Thursday Tea (June 30): Janitors (& Blink & Caution)

The book: As it’s the last day of the month, I’m panicking and trying to finish as many books today as possible to bump up my monthly stats. I don’t know why I worry about things like that, but I do. Anyway, today I’ve finished Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, which is about two teenage runaways in Toronto running from both real and imagined danger. I was a bit nervous starting it because the last TW-J book I read was a bit like a slasher movie (only with less death), and I’m not too good with thrillers. But B&C is a perfect mix of thriller, experimental narrative techniques, and emotional punch-in-the-gut stuff, and I really liked it. I definitely did NOT feel gross after finishing it. Huzzah!

Now I’m starting Janitors by Tyler Whitesides, a book I brought back from BEA. I’m only a chapter in so I can’t really judge anything, but it’s going pretty well so far. The plotline sort of reminds me of a Kids Next Door/Recess sort of thing, so I’m hoping it’s good. Here’s a summary if you’re interested:

The magical, secretive society of JANITORS will sweep the country in the fall of 2011. Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it’s draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve-year-old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy Gullible Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. Who can Spencer and Daisy trust and how will they protect their school and possibly the world? Janitors is book 1 in a new children’s fantasy series by debut novelist Tyler Whitesides. You’ll never look at a mop the same way again. (Amazon)

The tea: I finally got my hands on some cold tea! It’s Honest Tea’s Half & Half– half lemonade and half black tea. It’s pretty good. I find myself wishing the lemonade part was just a little more bold, but it’s fine for a hot summer’s afternoon.

Do they go together? To be honest, none of the middle schoolers I know would drink organic lemonade/tea drinks unless their parents made them. And kids on the street? Probably couldn’t afford it unless they stole it (or had coupons like I did). So: no, it doesn’t go with either book today.

Other tea drinkers

(Leave a link to your TT post in the comments and I’ll add you to the tea drinkers list!)

REVIEW & Giveaway: Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves

REVIEW & Giveaway: Wanderlust by Elisabeth EavesWanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents by Elisabeth Eaves
Published by Seal Press (2011), eBook, 304pg
Filed under: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travel
Got my copy from: Book Tour, TLC Book Tours
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf.

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars

Spanning fifteen years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’s insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, she loses herself—literally—to an Australian tour guide; in Cairo, she reconnects with her high school sweetheart, only to discover the beginning of a pattern that will characterize her life over the long-term: while long-distance relationships work well for her, traditional relationships do not.

Wanderlust, however, is more than a chronological conquest of men and countries: at its core, it’s a journey of self-discovery. In the course of her travels, Eaves finds herself and the sense of home she’s been lacking since childhood—and she sheds light on a growing culture of young women who have the freedom and inclination to define their own, increasingly global, lifestyles, unfettered by traditional roles and conventions of past generations of women. (from Amazon)

Seal Press is one of my favorite publishers, though I haven’t read nearly enough of their catalog. Nevertheless, the books I have read have been interesting in that a) they’re all written by women about women, and b) those women aren’t afraid to talk about things that are considered more…I don’t know. Hidden? Un-womanly? Unusual?

With male travel writers, a lot of the times their memoirs are about who they slept with and what extreme thing they did in a foreign country. With female travel writers, their memoirs tend to be more about the spiritual/internal changes travel brings to them and the friends they made. Romance is secondary to everything else, basically. Elisabeth Eaves’ book is unusual in that she doesn’t shy away from writing about any of it: the sex, the men, her extreme adventures, AND the emotional stuff.

To be honest, it did throw me off at first. EE is very blunt about her sex life with the various men she meets, and I’m kind of prudish about real people’s sex lives. It also threw me off because, like I said in the previous paragraph, I lumped “(near-)graphic sex” with male travel writers– and my thoughts about EE, a woman, writing about her travel-sex life, were almost “omg should she be writing that?” Almost like she was breaking some rule or something stupid like that. Luckily I had an epiphany, of a sorts (why shouldn’t she write about that?), and the rest of the book was smooth sailing.

By about 20% in I really grew to love Wanderlust. In the beginning of the book, which is EE’s teen-early twenties, there isn’t much introspection. It was constantly “and then I ran away from [whatever]” and I was wondering if she even knew she was doing it. She knew. She just took a while to tell me that she knew; once the introspection and analysis of WHY EE kept running away from “real life” started, the book because a lot more interesting to me.

I really liked that EE tied in the idea that wanderlust is not just a love of travel. It’s also a compulsion, an addiction, and it doesn’t just apply to flying to a new country. EE’s wanderlust is sunk deep within her veins, so that she can’t help wandering even in her love life, and the conflict between what EE really wants and what she thinks she should want is really sad.

There are some other good things in Wanderlust besides EE’s internal conflict about staying and going, but I think I should let you find them out for yourself. If you like travel memoirs but don’t want the same old thing, you’ll probably like Wanderlust.

Read: June 6-20, 2011


Giveaway!


If you want to try your hand at winning a copy of Wanderlust, the publisher/TLC Book Tours has graciously allowed me to give away a copy to a resident of the US/Canada! So:

Rules
1. One (1) winner will win one (1) copy of Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves.
2. US/Canada only.
3. The giveaway will run from now, June 30th, ending at midnight EST on July 14th.
4. The winner will be chosen using Random.org; you have 48 hours to get back to me after I email you or someone else will be chosen. The winner will be announced here at the blog on July 16th, assuming everything goes well.
5. You can get an extra entry by sharing the contest link somewhere. Yay!

Fill out the form below to enter the contest!
THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. The winner will be announced soon!

John Green’s new book!

Today is a good day to be a book nerd. Here’s why!
1. John Green’s newest book has a title and that title is The Fault in Our Stars.
2. It is now available for pre-order on lots of different places, including Amazon.
3. If you pre-order the book (from anywhere) John Green will sign it. Personally.
4. It is now the #1 bestselling book on Amazon.

John Green! Why are you so amazing.