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Has a nice rhythm, hasn't it?

Checking out the cross-posting feature here and passing on notice of an offer to my flist - but clearly a more earth-friendly expression than 'killing two birds with one stone' is needed for the day that's in it. 'Feeding two birds with one locally-grown seed' sounds stingy, rather than nice.

Anyway - BetterWorldBooks is offering 20% off all used books bought today.  It's especially good for people in the US, as there's free shipping there, though the per-book rate is reasonable compared to most online book sellers.

For the curious, I finally got Elizabeth E. Wein's The Winter Prince, and Gabrielle Zevin's Margarettown


Apr. 15th, 2009 09:31 pm
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Weird coincidences kept popping up around Dreamwidth mentions and now I too have an account there.  But really the decision wasn't sheeplike at all.  No really!  It was [ profile] jadelennox  made me do it.  (You bellwether, you!)

I'm lady_schrapnell there too, and don't plan to abandon LJ, but was starting to feel everyone else would do so overnight, and I'd be sitting on my rapidly shrinking patch of ice shouting 'Please, wait for meeeeeeee....'
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Today I had to defrost my freezer, which has got to be the single household task that is most capable of making me face my utter and complete worthlessness. But listening to The Adoration of Jenna Fox on my iPod player helped a bit with distraction...

So, being very behind on the book write-ups, I decided to shove together two that seem to have little in common, but illustrate my total lack of consistency. The books are Maggie Stiefvater's Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. What they don't have in common? Lament is - I started to describe it as high fantasy, but of course it's not - it's concentrated, essence of fantasy, with not a quest in sight, and there's ice cream rather than stew. The Hunger Games is fast-paced, gripping science fiction, set in a dystopian society. As punishment for an earlier rebellion of some sort, each of the 12 Districts must choose one boy and one girl 'Tribute' to go to the Capital and take part in the Games - a televised reality-show competition which runs until just one tribute is left alive (more of the competitors killed nice and gorily by others than dying of starvation or exposure, if it's a good Game).

What they do have in common is heavy emphasis on the romance, and in both books it's the common set-up of the girl who has a guy best friend (her only close friend, in both) and competing love-interest is introduced, messing with everyone's heads. The inconsistency comes because the romance in The Hunger Games drove me MAD. I found it irritating, heavy-handed and felt it unbalanced the story. While reading Lament, on the other hand, I lapped it up and found myself marveling that it was the only YA I could think of in which I didn't lose liking for the old buddy when the heroine started fancying the socks off the new guy... or vice versa. The other thing I found myself marveling at was the number and closeness of the Diana Wynne Jones resonances.

Fantasy, Trauma and Violence behind the cut - and more on the Diana Wynne Jones comment. )
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... I checked my flist and found everyone had posted about the Easter Dr. Who special. (Okay, "everyone" was merely 3 or 4 posts in a row and all the new ones.)

Today, everyone has posted about Amazon's appalling new policy of - in effect - discriminating against LGBT books.

In the chance that anyone reads my LJ and hasn't come across this story elsewhere - you can see one of the 'straight (SORRY - no pun intended!) from the horse's mouth' accounts here. And sign the petition here.

I know some people - librarians and teachers included - may not be as free to publicly proclaim a boycott of Amazon until they rescind the policy - but on the other hand, the kidlitosphere especially NEEDS to protest this.

.. . and the fact that just since I read the 'everyone' posts there's been evidence of Amazon's backtracking doesn't mean it's ignorable. It's still important to ensure this doesn't become a small, overlooked incident which could happen again, in this, or a slightly altered form.


Apr. 11th, 2009 10:07 am
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That's a combination of giddy excitement and overwhelming dread, at the news which Younger Daughter shared with me a few minutes ago: there's going to be a film version of Eagle of the Ninth! Here's the link she just emailed me, with a message saying "No mention of Rosemary Sutcliff, though. NICE, GUYS". Y.D. rocks.

Given the fact that there's no mention of a book at all*, much less the author, I'm thinking they'll mess this up bigtime. Also the ..."and his loyal Celtic slave" makes me MUCH less than confident that they'll get Sutcliff's subtle presentations of the personal relationships and cultural clashes and minglings. Not to mention 'a Roman military drama.' Still very useful from my detached, critical perspective... Nope. I'll cry.

