December 5, 2013, 7.08 pm
Here's the meme as described by Delia Sherman:
"The challenge is to list 15 books you've loved and been transformed by, right off the top of your head."
1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
2. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
3. War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull
4. Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
5. Frederica, by Georgette Heyer (It's not even one of my favorite Heyers anymore - but it was my first, I was blown away by it, and it was my gateway drug to the rest of Georgette Heyer and all other Regency romances!)
6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis (which, really sadly, doesn't totally work for me anymore, as I discovered when I read it to MrD - but I really loved the series as a kid)
7. The Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters
8. The Wood Wife, by Terri Windling
9. Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild
10. Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay
11. Beauty, by Robin McKinley
12. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
13. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
14. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
15. Beacon at Alexandria, by Gillian Bradshaw
I'm going to follow the rules of the meme by leaving that list unedited - but now that it's all typed up and I've had a chance to look back over it, I can't believe I didn't think to include The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, because wow, did I fall in love with that book and read it over and over again for a while in late high school - it really did feel like one of those transformative books at the time, so it certainly deserves a spot on the list!
(Probably more so than State of Wonder, actually - I was amazed and blown away by State of Wonder, but I'm not sure I felt personally transformed by it in the same way, maybe just because I was older when I read that one - and of course The Bean Trees is all about growing up and coming of age, and I read it at just the right personal moment for that.)
What about you guys? Which books would be on your lists?
December 3, 2013, 4.40 pm
My brother's visit is over - wahhh! alas, alack! - and life is getting back to normal, which means I'm slowly catching up on everything I ignored for the last couple of weeks. Eeeeek. The backlog is…a little scary, to be honest. But hey, I still have leftover pie in the fridge, so that softens the blow at least a little bit. :)
Thanksgiving was wonderful - my happiest Thanksgiving in years, since I had Dave there AND my wonderful family-by-marriage, too. (Now if only I can entice more of my family into joining us one year!) And really the whole of Dave's visit was just great. I feel so lucky to have brothers I'm so close to and love so much.
MrD said on Thanksgiving, when I asked him what he was thankful for this year: "I'm thankful for loving [Baby X] so much" - and I thought, Yes. That really is something to be thankful for! I absolutely hated having to say goodbye to Dave last night - but wow, do I feel lucky to have him and Ben as brothers. Right now, the three of us are all living in different countries - Dave in the US, me here in the UK, and Ben in South Korea - but that doesn't change the fact that they're two of the most important people in my life. I hope like crazy that the same thing will be true for MrD and Baby X when they grow up.
I spent a lot of the last two weeks watching TV and movies with my brother rather than reading on my own, so I've got a whole backlog of fascinating-looking novels waiting for me to catch up with them - but one novel that I did read over Thanksgiving weekend absolutely filled me with delight: Newt's Emerald, by Garth Nix. It's a lovely, magical Regency romp, written very much in the tone of Georgette Heyer, but with magic.
You can read my full Goodreads review, but the sum-up is: fun, frothy, and DELICIOUS! :) I loved it. I had just begun a real Death Cold when I got it (which is part of why I haven't yet read some of the heavier books on my list), so something light and frothy was exactly what I needed - and Newt's Emerald really cheered me up and made me happy even during Baby X's middle-of-the-night feeds, which is saying a lot!
What about you guys? What have been recent highlights for you, in books or in life?
November 25, 2013, 3.18 pm
Congratulations - and thank you so much - to Sara Glassman, who won the critique in my Authors for the Philippines offer! I'm really looking forward to doing that.
And it's been a really good week over here, because - hooray, hooray! - my youngest brother is visiting, for the first time in four years. MrD is ecstatic to have an uncle to climb all over and play with nonstop, and the rest of us are thrilled too. :)
We've been doing lots of Doctor Who-watching ("The Day of the Doctor"! It made me happy! plus "An Adventure in Space and Time," which made me both happy AND sad in a good way! and tonight we'll be trying out "The 5(ish) Doctors", too), I talked Dave into finally watching "Thor", and we've had various family adventures. This week, we'll be celebrating two Thanksgivings - one with just the five of us (me, Patrick, MrD, Baby X, and Dave) on Thursday, and then a second, bigger one on Saturday, when my wonderful in-laws can join us. I can't wait to have so many people I love together! (Maybe next year I can even talk my parents into coming!)
I might not be online as much during the couple of weeks when Dave is visiting - because, y'know, when I only see my little brother once every four years, I really want to make those visits count! - but I am formulating schemes about a project I might do just for fun on my blog and website in December, involving a lot of free fiction. I hope it works! If it does, I'll begin it (and probably first announce it) on December 1st. Wish me luck!
How are your weeks going?
November 16, 2013, 2.31 pm
Have you guys all already seen the wonderful Authors for the Philippines auction going on right now? It's raising money for the Red Cross's Typhoon Haiyan appeal, and it closes in just a few days. Not only are a lot of amazing authors (from Armistead Maupin to Debi Gliori, Neil Gaiman, John Barrowman and Steve Cole) offering up stuff for auction, but so are editors, agents, and illustrators. There's an amazing variety of stuff on offer for a really important cause.
As part of the auction, I'm offering a critique of either the first three chapters of a novel (any genre) or a complete short story (complete at 10,000 words or less). You can bid on the critique here. (Just scroll to the bottom of the page to find it!)
And regardless, you should check out the auction as a whole!
November 14, 2013, 7.10 pm
This afternoon, when Baby X woke up just as I had been starting to fall asleep in a nap, and we went lurching downstairs together (at least, I was lurching with exhaustion as I carried him, and I was feeling very frustrated, too), we found Patrick standing in the kitchen, washing dishes.
In the next 20 minutes, as I sat on the barstool in the kitchen with Baby X in my lap, Patrick made me a cup of really excellent, dark hot chocolate and talked me through the rewrite of my novel (while continuing to wash the dishes). By the end of the 20 minutes, I was feeling wide awake, I was full of chocolate happiness, and I finally felt like I knew how to get going with my novel rewrite tomorrow.
So, this is a quick, public note to say: thank you, sweetheart! I really do know how lucky I am.
And it will definitely be my turn to wash the dishes tomorrow. ;)