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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

November is a lot of national SOMETHING SOMETHING month


In addition to nanowrimo, naphopomo, and nachopomo, November is also nablopomo; but it isn’t nanomango which takes place in June. (According to Wikipedia, November is also a lot of other stuff.)

Are you doing anything especially writery for November?

I’m going to try and update MAH BLAHG every day during the month of November and also work on outstanding pieces of fiction I have open as opposed to starting new pieces of fiction that won’t get finished. Is there a “national finish your stupid writing already” month or a “national edit your rough drafts” month or something?

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30 Days of Books: Day 20


Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Wow, do I totally not have one. I am, in general, uninterested in romantic elements in fiction.

Any great kissing scenes that will change my mind, that you can recommend?

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30 Days of Books: Day 19


Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)

"the changeover: a supernatural romance by margaret mahy"

The original cover toThe Changeover , by Margaret Mahy, is one that’s always grabbed me. Laura is not a conventionally attractive girl, nor is she entirely White. I mean, she’s not HIDEOUS, but it was clear in the text that she didn’t really fit in for a number of reasons. And here’s the book cover featuring her12, and she looks as described, and she’s got olive skin and dark curly hair and looks kind of tired and what’s with that coin? That looks interesting. Hm, let me just pick this book up and huh! wow! Witches? Really?

Margaret Mahy… gosh. I read so much of her stuff when I was younger. She’s an excellent writer.

  1. And note that her head is showing, she’s not a headless body, which is the current trend
  2. And note that her ethnicity hasn’t been whitewashed, which is the current trend
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30 Days of Books: Day 18


Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book

Cricket magazine used to have a feature 1 where people submitted the first sentence of favorite books. Just the first sentence. It was so… intriguing! Tantalizing! I’d sit there and dream up really awesome first sentences, hooks that would lure people in.

I can’t really remember any specific favorite beginning scenes– or first lines– now, though. Sorry.

  1. They might still have this feature; I haven’t read Cricket in a very long time
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30 Days of Books: Day 17


Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)

I really, really enjoyed Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and once we’re settled where we’re going to live permanently1, and I have a bit of extra money, I’m going to start collecting all the volumes. They will require their own bookshelf. When I was younger, one of my goals was to get something published, and then have it reprinted in Year’s Best. I still haven’t been published, and Year’s Best is no longer active, sadly. I discovered a lot of new-to-me authors in the pages of those anthologies, both printed in the actual volumes and in the honorable mentions.

Datlow and Windling also edited several books of retold fairy tales: Snow White, Blood Red, Black Thorn, White Rose, Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears, Black Swan, White Raven, Silver Birch, Blood Moon, Black Heart, Ivory Bones. I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of them, and own most of them. I dip into them time and again.

  1. Our current apartment, which is owned by Nesko’s family, is nice and I adore the neighborhood. However, there’s only one bathroom (barbaric!) and the school district kind of sucks. They do own a building a block away that has a slightly larger apartment with 2 bathrooms, so we might move there at some point, or we might move… I don’t even know. But this place, lovely as it is and homey as it feels, isn’t where we’re going to end up.
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30 Days Of Books: Day 16


Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry

First, I’d like to direct you to Gwyn McVay, who writes poetry: Ordinary Beans.

Some of my favorite poems include Invictus and Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. A little predictable/pedestrian? Maybe.

Recommend me some poetry, if you care to!

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30 Days of Books: Day 15


Day 15 – Your “comfort” book

Every few months or so, at least once a year, Nesko and I talk about moving to his family’s country of origin. This would be a very long over seas voyage, and shipping things would be expensive as all get out. So every time we talk about that, I take mental stock of All My Books and try to figure out which ones I’d pack and take– or, as eReaders become more and more common, which I’d repurchase in electronic format.

During our second to last move, we divested ourselves of quite a lot of books. Literally, about a third of them. It was weird and hard and almost traumatic, and I felt lighter and free-er afterwards, although I have gone back looking for a few of the books we got rid of and once we are permanently settled some place I am totally going to repurchase volumes of “Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.” I dipped into them too rarely to justify their weight and amount of shelf space they took up.

This is one of those questions that’s so incredibly hard for me to answer. Like a lot of my introverted, socially awkward friends I turned to books for socialization and companionship. In the absence of human connection, kindness, and understanding, I had books. They were as close to friends as I had, until my awkward social fumblings in high school. Like a lot of my friends, I’m inordinately attached to books. I think that’s part of why I re-read books I enjoy so frequently. It’s very much akin to visiting good friends. (I think it’s also part of why I’m so horrible at maintaining human friendships. You can put a book down and pick it up later on and nothing has changed. With humans, you need to make an effort and keep in touch and be considerate.)

