Saturday, April 9, 2011

What I learned from GOING BOVINE

I recently finished Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE. What a wild ride! Sixteen-year-old Cameron finds out he's sick and he's going to die. With the help of quirky, unforgettable sidekicks, Cameron sets out on a mission to find a cure.

I learn something new with each book I read, and here's my writing takeaway from GOING BOVINE:
  • Drama and humor go together like peas and carrots (for you Forrest Gump fans out there). Cameron experiences a life or death situation, but the book is funny. Seriously.
  • Embrace the unexpected plot twist. This book should require a seatbelt. The author cleverly whisks her readers away on a crazy journey. There's no way to predict what will happen to these characters.
  • We should let go of our fears and inhibitions & let our imaginations run wild. This book showed me that sometimes the zaniest scenes work, depending on the storyline.
  • The acknowledgement pages can be just as entertaining as the book. Bray opens this section with, "I would like to thank everyone I've ever kissed or punched and anyone who has ever kissed or punched me." And it only gets better!
Learning from brilliant authors is an entertaining perk of writing. What have you learned from an amazing book?



45 comments:

  1. Hooray for GOING BOVINE - one of my favorite books, btw. :D I agree with all of the above, especially the combination of humor and drama. Charlie Chaplin used that concept as well, and he was one of the best.

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  2. She's a fabulous writer. Not everyone can pull of such a rambling tale. I loved the voice.

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  3. I love how she opens the acknowlegement section!!! That's awesome!

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  4. I haven't heard of this but it sounds really wonderful. Thanks for the info!

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  5. I've had that book on my wishlist forever! I've got to pick it up!

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  6. I agree with all your points.

    Another thing I learned from this book is that Libba is a master at using unique simlies and metaphors, not the tired cliched ones we're all use to. I highlighted so many passages when I read it on my kindle.

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  7. Oh how I LOVED Going Bovine! It was probably the best book I read last year. It is pure genius and should be required reading for every writer, regardless of genre. And you are so right about the acknowledgment pages! :-)

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  8. I so have to read this! I love creative and humorous books. If it wasn't on my TBR list (honestly can't remember), it's on there now. :)

    Thanks for the review!

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  9. Added to my TBR list! I want to see these similes and metaphors Melissa needed to highlight.
    - Sophia.

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  10. Haha, I'll have to check this book out! Drama and humor sound like a fun combination. :)

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  11. I'm a huge GOING BOVINE fan. Loved the book. I'm in awe of Libba Bray for keeping track of such a rapid fire, intricate plot. I agree with you, Julie. The blend of comedy and tragedy in this book is a master stroke.

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  12. Yes, what a wild ride this book was, and I loved every page of it! Thanks for stopping by my new blog today - nice to meet you.

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  13. love what she wrote on her acknowledgement page!

    from the book i'm currently reading (by kira salak, called four corners) i'm learning about the courage of a woman traveling solo through dangerous territory.

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  14. I hope I'll come across this one at the bookstore. I just finished Mad Cows, which was the most hilarious book I've ever read. It also made me think though, since the heroine found herself in a crazy situation quite by accident.

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  15. Julie,
    This book sounds marvelous! I think tomorrow includes a trip to the bookstore. Sometimes I just don't feel I can keep up with all the books I want to read and all the words I want to write; UGH!!

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  16. I have seen this book, but didn't know really what it was about. Sounds like a good recommendation

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  17. Oh, this sounds fantastic! I can't get it on Kindle here in Australia, so I'll have to ship it. Sounds like it's full of wonderful lessons.

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  18. This was a very thought provoking post! Thank you! Many blessings!
    Cheri

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  19. I have two of Bray's books and haven't opened them yet. I have so many books to read, but I should move hers up the pile.

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  20. I've never read this one. It's on my to-read list though. It sounds so sad to me, but after reading your review, I'll definitely check it out! :D

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  21. I've got it on the Kindle. Can't wait!

