I just checked back to see what I was doing this time, in the last three years. Three years ago, not so exciting -- starting this journal. :-) Two years ago, I had already headed down to Kev's parents' place...I'd also just received framed covers of my book. I suppose we're a little past the two year anniversary of that. Yes, I know, I need to write another one. Working on it, in my own slow, strange way. And last year, I was Christmas shopping with my mother and sister at this time...I'm happy enough not to be doing that again this year. A bit frantic.
I wonder how many of you are original readers. Not many, I imagine. I'm curious, so I'd like to perform an experiment. If you've been reading this journal from the beginning (even if you took breaks now and then), please drop me a line. Frankly, I'll be startled if more than one or two people write.
Anyway, back to the everyday fare of this journal. I finished _The Physiognomy_ yesterday, can't remember the author. Now, this book was a New York Times Notable Book, and won the World Fantasy Award...and you know? I didn't like it. It struck me as a rather unsuccessful blend of allegory and fiction, with a rather cardboard villain who becomes too easily a 'real live boy'. I found myself wondering how the author justified slaughtering so many of his characters in what purports to be a novel (rather than a pure allegory). I reached the end of the book and *still* didn't like the protagonist, who you are quite clearly expected to like by that point. And there a lot of rather unpleasant details that turned my stomach to no good end. I know it sounds like I'm slamming it pretty hard -- I probably wouldn't have if it hadn't won awards...such books need their criticism, and can take it. There *are* quite a lot of beautiful and inventive details, and the central conceit of the book is quite engaging. But I can tell you one thing for sure -- I won't be reading the sequel.
On a happier note, I've started Delia Sherman's _The Porcelain Dove_ and am totally engrossed. Now, this book is a little harder to come by -- it's out of print, and you need to track down Delia at a convention (or mail her) and buy it directly from her. I thought I had her e-mail, but I can't find it. She lives with Ellen Kushner, so you might be able to track her down that way. In any case, this is a gorgeous book -- here's a bit from the back cover blurb:
"Eighteenth-century France is the the setting -- a time and a place where age-old superstitions shadow an age of enlightenment, where the minuet of aristocratic life is deaf to the approaching drumbeats of revolution, where elegance masks depravity and licentiousness makes a mockery of love."
Good, eh? :-) What I'm enjoying most about the novel is the tone, I think -- a certain archness that seems very characteristic of the period, but with a grave humanity underlying it, that breaks through at unexpected moments. I'm very glad that Delia is writing more -- her next book is going to be a collaboration with Ellen, a novel set in the same world as Ellen's brilliant _Swordspoint_, but a hundred or so years earlier.
Well, I've probably procrastinated long enough, and should get started on Clean Sheets. Now that two people have nagged me about it (yes, Shmuel, yes David, I know), I'm going to actually write a new editorial, though it'll probably be mostly a holiday message. Dinner with Ingrid went wonderfully last night...but it also went reasonably late, and I was very tired, so I decided the magazine could wait until today. I feel a little guilty about this, since I used to be quite insistent on getting it up late Tuesday night so that first thing Wednesday morning even on the East Coast, people would be able to read it. But heck...it's the holidays; everyone's slacking off a little, and we *do* just say updated Wednesday. Updated Wednesday it'll be.
Gosh, it's still dark. It's 6:45 a.m. now -- I'm embarrassed to admit that it's been a long time since I got up this early. But I rather like it, and I imagine once I make my tea and light a candle or two to chase away the darkness, I'lll be fine. Have a lovely day, munchkins...