This is not a formal review and contains no spoilers
I didn’t have much reading time over the last few weeks and it took me two weeks to finish Dance With Dragons. Because I’ve been so distracted I had a really difficult time with it, and I didn’t re-read the Song of Ice and Fire books as I was planning to. Quite frankly i was feeling a bit lost. Luckily Craig had re-read them and finished reading Dance With Dragons before me so I was able to keep badgering him. Mostly “Who is this guy?”
Robin Hobb has always been one of my favourite authors, both in her work and as a person. I have always admired Robin and her writing, as the famous quote from George R.R Martin that is printed on most of her book covers says “stands out like diamonds in a sea of zircons” As a person you can get a glimpse of her in her blogs of course, but I have in my possession a leather bookmark. Quite a while ago Robin’s assistant was on Twitter offering “special bookmarks” I asked for one assuming they were promotional bookmarks for the new series. I forgot about it after a couple of weeks, but several months later I got a small parcel. In it was a hand-tooled leather bookmark signed by Robin accompanied by a letter in which she stated she’d been making the bookmarks for months with the help of her son, niece and assistant. While she said she had a lot of fun on the project I was simply amazed at the many hours they would have spent making them, and the many lucky fans who have a hand-crafted gift from Robin herself. I kept the letter as well, with sits with my collection of first editions.
Bookseller lunches consist of myself and my bookseller friends usually taking over a large table in a cafe with no prior booking because we’re unorganised and proceeding to blather on for hours. They are always a lot of fun, and usually divided into small camps. Some of the girls sell romance, some sell a bit of everything, I’m the only one who reads kids books, Dave is the only comic book collector.
I watch one camp trying to recruit others to read their preferred genre, which is always outrageously amusing, while the other camp scoffs. I’ll sometimes tell the scoffers off for being snobs. After all, I read about magic, wizards and talking mice with legendary swords. Who am I to point fingers?
I am thoroughly ashamed of my reading efforts in 2010, I barely managed a book a month. Another year went by where I missed my annual re-reads (although I did squeeze in a Farseer Trilogy re-read after I read the new latest Robin Hobbs) So I will make a futile attempt at having a plan.
What I would like to try and get through this year
Books I have read every year for many years
Well, there is no new book reviews or other related shenanigans this weekend. The week started off simply enough. I was planning my work week which was coming along nicely
Now my laptop has bravely withstood a great deal of verbal abuse, the occasional physical abuse and the results of my outstanding clumsiness (being the in the unfortunate position of having a cord which I can trip over repeatedly) but on Wednesday night it finally decided that it had had enough. It stopped charging the battery. After some, er, very calm…
I was sorting through my many spares of Harry Potter books the other day (the shelves on my ‘good’ bookcase are starting to bow) as I had just purchased some to sell. I had some US editions in hardcover. While I don’t mind the US editions I was never a huge fan of the artwork. I also hate the fact they changed the text in them, but that’s another rant.
I have two American collectors editions, which are fantastic, leather, super-bound, gorgeous pictures including an insert facsimile of an orginal J.K Rowling drawing of the Harry Potter gang. Those, of course, stay. Also, why didn’t they print them all? Seriously. The British deluxe editions pale in comparison.
So they’re releasing “Sweet Valley Confidential”, and they’re making a Sweet Valley High movie too.
There is a reason Sweet Valley High books were so popular in the 1980’s. And 1990’s. And early 2000’s for that matter. I’m not going to count how many were written but it is some mind-boggling number like over 500 at a quick glance. This includes the spin-offs, University, Senior High, Twins, Unicorn Club, Kids, Junior High, Thrillers for each spin-off series etc.
My friend Dave is visiting from Western Australia. You will probably hear a bit about Dave in future blogs. Usually referred to as “Dave” or sometimes “Comic Book Dave” depending on what I am discussing. Dave is a passionate book collector, and we have many long discussions about books and our latest finds. Obviously he collects comics, but he also collects a massive amount of fiction, hardback first editions, of course.
‘Cassandra by Chance’ by Betty Neels original cover from 1973, opposite a 1990’s reprint of the same book.
While you’ll often find art-work reproduced from vintage pulp-fiction, the early Mills and Boon and Harlequin artwork tends to get overlooked. Some of those old covers feature the coolest artwork, and I am sorry they don’t reproduce it when they reprint collector’s editions of books. Once in a (very long) while I come across large collections of M&B from the 60’s and 70’s, and if I am lucky I might find some of the 1950’s hardcovers (I have featured a picture of one in a previous blog on Betty Neels) which are really a lot of fun to go through.
Edie had been nattering about ‘steampunk’ here and there, and while it piqued my curiosity each time, taking the time to check it out kept slipping my mind. While I was second-hand book shopping I picked up a copy of ‘Steamed’ by Katie MacAlister. I vaguely recalled Edie telling me she hadn’t gotten past the first page, but thought I might give it a whirl (as I just told her, telling me not to do something is as good as daring me to).
I found the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books about four years ago, well the first one, on the bargain table in a country book shop. They hadn’t taken off here, and I managed to find the rest (eight at the time) in the US and got them shipped here.
I think most (if not all) devoted Harry Potter fans have suffered ‘Post-Potter-Depression’.
One you devoured your latest Potter in short order you were left with a feeling of loss. There was, after all, yet another year (or three) to go until your next adventure. Then there was the pre-release hype, the endless online discussions and speculation, the anticipation of once again diving into the world of Hogwarts and seeing your heroes triumph against adversity.