Jan 1, 2011

Short Story Saturday–Tweetie Sweet Pea

Even before I read The Waters and the Wild I have been fascinated by Francesca Lia Block. Every summary I had ever read from one of her books sounded like something I wanted to read.  Though many of her books graced my wishlist, it took me a long time before I read one.


Francesca Lia Block has a simplistic style reminiscent of poetry. Sometimes, for me, the writing is a little too straight forward, a little too sparse. But there is something about her prose that connects with one’s understanding of magic that keeps me going back.  Block writes something beyond urban fantasy; she calls it urban fairy tales and the genius of it is the way  a reader can connect with moments of their own past through her writing.  And thanks to Goodreads Swap I will soon be the proud owner of many new books by Block.  The first one to show up was Girl Goddess #9, a collection of short stories published in 1996.



Today I sat down and read through the first story “Tweetie Sweet Pea” and I enjoyed it. First line: In the morning, her mother helped her put on the bathing suit with the cartoon bird baby on it. This story tells of a summer day in the life of Tweetie. A very young girl with “tufts of white hair, big blue saucer eyes, a little round tummy and skinny arms and legs.”  She is at the age when she can absorb so much about the world around her, yet has little to say to add to it.  Throughout the whole story Tweetie never says more than three words in a row.


I love the feeling of observation that this narration style created.  I may have one complaint, the voice and word choice didn’t seem to fit with that from which the third person perspective is being viewed.  I know it is not Tweetie’s voice we hear in the story but it is still informed by her voice, thoughts, and vision.  There are a lot of places where Tweetie’s magical innocence is perfectly connected with the language used, but the moments when it doesn’t fit tend to stick out for me.


The short story is the highest form of literature in my eyes.  When writing a short story you need to be the most economical with your words with out being ambiguous.  I have also been known to be highly critical, and with this in mind, I find that some of the young adult short stories I read don’t live up to the quality I would like to see from these authors.  I know they can write and I want to see more craft in the young adult short stories I am reading, and less thrown together stories that work and flow, but are missing that creative splash and tight style that has brought me to my love of short stories.


“Tweetie Sweet Pea” shows the combating forces we can feel in childhood, when we believe in magic but are told it doesn’t exist. When people tell us fairy tales but make sure we don’t believe in them. And the same in opposition, that even if we are young we understand the negativities of life.  In the story Tweetie sees the world, understands it, but cannot express herself within it.


“Tweetie didn’t want to get out of the bucket where she fit so perfectly.  Her father had to pick her up, kicking and wiggling, and deliver her into a chair that was too big. She missed her bucket. She might not fit in it so well in a few days.”

Ireland Reading Challenge

Though I am American through and through, I do connect a strong part of my heritage and culture with the Irish. I have always admitted that were are more Irish in celebration than we are in blood, but I do have the name to back me up. I am planning on going to Ireland with my two daughters within the next year or two. I am looking forward to connecting with my past and my future through the reading choices I explore over the next 11 months.

Carrie at Books and Movies
is hosting this challenge again. Sign up here. Details following:

~ The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to November 30, 2011.

~ Any books read for this challenge can also apply to other challenges you are working on.

~ Re-reads are allowed.

~ Any book written by an Irish author, set in Ireland, or involving Irish history or Irish characters, counts for the challenge – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, audiobooks, children’s books – all of these apply.

~ Choose your commitment level:

Shamrock level: 2 books
Luck o’ the Irish level: 4 books
Kiss the Blarney Stone level: 6 books

Even though I am apprehensive about joining challenges this year I am going for the gold (at the end of the rainbow) and Kissing the Blarney Stone. Growing up my grandmother had a series of pugs. They had names like Murphy, Malarkey, and Blarney. It seems only like the only option to make the best of this reading opportunity. I am not sure where I am planning on starting but I do know I am going to read How the Irish Saved Civilization with Carrie and I am really looking forward to it.

1. The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
2. The Legend of Spud Murphy

2011 Graphic Novel Challenge

I am thrilled that my friend Vasilly is hosting the Graphic Novel Challenge this year. We have had many great discussions on various types of books and I hope more will follow! For the past few years I have had a growing interest in graphic novels and manga. Much like how I felt about science fiction for a long time, I mainly wrote off graphic novels as something that just weren't for me. A friend of mine encouraged me to read Watchmen and that changed everything. I fell in love with the depth of Alan Moore, so expect to see me reading more of his titles in 2011. I already have V for Vendetta here and The League of Extraordinary Men Vol. 1 on its way to me. I have never been a huge fan of manga in the past, but I am using this opportunity to explore these type of books more. I recently received a box full of manga titles and I hope to find something I really connect with there.

Intermediate (3-10 books)
1. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1

Books Finished in 2011

In the past I have joined a challenge to keep track of how many books I have read, but never officially because I keep track of when I finish books, not when I start them. This year I am going to do my best to simply keep up a list of everything I end up finishing.

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin (audio) - dystopian, post-apocalyptic
2. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (audio) - dystopian
3. Wasteland by Francesca Lia Block - young adult
4. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin (audio) - historical fiction
5. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 - graphic novel, steampunk?
6. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon - fantasy, young adult
7. The New Policeman (audio) by Kate Thompson - fantasy, Ireland, young adult
8. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (audio) - young adult, dystopian
9. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton - young adult
10. The Dark Divine by Bree deSpain (audio) - young adult, paranormal
11. The Legend Of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer (audio) - children's, humor, Ireland
12. The Lab by Jack Heath (audio) - young adult, dystopian
13. Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund (audio) - young adult, science fiction
14. Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (audio) - young adult, zombie
15. The Legend of Captain Crow's Teeth by Eoin Colfer (audio) - children's, humor, Ireland
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