“The Immortals”? Immortality under these conditions would be unbearable.
You wouldn’t have thought it possible to stage a literary train-wreck as total as Jon Skovron’s Misfit; but in Blue Moon, Alyson Noel (don’t tell me that’s what it says on her birth certificate) certainly gives it a serious try. Imagine being stuck in high school for, oh, four hundred years or so. But reading this book only feels like that.
You may wonder what I was doing, reading these really stupid books in the first place. Well, I was preparing to be a guest on a radio program, discussing Young Adults fiction. After you read a few of these, you kind of lose heart and need to take eight or nine years off. I guess I’m ready to go back on the air, if anyone wants me.
I would love to see one of these “teen lit” authors try to tell a story without cliches. Betcha anything they couldn’t do it. It would be funny–like watching someone try to dribble a loaf of bread down the basketball court.
These books are so bad, I find it almost sinister. Is it part of some incredibly subtle and complicate plot against civilization?
I wonder how hard editors have to work to get some of this stuff in shape to be published. I asked my editor, once (she’s now the editorial director for a major New York publishing house) how, when she was so hard on me, and so demanding of excellence, she could have let a certain book slip into print. She answered, “You didn’t see it the way it was when we got it. I won’t even try to describe what was wrong with it.”
Yesterday we got a Christmas card from the Rushdoony family, featuring a group photo of the whole family. And there in the back row was the little boy whose father used to read Bell Mountain to him. Yup, there he was with a beard and mustache, now a man.
Good grief! Has that much time gone by? And where did it go, who has it now? Can I get it back?
I wonder if the boy, now a man, still likes my books. It’s been my experience that the books you liked best as a child, you’ll still like as an adult. Maybe that’s just because I, at ten years old, had impeccable taste in literature. Or is it that I liked those books because they were just plain good?
I wonder if the boy, now a man, will someday read Bell Mountain to his children.
It was eight years ago, but I think this is still the best interview I’ve had–largely due to the thoughtful questions asked by Chalcedon’s Andrea Schwartz. Here’s the audio for the whole thing, about 23 minutes long. I apologize, in advance, for my slow way of talking. As for my voice, it’s ideally suited for mime.
At the time, I had three Bell Mountain books in print, with No. 4, The Last Banquet, ready to go to press. Here in 2018, I’m waiting for No. 11, The Temptation, to come out, and writing No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever.
In 1605 there was a plot to blow up the English Parliament, with King James I, and replace the Protestant government with Catholics. The idea was to hide many barrels of gunpowder under the Parliament house and blow it sky-high. This has come to be known and memorialized as the Gunpowder Plot. One of the plotters, Guy Fawkes, was actually caught just before he could light the fuse.
Sounds like it’d made a great historical novel.
But Nadine Brandes has written it as a Young Adults fantasy novel, and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I just don’t get it.
We love to read, we want to pass that on to our children: there’s no limit to what the voracious reader can learn. But we don’t want to be reading a load of baloney, just so we can say we turned a lot of pages.
I think the reason this fantasy didn’t quite make it is because there was no reason to write it as a fantasy in the first place.
Too bad. We would like to understand how the conditions of religious life in England in those days, ostensibly Christian religion, could have led to the Gunpowder Plot. We would like to use its history as a guide to avoiding those mistakes!
Sometimes I just don’t get it. Like, Mr. Jacques sold 30 million books–no, I don’t get it. His books were adapted as TV shows and even… an opera! I read a couple of them and really, there was nothing much there.
Not that the book was truly awful. But the only thing memorable about it was all those dinner scenes. I didn’t get that, either.
It’s a heroic fantasy featuring rabbits with swords, instead of people. And it’s about faith, hope, family, and self-sacrifice. This puts it miles apart from most of the Young Adult fiction that’s out there; and it’s written well enough for adults to enjoy it, too.
We do need more of this, much more. People of all ages consume huge amounts of “entertainment,” mostly without realizing that this is a passive but very effective form of self-education. We need to consume and digest more faith, more hope, more charity.