Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lazy reading day

I just got the Blackbringer paperback cover in the mail -- so exciting! It looks gorgeous, the same illustration as the hardcover but with different colors and an awesome new type design and "special effects" (making the type and figures shiny). So beautiful! (Ooh, and there's a quote from Holly Black on the front, which is vurry nice :-) I'm really excited about next year! First the paperback (in May), then Silksinger and Lips Touch in the fall. Yippeeee! What a year!

Oh, this is wayyyyy preliminary, but potentially much fun: I might be teaching a workshop on writing fairy tale retellings at a gorgeous lakeside retreat in New Hampshire in June (as part of an arts retreat with lots of other cool workshops). I'll have more info by and by. Here's the lake from up above:

Let's see. . . the writing goes well. I tried Jolie and Holly's 5,000 word challenge on Friday, and I wrote. . . 7,086 words!! WOWZA! Which brought me past the 50,000 word mark, but I have not "won" NaNo yet because the story is not complete yet. Much still to happen. This will be a busy week in "Bad-Ass Sci-Fi" land as I try to bring the events to their conclusion. Wish me luck!

Given the word glut of Friday, I figured I could mostly take Saturday off to loll and read (I did write for a few hours in the morning first!) I really need to crank some Cybils nominees through my brain, as you will see by this photo of unread books:
Caramba! How am I supposed to read all those??? Well, I wish I could, but that is obviously not possible, which is why there are seven panelists to divide up the work. Even so, I must read as many of them as I possibly can, so it was the couch for me most of yesterday, wrapped in the one blanket I have ever knitted (alpaca). There was an interruption in the afternoon to make vegetable soup with Jim -- something we do about once a week, and could probably compete in a husband-and-wife-mind-reading-soup-making competition, we're so good at it (new reality show!), and then there was a 10 pm trip to the very empty-on-a-Saturday-night gym. But otherwise, I read.

It reminded me of days back in college where, as an English major taking 3 or 4 lit classes simultaneously, I just had to read read read all the time. There was one memorable weekend when I was quite ill and alternately slept and read Gargantua and Pantagruel. All I remember of it is that I had a fever and the book gave me very strange dreams. There was apparently a healthy respect for fart humor in the 16th Century! Who knew? Well, anyway, reading all day yesterday was like college. . . but the books were more fun! Not that Wittgenstein's Nephew and The Sonnets of Petrarch aren't a hoot, y'all, but I'll take fairy tale retellings and zombies and kissing and fighting, please.

I read the very lovely and magical The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier, as well as a Rumpelstiltskin retelling called The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn, and there was another book that I'm not going to mention by name because I didn't care for it and gave up half way through. And then I started Ever by Gail Carson Levine, which I have not yet finished (but really like). I feel like I should have read more than three books (well, two and a half), but I'm not a speed reader. I want to slip into a little crack in between minutes and live there all cozy until I've read all these books, shifted them one by one to the "read" stack (which is in another room and is less impressive than the above photo!)

This Cybils process has been SO MUCH FUN! First, there's the joy of getting books in the mail, lovely lovely lovely books, all the time. And stacking them. And sorting them. And trying to choose what to read next. It's seriously like a box of chocolates (I wish you could say that without hearing the voice of Forrest Gump!), and I never know what I'll be in the mood for. Sometimes I pick five and then decide based on the first paragraph. Lately I've been trying to read all the fairy tale retellings together (blog post upcoming). The Fantasy/Sci-Fi category is great because we have fairy tales, vampires, post-apocalyptics, ghost stories, swords and sorcery, space ships, dragons, alternate history, distant planets, hidden kingdoms, time travel, gypsies, monks, evil corporations, zombie cheerleaders, kisses, murders, betrayals, curses, cloning, talking polar bears, lonely werewolves, evil tattoos, totalitarian regimes, slaves, samurais, beheadings, and more. Can you imagine? It makes me shake my head with sadness for people who have closed their minds to all the wonders of fantasy and science fiction.

I want to sit on the floor and pet all the pretty books like they're a basket of puppies. I am such a nerd for books.

Before the end I will have more to say about what I am learning, reading this slew of books, about how some books emerge from the pack, and how a book makes you love it, as opposed to merely liking it. It's a great learning experience, for sure.


Anonymous said...


I know exactly this feeling of so-much reading you're talking about. The nonfiction book I'm reading has lots of excerpts (or will, when I get them in there!), so I'm reading and reading and reading. And loving it, but not doing a whole lot of breathing in between books! But there are days when the couch and blanket are a must. :)

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Becky! I know I just saw your name in the dedication or acknowlegments of something I just read or was at least leafing through considering reading. . . which book was it?

Curious what your nonfiction book is about.

Unknown said...

Sounds like so much fun! I miss being on the Cybils panel and doing all that intense reading. It is interesting how, when reading so many books back to back, a sort of Darwinian process happens where the strong books emerge as victors. I love your description of all the lovely topics in the fantasy/sci-fi category!

Good luck with Bad-Ass Sci-Fi. I'm really curious about it and hope that you eventually finish and refine it and that it ends up published so I can read it! Of course, that's a long time away and you have to finish it, first. I am looking forward to Silksinger, though!

Diandra Mae said...

Hmmm....would that workshop be Squam? That view looks suspiciously familiar to my blog reading eye. :)

Anonymous said...

i certain snakeymama and i concur that you ARE a speed reader...which is NOT to say that you do not masticate fully every single delectable word and savor it. it's read fast.

thanks for the shwag. a certain gregarious blond recently declared that she'd devoured three awesome books and awaits more. i'm just saying. :)

big hugs to you and jimbo!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your 50,000 words! That's huge! And good luck with the rest of it.

I'm feeling jealousy. I don't have anything I haven't read that I want to read in the house at the moment. I'm trying to squeeze in more writing time, but you managed more words in a day than I did all week. Go Laini!

Anonymous said...

I am wishing you the best in geting to teach a workshop. I certainly would sign up. Isn't it intersting how some books are like cream and rise to the top? I am finding that out with the NFPB ones I am reading. Happy Thanksgiving.

Kim Baise said...

Zombie Cheerleaders, really? Wow! Enjoy your reading! Does that mean you won't be in the 5000 word challenge today? I'm going to be working on some art and checking in with Jolie and Holly today.
Mmmm vegetable soup sounds like a great idea for dinner. I'll crank up the crock pot now :)

Stephanie Perkins said...

Ooo, I love the pretty pictures of towering books that you keep posting! So dreamy. (And, um, can I have your curtains? Cute!)

CONGRATULATIONS again on reaching 50k. That is so so so HUGE and should be celebrated. I knew you could do it :)

Carrie Harris said...

You can't teach that workshop. Because if you do, I shall have to drop my kids off at the grandparents' house and hitch hike all the way there.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Wow, Laini, you are reading and writing up a storm! I'm lucky if I get one book read over a weekend. I'm reading Laurie H-A's CHAINS right now, and OMG it is so good. I read half of it yesterday, and can't wait to get back to.

Em said...

That's such exciting news! Next year sounds like your lucky year. :)

Anonymous said...

JUNE?? Not September???