Les Semaines

November 22, 2009

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal

 §

So November

Look at this!

Watery viewA watery view out our front window, making the fall colours of our smoke bush look like a watercolour.

 

We're having some pretty serious November here. Storms blowing through with lots of rain and wind and hail. One night I couldn't sleep because the frequent lightning flashes were like someone strafing a flashlight across my face again and again. There is some glorious sun and beautiful skies then more rain rain rain. Good thing I like rain.

Had a busy but weekend in sunny San Jose at World Fantasy Con, where I saw loads of people I'd wanted to see but missed many others. Damn. I had a good time but I was hoping to meet some people I knew were there, but I never managed to. We had a fun Clarion West get-together, fun dinners, parties, hanging out talk talk talking.

Then the fates gave me nearly a week of normal life again until, when Jim and I were watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dance in Roberta, I suddenly started coughing. Chills and fever followed, and I kept that fever for a week. A week, people! I don't think I've ever had a fever that long before. Luckily the Wednesday was officially a holiday, or I would have burned through five days of sick leave rather than four. Yet another week later I still have a cough from it, but I'm so happy not to have a fever I don't mind. Really, I don't. *Cough, cough*

November is whipping past so fast I can't grab hold of it to make it slow down so I can catch up.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing

Listening

Smoke Fairies have a new and lovely single out.

I also love love LOVE the new The Unthanks album, Here's the Tender Coming. Their tough-fragile style of traditional (and neo-traditional) folk hits my tastes just right.

I also wrote an entry on tUnE-yArDs for The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Several books will remain unlisted probably forever since I didn't note titles before returning them to the library. Sigh. Here's what else I've been reading:
  • Gayl Jones's powerful and poetic novel, Corregidora, about a jazz singer whose complicated relationships both personal and familial are all haunted by the damage wrought on her family by slavery. A fine, fine novel.

  • Varian Johnson's young adult novel, My Life as a Rhombus is about a teenage girl who is a math tutor, and when she starts tutoring a popular girl in her year at school recognizes the symptoms of pregnancy. A well-written and emotionally rewarding read.

  • Suzanne Collins' young adult SF novel, Catching Fire is the just-as-wonderful sequel to The Hunger Games where the ante is upped from the first novel considerably. I love how well the author handles the complicated interpersonal relationships, the world-building, and the emotional impacts of it all.

  • Laini Taylor's collection Lips Touch: Three Times is surprisingly powerful stuff. When it got nominated for the National Book Award, I was surprised enough to put a library hold on the book. I mean, look at the title--huh? What? I wasn't sure when it came in if I would read it or not, but as soon as I opened it, I was caught up in it. These three stories are powerful stuff, beautifully written. The kind of authorial voice that makes me sigh and let myself go into its hands (sorry about the mixed metaphor). Still, pretty wonderful, rich stories. Recommended.

  • Laini Taylor's children's fantasy Silksinger is also recommended. It's the second in a clever, creative series set in a fully imagined fairy tale world that began with Blackbringer.

  • Mary Pearson's young adult novel The Miles Between was a good, realistic novel about a young girl in a private school who doesn't dare let herself have friends. Suddenly, she and three classmates find themselves out on a day-long road-trip full of discovery. Fun.

  • Libba Bray's young adult novel Going Bovine is an odd, surrealistic novel about a young man with Mad Cow disease affecting his brain and a surreal road trip he might or might not be on in search of a cure.

  • David Levithan's short young adult novel Love is the Higher Law, a novel about how The World Trade Center disaster affected three New York teenagers. Well-written and emotionally powerful with being over-dramatic or over-sentimental. I thought it hit just the right tone.

  • Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning historical novel about Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall was strangely captivating. It was greatly detailed and focused and my interest never waned, something which only surprised me after I finished it. I'm always been interested in the Tudor period, but have never been particularly interested in the tangled politics of the period, but this really caught me. Cromwell's personality as portrayed here is fascinating.

  • Justine Larbalestier's young adult novel, Liar is about a young woman named Micah lying her way through her story. It was an intriguing ride. I like not being sure if anything in the novel is true, which of course being a novel none of it is. I wonder what the author wants us to believe is true--though clearly she doesn't want there to be any solid ground. This would have worked a little better for me if the narrator wasn't always flatly telling me whether or not she's telling the truth. It got to be a little much, especially the flat tone.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

In the no comment department: Poems and Their Music.

The novel proof is in Jim's hands and the poor lad has five chapters to go.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Still no time to be retrospective.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

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Email comments, questions, and complaints to neile@sff.net § Neile's main page

893 people have wandered through this week with me