Breaking news: on GMA, they just announced a list of the Most Satisfying Jobs. The top four? Clergy, Firefighters, Physical Therapists and…Authors. To which I say, huh. Interesting. The bottom two were roofers and gas station attendants. Again: huh.

In other news, lately I’ve been getting a lot of school assignment letters. They’re always very well written, perfectly formatted, and begin with the author telling me that they’re contacting me as part of a class project before going on to say why the chose me, what books of mine they’ve read, and what they thought of them. These seem to be popular assignments to give, and of course I am flattered that anyone would pick me as a topic. (They come to me via my publisher: so if you need a snail mail address, it’s usually on the inside cover: Sarah Dessen c/o Penguin Books for Young Readers, 345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014.) Anyway, like I said, it’s very nice. The only thing that bothers me is when the letter writer tells me that if I write back, they get extra credit.

Now, I try to write everyone back, I really do. Sometimes, depending on how backlogged I am and how busy I am working on a book, I am less successful than others. But regardless of my personal failings correspondence-wise, it seems REALLY unfair to make extra credit so arbitrary: I mean, isn’t it supposed to reflect added effort on the part of the student, going the extra mile, not something that is completely out of their hands or control? (I have a feeling I may have vented about this before here, in which case I apologize. I guess it always happens this time of year, when I get a lot of letters.) I’m sure there IS a reason teachers do this, and I’m just missing it, so if you know it, please enlighten me. I just feel like extra credit should be given for something you can actually do yourself. Maybe I’m wrong?

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who wrote in yesterday to recommend pregnancy and childcare books. I agree with one poster who said she tried not to read TOO much, as you can get overwhelmed: as I am someone whose neurosis on any given topic increases exponentially with the amount of information she’s absorbed about it, I need to be careful. This is one reason I’m hesitant to take a birth class. Do I really WANT to know everything that’s ahead, or will it totally freak me out? Again, I have no idea. Huh.

So many unanswered questions! Good thing I have my maybe-not-as-satisfying-as-fighting-fires-but-still-pretty-darn great job to distract me. Back to work!

have a good day, everyone…
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