Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Convention, Lack Thereof

Why can't Houston have a fantasy convention that competes with the sci-fi ones? We're headed to Apollocon at the end of the month and I'm looking forward to it; however, I'm a fantasist. I hunger for guest speakers and writers who focus on the mythical and the poetic. Heck, I'd be willing to cede space to the romantics, if it would result in a weekend wandering the woods and dark city corners catching legends out of the corner of the eye.

And I did mention something about books in the last post, didn't I? This summer hasn't been a great time for finishing books, but I have several good ones scattered about. Yesterday I finished Charles de Lint's The Dreaming Place. It was a quick read but good; an example of YA fiction that speaks to the impulse to grow up and connect to the people around us. I found myself in sympathy with one of the main character's resistance to a closer definition of family in a way that surprised me--the definition of family had become more important to me than the facts presented in the story and I was shaken by my own insistence on proper definitions and proper spaces in relationships. Odd to find myself waiting for a more salacious reveal than I received.

The other three books I've just started (in one case, restarted). These are The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea, Moonwise by Greer Ilene Gilman, and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I had heard of The Magicians but had been slotting it in been-there, read-that territory until an encounter with a girl working at Waldenbooks. She'd recently read it and was recommending it with the kind of excitement that I remembered from when I'd read The Hobbit, et al, back in the day. How can you pass up that enthusiasm? So far (maybe 10 pages in?) I'm kicking myself for not giving Mr. Grossman a chance. As many times as I've bought a cover rather than a book, I should have scooped this one up earlier.

I already know that I'm in love with Moonwise the way I am with Gaiman, Tolkien, Woolf and the way that words can move seemingly independent of themselves, peeling back organza layers to show a landscape unexpected but familiar. It takes me longer to read it because I'm trying to savor each sentence. Apparently a second book has recently been released, so I'm going to have to keep moving and let the sentences lie so that I can find my way to the next volume.

The third is a bit of a mystery. I picked it up used and delayed starting it to finish The Dreaming Place. More than likely, this will be the first one that I read, since it's completely unknown.

After I'm done with these, I'm taking a second run at Little, Big. I don't know why I didn't finish it the first time, but I know that I bought it at the same time we were in that first apartment, trying to negotiate a transition that didn't come easily. I don't think I had much left over for the book. I tend to believe that you need to come to the text when you're ready and I'm hoping that this time I will be and I'll enjoy it as much as others have.

That should take us through the summer. In the background I'm working on my own two novels and hopefully pulling out submittable drafts by the time autumn returns. That tends to be my favorite season for writing and thinking, but it's also a generally busy time. If I have good drafts (meaning complete, not 'good' writing), then I should be able to work on them while reading and posting. Until next time, happy reading!

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