Les Semaines

April 24, 2011

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


All The Things

There's this really funny blog called Hyperbole and a Half, and one of the entries from last year explains my life. Check out This is Why I'll Never Be An Adult if you haven't already. Go on, I'll still be here when you get back. Or maybe once you've seen that you won't need to come back.

That is why I haven't posted anything here since January. I have been doing All The Things! Or rather, I have been trying and failing miserably to be doing All The Things. System failure has struck more than once.

I have such good intentions. I am going to keep up with email! Keep updating my blog! Do all the errands! Work! Write! All The Things! Yes, I have been surfing the internet like an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP.

I even sometimes did the banking.

So what have you missed? The months are a blur.


I am doing things!

Someone clearly Isn't Paying Attention at the University of Washington because someone else has given me a freshman seminar to be in charge of. No one thought, "hey, wait, no one has given her her own class to be in charge of for a whole pile of years; maybe there is a reason for that?" No. No one thought of that. And no-one warned the students. So now, once a week I meet with a group of first-year university students and brainwash educate! them. I'm having a good time, even if I talk too much. They'd better watch out, because instead of talking I'm ready to listen.

The Clarion West class of 2011 has all been chosen and decided and invited and are preparing for their adventure. Exciting.

I've been listening to lots of cool, new music, and look at all the reading I have been doing (even if I haven't kept up with my reading comments). I've even been writing! But I haven't found the missing travel journal, so my retrospective journal section is still, sadly, empty.

Tune in next week to see if possibly keeping up with All The Things includes updating this journal. Only time will tell.

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


New and terrific listening experiences:

tUnE-yArDs has a new album! W H O K I L L ! It is as wonderful as BiRd-BrAiNs. Maybe wonderfuller!! Lively, political, edgy, experimental creative and stick-in-your-brain catchy.

Also recently discovered Lia Ices. Gorgeous altpop vocals. Slightly on the unconventional side, but definitely not over the edge. This is her MySpace page.

Emma McKenna is one of my new obsessions. Her voice is kind of a cross between Corin Tucker and Joanne Newsom so obviously it's not going to be a hit with everyone, but growing to love both those voices prepared me for Emma McKenna. Jim says she sounds a lot like Kristin Hersh. This is her MySpace page.

Agnes Obel slightly experimental pop psych-ish retro 60s/70s new folk (at least -ish) This is her MySpace page.

Hannah Peel: Slightly more neo-traditional sounding. This is her MySpace page.

And The Unthanks have a new CD! Here's their MySpace page.

This is a lot to listen to. Whew! I'm very happy.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Sorry this turns into just a list so quickly. I have asterisked (*) my favourites and double-asterisked (**) ones I feel pretty sure will be on my best of the year list. Note that I rarely bother finishing books I don't like, so all here are readable and kept my interest.

April Lidner, Jane (young adult): An updating of Jane Eyre, where Jane is a college student fallen on hard times (her parents have died and her selfish siblings are too into their own messy lives) who takes a nanny position with a famous rock star. I enjoyed this and the emotional life of the main character and what feels a pretty realistic look at the life of a rock star. Parts of it seemed a little less believable in the contemporary world (took me a while to believe in this Rochester's attraction--but then Jane had the same problem in the original), but the author came up with creative contemporary analogues to the original story.

Heather Tomlinson, Toads and Diamonds (young adult fantasy): a delightful retelling of the tale o two sisters, one of whom is gifted with flowers and precious jewels falling whenever she speaks and the other with toads and serpents. I especially liked the familiar relationships and that both gifts were valuable in this society--a society based on India where the main characters are middle class but fallen on very hard times in a world dominated by another religion.

Richelle Mead, Last Sacrifice (young adult paranormal fantasy/romance, the final volume in her Vampire Academy series): a strong finish to a good series--for those interested in this ever-burgeoning genre, this series does things well: romance, peril, fun, angst, and action. I see why these are so popular.

* Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men (young adult SF, final volume in the Chaos Walking trilogy): a powerful finish to a powerful trilogy. This had wonderful resonances, serious angst and suffering and very good at getting under my skin. An impressive, uncomfortable read with amazing characters.

Mindi Scott, Freefall (young adult): realistic novel about a young bass player in a band from the wrong side of town who is haunted by the death of his reckless best friend--a death he believes he could have prevented. He's taking a dive until he decides he needs to pull himself out of it enough to maybe think about graduating from high school and he meets a new girl and starts to fall for her. How he pulls himself out of his mess is worth reading.

