Book Review: The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks

cover of The Amazing Adventures of Superhero GirlThis is a short review of a short book that provided my daughter and I with intense pleasure.  The Adventures of Superhero Girl follows the exploits of twenty-something Superhero Girl who tries to juggle being a superhero with being broke (says one evil Ninja, “You know what REALLY pays!  CRIME!”), being awkward at parties, and feeling inferior to perfect big brother Kevin.  This is a collection of comic strips that ran in a newspaper and there’s not tons of plot, just stuff like this (if you click on the comic you can see it at a larger size):

strip from superhero Girl

 

and this:

The Adventures of Superhero Girl

and this:

Superhero girl at landromatThere are times when I want to write in great detail about something but with this comic, I think it’s best to show, not tell.  The tone is pretty uniform throughout the book so you should be able to tell, from these three samples, whether you’ll like the book or not.  I loved it.  Better yet, my ten-year-old daughter, who seems to think of reading during the summer as a gross injustice, was crazy about it.  She read the whole thing in a day and now she’s reading it again.  She made her Daddy and I read it.  She seems to be reading it to the dog, who is confused but enjoys the attention.  Her one criticism is that the word “crap”, which is the strongest word in the book, is “inappropriate”.  This is true, although I regret to inform you that it’s not like my daughter hasn’t heard that word before, from me, on several occasions.

I hope you all like Adventures of Superhero Girl as much as my daughter and I and my husband and the family dog have.  Author and illustrator Faith Erin Hicks has several books out and I’m off to check all of them out of the library!

 

San Diego Comic Con or Bust – And a Cry For Help!

San Diego Comic Con logoWe are on the way to Comic Con!  Car is full of cosplay, snacks, and monsters.  Will be posting about Comic Con next week and can’t wait to share stories with all of you!  I have a professional badge, one non-paying adult guest, one paying adult guest, and three children ranging from four to ten years old.  I have no idea what to expect given the crazy composition of our group but I’m very excited.  If something goes terribly wrong with registration, then I’ll be posting next week about the Comic Con scene of downtown San Diego.  For quicker updates, follow me on twitter at @geekgirlinlove or on Facebook.  I’ll be tweeting like crazy so follow along!

photo-7

Now I have a problem.  The three shows that I most love (that are currently on the air) are:  Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, and Orphan Black.  Do they have panels?  Of course they do!  and the panels are, I kid you not – at the same time, on the same day, in different rooms.  I have to pick amongst my darlings.  I am dying here.

So help me out, GGL’s.  Should I go to the panel for:

Arrow Tv show logo

or should I stare adoringly at Tom Mison at the panel for:

logo for Sleepy Hollow

or should I go to the panel for my beloved:

poster for Orphan Black

Leave your answer in the comments.  I’ll do my best.

 

Friday Book Club is on Summer Vacation

SWT-Book-ClubsOur book club is taking a break in August, but it will return in September, proudly bearing the name:  “Between the Lines”.  This book club is both online and offline – comments are welcome here on the blog, and if you are in the Sacramento, California area you can come to an in-person meeting at the Arden-Dimick Library.  Here’s the schedule:

September 28:  The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

October 26:  The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson

November 16:  The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

All meetings are at 2PM in the Community Room of Arden-Dimick Library, which is located at 891 Watt Ave, Sacramento, CA 95864.  See you in September!

 

Audre Lorde Reminds Us To Kick Ass and Take Naps

audre-lorde-portraitI had every intention of staying up really late to write a blog post and then getting up really early to do the other things I do, and then I came across this quote by the poet Audre Lorde:

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”.

So I’m going to bed, y’all, as my way of fighting the powers that be.  I’ll fight them in a more alert state tomorrow.  What are you doing this summer to care for yourself?  Have you tasted any berries?  Dipped your toes in any natural bodies of water?  Are you using your sunscreen?  I hope you all get a chance this week to read a good book in a happy place!

 

 

The My Writing Process Blog Tour

woman at Victorian typewriterAnd now for something…completely different!  I was invited to participate in this writing process tour by Emmy Z. Madrigal.  Emmy Z. Madrigal is the author of the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and the artist spin-off Anime Girl. Her love of music and the Jazz masters of the Big Band Era have always inspired her life and her writing. She also writes horror and vampire fiction under the name Emerian Rich. To find out more, go to sweetdreamsnovel.com

Emmy asked me to answer the following four questions:

1.  What am I working on?

I’m in the home stretch of completing my third book for Harlequin Pop!, It’s About Power:  Bella, Buffy, and Katniss Take on the World.  In this non-fiction book, I talk about three iconic female heroines and how they deal with power.  All three of them are attacked and threatened by individuals and by institutions, and the three women respond very differently and with very different outcomes.

