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Gorging on books, transplanting fics

Spent the holiday weekend doing THINGS I WANTED for a change. Go me :)

♥ Worked on first SSIAW* for my writers' group; story has a beginning and an end but way too much middle, and the far end of the middle doesn't yet connect with the end. Not sure how to rein this in, and I only have until midnight tomorrow night to sort it out.

♥ Got all my fic posted to Archive of Our Own. I'm impressed with the site thus far -- design, functionality, features, layout, everything.

♥ Spent a radiant half an hour laughing myself into hiccups over Hyperbole and a Half's latest gem, on the Four Levels of Social Entrapment ("Trying to end a conversation in the grocery store is like battling a sea monster that has an infinite capacity to revive itself..."). Go. See. Giggle.

♥ Positively devoured more books than any human being should in three days, as follows:

- Sister Emily's Lightship, a terrific collection of retold/reimagined fairy tales by Jane Yolen. Since it's SSIAW in my writers' group I'm trying to soak up all the tips and tricks I can on short stories, but beyond that she's a great writer. Some of the stories were in the Ellen Datlow/Terry Windling fairy tale collections (e.g. Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears) but most were completely new to me. The title story turned me off -- just a bit too off-beat -- but the rest were excellent.

- The Book of Lost Things, an excellent story that includes remaginings/retellings of fairy tales, by John Connolly. Reminded me in many ways of a darker, more mature version of The Poor Little Rich Girl. His version of the seven dwarves is positive genius! Get the later edition that includes his notes at the end on the various fairy tales, plus the original Grimm versions.

- Faithless, by Joyce Carol Oates. I'm trying Oates yet again, having failed with two of her other novels (them and I forget the other one) and been left permanently scarred by one of her short stories ("Where are you going, where have you been"). So far it's not looking promising. She's an excellent writer, that's clear, but the characters are all so unlovable and unlovely, so damaged or stupid or just plain unpleasant, that it's hard to enjoy spending time with them.

- The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing. Doris is another one that I sometimes have trouble with. I disliked The Golden Notebook, was moderately impressed with A Survivor's Tale, and was captivated by her Shikasta series (which I still haven't finished). With this one I can't tell if it's meant to be a metaphor for the compromises one makes as one gets older, and the pain that results, or if it's meant to be literally about an evil changeling child. Either way, it's gripping, horrifying, and very, very desolate at the end.

Sadly, tomorrow it's back to work and flailing madly in a sea of emails and meetings. Blech.

*SSIAW = Short Story In A Week


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Sep. 6th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
The Book of Lost things! I love that book! It was spooky, and creepy and so, so good.
Sep. 6th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Yes! A great mix of spooky and funny, sweet and sad, simple and complex, child and adult, hopes and fears. And the end was exquisitely right. Still not sure if I teared up from sorrow or joy -- probably that wrenching mix of both that comes with the really good endings. *snif*
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