Friday, March 21, 2008

Thank you, Jon Hassler

One of my favorite authors passed away yesterday.

I first read Jon Hassler's books sometime late in high school or in college. I no longer remember which one I started with, who suggested it, or why I read them. I expect it was Staggerford, but who knows. I do know that I quickly read as many as I could, and read new ones as soon as they came out.

At one point in my life, when I had time, I stalked used book stores. I had certain titles and authors I looked for - trying to get first editions or at least nice hardcovers. The more "versions" of a hard cover I could find, the better. Hassler's books were a prime candidates for these searches.... In the end, I think I have first editions of four of his titles and numerous copies of other titles.

I don't have any signed copies, though. Considering he lived only a few miles from our old house, and down the street from a friend, I'm surprised I never had a book signed by him.

Maybe his books appealed to me because they all (I think) take place in Minnesota. More than that, though, I think it's the characters. I especially adore the spunky Agatha McGee and how Hassler aged her gracefully through five of his books. His characters were vivid, almost caricatures of real people. That's what made them so readable. I always had that sinking sensation at the end of a book when I finished - I didn't want to leave them.

Hassler was quite ill the last years of his life. Amazingly, he continued to write until just a few weeks ago, finishing a novel shortly before his death. I look forward to one more Hassler novel to enjoy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cool Nerd Queen

Okay, I kept trying to post this from home but I couldn't because Mac Technology (or Safari) as an internet browser isn't cool or nerdy enough so I had to to at work where PCs and Microsoft rule: says I'm a Cool Nerd Queen.  What are you?  Click here!

Not surprisingly, I'm high on lit nerdiness but not so much on computer/math related nerdiness. Hmmmm. I'm a bit surprised about the sci-fi comic score but I do own Firefly on DVD (and will someday have the complete boxed set of Battlestar Gallactica--the new version--sitting right next to my complete boxed set of The Wire).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Okay, I'm back from vacation and caught up enough to get to the serious business of finding out my nerdiness factors.

I tied with S!

I am nerdier than 57% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

And for Version 2.0, my lit geek score is sky-high. I assume the fact that I can lay my hands on a copy of the Iliad within 15 seconds jacked up my score quite a bit. I think I got some nerd-cred from having Pokemon figures in my house, though I really can't claim credit for them. (I have some in my purse even as I type this.) says I'm an Uber Cool History / Lit Geek.  What are you?  Click here!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cool History / Lit Geek

Thanks to the Mistress of all Evil,
I hereby confess my nerd score:
I am nerdier than 57% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Can anyone top this?

Or, moving on to test v. 2.0, I am officially "Cool History / Lit Geek". Not bad! says I'm a Cool History / Lit Geek.  What are you?  Click here!

Friday, March 14, 2008

In which Holdenj is wonderfully surprised

After being homebound for so many days, and flying through several books on my pile, I was struck by the habit of children's books to have chapter titles. There's a real table of contents in most children's books, and some great, descriptive chapter titles.

The Boy Who Lived
I Learn How to Grow Zombies
We'll Weather the Blast
Marilla Makes Up her Mind
Grover Gets a Lamborghini

Having to pause a moment in the story is kind of nice sometimes. The chapter titles are often a teaser, probably great for read-aloud momentum! I flew through an adult book, The Reincarnationist it had 70 chapters, some of them only a page or two long. Dickens has chapter titles, but of course, he was serialized. But why not Evanovich or Kinsella? Does it slow the process down too much in today's busy world--maybe these authors are always under the gun the finish contractual obligations? I'm sure there are some current adult books with "real" chapter titles, but the ones in kids books are so unique and fitting.