Feb 1, 2009

The Sunday Salon - The John Green Post

The Sunday Salon.comMy reading week was marked by the arrival (thanks again, Trish!) and subsequent compulsive reading of John Green’s Paper Towns. Note to self: Do NOT read “just one chapter” of a John Green book before bed. Because next thing you know it will be 3a.m, and you’ll feel like a zombie the next day, and go through your Required Tasks in a zombie-like trance until you can sit down and read the book again, and the moment you do you immediately forget you’re tired and read the whole thing in one sitting, and then the ending will make you cry and you’ll get a terrible headache and feel emotionally exhausted, partially because of how INCREDIBLY GOOD the book is, but also because of the aforementioned zombie-like state, and then you’ll take a nap so that your head stops hurting so much and when you wake up you’ll realize that you absolutely forgot to have coffee all day and that this also might also have something to do with the persistent killer headache.

…anyway. I loved it. And the reason why I decided to devote my Sunday Salon post to gushing about it was so I can get the gushing out of the way and focus on actually explaining why I loved it so much when I do my proper post about it. I loved it at least as much as Looking for Alaska, and that’s saying a lot.

It’s so great when reading a book becomes such an important event in my life. The last time this had happened was with The Graveyard Book. And before that, with Nation. I think I see a pattern here. It’s amazing how quickly John Green has gained a Neil-and-Terry-like status in my heart.

Speaking of which, on Thursday I came online just in time to watch a live John Green show on blogtv. Someone asked him if he’d met Neil Gaiman. He said that he hasn’t, but he thinks he’s a genius, and also that Neil Gaiman was one of the first people to say something nice about Brotherhood 2.0. I had forgotten about that, but it’s true!

He also mentioned that there won’t be a UK edition of Paper Towns. There was one of Looking for Alaska, but it did so badly (!!) that none of the other books were published over there. This explains why I’ve never seen a John Green book at an actual bookstore—neither while I was in the UK nor over here, because the English books we get are always UK editions. This makes me sad, but fortunately The Book Depository has his books regardless.

But back to The Amazing Experience That Was Reading Paper Towns. I actually listened to this playlist while I read, and it was perfect. Well, I listened to the songs I have, but I did find streams of some of the others. I was so excited when I opened the book and saw that it started with a quote from ‘Game Shows Touch Our Lives’ by The Mountain Goats. That song’s in Tallahassee, which was my first Mountain Goats album and remains my favourite to this day. I remember the day I got it so clearly. It was raining a lot, and I came home and listened to it and watched the rain, and the feeling was similar to listening to In An Aeroplane Over the Sea for the first time. Which is why it’s so exciting for me that there’s also a Neutral Milk Hotel song on the soundtrack.

One last thing: there was something near the end of the book that made me glad I picked my Emily Dickinson bookmark for it. Yes, I pick whatever bookmark seems to feel right for a book, and this one felt very right indeed.

And now, just because it’s awesome, here’s The List by Hank Green:

After Paper Towns, I couldn’t read anything else for a whole day, but this week I also finished a couple of non-fiction books from the Oxford Very Short Introduction series, so I’ll post my thoughts on those next week. I also read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and last night I started Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeifer. Here’s another book I shouldn’t read before sleeping. Not just because it’s hard to put down, but also because it’s the most terrifying book I’ve ever read. Zombies, ghosts, vampires? Nope, THIS is what I call horror. I couldn’t fall asleep for the longest time because I kept imagining all sorts of possible apocalyptic scenarios. It’s extra scary when you happen to be far away from a loved one/family member/significant other, because without technology there would be no communication, no chance of knowing if they’re okay, no possibility of reunion.

Anyway, let’s speak of more cheerful things. Hey look, cute animals!

Two more happy things: First, tanabata is celebrating her third blogging anniversary with a great giveaway: you can win a copy of Black Rain, a copy of an early and rare Murakami book, or one of her gorgeous Japan calendars.

Second, behold! Terry Pratchett lego.


  1. Hi Nymeth,
    Aren't the Oxford Very Short Introduction series of books fantastic? Kind of like little portable pods of Wikipedia but with information that's properly verified and authenticated. I love em!!

    Looking forward to hearing what you think of them.

  2. Oh Nymeth, what a FUN post!!! Despite how awful I felt for you after that first paragraph!

    Of course, you must know how very, very much I want to blow off everything else now and just go read Paper Towns, don't you? But I will not. Nope, instead my plan is this: finish up some of what I've got started, hopefully throw in a book for the Sci-Fi Experience, and then read Nation!!! That is the book that I simply CANNOT get out of head...I NEED to read it!