Anyway, although I didn’t like them at first (until I read The Fall of The Kings, which for whatever reason snapped everything into connection and made me fall in love with the world and characters when before I’d only appreciated the books for their excellent writing), I turn again and again to the Riverside books. I also dip frequently into Robyn McKinley’s Damar books, although recent rereads have left me frustrated at the pro-Colonialism brown-people-saved-by-feisty-white-women elements. I’ve mentioned these books at least once already in this meme. A lot of these questions are pretty repetitive.

I’m working on a real blog post about Political Correctness and what it is and isn’t, and why complaining about PC thought police makes you look like an asshole. However, I have a 16 month old who is refusing to sleep unless it’s with another person (usually me), so I have very little time to myself at the moment. If you’re interested in reading baby stuff, feel free to hop on over to http://brigidkeely.com/baby/ and check it out. Be warned that most of the recent posts are about OMGSLEEPISSUESWTF.

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30 Days of Books: Day 14


Day 14 – Favorite character in a book

Gosh, how can I pick?

I was recently talking with someone on LJ about this who’d selected Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch.

Jean is a strapping big bruiser of a man who was taught as a child not to engage in sword play, but “how to kill a man with a sword.” He has “unruly” curly hair, a fierce and quick temper, eyeglasses to correct his far sightedness, and is extremely well educated. He’s good with math and loves literature and discussing it, especially plays and historical romances. He’s loyal and protective and an excellent cook.

Don’t you want to take him home with you?

He’s much more stable and down to earth than Locke is, a good right hand man who doesn’t get swept up in impossible dreams. He’s also armed at all times, and can defend himself and the people he cares about. To an extent.

If you asked me this question a week from now, though, I’d have an entirely different answer.

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30 Days of Books: Day 13


Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)

My current favorite YA book is Graceling by Kristin Cashore. While it has its flaws (the central character, while female, has no female friends other than her much older mother-figure maid, causing it to fail the letter of The Bechdel Test, for instance) it’s a very well written book following the coming of age of a young woman with a power– a “grace”– that is… not very feminine. She’s a tool, a slave, owned by a king and he sets her to harass and kill– to make examples of– people who oppose him or don’t do his wishes.

She rebels against him.

She also doesn’t want to get married, and doesn’t want to have kids. She falls for a dude, they talk about non-love stuff, and they have sex. Sex! Unmarried sex! Enjoyable, guilt-free sex! She uses birth control! Her disinterest in marriage and kids is treated in the book as an option, neither good nor bad, although some characters think she’ll change her mind when she meets the right person, or whatever. This is one of the things that stuck out the most to me, reminding me of just how incredibly earth shaking Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Rampant books were when I read them as a youth. There are other similarities as well.

Katsa is brave and physically strong, moving in a man’s world but still at disadvantage solely because of her gender. She is a warrior, extremely skilled, and still discounted because she is female. She makes her own choices and decisions, she seizes her own path, and she doesn’t need saving. In fact, she saves a powerful male character; a man who in some ways is reduced to the status of love interest. It’s also excellently written.

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30 Days of Books: Day 12


Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times

This isn’t really a fair question to ask someone like me, because I re-read books a lot. It’s like sliding into a pair of perfectly broken in jeans or shoes, creeping between the covers of a perfectly made comfy bed on a cold night, snuggling in with a soft blanket. It’s just… comfortable. It’s why I prefer to own books, instead of just check them out of the library. I want them on hand so I can dip into them again and again. I like new stuff, too, but I revisit the old frequently.

What I’ve re-read recently is the first two (only two) books in the Gentleman Bastard series, Sarah Monette’s The Doctrine of Labyrinths and Bone Key, The Dark is Rising series, the Damar books, Ellen Kushner’s stuff, Delia Sherman’s stuff, and Sense and Sensibility.

Lest you think I dwell too much on books already read, instead of moving forth and consuming recent books, I will remind you that I read very, very quickly. I read The Hunger Games literally in one day. Granted, it’s YA and not, say, A Feast for Crows (much longer, more going on, an appendix for people and places). But still. I read quickly.

What are some of the books YOU revisit time and again?

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