Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pie! Pie! Pie!

All year, I have kept the Un-Boring List that I made for 2012 in the back of my mind. Some of them I accomplished...others, I didn't (and probably won't) get to this year. I added #10 - Make a Pie to my list after reading Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon last year at NCTE. I waited and waited for it to be published in April so others could read it. It's a charming book about friends but also about robots and zombies and...pie! Reading Pie by Sarah Weeks in December also had a little bit to do with my pie-making un-boring list addition. It's really hard to read books about pie and not want to eat pie. I mean, pie is great. If you don't like sweets, fine, I'll give you a pass, but if you like sweets, there is a pie out there for you. I like fruit pices but I also love chocolate cream pies or key lime pies or lemon meringue pies...I like pies, okay? 

If you like pies, I definitely recommend you check out these great pie-related books. Yesterday I reviewed Apple Cake by Julie Paschkis and shared some of my foodie-related books. Books with recipes are just cool. I'll never forget making stone soup in kindergarten or making waffles with college friends just because I had been reading and was in love with Polly Horvath's Everything on a Waffle when we got together for a mini-reunion. 

Peanut helped me finally make an apple pie today so that I could check off #10 - Make a Pie on my Un-Boring List. I'm glad I didn't technically put any qualifications on what it means to make a pie because the thought of actually making the crust and rolling it out and getting it right just seems to daunting to me. I Googled "easy vegan apple pie" and this is what we got. It was super easy, I would recommend tossing the apples in the brown-sugar-butter-cinnamon-nutmeg mix but other than that, it was delish!
The brown stuff is the brown-sugar-butter-cinnamon-nutmeg mix that I so expertly spread over the apples. And I tried to get creative with my little air holes - my mom suggested this - it wasn't in the directions but it was good. My mom also suggested putting something under the pie in case it dripped...and it did drip, so I'm glad we put foil under it. 
It basically ended up looking like all a mess on our plates, but it did taste good - and that's what matters, right? And that we had fun making the pie? That was important, too.

This wouldn't be a complete post without me saying one more thing about Pie about Sarah Weeks. Pie is an excellent mentor text for talking to students about books with ambiguous endings. If you, or your reader(s), are at all like me, you aren't a huge fan of books that end and leave the reader hanging. I like closure. Books that are all tied up with ribbon at the end leave me content. Books that leave readers hanging can drive me crazy. It partially depends on the ending, really. If there is enough information that I can infer what the ending might be, or that I can infer my own happy ending, then I'm cool. I enjoy happy endings. I do have to say that I'm coming to terms with books that don't have particularly happy endings or books that are open-ended. One that comes to mind is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I can infer my own ending and I'm allowed to make it a happy ending, so that gets an A+ in my book. (Plus, I saw Lois Lowry speak and she agrees that it has a happy ending!) The ending of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight I liked, too...I didn't have to have the rest of the books in the series because I could easily imagine my own happy (and not so freaky) ending to the Twilight saga. Some books or series have great epilogues that I desperately wanted and was so happy for - the epilogues of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games instantly pop into my head (not to say that they are perfect, but I so wanted just a little bit more after the end of both of these series).

After I finished Pie, I was actually bothered by the epilogue. This was an example of when I just wish I could have imagined my own ending and didn't have the epilogue there to outline exactly what happened. I don't think I can actually say this about any other epilogue I have ever read. If I ever hear that someone has read this book, I can't help but ask what they thought of the epilogue! (I may be a tad obsessed with finding someone else who found it as depressing as I did.) I think this book would be great to discuss with other books that have epilogues or books that don't have epilogues or books that have ambiguous endings. So often in writing and in teaching writing, we talk about beginnings and how we hook the reader. First lines are crucial but endings are what stay with a reader after he or she is done and endings can be just as important as beginnings. Every time I open a book, I hope that it is a book that gives me chills and makes me stop and catch my breathe when I'm done. A great ending leaves me loving the characters and their story and wishing there was more to the story while at the same time feeling that their lives go on and that they'll be fine.  I like this article where JK Rowling talks about how she decided what to include in the epilogue for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and how it would be written. Great insight into an awesome ending! Including Pie in a discussion of endings would add to a conversation about what a good ending is all about.

Robot Zombie Frankenstein also has a fun ending - it's a surprise in the story but also in the illustrations. I love it. Yesterday, I talked about how food and books and childhood memories seem to go hand in hand. This time of year is an especially great time for food and books and creating memories with family. If you are looking for some other good books for this holiday time of year, check out Geek Mom's Book Gift Guide. Robot Zombie Frankenstein made the list!

If you've read Pie and we haven't yet discussed the epilogue...tell me what you think! You loved it? Hated it? Don't even remember it? Indifferent? Please share!

If you love pie, what's your favorite!?! Thanks for sharing!

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