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  22. Thanks for posting this. Going Bovine sounds an interesting read.

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  23. This one made me cry! LOL
    I'm glad you read it too! :D

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  24. What a great post! I really enjoyed Going Bovine and your take on it. I especially love your point about letting go of fears and inhibitions to let the imagination run wild.

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  25. I learn something from every book I read. It's hard not to, since I over-analyze everything.

    Gaiman's Anansi Boys taught me it's all right to be flippant, and tell the tale how it needs telling. Chuck the rules.

    I'm reading the Percy Jackson series, and it's taught me it's all right to read books I don't really like, if it means I can speak to my daughter and son about what they're reading. I don't care much for the writing style -- too simplistic -- but the scenes involve movement, lots of action, twists, and pithy chapter headings. It's all right to play.

    Cormac McCarthy taught me it's all right to use simple language and write realistic scenes that look plucked from memory with a complete absence of fiction. McCarthy, in fact, almost killed my muse. His voice got stuck in my head.

    I even learn from bloggers. I check spelling, grammar, structure, and topic. Learn learn learn.

    Never stop learning.

    - Eric

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  26. interesting... I read A Great & Terrible Beauty and wasn't so thrilled, so I wasn't planning to pick this one up. Now I'm intrigued...

    I think I learn from every book I read--mostly from the "bad" ones, yes? :D xoxo

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  27. I've learned from amazing books to write like no one is going to read it. LOL sounds funny but some of the best writers take such amazing risks and I think the only way to accomplish that is to set aside any worry. Great post Julie - I added this to my TBR list!

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  28. I LOVED this book! It was so crazy and unique but WORKED. I want to be as funny as Libba Bray. :)

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  29. When writing a chase scene, I went back and read some of my favorite chase scenes in MG and YA books...the process helped my writing.

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  30. Love Libba Bray. If you ever have a chance to hear her talk...run, don't walk! This book fits her personality more than the Gemma Doyle series, though I loved both. Her upcoming one is about a bunch of beauty queens who crash land on an island...more wild fun!

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  31. I'm going to be totally honest, the title and cover turned me off this book to the point where I haven't picked it up yet. *ducks* Terrible of me, I know, especially considering the amazing reviews it has received. You've convinced me that I have to read this. Thank you!

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  32. Julie, this is great, and makes me want to read that book! One of the things I've learned is different types of writing all have audiences, from Jane Austen to Robert Crais, and there's plenty of room, as long as the voice is great and the story flows. Terrific post.

    You've received a blog award over on Critique Sisters. Found your blog through comments you've left on blogs that I read, and am so glad I did!

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  33. I have heard so much about this book, I am eager to read it. Sounds like its going to be one crazy ride for the reader.

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  34. Thx for the info… I’ll have to give it a read. Anything that makes me a better writer, I am willing to read.

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  35. Thanks for sharing- this book sounds fascinating! :)

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  36. Wow, that sounds good! And what a title, that just makes me want to pick it up and find out what it's about.

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  37. Must add this one to my list to read. Great thoughts thank you
    xx

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  38. Sounds like an interesting book. I hadn't heard of this before.

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  39. I thought Going Bovine was just for children. Off to get it now! Thank you so much for the tips (and the suggestions).

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  40. Julie, yours is one of the featured blogs today for J!

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  41. sounds like a total fun book. I loved Plan B by Anne Lamotte....her ideas on grace is so down to earth and real that reading her book, I felt like I was sitting with her....and living her life's rollar coaster ride alonside her. Loved it.

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  42. Hi Julie .. sounds enormous fun .. as everyone is endorsing .. good to know about - thanks for highlighting Libba Bray .. and your little notes - good to read ..

    PS - as Alex says .. I came over direct - I'm already a F & RSS you .. Cheers Hilary

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  43. I like your review :D Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/02/going-bovine-by-libba-bray.html

    Thanks and have a nice day!

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  44. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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