Thursday, September 2, 2010

Step Three and The Fair

Hi. My name is Matthew and I'm a blogaholic.

You can often find me neglecting my family, my job, and my personal hygiene in favor of reading blogs.

Today I am on Step Three.

I've made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of Nathan Bransford as I understand Him (see the forums).

Disclaimer: This post is satirical. It is not meant to offend anyone, or to belittle the integrity of 12 Step Programs anywhere, which have saved countless lives since their inception.

So. I promised to share about my trip as well. I will.

Kelly and I took our daughters to Minnesota over the weekend and first part of the week. The main reason for the visit was to surprise Kelly's grandma Darlene (the kids great-grandmother) for her 80th birthday. And great she is. She's a huge Vikings fan so we watched the pre-season game with bated breath when Favre may have, almost, hurt his wrist. But it looks like everything turned out okay.

On Monday we visited the Minnesota State Fair. The Great Minnesota Get Together as it's affectionately known (imagine the Scandinavian accent) is the second largest state fair in the country, after Texas. It is, however, in my opinion, the largest collection of deep fried food, on a stick, that you can eat anywhere. It is especially famous for Pronto Pups and Cheese Curds (I could explain what those are but it's more fun if you imagine it for yourself) but this year I witnessed some amazing things like Deep Fried Candy Bars on a stick, Super Bacon (on a stick, that's for you Elana), Hot Dago on a stick, Meatball Sundays, Pork Chop on a stick, Deep Fried Sliders (no stick), and many other amazing culinary ideas. But my mind was blown this morning when I heard a story on NPR about Deep Fried Beer at the Texas State Fair. Apparently there is a Heaven.

There are many more wonderful kitschy stories I could tell about the fair but I don't have time. Instead I want to share briefly about the book I'm reading. I brought two books with me on the trip but with the flight and lots of free time around the family I finished them up before we had to catch our flight home. I've been hearing so many wonderful things about Suzanne Collins and her novels that I finally decided to pick up The Hunger Games.

The good news is that the paperback was available even in the worthless little newsstand at the HHH terminal at MSP. There isn't really any bad news. I think this is great for publishing, but especially for YA literature. I have no idea what the exact sales numbers are for this series but it's nice to see a serious story achieving this kind of commercial success.

I'm only five chapters in, so I have really no spoilers but I will briefly say this: Normally I can't stand present tense, first person POV makes it a little easier to deal with (normally) but in this novel, with this story, it actually works quite well. The immediacy raises the tension and fits the pacing perfectly (so far). This is a harsh world, and a hard story. I don't know how common that kind of thing is in YA but I find it gripping and compelling. My own WIP YA novel is meant to be taken quite seriously so it is encouraging to see something that has some underlying social themes doing so well, and being told so masterfully.

I will have to check back in once I'm further along, but for now, for those of you who are all the way through with Mockingjay and all of it, is it really as good as it seems? As far as I can tell it's going to be a wild, wonderful ride.


Vicki Rocho said...

I may be the one person on the planet who does not enjoy the bizarre fair food.

We were originally supposed to take the kids up to the Minnesota State Fair about the same time you were there, but school started earlier than we expected so hubs just went to his concert and I stayed home w/the little people.

Unknown said...

Vicki is nuts!!! I love fair food! I'm sad I don't get to attend the Iowa State Fair, which is one of my favorite places, instead I'll settle on the Renassiance Festival that comes to town in October... it will have to do!!!

Yay for your fabulous steps!!! I'll be catching up on 1&2, sorry I've been away! Your blog has been missed!

Christine Fonseca said...

Dude! LOVE these steps! and personally - I have loved the ENTIRE series (HG)

Kelly Polark said...

I love cheese curds (I'm a Midwestern gal) and I am thinking I'd like Pronto Pups whatever they are!
Hunger Games is incredible, unique, and suspenseful. I've read Catching Fire, but I still need to read Mockingjay!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Was the pork chop on a stick deep-fried or frozen? I'm trying to watch my fat intake, so it matters.

Lindsay said...

Bacon on a stick! Hmm, I wish we had bizarre fair food like that. We get cotton candy, hot dogs, and ice cream. lol.

And yes, the HG series is a wonderful ride. I read Mockingjay in one sitting. LOL. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the entire trilogy. :)

Alissa Grosso said...

Well, I haven't yet red Mockingjay, but so far in my reading journey think it's a great series. Oh, and I think I have indigestion just from reading about all that fair food.

Unknown said...

Oh, I adore bacon in any form. Glad you had fun.

I LOVED The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I'm mid-way through Mockingjay and think her writing is still amazing but this last one has been a harder read for me. I read the first two in one sitting each, and Mockingjay is taking awhile. It's even bleaker than the first two--without the ray of hope that shone through in the first two. I'm hoping that changes, but I'd still suggest reading them. :)

Old Kitty said...

Oooh in Scotland there was once on offer, deep fried mars bars.

Anyway!!! I hope Mr Bransford looks after you with care and attention and lots of tlc!

Glad your family got to see grandma - she sounds wonderful.

take care

Bish Denham said...

Yep, I've even heard of deep fried butter...gross!

LTM said...

