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Wednesday, 2 June 2010
gone gone gone she been gone so long

I know I've been a bad blog mommy again. In part, I think it's because I see so many fantastic blogs out there that I get an inferiority complex, and in part, I have been spending a lot more of my blogging time over at The Incidental Cyclist. (Now, of course, my poetry-writing side and my bike enthusiast side have merged in a strange confluence: the Kymeras have a feature this Sunday at The Spoken Word Plot in Almonte (temporarily rechristened the Spoke 'n' Word Plot for Mississippi Mills Bike Month) which will be all about bikes. Should be fun!)

And I've also been massively busy with many other things. So, that would be why I've been away. I'm going to try and stick with this, but no promises. 

Lately I'm on a reading binge, too. Sometimes you have these, right? Where you get up on a Saturday, grab a book, settle in on the couch, and a few hours later put that book down, finished, and pick up another one? I've had a couple of days like that, especially during the heat wave. Reading a lot of YA fiction because of the Festival children's program means I wind up reading a lot of books very fast, because YA is usually a quick read. 

A off-the-top-of-my-head list of books I've devoured in the last, say, week and a half: 

Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde. What is there to say about Jasper Fforde except that he's a virtuoso of random? He's like the unholy love child of Will Self and Douglas Adams. Shades of Grey is surreal, funny dystopian satire/SF/spoof/fantasy set in a world where your social status is determined by what colours you can see. And there are giant carnivorous swans. And strange chunks of floating metal that pop up out of the earth with erosion and drift off downhill. 

Brigands MC, a YA spy book the author of which escapes me. Part of a series called CHERUB, the extremely silly premise of which is that there's a division of the British Secret Service that recruits kids and turns them into superspies. Could be just terrible (James Patterson's Maximum Ride and Daniel X series come to mind as cautionary examples) but in fact it was a really fun read.

(Speaking of Patterson, did you know John Grisham has a kids' book coming out this fall? I read the first chapter. Terrible. Terrible, terrible.)

blueeyedboy, by Joanne Harris. Funny, I only knew Chocolat and thought of her as a slightly fluffy chicklit writer. Then I met her and found out she's one of those cool geeks (no, it's not a contradiction in terms.) blueeyedboy was hipper than I expected, a lovely beautiful read but with a lot of darkness. The ending gave me the willies. 

Antonia Fraser's The Warrior Queens: a gift from fellow Kymera Ruthanne who found it in a used book store. What can I say? It's got lots of Boudicca, and other kickass ladies of history. Yawmp.

Enchanted Glass, by Diane Wynne Jones. I'm actually in the middle of this one at the moment. Mm, British fantasy. Non-dumbed-down, non-formulaic writing for young audiences. Hooray! What I love about this one is that there are all kinds of things that are NOT explained. They just are. No exposition, no sitting-down-to-tell-our-protagonist-how-things-are - you just go straight into the story as though the mechanics of magic, the teminology, and what people do and do not take for granted in this world, are already established. Hooray. 

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston. Again, hooray: this is a novel for kids in rhyme in which the rhyme is not used as an excuse to be sloppy. I have read kids' poetry where lines were clearly, obviously, painfully thrown in there in order to have a word that rhymes at the end. It's not good. Zorgamazoo rattles along in gosh-darn-near perfect anapests, and not only do the lines all need to be there, but sometimes the rhymes will make me laugh out loud with how neat and clever they are. Plus, the clever, creative typography rocks in a way that lots of kids' books try to do and fail (I'm looking at you, How To Train Your Dragon). 

I think there are others but that's what comes to mind at the moment. Looking forward to clearing out the to-do pile over the next couple of days so I can tackle Anathem by Neal Stephenson, which is something you don't do lightly. (Those who know Stephenson know what I'm talking about.) 

Posted by Kathryn Hunt at 5:03 PM EDT
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