Tag Archives: Five Flavors of Dumb

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read Over the Lifespan of My Blog

Dear The Broke and The Bookish,

Seriously? For real? Sigh.

Love,

Megan

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a challenge! I feel bad for all you veteran bloggers out there. At least I only have 2.5 years worth of books to slog through!

So let’s rewind the clock to 2010, when I first started keeping track of my books on the blog. This was a good year. I discovered Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, and I fell in love with two spin-off series, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan and The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I love these authors and their books and they will always have a place on my favorites shelf, but they still can’t top these hits of 2010:

1. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. Jacky Faber is my hero. I want everyone to read these books. A girl disguised as a boy, pirates, bawdy sea shanties, and more! What’s not to love?

2. White Cat by Holly Black. It’s Harry Potter meets The Sopranos. Magic and mafia. A perfectly flawed male POV. I was sorry to say goodbye to Cassel this year. A must read, in my opinion.

3. The Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey. This series got me out of my post-Twilight vampire slump. I thought I was over vampires. Wrong. I love me some Drakes.

I could go on and include The Cardturner by Louis Sachar and Going Bovine by Libba Bray, but I need so save room for my 2011 and 2012 favorites. Moving on to 2011…

And I thought 2010 was a good year! 2011 brought gems Hourglass by Myra McEntire and Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (I do love a good time travel book!). the Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith stuck with me for days after I had finished and Where She Went by Gayle Forman actually made me cry. But, the next spots on my Top Ten list are reserved for these four books:

4. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. This was the feel-good hit of the year. Again, everyone should read this book.

5. The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. And this is when I truly learned to not judge a book by its cover. I picked up the first book in the series because I needed to find more “boy” books to recommend to my readers. I had no idea that I was going to discover a new all-time favorite series!

6. Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I received this as an ARC from the publisher. It gathered some dust on my desk. I attempted a few pages but was turned off by the dialect. More dust. Then the guilt set in. I had gotten a free advanced reader copy and I was neglecting it! So, I buckled down, and holy crap, it was amazing! I think the little blurb on the cover of the paperback edition declaring it “better than The Hunger Games” is a little mean-spirited and cocky, but totally true.

7. The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I would like to thank a number of coworkers for peer pressuring me into starting this series. I am half way through book 3 and I love it so much that I can hardly think of anything else!

Before Stork by Wendy Delsol and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins start to feel snubbed for not making the top ten, I need to move on to 2012. I have read some awesome YA books this year, but top honors goes to a non-YA!

8. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. This has to be one of the most bizarre and intriguing books I have ever read. So unique. And strange. And funny. An awesome debut!

9. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Another stunning 2012 debut! Cinderella is a cyborg. Love.

10. The ten spot is shared by two amazing graphic novel series. I didn’t start reading graphic novels until about a year ago. Now I am hooked. My favorites have been Fables by Bill Willingham and Locke & Key by Joe Hill.

         

Wow, that was hard. Please don’t tell Ashes by Ilsa Bick and Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, or I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak that they didn’t make the list. They were awesome and I don’t want to hurt their feelings!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

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An Interview With Antony John, Author of Five Flavors of Dumb

My Teen Pizza Pagers book club recently read Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. I am pretty sure I talk about this book all the time. I love this book. I decided on a whim to see if Antony John would be willing to answer some questions for us. Imagine my excitement when he agreed to do a Skype interview (no need to imagine, I will tell you there was a little jumping up and down in my office. There was most definitely a school-girlish squeeee too). Interestingly and slightly embarrassingly, the 12 and 13-year-old girls in my book club had a very similar reaction. We immediately got down to business coming up with questions. On the appointed day, after a bit of technical difficulty, Mr. John graciously answered a volley of questions ranging from the personal to the philosophical. I believe a good time was had by all. Here are some of the highlights for you. Since this was a live interview, all the answers are transcribed from my notes and are therefore most likely not direct quotes.

First, a round of This or That

Coffee or Tea
It depends on the time of day. Tea to start, coffee to write, and back to tea in the evening.

Coke or Pepsi
Neither

Peeta or Gale
Both. Gale to shoot a turkey and Peeta to make a croissant for a turkey sandwich! But really, Gale.

Zombies or Vampires
Zombies (I think he really wanted to answer both again!)

Summer or Winter
Summer

Early Bird or Night Owl
Night Owl

A little more getting to know Antony John…

Birthday: December 12

Favorite Book: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

The book that changed your world: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Mr. John said that as a student he was a reluctant reader because the books he had access to in England were not appealing and because reading was a challenge. Then his school librarian gave him The Outsiders and he was introduced to a different style of writing and a world more diverse than the one he lived in. (Megan says-I will confess to feeling a bit giddy with pride for my profession when he told this story. Yay, librarians!)

Favorite color:  Blue

Favorite Band: The Beatles.

Favorite quote: Here he said that he loves quotes, but doesn’t have a favorite because he doesn’t usually remember them. Except the rude ones.

Sibling: an older brother in England, who is awesome.

Song most played on iTunes: With 531 plays, …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. (Ah…old-school Brit!)

What was high school like for you? Mr. John talked about going to a very homogenous all boys school. He talked about how he was not like Piper in high school. He did not fight back. As a writer, he was able to go back to high school through Piper and get it right.

Did you always want to be a writer: He actually always wanted to be a composer. From the age of ten, when he got his first instrument, he was obsessed with music. However, music lost its magic for him and he stopped. When he switched to writing books he rediscovered the love of telling a story.

Is there a book you wish you had written? The Hunger Games. He couldn’t put it down.

Let’s talk more about Dumb!

Why did you choose to write a female protagonist? Piper came out of nowhere while he was making notes for the novel.

What was the inspiration for this book? Because of his background, he knew the book would be about music and his wife, who is a doctor suggested the idea of having a deaf character.

Does Piper represent anyone in real life? Piper has a lot of his own personal biases and opinions in her, but she is a totally made up character. She is who he wishes he had been in high school.

Will there be a sequel? What happens to everyone after the book ended? (Megan says-This was one of my favorite questions and answers of the entire interview.) Mr. John reports that there will not be a sequel because the inherent nature of a sequel means the characters once again have problems that need to be resolved and he didn’t want Piper to have any more problems. She got to a good spot and he wants to leave her there. However, he does have romantic notions of an epic summer tour in which Dumb opens for the band GBH/ABH (they changed their name after the book was published!).

Did you learn sign language when you were writing Dumb? Mr. John said that he took one class to get the feel for it, but he did spend four months researching deafness and deaf culture before he started writing. He even consulted with deaf teens so that he was sure he got it right.

What’s next? Thou Shalt Not Road Trip is due out on April 12. Final edits are being done on a new fantasy series due out in Fall 2012, called Elementals. And in addition to the outline for book 2 of Elementals, he is also working on another contemporary YA novel. It sounds like we have a lot to look forward to!

Mr. John had some great advice for young writers. I will leave you with that as some final thoughts.

1. Know the power of your words. Know when less is more.

2. Write about what is truly emotionally real.

3. You have to be able keep multiple projects on the go and always think about the next project.

Thanks for joining us. Please pick up Five Flavors of Dumb if you haven’t already and stop by Antony John’s website for more news and info.