Books ‘n things

SVHFirst on my agenda: complain about the new Sweet Valley High books. I may be a bit late on the bandwagon, but I just read on Gawker that they are re-releasing the beloved 80’s series, complete with updated angles, such as their car (from a red fiat to a jeep wrangler), their weight (from a ‘perfect size 6’ to a ‘perfect size 4’–WHAT???!!!!), and their school newspaper is now a website. I’m sure it’s as trashy and addictive as it was in the 80’s… and sadly, I bet it will sell a billion times better than Back Talk or any other book I ever write. Sigh. Sob. Wipe tears away. Move on.

On a happier note, I just learned that fellow blogger Heather is having her book, Pittsburgh Ghosts: Steel City Supernatural published! The book looks great—I mean, who doesn’t want to read about ghosts? Well… I might not be able to read it at night, or when I’m alone because it might be too scary… But congratulations, Heather!!!

Books I’ve read lately that I recommend (some of which I may have already mentioned): Snow Flower & the Secret Fan. I started it aaaages ago when CountryGirl CityLife gave it to me as an RAOK (thanks Jody!) but I got sidetracked. I finally read it and loved it. Note to the squeamish: the first 50 pages are very descriptive and intense! Oh, and Lisa See has another book out: Peony In Love. Looks gooooood!
Or not

Fellow Flux author, Brian Mandabach’s YA novel OR NOT. (I should’ve reviewed this a long time ago, but got sidetracked—that seems to happen to me a lot, huh?) It’s a compilation of journal entries written in the voice of tortured, non-conformist 8th grader Cassie Sullivan. Makes ya glad you’re not in 8th grade anymore! But Cassie is a strong and spunky heroine w/ great taste in music—kinda like the main character from my new book (yet to be published), so of course I thought Cassie was awesome! Great book Brian, can’t wait to see what you do next.

I also just finished The Inheritance of Loss, which follows a judge, his granddaughter, and their cook in northern India in the 1980’s. The book switches between their lives, and the cook’s son, an Indian immigrant struggling to survive in New York in the mid 80’s. Really descriptive and well written.

cookbookAnd although this is not a novel, I just read (and have cooked several recipes from) Not on Love Alone. It was given to me (and Andy, but lets face it, he does NOT cook) as a wedding gift, and I love it. Full of anecdotes, tips, cute illustrations, and of course recipes. A lot of meaty recipes, which is limiting for vegetarians (duh) but wonderful nonetheless.

Okay, so now I need new book recommendations. Of course I have a bookshelf full of things to read, and the library just a few blocks away, but I’m always up for suggestions.

About alexgirl

I'm a YA novelist livin' in fabulous Brooklyn with my husband and our two kitties. I love film making, photography, music, chocolate, sushi, friends, cardio, TV, and a bunch of other crap I can't think of. One published novel, Back Talk, available at Amazon. (and another one in progress!)
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18 Responses to Books ‘n things

  1. Seraphine says:

    I never got into the Sweet Valley High books.
    They always seemed like morality plays to me.
    But the other reading ideas sound really good!
    I love the smell of new books. I love too that you
    are working on a new book (I was wondering)!

  2. Olivia says:

    I can’t believe they would change the most classic of books! It’s great that you are writing a new book, I have a recomendation on a book Fake boyfriend by Kate Brian is soooooo good!

  3. jayne says:

    i never read sweet valley high, but omg! the size 4 thing is infuriating! bad messages!

    book recs:
    “shadow of the wind” by carlos ruiz zafon (an really well translated spanish novel, fast paced, addictive, kinda like a literary mysterey)
    “history of love” by nicole krauss (really interesting post modern novel, told from multiple points of view, a book about books and jews in america)
    “everything is illuminated” by jonathan safron foer (he’s married to nicole krass & in some ways their novels are similar. this is done in a really unique style- some stream of concious, multiple points of view, some humor, but mostly heartbreaking about a man searching for the woman who may have saved his grandpa from the nazis)
    “what is the what” by dave eggers (eggers manages to convery the hardship and humor of one of the sudanese lost boys, it was really sad, but quite inspirational)
    “feast of love” by charles baxter (recent movie, but well written novel, told from 3 points of view, about a community’s love woes in MI)

  4. molly says:

    oh god i was obsessed with sweet valley when i was little
    their cheesy 80’s-ness was the whole point!
    updating them is stupid…
    i bet your books are better (STILL waiting for the library to catologue and file “back talk” before i can read it) and im stoked to hear about this new one you oh-so-mysteriously mentioned

  5. kiki says:

    i’ve never heard of sweet valley high but I’m sure my mom or step mom has its sounds like a low key gossip girl i might have to check it out but nothing could top back talk i can’t wait for your next book

  6. kiki says:

    just talked to my mom she read them

  7. Kool Thing says:

    That is INSANE! You just can’t fuck with that shit! I’m RAGING! I’m glad they are being re-released though, so another generation can enjoy the adventures of the Wakefield twins. What a blast from the past! Lila Fowler! Amy Sutton! Todd and Bruce! Good post; glad you’re back.

  8. ellie says:

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    My favorite Pascal series was the FEARLESS series. (Gia, the girl without a fear gene). I liked the way it was written in various was cool. There was supposedly a making of a TV series, but I don’t think it ever got off the ground.

    Thanks again

  9. ah i was SUCH a sweet valley series fan when i was younger. what great memories haha

  10. Thanks, Alex!

    See my new trailer on myspace. It was made by a family friend who’s a high school senior!

  11. Adele says:

    Ive never read Sweet Valley High…. but ive certainly heard of them.

    Well done to Heather! good luck!x

  12. Modern Marie says:

    i used to read sweet valley high (as well as the babysitter’s club). i cant believe they’re “redoing” it! perfect size 4!?!?!? thats sooo dumb!

  13. aisha says:

    it seems like everyone has read or heard about ‘sweet valley high’ but me =L

  14. The Sweet Valley High, size 4 thing is seriously disturbing.

  15. ooh my book club is going to toast by you on tuesday night, half price bottles of wine. If you want to “join” it doesn’t matter if you have read the book, the conversation always seems to divert by the end of the night to other topics.

  16. pins&needles says:

    Ok, for all the people who did not read Sweet Valley High back then shouldn’t feel bad because I was one of those people who haven’t and refused because everyone else is doing it. That’s just how I was back then and still am today. The last time I read a book just based on popularity was the Da Vinci Code and I hated it so I don’t read something just because everyone did.

    Anyway, I do agree, Alex. Changing up some things in SVH isn’t great, like the size 4 thing and the Fiat. I mean, come on! Who doesn’t want a Fiat?! Even if it is from the 80s. The website thing doesn’t bother me though. Now all this talking about the books makes me want to pick one up and read it to see what I missed out.

    BTW, I can’t wait until your next book comes out.

  17. Alex,
    Love, love, love the blog! I posted a link on my website:

    Thanks for trading links. Can’t wait to read more!

  18. Heather says:

    Hey there and thanks for the plug!!!
    So yes, I remember SVH AND the board game! I think maybe it talked?! Hmmm.
    Oh, and did you see how Lifetime is doing “The Memory Keepers Daughter” TV movie? Wonder if it’ll be any good. Or was it already on…umm, no I don’t think so….

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