Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Post: Shirley Marr's 80's Favourite Things Funtanza

Hey Cool Dudes & Dudettes, welcome to Miss Friday's little corner of the web! Today is going to be a bit of an 80's flavoured easter Egg hunt. As you can see, I've even dressed for the occasion!

Today on My Girl Friday, Shirley wears an 80's pleated geometric dress ($25) from Vinnie's Retro Boutique in Northbridge. Thanks to cute Emo Manager Guy for choosing the dress for me.

When I wrote Preloved it was always envisioned as a love story (well, with a title like that!) but I also took the time to think about and explore the overall concept of "love". Central to the story is also the love story between a girl and her mother. And strands of it are based on my relationship with my own mum, so I felt a lot of love while writing the novel. It also represents to me a love letter to my heritage (as Amy is Chinese like me), to my childhood (as I was a baby of the 80s) and to the Aussie contemporary YA genre as a whole (as I am proud to help fly the flag).

So it was only natural that things I love ended up as symbols in the novel, whether consciously or sub-consciously. We'll go hunting for them right now in my garden.

Labyrinth (the movie): This was the very first movie I ever saw at the cinema! So I guess the ritual of getting Fantails at the candy bar and going on a real outing is a coming of age experience that no other subsequent movie-going experience has lived to since. And David Bowie as the Goblin King was my first crush ever. The Goblin King was also to become a babysitter through my primary school years. I was always one of those kids that were never allowed to go on camping trips. Possibly because my strict Asian parents thought I would die. That meant I was always stuck behind with the other odd kids and because the teachers felt sorry for us, schoolwork was very lax and we always ended up being allowed to watch one movie. Labyrinth was always that movie. And we would be allowed to make popcorn as well and put them into little paper bags and pretend we were at the movies. Those are among my fondest memories. Labyrinth to this day is my favourite movie. I have it on DVD. And VHS!

Princess Diana's Dress: Her 1987 Cannes Festival dress is my favourite dress of all time. I'm not sure what it is that makes one love a particular dress. i could say I just love the cut, the fabric and the way it falls, but then I could also say the same of a billion other dresses so let's put it down to secret women's brain business. It also brings back memories of when I was shopping with my close friends for their Year 12 ball dresses. I wasn't going (I didn't go to my schoolies either. Because I was on both occasions, staying home to write my novel), but I was there as a judge of good taste. We went to one store and in the window was an almost exact replica of that dress! I tried it on. It was perfect. But I still didn't go to the ball. And in hindsight Diana's dress also represents to me a "what could have been" - a theme also prevalent in Preloved.

Rubik's Clock: I recently reclaimed my 80's toys. A Keeper, My Little Ponies and an Alf plush (ask your parents). Maybe there comes a time in a parent's life when you move out that they come to terms with you being gone and decide to relinquish whatever still remains in their their closets. And then present them to you. Or in my husband's case, give them to me! Which got me curious about what exactly these "little boys things were". It turns out they consisted of Transformers (one which fittingly enough, changed into a boom box - double 80s bang for your buck) and a Rubik's Clock. I had no idea what this was. I Googled it.
Then I spent ages trying to figure out how to play with it. In the end I just gave up and put it into Preloved as a symbol of one enigmatic boy's secret business.

The Baby-Sitters Club: my favourite 80's book series! I think I read them until it kinda jumped the shark when the recaps at the beginning got so long they eclipsed the actual stories. Did they grow up and have a college spinoff or am I thinking of that other 80s cheesy stalwart - Sweet Valley High? I always wanted to be Claudia Kishi not only because she was the hottest (in my head) and most fashionable and artistic, she also ate a seemingly endless stream of junk food. Who wouldn't want all those things? In my head I always shipped Claudia and Logan Bruno 'cos Maryanne was so lame. That's where I got the name Logan from. And oh, Stacey! Stacey was also cool.

The Smiths: Every second Hipster name checks The Smiths these days don't they? It kinda makes me cringe. I discovered The Smiths when I was in High School and their 1985 album Meat is Murder became something I listened to frequently. Looking back, I guess I was like every single teenager trying to grapple with identity. I was pro-vegetarian and I flirted with the idea of being a Socialist and anti-authority. I think The Smiths helped fill an ideological hole in me. I don't regret who I was (actually, I am still some of these things) and what the music helped bring out in me. Even though I haven't listened to The Smiths for at least the past 10 years - if I had to name check a band from the 80s that is both nostalgic and musically solid for me, then The Smiths it is!

I hope you've had a fun insightful time in my garden. If you look closely there's actually more Easter Eggs hidden in the five (shhh). Thank you to the beautiful Miss Steph Friday for having me on her beautiful blog.

We're breaking for the weekend now, but come Monday hop over with me over to Wear The Old Coat, where I tell a really scary ghost story (trust me, it's really scary) and other Preloved Blog Touring goodness!

Thank so much for stopping by Shirley and sharing in some 80's nostaglia! If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out Shirley's guest post on Literary Life talking about being a child of the 80's. Thank you to Shirley and Walker Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Check back here soon for my review of Preloved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Preloved Blog Tour

Hello pretty people,

Did you know that the lovely Shirley Marr will be touring the blogosphere over the next two weeks?
She will be visiting some of my favourite blogs talking about her sophmore YA novel, Preloved (which I read and loved).

What is super exciting, is that Shirley will be visiting here on Friday for an 80s Funtanza!!! So please stop by and say hello!

You can also read my review of Shirley's debut novel, Fury, here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

March: My Month in Books

I swear every time I write these posts, it baffles me to think where the month has gone. Once again, March sped by and I'm still trying to catch my breath!

Total books read: 4
Queen of the Night – Leanne Hall
The Secret Lives of Dresses – Erin McKean
By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead – Julie Anne Peters
Preloved – Shirley Marr
What?! Pretty sure this is my all-time lowest monthly book count in the past couple of years. I feel sure I read at least another book, but didn't record it/cannot remember at all. Eeep!!

Queen of the Night - love, love, loved! I hope to review this soon because I adored revisiting Nia, Jethro and the beautifully weird world of Shyness.
The Secret Lives of Dresses - Borrowed from a friend, it was the kind of adult fiction I enjoy reading.
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead - I received this a month or so ago after a swap with Braiden. It was an emotionally intense read which addressed some pretty confronting issues. A difficult by worth-while read.
Preloved - thank you Walker Books for sending me a copy! Again, I really enjoyed this and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you all soon.

Books I attempted to read (but didn't finish): 0
At least as far as I can remember ...

What I'm looking forward to reading in April:
Love-shy - Lili Wilkinson (reading this at the moment)
I've also got Paige Harbinson's New Girl on my desk to start shortly.

Mostly, I'm hoping to get back into a routine of going to the library regularly and get out of the funk I feel like I'm falling into! So I know it's a week late, but I'd still like to know:

What did you read in March? What are you looking forward to in April?