The most challenging part of writing this has been trying to figure out what tools Bella Swan uses in Twilight.  Much of her power seems to stem simply from the fact that the author likes her.  There’s a disturbing message of passivity in Bella’s story, paired with an intoxicating message about the ability of an ordinary person to inspire adoration. I was also struck by the fact that Bella is the only one of the three women to achieve an unambiguously happy ending.  This is partly because she is also the only one of the three to have a simple goal that never changes.  At the start of their respective franchises, Bella’s goal is to be with Edward, Katniss’ goal is to protect her sister, and Buffy’s goal is to have a normal life.  Katniss and Buffy develop more complex goals.  Often they have multiple goals and their goals are in conflict with each other.  Bella never wavers in her focus on being with Edward.  While there are some other things that she wants, they are always secondary to her main goal.  This makes her successful in the sense of achieving happiness but frustrating to write about.

 2.  How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I write in a funny, approachable, conversational tone but I also include a lot of depth.  I want a reader to feel like they are hanging out with me in my living room while I wave my hands around and get all excited about feminism and literature and history and politics.  I want the reader to have fun.  But I also include in-depth analysis in my books.  I want my reader to come away from the experience with a lot to think about and I want the reader to look at material in a new way, or be willing to try something they haven’t tried before.

My two books to date for Harlequin Pop! (Pride, Prejudice, and Popcorn: TV and Film Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice  Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre and Romance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) are both works of literary and film criticism.  My online writing for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Geek Girl in Love involves a lot of reviewing.  It’s important to me that my reviews be honest and tough, but at heart I’m a huge fan.  Since I don’t write fiction, I have a huge appreciation of the courage and imagination of people who do.  Your worst fiction is better than my best fiction, which is nonexistent.  I want to convey a love of art and of artists in everything I do, even when I’m pointing out the flaws in a specific work of art.  I think that this passion for art, both written and visual, is the strongest part of my work.

Pride_PopcornCover_final

3.  Why do I write what I do?

When I find something I love, I become an evangelist for that thing, and when I find something I hate, I want to understand why it was created in the way it was.  A good book brings me joy, and it makes me feel excited to share that joy with others.  There’s nothing as satisfying as matching a book to their perfect reader.  I also love examining the layers in a a book (or TV show or film).  I love how something like Pride and Prejudice is a romance, a political tome, a satire, a social commentary, a romantic comedy, and horror, all at once.  I love how stories challenge us to see through other perspectives and grasp an experience that is both different and similar to our own.  It’s not surprising to me that Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes me emphasize with a vampire slayer but astonishes and delights me that it makes me empathize with a girl who longs to be a cheerleader.

I’m also increasingly interested in using my writing as a way to let other voices be heard.  My favorite features on Geek Girl in Love are my interviews with other people.  The world is full of so many voices and I want to help share the voices that are most often marginalized (people of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQIA).  As I’ve made a more conscious effort to read diverse authors I’ve discovered so many exciting books – and we’re back to me being a book evangelist again!

vampire heart on a black background

4. How does my writing process work?

Inefficiently!  I’m usually writing either late at night or during the afternoon, surrounded by kids.  I’m convinced that buried in at least one of my books is the phrase, “No, you can’t have a cookie right now”.  I’ve written at roller skating rinks and science centers and water parks.  I’ve written at my kitchen table while simultaneously helping my daughter with her homework.  It’s not serene.  To make matters worse, I have a terrible habit of jumping over to Facebook and Twitter constantly while writing.  I have an app that I can use to block social media on my laptop, and that helps me focus.

Other than my problems with concentration, the biggest challenge I have is getting started.  No matter how much I’ve written something out in my head, there’s always a moment when I open a new document and both the page and my mind are utterly blank.  Once I type something I can usually get some momentum going.  Once I got so blocked that I typed the alphabet – sure enough by the time I got to the letter ‘M’ I was able to make actually words come out.  I enjoy writing short pieces because they usually come with tight deadlines, and I require deadlines to motivate me to move writing to the top of the to-do list instead of the bottom.  When I don’t have externally imposed deadlines I invent some in order to keep things moving.