Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES
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Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES

GOOD NEWS from Caroline Bock

Billy Crystal/Eddie Murphy/80s rock/NCTE conference

Billy Crystal in/Eddie Murphy out
of Oscars equals Italy/Greece in or out of the euro
equals Rick Perry unable to remember what third
government agency he wants to close.  Then, saying
the 'wrong one.'   EPA/Energy.  They both start with Es
Perry makes GW Bush look smart,
or maybe Texas A&M does not equal Yale
and an ivy league does matter?
Joe Paterno out/me thinking it's the Catholic Church
all over again (priests/coaches molesting boys).  The Bishop
thinking only of the next football game.
My father chewing on about pumpkin patches
(we had one on our front lawn growing up, but
then we were the strange family on our block).
Everything seems of equal
importance these days, which can't be
good. I want to go into my car and blast
80s rock* and forget about it all.
But I'm not allowed to do that anymore, am I?

*(My love runs cold, my memory has just been sold...) 

Take a look at the banner that's going up at the NCTE (National Council Teachers of English) conference next week!!   And yes, buy LIE.  Inn fact good news today: Novel is going to a second edition, so if you want to own a 'first edition,' you must get a copy now.  Have a great conference any English teachers out there at NCTE! 

Do you need to 'enjoy' a novel?? LINK to new review!

Does a novel need to be 'enjoyable' for you to want to read it?  Is it okay if it makes your uncomfortable?  Is it okay if the characters aren't likable, most, or even all of them?  I'm wondering these because I just received another terrific review... except, that the criticism is that it wasn't an 'enjoyable' read.  That word 'enjoyment' has always been curious to me - joy -- brief, fleeting -- doesn't come to me when I read. Too often, in fact, it rarely comes to me (looking at my son or daughter as they sleep, that is joy).  I read to understand the world, and I think that's maybe why I write too.   Anyway, it's a cool review from someone who read the book closely.  She may not have 'enjoyed' it, but she encourages everyone to read LIE.  What more can I ask?

From the end of this insightful review: …LIE is a pretty powerful reading experience and a brave one. There is no happy ending here. But Bock tackles racism, bigotry, homophobia, classism, white privilege and peer pressure in a sensitive, subtle and intelligent way. If not enjoyable, this is certainly a book that needs to be a part of every teenage and adult’s reading experience.”

Do you need to 'enjoy' a novel?

Why Have I Been Taken by ZOMBIES?

HALLOWEEN is around the corner, if with this early snow we'll actually have trick or treaters is anyone's guess, but it does get me thinking about Zombies.   I write fiction these days, but realistic, contemporary, fiction (read: LIE), and I'm consumed (yes, a bad pun) by zombies in pop culture.  But in an odd way, zombies live in reality for me.  They are the great metaphor for our times, hordes of people, who can neither love, nor hate, nor read or write, they only live, only consume the flesh of those who do.  For some of us the world is too much with us, for others it has forsaken them.  I root for the living in the AMC Walking Dead series, but then I wait for the zombies to come too.  They are us, if we let them be us.  I wait for Brad Pitt's new movie World War Z: an Oral History of Zombies written by Max Brooks for further insights, unfortunately I will have to wait until December, 2012.  Certainly, the zombies will not consume Pitt.  Only lesser mortals, those ready in some psychological or immoral way to become the other?  I will continue to root for the human, and truly what makes us human.  But I am taken with Zombies these days, and I'm sure there are those that root for the zombies out there?   


Yes, I'm a 'lit-lover' but I am also a new fan of -- and they have just included LIE on their site, which is for serious book lovers as well as book clubs.   They have also posted the reading guide to LIE.  Kudos to all the lit lovers out there!!  Check out -- especially one amazing woman named Molly!!


Big Thank You to  Minverva Hernandez at for her review of LIE... love tag line to their online magazine...  "Changing the World for Girls through Media."  Here's the review:

By Caroline Bock
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011
Reviewed by Minerva Hernandez, 18

"One of the questions we ask ourselves as we read books is whether we find the characters believable, whether they could be the everyday people, friends, family members. In the case of Lie, it is hard to believe the people whose story we share aren't real. Caroline Bock does not create a new world but rather seamlessly injects Skylar, Jimmy, Sean, Lisa Marie, Arturo, and Carlos, along with more minor characters, into ours.

This book is amazing not just because of its believability. The story told is one of sorrow. Lie is about racism against Latino immigrants, but it is driven by more than just that very powerful subject. It is about regret, loss, manipulation, faith in others, and most importantly, questioning our own motives.

“Everyone knew. No one told.” is the motto of the group of characters after a weekend pastime of “beaner-hopping”—harassing and physically assaulting presumed illegal immigrants—goes too far. Now, two of the main characters, Jimmy and Sean, face jail time, and Skylar, Jimmy’s girlfriend, wrestles with whether to tell what she knows.

