Mar. 1st, 2009

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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?

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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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April 2009

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