follow me on Twitter
  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.

Archive for March, 2010

Oldies but goodies

Posted on March 31st, 2010 by annakjarzab

Music reminds me of my dad. He’s a musician (guitar) and when he was in college he was a radio DJ, so there was always music on when we were in the car. Sometimes it was classical, but most of the time it was Hall & Oates or oldies. When I was growing up, we had a kick ass oldies station in Chicago, Oldies 104.3. I don’t even think that’s an oldies station anymore, which makes it pretty worthless to me. John Records Landecker was my favorite disc jockey, and I basically didn’t listen to any other music until high school.

(Okay, that isn’t true. I always say that I didn’t know “they” were making new music until I was in the 8th grade, but I know I had NKOTB albums–kill me–and other things. I remember Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill as my first album, but now I’m not so sure that’s true. Whatever. Authors are liars. What of it?)

So I listened to mostly oldies growing up. They remind me of my dad, as does Hall & Oates (we can argue if that’s oldies if you want) and the soundtrack to The Big Easy. Recently I downloaded a bunch of music to beef up my oldies playlist, and I thought I’d share it with you.

Playlist: Songs that remind me of Dad

1. Mr. Tamborine Man – The Byrds

2. My Generation – The Who

3. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

4. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf

5. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

6. People Got to Be Free – The Rascals

7. Wooly Bully – Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs

8. Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

9. Carry on Wayward Son – Kansas

10. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

11. I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles

12. Time of the Season – The Zombies

13. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison

14. Get Together – The Youngbloods

15. California Dreamin – The Mamas and the Papas

16. For Your Love – The Yardbirds

17. Kicks – Paul Revere & the Raiders

18. Let’s Live for Today – The Grass Roots

19. Spirit In the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

20. Time Won’t Let Me – The Outsiders

21. Gimme Some Lovin’ – Spencer Davis Group

22. On the Road Again – Canned Heat

23. Bus Stop – The Hollies

24. Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees

25. Hush – Deep Purple

26. Mony Mony – Tommy James & the Shondells

27. Presence of the Lord – Blind Faith

28. Black Betty – Ram Jam

29. O-O-H Child – The Five Stairsteps

30. Baby I Need Your Loving – Four Tops

31. Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone

32. Then he Kissed Me – The Crystals

33. He’s a Rebel – The Crystals

34. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield

35. Down in the Boondocks – Billy Joe Royal

36. Down on the Corner – Credence Clearwater Revival

37. More Today Than Yesterday – Spiral Staircase

38. Someday We’ll Be Together – Diana Ross & the Supremes

39. Everyday People – Sly & the Family Stone

40. Proud Mary – Credence Clearwater Revival

41. Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival

42. Take a Letter Maria – R. B. Greaves

43. Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkle

44. You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty

45. Baby Love – Diana Ross & the Supremes

46. Where Did Our Love Go – Diana Ross & the Supremes

47. Love Child – Diana Ross & the Supremes

48. Dawn – Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons (FAVORITE!!!)

49. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens

50. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon


Posted on March 30th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I know I haven’t been around much, but that’s because I have been writing! Which is really what I should be doing, right? Riiiiiight. Anyway, I just wanted to take care of a few housekeeping things:

  1. I have an event on Thursday, April 1 (that’s this Thursday), in Centerreach, NY (that’s on Long Island, near my favorite stop on the LIRR–Ronkonkama! Seriously, how fun is that to say?) at Best Bargain Books. It’s my first event, so I am both excited and nervous about it. I even had a stress dream about it last night, where I was inappropriately dressed and the entire staff of Teen Vogue (I would wonder about this, except I watched The September Issue last night) was there to watch me fall on my face. I also dreamed, because you care, that there was a made-for-TV movie based on AUT, and even though it was ostensibly based on the book it didn’t really, um, have anything to do with AUT. And Carly was blonde. So…what? But yes, Best Bargain Books on Thursday, April 1 at 7 PM. Be there or be…somewhere else, I guess. But if you’re there you’ll have more fun.
  2. Speaking of events, my April 17th event at Mysteries on Main Street in Jonestown, NY has been moved to the following weekend, April 24th. Visit the events page for more details.
  3. Courtney Summers, who is by far one of my favorite YA novelists and the author of the kick-ass Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are, was lovely enough to interview me over at her website–and she’s giving away a copy of AUT! Run, don’t walk.
  4. I have another event to put on the events page–I’ll be at Anderson’s in Naperville, IL on Friday, May 14th. Yay! Come visit me!
  5. I’ve created a Facebook fan page for All Unquiet Things, in case you wanted to shout your love for my book from the rafters (insofar as that’s a thing that is possible on the Internet). I’ve posted my growing library of photos taken by friends and fans in an album there–if you have anything to contribute, you should email me!