If the next bit of news on the subject says Keira Knightly is signed up to play Cottia, I won't just cry, but will throw a major hissy fit, so they'd better take that into account!

*Y.D. has just pointed out to me that it's only a crappy article, so no need to be certain that the film will live down to it.
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My mother got out of the hospital on Thursday, new pacemaker in place, and already seems to have more energy and look perkier than she has for ages.

Me, not so much.

Until I've recharged a bit, I haven't got much to offer, but hopefully not everyone will have seen already/be totally uninterested in every one of these bits and pieces.

1. From the pacemaker (properly called a 'pulse generator', apparently) patient guide my mother got: "Electrical appliances such as hairdryers and vibrators should not be held directly over the pulse generator....". ??? I read this to my mother when she was still a little bit groggy from tranquilizer given for the procedure, and she said that she thought vibrators were "hand-operated" (meaning battery-operated), which made us laugh even more.

2. Patricia Wrede's Thirteenth Child is available already, a couple of weeks early! Can't wait to read this one.

3. Those on my flist will likely know about this either from [ profile] steepholm or one of his many friends' mentions of it, but ... Charlie Butler on Alan Garner! Okay, it's not all Charlie talking about AG, but fans of either one of them may want to check this out. Alan Garner: The Return to Brisingamen - Listen Again - another three days to listen.

4. My number one favourite online bookshop is still Better World Books, but I've just discovered an oddly addictive pastime, and that's watching people shop live on the Book Depository's online site. Sounds daft? Take a quick peek - it's a very attractive map, if nothing else. (Seeing that someone had bought Lace and Blade 2* in Kansas seconds after I'd bought it was the initial hook, but it's also fun to see trends of the "stretch of non-fiction in the UK" type, or sudden unexpected sales of Birds of Africa in Belgium, frex.)

5. Again, many people will have already seen Sara Zarr's post about being photoshopped to look thinner, but it's worth a read. Depressing in the persistence of the 'thinner is more attractive' attitude, but then how much of a surprise is that? And Sara Zarr is fantastic, as always.

6. Did anybody else not know that City of Glass is out now? Or at least, the US version is out, and given the hideousness of the forthcoming UK paperback's cover, I'm happy not to wait for it.

* I haven't got Lace and Blade yet, and have JUST noticed that two of the stories in L&B 2 are sequels to stories in L&B, but never mind! Sherwood Smith & Norilana Books are reason enough to buy, and I can hold off on the two if necessary...
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Especially for [ profile] sartorias, who is the opposite of fail.


Taken with my mobile, so not great quality, but when the skies were so perfectly blue, it had to be taken ...
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My mother's been in hospital since last Tuesday's collapse, and was moved up to the HDU (or ICU - 'high dependency' vs. 'intensive care' - take your choice) on Wednesday evening, so that her heart rate and rhythm could be monitored continuously. Several quite plaintive texts and phone calls followed me home the first night - the I'VE NO READING LIGHT one garnering the most sympathy, but apparently that was rectified while I was still sympathizing.

From Thursday on, I was very taken with the jollity of the place - there was only one other woman there for a while, and she wasn't very ill either, the nurses were all wonderful and friendly and had a lot of time to chat - all was very unhospitaley feeling, aside from the squeaky cleanness. On Sunday morning when I rang my mother up she told me about the drama that had happened overnight, with a man brought in and nearly dying. She was enormously impressed by the way the two nurses on duty worked together, using the word 'ballet' several times.

I went in later on Sunday and saw the curtains on the bed beside hers drawn, and a friend of my mother's told me very quietly that the man had died just a few minutes before. The friend and I went downstairs and talked for about 15 minutes, to get out of the earshot of his family, and they left shortly after I went back up to my mother. It was a bit disconcerting how wildly metaphorical the whole thing was though, as she quite calmly ate her tea with the curtain separating her bed from that of the now dead man's bulging slightly towards her bed, while the nurses did whatever washing they do of the body. How THIN the veil between this world and etc...

Today, it was back to party, verging sometimes on the farcical - until the consultants came around very late in the afternoon, which was close to farce of another type. James, another cardiac patient in the unit: a) hums most of the time; b) can do the Irish Times Crossword in 3 or 4 minutes (and has won prizes in timed competitions to prove it); c) asked me to bring in an iPod and speakers tomorrow so he can teach the nurses to boogie-woogie; d) pontificated a bit about how much he reads, though only ONE novel. There IS only one novel, in fact. (It's Michener's The Source, if anyone could give a flying, which is more than I could, and yes, those were his exact words.)

