The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrowski Interview


“I’m twenty-three.

Rather than give you a witty, self-deprecating account of the trials and tribulations of my twenty-three year old, suburban, upper-middle class, went-to-a-girl’s-liberal-arts-college life, I’ll admit that I haven’t really done anything much worth reading about.

So in lieu of providing you with my biography, I will recommend that you read Desmond Tutu’s.  Here.

Why Desmond Tutu?

Well, I’ve always liked his name.”


What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma’s house? This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn’t spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma’s house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one.

Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth.

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You might be wondering what goes on in the mind of a talented writer. Well guess what? I’ve trepanned the insides of Emil’s brain and have brought you insight inside a writer’s brain!

Just kidding. There was no trepanning. But, I DID ask some thought provoking questions, which is kind of like getting inside someone’s brain, right?

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN:  Welcome! We are glad to have you hear. Let’s get started with with a few questions. Do you drink coffee?

EMIL OSTROWSKY: ‘Drink’ doesn’t quite cover it.  More like consume.  I am a coffee consumption machine.

UL:  Ah so you’re a consumer. I reckon you and I might need to share an IV drip. Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

EO: I think this is a false dichotomy.  I like both.  But I do not support dunking.

UL: I applaud your use of the word dichotomy; however, we may have to break up over your lack of dunking ability. Allow me to get serious for a moment. How did your book get started?

EO: With the first word!

UL: Touche. What else have you written?

EO: I’m currently revising a novel set in a university for terminally ill youth.  I’ve written lots of other stuff, though, including a fifteen page tragic love story about a hummingbird and an apple. 

 UL: Wow. That topic sounds pretty depressing. Those poor hummingbirds.  If you could have any superpower what would it be?

EO: The power to get on the New York Times bestseller list.

UL: Yes, I understand many writers wish they had that superpower. What makes you happy?

EO: Friends.  Poems.  Stories.  Random acts of kindness and humanity.  Sushi.  Philosophy and/or beautiful ideas.  Caramel Frappuccinos.  

UL: Acts of kindness and humanity are pretty great. So are Frappuccinos.  Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?

EO: I also write short stories!  If you’re interested, check out my latest (available for free) at:

UL: You heard it here first, folks. Check out the  link and get free stuffs!


Release Date: September 24, 2013

Hardcover, 260 pages

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: Contemporary / Realistic Fiction / Tough Issues / Suicide


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Books Young Adult

Video Review of Canary by Rachele Alpine

Today I have a video review!

Hint: Miners take canaries underground with them.  When the bird stops breathing, it’s time to get out of the mine.

huh, huh?

Books Young Adult


This month at Towne Book Center & Cafe we will discuss Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Unconventional Librarian

I already enjoyed the book, but as I was explaining the concepts to my kids, I kept discovering more layers to love about the story.  In fact, Pumpkin asked if she could read it.  To be sure, suicide is not a funny subject and many adults may not feel like reading about it. I feel, though, that it’s a topic relevant to today’s kids and should not be ignored.  What many people might not understand and what I believe Asher gets brilliantly, is that a suicide attempt is not because of one singular event; but rather a series of events that may or may not be connected.  What connects the victim is that these events are happening to them and therefore are therefore made more traumatic.

As Hannah Baker has one incident after another, she seemingly has no help and no recourse.  I hesitate to say that she gets revenge.  What I’d like to believe is that Hannah’s tapes, as they single out each person who played a part  in her demise, will make the recipients think about how their individual actions affect others.  While I don’t believe her intent is revenge; she will get it if the students don’t finish the tapes and do as she requests.

Enter Clay.  The nice boy who knows Hannah on the periphery but wants to know her better.  He, like the school, are traumatized by Hannah’s death and struggle for answers.  Answers that they will probably never get.  Unless, of course, they’re named in the tapes and get a chance to hear Hannah’s side of the story.

A rare treat.  We get to see the story from two viewpoints.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books poems Young Adult

F #atozchallenge

Let’s get right to it today, shall we?


Have I got a doozy for you! It’s called Fallout and it’s by Ellen Hopkins.  It’s number 2 in the really controversial Crank series.

Unconventional Librarian

Crank is a pseudonym for meth and the Crank series is about a mother and her children.  The mother is an addict and each story in the series relates to each of the dysfunctional children.  So Fallout is the tale of 19 yr old Hunter, the son of the addicted mother.  Did I mention that he has a rapist for a father? Autumn, his sister, lives with an aunt and an alcoholic grandfather.  The tale of addiction and dysfunctional family members continues in this tale that will keep you engaged and prolly thankful for the family you do have!

Also in F we have The Future of us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

Unconventional Librarian

When I first heard about The Future of Us, I scratched my head and said “wait, what?” but that’s not really uncommon for me.  But anyway, I digress…The Future of Us is a story of a couple of teens who log onto Facebook.  Only Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.  And they see themselves in the future and what their activities are. So, sort of a looking glass into the future.  I like the premise because it makes you think about how your current actions affect your future.  Only now it’s on Facebook.


Have you read them?