Talk Talk - Colour of Spring

Well, I'm back.

For reasons that still make me grimace and sigh heavily whenever I think about them (more on that later), I have wiped my Tumblr and Twitter of followers and abandoned both sites for the time being.

However, I've kept Messaging open on my old Tumblr and added back all the Twitter people who've DM'd me over the past year, since I do intend to check DM's and Notifications now and then. I just won't be scrolling through my dash or dipping my toes into the Twitterstream every few hours like I used to.

I hope moving back to Dreamwidth/LiveJournal will lead not only to more creative uses of my time and a recovery of my increasingly shallow and scattered ability to concentrate (something that's become more and more of a concern to me over the past couple of years or so) but also some thoughtful and meaningful discussions with the friends and followers I still have.

So who's still out there after all these years? Drop me a comment and say hi, I'd love to hear from you!
A Little Taste of Poison - Isaveth

News! News!

My local paper came through with a lovely interview just in time for the upcoming release of A Little Taste of Poison on Sept. 27th:

There are a few tidbits for those who are wondering what's coming next -- and kerravonsen, there is a shout-out to you in there as well. :)
Doctor Who - Five - I Never Miss

Hits and Misses in Fiction

sartorias aka Sherwood Smith has a fascinating discussion going over on her LJ about when you only like one (or, if they're prolific, two or three) of an author's works and bounce off the rest. So far the responses have mostly been people commisserating and sharing which authors and which books affected them this way, but there's also been some discussion of why this happens.

I don't think there's any one answer to that question myself -- the reasons are as diverse as the individual readers. Sometimes the author undergoes an ideological or philosophical transformation between books (or even just becomes bolder about expressing the views they already had) which leads to a irreconcilable conflict of my thinking and theirs, or pushes my tolerance for those differences over the limit. (See: Philip Pullman.) Sometimes it turns out that the things I loved best about the author's first book -- the style, the tone, the atmosphere -- don't carry over into subsequent novels because they were a feature of that story, not the author's writing as a whole (such as Beagle's The Last Unicorn, which I mentioned in the comments of Sherwood's post). And sometimes I eagerly expect certain things from a series or sequel to a book I really loved, only to find that the author had a completely different plan and veers off in a direction that doesn't interest me at all (I've heard several readers say this about Maria Snyder's Study books, for instance).

Then there's the rarer phenomenon when you love an author's prose but not their poetry (or essays, or what-have-you); or you think them brilliant scriptwriters (or lyricists) but terrible novelists, or the other way around. The ability to put together words in an arrangement that pleases you in one medium doesn't always carry over to others, and that can cause this kind of dissonance as well.

What about you? If you have a much-loved book or books by a certain author but found that most or all of their other works left you cold, what were your reasons for feeling that way? Feel free to comment on either my post or sartorias's as it pleases you; I'll see it in either case.
Bourdichon - Vetch

UPROOTED and the Generation Gap in Fantasy

So this week Naomi Novik's Uprooted won the Nebula Award, and as a result a lot of people are reading it. And the reactions, as they have been pretty much ever since the book came out, are... mixed.

On one hand you have readers (myself among them) who wouldn't go so far as to call the book perfect, but who really loved it and thought it worth recommending to other fantasy lovers. On the other hand, you have people who were so horrified by the book's seemingly dismissive attitude to sexual assault and the hero's lack of respect for the female MC that they either DNF'd the book a few chapters in, or they found the whole experience of reading it to be irrevocably tainted.

Some of those people who disliked (or even hated) Uprooted are my friends, and I am not here to tell them they're wrong to feel that way, or to try and argue them into liking it. But there's a strain in current fictional discourse that's been really bugging me over the past few months, and some of the critiques of Uprooted suffer from it -- the difference between "I didn't love X, and this is why," which is perfectly legitimate and fine (and can even lead to interesting discussions) and "I didn't love X because it's gross and problematic, and if you like X anyway, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU."

I don't mind hearing that not everybody likes the same things I like. I do very much mind being made to feel that I am a lesser person, indeed a morally inferior one in desperate need of enlightenment, for liking them.

