Friday, May 29, 2009

451 Fridays - Bonus Edition

As a special surprise today, I'm happy to welcome Jamie Ford, author of the beautiful novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, who has agreed to do an "author edition" of 451 Fridays.

Well, sort of. =)

What 5 books do you believe are important enough to be saved, and why?

Can I change this? How about five books that should be banished to the dustbin of eternity?

1) The Hardy Boys. After years of counseling I can finally utter the names of Frank and Joe Hardy without a narcoleptic seizure. My mom, bless her heart, was an avid mystery fan, so she regularly bought my weight in Hardy Boys books. I just couldn’t get through them. Partly because of the merry-go-round of ghostwriters that were employed over the years, but also because of the way they often portrayed minorities. Granted, they were a product of their time–so why can’t they stay in the past?

2) I’m going to get flack for this one but I really think Amnesty International should look into how the Scarlet Letter is used on 9th graders. Thematically, it’s an intriguing book. But the archaic nature of the writing has been turning generations of bright school children into non-readers for years. This madness must end.

3) The AP Stylebook. While great for journalists, rules for reporting on city council meetings don’t necessarily apply to writers of fiction. Still, some aspiring writers get hung up on the thing. It’s like someone trying to use a tractor repair manual as a cookbook.

4) (Insert political rant book here). Does it matter if it’s Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, or Al Franken? These books aren’t written to enlighten. They’re designed to lock their readers in the closets of their own political neuroses.

5) Coloring books. (I know–you thought I was punching below the belt with the Scarlet Letter). I think coloring books should be replaced with blank pages and fertile imaginations. Maybe it’s because I’m an art school graduate, or maybe it’s because my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Silverwood, told me my drawings were terrible because I colored outside the lines.

Of those 5, which book would you "become"?

I’d probably become The Hardy Boys. But I’d let them grow up and become the Hardy Men, like the classic National Lampoon parody, The Hardy Boys and the Case of the Missing Scotch.

Can you share a couple of quotes from that book?
"We have to find the people who were responsible for Dad's death–and make them pay"
— Frank Hardy, No Mercy–Book Two of the Operation Phoenix Trilogy.

Jamie, I know you have a FEW other things going on in your life right now, so thank you for taking the time to create your own, uniquely personal, 451 Fridays list.

If you haven't already, find yourself a copy of his book. It's so good. And you can also visit Jamie's website, if you are so inclined.


Jenners said...

I love the twist he put on this!!! I want to do my own post like this now!! : )

Anonymous said...

What a great 451 Friday Elizabeth. I admit, I am a little surprised at the choices but they are funny. I kind of agree with the coloring books choice :)
Thanks Jamie for your choices.

Serena said...

wow, what an interesting take on this weekly feature. Thanks for sharing the books that should be banished.

Jamie Ford said...

Hi Elizabeth, thanks for hosting me!

I must confess, there are some Hardy Boys books laying around my house. But they're the modernized manga kind. My kids still won't read 'em...

Beth F said...

Great job! Love the Hardy Boys.

Andi said...

Too funny! Very creative twist. And I'm with him on The Hardy Boys (and Nancy Drew)...*ducking*

Zibilee said...

Great guest post! He is a very amusing man.

Becca said...

I love this! Total brilliance in these answers. I think the exact same thing about The Scarlet Letter. I got some flack for mentioning that a while back on my blog as a book I did not care for. And what was the problem? The writing style.

I also love that he said coloring books. I hate it when I see kids with coloring books and nothing else. While I don't think coloring books should necessarily be banned, I do think not enough children are given blank paper and allowed to use their imaginations. Doing this creates a more creative child, a more open child, and a child with a higher IQ. The use of ditto sheets such as 'trace the B' and 'color in the H for hat' also should be minimized. I have taught dozens of children to write without these 'so-called tools' and they have fared better in Kindergarten and first grade because of it. It is as simple as understanding child development. Here, here, to Mr. Ford for mentioning these.

Eric said...

Great interview. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Jamie (hmm, can I call him that or should it be Mr. Ford?) and I found him to be a really fun person. This one though allows another interesting view into the mind of a truly talented writer. Nicely done.

Elizabeth said...

Jenners - you should! I'll post it here, too. =)

Violet - I know, I didn't know what to expect, but I understand why he made the choices he did.

Serena - I thought it was a fun twist.

Jamie - Thank YOU! There are possibly some lurking around my house, too, but I never really liked them. Nancy Drew was WAY better. =)

Beth - Oh, no, Nancy Drew was WAY BETTER!!

Andi - now, see, I like Nancy. I even have some of the Nancy Drew Files, when she's a teen.

Zibilee - he does seem to be a funny guy.

Rebecca - I don't remember reading the Scarlet Letter, but I know I've watched the movie and thought it was good.

Eric - thanks! I don't do a great job coming up with "interview" questions, so this is my new default option. =)