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Ninja Books

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            News, etc. - Spring, 2004.

            April May June


            June


            Yes, I always think of gum too.
            June 25, 2004

            This a very unproductive but busy week. The new computer is ordered, and with any luck will be here before the end of next week. The computer upheavals have made things a bit complicated so bear with me as I try to work things out.

            This week's review has the tag of chicklit attached to it, and I don't know about you all, but that always makes me think of chicklets, those little square pieces of gum that we used to chew five or six of at one time because they were so small. But besides making me think of gum I did some thinking on what I guess you could call the chicklit phenomenon.

            Is chicklit even a genre? I guess itís being called one. Iím sort of ambivalent on the whole concept. Every book Iíve ever read that claimed to be chicklit has been as much about romance as anything else, which leads me to believe that chicklit is really just a euphemism for romance. People who tell me they would never read a romance are practically rolling around naked in chicklit. Has it escaped their attention that 99.9% of all chicklit books end with the heroine getting her guy? Has it really? Romance in sheepís clothing, thatís what it is!

            I guess it all depends on whom you ask. Jennifer Crusie, for example, was well known as a romance author before the term chicklit was coined. Now, however, youíll see her name mentioned in chicklit discussion groups. Ask them about romance however, and youíll get a spate of protests, all mentioning that they hate romance and would never ever read it and blah blah blah Fabio blah blah blah. (Yikes. My spell check a) knows Fabio and b) just corrected it. ) Okay seriously. Fabio is not the be all end all of romance. Thatís a point of view generally perpetuated by people who have never looked past the ďbodice-rippersĒ section of romance.

            I am completely aware of the fact that there is some bad romance writing out there. Really bad. And I mock it willingly. But to lump it all into one category and never look beyond that is as erroneous as reading Sherlock Holmes and assuming that defines all mysteries, or reading Clive Barker and judging all fantasy by that standard.

            Chicklit, to me, seems like more of a sub genre of romance than a genre in its own right. It has all of the elements of a romance. The only difference is that sometimes the romance is central to the plot and sometimes it exists as a fringe benefit. But the next person who tells me they donít read romance while they curl up with a Marian Keyes novel? Iím going to have to slap them upside the head. Iím just saying.


            Of News and Narratives
            June 18, 2004

            The index of authors has updated. Be sure to check that out. If you know of an official author homepage that has not been linked, please let us know. I am looking at ways to improve the site and preparing for an overhaul. We will hit the 50 review mark next month, and I'd love to hear your feedback regarding changes you'd like to see. Unless those changes are "no more pop-ups" because I don't have anywhere to move it to that wouldn't have as many or more. Remember, the faster I strike it rich, the faster I'll be able to entertain you, pop-up free. :D I am also looking for guest reviewers, as always. I would really like to get some variety in here, so if you are interested, please contact me. If you want to reach me on any of these issues, or just to say hey, and let me know you are reading, contact me at
            ninjabooks@graffiti.net.

            I'm really traumatized right now, as I have been suffering from massive computer problems. My brand new laptop has died. I tend to write reviews as I go, and just post them here as needed so that I always have a little bit of a reserve. I lost four of my newest reviews, which is so frustrating. I should be able to reconstruct them, of course, but it's annoying to have to do so. I also lost two months worth of scripts for Buccaneers, the comic I write for, which is just completely frustrating. I can rewrite them, but the originals were comedy gold y'all. I'll never be able to recapture that.I was on a roll. I'll try though. The computer was an HP Pavillion and after this experience, I don't believe I'll ever own another HP. It's bad enough that this one messed up. What makes it worse is that it's my second one. I have already returned one, because it wasn't working correctly. Having to take a second one back is just ridiculous. So I'm returning it instead of exchanging it, and planning to get a new computer entirely. I have no idea what I'm even looking at, at this point. Probably another notebook, but I really don't know. So if you talked to me this week and I seemed cranky, now you know the reason.

            I'm going to try and expand this section a little bit. My web journal is chock full of rants on writing and my take on literature, and I plan to share more of that here as well. I hope you enjoy reading them. I wish I could say I was in the heart of the lit. scene right now, but I'm not sure I'm even clinging to an edge. I hope you enjoy my rantings anyway.

            So I just read an article the other day on a book of essays on marriage from the male point of view, called The Bastard on the Couch itís a companion book to one called The Bitch in the Kitchen. And really, I donít understand the point. Of either of the books, really. Havenít we analyzed everything enough? How long do we need to analyze what is wrong with our relationships before we get down to brass tacks and start trying to change them? How much time can we spend talking about our problems before we start working on them? These books are just more talk.