Also, I’ve been getting some fan mail recently, and I just want to say a blanket “Thank you” to all the people who’ve taken the time to write to me. I will write you back, I promise! I’m working on it piece by piece. But this is a preemptive thank you, because you guys are awesome.

The One With the Awesome Book Available Now Wherever Books Are Sold*

Posted on March 24th, 2010 by annakjarzab

So, remember how I once told you about this completely wonderful fantasy novel, Brightly Woven, written by my completely wonderful friend Alexandra Bracken? OF COURSE YOU DO, because you commit my every blog post to memory. Or you’ve been trolling through the archives, where you stumbled upon this post. Whichever.

Anyway, this post is just to let you know that Brightly Woven came out today! Alex and I had dinner at Old Town Bar to celebrate (I had a turkey burger; it was okay but I’ve had better) and talk publishing and writing, as we are wont to do. But first, we went to the Union Square Barnes & Noble and saw that they had four copies of Brightly Woven. When we left B&N, they had one copy. I bought one, and then each of Alex’s two–TWO!–friends who showed up while we were standing there admiring the New for Teens display each bought one (one of them bought AUT, too, so, you know, she’s my favorite). Rumor has it that her coworkers cleaned out the 5th Ave B&N stock as well. We are a FORCE to be RECKONED WITH, we Alex Bracken fans. 🙂

Anyway, you should totally buy and read Brightly Woven. Look, I read a lot of YA, and too often these days I find that the characters in the stories don’t feel real to me. They’re either too plain and boring for me to connect with them, or they’re too perfect/implausible to be sympathetic. Alex’s characters are not like that. They’re real people, with real flaws and real virtues, and they screw up a lot, but they also have a lot of heart. That’s what I value most in literature, and furthermore that’s what I think literature’s main goal is–to create characters you can believe in.


*I’m in ur computerz, stealin ur blog titlez, Bracken!

The last thing this world needs is another Cutting Edge sequel

Posted on March 19th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Hey kids! I’m coming out of my blogbernation (they can’t all be winners!) to talk to you about a cause near and dear to my heart. What is it? Well I’ll tell you.


The terrifying proliferation of Cutting Edge movies.

Like all little girls who grew up mostly in the 90s, I LOVE The Cutting Edge. As I was explaining to my friend last night, it’s a great example of a movie knowing the exact limits of its genre and doing the best possible with what it has to work with. It’s a romantic comedy, yes, so we’re not going to see a huge deviation from the basic romcom plot, but it allows them to do a lot with the characters, which I find awesome. You see (and maybe I’m thinking about this too much because I’ve seen this movie four hundred times or whatever), Kate is more than just an “ice princess” (UGH worst)–you can totally see how she got to be the bitch she is. Her mother, a figure skater of one assumes champion abilities, dies when she is very young. To make sure that her father, who is a sort of disinterested business man, keeps paying attention to her, she tries to be as much like her mother as possible–thus, figure skating. The better she gets, the more she’s rewarded by her father’s attention and focus, so she tries harder and harder and becomes, well, a champion. Okay, great. Except figure skating makes her tragically unhappy and lonely (which is my theory as to why she is a pairs skater, even though she never actually gets along with her partners). But she’s afraid to quit because she thinks that her father won’t love her if she’s not a figure skater anymore. Well, maybe she needs a boyf or something. So she starts dating Hale, who is 100% Daddy approved, and also never around, so she doesn’t have to deal with the fact that she actually doesn’t love him or really want to be with him. Awesome. So naturally she’s totally bitchy and repressed, because she’s miserable and has painted herself into a corner with her life choices, and she knows it, but she doesn’t know what to do about it.

