Monday, June 24, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: SuperPop Blog Tour

Super Pop!: Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays by Daniel Harmon.

Do you love Top Ten Lists? You know I do.

SuperPop is a super-fun book full of top ten lists on all sorts of topics-- Songs Guaranteed to Get you Pumped (highlights include Livin' On A Prayer, Call Your Girlfriend, and Bohemian Rhapsody, Explorers Who Can Take You Into the Unknown (highlights include The Travels of Marco Polo, The Undersea World Of Jacques Cousteau and DuckTales) and Geniuses Willing to Talk to Non-geniuses (highlights include Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character), Bossypants, and Neil deGrasse Tyson's twitter feed.)

The best part of this book isn't that it draws items from multiple formats (books, movies, YouTube videos, video games, songs, tv shows...) or that Harmon really makes an effort to inclue a wide spectrum of content and genre, but that he spends 1/3-1/2 a page explaining and justifying each choice. If you want to know WTF Ducktales is doing on a list of great explorers, don't worry-- he'll tell you. ("In addition to traveling all over the animated world, they also pop into other centuries and other cultures at the drop of a hat.")

For a taste of the book, check out the Essential Literary Adaptations--for both Information and Inspiration and Eat, Pray, Love, Spelunk: Tag Along on a Life-Changing Vacation lists. Both excerpts give you a good taste to the book-- Harmon's style and the wild mix of thing included. But, these are not the full lists-- the explanation section for each item is actually much longer (and funnier) in the book.

It's a fun and interesting read-- a great one that you can dip in and out of (but be careful-- once you dip  in, it will be really hard to dip back out-- very addictive.) Plus, it will add greatly to your to read/to watch/to listen list. Be prepared and forewarned.

And, of course, in that vein, I have my very own Top Ten List!

Capture the Flag at the Arts and Crafts Cabin: Summer Camp Hijinks.

In Arlington, school goes pretty late. As in, this is the first week of summer break. (Don't worry about the kids though-- they don't go back until September.) When I was growing up, I went to summer camp every summer over the week of the 4th of July. It was a big and important part of my childhood--lots of arts and crafts, rope adventure courses, swimming, dancing, and running around and getting horribly sunburned. So, here are my top ten Summer Camp things:

Addams Family Values (movie) because nothing is better than Wednesday and Pugsley at summer camp. That's some hilarious stuff, especially in the final scenes when Wednesday ruins the camp play about the first Thanksgiving with some stone cold historical fact.

Camp Cucamonga (made-for-TV movie) It's a classic camp story-- girl who doesn't want to be there resists making friends and is therefore bullied by the mean girls, nerd boy tries to hard to get accepted, and a case of mistaken identity means the camp doesn't pass inspection and will be shut down unless the kids can band together and save the day. It's also awesome because it stars every late 80s/early 90s tween TV star (guys-- Winnie Cooper AND Urkel are in this one.) Even better? Upon rewatch you realize that the camp counselor is a pre-friends Jennifer Anniston.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (book) Four friends find a magical pair of jeans that fits them all. They send the pair of pants around to each other as the girls spend their summer in different places. Serena's off to soccer camp as a coach, where she must inspire her team to victory and deal with a relationship where she's quickly in over her head.

OyMG (book) Ellie is very excited to get into the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts Summer Camp and is sure that if she wins the final debate, she can get into the country's top speech school. Only problem? She's Jewish and the person in charge of the scholarship that would let her go to the school? Anti-Semetic. Can she hide her identity for a summer? Is it worth it?

Dramarama (book) Sayde and her best friend Demi are off to performing arts camp, finally busting out of their small town and spending the summer being stars with people who understand them. The only problem? Demi is a star with the love-interests to match and it turns out that Sayde isn't as talented as she thought and doesn't have the right attitude for the stage.

Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) (book) Math camp may seem super-geeky, but Patty likes geometry and it's a good chance to get away from her over-bearing mother. Even better, turns out that there are some pretty hot math geek boys there, too, and people who have a much more positive outlook on Patty's half-Asian/half-white background than she does.

Meatballs (movie) Do I really need to explain why this classic is on this list? Tripper is either the world's best or worst camp counselor-- best if you're one of his campers, worst if you're anyone else.

Withering Tights (book) Theater Camp sounds great, until you realize that it is in a teeny tiny village in Yorkshire and the family you're staying with is super-obsessed with owls and other woodland creatures and you have no special talents. The local boys are straight out of Bronte, but at least there's a boy's reform school down the way?

The Parent Trap (movie) Camp movies are full of hilarious pranks and cabin wars-- but what happens when you discover that your camp nemesis is actually the twin sister you never knew you had? I spent a lot of time going back and forth on remake vs. original and I went with remake because, well, making one of the twins British means there are excellent accents involved. Also, it lets us go back to a more wholesome time when Lindsey Lohan was, well, wholesome.

Wet Hot American Summer (movie) This one owes a lot to Meatballs, is hilarious, and stars all my favorite people. What's not to love?

Check out the rest of the SuperPop! blog tour here.

Today's Nonfiction Monday round-up is over at Playing by the Book. Be sure to check it out!

Book Provided by... the publisher, for blog tour and review.

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