    I'm anxious to hear what you think of the Very Short Introduction books. Rich has a small pile of them, and I've often thought about picking one up and giving it a whirl.

    And guess what I got in the mail this week...The Time Machine. (It's another one for that video course, but I've been wanting to read it anyway as I loved The War of the Worlds so much.)

  3. Grrrrs... (@ US Publishing monoliths, not you Nymeth!)There are some discerning UK readers you know! I can't believe Alaska bombed over here, I'm almost embarrassed!

    Thank God for internet shopping!

    I've just finished Katherines and am really really looking forward to getting my hands on Paper Towns!

    Okay, stopping with the exclamation marks now. :)

  4. Robert Burdock: They are great indeed! I loved all the ones I've read so far. They're short but not superficial, and they never dumb done or oversimplify the topics they're about.

    Debi: It was a good reminder of how addicted to caffeine I actually am :P And all the book-related feelings of being overwhelmed were wonderful to experience. I'm sure you know what I mean. I'm glad you want to read Paper Towns (well, I obviously already knew you did), but I'm also glad Nation will come first. I'd hate to have to lock you in my Basement of Doom :P All the short intro books I've read so far were really, really great! I definitely recommend them. And you'll love The Time Machine for sure! I want to read The War of the Worlds next.

    Guatami, I hope you manage to find it!

    Bart: Grrr indeed. Maybe things will eventually change now that he's getting more and more popular. But I don't know what I'd do without internet shopping either. And don't worry about the exclamation marks...it's John Green!!!!!111 He deserves them all :P

  5. Paper Towns sounds like an excellent read. I think I'm gonna have to check it out!

  6. Urgh, do I ever wish I were adding to my TBR list right now! The more I hear about John Green, the more I want to give him a go, but your comments on how reading this book became an important event in your life have pretty much cinched it. He's definitely going on my list of authors to try once I've whittled down la TBR.

  7. That is so strange that John Green's book didn't do well in the UK! I've heard nothing but great things about his writing. I'm ashamed to say that I still haven't read my autographed copy of Looking For Alaska. I picked up a copy at the ALA conference in 2206 (I was there with my librarian husband) It's been sitting on my shelf for far too long.

  8. I love that list song! LOL

    I keep hearing wonderful things about Paper Town. I should really try and get my hands on a copy. I love books that are impossible to put down. :-) I haven't had much luck in that area recently.

    I hope you have a great week!

  9. I'm so impatient now to read Looking for Alaska! the UK cover is wonderful. I can't believe it did badly...well, I havent read the book yet! and I'm a bit scared I won't be blown away by it. Promise I will?

  10. I know *just* how you feel about zombie-like reading-induced states. I did that yesterday with Revolutionary Roads and have a killer headache now and am only online to see what fellow bloggers are up to before I go read some more.

    I'm really looking forward to hearing about Paper Towns! If it is worth the zombie-like state, it must be worth a read :)

    And I'm really proud of Tanabata - three years is a darn long time! The giveaway is incredibly nice of her.

  11. Okay, I think the universe is trying to tell me something, because I keep seeing John Green's name pop up everywhere. I need to go on a book-finding mission ...

  12. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't ever heard of John Green before this post of yours! Well, of course I'm off to look him up.. :)

  13. Oh NO. I can't even tell you how much I've heard about John Green, and is books aren't even available here in the UK?! That's just my luck.

  14. glad you enjoyed it so much. lol...I know what you mean about staying up late into the wee hours of morning reading just one more chapter....
    the Emily Dickinson bookmark sounds very cool :)

    enjoy your Sunday.
    Terry Pratchett lego! lol
    what will they think of next?


  15. Irish, do check it out!

    Memory: It's always quite something when reading becomes an event :) I'm very glad to hear you're thinking of reading John Green.

    Alyce: It was probably a bad marketing thing...I see no reason why readers in the UK wouldn't like him. In fact, judging by the UK bloggers I know, they like him a lot. And you're so lucky to have an autographed copy! I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it.

    Literary Feline: lol, it's hilarious, isn't it? I hope you find an unputdownable book soon!

    Valentina: I can't absolutely promise, but I think you will! I can't think of anything in his books you wouldn't like. Great and realistic teen characters, check. Intelligent and touching, check. Deals with important issues, check. He's definitely aware of sexism, racism, etc, so no problems at all on that front. So yeah...I hope you end up falling in love with his books too!

    saveophelia: I do love it when books are capable of inducing zombie-like reading trances :) And yes, 3 years is a lot! She's one of the pioneers.

    Maree: From what I know of your taste I think you'll love him. So yes, read him!

    Claire, nothing to be embarrassed about! It was also through other bloggers that I first heard of him.