For myself, I'm rereading Maggie Stiefvater's Lament, about which I hope to say more when my brain isn't eaten up entirely with matters medical and the psychological responses to same. The book is well worth it.
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So, I was going to write a post today, titled 'My First Three Deaths', as it was on this day 43 years ago that my father died, and also this day 38 years ago that my (maternal) grandfather died. And I was going to talk about the first of those deaths, when I was on another continent from my parents, and not brought home for the funeral. And the second, when I came downstairs in the middle of the night and found my mother crying and packing and asked if she was running away from home. The third death was my grandmother's, a bit over a year after my grandfather, in her own bed, and I was called in from playing outside to see her and say goodbye when she'd just died.

And it would have been elegiac and beautifully written and thoughtful.... .

Instead, I got a call this afternoon from the hospital (GOOD nurse - her first statement was 'No need to panic' and only second 'Your mother had a bit of a collapse today and was brought in here'), and spent the rest of the day in the hospital and back and forth collecting medicines and ringing people and bringing fruit and trying - in vain - to figure out how to collect her car from the petrol station where she collapsed. Beautifully timed it was, too, as the ambulance for the one hospital she likes and would choose to go to just happened to have called into the petrol station to get some coffee. They got coffee AND a patient - how efficient!

As Younger Daughter, Becca and I were driving into Dun Laoghaire this afternoon to go see her, I told them about my dad and grandfather's having died this day. Y.D. said "Oh, nooo." Then looking up towards the roof of the car she added "Hello to you. I hope you're enjoying Heaven. I hope you don't get Granny there though", which summed it up rather nicely, I think.

My mother was extremely perky by tonight, and very glad to be in there, though she had protested a bit when they said it would probably be a good idea to keep her overnight for some tests in the morning. Also proud of herself for having managed to reply by text to Y.D.'s message telling her who St. Lucy was. St. Lucy does sound odd, doesn't it? But think St. Lucia and - no, even after the day that was in it, I should not allow myself finish that off 'and you'll see the light'!
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This book write-up should probably come with a bit of a warning, as I think the weird part of my make-up that makes me very uncomfortable with McKinley's Beauty (almost the default book you WILL love if you're a fantasy reader) made me even more uncomfortable with this book. I'd been looking forward to reading for a while, and when reviews of the third book in the series started showing up (as on Bookshelves of Doom), I was even more anxious to read it. The thing I especially liked about Wicked Lovely was the way Marr set up a threatening, quite rigid system of rules and powers with which Faerie operated, and didn't give her heroine any easy out when she was caught up in this. However, Aislinn could accept what couldn't be changed while still retaining the power to choose for herself things that were within the rules but had never been conceived of, let alone done before in Faerie. It wasn't Fire and Hemlock (nothing is), but it does seem a similar kind of thinking outside the 'chilly logic' of a Faerie-to-be-feared, and I love that.

Ink Exchange, with some spoilers, but those at the end... )
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Transcription from the thought process (conversation? monologue?) in my head while crossing the bridge over the train station on the way into the city centre last week:
"I am very prone to narrating my thoughts and feelings all the time."

[10 seconds later, realising what I'd just thought/said] "Oh for ... !!!"

[10 seconds after being squashed flat by the ton of irony bricks falling on my head] Composing the LJ post reporting on this: "ME: I am very prone to etc....

This was a particularly ridiculous example, but does anyone else ever wonder how much more or less wordy or self-narrating (or how similar) the thought-streams of other people are? My favourite example of all time of someone doing a self-conscious self-narration and catching herself in it is Mona on her first day out in The Saturdays. Walking along, smiling to herself and wondering whether everyone passing her notices her and wonders who she can be and why she has the 'strange, mysterious smile'. Anyone who doesn't know what happens next can probably make a good guess, but I will give the quote if asked!

