In which I ask a question and request some input

So I’ve been wanting to start highlighting older reviews that, I think, are getting lost in the volume of stuff I have posted here.

I’ve seen some other bloggers do this in what I think are very clever ways.

Liz B does Flashback reviews.

Bookshelves of Doom has been doing a really cool thing highlighting significant days and pointing to older reviews of relevant books.

So, let me ask you: As a blog reader would you be interested in highlights of older reviews?

I was thinking maybe a “This Week on the Blog” thing or “On This Day” to either point to a week’s worth of reviews or a certain days.


In which I post for the thousandth time (and share another poem I wrote–this time with an art history angle!)

So. This is my 1000th post here on Miss Print!

Since I actually noticed the milestone I figured it was a fine one to mark.

And since I’m on a poetry kick, it seemed like a fine one to mark with another poem I wrote. Since this is a milestone marking the passing of time, I decided to share a poem I wrote in 2008 about dying. This is inspired by an art history motif (momento mori) that reminds people death is unavoidable. I always liked the way the name sounds and the fresco in the poem made an impression when I learned about it in my Renaissance art class. I also liked the inscription and how it sounded so I decided to write a poem around it. And this might sound incredibly self-centered but it’s a poem I think about a lot. I really like it. I hope you do too.

Here it is:

Memento Mori


In 1428 Masaccio made a fresco for a Florentine church.

At the bottom of the picture

beneath the Holy Trinity

he put a skeleton illusionistically painted as though within a tomb.

An inscription above the would-be tomb reads:

“I was once what you are,

and what I am you will become.”

We are so fragile.

But no one seems to notice,

living with eyes half closed.

Pretending that a life so brief is time enough.

(This poem is an original work by me. Copyrighted. Please don’t steal it.)

A poem I wrote about . . . nail decals

Since it’s National Poem in Your Pocket Day it seemed fitting to post a poem on the blog today.

Initially I was considering posting about nail decals (again) or a poem as I had not remembered the date for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

My cheeky fellow bloggers Andi and Nicole suggested I write a poem about nail decals. Which I was loathe to do. Until I remembered that I like writing poems about, well, stuff.

So I did.

Here’s the poem:

Plaid Nail Decals


I painted my nails plaid

three weeks ago


If by “paint” you mean

applied tiny plaid strips to each nail


It all started to chip away a week ago


Only after did anyone notice

to tell me

how pretty it was

(This poem is an original work by me. Copyrighted. Please don’t steal it.)


Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality: A Chick Lit Wendesday Review

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth EulbergLexi knows she is smart and funny–even if she might not be quite as smart as her friend Cam or quite as funny as her friend Benny. Cam and Benny keep telling Lexi she isn’t bad looking, but whatever that’s what friends say. At the end of the day Lexi has a Great personality with a capital “G” making her the witty girl everyone likes.

Which is fine.

It’s not like there’s room for another beauty in her family anyway. Not when her mother channels all of their energy and time (and more of their money than they can spare) into baby sister Mackenzie’s beauty pageant competitions. Mac is only seven and she’s already spoiled and bratty, she already wears false eyelashes and needs butt glue for the bathing suit portion of each pageant.

Seriously, Lexi has enough going on without wasting even more time making herself pretty.

The only problem is Lexi is tired of being that girl. The one all the guys talk to but no one asks out–the one her long time crush Logan considers a really great friend and nothing else.

When an opportunity comes to get Benny out of his own shell and talking to a real live boy he likes, Lexi reluctantly takes it even though she has to wear actual makeup (lip gloss doesn’t count), nice clothes (no more too-big t-shirts), and style her hair (hairspray: not for sissies).

Turns out a change in appearance can do a lot to improve a girl’s social status. But family problems and new friends (and crushes) force Lexi to ask some tough questions about herself and do some things that even a Great personality won’t make easy in Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality (2013) by Elizabeth Eulberg.

At a mere 272 pages, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality has a lot going on. Eulberg touches on matters including divorce, family dynamics, beauty pageant culture (of course), even popularity and bullying. Lexi is a smart, funny girl but she is also fiercely independent and loyal almost to a fault. She is an aspiring fashion designer with dreams of leaving Texas behind for the bright lights of New York City.

There are some terrible moments for Lexi throughout the story as readers learn why Lexi decided it was easier to try to be funny than pretty. The pageant issue for Lexi’s family also comes to a head with painful results for everyone involved as Eulberg, through Lexi, asks the tough questions about what it means to parade children’ around a stage in pageantry wear. The issue is generally balanced though by the end Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality does get a bit preachy about pageant culture–not to say Lexi’s feelings aren’t justified, after everything that happens they totally are–to the point of being a bit over the top, much like pageants themselves.

But again, this is a short read.  While Eulberg touches on a variety of things, nothing is quite finished by the end of the novel as Lexi is still dealing with a very broken, damaged family and the aftermath of some of her choices throughout the narrative. There is no doubt Lexi (and even Mackenzie) will pick themselves up and start again (and I love the choice Lexi makes at the end to try and do just that) but it would have been nice to see just a bit more of that in the actual story. Similarly, Cam and Benny are strong friends and had the potential to be well-rounded characters had there been more room in the book for them to have complete stories. (Much like aspects of Lexi’s life, both Cam and Benny feature in the story for key reasons but the threads are ultimately left dangling–though again with certainty that things will work out because these characters deserve nothing less.)

As always Eulberg’s writing is funny and fresh from her clever chapter titles to Lexi’s insightful observations about both pageant culture and high school life. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is a great read for anyone looking for a few laughs and a lot of heart with just a touch of Texas to taste.

Possible Pairings: The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander, Nothing by Annie Barrows, Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo, North of Beautiful by Justina Chen, Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, Miss Smithers by Susan Juby, In Real Life by Jessica Love, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee, Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

“Take the time to love someone”

My thoughts, like everyone else I’m sure, are still with Boston today.

News of the people hurts and lives lost make my heart sick but I am humbled by the stories of people coming together and of first responders.

In light of yesterday posting anything here seems inappropriate. I’ll just say I hope you and those you love are well. I hope you have a chance today to talk to someone you love and do something kind.

The Tragedy Paper: A Review

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBanDuncan has two things on his mind when he returns to the Irving school for his senior year: what “treasure” has been left by the previous occupant of his new dorm room, and the tragedy paper–the school’s version of a senior thesis, brainchild of Mr. Simon, and an all-consuming examination of tragedy in its varied forms.

If it weren’t for those two things, Duncan is pretty sure he could be happy about the start of his senior year as long as he doesn’t get Tim Macbeth’s room. It was bad enough being a party to the disaster at last year’s Game, Duncan has no desire to relive it by occupying Tim’s former room.

But of course he gets Tim’s room. And instead of an interesting treasure, Tim has left a stack of CDs. On first glance the CDs seem worthless–a waste of time, even, in an already busy year. Except these CDs aren’t just music or a last-minute effort as leaving something behind. No.

Instead Tim has left behind a chronicle of his own arrival at the school eight months earlier–an instant outsider both at the school and in life because he is an albino–and his beautiful, messy and ultimately disastrous friendship with the popular Vanessa. Chronicling his own downfall and explaining Duncan’s actual or perceived role in the final moments, Tim hopes Duncan can appreciate the rarity of this treasure and it’s ultimate value not just as an explanation but as the substance of Duncan’s own tragedy paper in The Tragedy Paper (2013) by Elizabeth LaBan.

The Tragedy Paper is LaBan’s first novel.

Set at an elite, quirky boarding school in New York, The Tragedy Paper has a certain exotic quality right from the beginning. Early on, Tim wonders if the normal rules have stopped applying to his life–that vague sense of chaos lingers throughout the story as Duncan and Tim approach the explanation of what brought both young men to this moment.

The majority of the story is told in Tim’s narration, through the CDs. Duncan’s own story, as he listens to the tapes, is a very obvious framing device but Duncan is guileless and interesting enough with his own guilt and frustration that it works. Tim is a well-written, likable character even in the midst of his terrible decisions throughout the plot. Sadly, Vanessa (and Duncan’s own love interest) are very one-dimensional, especially given comparisons to the more developed characters of Tim and even Duncan.

LaBan’s writing expertly evokes the beauty and menace of a snowy wilderness. The pacing of the story is also well-done building tension as Duncan works through all of Tim’s CDs as well as moving through his own senior year at the Irving school. While not the best story (the ultimate tragedy might even be anti-climactic coming from a narrator whose name is Tim Macbeth) LaBan does create a wonderful setting–so much so, in fact, that at times I wished the book’s focus was more on the school and its strange tragedy paper and its entertaining teachers like Mr. Simon.

Ultimately, being a book about tragedy, there was no way for The Tragedy Paper to become anything but, well, a tragedy. On the other hand the actual events that culminate in Tim’s so-called downfall were so easily avoided that the final outcome felt like a waste. There were so many points where things could have gone differently that it became painfully frustrating to watch Tim wend his way toward failure and heartbreak.

Happily readers to get to see Duncan at least reach a better end as his story moves beyond the tragedy. By comparison Tim’s story cuts short before any kind of resolution is reached and readers are left to wonder what might be next for him. The Tragedy Paper is beautifully written and completely immersive–it certainly marks LaBan as an author to watch. However the ending ultimately made the book as a whole deeply unsatisfying.

Possible Pairings: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, Fracture by Megan Miranda, The Wessex Papers by Daniel Parker, The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Productivity sometimes precludes blogging

So Polly my iPhone is back to normal. I updated a web page. For rid of some books. And I sent former coworker “sk8er b0i” poems. I promise I’ll post something more exciting tomorrow!

back tomorrow

Because it’s a day that ends in “Y” itunes has decided to be contrary. Since I have spent all day fighting with it, no witty post today. Check back tomorrow!

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and why I love it

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas
This is a villanelle poem with a specific line structure and repetition pattern. I’ve always liked it. Again it’s kind of sad but I like the rhythm of it and the sound of the words. I also use it as a reference when I’m trying to write vilanelles of my own. (Also it’s referenced in one of my favorite songs ^^)
UPDATE 3/11/14: My mom and I are the coolest people in the entire world and sometimes we will quote this poem back and forth to each other.

A poem I wrote today about talking in the dark

I wrote this when the phrase “quiet and not talking” popped into my head and I’m pretty pleased with it.

Quiet and Not Talking

when we sit like this

in the dark

quiet and not talking

I can almost pretend you’ll understand


if I say


“Let’s be more than friends.”


then you turn on the lights

and smile at me

before calling someone

you like

more than me


and I remember pretending

can’t make something


(This poem is an original work by me. Copyrighted. Please don’t steal it.)