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(There and) Back Again - So Many Books...

Jul. 11th, 2009

01:09 pm - (There and) Back Again

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And what a week it's been! First the DWJ con and then the Asterisks and Obelisks one - both fantastic, in very different as well as sometimes very similar ways. As soon as I can I'll write the two up as sensibly as possible, and I'm still mulling over the incredibly interesting multiple internet worlds in which many of us live, and the overlaps between them. One aspect of the latter which struck me rather forcibly as I was coming home was the need to shift gears frequently over the last week (literally so as steepholm and I were traveling on the extremely wet and windy motorway crossing from England to Wales on our way to the Asterisks and Obelisks conference!), and now I'm back in family mode. Easy wrt Becca and Younger Daughter, but a bit more demanding in my concerned daughter role, as my mother's going in to have the second part of pacemaker procedure on Monday and I've been booked in as hand-holder-in-chief for some time now.

So, trip home from Lampeter, which started in a bit of a flurry when I found at 8:55 am that there wasn't a bus leaving at 10:20ish as I'd thought but only one at 9:25 - leaving - oh, from somewhere that I should be able to find if I turned left and then right at the roundabout... I just made it, despite its leaving at 9:15 instead of 9:25, and I think the bus-driver forgave me for asking him if it was really going to Aberystwyth, once I'd groveled a bit. Too fast on too windy roads to read, but I listened to the end of the audiobook of On the Jellicoe Road while watching the beautiful scenery flash by. Short summary: very glad I read it, very moving by the end, loved it while small parts of my brain were snarking about things like the lack of necessity for characters to have kept things big mystery instead of just telling Taylor who they were. (And wasn't she more than a bit silly about Jude - honestly!) No idea how I'd have reacted to structure if reading instead of listening, but sometimes it's a relief not to need to review a book and just let it all wash pleasurably over you instead.

Then back to madrobins' Petty Treason, which I'd been reading in short snibbets throughout the cons. (Another fascinating - to me - concentric element to all this, as I mentioned that I was reading the book at dinner at the Asterisks and Obelisks conference, though not by name but rather in the context of the *appreciation* of books which teach you things as against the sometimes overly anti-didactic tone of people in the childlit world, and the person to whom I mentioned it recognised and loved the book and he was someone on whom I'd pushed the DWJ listserve, on which I met dorianegray who led me to LJ which led me to sartorias (as in contact with her, rather than as an author) which led me - among many other wonderful things - to Madeleine Robins' books.) Anyway, this one I loved, more than the first one in fact, as it didn't have the somewhat unbelievable romance of the first, but had all the great alternate Regency London universe and Sarah herself and a good - if not totally unguessable - mystery as well.

On the train to Birmingham, which should have been devoted to relaxing over Petty Treason, I got talking to - or perhaps was talked at by - the woman sitting across from me. She was very nice, but there were a few problems. 1) I really don't like being dragged into conversation when my nose is buried in a book. (By strangers, this is - of course steepholm telling me something while I'm reading is different! Especially as I'm the one far more often doing this.) 2) Inevitably, having asked what I'd been doing in Lampeter, she said she had a children's book 'on the go' atm, and became very interested in any tips I could give her from what she continued to refer to as 'the course' I'd been on. 3) She talked too quietly for me to hear her most of the time, and straining to decipher enough to decide if I could let it go as insignificant or if I'd need to respond and so ask her to repeat herself, was exhausting. 4) She said she would give me her email - and it was a *would* too - and it was very hard work to stick to my determination NOT to give mine in a 'common politeness' kind of way in return. Or my name. Or steepholm's. This was so completely and utterly unlike the way in which the last week has involved the joyous exchange of emails, LJ username, listserve URL and Facebookfriending that I hope I won't come off as curmudgeonly and hermit-like to those who don't know me. To do what can be done to help on that hope, she did say delightedly that I'd given her a wonderful inspiration - to write a 'little book' of myths for children - and I was polite and encouraging instead of muttering darkly something about its being a good idea to know a bit about the books already out there in the area in which you're planning on writing. And even told her to look at the National Curriculum, as books on those areas are more in demand for schools than others.