Earlier in the week, I had occasion to find myself in the 'Mind, Body, Spirit' section of a few bookshops. There's probably a fascinating research article to be done on how books are shelved there, vs. in other sections such as 'Health', 'Alternative Medicine' or 'Religion', for example. One of the worst was seeing Thinner Thighs and How to Meditate side-by-side, and indeed from the same series. What probably says it all about my state atm though is having managed to read the title of a book as THE FUTURE YOU FEAR WILL HAPPEN ANYWAY. How much do I not want to read that book?

Also got back the two books I'd lent my non-YA-reading (but doing an essay on YA in the marketplace for her MA programme) friend. Sara Zarr's Sweethearts and John Green's Looking for Alaska. Her verdict? She enjoyed them both. She thought they were well-written and intelligent. But she'd already had enough of YA. There was something along the lines of 'F**king teenagers! I wanted them to just get over themselves, and to get back to reading about adults!' Which I found interesting, especially about Sweethearts, as that seems a very unlikely book to elicit that kind of response. But I consider this a pretty positive outcome all the same! And I'd probably be unable to get out of bed for a week if I read some of her favourite tragic literary fiction novels. Cups of tea, cups of tea....
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I've seen that Patrick Ness made a note on his diary that the Guardian deleted a 'self-deprecating' sentence from his review in which he 'fully acknowledged' that his own books were 'hardly Penelope Fitzgerald miniatures'.  In all fairness, having written a review 'the gist of [which] is defending it against potential accusations (levelled at a number of children's books) that it might be too long', it could be quite embarrassing having that cut made.  I still feel about his review essentially as I did yesterday, and wonder if he's possibly thinking a bit less than clearly about a) the purpose of a book review; b) what he's actually said in the review.  For one thing, 'blame JK if there just happens to be more of it than there used to be' is defending Gullstruck Island against potential accusations that it might be too long -- how?


Feb. 28th, 2009 02:37 pm
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Review of Gullstruck Island in the Guardian, by Patrick Ness. (Taken from Achockablog, where Michael Thorn makes an interesting point about the length of children's books, though one I still don't consider very relevant to this particular book.)

I will admit to a bit - or maybe more than a bit - of defensive protectiveness, but this still seems to me a pretty weak review for a number of reasons. For one thing, what's the point of the first paragraph? By saying 'it's only middle-aged reviewers who complain about the length of children's books, not the children themselves', and then following up with suggesting that the 504 pages of Frances Hardinge's "delightfully inventive" AND "endlessly creative" book may "sound exhausting to you" but that's why it's a children's book - then I want to ask in return why he thinks we should pay any attention to his discussing the length at all? Those of us who read children's books because we love them are going to be less than impressed with this little bit of over-the-head-of-the-child nod to the other adult readers of children's and YA books who suffer along with him. Those who read them for purely professional reasons might wonder why he thinks his middle-aged reading reaction has any relevance if it is so out-of-keeping with the 'intended' audience's response.

Further on he does a similarly sloppy bit of thinking in "There is, in fact, probably too much more, not in terms of page length but in that Hardinge lets herself get bogged down too often in necessary explanations. How churlish to complain, though, about too much imagination." Yes, it might be, but he's actually complained about the author's supposedly letting herself get bogged down too often in explanations. Quite different things, even leaving aside the fact that I very much disagree about any bogging down's happening.

Next up is this: 'If the "blissing beetles" - which make a sound so beautiful everyone who hears it dies of pleasure - are a little too Hogwartian, then there is more than enough else to engulf young readers, holding them captive for the long haul.' (italics mine) Too Hogwartian? Which is supposed to mean... ? And as he's several times mentioned the fact that young readers are captivated by the Harry Potter books anyway, this is another non-sequitur.

And ending with a return to the thinly disguised jab at the book's being too long in "Blame JK if there just happens to be more of it than there used to be."

If he wanted to criticise the book, he should have picked out things that he felt were actually flaws in the book and discussed them. If he wanted to make himself look smart by implicitly condescending to the child (actually teen) readers - that kind of cheap trick is pretty sad. Especially in a children's book author. And for the record? According to Amazon The Knife of Never Letting Go (only Book 1, btw) is 496 pages. Impressive conciseness in comparison to Gullstruck Island!
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Unlike Frances Hardinge's Gullstruck Island, about which I seem to be virtually the only person enthusing -- raving! trying to push!! -- there's been quite a bit of buzz over Heroes of the Valley. Fuse #8/Elizabeth Bird found it extremely enjoyable. Kathryn Hughes at the Guardian was stunned by it.* [ profile] chilperic was enthralled from beginning to end.

