New Podcast Project: Crossover Appeal!

CA-LogoI mostly talk about reading and writing here, but I’m also big into TV and movies and narrative pop culture in general. I mean, where my friends talk about how they only had like half an hour of TV a day, the TV was always on in our house, and I think I’m better for it. If only because it’s given me a lot of things to talk about for my new podcast, Crossover Appeal! The gist:

Crossover Appeal is a biweekly podcast about media, fandom, and who you’d ship. Hosts Annie Cardi & Walt McGough take two popular pieces of culture, analyze their thematic relationships, and then figure out how to mash ‘em up together.

Walt and I decided that we like geeking out about books and movies and TV already, so why not make it official and share our thoughts with the world? The first episode is now up most places you can listen to podcasts:

iTunes: Crossover Appeal
Soundcloud: Crossover Appeal
Stitcher: Crossover Appeal

In the debut episode, we’re talking about Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica, awesome female characters, family drama, and my favorite gazebo.

So in case you feel like you need more of my thoughts on writing, reading, viewing, pop culture, and fandom, subscribe in your audio platform of choice! And until the next episode, please ship responsibly!

TLT’s Doctor Who Week and How I Learned to Unabashedly Love Sci-Fi

Today I’m over at Teen Librarian Toolbox as part of Doctor Who Week, talking about how Doctor Who helped me finally admit that I’m a sci-fi fan. In very short, my thoughts on sci-fi before Who:

My thoughts on sci-fi after Who:

Click through for the full post, which has more explanation about genre and feelings, and also gifs! Make sure to check out the other posts in Doctor Who Week, too, and keep an eye out for my second post at TLT (coming on Friday).

Read Outside Your Genre, Eat Chocolate, and Other Writing Advice from Joss Whedon

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I’m a big Joss Whedon fan. Buffy started during my formative years and it definitely helped me figure out how to grow up and face the weirdness of middle and high school. What better person to get writing advice from than the man who makes TV shows/movies/videos that give me all the feelings?

My Whedon feelings.

This interview with Whedon has lots of fantastic advice about the writing and creating process. Even though Whedon mostly speaks to screenwriting and movie-making, I think it all still applies to writing fiction. We always hear “read a lot” as writerly advice, but I particularly like Whedon’s take on making sure to expose yourself to a lot of books/movies:

“Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show…I read The Killer Angels. It’s a very detailed, extraordinarily compelling account of the Battle of Gettysburg from the point of view of various people in it and it’s historical. It’s historically completely accurate, and the moment I put it down I created Firefly, because I was like, ‘I need to tell this story. I need to feel this immediacy. I so connect with that era, the Western and how tactile everything is and how every decision is life or death, and how hard it is and how just rich it is, and how all the characters are just so fascinating.’ But so I should be on the Millennium Falcon. Now, if I only watched sci-fi I would have just had the Millennium Falcon part, which has already been done, but finding that historical texture, it literally, I put the book down and started writing Firefly.”

How cool is that? And it makes so much sense–if you only read things within your category or genre, you’re not expanding your potential inspiration to anything that hasn’t already been written for your readers. Not that you should skip reading within your genre–I hope that if you write YA, you also enjoy YA–but it’s a great reminder to look outside of that sphere of influence. So often I feel like I have so many awesome YA titles on my to-read list that I don’t tend to as much adult fiction or non-fiction or poetry as I’d like. This seems like an excellent reason to dive into a few non-YA titles I always have on the back burner.

Make sure to click through for the rest of this excellent interview–if only because Joss also advocates the use of chocolate as writing fuel. Yeah. Dude’s a genius.

Clear Eyes, Full Pages

Writing is a tough business. No matter how great your book is or how successful you end up being, you’re going to face a lot of rejections and get bad reviews. Everyone has times when they think “Can I handle this?”

Today, I think we all deserve a little Eric Taylor inspiration:

If I knew more about football, I’d make a metaphor about writing and touchdowns or punting or running all the yards. Instead, I’ll just say, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” We may not wear identical jerseys or have marching bands, but I think we can all use a little inspiration. If that’s not enough inspiration for you, Tami Taylor is cheering you on, too:

And if you haven’t seen Friday Night Lights yet, Netflix that right now. (After you get that chapter/section done, of course.)

Get as Excited as Joseph Gordon Levitt About Your Favorite Book

You know how you know reading is cool? When celebrities get super excited about their favorite books, like a young Joseph Gordon Levitt did in this episode of (Teen Celebrity?) Jeopardy back in 1997:

Although I prefer Franny and Zooey, I dig Levitt’s style.

Confession: since I watched 3rd Rock from the Sun back in the day, a little part of me feels like I grew up with Joseph Gordon Levitt and am unreasonably proud of his current success as an actor. Like I expect to see him at the family reunion or something.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In honor of Mr. Rogers’ birthday today, YA author John Green shares a few cool facts about the man who helped make children’s public television a true force for learning and growth. There were lots of piece of trivia I didn’t know, so make sure to check out the video:

We should all endeavor to be as kind and thoughtful and curious as Mr. Rogers. Maybe instead of DFTBA we should say DFTBLF–Don’t Forget to Be Like Fred.

Happy birthday, Mr. Rogers!

PS–It’s also the birthday of one of my favorite children’s authors, Lois Lowry. Happy birthday, Lois! Thank you for bringing so many amazing books into the world.

Trying to Understand Loss

Still a beautiful way to talk to children about death and grief:

I love that they didn’t try to explain why we lose people. At times like these, it’s incomprehensible how life can be taken and how tragedy can occur. But it’s important to focus on the people lost and the memories, not just the sadness.

Even for families not directly affected by the tragedy at Newtown, it’s still a horrible situation to deal with. The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance also offers some suggestions for helping children cope with this terrible news. And that can include children of all ages, not just the youngest ones. Ongoing, supportive dialog about loss can be good for people of all ages.

Reading with Rory Gilmore

When I was in college, my roommate and I were obsessed with Gilmore Girls. We borrowed seasons on DVD from the library and rewarded ourselves with episodes when we were done studying for finals. (Or, in my case, in the middle of studying for finals.) I still love rewatching episodes–the writing is quippy, the characters are quirky, and I like spending time in Stars Hollow.

Another reason I love Gilmore Girls–Rory’s a bookworm. I can’t think of many other shows in which the main character carries a book with her everywhere and deeply cares about her academics. As a pretty nerdy high schooler, this hit home.

So of course I love Rory’s Book Club, which lists all the books Rory read/referenced on the show. Or maybe more? There are a lot of books listed. Kind of want to go back through my DVDs and see how many books I can spot.

If you’re looking for some good movies or music, that’s around too. A girl can’t live by books alone (no matter how much we’d like to).

(via babble)