    Michelle: There's always the book depository. They even have free shipping!

    Naida: It's a lovely bookmark. It was given to me by a bookmooch member and it made me so happy :) And lol, the lego is great, isn't it? I hope you're having a great Sunday too!

  16. Nymeth-
    I just finished Paper Towns last week and it is still with me. I loved all of John Green's books...he's a fantastic writer and I was immediately drawn into the character's world. I still need to post my thoughts about Paper Towns. Now you've gotten me interested in listening to the groups you listed. I read Life as We Knew It about a month or so ago...it gave me nightmares!!! truly and honestly. In fact, when a student wants to check it out at school I sort of let them know what it is about..just in case the ending of the world scares them!! I love your posts!! You've got great taste in books....I've passed an award on to you. Stop by to pick it up!!


  17. I haven't read anything by John Green yet, but I keep hearing wonderful things about Paper Towns. I guess I need to get this book soon! ;)

  18. I can't believe how quickly you devoured that one!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one (and that I could contribute to that). :)

  19. So this was a very fun post :) John Green should read it. I was just telling Bart that I think I'm saving Abundance of Katherines because I know I'm all out of John Green books after that :( So glad that you liked Paper towns so much! Wasn't it amazing? I really should've listened to the playlist too while reading it, but I can never focus on a book with noise in the background...I'm a little ADD :p

  20. I'm so glad, because I'm not going to read Abundance of Katherines, that Paper Towns was as good as Looking for Alaska! :D

  21. I have to read this book soon. I also have to read Looking for Alaska. Hopefully soon, I'll get a chance to get to the library!!

    Glad you loved it, even though you didn't get any sleep!

  22. What a fun post, Nymeth! It's been a while I've read something until wee hours in the morning. Looks like I'm going to have to check out this John Green. ;)

    I can't wait to hear your full report of the book!

  23. I was just on GoodReads posting up my review for "Be With You" by Takuji Ichikawa. I noticed that off to the side they included a new feature - one that recommends books similar to the one you've just read.

    First one on the page: Paper Towns.

    Fate? Something like it.

  24. Staci: I keep thinking about Paper Towns too...not quite sure what to actually write about it yet. There's so much I want to say. I'm glad I'm not the only one who found Life as We Knew it absolutely terrifying! And thank you so much for the award :D

    Melody: Yep, you do :P

    Trish: This only happens rarely...receiving a book and having to put everything aside to read it right away. It's a sure sign that he's made it to my list of all-time favourites :P

    Chris: lol, no, he should not :P And I know what you mean about saving a book because you don't want to run out of books to read by that author. I have no idea when his next one will be out...I think he's working on the Paper Towns script now. Whenever it is, I hope it's soon! I can listen to music when I'm reading fiction, but not non-fiction. Not sure why :P

    Eva: Poor Katherines. I actually really, really loved that book. Not quite as much as the other two, but almost.

    Stephanie: I got like 4 hours of sleep...better than nothing :P But it was worth it. I love it when a book makes me lose track of time completely.

    Alice: It had been a while for me too! I hope you enjoy John Green's books when you get to them.

    Saveophelia: Yes, listen to the signs...you know you wanna read it :P

  25. Haha this post really made me laugh! I've had so many bad days because of a book I decided to read a bit of before bed - now I read a magazine article instead :)

    I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed Paper Towns, I have had this one since Christmas and was holding off on reading it for a very strange reason - ya know sometimes when you get sad for no real reason and nothing cheers you up? Well I like to have a book I'm hugely anticipating on hand to kick me out of my downer.

    But ... now that I've seen how much you liked it I don't think I can wait (lol) :)

  26. Joanne, I really don't find that a strange reason. I love saving things I anticipate. It's similar to what Chris was saying about "saving" a book by an author you really love, I guess. Sometimes the temptation is too strong, though :P

  27. The next John Green book I intend to read is An Abundance of Katherines, but then Paper Towns will follow shortly afterwards! I probably should request it from the library now, though, because I don't think I will be the first in line-up anyway...

  28. Thanks for the shout out about my giveaway! :)
    And I see that I definitely need to read something by John Green this year! I'm still waiting, rather impatiently, to see which one of your top 5 of 2008 I won. :P

  29. Kailana: They're both great! Katherines is the "lightest" of the three, but that doesn't mean it's not meaningful. And the characters are just so cool.

    tanabata, you're welcome! And I'm so sorry the book is taking so long :( It's been on its way to you for a while now. I hope you get it soon!

  30. I love John Green. Love him! I've only read Katherines so far but am so looking forward to the next two. Thanks for the push.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.