Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Life Interferes With Blog. But I read Pegasus! And Blackout and All Clear

One really must be disciplined with this blogging thing. I have problems with discipline. My title makes it sound like I've been doing interesting things that haven't allowed me time to write blog entries, but I don't imagine anyone will find choosing kitchen sinks and wall sconces and shopping for bras with my daughter very interesting. (The bras were for me, as part of my daughter's on-going attempts to make me fashionable: apparently fashion these days requires Extreme Push-up and Beyond Cleavage bras.)(Is this too much info for a blog?) I've also been planning our Christmas trip to New York: the internet is wonderful for trip planning, but you have to wonder when it takes longer to plan the trip than the trip itself will last!

The upshot of all this non-interesting stuff is that I haven't read nearly so much lately. But there are still a few things I can talk about:

Pegasus, by Robin McKinley. I've been looking forward to this one for a while, and I celebrated its release with a Pegasus Release Celebration, and finally I got around to reading it. And it was as lovely as promised: princess and pegasi; what more do you need to know? But I find I can't say very much about it, because the story's not done. This is Volume 1 of a promised two volumes, and it ends right when things start getting interesting. What we get in Pegasus is a lot of world-building. It's a beautiful world (just look at the cover of the book), and I was happy to spend time in it. But nothing bad actually happens until the very last scene, so I feel as though I've read a very long prologue, and the book ends after chapter one. There are a lot of interesting ideas and relationships developed, and I can't wait to see what McKinley does with them. I'm just going to have to be patient, since Pegasus II isn't due until 2012. Stay tuned! (I'm going to call Pegasus creme brulee--sweet and simple with the complex underlayers of vanilla bean; and I'm anticipating that Vol 2 will be somewhat more chocolatey.)

Blackout and All Clear, by Connie Willis. Willis does the same thing McKinley does with this latest duo--cutting the story in half and publishing it as two books, but I was more patient and didn't read Blackout when it came out last year. Thank goodness. I don't think I would have bothered re-reading it this year in order to get up to speed before the sequel, and I would have missed out. Much like Willis' earlier novel Passage, Blackout spends most of its time following characters back and forth in futile quests to do apparently irrelevant things. It's deliberately confusing about who, where, and when, and reading it on my iPod meant it was harder to flip back and forth trying to figure out what I should have remembered from previous chapters. It's a time travel novel, set in the same world as Doomesday Book, Fire Watch, and To Say Nothing of the Dog, so Mr. Dunworthy is back, and so's Colin, (and so is St. Paul's cathedral) and we get three new characters going back to different points in WWII. Because I had read these other books, and Passage, I decided to stick with the confusion and frustration and keep reading, because when Willis finally gets to her pay-off it's usually worth it (and all the confusion and frustration are actually necessary in order to appreciate the pay-off). I have to say that All Clear's payoff wasn't as heart-stoppingly wonderful as Passage, but I still liked it. And I have a whole new appreciation for what England went through during WWII. That's really what this duo is: a paeon of praise to British courage and resiliance, and it's worth reading just for that. I wish we had seen more of Colin than we do--in fact, I wish Blackout had been shorter and All Clear longer--but I would still classify this as a must-read for Willis fans. (If you haven't read Connie Willis yet, don't start with these. Try Doomesday Book if you want something serious, and To Say Nothing of the Dog if you want really funny.) I can't make a food analogy for Blackout and All Clear, because they were set during rationing, so I'd have to use something nasty with cabbage! Rather, I'll compare it to those really good war movies that make you cheer for ordinary people doing heroic things. And now I want to go watch the movie Enigma.

I picked up the new Diane Duane book last week, and I just discovered Kirkus's Best Books for Teens 2010, so there's a lot of reading I want to do, but I'm working on an editing project and I'm trying to be good and do my own writing, so I may not have another review for a while. Maybe I'll do a post about wall sconces!

(I'm not so good with the putting photos in the blog; sorry for the weird formatting.)


  1. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing. How do you put them together?

  2. I would love to read Pegasus story. I am wondering why it is called Pegasus. I am glad to read this post.