Read-a-thon Pseudo-participation and Out-of-control Widgets

read-a-thonHere’s me being an unofficial cheerleader to all those participating in the read-a-thon today: GO READERS!

I plan on reading, too, but unfortunately the schedule didn’t work out for me to spend the whole day at it. However, I’ve stuck a button in my sidebar for anyone who’s interested in the event to find out more. Let’s plan a huge party for the April one! I’ll host, and everybody can bring books and snacks.

And speaking of my sidebar. It’s getting out of control. Maybe this is a sign that I need one of those 3-column themes rather than just two columns. I love all my widgets and just can’t part with any of them.

One that I’ve been trying to add—without success so far—is my Hunger Games poll. I have people even coming up to me at church activities saying, “I got on your site, but I can’t find the poll.” Darn it! That’s because it got buried in a post. And the reason it’s in a post in the first place is because I couldn’t get it to go in the sidebar. But as a compromise, I’ve put a link to the post in the sidebar, so hopefully that will help!

For my lame effort in the read-a-thon, here’s what I’ve got in my to-read stack right now (not that I’ll get to more than the first two today):

once was lostcybele's secretsilksingermaze runnerlife as we knew itaudrey-wait

[UPDATE: I saved the Silksinger picture but then forgot to insert it into the post initially. So if you’re very astute and saying to yourself, “Hey, there were only five books when I read this before,” you’re right.]

What are you reading? What do you think of the 24-hour read-a-thon idea?

Leave a comment!

Picking the Wrong Guy

 Yesterday my sister and I were casually discussing books, as we often do, and Ashlee brought up The Hunger Games and how killing off Peeta would be too easy a way to deal with the love triangle.

The casualness of our conversation ended there.

I gasped and said, “What? Kill Peeta? Why would she kill off Peeta? No, it’s Gale that has to get out of the way.”

Ashlee gasped, too. “What? How can you be in love with Peeta? It’s got to be Gale! You and I always have the same taste in books! How can you be in love with Peeta?”

And both of us decided right then that we were going to blog about it and create polls and see what everyone else thinks.

Now, admittedly my track record is not perfect. Take my experience reading I Capture the Castle for example. Here’s a chunk of what I wrote in my goodreads review when I read that book a year ago:

I Capture the CastleHalfway through this I wanted to buy it for everyone on my Christmas list. Three-quarters through I wanted to hurl it at the wall. With twenty pages to go I felt very sure there was no possible ending I could be satisfied with. And then, on the very last page, I fell in love [with the book] again. . . . Really, it’s an amazing novel, so honest and fair–fair both to the reader and to the characters. My main trouble was that I fell in love with the wrong guy, which was my own fault.

For me, it brings up an interesting issue of how much we as readers bring to a book. My sister and I are similar in so many ways, especially as English teaching majors (she’s still in college), so it’s weird for us to be opposites on this Gale/Peeta thing. Do we have fundamentally different taste in guys?

Maybe I should have her read I Capture the Castle and see if she picks the guy I did.

But this becomes not only a reading issue but a writing issue. After all, Suzanne Collins is going to have to disappoint half her fan base. Should she have given more clues going along about who we’re “supposed” to love? Does a writer have a responsibility to make that clear? Do I even dare mention the Edward/Jacob controversy, where it seems to me that it is made clear and yet so many fans choose to hope for the out guy?

My current WIP has five teenage guys all the same age, and when Ashlee first read the first 40 pages of the first draft, her first question was, “Who’s Wendy going to end up with?” I’ve worked hard since then to make everything seem, while not cut and dry, sort of inevitable in my novel, so that readers would be satisfied with the ending. But maybe some will still wish that a different guy got with Wendy. 

It’s possible. After all, I do try to make all five of the guys likeable. What’s a writer to do? 

So now I’m curious not only about your vote for Peeta vs Gale but how confident you are in your prediction. Please weigh in below! Maybe even leave a comment about other books you’ve had this trouble with, like my review above.

I’m already feeling a little outnumbered since my writer friend Brodi Ashton blogged a few weeks ago about preferring Gale, too (her rationale is in her comments section).

Any other Peeta supporters out there? How can you not love the guy who paints himself like he’s frosting a cake as a form of self-preservation? And whose self-preservation is entirely for the sake of saving the girl he loves? Just thinking about him makes me want to set my huge to-read stack aside and reread Hunger Games and Catching Fire right now.

Come on, Peeta fans! Show your love!

p.s. if anybody wants to vote on my sister’s poll, too, it’s on her sidebar here