I agree with almost everything said by every one of them - but also found it just a bit irritating at times. After several times having an 'I am so over this kind of boy hero' thought flit through my head, I tried to figure out what was causing it. I loved the fact that Halli was short, not at all heroic in the style of heroism he thought the only proper sort, and generally as far from the 'chosen one' type as you could imagine. I loved the portrayal of his growing from self-absorbed, uncontrolled kid thirsting for the glory of adventure (read killing) to relatively thoughtful, questioning and more truly heroic character. And his counterpart, Aud, was fine too, if not much more for my taste. There was a lot of real humour in the book which I enjoyed, but not so much for the interaction between Halli and Aud. It was very reminiscent of Taran and Eilonwy in the Chronicles of Prydain, but lacking a certain something, not to be overly technical about it. Sparring, the boy being hugely emotionally blind and not 'getting' why the girl gets bent out of shape, leading to a quarrel, and another quarrel, and yet another -- interspersed with Danger! Rescuing! Trust! It probably didn't help that I'm listening to Eoin Colfer's Airman on audiobook atm, and enjoying it less and less**, as it has another similar relationship (in Part 1, at least) between Conor and the princess. Then I thought of lovably clueless Percy Jackson and how he doesn't annoy me at all and -- well, who knows why behaviour that drives you crazy in one character seems endearing in another.

My favourite thing about the book was the very skillful way in which the short legends at the beginning of each chapter about Svein, Halli's family's ancestor, gradually change. At first the stories reflect the bravery and sacrifice of the heroes, who've paid with their lives to ensure the safety of everyone in the valley from the terrifying Trows. From mid-way through they become increasingly disturbing until the reader is suddenly struck with the realisation that Svein was a freakin' psychopath. And the people living in the valley's hero-worship of him (or the other heroes - each family group portrays their ancestor as THE hero of the same stories) says some unpleasant things about them.

The ending was wonderful, with Halli and Aud's having become the 'heroes' of a legend themselves - though it left me feeling that this is a surprisingly bleak book for one with so much humour. But I think that the bleakness part may be true of every book by Stroud I've read, which is all of them except The Last Seige.

*Some child lit people were stunned by her comment about children's fantasy of the past 30 years. Personally I think "laced with" is an appropriately vague measure which might keep her out of hot water.

** Disclaimer: This is another I should have read instead of listening to the audiobook, which is doing NO favours to the story - jumping perspectives at tense moments are extremely annoying in this format. The book may well deserve more appreciation than it's getting.
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For my sins* I had to get a new mobile phone, which ended up requiring two trips to the city centre.

The first time I went into a wonderful tea shop which opened here a bit before Christmas.  (I will happily purchase and post anything to anyone on my flist, so check it out!)  They always have a big container of brewed tea and offer you a cup - not always that great, but this one - Thé des Concubines - was really nice  (heavier on the cherry than the vanilla or mango).  So I got a bag of it as well as the Grand Jasmin Monkey King I'd gone in for and was chatting to the woman as paying.  Then the other person working in the shop came out carrying a tray with a big glass teapot, two unmatched tea cups -  here's the one I loved - and a snazzy little timer.  He brought it over to behind the till and told the woman it was white tea.  When I asked if it was the really expensive one - about which I knew because we'd looked at white teas for present for [ profile] steepholm and decided that was a LOT to pay - he said it was and I was invited to wait the three minutes' remaining brewing time and try it.  (For the sake of other white tea drinkers, I was surprised that it was being steeped that long - but apparently he was giving it about 8 minutes at between 75 and 80°.)  The tea wasn't my favourite white tea ever, but it was extraordinary how smooth it was - and how well you could understand smoothness as a quality of tea just from drinking it.  It wasn't just being invited to share in this little ceremony that was so fabulous, but the care and pleasure with which the two of them approached a tea break.