I am not here to defend Novik's choice to have her heroine sexually threatened, because I don't think it was necessary to the plot nor do I think that it added anything to the story. I did notice it, it did bother me, and I would have enjoyed the book a great deal more without that aspect. Nevertheless, it wasn't the dealbreaker for me that it was for some of my friends, and I think I know why.

Because I'm over forty, and I grew up reading different fantasy novels than they did.

That may sound flippant, but it goes deeper than you might think...Collapse )

So yes, my friends who didn't warm to the book immediately as I did, and felt that certain male characters' treatment of Agnieska was too offensive to ignore or forgive -- I understand, and I'm not trying to change your opinion. But I think it's important to understand how the generation gap between younger and older fantasy readers, and the books that most influenced us, play into this.

It's not that we don't see the flaws and the problematic elements, or that we don't care about them. It's that we can see virtues and delights in Novik's novel, many of them based on the older fantasies to which Uprooted is paying tribute, that make us love it anyway. Which is why Uprooted won the Nebula this year, because the people doing the voting are fondly remembering those older novels -- many of them also flawed, but nonetheless deeply resonant and influential -- as well.

* Oh hey, both those "classic" epic fantasies were written by men! What a surprise! No wonder nearly all my favorite 80's fantasy authors were women.
  • Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Doctor Who - Five - Books

That awkward moment...

... when you get two back-to-back notifications that your preorders of Bloodline and The Raven King have both been shipped today, with an expected arrival date of tomorrow.

Why do I not have two heads so I can read both of them simultaneously?! Now I have to CHOOSE!

(It's not really as hard as it might have been six months ago, though. I love Maggie's writing and am eager to see how the Raven Cycle plays out, but The Force Awakens ate my brain and still hasn't coughed it back up yet.)
  • Current Mood: impatient
A Pocket Full of Murder

Good (Book-Related) Things

Two lovely surprises in as many days!

First, a friend on Facebook pointed me to a recent article at featuring Quicksilver as one of Five Books With Asexual Protagonists (and furthermore declaring my post about writing Tori's character to be "excellent", which was a nice bonus).

Then today I got a package in the mail containing two US hardcover copies of A Pocket Full of Murder which, at first glance, seemed no different from the author copies I already had. I was mystified at first, but then I spotted the note tucked inside:


Your book has reprinted! Please find a sample copy enclosed.

Best wishes,


And sure enough, when I checked the title page it turned out to be the SECOND edition. Whoop!

I am so, so, happy and relieved to know that the book is doing well enough to exceed my publisher's expectations -- and I suspect making this year's CLA Top Ten Best Books for Children shortlist probably had a good deal to do with the bump in sales, so I am grateful for that all over again.
Zootopia - Nick & Judy

I wish I could take full responsibility for this, but the truth is they get it from both sides

It's a snow day (well, technically an ice day) so all three boys are home, and the two youngest are playing Lego in their room. My 13-year-old is cheerfully singing his own set of modified lyrics to "Uptown Funk", including "too hot (hot diggity)" and "uptown / burn your corpse."

Last night he and his 15-year-old brother had a rap battle in the kitchen featuring some of the most ridiculous forced rhymes I have ever heard -- I wish now I'd written them down, because by the end I was gurgling and choking with laughter.

I enjoy my kids' warped sense of humor so much.
  • Current Mood: amused amused
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Zootopia - Judy

Zootopia (!!!)

I never imagined I was going to even feel compelled to see this movie, let alone enjoy it. The trailers looked cute, but gave so little hint of the plot that I really didn't know what to expect, let alone whether it would appeal to anyone but little kids who think animals dressed up as people are funny. In the end, I only took my kids to see it because it had such a good critical rating and I hoped it would pleasantly surprise me.

But I loved it. I loved it SO MUCH. It was everything I wanted and didn't know I was going to get from a movie like this.

SpoilersCollapse )

I want to see it again. Not in the theatre, probably, but when it comes out on video I'm definitely making my husband and oldest son watch it.
  • Current Mood: jubilant jubilant