Sunday, November 08, 2009

Author Discussion: M.T. Anderson

I may regret doing two posts in one day if I don't have anything to write about tomorrow, but I've been meaning to write about M.T. Anderson for about a week now. Davan and I had the opportunity to go hear a lecture by M.T. Anderson. I enjoyed the lecture, but it did feel a little haphazard as far as what he talked about.

As an aside to discussing the author himself, I have to tell you about the question Davan had for him. There was a question/answer period with some good questions and a lot of stupid ones. Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question. The kid, for example, who made a big production of waving his hands manically and then asked, "Did you want to be a writer when you were a kid?" for the third rendition of that question asked a stupid question. Anyway, Davan never did get called on. But, seeing as how we didn't have to go get a bus, when we were dismissed, we found M.T. and Davan got to ask her question.

What was the question is, I'm sure, your question now. It was, "Do you read other books while you're writing a book?" Yes, he does. He tries to read other books set in the same time frame as what he's writing to stay in the mood. What I thought was interesting, though, was what he then asked Davan. After answering, he asked her what he hadn't asked anyone else. He wanted to know if she was a writer herself. Davan modestly shrugged, but I spoke up for her. Yeah, she is. She's written a good deal.

Back, though, to M.T. Anderson's books. I have to say that he is not my favorite author. I see the humor he's going for, but don't actually find it funny myself, for the most part. I've read three of his books now - Whales on Stilts, The Game of Sunken Places and Feed. I've read them all within the last six weeks or so, after finding that we were going to his lecture.

My favorite of those, and the one aimed at the oldest audience (teenage) is Feed. Feed is the story of a teen in the not too distant future who, along with most of his peers, has a direct feed to the internet in his head. How does this affect them? What about those that don't have a feed? I found the subject matter very interesting, but the presentation of the book only okay.

The Game of Sunken Places was the book we read for Davan's middle school aged book group last week. It was okay. Davan seemed to like this one the best of the three (she didn't even finish Feed). However, I felt that Anderson, as he does in many of his books, it seems, had a lot of made up, difficult to pronounce names of places and things (other than the main characters), which lessens my enjoyment, especially when reading aloud. Also, there were some gruesome descriptions and happenings in a second hand sort of way, but it was still off putting to me. It may well, along with the humor, appeal well to a preteen boy.

Overall, that is whom I would recommend M.T. Anderson as an author to - a preteen boy. On the flip side, Feed, or a book like it seems like good required reading for anyone with a TV/computer/blackberry habit.

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