April 16th, 2009

Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume


This week the Girlfriends’ Cyber Circuit presents Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume.

About the book
Whether laughing to tears reading Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great or clamoring for more unmistakable “me too!” moments in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, girls all over the world have been touched by Judy Blume’s poignant coming-of-age stories. Now, in this anthology of essays, twenty-four notable female authors write straight from the heart about the unforgettable novels that left an indelible mark on their childhoods and still influence them today. Drawing on their own experiences of feeling like a Fourth Grade Nothing before growing up to become Smart Women themselves, these writers pay tribute, through their reflections and most cherished memories, to one of the most beloved authors of all time.

About the editor
Jennifer O’Connell is the author of ten books, the most recent of which are her two teen novels Local Girls and Rich Boys. She received her BA from Smith College and her MBA from the University of Chicago. Visit her website at www.jenniferoconnell.com and www.jennyoconnell.com.

What the critics are saying
“Fun tributes to a beloved role model.” —People
“Wry pieces… make this more than a nostalgia trip.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Each writer is fearlessly honest… it’s emotional reading.” —Chicago Sun-Times

I asked, Jenny answered
A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? Bonus question: have you used it, in any way, in a book?
This was bad. And I haven’t really shared this with many people except one of my best friends, who was unlucky enough to be with me when it happened. To make a long story short – spring break, junior year in college, Florida . Ended up outside a crack house in a place we didn’t know at 1am. We were scared out of our mind. We didn’t know where we were or how to get back to where we were staying. We were both in shorts and bathing suits and barefoot. We had to flag down a car in an attempt to get a ride the heck out of there (not the nicest part of town). The car that stopped was a nice couple who asked, “Do you have any idea where you are?” We were like, “No, but get us outta here!” The girl nodded toward her boyfriend, who was driving, and said, “He thought you were hookers looking for business.” We were like, “Um, no, we’re just really, really stupid college students.” My friend was a senior about to head off to the University of Pennsylvania to get her Ph.D. in neuropharmacology. She’s probably the only woman with a Ph.D. who can discover drugs to cure neurological disorders and yet she wasn’t smart enough to keep us out of trouble that night. I wouldn’t relive that night for anything, it was terrible and scary at the time, but when we learned where we were and how dangerous it was, we were thankful to get out alive.

A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?
J. Snakes. I couldn’t even be in the same room as one. Deathly, irrationally afraid.

A. At its heart, every story is a mystery. It asks why someone acts the way they did - or maybe what will happen next. What question does your book ask?
My last fiction books, LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS asked similar questions: why do people change and how do you learn to live with change?

A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure out?
J. Why they can’t make a chocolate chip cookie that builds muscles.



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Thinking outside the bookstore

Portland’s local icon, Powells, will open a booth at the city’s most most popular farmer’s market. It will sell both new and used books.

Shelf Awareness reports, “ The book selections will change with the seasons, so that the first several themes are "going to seed," which features titles about seed gardening and composting, and "localvores," which highlights books about preparing local food and eating locally, while later in the year, "preserving" has books about "capturing the harvest" and "fun with fungi" focuses on books about hunting and cooking mushrooms.”



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Do you like Blitzen Trapper? Then here’s a treat

Teen has learned all the banjo chords for Blitzen Trapper’s Black River Killer, which begins:

It was just a little while past the Sunset Strip
They found the girl’s body in an open pit
Her mouth was sewn shut, but her eyes were still wide
Gazing through the fog to the other side

I totally want to steal that for a book...

Blitzen Trapper is a local band that is getting a lot of national attention. The quintet headlined NPR Music's day party from at South by Southwest. Click here to learn more and listen to 30 minutes of music recorded live.



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