Tag Archives: young adult

“Losers often grow up to be writers”

My first cousin once removed Marilyn Sachs, on writing:

One final word of encouragement to those of you who are cowardly, cry babies, and liars, as I was. These are extremely promising qualities for future writers. If you are a coward, you will probably spend more time at the library than you would ordinarily, and if you tell lies, it just shows that you have an imagination even if others don’t always appreciate it. Cry babies tend to be sensitive, which is also a plus for writers. When I grew up, I found that I had become a great expert on bullies, and my books are full of them.

So, don’t feel you have to be smart, beautiful, brave and popular to become a writer. Or even to be a good speller. Losers often grow up to be writers, which means we have the final word.

Her books are mostly for kids.  Have you read them, parents?  Some of the classics:  Laura’s Luck (1965), my favorite alienated-kids-at-summer-camp book.  The Fat Girl (1984), a truly creepy YA novel about brutal psychosexual guerilla war in high school.  The Bear’s House (1972).  I remember almost nothing about this but just hearing the title makes me choke up so I know it was really sad.

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Math Girls

The holiday season approaches and surely you are looking for a new translation of a bestselling young adult novel from Japan which is half adolescent love story and half elementary number theory text.  You’re in luck.  Bento Books sent me a review copy of the book, Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki (tr. Tony Gonzalez) and by the second chapter the narrative has already addressed not only the fact that 1 is not prime, but the fact that it’s entirely in our hands whether to define 1 to be a prime or not, and why we made the choice we did.  How romantic!

Sample chapters here.

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