katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Well, one video. But definitely more than one book.

This week's video is a bit of a catch-up on my week. Which is rather logical. Why not spare a couple of minutes and catch up on said weekness?

Unfortunately, I've finished reading House of Many Ways by now. I really didn't want to. I tried my hardest to avoid it, but it happened eventually. This book definitely felt like a return to Diana Wynne Jones's inventively magical best, especially after I failed to be blown away by The Pinhoe Egg. If you've read Howl's Moving Castle, then you need to read House of Many Ways. And if you haven't read Howl... why on earth not? It's all fairytales and sarcasm and vanity and confusion. And yes, it's much better than the movie version, although the adaptation certainly has its charms. I just prefer my Howl to be a jerk, not a misunderstood anti-hero.

One of the things I like about Diana Wynne Jones is the way her characters develop in a very understated way. I was just sitting here thinking that Charmain never really grew or changed throughout House... but she did, in much the same way Sophie does in Howl's Moving Castle.

So read it. And then you can read Company of Liars, for it is similarly addictive. It's set in the time of the plague in England, but it might as well be a fantasty realm. Superstitions are upheld and mythical creatures are believed in - even a man with a wing for an arm is accepted as something that just happens. It's fascinating and beautifully written and packed full of fascinating characters. And yes, it's another book that really shouldn't have to end, but inevitably does.

Since I seem to be developing a trend here, I'm going to ask you all to recommend me your latest book-you-can't-put-down. Please?

(Also, I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and now believe that Luna Lovegood is made of some sort of crazy awesome. She was seriously the best thing about that movie and she was only in about three scenes or something.)


May. 6th, 2009 11:28 am
katiefoolery: (The power of the beta!)
I read a blurb on the book the other day that caused me to laugh out loud. Which, believe me, doesn't usually go down too well in a library... but I couldn't help it. The worst bit is that the subject matter is intended to be rather serious and heart-wrenching, so I felt bad about laughing at it.

For a second or two.

Then I laughed some more.

The blurb starts thusly: Willow O'Keefe is born with osteogenesis imperfecta...

Which is a huge laugh, right? Small child, constantly in pain. I wasn't laughing at that bit, OK?

It continues:
...[a]s her family struggles to cover medial expenses, her mother Charlotte decides to file a wrongful birth lawsuit against her obstetrician for compensation that might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow.

But it means Charlotte has to say in a court of law that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she'd known about the disability in advance. And the obstetrician she's suing isn't just her physician - she's her best friend.

It shouldn't make me laugh, right?

And yet, I can't help it. It's just one tragedy after another until it reaches ridiculous proportions. There's no way I could take a book like that seriously. I mean, you might as well write a blurb that says:
Adorable, pig-tailed child gets a kitten, which dies. She gets a new kitten which digs up the old kitten AND EATS IT. Then dies.

Blurbs are such hit and miss things, though, aren't they? One of my favourite books as a teenager was Obernewtyn and I almost didn't read it because of the blurb, which read like some stock-standard, post-apocalyptic story of the far future.

It also makes me think that I could come up with a pretty amusingly tragic blurb for that doomed first draft of Black Fiddle. Behold:
Jeannie lives a happy, carefree life with her music-loving family until a deadly plague begins to eat away at the land. She and her sister are sent to fend for themselves in the city while the rest of her family falls victim to the plague, leaving them as orphans among strangers. They face prejudice and starvation, forcing Jeannie to sell the precious family heirloom entrusted to her by her grandmother: the Black Fiddle of Barnet.

In a cruel twist of fate, Jeannie's sister is stolen away by Sidhe trapped in the mortal realm seeking a way home... and the only thing that can bring her back is the fiddle Jeannie just sold.
And so on and woe and wailing and woe on woe-tarts with extra woe topping.

Sure, we're all searching for a twist or to submit our characters to the utmost levels of torment in some vain attempt at retribution for ruining our lives and our sleep and our sanity with their insistence on having their stories written. But there's a point where it just goes too far and you break through the walls of tragedy and tension, straight into the realms of ridiculousness.

So has anyone else read any laughably melodramatic blurbs lately? Or, better still: how would you write a blurb of your current WIP (novel, short story, ficlet - whatever it may be) to make it so ridiculously tragic that people are already reaching for the tissues before they even open the cover?
katiefoolery: (Grimmy has no words)
Welcome back and congratulations to everyone on surviving Christmas. I hope it was fun/crazy/lovely/hot/snowy/filled with family/filled with friends/filled with food/tick whichever apply. Now you can all rest in preparation for doing it all over again next year.

But now, we must move on to real life. And in my real life, a terrible situation is enduring: I do not have a book to read.

I need a book to read.


Therefore, I am turning to my ever-reliable and intelligent and gorgeous and wonderful and have I flattered you all enough yet? flist. Please, recommend me a book. Recommend more than one book. Any genre, any style, old, new, fiction, non-fiction, one you wrote yourself... I don't care. Feed my need for books!

There'll be some left-over chocolate-coated peanuts in it for you all. :D
katiefoolery: (Default)

Yesterday, I finished writing the first draft of my story for the Conflux comp. It's patchy at the moment, but I'm still applying my 'write now, edit later' policy to it. My favourite bits at the moment involve my narrator's grandma, who is currently dating Ikvar, Destroyer of Worlds.

A quote:

"Well well, a wedding," said Ikvar, exuding an actual aura of pure darkness.
"Did you bring our present, dear?" Grandma asked.
"I ate it," Ikvar said, looking malevolently sheepish.
"You ate an entire orchestra?" Grandma asked.

And later...

Grandma gave me a sympathetic look. Beside her, Ikvar set an ancient tapestry on fire.

Actually, the funniest bit of the day came later, when I was talking to Tim about the story. "There's a bit of work to do on it," I said. "There are some bits I like and some that I don't like."

"Why did you write bits you didn't like?" he asked.

This resulted in me laughing 'til I cried. It's such a good question. Why would I write bits I didn't like?

Wot am I reading?

Well, I'm glad I asked me that question. I'm currently reading Loamhedge, the latest Redwall book. I love these books. They're meant for kids, I guess, but Brian Jacques is a damn good writer. The best bit about these books is the food. They eat the most delicious-sounding food you could ever imagine in these books. I spend half my time salivating all over the pages. It's an intriguing story so far - very typical Jacques and very enjoyable.

I recently finished re-reading A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel. It's the first part of the Isavalta trilogy, even if the second one takes place before the first one. The first book is a brilliant read. I'll read the second one after Loamhedge and I'm hoping it will be just as good.

And Monstrous Regiment did finally reach up and grab me. It was only as I got towards the end that I started revelling in it. So much happens in the last quarter of book that will change the first three quarters when I re-read it. Because I have to re-read it. I knew that the minute I reached the end and started thinking about everything Pratchett was saying.

I think I'll finish off with an enormous 'thank-you' to [livejournal.com profile] morbane for reading and editing my story Ever Again. If I had your address, I'd send you a proper thank-you in the form of an enormous basket of lemons.

When looking for my Sarah Zettel links, I discovered that the third book has been released! I still have a book voucher left over from Christmas, so now I know wot it's destined for.

April 2011

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