            And donít get me wrong; I donít think that all books have to be ďvalue addedĒ. I donít need to learn a magical lesson from everything I read. But in a case like this, where the author/editor is going around talking about how the books mean something, and how they have some kind of deeper value into learning about marriage in the modern day, I really think they should. Maybe Iím being overly judgmental, because I havenít read these books, but seriously? I just donít get it. Maybe if I felt the books contained some sort of new perspective. But why does the world need two books dedicated to people complaining about their marriages? Do they not know about blurty.com? Everyone complains about their relationships. Thatís how the world is. Iíll tell you what, back in the day, Eve was probably all ďAdam never helps out with the kids. Iím here, slaving away and Cain, stop hitting your brother, donít make me turn this donkey cart around young man!Ē

            I really feel like the world has had just about enough of these whiny, self-analyzing books. Once in a while, someone writes a book that is really worth reading. They find that part of themselves that everyone can relate to but no one wants to admit to and they lay it out for everyone to see and wow! the confessional narrative that seems so insanely popular these days seems to pay off. Most of the time though, itís just some yuppie who knows how to turn a phrase making the fact that they sabotage all their relationships because their father worked all the time seem like the greatest tragedy in the world and can we please just get over it already?

            -Carrie



            June is Here!
            June (duh) 11, 2004

            I read an interesting article today. It was in the May/June edition of Poets and Writers. The article was on an author named Percival Everett and he talked about how as an African-American he felt that his work was judged by a different set of standards, and how he felt that literature, or any form of creative expression was judged by a racial standard. For example, writers whose race is unknown are assumed to be white, but when a writerís race is known, they are judged by that standard. Theyíre an African-American writer, or a Korean American Writer or a Native American writer. Anyway, Everett has some really interesting things to say about it, and its worth looking for.

            I should tell you, the news archives for January, February and March kind of got wiped tonight. I was very stupid and accidentally deleted them right after I consolidated them. Duh. Itís all part of my goal to redesign the website and do some work behind the scenes to consolidate what is fast growing into an almost unmanageable number of files. Tripod provides plenty of room to build in; it will be a while before we outgrow the site space wise, but organizationally itís a mess. So if you notice downed links or anything please please please let me know and Iíll get them back up as soon as I can. But please bear with me while I try to improve things. Itís all working towards our fabulous fifty reviews online mark. If you check out the news and recommended readings pages, however, you'll notice that they are now archived quarterly! That should help a little bit. :)

            I apologize for not updating last week. I slacked all over, to be honest. I was feeling a bit of burn out. Iím back this week, obviously. Late, but working on it

            Also, my news headlines have been totally uninspired. June is here? How about next time I make the headline ďYouíre Reading the News Section!Ē Yeeeah.

            And remember, I am always looking for guest reviewers! If you would like to volunteer, or just suggest a book for me to read and review, contact me at ninjabooks@graffiti.net.
            -Carrie

            May


            Information and Updates!
            May 21, 2004

            May 28, 2004

            My recent newsposts have not been very informative, I must admit. I've got a few things I would like to talk about. First of all, I hope you enjoy this week's review of Printz award winner The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things. I enjoyed writing it for you.

            Some of you may have noticed the disapppearance of the ninja reviews. I have to admit, my silly streak works best when being cheered on, and my fellow reviewer has since dropped out of the program, leaving me to struggle on alone. Ninja reviews are fun to read and fun to write, but I am not able to produce one for every week. Think of them as a special feature if they should appear in the future. If you are disappointed, I'm sorry. I have too much going on to keep up with the page updates and an extra review on top of that. I felt that the ones I had been writing were subpar and I'd rather not post them if they are going to suck.

            The About Us page has been updated to contain biographies of the guest reviewers. If you are a guest reviewer and don't like what I wrote about you, write something yourself and send it to me. The Index of Authors has updated as well, containing links to four new author homepages including Tanith Lee and Millie Criswell and the BRAND NEW J.K. Rowling site. It's really cool! If you ever notice a link on the author page or on any of our pages not working, please notify me.

            I hope none of you are tired of me yet. It's been two straight months of nothing but Carrie. The silence on the forums and the Ninja Books e-mail makes me suspect I'm talking to myself for the most part.

            Please remember, I ama lways looking for guest reviewers! If you would like to volunteer, or just suggest a book for us to read and review, contact me at
            ninjabooks@graffiti.net.

