Thursday, October 1, 2009

Down the Uglies Hole

October is a perfectly good month. The first is a perfectly good day. And Blogspot is a perfectly good place. So, the day after my best writer friend, Debbie Schubert, celebrated her Blogiversary, I will make my own leap into the world of blogging. She likes when I leap, really. And usually—make that always—I’m glad that I did.

And the topic of the day. Hmmm, let me think. Books. And not just any books but ugly books... pretty books... and very special books, and all by the same author (how lucky for us).

In March, I decided that I wanted to read at least thirty-five new books in 2009 (I'm on book forty-six right now, by the way). This is not to say that I wasn’t reading books before, but I am a chronic re-reader. Once I fall in love with a story world, I keep going back (over and over and over). Books on my re-reading list include (but are not limited to) The Mountain is Young (my favorite book), The Twilight Series, The Host (which I love more every single time I read it), The Lord of the Rings (which I used to read every year during winter break when I was a teacher), The Four Feathers, the gorgeous Griffin and Sabine series, and anything by Jane Austen.

I’ve always loved books, but since my new effort to venture out more, I have truly fallen in love again and again (and have added books to my re-reading list as well). Every book I’ve read has transported me, some to places that have shocked me, scared me, lifted me, comforted me. I’ve dreamed of these worlds and even was awake most of one night trying to rewrite the ending of a particularly good book that ended exactly as it should have—just not how I wanted it to (I’m a sucker for a happy ending).

In my mission to read more, I, of course, spent a not small amount of time in the YA fantasy section, and it was there that an intriguing book found its way to the top of the list. That book was Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Woosh, down the Uglies hole, I went. A weekend disappeared with the turning of pages—first of Uglies, then on to Pretties and Specials. The story of Tally Youngblood’s journey to grow up in a culture obsessed with exteriors drew me in completely. The story is fast-paced and incredibly relevant. I found myself wishing I were back in the classroom (I taught middle school for six years) so that I could gush about these books to my students, who are growing up in a world where interiors are often neglected, where eating disorders and narrow images of beauty are a plague upon young people, where peers are too often judged by their covers. These are all issues that Mr. Westerfeld masterfully tackles, all without a heavy hand because we journey with Tally, through Tally, through a level of victimization and into triumph. By the ending, I was so grateful just to have my own face and uniqueness and the knowledge that no one was coming to take that away.

I highly recommend this series.

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and I look forward to sharing more about the books I love and the moments along the journey of both my writing and my life.

Quote of the Day from The Mountain is Young by Han Suyin:

“But it is this restlessness, this knowledge of the tame abyss you drag about with you on a leash, the abyss of language, which keeps you humble and therefore in touch with the Divine.”


DebraLSchubert said...

Yay! I'm the first one to comment on my beautiful, talented friend's blog! I love everything about Literary Jules - it's so.... YOU! And I love how you set your fears aside and jump into new endeavors. I wish you much happiness, joy, and fun with this new project, and I can't wait to introduce you to my blogging buds over at Write on Target. Namaste, my friend, namaste. ;-)

Chuck Schubert said...
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Chuck Schubert said...

Congrats on your new blog! It is a privilege to be a follower, and I appreciate the support you give my honey. All the best!

Anonymous said...

Well done! It's wonderful that you are sharing your passion with others. Best of luck with your YA novel. Liza Wiemer

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I liked your new blog and can tell I'll enjoy following along.
Just happened to see a link to it in a tweet. What an impressive start.

Sandra Leigh said...

Welcome to the Land of Blog, Julie. You'll love it here - especially when you have Debra to show you around. Isn't she cool?

Frank said...
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Frank said...

Yay! I can Lurk!! When are you going to cover that Silmarillion that we were both supposed to be reading..? Love ya!

Julie said...

Debbie and Chuck,

I don’t think anyone, anywhere has a better cheering squad than I do. Thanks so much for all of your support. And please worship heartily at the Feline Altar, and thank your Master Cats for allowing you to spend your time being great friends to me.

Liza and Cindy,

Thanks so much for dropping by and for the wonderful compliments. I hope you will be back and look forward to sharing my journey with you both.


Yes, oh yes, Debbie is cool, fabulous, talented, and a remarkably thoughtful person. I’m glad to be a very vocal part of her fan club. Thanks for the welcome.


You had to go and bring up the Silmarillion. I just added it to the pile. I’ll let you know when I begin. Be prepared for some pop quizzes. You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the power-trip, pop-quiz fetish out of the teacher. ;)

Daisy Whitney said...

Good luck with your writing and your agent hunt!

Julie said...


Thanks so much for the good wishes. Congrats on all of your success, and I look forward to reading THE MOCKINGBIRDS next fall!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Welcome to the blogosphere :o)

ruebs said...

You get Chelsea hooked on a book and then she passes it on like a friendly infection. The Uglies series was great. I'm looking forward to what you will recommend next.