TL; DR: I attended the panel with Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus at LATFOB and just missed out on the opportunity to get a copy of their new book, House of Secrets.
The first panel I attended at the 2013 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (#BookFest) was for House of Secrets, the super hyped collaboration between director Chris Columbus and author Ned Vizzini. Super hyped? Well I’ve been hearing about it for months? weeks? And everytime I look and am reminded that the book isn’t out yet so there’s that whole frustration.
Be More Chill was my book selection a long time ago for YABC. A “Today’s Book Club” book and an Entertainment Weekly “Top 10 Book of 2004” the cover screamed at me with potential. However, it has the distinction of being the only YABC selection that was rejected mid-month and replaced. I had read it early on in the month and come to the conclusion that I didn’t want to discuss it with the group. It’s not a bad book; I was more apprehensive that it wouldn’t play well with the audience. I was operating under an observation about the group dynamic and gender; I may have been the only male in attendance and my previous selection, King Dork had not found a receptive audience.
Be More Chill if I recall felt like a book that would appeal more to boys. I’m not going to call it a dumb boy book … (as in, for dumb boys) but I feel that the book has so much more appeal for your (average) young man. And not your above average intellect female with a taste for Harry Potter and Jane Austen.
The book we ended up discussing that month was Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Which ended up being really well received.
I haven’t really paid attention to Mr. Vizzini’s career since then. I did notice there was a movie that came out based on another book of his, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, but I did not read / watch it. Last year saw the release of The Other Normals which also looked like a dumb boy book. Ooo I just coined a term. I think. Anyhow, I think I’m done disrespecting Mr. Vizzini.
I fully intend to read House of Secrets. I don’t remember what it’s about, but it’s fantasy. And when I got in line for signing I didn’t notice that across the way there was a tent selling books. And they had House of Secrets. And when I got there THEY RAN OUT. The gentlemen in front of me got the last copy. And I was sad. Not Ned’s fault. Not at all.
Anyhow he was nice and I hope he was impressed that I had a book, especially one that came out several years ago. I didn’t realize it but apparently we’ve reached the near future point in which the book takes place so we should be getting our squips anytime now. 😉
I feel like I’ve been overly negative in this post. I think it’s more of because I’m an overly negative person. That doesn’t really make up for it.
My live tweets has contained a few bits of information.
Ned likes Redwall (the fantasy books by Brian Jacques with fighting animal monks) and I also remember enjoying these books growing up. Ned made some odd comment about it preserving western thought and I don’t know if that meant that fantasy books written by white men continue the tradition that goes all the way back to the salt licking cow (Auðumbla) through Lord of Rings and so forth… I was reminded that Chris Columbus wrote Goonies and he was surprised at how well loved that movie was…and he thinks it’s been too long for a sequel. That nearly killed me. The panel did address something I felt was off putting; the reference to brands or pop culture references. Things that may not age well and sometimes feel like authors provide them to seem hip or cool. As in I’m trying to talk to kids in their own language by trying to share their aspirational materialist fantasies in this book. That makes the book cool, right? There was some debate to this; originally the book referenced the PlayStation Vita but it was decided that the Vita will probably not have a lasting influence on culture; the PlayStation Portable has been around for several years and therefore would be a better reference. Instead of Russell Brand, Mick Jagger has been used, also under the reasoning that Russell Brand may not survive as long as Mick Jagger. (I agree with this forecast).
I think the worst thing Ned Vizzini said was that Bordello of Blood was one of the best films of the 90s. That’s a personal choice and probably says more about him than actually being one of the best films of the 90s. But whom am I to judge? I didn’t see it.
I made the mistake of doing an online search for Christopher Columbus. That did not end up being the person I was hoping to research. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
House of Secrets is on my to be read list. Hopefully I can follow this post up with a glowing review.