Next day I'd to go back in for the actual buying of the mobile, and was in the Meteor shop for a while, being signed up and all by the manager.  An older woman had come in for help with her phone and started trying to push a €50 note on the young guy who'd been helping her.  He was quite embarrassed and repeatedly said he couldn't take it, didn't need it, was happy to have helped her - ending up finally by shoving it in her bag (inevitably, one of those big wheeled trolley bags).  At that point the manager stepped in to help out and went through the whole 'he's happy to help, he really can't take the money, I'm the boss, no really, you don't need to give him money' routine.  By then, the security guard, two other people who worked in the shop and I were all cracking up - the woman was laughing too, but not giving up at all.  The manager - still laughing but starting to look a little bit desperate - switched tacks and said if she really, really wanted to give him something she could get him a box of sweets.  Woman looked all pleased at the idea for a bit, and after repeating three or four times that he liked sweets, the manager indicated the young woman who worked there, saying she was a bit stuck on said Seán  At which the woman turned to her eagerly - and pressed the money on her.  We then had the whole thing all over again as the manager tried to get her to take a second alternative and get him a lottery ticket.  (I found out afterwards this was because the woman had accused the manager of suggesting a box of chocolates because he planned to eat half of them himself.) After a few 'would he like that?' questions were answered in the affirmative - 'especially if he won'- she apparently accused the manager of suggesting that because he'd demand half the money were it to be a winning ticket.  The manager retained every bit of his good humour and pointed out that he wouldn't see Seán for the dust if he won the lottery.  And after a few more assurances that her offer of cash wasn't necessary and far more valiant offers of help should she ever have another problem, she finally took herself off - almost leaving her mobile on the shop counter in the process.  My admiration for the patience and tolerance of everyone in the shop was pretty damn high.

I do love living here.

-- -- -- --

* Sins in question are those of impatience and frustration with the latest round of coaching my mother through (re)learning to use her mobile.  What goes around does come around sometimes...

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Finding myself in a bookshop today (imagine!), I picked up an interesting looking YA book and was reading the back cover. The usual blah about the protag's being just a normal kid, worrying about his parents divorcing and then this: ..."and struggling to keep his world in tact."

I'm a great believer in a good store of tact myself, of course, but ...!  (The publisher is Bloomsbury, btw. Their shame deserves naming.)

Everyone in the world may have seen this already, but on the off-chance it hasn't got to every pocket... 

Younger Daughter and I love it, despite its being played all the time on TV.

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So, Frances Hardinge. I really liked Fly-by-Night, but for some reason didn't feel the deep love for it that I would have expected to feel. And Verdegris Deep I liked even more - loved even - but not with such a gut-level love that I expected to see quite so much glow (glowingness?) in what I wrote about it when I read it during 2007's 48 Hour Book Challenge. Anyway, she's an author I will grab new book by without a heartbeat's hesitation, and this time I feel all the love, liking and admiration that a lot of my reading buddies felt for the others. And did I mention love? Yes? Because I love this book. Just making sure that's clear.

The only thing I don't love is the cover, which is a bit generic sparkly children's 'adventure' story for my taste. And sure, there are elements in there which fit the 'adventure story' bill, but there are also elements which could better be described as racial conflict story, or as dysfunctional family story in a Diana Wynne Jonesesque way. And there's the very powerful story of Hathin, and how she deals with being given the role of minder of her important, potentially-powerful (but possibly 'an imbecile') sister, Arilou, and how she copes again and again with loss and apparently hopeless situations. And it's funny. But that special kind of funniness that comes in the middle of tragedy, and doesn't make it less in any way. There is far more tragedy than I expected when I picked up the book, and far more than I expected from the first 6 or so chapters, but it's not in any way diminished by the humour.

More behind a cut, so all the quotes don't break friends' LJ... )

(Apologies if this posts oddly - LJ would not give me a cut where I wanted it and indenting for quotes at the same time, no matter what I did. I want the wasted half-hour of life back.)
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I finished Frances Hardinge's Gullstruck Island yesterday and will write it up properly very soon, but combination of bad night and headache have left me unable to say more about it atm than READ IT.  (With hearty apologies to those outside the UK and Ireland who might not be able to do so yet...)

In the meantime, came across this genre book meme in [ profile] ladyofastolat 's post the other day and thought it was fun for a couple of reasons, not least the inclusion of greater-than-usual number of children's books.  (For this type of list.)  Here's the original (much easier to use without the italics or bolds or whatever) - how new is this!  Addition of not-to-be-missed books encouraged, but [ profile] philmophlegm  has asked that they go after the original 100.  (I had a terrible time deciding between books to add, and can't begin to imagine drawing up a list of 100.)

