Here we are on the very last day of my Patreon Party! And to my absolute astonishment, since last night and a couple of very large pledges (you know who you are!!!), our tally has rocketed up to $283 per month! That’s only 17 away from unlocking the Inky Valkyrie Book Club!!! Can we make this happen today? I DON’T KNOW, LET’S FIND OUT!
Huge thanks to everyone for helping out so far, not just for the pledges (which are marvellous and humbling and splendiferous) but also for the retweeting and sharing across social media. I appreciate you all for feeling as invested in this thing as I am.
Also, I have a whole bunch of glitter art to make, which is good news for my school holiday plans, and bad news for my husband. Don’t worry, honey, we’ll do the glitter bombing while you’re out at work, that’s totally almost like it never happened, right?
THE GLITTER REPORT
I love to make art and to craft, but in the chaotic time crunch that is writing, parenting and running a small business (cough, at least two small businesses), this is the thing that gets sacrificed. I haven’t even been quilting over the last year and a half, more likely to pick up an iPad or my phone when watching TV in the evening, instead of a bag of fabrics.
But lately, I’ve been getting that feeling again, like I want to be making things.
There is very little in the world that can give me joy like an elegant, arty new edition of an old, beloved book. Check out these pretties. I haven’t been so tempted by cute books since those “embroidered” editions of Black Beauty and The Secret Garden. And, okay, every vintage-style Arthur Ransome edition ever.
Fifteen years ago (YES REALLY) when I was not yet out of my teens (just), I wrote a book and entered a competition and by a blinding stroke of right-place-right-time I won. My fluffy comic fantasy adventure romp about a pirate queen in the making was published in 1998 and it and set me on the course of a writing career.
Now, thanks to FableCroft Publishing and the wonders of the internet, Splashdance Silver – Book 1 of the Mocklore Chronicles, is about to be officially back in print. Well, e-ink, anyway!
I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions as such, though I tend to lay out some kind of general, practical plan for my new year. This year’s looking like a bit of a blank slate so far, though, as I have no idea yet which of my projects I’ll be writing, and I’m fairly happy with my current work-life balance.
The only thing in my life that I really need to change is that shelf. The dread To Read Shelf of Doom, the one that I refer to with such exasperation quite regularly on Galactic Suburbia. It’s not just reaching the point of health and safety risk, but it’s actively stressing me out.
It started out as such a nice, organised space, somewhere for me to put, well quite obviously, the books I hadn’t read yet. I set it up not long after we moved here (nearly seven years ago!) and it made me happy.
But flat surfaces. I have a bad, bad relationship with flat surfaces. I put things on them. And then I put things on the things. And somewhere along the way… well, yes.
I’ve been watching with a sickening feeling the fight to keep Britain’s libraries intact as the conservative government hacks and slashes their funding. It’s just awful. And maybe ours in Australia aren’t under current threat, but who’s to say that next time the Liberals get in we won’t be in the same situation?
Libraries are so important, and those of us lucky enough to live in countries that have a thriving library system need to remember that.
Tasmania has a fantastic crop of state libraries, all linked by computer so you can order a book from their wider catalogue and have it sent to your local library. I use this service a lot, as I don’t have the leisure to browse shelves with two children – I discovered last week that my now-walking-with-confidence toddler Jem is a right library rampager, and was shocked to be overwhelmed with the memory of chasing Raeli around the same aisles, something I had completely forgotten.
So yes, I order books or CDs I want, and pick them up when they come in.
Both my girls love the local library. It was one of my regular haunts with Raeli when she was tiny – we often went to the Rock n Rhyme baby sessions together, and she had her own library card from the time she was six weeks old. Okay yes, I often take my own stuff out on her fee-free card, I’m only human!
I wasn’t going to comment on the news about the updated versions of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books when I first saw it a few days ago, and have since seen it grow and grow in traction in local news outlets. My initial thought was that this was in no way news. There have been updated versions of Blyton before, usually to work around issues such as the vocabulary and naming conventions of the day that are a bit unfortunately hilarious now. I used to get terribly snippy about Dame Slap being changed to Dame Snap, and was delighted to find last year reprint collections of the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair books which not only had the preserved text, but the same typesetting and illustrations as the editions I grew up with.
Most people are pointing to the news story, saying “well that’s silly” and then making some Dick and Fanny jokes. I’ve taken a bit longer to mull over my reaction. The story itself shows two sides: the one supposedly supported by the teachers, parents and educators who point out that old-fashioned language is a barrier to more children enjoying these books, and the one supported by the lone historian (ie book fetishist) in the Enid Blyton Society who points out that other historical children’s books are not treated like this, and while editing books here and there to remove objectionable vocab is one thing, editing them to make them less complicated is a bit dodgy.
