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
- 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
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!