Then there’s Doug. He got his dream smashed out of him by some other hockey player and now he’s relegated to working in a factory in Deluth. He doesn’t appear to have parents, and his only support comes from his brother who is really invested in his Olympic future. Doug’s depressed and also lonely, because the thing that got him the adoration of everyone he ever came into contact with has suddenly disappeared like a wisp of smoke, no matter how many girls he gets into bed. When he meets Kate, obviously he’s furious by how spoiled and ridiculous she acts. Like she’s ever had one ounce of difficulty in her whole comfy Greenwich, CT life. But finally he finds he has some sort of purpose again, so he puts up with it. The more he learns about her and what has made her who she is, and the real person she is, the more he cares about her and invests in their partnership, and vice versa. This is awesome, and The Cutting Edge tells that story well for what it is.

Okay, so then you have The Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold starring Christy Effing Carlson Effing Romano. WHY WHY WHY?! If they had to turn this movie into a franchise (WHICH THEY DIDN’T), WHY did they cast her? She’s so unattractive, and I don’t mean that in a cruel, superficial way, I mean it in the sense that she is generally unfun to watch on screen and very unpleasant looking, especially because Jackie’s a total bitch. EXCEPT! She’s not a very good actress, and her character, Kate and Doug’s kid Jackie, HAS NO REASON TO BE THAT WAY. She’s got two loving parents (so poorly cast, by the way) who tell her repeatedly that as soon as this stops being her dream she should quit because nothing is worse than wasting your life just to fulfill other people’s dreams (especially since, yo, Doug and Kate already have a gold medal so what do they care). She’s got a very cushy life (again in CT, where all the royals live) and apparently is very attractive to the mens, although God help me I don’t see it. If skating makes you miserable, why do it? Thus my theory that they just made her mean because that’s the formula for these movies now. They didn’t even think about why the character might be that way, other than she’s just naturally rude and awful, in which case why should I care about her at all?

Also, her love interest (I don’t remember his name–oh, Alex! We’ll get to that in a second), is so worthless. I mean, he is pretty, but AN IN-LINE SKATER?! This movie came out in 2006–I checked!–and it appears to take place in 1996. It is in many ways more dated than The Cutting Edge, which actually did take place in like 1994. There is in-line skating and Kate wears a seriously hideous coat throughout. And I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t be holding a made-for-TV movie to any standards of depth or realism, but just because you’re a good rollerblader, does that really make it possible for you to learn how to figure skate at a competitive level in three months? Especially if the only instruction you have seems to come from a gaggle of six-year-old girls? And that qualifies you to be the partner of an Olympic level skater? Even her mother, who is a notoriously tough to please actual Olympic gold medal winner and now her only daughter’s coach, is taken in by this? Wow, Kate really mellowed out in middle age. NO WAY! That would not happen. The entire premise is void. The only thing that makes this movie tolerable for five seconds is, of course, the brief appearance of my favorite fave, Ryan Hansen, who played Dick Casablancas on Veronica Mars.

SPOILER: At the end they tell each other they love each other. Yeah right. I hated this movie.

Okay, so then I started watching The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. I guess I forgot to mention that I DVRed all the Cutting Edge movies this weekend when they played back to back on ABC Family. Anyway, I only watched about 30 minutes of The Cutting Edge 3, but at first glance it is an improvement over The Cutting Edge 2, mostly because of this guy:


Is he or is he not painfully gorgeous? I mean, seriously model hot. He’s a little hard to look at, though, like washing your eyeballs out with diamonds. Anyway, I thought the premise of this movie was a little more original. He’s a famous playboy figure skater who, as far as the media goes, is dating his equally good looking partner, even though they broke up a long time ago and she still is in love with him (she’s very sweet) but he’s sleeping around. Fine, great, Logan Echolls-type. But he’s “dangerous” which means possibly he goes a little too fast on the ice while carrying another human being, because he drops his partner and she fractures her ankle, which means two months in a cast and four months of rehab. So they (meaning him and his partner and their coach) try to find him another partner…although I have no idea why. Just so they can throw her away when Celeste decides she’s ready to get back on the ice? Sounds kind of obnox to me. So he has this ridiculous breakdance fight-like scrimmage with a bunch of Hispanic hockey players and he realizes that there’s only one of them who can match his fancy footwork–and she’s a girl! So he tries to get her to be his partner. That’s where I stopped, but I looked it up on Wikipedia and it turns out that Ren Stevens comes back! To coach these chuckleheads. Thank God I didn’t get that far. Anyway, he falls in love with this girl, but confusingly she is in The Cutting Edge 4: Fire and Ice, which I haven’t watched, with a different guy, so…they break up? THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN IN THE CUTTING EDGE WORLD. NOBODY BREAKS UP. Also, the guy in The Cutting Edge 4 is a speed skater (pardon my ignorance, but are all types of skating sort of interchangeable? I didn’t think so, but apparently I’m wrong), and he’s played by that guy who plays Booth’s brother in Bones, so while I’m happy to see him, I’m aware that he’s like 35 or something. And also, the girl’s name in the last two Cutting Edge films is Alex. That’s three Alexes in four films. Sloppy, just plain sloppy.

Anyway, my opinion of this franchise is a big frownie face. I need to write ABC Family a strongly worded letter about perverting my childhood favorites. Like, The Labyrinth doesn’t need a sequel, either. Ugh.

Incredibly Small

Posted on March 13th, 2010 by annakjarzab

So I was scrolling through my Google Reader the other day and one of my favorite Tumblrs posted this trailer for an independent film that her friend made on practically no budget at all, Incredibly Small:

Incredibly Small Trailer from Dean Peterson on Vimeo.

First of all, it looks funny. Second of all, I totally recognize this post-college angst, because all of my friends and I are going through some version of it right now. Indie films with Ingrid Michaelson music about growing up in your twenties might seem a little cliche, but that’s because they’re a pretty universal experience, insofar as “universal” means “upper-middle class first world”. Third of all, I completely relate, because my apartment is pretty small. I do live in NY, after all.

What I love most about Incredibly Small, though, is the fierce independent spirit in which it was created. Apparently, Dean Peterson wanted to make this movie and he somehow cobbled together a small budget and made it in 14 days in Minneapolis, MN. I love that. I can really get behind throwing yourself full stop into a project because it means so much to you. There’s really very little else more fulfilling than that.

Just dropping by to say…

Posted on March 12th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Have you seen the new Eclipse teaser trailer? Is it just me, or was it sort of…boring? As my good friend M Dubbs said, “It looks just like Twilight.” It really does. Unless you were familiar with the series, you really wouldn’t be able to tell that it was an entirely different movie with (ostensibly) an entirely different plot. Come on Summit! Somebody’s asleep on the job. It didn’t even make me that excited to see Eclipse, although OF COURSE I WILL because I am not a HEARTLESS TROLL. J/k. I don’t really believe that if you aren’t seeing Eclipse you are heartless troll. You are missing out, though, on the wonder that is R Pattz.

Speaking of R Pattz, still totally excited to see Remember Me this weekend, even though my friend Doug TOTALLY RUINED THE ENDING FOR ME. I didn’t even know there was a twist to spoil, but apparently there was. Even though I’m usually such a spoiler monster when it comes to these things, I’m not going to do you the indignity of forcing you to endure the spoiling that I have endured. The funniest thing was that Doug’s G-chat status a few days ago was an jokey alternate title for the movie, and I furiously wrote to him, “DID YOU JUST SPOIL REMEMBER ME FOR ME?” He was like, “Um…how is it that you even figured that out?” Because I am an R Pattz fiend, my friend. Fiend! (No I’m not. I just like him and his character in Remember Me reminds me of Neily.)

