Picking Up the Place

I fooled around a little bit over on my website tonight, updating the annotated list of books I've edited and my speaking engagements for the rest of the year. I forgot to add that I've agreed to be the workshop leader for the Missouri SCBWI Spring 2009 retreat in Hermann, which will focus on novel revision, building off many of the ideas in "The Art of Detection."

It is a sad, sad thing that I keep getting behind on my Happinesses of the Week. But here they are for the last two weeks:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins!!!

The kick-ass YA action must-read of Fall 2008, published by the good people of Scholastic Press. There has been buzz going around about this book in-house since the manuscript arrived last summer, and I finally received an ARC a couple weeks ago. You can read a plot summary here, but that doesn't convey the sheer suspense and urgency of this book. . . . There is action or a major plot twist in every chapter (the great genius of The Lightning Thief and its sequels too, you'll note), but more importantly Katniss is a fabulous protagonist, equal parts cold-blooded competitor and sympathetic teenage girl, and the writing is lean and strong, just like her. (And there's romance, too!) I finished it in two days and loved every minute. Watch for it this autumn.

And for last week:

My Captain Underpants erasers!!!

My authors know I am slightly fetishistic about these erasers, which Scholastic gave out as a promotional item some years ago. I snagged a whole package of them from Marketing once, and I guard them jealously, as they make red pencil, green pencil, blue pencil, you name it, disappear like the Captain in pursuit of Professor Poopypants.

Finally, the Happiness for this week:

America's Next Top Model!!!

This show is usually a top competitor for "Frivolous Reality Show that Takes Itself Way Too Seriously," mostly thanks to Tyra, but everyone seems to be having a lot of fun this cycle, and so this is the best season in a long time. My money is on Anya to take it all, but you never know who the judges might turn on next . . .

End of update. And someday I will post something serious and substantive again, I swear.