Judy Blume Made Up Her Book Reports in the Sixth Grade, So We Are Too
In a new book from Dave Egger's publishing company, YA legend Judy Blume and Girls creator Lena Dunham have a nice long chat, in which Judy Blume reveals to the world that she used to make up her book reports in school and get As on them. !The mantle of excellence is about to break from the amount of awesomeness here¡ Blume hated most of the books that everyone was reading, so just did approximations of them, babbling on about fictitious horse-filled novels like the boss she knew she would become. Seeing as we can't get our hands on her actual book reports, we've had a crack at some of our own.
It Was Mostly Okay - William Shakespeare
In this tragicomedy by English literature master, Shakespeare, two minstrels travel from town to town singing about how wonderful the locals are. When the feudal lords of two sparring towns find out that they have been lulled by the same tunes, they set upon the minstrels and demand they proclaim the town that is the best. The minstrels believe they will be killed by the people of the town that they don't choose, so they begin a song that will never end. Two days later they are still singing when a tree drops on one of them, killing him dead. The mourning minstrel creates a runaway hit, "Teardrops on My Guitar" and achieves national fame. It Was Mostly Okay takes the themes of fate and lute-playing and parlays them into a captivating tale about whether or not man can achieve mortality through the arts. Mostly, the answer Shakespeare gives us is "no," although having short-term fame can be nice, too. The irony of a minstrel being killed by a maple—a tree not suitable for making into string instruments—was not lost on this reader. This would have been better with a wedding in it. The tights were good.
Vampire Softball - Stephenie Meyer
In this new title, a teen girl finds herself in a love triangle with a softball pitcher and a guy who plays first base. Oh, and one is a werewolf and one is a vampire. She's mostly quite unsure about playing night games for the rest of her life, and worries that she'll never get to home plate because she's not a very good hitter. One day, she hits a ball right into the pitcher's face, and he passes out on the field. She rushes over, as does the werewolf on first base, and she realizes she is in love with the pitcher, even though the first baseman has a really shiny chest. The pitcher opens his eyes and tells her the ball is still in play. He gets up and walks her around the bases to home. This takes three books to happen. For me, the romantic choice for the heroine between a guy trained to throw a ball and a guy trained to catch a ball leaves out the fact that in a real relationship, you also need someone to go and get all the balls that aren't caught. Also, the main character chooses a pitcher, but let's be honest, she could also have chosen the first baseman and then gone out and bought a tee to hit off. I liked all the teeth in this book.
Of Milk and Cereal - John Steinbeck
In this classic novel, a poor family living on a prairie dog farm make their living off tourism, but there have been no tourists for months. Even the prairie dogs are worried. There are long sections that describe in great detail the milk and cereal that the family eat as their one, single meal each day. The husky quality of the cereal, and its digestive benefits, are a highlight in this striking prose. One day, the cows dry up and there is no milk. The family must eat their cereal dry. The sound of chomping sends the prairie dogs fleeing. Abandoned without hope, the father of the family decides to dig his own grave. As he digs, a giant plume of oil shoots upward. The family become oil barons and grandfather their children into the Ivy League system by purchasing gymnasiums and libraries. The descriptions of cereal were very evocative in this book that is primarily about faith, but which also contains useful information on how to jar pickles. Man must go to the edge of the abyss until he can find redemption in this classic Steinbeck story, but he should also build better fences, redemption or not. I was very glad that there wasn't any breast milk in this one.
Anne of Avenue A - Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne is an orphan taken in by two crazy people who work in the arts and living in Manhattan's East Village. They think they're adopting a boy, but they get Anne, and they're like, "Well, gender is really a fluid condition, and what is the difference anyway." She helps them herd the cows, which is a huge pain because 14th street is like a crazy-busy thoroughfare, and delivery men are always startling the bulls when they zoom by on the way to deliver pad thai to an accountant. At first, the couple don't like Anne that much, but after she dyes her hair green, they decide she has just enough crazy in her to mix it with the characters in Alphabet City. Anne falls in love with a guy who teasers her by pulling her hair and running her over in his cab. At the end, she marries him, after a frightful encounter with food poisoning. I found this book to be tremendously idyllic in its descriptions of the wholesome life Anne adopts in and around the sewer grates and subway steam pipe outlets of the East Village. She really captured my imagination but I have to say I wish she had turned out to be a boy, like they ordered.
A Brief History of Thyme - Stephen Hawking
In this dense non-fiction book, Stephen Hawking explains the intricacies of thyme but in a way that normal people can understand. Did you know that a leaf of thyme is like one thousand needlepoints? Or something, I forget the exact numbers. This book was super informative. I understand everything now.
What's your favorite fake book? Is Judy Blume the raddest?