Than to Birmingham airport - about which I'll say no more than it's stupid and I mildly resent the hilarity with which the security people received the info that in Dublin airport you have to leave umbrellas out when going through the security check. 'Here in Birmingham we know what an umbrella is!' might not have been quite offensive enough to merit my still-smouldering if low-level resentment, but still. Anyway, there I dove into the free ARC the nice people from HarperCollins had given us at the DWJ con: The Pain Merchants, by Janice Hardy. Must admit I was a bit sniffy about the title when steepholm told me about it, but I liked it a lot. Very cool world and different type of magic, interesting and tricky moral dilemmas, good characters and politics. Good stuff! (I'll probably write up more at some point.) Anyone else at the DWJ con read it yet? If anyone didn't manage to snag one there and would like, I'll happily send this wherever after steepholm's had a chance to read it.

Current Music: Becca playing the piano

Comments:

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From:sartorias
Date:July 11th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like you had a glorious time. Huzzah!
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:July 11th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
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Huzzah indeed. And you were *very* much in the conversation at the DWJ con, with (unsurprisingly) lots of DWJ fans also being Sherwood fans!
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From:sartorias
Date:July 11th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
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:-)
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From:emmaco
Date:July 11th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
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I can confirm this as I had a few Sherwood Smith conversations, but not with you lady_schrapnell!

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From:sartorias
Date:July 11th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
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Eeep!
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From:emmaco
Date:July 11th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
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It was the best kind of conversation, fans eagerly explaining why they loved your books to eager readers who jotted down names :)
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From:sartorias
Date:July 11th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
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Whoa, that's the kind of thing a person dreams of. (Being a complete and total social dork, my first thought on finding out I was a subject of discussion is a list of negatives.)
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:July 11th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
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I'd bet that's more down to authorly insecurities (with which I'm very well acquainted from physical proximity!) than any social dorkery. But now you know there were (at least) two concentric circles of your fandom discussions going on. :)

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From:sartorias
Date:July 11th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
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No, there's enough evidence of my dorkishness but enough of that! Glad that two people didn't hear any, or heard some nice things.
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From:emmaco
Date:July 11th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
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It sounds as though you showed remarkable forbearance on the train. I'm glad you had some good books to make up for the irritating experiences.

I can't really remember On the Jellicoe Road. Strange when it's obviously made an impression on so many other people.
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:July 11th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. I felt a need for a bit of forbearance shoulder patting. :)

That is interesting about On the Jellicoe Road - I can imagine being frustrated at the possibly overly-confusing first section or totally swept up in the tragedy, but less easily imagine its leaving little or no impression.
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From:emmaco
Date:July 12th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
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I remember the first part of the book, and as you imagined felt both horrified and frustrated. But although I am quite sure I read the whole story I can't really remember much else.
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From:booksandtea
Date:July 16th, 2009 09:18 am (UTC)

The Pain Merchants

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(This is Helgard from the DWJ conference).

I found the book interesting and original but I didn't like it all that much. I'm not sure why not. Possibly it was because I did not care for that world. The ending-pointing-towards-a-sequel irritated me, and the girl falling "on my butt" all the time. There are plenty of different ways of falling down and one hardly ever lands on one's butt. Very nitpicky of me, I know.

You have much more patience that I would have had in dealing with your fellow train traveller. Don't bother me while I'm reading, please!

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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:July 17th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)

Re: The Pain Merchants

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Hi Helgard!

Yes, about the ending-pointing-toward-a-sequel, but I suppose I was essentially expecting that, and as long as it had some resolution it didn't bother me. (I nearly landed on my butt last night, ironically!)

Edited at 2009-07-17 08:03 am (UTC)
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