Friday, April 18, 2008

"He's Just Not That Into You" by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Why I read it: One of my coworkers lent it to me because she'd just lent it to someone else whose marriage was falling apart. This is my bossy coworker. Typical conversation: "I have to read 'The Lucifer Code' next." "Why?" "Because I requested it through interlibrary loan, and it's just arrived." "Oh." She's always implying that my life choices are somehow questionable, and I'm letting other people force me into doing things, when actually these things are things I want to do, if not always on such an obvious and high level as reading 'The Lucifer Code', which will probably explain more about shitty relationships than this book did.

What I liked: At least it was short.

What I hated: This book made me feel bad. Contrary to its premise, it actually made me feel like I am the problem in my relationship, which I guess is good for Ed. But perhaps I should give this book back to its owner before he finds out what a rotten girlfriend I am. This book also made me irrationally crave pizza. At 10:00 in the morning. WTF?

What I can steal: Maybe some of the depressing relationships could be used in stories, I guess.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

e-blasted again

So I was sitting innocently at my desk giggling, and one of my colleagues said to me, "Stop laughing at the corporate e-blast, Robyn." First of all, how did he know that's why I giggled? Anyway, I replied, "How can I not laugh, when our major industry trade show is going on right now, and we can't have an e-blast about how many visitors have been to our booth, or anything like that. Instead we have a message about how we've secured strategic price reductions on rental cars." I mean, really. I bet if I take that e-blast and print it out and wave it around at the car rental place, I can get a discount too. And I'll post about it here.

Also in the same e-blast, I can nominate one of my colleagues for a corporate citizen award for people who display the highest ethical standards. If I win that award, I shall die of shame.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman

Why I read it: So I was sitting in a restaurant with Ed and the boy, and I mentioned that I was almost done "Inkheart" and I might read Stardust next. Ed freaked out and ranted that no, I wasn't going to do that, some other book would come ready for me at the library, and I would read that book instead, and I wouldn't finish Stardust, and it had been months and months and months since he had asked me to read it so then we could watch the movie. I pointed out that it could not possibly have been "months and months and months" because he'd gotten Stardust for Christmas, and that was, tops, four months ago, which can only be months and months, months being plural. You can't count the same months over and over when you're saying "months and months," the months are additive. I didn't mention that it hadn't technically been four months yet, because it was only about the 11th of April, so it couldn't even be months and months. That seemed superfluous.
What I liked: I read it in a day. It was a day when my jaw hurt and my neck hurt and I was having insane allergies, so it was really nice to have something that was totally enjoyable and entertaining and light and not difficult that I could breeze through and feel like I had accomplished something, other than blowing my nose 40 times. I also liked how so many disparate storylines joined together so neatly at the end. It's hard to do that without seeming contrived. And I liked that there were all these people looking for the star for different reasons. So often in fantasy lit, everyone is looking for the same thing for variations on the same reason. This was a refreshing change. I also liked that Tristram never really seemed all that special, for being half of faerie and all that. And the town of Wall, kind of like Bordertown, but with a more specific place, was great. I'd love to read something set in the now, rather than during the victorian era, set in Wall. I hope they still have the market every nine years.
What I hated: When it was over, maybe. Also, the part about Una being freed when the moon lost a daughter in a week that joined two mondays or whatever seemed a little trite. What is it with NG and having characters with last names that are the names of the week? And the short story at the end in the bonus materials was a little icky to me.
What I can steal: I loved the way he glossed over the necessary fantasy tropes that really drag out a novel. You know, where Tristram and the girl were almost press-ganged into a goblin war, and almost suckered into working in mines. Yeah, they were in a months-long trek across faerie, so those things happened, and they got out of them through their quick wits, and by running really fast. We don't need to have those scenes fleshed out. All-in-all, this book really had an excellent sense of proportion.

"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke

Why I read it: The boy forced this book on me one day when I said "I've finished my book. What should I read next?"
What I liked: First thing I liked was the near-constant references to other works of childrens' lit. One of my colleagues had mentioned "the Selfish Giant" to me one day, and the next day I read a reference to it in this book. Also, it had never crossed my mind before that "Treasure Island" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" were written by the same author.
What I hated: Seemed longer than necessary, somehow. This might have been partly because I had a strong sense that the book was in translation. I wonder if it would have been more lyrical if I could have read it in German.
What I can steal: The POV was good, I think. We only took on characters' POVs when we really needed to, and only when we had a pretty clear external picture of that person's motivations already. POV is a huge problem in the thing I'm currently writing in first draft.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Saturday Night Rewrites -- April 5

I'd fallen totally off the wagon with this whole rewriting thing, so I decided to rethink the requirement. If I can't consistently force myself to do it, then there's no point. It just makes me feel guilty. So, I decided I need to open the computer file at least once a week, and look at the paper at least once a week.

And I did the former today. I read somewhere on a blog a system to use Excel to track chapters, and I knew my chapters in Toothbrush were all in the wrong order, so I've finished re-ordering them. Now I'm going to massage for a couple of weeks and then I'll print it again and try to read through it.

Maybe I would have better luck if I had tried with a short story first. Alas, I have no idea what to do with them when they're done, so there's no driving force to make me work on them.

Not that I really have any clue what to do with a novel that features probably 12-year-old girls. But there seems to be a market for them. Short stories seem to be written for other writers of short stories. I read them, but that's kind of a QED.