Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?
So, I went away, and I considered automating this but I didn’t. So… when I should have answered this, I was reading the anthology The Beastly Bride, compiled by Ellen Datlow, and it was brilliant. But I read that in a day, so I’m not reading it right now.
What I am, at least in theory, reading at the moment, includes:
The Secret Feminist Cabal, by Helen Merrick, which I am hoping to finish before the semi-official launch of said book at AussieCon4 in OH MY GOSH less than a fortnight;
Legends of Australian Fantasy, an anthology from Jonathan Strahan and Jack Dann – I’ve read four stories so far, by Nix, Canavan, Marillier and Carmody, and I am loving it!
Holy Machine, by Chris Beckett, which I’ve only just started and really ought to hurry up and read in order to review it (hi, Alisa…).
Why yes, there are three books listed there. This is not actually an unusual situation for me.
Day 29 – Saddest character death
Artax in the Swamp! There is nothing sadder than Atreyu trying desperately to get his horse out of the swamp, and not being able to do it. The movie made me cry every time I watched it (er, numerous times), and the book did too.
Also, the bunnies in Watership Down.
Best/most satisfying character death?
I’m usually pretty happy whenever the bad guy dies. I think, though, that Gollum’s death is best, in a twisted understanding of the word. Despite all the discussion of ‘deserving’ to die from Gandalf etc, he is overall a beastly (if awesome and complex) character. The fact that in dying he also saves the world is a marvellous, tricksy climax on Tolkien’s part.
Of course, if I wanted to read that question differently, I would have to say: Death, in the Discworld. Especially since hearing him voiced by Ian Richardson (“You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment”), and imagining him riding a motorbike instead of Binky… yeh, he’s my favourite Pratchett character.
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
The Belgariad, by David Eddings. I went through the entire lot very quickly. Also The Mallorean, the follow-up series.
That is, if we’re not counting The Babysitters Club, which I’d probably prefer that we didn’t… because I think I did waste a lot of money on those. Oh, so many books. And the super summer holiday bumper editions. Have I mentioned What Claudia Wore? A website devoted to extolling the fashion of that pre-teen clothes horse, Claudia Kishi, and also usually bemoaning Marianne’s atrocious style. Several things weird me out about this site: how much I have been enjoying reading it; how much I remember; how many books I apparently missed out on, because I got over the series waaay too soon, apparently.
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it!
Um. The name Alastair Reynolds? His name is enough to make me read an anthology, that’s for sure…
I don’t think I have a “will read”. I know full well that not all books with space ships in them appeal to me; I know that not all dragons, or elves, are going to be my thing; sadly, not even everything set in ancient Greece or Rome floats my boat.
It might be easier to say what I won’t read: vampires and werewolves. Although I make an exception for Gail Carriger.
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
If Roman Holiday were a book, that would be my answer.
Other than that… well, Tess would once again get a look-in. Keeping in mind I haven’t read it since I was forced to for Year 12, it still sticks in my mind as nearly making me scream with disgust and annoyance.
There are few others that come to mind. This is one of those occasions where having a bad memory is a blessing. But oh yes: those Shakespeare plays where the man has fallen in love with the girl-twin-disguised-as-a-boy, and the woman falls in love with that same twin, and THEN the BOY-twin turns up and it’s all ok? Yes, Twelfth Night, I’m lookin’ at YOU. I hate that.
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Ah. Heh. Interesting question.
Five, you say? Hmm.
A while ago I copied a friend, who’d got all of her books in a stack and taken a photo of them. Wish I could find my photo… my stack was taller than me (I’m 172cm), and I realised afterwards it didn’t actually have all of my books in it.
Now, the situation is not so bad at the moment. Since coming home from our epic adventure overseas, we have been massively decluttering our house, and for me that has meant clearing out both books I have no intention of ever reading again OR lending to people, and losing the books that I have no intention of actually picking up. While this sounds somewhat sacrilegious, it has been immensely freeing. As well, I have basically been on a book-buying ban in anticipation of Aussiecon4 (eee getting so close!). So I have been actually reading some of the books on my TBR pile, and – wait for it – reading books from the library rather than buying them. Incredible.
All of this is a long, torturous way around to saying: most of my TBR pile is getting old. I still want to read them, they’ve just been waiting a fairly long time, mostly. They’re essentially split between sf&f (mostly sf these days) and history.
Five that I’m really looking forward to are:
Silver Screen, Justina Robson. Part of my reading in anticipation of Natcon50, that I’m really hoping to make it to.
Liberty, Lucy Moore. The women involved in the French Revolution.
The Stone Key, Isobelle Carmody. This one has been sitting there since my last Swancon, I think. I feel like I ought to re-read the other Obernewtyns before I read this, but… I’m not sure I can face that.
Northwind, Gwyneth Jones. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Jones novel. I also have Escape Plans sitting here.
Dirk Bogarde, John Coldstream. My mum gave me this bio… oh, too many Christmases ago now. I was a very, very big fan of Bogarde when I was younger (and would be still, I think, if I’d seen any of his movies recently). I happened on the very end of A Tale of Two Cities on the tv, one afternoon at about the age of 16, and was immediately in tears because they were about to chop his head off. Noooo! Apparently he was a very, very interesting man. But the sheer size of this tome is a bit offputting.
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
“It is a truth universally acknowledged…”
Nah, who am I kidding? Again with the really bad memory thing. I can quote movies, but I don’t think I can quote books. Except kids’ books:
“But not the hippopotamus!… but not the aardvark.”
“There’s a hippo on my roof eating cake!”
“But where is the green sheep?”
“I will not eat them, Sam I am, I do not like green eggs and ham!”
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Tess Durbeyfield (of the Durbevilles).
Grow a SPINE.
This is, of course Thomas Hardy’s fault. He who couldn’t bear the idea of representing an illegitimate pregnancy to the point that the book skips from “is Alec seducing her?” to “how the hell does she have a baby now?!” in the space of a page break.
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship
You know, I think I have to say Polgara and Belgarath here. Annoying as their banter gets, it’s still really quite funny and entertaining. And who wouldn’t get thoroughly pissed off with their father over 5000 or so years? Especially if you started off angry. Plus, I’ve just re-read the Belgariad, and it’s still fresh in my mind. The one thing that bugged me was the assumption that basically Polgara always gets her way. I think this is tempered in her eponymous book, where you get to see the sacrifices she made along the way and more clearly her relationship with all of her family.
Other favourites include Jane and Lizzie, Silk and Barak, Leaf and Arthur… and lots more that I can’t remember.
Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship
The tragic in me is torn between Aragon and Arwen, Owen and Hazel (Simon Green’s Deathstalker series), and…
The sentimental in me is drawn to Lizzie and Darcy.
The realist in me drowns out all the rest for Benedick and Beatrice. I studied Much Ado in year 10, I think, and to discover that the acerbic, outspoken woman could get with the witty, smart-mouthed dude was an awesome thing.
Really, though, I am quite the most remarkable sucker for a good romance. Where ‘good’ is what I mean when I point at it and say, This is good… to coin a phrase. I actually don’t mind sappy, for example, when it’s done well and the characters are believable outside of the romance. And if there are explosions to liven the rest of the book up.