            -Carrie


            Updatey!
            May 21, 2004

            Ninja Books has updated once again. We have another double review this week, covering both of the Curves books. We're getting close to the 50 review mark, so I guess I'd better start planning what we'll do for the big party. I hope some of you will use the contact information to send me some suggestions. Maybe I should hold a logo design contest. :D

            Buccaneers updated on Thursday I hope you will all take time to check it out. I would love to have your support in this new venture.

            And remember, we are always looking for guest reviewers! If you would like to volunteer, or just suggest a book for us to read and review, contact us at ninjabooks@graffiti.net.

            -Carrie


            Oops. ^^;
            May 17, 2004

            I would love to say that I had some big reason for not updating on Friday but I just got busy and forgot. Actually, if you had checked the reviews page, you would have seen that the new review was up, but then I got distracted from finishing. Sorry everyone!

            Other, personal news, I am now working on a web comic called ninjabooks@graffiti.net.

            -Carrie


            So many books, so little time
            May 7, 2004

            Hello everyone! It's a new (theme free) month. We're kicking off the new month with a bang as I review childhood crush wil Wheaton's book, Dancing Barefoot. I hope you enjoy the review and I'd like to remind you all that the archives are there for your perusal so if you've missed soome reviews, you can check them out there.

            Also make sure you check out the author's index for the new additions, including Jane Yolen and the author of this week's review, Wil Wheaton.

            And remember, we are always looking for guest reviewers! If you would like to volunteer, or just suggest a book for us to read and review, contact us at ninjabooks@graffiti.net.

            April
            Happy National Poetry Month
            April 30, 2004

            Today marks the end of National Poetry Month, and the end of my attempt to bring a little poetry into the lives of my readers.
            Poetry Speaks is our last review this month.

            I have a few thoughts on poetry to share with you. I've devoted a month of my time to it. To new poetry. To old poetry. And why? If there has ever been a time when I doubted if anyone was reading this site, this is it. I was speaking to a coworker today, as Poetry Speaks played in the background, and she asked me "what is that noise". I told her, that noise is poets reading their work. Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anne Sexton; I rattled off their names, and she didn't know them. I was dismayed. How did she not know them? But then I realized, know one knows them. Poetry is like a secret, hidden world now. Where once it was a living, breathing part of the literary world, now it is exclusive. If you hear the name of a famous poet, would you say, "I've heard of him, but I don't know what he does?"

            Why has poetry faded away?

            I hope I didn't bore you all too much this month with my determination to show support for poetry, which so few people seem to care about.

            -Carrie

            Another Day, Another Dollar. Except I'm not being paid for this.
            April 23, 2004

            Happy Friday, folks. No news today, except to say - tada! The new review is up. Enjoy.

            Please remember we are always looking for new reviewers and reading suggestions. You can send us mail at ninjabooks@graffiti.net

            -Carrie

            The Unstoppable Juggernaut
            April 16, 2004

            I admit that I was close to defeat on my theme last week, but no! I will not give in. If I ever try this again though, shoot me. No, really. No. Really. The Index of Authors has updated to include links to S.E. Hinton,Meg Cabot and Julie Andrews Edwards. I hope you are enjoying this streak of actual updating that we have been on. Here's hoping we can keep it up. See you next week.

            Please remember we are always looking for new reviewers and reading suggestions. You can send us mail at ninjabooks@graffiti.net

            -Carrie

            One Fish, Two fish
            April 9, 2004

            National Poetry Month continues. I think this will be the last time I ever try to do a whole month on the same theme. As much as I love poetry, April is a long freakin' month. I need a break. Anyone want to do a poetry related review next week? Anyone at all? ...please?

            In other news, my sister is going to have another baby. Yay! Babies are awesome. She's not due until December though. Babies take forever! Darn it.

            In other other news, 2004 marks 100 years since the birth of the greatest poet ever born, Dr. Seuss. Everyone knows and loves the good doctor, and I want to encourage you to celebrate his birth. Pick up your favorite Dr. Seuss book and read it aloud to all your friends. Dr. Seuss knew that you're never too old to be silly. What better way to celebrate his contribution to children's literature?

            Have you hugged a poet today?
            April 2, 2004

            Welcome to National Poetry Month, everyone! I hope you all enjoy this month's poetry oriented reviews. If you are fans of poetry, I hope you'll find something new to spark your interest. If you aren't a fan, maybe we'll convince you to give poetry another crack. This week's review of Aleutian Sparrow starts us off slow with a book of narrative blank verse from Newbery winning author Karen Hesse.

            Please remember we are always looking for new reviewers and reading suggestions. You can send us mail at ninjabooks@graffiti.net