Michelle Harrison, 13 Treasures (juvenile/young adult fantasy): Engaging novel about a young girl who can see fairies, and they cause her no end of annoyance. She's sent to stay with her grandmother in an old mansion and she and the groundskeeper's son get involved in the mystery of children disappearing from the area over many years, particularly the disappearance of her grandmother's best friend during their teen years.

Simone Elkeles, Rules of Attraction (young adult, second in the Perfect Chemistry series): When Carlos gets in dangerous trouble in Mexico, his mother sends him to stay with his older brother in Colorado, but Carlos doesn't want to stop living on the edge and gets in pretty deep trouble there--worrying the many people who are trying to help him, especially Kiara. Interesting emotional trajectory here for both main characters.

Meljean Brook, The Iron Duke

Beth Revis, Across the Universe

* Kameron Hurley, God's War (SF, by a Clarion West grad)

Anne Fortier, Juliet (contemporary/historical romance)

Jenna Black, shadowspell (YA fantasy, second in the Faeriewalker series)

* Jude Morgan, Passion (historical novel)

Kersten Hamilton, Tyger Tyger (YA fantasy, first in the Goblin Wars series)

Emily Franklin &l; Brendan Halpin, The Half-Life of Planets (young adult)

* Sarah Addison Allen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon (fantasy)

Robin Benway, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June (young adult fantasy)

* Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (young adult)

Carrie Jones, Entice (young adult fantasy, sequel to Need and Captivated)

Maurissa Guibord, Warped (young adult fantasy)

Alexandra Monir, Timeless (young adult fantasy)

D.M. Cornish, Factotum (third in The Foundling's Tale young adult fantasy trilogy)

E. Lockhart, Real Live Boyfriends (fourth in the Ruby Oliver young adult series)

* Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells (contemporary fantasy)

Tobias S. Buckell, The Executioness (fantasy novella)

* Justina Chen Headley, Girl Overboard (young adult novel)

Sarah Ockler, Fixing Delilah (young adult)

Kiersten White, Paranormalcy (young adult paranormal fantasy)

Paolo Bacigalupi The Alchemist (fantasy novella)

Julia Karr, XVI (young adult SF novel)

Jude Morgan, Indiscretion (historical novel)

* Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (young adult)

* Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear (epic fantasy)

Graham Joyce, The Silent Land (contemporary fantasy)

Janet Fox, Faithful (historical young adult)

** Franny Billingsley, Chime (young adult fantasy)

** Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution (young adult historical fantasy)

Dori Jones Yang, Daughter of Xanadu (young adult historical)

Karen Mahoney, The Iron Witch (young adult contemporary fantasy)

Erin McCahan, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (young adult)

Gwen Hayes, Falling Under (young adult paranormal) demons and succubi!

Sarah Dessen, Keeping The Moon (young adult)

* Susanna Kearsley, Sophia's Secret (contemporary fantasy)

Susanna Kearsley, Mariana (contemporary fantasy)

Susanna Kearsley, The Shadowy Horses (contemporary fantasy)

Sarwat Chadda, Devil's Kiss (young adult paranormal)

* Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (nonfiction)

Melissa Marr, Darkest Mercy (final in the Wicked Lovely young adult fantasy series)

Devon Monk, Magic on the Hunt (paranormal romance in the Allie Beckstrom series)

Lauren DeStefano, Wither (dystopian young adult SF, frist in The Chemical Garden Trilogy)

* Holly Black, Red Glove (young adult fantasy, second in the Curse Worker series)

Martha Wells, The Cloud Roads (fantasy)

* Stephanie Burgis, Kat, Incorrigible (re-read of A Most Improper Magic [U.K. title], first in The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, young adult historical fantasy)

Caitlin Kittredge, The Iron Thorn (young adult fantasy/horror)

Ellen Kindt McKenzie, Drujienna's Harp (children's fantasy)

Stacey O'Brien, Wesley the Own: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl (nonfiction)

Lauren Oliver, Delirium (young adult dystopian SF)

* Deb Caletti, Wild Roses (young adult)

Cecelia Ahern, There's No Place Like Here (contemporary fantasy)

last week's reading § next week's reading


Poetry: I've done a lot of revision, but very little new work. Had a few nice acceptances, too, that I'll keep you updated on when they appear.

I've been having a really bad time with the fiction, but finally had a breakthrough. Such a relief!

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Nothing to see here, sorry.

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

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1864 people have wandered through this week with me