1. I meant to do this yesterday, per the Friday Five tradition, but instead it's the Saturday Six. Yesterday I hit a bleary, exhausted state, chased off only by a block of couch time to consume the first part of the Project Runway finale (Tim Gunn hugs = should be bottled and sold) and Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck. I think my love for Hugo Cabret was no secret, and once again, I just felt drawn in and recalibrated by this beautiful book that no one could have done except this particular author. The old cinema feel of both is outrageously in my wheelhouse, and I'm so hoping the Hugo Cabret movie captures even a little of it.
2. Actually, I've been having a run of reading great stuff, some for review, some for other projects, some just because. About as far from Wonderstruck as possible is Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, but I thought it was bloody amazing fun. By which I mean bloody and amazing and fun to read, without losing any of its weight. Highly recommended for George R.R. Martin fans who only want to read one book and not a series (this is a standalone, although now I'm going to have to read his trilogy too), and who love a fierce, complicated woman at the center of the narrative.
3. Another really complex, fabulous book I just finished reading is Delia Sherman's The Freedom Maze--I won't say too much at this point, because I'm reviewing it for Locus and I'll have to write that review to truly sort out my thoughts. But this is truly a special book, and one that's perfect for middle grade readers, teen readers, and adults alike. Managing what Delia has managed here is really something. And, OH, I also just read Kelly Barnhill's The Mostly True Story of Jack and it, too, is amazing! Like I said, good run of books. It's odd for me to read this much middle grade in a stretch, but these are really perfect examples of how middle grade--especially with a classic feel to it; I'm thinking of Laurel Snyder's WONDERFUL Bigger Than a Breadbox too--is so universal in its appeal. This is a really great year for both YA and middle grade, in general.
4. Speaking of good things for YA: Lauren Myracle. Can we all just give her a standing ovation? One of the things that ticks off those of us in children's and YA lit is how there are always these clueless representations of the field in the media, from people who really know nothing about it. (See this brilliant Mad Libs version of the typical YA rant.) I've made my feelings about the whole NBA mess known elsewhere (twitter, tumblr). It's the most unfortunate thing, and I HATE that Lauren Myracle was forced to endure it; I felt heartsick for her from the moment it became clear what was happening. I feel terrible for all the nominees now (and Chime really is a truly brilliant book--people at media outlets summing it up as a "teen witch novel" should, y'know, read it), and I also do feel bad for the folks at the NBA. Still, it was their responsibility to clean up the mess, and that's what they should have done, rather than making a Bigger Mess. ANYWAY, what I wanted to say is, the one good thing in all of this, of course, has been the wonderful bright light of Lauren Myracle. YA couldn't wish for a better ambassador to show what it's really about, and her appearances on NPR (I teared up) and everywhere else, not only demonstrated what a class act and wonderful person she is, they made the entire field look good. So, hey, mainsteam media, next time you need someone to talk about YA? CALL HER. (Or someone else FROM the field.)
5. So, well, yes, I've been reading and working lots on various things. And also working on the circus book, which has at last found its footing, but is still by no means one of the easy ones.
6. World Fantasy approaches! And, yes, I'll be there, though I'm not doing any programming. I will also be Christopher-less, but I do have a most excellent roomie. Anyway, I can't wait to see/meet/hang with all of you. Happiness.