Buccaneer Dan and the Raven Boys

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

BUCCANEER DAN

Even before I was officially part of Jordan’s family, I was hearing about Buccaneer Dan the Most Fierce and Good-looking Buccaneer of All Time, a book written by Jordan’s brother Leland Faux that was said to be “quite violent” and also “funny.” When Lee decided to turn it into an eBook I was pretty excited to finally read it.

In this doodle, Buccaneer Dan looks less fierce and more petulant. (Note: I did not run this by my brother-in-law to find out if this is really how Buccaneer Dan looks. I wonder if this is Buccaneer Dan's first fan art...?)

In this doodle, Buccaneer Dan looks less fierce and more petulant. (Note: I did not run this by my brother-in-law to find out if this is really how Buccaneer Dan looks. I wonder if this is Buccaneer Dan’s first fan art…?)

Lee is a funny person, so I figured the book would at least be entertaining. What I was not expecting was to be laughing out loud and to be thinking, “I LOVE this book.” There’s so much hilarious word play, so many humorous allusions to real-life people and events, and even the violence is so cartoonish and exaggerated that it’s funny instead of gross (most of the time).

For instance, here are a couple of my favorite lines:

When most of Buccaneer Dan’s crew is drowning: “Econ Bob was still up at the surface. He would have sunk down too but being an economist his head was full of knowledge. And since knowledge is lighter than air, he wouldn’t sink below his eyes.”

“Buccaneer Dan had an idea develop in his brain — which is a wonderful place to develop ideas.”

After Buccaneer Dan had just cut in half the brain of one of Robin Hood’s merry men named Tony (yes, the book features Robin Hood as well) and everyone is standing around awkwardly: “One of the [other] merry men even made a joke about whether or not Tony was left brained or right brained, which of course made everybody laugh. (Tony was left brained.)”

“Buccaneer Dan and his crew, on the other hand, were quite adept fighters. So the fight was not much of a contest—it was like scissors against paper. Or some would say rock against scissors, as Buccaneer Dan’s crew did sustain some injuries. It certainly was not a paper against rock, where it’s not entirely clear how the victory occurred.”

You can check out Buccaneer Dan’s website or order the book on Kindle. I suggest you give it a try.

THE RAVEN BOYS

My first experience with Maggie Stiefvater was Scorpio Races, and we all know how much I loved that book. I still recommend it to pretty much everyone I talk to. So when I was visiting my parents’ house and saw The Raven Boys on the shelf, just waiting to be read, I of course had to do it. And it hooked me—well, I wouldn’t say RIGHT away—but within a couple chapters?

I read it late into the night. I slept with the book beside me to make up for the absence of my husband who was still at home, working hard to make us moneys.

(Just kidding. I did not sleep with the book, but I was tempted to read it all the way through the night instead of just late.)

(Just kidding. I did not sleep with the book, but I was tempted to read it all the way through the night instead of just late.)

I read it in the airport while I waited for my plane. I read it on the plane. Once I got home, I read it late into the night a second time. I read it during every free moment I had the next day. And I finished it within probably 48 hours (would’ve finished faster if I didn’t have to work). I then went to download Book 2 on Kindle, but I discovered it’s not coming out until SEPTEMBER!

NO! I CAN’T WAIT THAT LONG!!!

The thing about Maggie Stiefvater that I’m noticing—something that she does very well—is to pack so much information about a character into just a couple sentences. Or pack a ton of information about the plot into just one scene. It feels compact and complete.

Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys are really pretty different kinds of stories, despite the fact that they’re both full of a haunting sort of magic and gently building, just-the-right-amount-of-tension romance. But I think both books showcase the skill that Maggie has with writing.

They’re the kind of books that simultaneously inspire me to get writing myself and clarify for me just how hard it is to create something that’s truly good art. Speaking of which, it’s time to get cracking at my own book again. Here goes.

I Left My Heart in Santa Barbara

A couple weeks ago Jordan and I snuck off to California on the spur of the moment just because we wanted to and also because we found out The Postal Service concert still had tickets available and so we really had no choice.

To make it even more like an escape, we rented a car. We left early in the morning:IMG_20130804_102333We passed by some of the usual landmarks:

(Check out the weird distortion -- totally a happy accident.)

(Check out the weird distortion — totally not on purpose even.)

When we got to Santa Barbara I couldn’t believe how green it was. Living in the desert, I forgot anywhere in the world could BE so green:
0720131627bWe were too late to see the first opening act, Maths, but heard he was good. Before The Postal Service stepped on stage we did get a taste of the New Orleans bounce style (courtesy of Big Freedia and dancers), which is something unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Loved that we got such a variety of music styles that night:
IMG_20130805_161648Jordan spent a lot of time checking out all the musical equipment on stage:IMG_20130805_204632Then the moon came out to set the mood:
IMG_20130805_152049And The Postal Service came on and were exactly as awesome as we hoped they’d be:
IMG_20130804_104021We were on a good-music high afterward:
IMG_20130805_151859The next morning I woke up with totally hot hair. Sometimes I miss humidity:
Morning Hot HairWe went down to the beach:
IMG_9681IMG_9680And I didn’t ever want to leave. I think maybe I would like to live by a beach.

(Oh my gosh, I like this guy so much.)

(Oh my gosh, I like this guy so much.)

We saw wee little birdies:
IMG_9683We saw games set up by someone very clever:
IMG_9665We saw the coolest hippie van ever:
IMG_9689Oh, and also we saw some people catch live crab right there in front of us. Using raw chicken. I think I was more excited by it than the kid who actually caught them:
IMG_9679We took the long way home, following the Pacific Coast Highway. It was so foggy and mysterious. This place is just asking for pirates to show up here. You know, the spooky fun kind:
IMG_9705I miss Santa Barbara already. Sigh.