Catch Up

Wow, I’ve been seriously neglecting this blog. Where have the past four months gone? I’ve been busier with my new baby, but that really isn’t enough of an excuse. After all, I’ve been finding time to play Words with Friends.

So, I’ll try to sum up events in my reading life. I went through a dry spell, when I just couldn’t seem to find enough time to read. Life isn’t quite as wonderful without novels. I missed the escapism.

So, I tried something new: I started listening to audio books on my commute to work. My first audio book was The Road by Cormac McCarthy (I know, I know–it’s a depressing choice for a first experience). 

Well, The Road was definitely a tearjeaker, but I liked it. The descriptions were amazing, and there was a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness. I didn’t feel like slitting my wrists after listening to it, as some warned me I would feel. However, I do prefer Margaret Atwood’s post-apocalyptic world. 

The audiobook experience was so much better than listening to the one crappy radio station I can get in my car. I’ve decided that I prefer to read print books, but I’ll take what I can get. Listening to audio books is better than starving for novels because I can’t find enough time to sit down with a print copy. 

Currently, I’m listening to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

It’s holding my interest, but honestly I am not crazy about Jace. He’s such a vain know-it-all. Maybe I’ll grow to like him more as the novel progresses? I don’t know…I’m over halfway through the book.

This spring I’ve found some time to read print novels: I’ll highlight my two favorites:


This is one of the best high school/coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read. The narrator/protagonist Quentin is instropspective while still being believable (for the most part). Here’s one of the best quotes from this novel:

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” 

The other favorite is a classic that I should have read years ago:

This book was mildly reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, another favorite of mine, but is also a classic on its own. Plath’s work reveals so many of the gender constraints during the 1950s. I wish I could make everyone who idealized this era, but hasn’t lived through it, read this book.

Currently, I’m reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I’ve barely waded into this novel, and I’m already hooked. I’ll be back with comments and hopefully start blogging more frequently.

Happy reading! 


On Welcome to Bordertown

      I have a new ambition: to write a Bordertown story. I would love to be published in a Bordertown anthology someday. I’m not sure that’s likely, but who knows?
      Somehow, I missed the older Bordertown stories, so this was my first trip to the fabled city between our world and The Realm (Faerie, home of the Truebloods we call Elves). Now, I want to go back and read the original Bordertown books.
      Bordertown is a wild, ruinous place where our world’s technologies and trends meet magic and glamour. Many of the residents are runaways; quite of a few of them are young and abused. The stories in Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, takes place thirteen years (thirteen Bordertown days) after the last Bordetown anthology. The authors explain that the way to Bordertown has been closed for thirteen World years, though the reason is never explained. Therefore, there are two generations of Bordertown teens: today’s youth and those from my generation, the ones who listened to Nirvana and didn’t own cell phones. Several of the stories explore the interactions between the two generations, resulting in works that show how much or little has changed in the last decade and a half. The reader is left with the question: How have our dreams transformed? Clever.
       My favorite stories in the collection were “A Tangle of Green Men” by Charles de Lint, “Elf Blood” by Annette Kurtis Clause, and “Welcome to Bordertown” by Ellen Kushner and Terri Windling. I was actually surprised that I liked “Elf Blood” so much, because it is a vampire story, and honestly I’m a little tired of vampires. The main character, Lizzie, made this story for me. She’s such an interesting mix of fragility and strength, and she reminds me of a friend of mine who shares the same name (though my friend is more beautiful, among other differences). After reading “Elf Blood,” I decided to pick up Klause’s novel Blood and Chocolate which is supposed to be pretty amazing.
      I do wish Neil Gaiman had written a short story instead of a poem for this collection. I just love his writing, and I wanted more.
      I hope to see more Bordertown books in the next few years. I’m guessing today’s teens will love them as much as the past generation.
      So, have you been to Bordertown?

Fantasy Reading Challenge Wrap Up

Here’s my wrap up post for th2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge I participated in. I entered at the “Fascinated” level (6 books), but I read a few more than that.

  1. Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
  2. Green Angel by Alice Hoffmann
  3. Green Witch by Alice Hoffmann
  4. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  5. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
  6. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  7.  The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley
  8. Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  10. Eon: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman
  11. Eona: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

My 2011 fantasy favorites: Eon, Eona and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I’m hoping for more from these authors in 2012!

Dystopia Challenge Wrap Up

This year I participated in Bookish Ardour’s Dystopia Challenge at the level of “Asocial” (5 books).  I read:

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  4. Matched by Allie Condie
  5. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

I loved all of the dystopian worlds by these authors. My favorite was The Hunger Games Trilogy. Yes, this trilogy deserves all of the hype. I hope the upcoming movie does the first book justice.

I also read Across the Universe by Beth Revis. This novel ranks as my next favorite dysptopian novel that I read this year, after The Hunger Games Trilogy. Across the Universe is dysptopian/space odyssey/romance/mystery. Elder is easy to fall in love with, though not the perfect guy. I highly recommend it.

Currently, I’m reading another dystopian novel: Wither by Lauren Destefano. So far, it’s climbing up my chart of favorite reads this year.

December’s Fantasy Art Inspiration

Happy Holidays! Here is Arthur Rackham’s rendition of Santa–thinner, more dignified and less jolly than our modern version. I’m particularly fond of his curled boots.

I haven’t been writing, reading or updating this blog that much lately. I’ve been busy having a baby! But, I plan to post my yearly reading challenge wrap ups soon and catch up on what other bloggers have been up to. Hopefully, I’ll use some of this maternity leave to work on new stories as well.


North Country Author Talk

This upcoming Tuesday I’m presenting to the SOAR group:

North Country Authors [F-11-43]

Presenter: Jim BarryAmanda Von Hoffman JonesDiane CrumpRoger WattersGuy Calandra
Location: Partridge Knoll
Classes: 4 Sessions 1.5 hours
Dates: Tue 2:00 PM 10/04, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25

This course offers participants a potpourri of local writing talent. Each week one of the authors will speak about her/his literary work(s). Some of the topics that may be addressed: author’s writing background, the writing process, publishing and marketing, the book’s purpose/content, selected passages for reading aloud, writing activities for the class.

Coordinator Jim Barry is himself a writer, along with being a frequent SOAR presenter, board member and co-chair of the Curriculum Committee.

The authors are (in this order):

Amanda Von Hoffman JonesBehind Green Glass, a young adult fantasy novel

Diane CrumpMemories of a North Country Grandma, a poetry book for children

Roger Watters, From the Avenues of the Mind and Toothpick Forests, poetry and short story books

Guy CalandraThe Inside Word: An Inside look at the Family of God, a book melding together the author’s science and religious backgrounds