This book sickened me. It made me angry, it made me sad, it made me doubt. It opened my eyes to flaws in the American justice system and how difficult it is to convict when such a motto is adopted. A crime is committed, and people are willing to stay quiet because their faith lies in those who do not deserve it.

This book is as delicate and beautiful as the protagonist, Skylar; it transcends the boundaries of racial intolerance and death. Above all, I learned that you must always remember that who you trust reflects upon yourself."

STARRED REVIEW from Booklist!

STARRED review from Booklist for LIE! From advanced copy (final out in November): "... Suspenseful and thought-provoking, this is a compellingly readable novel with a challenging theme and memorable characterizations. A terrific choice to spark discussion and debate."  My editor wrote in email (her caps) HOLY CRAP! FOUR STARRED REIVEWS.  I hope this means she's happy with the starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and now Booklist.  What's make you write in ALL CAPS out there??  

3 PM Reading/Reception of LIE at POB Library in Plainview Today)

Notes are together... flip chart... DVD of book trailer.... all I hope is that there's an audience for today's (Sat. Oct. 15) reading/community reception for LIE at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library at 999 Old Country Road in Plainview from 3-4:30 pm.  In any case, I know I'll be thanking to amazing women -- the director of the library and the young adult librarian at the POB library for a long time to come!!

The Top 10 Truths that I've Learned About Writing (No Lies) This Sat. October 15 at 3 pm at P.O.B. Public Library

Reading/Reception with coffee, tea, cakes, cookies, and yes, a talk about the writing process.  The top 10 truths that I've learned about the writing process.  Hint:  Write what you know is NOT on the top 10 list.  It's not on the list at all.

I think that's one of the biggest mistakes because would be fiction writers interpret it too narrowly.  Write about what you've experienced -- in the deepest, most truthful way, from the heart, and transfer that into your story.  I didn't "know" anything about hate crimes, I never was a victim of one, never participated in any violence against anybody.  But I knew what it meant to be an outsider, to feel like you didn't belong, to be bullied for being different.  I knew what it meant to feel lost as a teenager, to want to be part of a group, almost at any cost. But the events in LIE weren't directly mine, so I incorporated what I experienced into the story and just worked on making it the best story I could.  What are your 10 ten truths about the writing process??   What else should I include??

If you are in the area I hope you can come!  See below --  poster in the hall of the POB Library-- so cool -- thank you POB Library!!

Event:  Saturday, October 15 3-4:30 pm, Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library
999 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY  11803. Reading/Community Reception.  FREE.  Open to the Public! 

Bookloons... The Screenwriter Within.... What a Beautiful Day in NYC for Columbus -- But did he really 'discover' America?

First, I like Hilary at Bookloons!   And she really likes LIE!.  From her blog review, "Caroline Bock makes Skylar very real as she portrays her struggle between loyalty to her boyfriend and loyalty to herself and the values she grew up with. I highly recommend LIE to you for its excellent treatment of a tough topic."  The entire review at

And I also really like D. B. Gilles new the book on screenwriting, The Screenwriter Within, which is as much a book about storytelling (with some terrific writing exercises included).  

Lastly, I'm in the middle of reading Sherman Alexie's young adult novel for the second time -- The Absolutely True Story of a Part-time Indian -- which in an odd way seems so appropriate on Columbus Day, the day Columbus 'discovered' the island of Hispaniola and changed future for all of us.  Sherman Alexie tweeted a thought today cut through with irony --" Yeah, Indians wish our immigration laws had been a little tougher in 1492."    Though, I am so glad that my grandparents left their homes for here, left Poland and Russia and Italy (yes, I'm half Italian), and found their way here.  So, the answers aren't easy, but important to raise the questions, to see the other side, to question what truths -- and yes, what lies, we tell ourselves and one another.  


Late Friday thoughts... found this image on the web -- it's a book blogger's desk. I happen to like these two books too!!  Am a huge Hunger Games fan (seriously)!!
This blogger hasn't written a LIE review yet... but I hope she does -- perhaps even she'll do some inter textual analysis between the two books -- of course, Skylar Thompson is living in the present, not some dark future, even though it may seem dark and hopeless to her.   I wonder if writers like dystopian novels because it's easier than writing contemporary reality?  There's nothing to hold you back?   May we repair this world through our work, even if it means imagining another.

Last thought -- if you are in the area -- join me at the wonderful Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library on Saturday, October 15th from 3-4:30 pm for a reading/signing/community reception. The library's address is 999 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY  11803.   Hope to see you there!!

Very last thought: Good fast to those who fast, may we all be written in the Book of Life. 

Until then, read LIE:)!

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