account today, I came upon this essay by Kurt Vonnegut called "How to Write with Style":

http://literature.sdsu.edu/onWRITING/vonnegutSTYLE.html

It is one of the coolest, wisest things I've read in a while. I think you all should go read it.

I also thought that as a follow-up, I would share my favorite Vonnegut story (about Vonnegut, not by Vonnegut), but then I realized I had two, so here they are:

1) When I was a senior in high school, one of the the things I loved most in the universe was Pearl Jam. So imagine my delight when I heard they were coming to north central Texas on tour - first to Denton, which is home to the University of North Texas, where I went on to get my MLS, and then to Moody Coliseum at SMU in Dallas, where I went on to graduate from high school. I got tickets to both shows. I went to the Denton show with one of my dearest friends and a boy I had a huge crush on who would go on to become my (slightly ill-advised) boyfriend. While driving to Denton today strikes me as more of an annoyance than anything else (it's just so faaaaar...) that night, it was magical. My crush drove us up in his mom's Cadillac (and if I fibbed to my parents about whether someone else's parent was going to be accompanying us in said Cadillac, well, I came clean about it later), and the concert was just fantastic, and at one point Eddie Vedder told us it was Kurt Vonnegut's birthday and produced a handheld tape-recorder. And I, along with several thousand other people, sang "Happy Birthday" to Kurt Vonnegut.

2) I had bad luck with creative writing classes in college. I dropped the first one I took after two weeks (I'll spare you the gory details), and the second one wasn't much better (in fairness, I went on to take a writing workshop at that school that turned out to be one of my best and most formative experiences as a writer, but I didn't know that at the time). Anyway, in this unfortunate writing class, I had a friend named Lisa who was a reporter for the student paper. One day, we were talking about her covering a speech Vonnegut gave at the university for the paper (yes, Vonnegut came to my school and I didn't go see him speak. Why, you ask? Because sometimes, I am an idiot), and she told me that he had said one of the biggest problems with university creative writing programs was that the teachers were always comparing students to the great writers of the canon rather than letting them have their own voices, which made sense to me. It couldn't have been 15 minutes into class that day when our teacher, in discussing another student's work said, "This kind of reminds me of something that Chekhov was known for", at which point Lisa and I both burst out laughing and couldn't stop. It might have been my favorite day in the whole class.

So, yeah. Vonnegut is cool.

Who doesn't love a good meme?

I nicked this from E. Lockhart's blog:

1) What author do you own the most books by?
No idea, and there's no real way to check, as many of my books are in storage, and the ones in the house are in complete disarray. According to my LibraryThing, Meg Cabot and Brian K. Vaughan are tied for being my most-read author.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Again, no clue.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I'm not secretly in love with any character - I am fairly open about my literary crushes. That said, they include, but are not limited to, Jamie from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books, Eric from Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, Marcus Flutie from Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling books, Sidney Carton from Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, and Colonel Brandon from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Probably The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye - I've honestly lost track of how many times I've read it.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
This is very embarrassing, but I'm pretty sure it was If I Should Die Before I Wake by Lurlene McDaniel.

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Honestly, I tend not to finish books I don't like.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Tough call, but I think I'm going to go with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
I'm not tagging anyone in particular, but I think everyone should read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Oh, jeez, I don't know. Maybe Margaret Atwood?

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
I'm hesitant to pick, because the last time I answered this question, I said Ella Enchanted, and they made that movie, and it was terrible. But I am looking forward to seeing what Peter Jackson does with Naomi Novik's Temeraire books (he's already bought the rights).

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
This is hard to quantify. I will say that I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels in anticipation of the show True Blood and wound up loving the books with a ridiculous fervor while giving up on the show after two episodes.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I had a weird dream last night that involved vampire live-action role play, and I think it was inspired in equal parts by Twilight and Cassandra Clare's City of Bones, which I read just recently.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Like I'm going to cop to this.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Probably Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I think all of the plays I've seen are pretty much stand-bys. The most obscure play I've read is probably Richard II.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I am really sadly deficient when it comes to reading works not originally written in English. But I like Chekhov, so we'll go with the Russians.

18) Roth or Updike?
I've never read anything by either or these authors, which probably should embarrass me but doesn't.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Sedaris. He makes me laugh like a hyena.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare

21) Austen or Eliot?
Austen

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
See #17.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

24) Play?
It's a toss-up between Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia.

25) Poem?
"The Day Lady Died" by Frank O'Hara, followed closely by "What lips my lips have kissed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay and "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes

26) Essay?
If the essay on "Puff the Magic Dragon" from Nick Hornby's Songbook doesn't make you cry, you have no soul.

27) Short Story?
Probably either Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" (and I'm really not a Hemingway fan, but that story is just amazing) or Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

28) Work of nonfiction?
Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Oh, man, picking just one would make my head explode. A few top picks are Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Nick Hornby, Anne Lamott, Dorothy Parker, Meg Cabot, Francesca Lia Block, Madeleine L'Engle, Neil Gaiman, and Brian K. Vaughan.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
This is catty, so why don't we go with most underrated? I would be very happy if more people read Jaclyn Moriarty. I love her books, and she doesn't seem to get a lot of attention.

31) What is your desert island book?
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block, because it's actually five books in one (ha - watch me work the system!)

32) And... what are you reading right now?
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig, the fifth book in her Pink Carnation series

Multimedia synergy!

So I've started following this YA blog Persnickety Snark, which is based out of Australia, and one recurring feature there is Soundtrack Saturday, which is pretty much just what it says on the tin. The instructions read: "link something you are reading with a song, a playlist, etc and tell me about it!" And today, by complete coincidence, I have something to post about!

Just last night, I finished reading Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I'd had it on my "to be read" list for a while, but I recently read and very much enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Catherine and Elizabeth are sisters, so that moved Dairy Queen up a few notches over other books I've been wanting to read. So then this morning, I was playing around with Pandora (which is enormously fun, by the way), and the song "I Go to the Barn Because I Like The" by Band of Horses came through on the stream. The title caught my eye, because in Dairy Queen, DJ, the protagonist, and her nemesis/love interest Brian spend a good bit of time cleaning up and painting her family's barn. Upon closer inspection, I think the song really is a good fit for DJ and Brian's complicated relationship. Here are the lyrics:

Well, I'd like to think I'm the mess you'd wear with pride.
Like some empty dress on the bed you've laid out for tonight.
Maybe I'll tell you sometime.

Time, sometime

You were right, right
You were right.

Outside by your doorstep,
In a worn out suit and tie,
I'll wait for you to come down.
Where you'll find me,
Where we'll shine.

(Incidentally, this is the second time I've really been taken by a Band of Horses song's connection to a story told in another medium - after their song "No One's Gonna Love You" showed up in an episode of Chuck, it was in heavy rotation on my iPod for months.)

So there you go - my first Soundtrack Saturday post! I highly recommend both book and song, and I'd love to hear anybody else's thoughts on the pairing. :)