The examples given in the article show that the edits are not just removing the now confusing uses of the words ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ or any embarrassing bits of racism – they are erasing the historical language and tone from the books in order to make them “timeless.” Those responsible in fact seem to think this is a beneficial thing. They also seem to have a different definition of what timeless literature is – to me, it’s a book that’s just as awesome fifty years later as it is when it’s written. Not a book that could have been written in any decade. Continue reading →
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series OR your favorite book of all time
The awesome thing about the word ‘series’ is that it can be plural as well as singular. Here then are a selection of my favourite books from my favourite (pl) series. I haven’t included series like Deathstalker which are basically one big serial, because I don’t distinguish between the volumes. It’s just a sea of awesome. I’ve left out some favourites like the various Enid Blytons because I can’t think of favourites. Also I am counting stories/novels set in the same universe as a ‘series’ even when they are sometimes (as with Tamora Pierce books) organised into sub-series or (as with Connie Willis) not specifically marketed as part of a series.
Because I’m an inclusionist.
Discworld – Lords and Ladies
Miles Vorkosigan – Memory
Chrestomanci – Charmed Life
Connie Willis Time Travel Universe – To Say Nothing of the Dog
Tortall – Protector of the Small: First Test
Anne – Rilla of Ingleside (I KNOW, shut up)
Little House – The Long Winter
Little Women – Little Men
Swallows and Amazons – Missee Lee (PIRATES) (ooh can’t think too much about this, love them all, moving on…)
Trixie Belden – The Happy Valley Mystery (Basketball! And flirting!)
The Forsyte Saga – In Chancery
Lord Peter (aka the adventures of Harriet Vane and some other books) – Gaudy Night
Stephanie Plum – Hot Six
Spenser – Early Autumn
Falco – Venus in Copper
Masters of Rome – Fortune’s Favourites
New Adventures – Return of the Living Dad (squeaking just ahead of Nightshade & Timewyrm: Genesys)
Thursday Next – The Eyre Affair
Jessica Darling – Second Helpings
Gracie Faltrain – Gracie Faltrain Gets It Right (finally!)
Anita Blake – Circus of the Damned
No room here to justify each of these, but happy to argue about them in the comments!
You can get a double dose of Tansyfic on the internet airwaves right now. Tehani Wessely reads my story “Relentless Adaptations” from the upcoming TPP anthology Sprawl on the Twelfth Planet Cast, and you can hear ME ME ME reading “Fleshy” at Terra Incognita SF.
Both are available on iTunes, too.
I would blog further, but we just got a freaking iPad and the household is in a total tizzy about it. Also I’m three quarters of the way through the latest Stephanie Plum and I won’t make any sense to anyone until I’m done with it – I’ve basically spent the day forgetting shit & bumping into things. Damned books. Some authors should be locked up.
I did get an exciting stack of mail today, though, including a certain book I’ve been hanging out for:
And of course, Trent couldn’t help it, he had to jump on the book trailer bandwagon too, though I think he may have missed the point just a tad.
I’m getting a little tired of lists and books and blog posts and articles and even blog comments by people telling me what I should be reading. I’m even getting tired of all of the above telling other people what they should be reading. Worst of all, sometimes I catch myself doing it, and then I have to roll my eyes at myself, and that’s just a waste of everyone’s time.
This isn’t, by the way, aimed at any one individual. I don’t blame anyone who has done it, because quite frankly we’ve all done it. I’m railing more against something in the SF community culture (and indeed the larger culture of book readers) which has supported and enabled the bad habit of telling people what they SHOULD be reading. I was inspired to write this by the recent SF Signal Mind Meld (which asks which anthologies SHOULD be on someone’s shelf)
Now, I’m all for recommending books. Recommending books people might like is like meat and drink to me. I rec therefore I am. But the older I get, the more annoyed I become at being told that I SHOULD do anything, especially something that is going to take up a lot of my time. It’s particularly annoying when it’s a ‘should’ aimed at a general audience because book recommendations are actually quite personal things. There are no ten books that SHOULD be on everyone’s shelf. The ten books I wouldn’t be without are going to be completely different to anyone else’s.
It’s Book Release Day! Let there be ribbons and honeycakes and rioting in the street. In the mean time – well, I never got my act together enough to write a proper acknowledgement page in time to get it into the book. I told myself I’d save it for the final volume – much as I refused to go to my first two graduation ceremonies on the grounds that I’d be getting my PhD sooner or later and it’s the sort of thing you should only do once. Or some other excuse for being slack.
But Power and Majesty is the cumulative result of many years of work, and I have many people to thank for their contribution in making it happen: