Books read in 2010

The Replacement, Brenna Yovanoff

Ghost Ship, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Merchanter’s Luck, C.J. Cherryh (reread)

Mr. Monster, Dan Wells

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

I Am Not a Serial Killer, Dan Wells

Deceiver, C.J.Cherryh

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson

Half Magic, Edward Eager

Unknown, Rachel Caine

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

Sunshine, Robin McKinley

Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs

‘Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu

Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

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Carousel Tides Launch Progress Report TWO

Only fourteen days until the Big Carousel Tides Book Launch!

For those who came in late — Carousel Tides (by Sharon Lee, street date November 2, from Baen Books) takes place in the fictional seaside town of Archers Beach, Maine, a place where magic works — sometimes.

However, Archers Beach isn’t entirely fictional.  It’s based on the real Maine resort town of Old Orchard Beach.  So! When the opportunity to have a book launch presented itself, I naturally wanted to send the book off from the town that gave it birth.

This is not, however, a singleton effort.  Jeanne Peterson Kamfonik of Beggar’s Ride Studio and Gallery, is generously hosting the launch on Saturday, October 30, from 7-9 p.m.  The Studio is located at 39 Old Orchard Street in Old Orchard Beach, and is worth a visit on its own merits, so, really, you can’t go wrong by coming down to the book launch.

In addition to Jeanne’s help, Becky, the front desk manager at the Seaview Inn, at 65 West Grand (right on the ocean!), came up with a celebratory 20 percent discount plan.  That’s right — the Seaview is offering 20 percent off rack for any room to book launch attendees who mention the Secret Word “carousel” when making their reservation.  If you want to come in a day early or stay a couple days late to enjoy the ocean or peep some leaves, the discount will apply for the length of your stay.  This discount offer is good for phone reservations and reservations made off the Seaview website, but you must remember to include the Secret Word.

Also, Steve and I are hosting a “warm up reception” at the Seaview on Friday evening, October 29, from 7-9 p.m. If you’re going to be in town and would like to attend, please RSVP to liadenuniverseATgmailDOTcom

I’m really very excited about this whole adventure.  Carousel Tides is what some of us in the writing biz call “a book of the heart” — that is, it exists only because the author wanted to write it.  It’s no easy thing for a freelancer to write a book of the heart; it often means passing up a paying gig in order to pursue a project that has no guarantee of ever being published.  That being so, I was extremely pleased when Baen agreed to take the project on, and delighted with the support the book is receiving in its hometown, so to speak.

Here ends Carousel Tides Book Launch Progress Report Two.

So!  Who’s coming to the party?

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Books read in 2010

Merchanter’s Luck, C.J. Cherryh (reread)

Mr. Monster, Dan Wells

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

I Am Not a Serial Killer, Dan Wells

Deceiver, C.J.Cherryh

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson

Half Magic, Edward Eager

Unknown, Rachel Caine

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

Sunshine, Robin McKinley

Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs

‘Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu

Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

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My goal is to become a veterinarian because I love children

Back a couple days ago when I updated my poor, underfed Books Read list with Mockingjay, someone asked me what I thought of the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I said then that I was still thinking about it.

I think I’ve reached the end of that.

Warning!  If you have not read the Hunger Games sequence, and object to having your reading experience spoilt, you might want to stop here.  You have been warned.

Right, then.

The very first thing I noticed about The Hunger Games was that the world-building sucks.  No, really; it does.  The place just doesn’t hang together at all, and the reader is forced to suspend disbelief like a wild crazy suspending thing for the first, eh, half of the first book, before your brain finally says, “Oh, all right!  It’s that way Because The Author Said So. Fine, then.”  That’s OK, though, because nobody was reading The Hunger Games for the world-building, anyway.

You read The Hunger Games sequence — if you read them at all — to find out What Happens to Katniss.  Who is unlikeable, smart, adaptable — and an unflinching and extremely compelling narrator.  Also?  The author makes an interesting choice:  she tells the story in first person.  I mean to say — Suzanne Collins?  Is a smart cookie.

Why?  Because across the trilogy, Katniss does some terrible, terrible things.  Had the tale been told in tight third, that little, little distance, granted the reader by the pronoun she? Would have made it too easy to judge Katniss and downplay her necessities.  It’s much, much easier to hate she than it is to hate I.

Mind you, there were frequent moments when I wanted to slap the child — and, again, Collins chose correctly, in making her heroine prickly and self-doubting.  And tough, did I say?

I’ve seen some discussions positing that trilogy is so over-the-top as to be unbelievable.  This is not unique with Suzanne Collins.  Back when I was a YA reading YA books, the problems the heroes were already over-the-top and casual, terrible suffering was the norm.  Possibly because the audience for YA feels everything so strongly, in real life.

I remember a book about children being kidnapped and imprisoned on an island to mine gypsum, of all things.  And another about an alien girl who brings sorry and tragedy on her new friend. When the two of them are imprisoned by the Really Nasty Police Type People, their heads are shaved.  The native girl immediately collapsed into an agony of shame, while the alien girl doesn’t care at all.  Old Yeller, anybody?

