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19 April 2008 @ 12:22 pm
happy things  

Tomorrow I'm going back to university, which means the horror of packing, followed by unpacking, revision and exams, none of which I'm looking forward to.  In the interests of cheering myself up, then, here is a happy list:

 

- I managed to meet up with lots of friends that live in the North West over Easter and I'll get to see all my university friends when I get to the North East. :o)

 

- Two of my stories were nominated in the 2008 Hourglass Awards – Publishable News and Transfigurations.  That someone enjoyed my writing enough to think it deserved being nominated for any kind of award…is just wow.

 

- My sister came back from a week away with her college and she brought me a gift.  I am now the proud owner of a pottery cow wearing a blue jumper (because, apparently, I like cows).

 

Also, books I have read over the Easter break, because books are happy things:

 

Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong is the latest in the 'Women of the Otherworld' series and, like all the rest, is full of wit, danger, intrigue and strong characters.  The heroine of this story, Hope, is a half-demon tabloid journalist with the supernatural ability to sense chaos.  This comes in useful when trying to work out what the bad guys are up to, but not when the bad guys are trying to kill her and the people she cares about.  One of the reasons I will read anything by this author is that all of her characters, even the so-called 'good guys', inhabit the grey area between morally right and wrong, making them very human despite their supernatural abilities.  Hope is no exception. 

 

Another writer of morally dubious characters and great plots is crime writer Harlan Coben and I finally got around to reading his latest book The Woods.  I love how scenes are described quite sparsely and yet always gives me a clear picture of the setting, and, of all his books, I think this has one of the best endings.

 

I'm also a fan of Neil Gaiman, but whilst I'd read his books I'd never read any of his comics or graphic novels until I got The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes for my birthday.  I enjoyed the introduction to this world and its characters, with the imprisonment of Dream, his escape and his quest to recover the Dreaming, but whilst I could see the author's voice creeping through, especially in 'The Sound of her Wings', I didn't find it as good as his later work.  Still, Volume 2 is near the top of my 'to read' list.

 

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of those books that people keep recommending and I keep seeing in books shops and on other people's shelves until eventually I take the hint and read it.  Clare first meets Henry when she is 6 and he is 36.  Henry first meets Clare when he is 28 and she is 20.  So begins (and begins again) an interesting exploration of the 'realities' of time travel and the drama of human lives as told by a devoted couple that really does deserve all of those recommendations.

 

When it comes to films based on books I've normally read the book first, but with The Princess Bride by William Goldman I'd already seen the film, which meant I'd already seen all the best bits and heard all the best lines.  I enjoyed the asides, scenes and information that weren't in the film though, like the fact that Buttercup, who generally annoys me, had some redeeming moments at the end.

 

Finally, I couldn't not read a teenage fantasy book and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare caught my eye when I was browsing.  (It wasn't until later that I found out the author was actually prolific in the Harry Potter fandom – go figure.)  Some of the plot is a little obvious in that if you sat down and thought about what you'd just read you could figure out where parts of the plot where heading, but the story is so fast-paced that I spent more time thinking about what was happening rather than what was going to happen.  The characters are well fleshed out, the dialogue is witty, there's plenty of action and, when it comes to the 'magic' and magical plot points, there's originality, which is something I think teenage fiction is often better at than adult fantasy.

 

In the rereading pile was Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce, although I prefer her 'Protector of the Small' series, No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong, The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett and The Changeover by Margaret Mahy.  (There was also a non-fiction, 'for university work' reading pile, but that wasn't nearly so interesting.)


What are on everyone else's happy lists at the moment?
And, to everyone going back to/gone back to university/college/school after the break - best of luck for this term!
 
 
 
romanesca08 on April 19th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
I actually liked The Princess Bride movie a lot more than the book. It was just a matter of "less is more," I think. Also, have you read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver? It's absolutely amazing.
inkvoices: girl readinginkvoices on April 19th, 2008 01:00 pm (UTC)
I agree with you, but I don't know if maybe I would have liked the book more if i'd read it before watching the film.

No, I haven't heard of that one. *is curious* What's it about?
romanesca08 on April 19th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
It's a book set in the Congo in the 1960s about a Baptist missionary, his wife, and their four daughters. The book is narrated in first person POV by the four daughters. The characterizations are brilliant and I basically read through the whole thing in a few days since I just couldn't put it down.

Here's an excerpt and the NY Times review.

And congrats on the nominations! I have to sit down sometime and finish reading the rest of the genfics that I'm supposed to be judging...
inkvoices: open bookinkvoices on April 20th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
I read the review and it sounds interesting - shall add to my 'to read' list :o)

Heh, and the nominations for the Hourglass, plus last years, are on my list as well. Some of them I've already read, or heard of the authors, but I want to read the rest now too!
sdgdsgduol2fic on April 19th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Oh god, I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman and The Sandman comics. They only get better! :3
inkvoices: dreamcatcherinkvoices on April 20th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
I got 2:The Doll's House the other day and loved it. Must find the rest! :oD
sugar_fey: treesugar_fey on April 19th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
Cassandra Clare is prominent in the Lord of the Rings fandom too. Have you ever read/heard of the Very Secret Diaries? She wrote them, and they're helarious and have spawned dozens of imitations in various fandoms, with varying success. If you Google Very Secret Diaries+ Cassandra Clare you should be able to find them. Trust me, you'll nearly die laughing.

Have you read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold? It's wonderful, if harrowing.
inkvoices: fairy backlitgreeninkvoices on April 20th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
No, I never read much LOTR fanfiction except for a few parodies people directed me too. I'll have a search for that when I get a minute - humour is always welcome :o)

Ha, and Lovely Bones is on my 'to read' list. I read the first few sentences when I was rumaging in the library a while back, but didn't loan the book *heads desk*
♦ k a h l i a ♦: surfingcuban_sombrero on April 19th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
The Time Traveller's Wife sounds really amazing. ;)
Have you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak? That was recommended to me by some friends, and it is honestly the most amazing book I've ever read.
inkvoices: part_of_booksinkvoices on April 20th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
Yes it is ;o)

Yeah, I read the Book Thief when it came out because the idea of it grabbed my attention - there's been lots of books and stories about that period of German history, but not so many about Germans in Germany at that time, the average people, and certainly not narrated by Death. Laughed and cried during that one and the last few lines wonderfully sum up the whole thing.