In this week's paper, I reviewed The Fault in Our Stars, the newest from popular YA author John Green. It's about two teenagers with cancer who fall in love and it's really, really good—one part sad, funny teenaged love story; two parts interrogation of why anyone should even bother getting out of bed in the morning, much less bother caring about any one or anything, since we're all gonna die and be forgotten one day anyway. It's pretty great. I also interviewed Green a couple days ago, and the transcript of our conversation just went live. We talk about what people can expect from his sold-out performance at the Bagdad on Sunday; we talk about the relationship between authors and readers; we talk about how teenagers use technology. It was a pretty interesting conversation; here's a snippet, where we talk about Tumblr (Green has a huge social media presence):
When I was researching for this interview, I kept falling into teenager Tumblr vortexes.
[Tumblr] particularly fascinates me because it's the place where young people don't think there are old people and so they act in a way that they would never act if they knew we were watching, which is interesting.
Do you find yourself looking at Tumblr or other social networking sites to keep your teen references current?
I don't. I think most of my critics would say I don't stay contemporary, in terms of my views or in terms of my novels. All of my pop culture references are usually from 1992. Kids in my books always like Neutral Milk Hotel. They never like what people are listening to now. Superficial pop-culture connections aren't ultimately that meaningful to readers and also they change so quickly, particularly now in the internet age where something is only cool for a few hours.
The internet wasn't so much an issue when you first started writing.
Yeah, I mean, my first book had a phone booth in it. The whole plot basically hinges on a phone booth. Amazon listed it as historical fiction. Maybe that's why.
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