melita66: (icebert)
It's been pretty slow the last few weeks. I went to the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego the week before last. I got some nice books in the book bag (publishers donate books for publicity reasons), traded some with a friend who went with me, and put on the 'free' table everything that I was sure I wouldn't read. I was also careful in the dealer's room and only bought 2 books (1 a gift).

I went to several panel sessions (crystal ceiling, worlds of Islam, some young adult sessions, the year in review). Several sessions where I hoped for some good recommendations hardly had any so that was a bust. I follow enough blogs now that I had at least heard of almost everything mentioned in the year-in-review session which definitely helped when writing down suggested books and authors!

I went to several readings. Sharon Shinn who has a new series starting next year. I had a problem with some timeline issues in the excerpt she read. Main character is a shapeshifter and its stated that as he's gotten older, he spends more time in nonhuman (animal) form to the point that he's only in human form for a few days a month. He shows up at main character's house after an absence of a few weeks. Based on her statement that she had to go to work for two days, it was probably on a Wednesday. She asks him about weekend plans, and he announces that they have to visit his sister on Sunday. Um, we're already getting past a few days there. The funnest was Ysabeau Wilce's. The first Flora book is coming out next spring! Hooray! Hip hip hooray! She had pictures of the cover, and chocolates. Really yummy chocolates. I also attended Alaya Dawn Johnson's reading. She had been recommended at either last years WFC or this year's worldcon so I thought I would see whether I would look up her stuff after the reading. I've done that before with unknown-to-me authors, but usually decided not to buy anything. This time the series did sound intriguing and I have the first book ordered.

I'm impatient enough now (due to a personal issue) that I actually asked a neighbor to be quiet. She was typing on a laptop most of the session--fine, maybe she's blogging--but then would quit to hold long (minutes long) whispered discussion with her neighbor. Worked okay when panelists were speaking, but once audience members started commenting, it was very difficult to hear them. She was quite surprised, quieted down for the rest of the session and apologized when we broke up. Thank you, unknown colleague!

Another session, the moderator brought in statements from what she called 'ghost panelists'. I understand the reasoning. She prepared well, and asked for statements from some well-known names in field. However, I thought it short-changed the panelists because she insisted on reading the statements verbatim. Briefly summarizing them would have left more time for the other panelists and audience members to comment. Sessions were only 55 minutes long (before the lost of the first minute or two for everyone to settle down).

I didn't have any problems with the convention hotel/site except trying to make my around the first day. It is a confusing layout. I think there were originally some two story room blocks. Later, hotel tower blocks, more restaurants, and the convention center buildings were added. Everything's a bit shoe-horned in, and that makes it difficult to get around. People with mobility issues were having a difficult time. I'd noticed one blatant problem. Readings were on the second floor of the conventions center. The women's bathroom had two stalled. The 'handicapped' stall was the same size as a regular stall, but had a rail installed. The stall door opened inwards! I could hardly maneuver enough to get the door shut.

Had some very good food. The hotel restaurants were fine. But, Boudin's, here's looking at you! Yum, yum. And, I was able to hit Boston Market on the way home and had yummy leftovers for several days. Nom nom, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, nom nom.

On the reading side, I was waiting for some books to arrive so I re-read Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: Plan B, I Dare, and Ghost Ship.
melita66: (ghibli house)
I just spent 30 seconds trying to remember what book I'd finished on Wednesday. I really need to get more sleep. The chain of remembrance was--I took it to work for someone, what books did I take? pictured the books--oh yes, I took off the dustcover--that's it!

Anyway, after many years on one of the to-read bookcases, I finally read Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw. I'm trying to read several of her books that have languished on the to-read shelves after reading Lifelode last year and the amazing Among Others this year. Walton has said that Tooth and Claw is modeled after Anthony Trollope, who I've never read. It feels similar to Jane Austen as it has the same focus on British country life among the upper middle and upper classes complete with some snarky asides by the 'author.'

Walton is a fantasy author. So what makes Tooth and Claw fantastical? The society are dragons. While they can survive on animal meat, only eating dragon meat enables a dragon to grow large and gain powers like fire. Servants are forbidden dragon meat and have their wings bound as well. The family patriarch dies, and although he had left most of his hoard to his younger children (who weren't established yet), a brother-in-law says that the will doesn't specifically include the body and proceeds to eat or feed most of it to him, his wife, and dragonets.

The story then follows the younger children as the son decides to sue, and the daughters are split up among two households.

I would have to say that like Austen, it's mostly a domestic story, focused on small happenings, and perhaps a romance, as there are several (both established and new) in the book. There are hints that there are humans or at least some sort of humanoids elsewhere in the world.

I quite enjoyed it, and wish there was a sequel.

Walton has several interesting, long-running blog posts on tor.com. One set has reviewed the Hugo nominees and award-winners up to 2000, while the other is Walton re-reading older works.

I'm currently re-reading Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Plan B, and will probably follow it with I Dare. I'm also pulling books to get signed to take to World Fantasy this week. It's within driving distance for me, so I don't have any weight or space limits! Several authors that I really like are going to be there, that have never been at a convention that I've been at. So it's a great opportunity. Plus, after several years of multiple worldcons and other conventions, I probably won't get to any for close to two years (at least) due to some coming life changes.

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November 2016

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