So, anyway, the over-the-topness, I think, is a mark of the genre.

Other things the author did right.

She gave Katniss clothes.  Beautiful clothes.  Yes, she professed to hate them — but that hit a sweet spot.

She gave Katniss two perfectly acceptable choices for boyfriend, and she let them both live up to their potential.  Different? Oh, my, yes.  But equal in their different powers.
She allowed Katniss to not understand what was going on, and who was playing whom.  She also allowed Katniss the native wit to be able to figure some of this stuff out.  But — she’s only, what 15? — when the first book starts; legitimately, she’s naive.

She allows Katniss — and the rest of the characters — to show cracks from the treatment they’ve been subjected to.  To survive the Hunger Games is not a victory.  To do that, you will have killed, or outlived, many people, and even perhaps murdered people you cared about.

Things she did wrong.  IMHO, there was, as President Snow himself said, no reason for Prim to die.  That?  Was over-the-top.

Would I recommend the series?  Sure, why not?  The things the narrative wants to discuss — personal responsibility; how to figure out who to trust, and how far; that actions, deeds and thoughts have very real consequences, not all of them pleasant? — are all worthy topics.

So — Scott!  Sorry you asked?

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Well, here’s something exciting

One of the (thousands) of things that I let let slide when I’m writing is answering — and often reading — email.  Which is why I’m late to announce that Katharine Kimbriel — that’s K.E. Kimbriel to you — has re-released her stunning and long-out-of-print SF novel Fires of Nuala, as an ebook through Book View Cafe.

If you’re really patient, you can read the novel in serial, one chapter a week until it’s done, for free, but trust me, you’re not gonna be that patient, once you read the first chapter.  Here: read it now.

Kathi is also planning to re-release the other two Nuala books — Hidden Fires and Fire Sanctuary — as ebooks through Book View Cafe.  Look for Hidden Fires before the end of the year.

For those who have managed to miss the work of K.E. Kimbriel, Kathi’s Official Website is here

…and you can find her on Live Journal.

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Books read in 2010

Mr. Monster, Dan Wells

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

I Am Not a Serial Killer, Dan Wells

Deceiver, C.J.Cherryh

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson

Half Magic, Edward Eager

Unknown, Rachel Caine

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

Sunshine, Robin McKinley

Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs

‘Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu

Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

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Books read in 2010

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

I Am Not a Serial Killer, Dan Wells

Deceiver, C.J.Cherryh

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson

Half Magic, Edward Eager

Unknown, Rachel Caine

The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

Sunshine, Robin McKinley

Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs

‘Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu

Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

. . .wow.  That’s just. . .pathetic.  Thank ghod for the New Yorker, I guess.

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When last we saw our heroine…

…she had just handed a novel in to her editor on sudden death overtime.

There’s some validity to the argument that the urge to write is a sickness; the best is the aftermath of Having Written — which like recovering from a bad case of the flu.  You’re irritable, your brain is mushy, your balance is slightly off, and you feel that you’ve forgotten how to do quite simple and ordinary things, like, oh, drive a car.

Despite this, my next act after emailing Ghost Ship to Toni was to get in the Little Green Subaru and follow Steve to Augusta (following Steve because I wasn’t sure I could actually find Augusta) to drop this same LGS at the shop.

That task completed, Steve drove us out west, pausing at the Readfield Public Beach, where we walked the four feet of sand beach, admired the ducks, and, in the absence of small children (we qualifying as large children) used the swings and the jungle gym.

On the way home, Steve proposed take-out Chinese, which sounded splendid to me, so we feasted and thus to bed, and the next day early to work.

…over which we shall pass lightly, except to say that all of the Very Important Tasks that had Piled Up while I was away on Monday were retired and no babies died.

Came home after claiming the LGS from the shop, collapsed on the couch with Hexapuma, who graciously shared his floofy snowflake blanket, read a few pages of a book written by somebody who is not me, had dinner with Steve and early to bed.

Yesterday, arrived at the day-job to find a bomb threat in process.  Not in my building, fortunately, so I was free to go up to the office, and, later, down to the bottom of the campus for a budget meeting where there was, thank ghod, coffee, and also to tend to the various minutiae for which I of course live.  Came home, dealt with some professional correspondence, then back with Hex and the book to the sofa until Steve came home, soaked and bearing pizza.

Steve this morning  is leaving for AlbaCon, while I to the day-job.  My personal goal today is to make lists of all the various things that were let to lapse while Ghost Ship got done, order them, and, tomorrow evening, start in.  I have, I believe, eight months of bookkeeping to enter, which, along with recovering the kitchen, should fill up the weekend handily.

The plan for this evening, beside the list, is to finish reading my book, so I can start reading another one.

Thanks very much to everyone who offered felicitations on finishing Ghost Ship — and I hope you’re all doing fun and exciting things!

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