OMG! I'm going to be in Indy in a few weeks, and you reminded me of funnel cakes at the state fair... But I think theirs is in the spring.

You know I read/reviewed on my blog all three, right? I posed a Q about Mockingjay for guys--so you have to go answer it next week when you're done. ;p

No, seriously, I finished THG in 10 hrs, CF in 6... and then two days for MJ.

I think you'll like the book A LOT, but I'll be super interested in your response~

Slamdunk said...

Sounds like a fun trip.

Yea hot dog on a stick--pickle on a stick is the king here at the fair.

angelarene said...

Deep fried candy bars? For real? Dear God! What is this world coming to? ;p

You will love love love Hunger Games but be prepared her writing is brilliant, tension on every page dammit. But afterwards I always look at my manuscript and think to myself...Ewww.

Lola Sharp said...

Mmmm...bacon. *drool*
Fried beer??? How is that possible? Intrigue.

I'm glad you had fun on your trip! :)

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Matt.

Sarah Ahiers said...

i have a state fair post coming up on monday, i believe, and have some pics of a few of the foods you mentioned.
Now i have to decide if i want to go again on sunday for dinner...

i just finished mockingjay and i would say yes they are good, but also they are terrible. Not nearly as bad as The Road, but there's a lot of darkness by the end.

Also, in my family? We prefer corn dogs over pronto pups. SNAP!

Ted Cross said...

Funny, I just received Hunger Games in the mail today. Uh oh, I really don't like present tense at all. I hope I can stomach it.

Ted Cross said...

Maybe I am blind today, Matt, but I have searched and searched in the Nathan forums and I don't get your reference.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I just read The Hunger Games, too. Had to have that blue Mockingjay cover, so I bought the trilogy. Yes, I often choose books by covers. :-)

I agree with you on the present first person--you know it's good when it doesn't trip you up and you hardly realize what tense you're reading!

I've heard a lot that it's so dark, so tense, etc. In fact, that's what put me off from buying it sooner. It wasn't until my British CP (must be the dry sense of humor) told me it had humor, too, that I actually took the dive. HAVE to have humor. The first time I laughed out loud was only a few pages in, and I knew Katniss and I were going to get along just fine. There's darkness, definitely, but it's not all dark. There are points of light and fireworks. Enjoy it!

vic caswell said...

ok, so i'm thinking about starting a new religion... The Cult of Bransford. would you be interested in the position of the enigmatic leader? because i think you could totally pull it off. (but i want to be the evil puppet master pulling strings behind the scenes if that's ok...)

speaking of evil puppet masters...

the hunger games trilogy is by far the best three books i've read in the past ten years. there are so many layers to those books, the portayal of humanity, corruption, love, survival, character, morality, insanity, brokeness, depression, life, politics, power, and well just everything blows my mind. i don't have enough words, and am not nearly smart enough to articulate exactly how great these books are.

i've been hearing some negative feedback from others lately, but really... i just think they are absolutely brilliant. every one of them. mockingjay is probably my favorite, but HG was when i read it, and the CF was tied with it... but mockingjay... wow.

i can't wait to hear what you think. (there's a thread in the book forum dedicated to post-mockingjay opinions!)

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, you're already on step 3?? Where has the time gone? I need at least a 100-step program.

And you will enjoy Mockingjay. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

OMG I spit out my Diet Pepsi with the capital "H" on Himself, Mr. Bransford.


All three books are fantastic, with Mockingjay probably leading the pack. Suzanne Collins has raised the bar and I LOVE IT! Also: I heard that she put HG in present tense to make it more ambiguous whether Katniss survives. Regardless, I think present tense is now going to be the new "fad" in YA (at least at the SCBWI conference I heard one agent recommending all of her YA class switch to present tense). Not sure it that's good or not (I have a hard time reading present tense, but it totally worked in HG, so there you go).

Lenny Lee said...

hi mr mat! im glad you had a good time in minnesota. i saw a guy on tv who travels and does food stuff and he went to that fair and tasted everything. he said the same thing you did that its got the most food on a stick of anyplace in the world and he goes all over. i couldnt believe how much stuff got cooked on a stick. ha ha.
...smiles from lenny

Jemi Fraser said...

I read the first 2 and loved them, but haven't got to Mockingjay yet - and have surprisingly been able to avoid spoilers... so far. Hope that didn't just jinx me!

Julie Musil said...

I have to read Chasing Fire before I read Mockingjay. I must be the last person in bloggerland who hasn't read it yet!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Re: the variety of deep-fied food at the Missouri State Fair - WOW.

Re: THE HUNGER GAMES - I am so glad you are reading it. I loved it. I haven't read MOCKINGJAY yet, but I thought the first book was just wonderful, for all of the reasons that you stated. I think it will be one of the "classics" in the vein of 1984, ANIMAL FARM, LORD OF THE FLIES, and FAHRENHEIT 451.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Did I say Missouri? I meant Minnesota. Sorry. It's late/early. Time for bed. (As you can see, I too am a member of Blogaholics Anonymous.)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I haven't read the Hunger Games yet, but it's on my ever growing TBR list.

I'm visiting from KarenG's BBQ blog party. Anyone who brings prawns to a BBQ is a winner in my eyes ;)

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