Hey you teenage and otherwise young-type people,
The fantastic Jennifer Weiner points out that the NY Times brainstorms the funniest novels ever and none are by women. Then she recommends some she'd like to add to the list. Good post. (The Times article acknowledges this lack, by the way, and has some great books on it. Also many many in the comments.)
One of my favorite writers, David Foster Wallace, died on Friday night. A suicide. LA Times article, here.
You heard that Lauren Conrad of the Hills has a three-book deal for YA novels, didn't you?
Melissa Walker is on the GCC with me and I read her blog to find out about makeup and fashion and TV stuff that I've missed.
I'm excited to be guest blogging at the ...[compliments that E. cut out due to modesty]... E. Lockhart's place today! I've started a Cover Stories series on my blog where authors tell the behind-the-scenes stories of their covers, and today I'm going to share one of mine:
Go read what Maureen Johnson has to say this morning. I agree.
My fabulous photographer friend Heather Weston is raising money for the Obama campaign. (She took the hotsy totsy How to Be Bad photo of me, Sarah and Lauren, below). I realized that I was going around saying "I support Obama" but I actually had not done anything to, um, support. So I donated.
Booklist called Stephanie Kuehnert's first novel, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, "...acidly incisive and full-out entertaining..."
Anyway, you can tell by Stephanie's answer to the Disreputable History-related questions, below, that she is a sneaky woman, a Riot Grrl, a zine-writer and implicated in "drive-by fruitings" and other wild activities -- which really makes me want to read her book.
Read her blog, here!
Tell Me Your Disreputable History, Stephanie Kuehnert:
1. Tell me the sneakiest thing you ever did.
Oh man, I was a pretty sneaky troublemaker in high school. I got away with a lot of stuff because I got straight A's. There was a lot of shoplifting until my friend got caught with a pocketful of lighters at Walgreens. I snuck around smoking cigarettes for over 3 years, telling my parents it was my friends' smoke they smelled on me. I snuck into my boyfriend's house (and got caught and driven home by his dad). My friend and I snuck out of her house and spent the night at her boyfriend's house (and didn't get caught). We stole cigarettes from her parents and booze from mine. I ditched school all the time and didn't go to detention and finally had to serve a Saturday detention like Breakfast Club-style and convinced my mom it was all a mistake... It's hard to put my finger on one sneaky thing, but I think I'm gonna go with the summer I turned 16 when my trusting parents agreed to let me and my best friend stay at the house and dog-sit while they went away for a few days. Of course the rule was no parties and of course we broke that rule and didn't just have a party, but had a band play in the living room. I can't believe we got away with it without a noise complaint. I think someone scuffed the wall and my dad noticed that, but I made something up to cover for it. I was not a good role model back then, so don't follow my example, kids!
2. Tell me the sneakiest thing that happens in your new book.
It's not all that sneaky because they are kind of drunk when they do it, so it's not as stealthy as it should be. But Emily and her best friend Regan sneak in to Regan's crush Tom's bedroom window to invite him to join their band. It's one of my favorite scenes in the book.
3. Are you a prankster? Tell me a story.
I was only ever a prankster by association. I dated these two guys at the beginning of my sophomore year, we'll call them Keith and Alan (who were besties and of course me dating one and then dating the other was a little awkward, but that's what high school is all about) and they were the biggest pranksters. They used to do "Drive-by Fruitings" where they would get rotten fruit from a grocery store dumpster and drive around throwing it at other cars. I was a passenger for this. They'd go "lawn ornament shopping" where we'd jump out, steal lawn ornaments and then ditch them on some other lawn. We especially did this with the Christmas decorations. Oh and for some reason around here it is really popular to light up your sidewalk with candles in paper bags at Christmas time, which seems really unsafe in general, but if there are bored teenagers about. We piled those on top of one kid's car (carefully so no real damage was done because he was a sort-of a friend, a bit of a frienemy at the time) and we piled an entire block's worth on one lawn, which caused a bit of a bonfire, but it was on top of snow, so again, no real damage.
The one really bad prank I was witness of to and let occur in my living room was when Alan and Keith decided it would be funny if Keith called Alan's mom and told her Keith was dead. Yeah, I know, not funny at all really. And Alan couldn't really follow through with it. He called pretending to be a doctor and did the whole I'm sorry your son is dead thing and when she immediately freaked out (she was kinda crazy), he went "Oh no, I mean, he has a broken leg. I mean.... Just kidding!" and hung up. Well, though it was the early days of Caller ID, Alan's mom had it at work and she called back screaming repeatedly. Keith or Alan would answer and just hang up. But after the sixth time my mom picked up. She was not pleased. Not at all. She came downstairs and screamed at us all and made Alan call his mom back. He appeased her with, "Mama, I bring you home some peanut butter and some milk," which my best friend and I still laugh at to this day. Peanut butter and milk? What?
4. Were you in any clubs or societies in high school? Did any of those club activities make it into your novels?
No, I wasn't. I was too busy running around with troublemakers. My first year of college, the girls on my hall were kind of like a club.... A club of pranksters. We purposely caused controversy at our overly politically correct school by putting up a porn wall in our common room just to be offensive. We also moved all the furniture in the boy's all upstairs into their showers. And we set a chair on fire and threw it off the fire escape. We stole toasters and silverware from other halls and hid them in the ceiling tiles of ours and then brought them back weeks later. Yes, the Randall Girls we were trouble.
5. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why, or why not?
Yes. I was raised by a feminist mother and got heavily involved with the Riot Grrrl scene when I was in high school, which was my generation's wave of feminism. I wrote a 'zine called Kill Supermodels, which focused on things such as the unhealthy body image that the early 90s "heroin chic" supermodels caused in girls. I petitioned my high school to start a Women's History class since female roles in history were so overlooked (and they did start the class... the year after I graduated). And I work hard to support my fellow woman artist now by featuring an amazing female writer, musician, artist, filmmaker, etc on my blog every Wednesday for Women Who Rock Wednesdays.
6. How does your answer to question 5 show up in your new book?
I actually wrote my book in response to the macho backlash I saw in music in the late 90s and early 00s when bands like Limp Bizket got big. I wanted a woman to save rock 'n' roll so I created her, my character Emily Black. It's not a preachy book or overtly political because I don't like to write stories to "get a message across" or anything like that. But the book does bring to light the double standards women and girls face in life and particularly in the music industry and I do hope it shows the world the women can rock just as hard as the boys.
7. The club in my book is called The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. If you were to found a secret society, what would it be called, and what would its mission be?
It would be the Order of the Marmoset. Why? Because my best friend is going to have a boat called the Marmoset someday and we are going to be modern day pirates. She's actually taking sailing lessons as we speak. Once she's got that down, I'm hoping she draft me as her first mate and the Order of the Marmoset will officially begin. We'd be like the Robin Hood of pirates. Steal from the rich to give the poor, bring justice, that kind of thing.