The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer
Pictures of the Night by Adele Geras
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The War at Ellesmere by Faith Erin Hicks
La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Grand Obsession by Perri Kinze
The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
J.K. Rowling: The Genius Behind Harry Potter by Sean Smith
Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint
Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon
Coastliners by Joanne Harris
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Not a comfortable book to read, but so very well-written. Staggering.
La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith: Yes! I’ll own this when it comes out in paperback. Excellent. I’m relieved, as I didn’t care for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency at all when I tried it last month, although I love all his other books.
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: A non-event. The pacing and emotional tone don’t deviate from a steady flatline. An incredible amount of stuff happens that should be emotionally resonant, and you just don’t care.
Grand Obsession by Perri Kinze: Excellent. Beautifully written exploration of what makes us fall in love with an instrument, and how we can respond emotionally to certain sounds when others don’t.
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch: It takes me a while to get around to reading a Scott Lynch book after buying it, but once I’m reading them they’re brilliant and the best book ever. Damn, he’s good. Plots within plots, greatc haracters, swashbuckling, swindling, triple- and quadruple-crossing. Great fun.
J.K. Rowling: The Genius Behind Harry Potter by Sean Smith: This book should be used as an example of how not to write a biography. A lot of it was “JK did/knew/passed within thirty feet of this event/person/place, and look, I can find a tenuous/coincidental/obvious/oblique parallel in her books!” It drove me up the wall in Wiccan Roots, and it drove me up the wall here.
Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear: Best surprise of the month: Opening this hardcover book to find that BOTH AUTHORS HAD SIGNED IT. Score!
I have just called an end to a very intense work day.
Remember when I said oh yay, there aren’t many queries in this copy-edited anthology manuscript? Well, there aren’t.
But there are a tonne of inconsistencies the copy-editor overlooked, or worse, created by changing some things but not others. Things were edited so that they no longer matched house style (this one mystifies me). Odd stylistic choices were made that read very awkwardly.
So I’ve spent the day handling the rest of the queries (four sent out to contributors because I can’t answer them), then going through the ms. looking for things the CE overlooked. I’ll have to go back tomorrow morning and go through the first half of the ms. to fix the things I started fixing halfway through the file today.
This doesn’t happen often, thank goodness. In fact, I’ve only caught one or two missed or incorrectly edited things per ms. in the past. This one, though, wow. I think the CE must have been having a very off day.
My back is now killing me and I need to go lie down on the floor to try to straighten it out.
Orchestra tonight. Today’s practise got shelved because of the amount of work I did. I should look at the Vaughn-Williams while lying on the floor so as not to get caught completely flat-footed at rehearsal.
One thing I love about the Internet (hello, Internet!) is that it’s good for sharing stuff with millions of people you’ve never met.
Allow me to share some music with you.
I discovered Philip Sheppard almost exactly two years ago. He’s a cellist and a very talented composer. I used to have his MySpace page open while I worked on other things so I could listen to his posted tracks on an endless loop. I got other people hooked, too, muah-hah-hah.
Now he’s posting more and more tracks, some free to download as mp3s, others embedded within his web site. As a start, visit this page to listen to a selection of his haunting piano pieces. A handful of free mp3s for download can be found here. There are other embedded pieces of various styles scattered throughout the site’s pages, too, as well as a free download of sheet music for his lovely Crystallized Beauty theme, arranged for two pianos.
You and I have an on-again off-again relationship. I’ll order stuff I can’t get anywhere else in a flurry while I’m working on a book, then ignore you for months on end. I consult you for research and for maintaining wish lists, and tell people to buy me things elsewhere. I use you, I admit that. And I don’t mean in a tool or services kind of way; I mean I abuse you callously.
And still, you gamely try to convince me that we’re meant to be. “Look at these shiny new books!” you say, sending me e-mails with colourful covers displayed in them. Except if you really loved me, you’d think about the titles you recommend to me. Just because I bought the same book that someone else did doesn’t mean I like everything else in their past orders. Ninety-eight percent of the time I roll my eyes at your eager but pathetic suggestion and delete them. The other two percent of the time I click through and dismiss them after reading the summaries. No, I don’t watch the movies you try to sell me just because I bought something as a gift for someone else. And no, I really don’t want to play the Nintendo DS or Xbox games you wave at me. My purchasing history and wish list picks really, really don’t line up with the average cross-indexing of your database.
Also, what’s with recommending me things that I have already bought from you? “We’ve noticed people who have bought books about XYZ also buy these titles!” Yes, they do. I’m one of them. Why recommend books I already own? Especially when I bought some of them through you in a spate of book research three years ago? Don’t you listen to me? How could you forget?
The one lame thing you do that endears you to me, you pathetically adoring creature, is that you recommend my own books to me. Why yes, I would like to read a book on hearth- and home-based spirituality. That’s why I wrote one. Thank you.
I can only imagine the equal bemusement experienced by other clients when you send them e-mails saying, “We’ve noticed that people who have purchased Mass Effect for Xbox in the past have also purchased this new Wicca title!” Or this new book on musicology, or knitting techniques, or a biography of Queen Isabella of France, or female musicians in seventeenth century Venice, or breastfeeding. Because really, Amazon, I know that although you’re swearing up and down that you do love me for myself and we’re meant to be together, I know you’re just phoning it in. You’re simply not trying. You’re attempting to keep this relationship going by skimming how-to books and relationship magazines in supermarket check-out racks and using superficial techniques to try to catch my attention. I’m not your average girl, and trying to entice me closer by waving best-seller stuff at me won’t work. And you’re trying to hook up with millions of other people at the same time, too, hoping that one of us will fall for it.
You get marks for trying, but you’re coming dangerously close to stalker status, Amazon. Especially when you send me mail from thinly disguised sock puppet accounts like .com and .co.uk as well as from .ca. I know you’re all the same entity. You’re not fooling me.
Face it, Amazon. I keep you around because you can get me books I can’t get anywhere else. Sure, sometimes I go slumming and toss a mass-market paperback into my shopping cart because it will bump me over the minimum required for free shipping. But I’m not an easily wowed or cheap date.
The copyedits for the anthology landed in my in-box this morning.
Naturally, even though I didn’t write 98% of this ms., my first instinct was to quail.
I should really remember that I’m very good at my job more often. The ms. is pretty darn clean, with only a handful of queries in the first half that I’ve done today, most of which I can handle myself without checking with the authors. Most of the copyedits are simply punctuation and house style stuff.
I am good at what I do. Why does this fact elude me so often?