One of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend more time reading and less time watching TV or on the Internet. I’m trying to be off the screens by 9 p.m. so I can then spend that time before I go to sleep reading. So far, it seems to be working. I’ve already read two novels and half a non-fiction book this year, and I think I’m sleeping better, too.
One of the novels was something recommended by a blog reader, Roses and Rot by Kat Howard. This book is something of a play on the Tam Lin legend (and is reminiscent of Pamela Dean’s novel, Tam Lin). A couple of sisters, one a dancer, one a writer, get accepted into a prestigious arts fellowship that includes residency in a scenic campus setting, and once they get there, they learn that there’s something else going on — and that there’s an opportunity related to the fellowship that could lead to automatic success for the winner, at a rather high cost.
I don’t want to say much more about the plot, lest I spoil it, though if you’re familiar with fairy folklore, you’ll probably have a sense of what might be going on. Aside from the fantasy elements, the book is largely about the relationship between the sisters, who grew up in an abusive home that seemed right out of a wicked stepmother fairy tale. They’ve been estranged, largely due to the interference of their mother, and are hoping that being together in this fellowship will help them repair and restore their relationship, only to find that it might put extra stress on their relationship.
The book also delves into the creative process, how it affects your life, how it can be affected by life, and explores what people might be willing to do for success. Some might be eager to pay the high price for guaranteed success, while others would rather take the risk of failure if it means they know any success is purely due to their own merit.
The setting is nicely atmospheric, conjuring a place that truly feels magical. Also, I want to know where I can sign up for the fellowship that lets me live in a cottage in the mountains and have all my meals delivered to me while I spend all my time writing.
I suspect that fans of my Fairy Tale series will like this one.
I also re-read Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman, which is one of my favorite books. I’d read it several times, but I recently got the reissued “Author’s Preferred Edition,” so I figured it was worth a re-read. I have a story relating to that book that I should probably tell again, as I figure my blog readership has entirely turned over since I last told it, but that’s a subject for another post.
In other news, I’m about to revive my every other week writing posts. Is there some aspect of writing, publishing, or the writing life you’d like to have me address? Let me know!
And is there something you’d like me to cover in my blog? I kind of feel like I’m writing into the void right now. I don’t get a lot of hits or comments, so I’m evaluating whether continuing with this is a good use of my time or whether it’s something I need to focus on and build.