Genre fiction book meme -
1) Look at the list, copy and paste it into your own journal.
2) Mark those you have read however you want.
3) Feel free to tell your friends what you thought of them.

Read more... )
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Just spotted this on Fuse #8: the good news part, which is the launch of Kidlitosphere Central.  It's already an amazing-looking resource, and huge credit to MotherReader for bringing it to life!  It looks as if it would be entirely possible to spend all one's free time (or work time, if that happens to be your job) learning of more and more great children's and YA books from the bloggers who love them so much.

And since I'm on the list (thanks, MR!), I better get down it - especially as I was made aware that I may have sounded 'less than impressed' by Eon when I wrote briefly about it. (This via [ profile] steepholm , and it's possible that he wasn't reading that carefully, but of course, possible that he was and I wasn't writing carefully.)  Because I definitely liked it, and am very much looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out. 

Dragons and (unreliable) narrators and eunuchs and more )

Just as I started off by linking to Kidlitosphere Central, I'll mention the fact that I wouldn't put this at the lower end of YA.  But that's not a particularly informed judgment, and I'm an admitted super-wimp about violence and brutality.
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Maybe I should alternate...

On the plus side, I finished and mailed off [ profile] steepholm's birthday scarf today. Not really culpably late, as he picked out the yarn when I was in Bristol last, and I didn't have the right sized needles with me, so couldn't start until I got back. It's very warm and snuggly, so all you UK people should probably start digging out your summer clothes in preparation for the inevitable unseasonable heat wave to come.

And to balance it the negative, carefully de-TMIed for reading-comfort: was posting it and a pair of fingerless gloves for a friend of Younger Daughter's. I'd bought stamps for the latter and was strapping everything up in the P.O. but did NOT want to be licking the germy stamps, very mindful of the winter vomiting bug that has closed local hospitals to visitors and the bronchitis that is filling our GP's waiting rooms. My 'system' involves licking a knuckle or back of my hand and then dabbing the stamp on that, but I had a lot of stamps, and one of them huge (honouring Louis Braille). Let's just say there was a little problem with the delivery of the stamp-moistening medium and -- er, drool ensued. Hopefully not seen by anyone, but not exactly a boost for the old self-esteem.

Plus - I saw a window-full of Staff Pick of the Month for Knife, by R.J. Anderson! I didn't forget the fact that my mobile phone can take pictures! I took picture! How wonderful - *another* bookshop choosing Knife for a Book of the Month, and this an Irish chain, so it couldn't possibly be the same one!

Minus - all of three feet up the road from the shop, I remembered the person who'd sent her the photo was Irish. From Dublin. I'm still trying to decide if it's the same branch of the same bookshop. Woe is me and my pitiful brain. make it up to her... )
Another minus: I texted Bec before leaving home to head into Dun Laoghaire (so you can play along at home, that's pronounced Dun Leery, and due to mobile phone predictive text, inevitably called Fun L when we text each other), and as she told me she was on her way home from the city centre, texted her again when I got to the station, since the board was showing delays for all Darts (suburban trains) in the direction she'd be traveling. No reply. Texted her again when the boards showed that the delay was because they were 'awaiting the arrival of an ambulance in Glenageary' - expected delay 30 minutes. No reply. As we passed Glenageary, I saw ambulance crew kneeling down on the floor of the stationary dart, and I texted her again as we got into Dun Laoghaire, asking her to ring me, thinking we might meet there and share a taxi home if the delay was going to be serious. No reply.

I heard another ambulance as I was buying strapping tape for the parcels to be mailed, and was immediately struck by the idea that it might have been Becca on the floor being tended by the ambulance people and so not answering texts. Yes, I realise this was more than a bit flaky. No, there's no good reason I can offer that a relatively healthy 22 year old should be struck down with the bubonic plague or zombie attack on the train, but tell that to my palpitating self as I would, I wasn't calm until she finally noticed the messages and phoned me.

Plus: I happened to notice a new book by Frances Hardinge in the bookshop. Gullstruck Island. Here's the first paragraph:
It was a burnished, cloudless day with a tug-of-war wind, a fine day for flying. And so Raglan Skein left his body neatly laid out on his bed, its breath as slow as sea swell, and took to the sky.

Oh yes.
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