I didn’t really intend this to be an R Pattz-centric post, but speaking of Remember Me: my roommate urgently G-chatted me yesterday saying, “I’m going out of town tonight–PLEASE DON’T SEE REMEMBER ME WITHOUT ME THIS WEEKEND!” We are grown, by the way. We probably need lives. The thing is, I actually DO have a life. I’ve just made room for R Pattz in it. Wait, is that a line from something? Oh, yes, Sex and the City. It’s an illness.

Live and in person

Posted on March 10th, 2010 by annakjarzab

OMG she’s blogging. Yeah, well, I’ve been busy. Busy writing? Oh God no, why would you think that? Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did revise Part 1 of Book 2. Oh, and I wrote a three page synopsis of a book I hope to write someday, a full-blown romance, which isn’t really my standard mode but always something I’ve wanted to do. And I figured out (mostly) how I’m going to fit the final pieces of the puzzle together for Book 3. Yeah, you heard right: Book 3. Because my natural inclination is to do something today that I could put off until tomorrow and put of until tomorrow that which I should do today. Awesome.

But I have some news. Lots of you have been asking if I’m doing any events for All Unquiet Things (that’s a joke, not one person has asked that except my mom), and the answer is that I am! I’m doing a couple of events in the New York area and a couple in Chicago. Here are the details for the events that have been confirmed:

April 1, 2010 at 7 PM
Best Bargain Books
217 Centereach Mall
Centereach, NY 11720

April 17, 2010 at 1 PM
Mysteries on Main Street
144 W Main St
Johnstown, NY 12095

May 13, 2010 at 4 PM
The University of Chicago
Classics 110
1010 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

I’ll be adding events to the events page on the site as they’re confirmed, and announcing them here if I remember–which I probably will!

I’m excited about all of these events. The stores are so nice to have me, and each one is going to be cool for its own reasons. One of my best friends in life, Kim, lives very close to Best Bargain Books, so she’s coming to the event and threatening to bring coworkers. One of my other best friends in life, Jenny, is driving me up to the event in Johnstown. And the U of C event will be kind of surreal, because I’ll be reading from the very beginning of AUT: the same exact pages (give or take some small stuff, but in all other ways almost completely identical!) that I read in Classics 110 in April of 2007 during my Works in Progress presentation. And look at me now! Wait, don’t, I’m having a bad hair day.

Plus, my agent Joanna will be at the Chicago events, and I love spending time with her. Get ready for me, Windy City! And Centereach. And Johnstown.

Cover story

Posted on March 4th, 2010 by annakjarzab

You guys know Melissa Walker, right? Author of the Violet series (Violet on the Runway, Violet in Private, Violet by Design) and Lovestruck Summer? Of course you do, duh, no offense. So because you follow Melissa on Twitter and read her blog incessantly, you’re familiar with her Cover Stories feature. I love that feature. Whenever I’m scrolling through my Google Reader, I immediately stop to read it. Anyway, Melissa was kind enough to host me on her blog this week, talking about AUT’s cover, which we all know is the best cover to ever grace the face of this earth. I know I’m biased, but even when I attempt to be objective, I still feel that way. Anyway! I’ll shut up now and let you head over to Melissa’s blog to read all about it.

Part Two!

Posted on March 2nd, 2010 by annakjarzab

You guys: I’ve made it through Part 1 of the Book That Shall Not Be Named Until God Knows When. This is a major achievement! I feel like I need a marching band to play “We Are the Champions” or something. I’m trying to be excited about the fact that I’ve gotten through this part without being totally depressed and overwhelmed by the second part, which is only 1/3 written and scares me.

Let me tell you the truth here: this book is slippery. The characters are slippery, what I want to say at any given moment is slippery, the words are slippery–I feel like I can’t get a hold of anything in this novel without something else just bounding off into the darkness. I miss that feeling of certainty I had with AUT, the fierce belief I had in it. I’m hoping that I’ll get something out of this book, too–if nothing else, a feeling of triumph that I can take a problem book and make it work in a way that I’m satisfied with.

Unrelated: I just put up something on the site that you might want to check out. Lauren, the model who portrays Carly on the cover of All Unquiet Things, wrote an essay about her experience posing for the cover that she generously let me post here. It’s really interesting (and hi-LOL-arious in parts), so go read it.