Diana Wynne Jones, or How Books Make My Heart Happy

This weekend, one of my favorite authors passed away. Diana Wynne Jones succumbed to her cancer and left the literary world with a bit of a void. On Facebook this morning I posted:

Rest in peace Diana Wynne Jones, your books make my heart happy and I don't think I will ever stop loving them. You will live on in their stories forever.

It seems like a bit of a strange thing to say, but I was only really introduced to her writing last year. I had seen the movie version of her fantasy novel Howl's Moving Castle over and over for a long time, and finally got around to reading the book. The differences were enormous and glaring, but knowing that she approved of the movie, I had to understand how the changes in the movie enhanced and altered the actual story. I found that, in the end, the changes didn't matter; the movie was the movie, and the book was the book. They were both beautiful and they both make my heart happy.

It's hard to say goodbye to someone whose work does such things to you. When Robert Holdstock died in 2009 I was heartbroken. One of the most difficult parts of dealing with the death of someone you admire but don't personally know is coming to terms with the fact that you won't be able to read new words from them. But one of the most rewarding things is knowing that they wrote some amazing books, and as long as their books exist they will never be gone.

Rest in peace, Diana. I'll look for you in the future in your old words.

The Sugar Queen, or Why I Like Fiction

A few weeks ago I was in Barnes & Noble with Chris and trying to use the Groupon I bought ($10 for a $20 gift certificate baby, yeah!), along with the remainder of a Christmas gift card. I felt the need to use it all (and then some, apparently), so I looked around for books/authors I had never read before. The book The Sugar Queen jumped out at me since the cover was so interesting and let's face it, with the sheer amount of crap out there today, a cover is a pretty big factor for me in buying new books.

In reading the back of the book, I felt a bit of kinship with the main character. She's overweight, she likes to eat, and she hides her eating from the world. I don't necessarily hide my eating, but I do sneak snacks and other things when I'm feeling down. Sometimes I'll eat before we have dinner and then eat a full dinner, without mentioning I just ate. Phew, that's a load off. I've never actually told anyone that before and here I am confessing to the world. But does anyone really care? Probably not. Anyway, I'm getting out of that habit because I have a wedding dress to fit into in six months!

ANYway...back from my little tangent there. There's also a character who is hounded by books. Whenever she needs a book, one will show up. They follow her around and make her look like a loon. Well, I really wish I had that kind of "magic" power because people already think I'm a loon, so maybe books following me around would actually make that label accurate.

Again, I lose my train of thought. Easy to do when talking about books. But I started this book on...Tuesday and finished it last night. I read the bulk of it last night after I got home because it was so engrossing. Chris finally gave up on being awake and went to bed, and when he asked if I was coming I told him I wanted to finish my book first. For once, I was pleasantly surprised by this new author I'd never heard of. Apparently she's a NYT best-selling author for a previous book I have also never heard of. I think I liked it so much because I connected with the two primary characters and completely felt for them, understanding what they were going through and being so incredibly happy at the end, as if they were my friends.

I see a common theme here: books and characters are my friends. Remember, I'm a loon.

This is why I love fiction though. When an author gets it really really right, to the point where I stay up late to finish when I know I could just as easily finish it the next day, it's worth the money and the time spent. And fiction for me is something I connect with better because sometimes it just feels like the book was written simply so I would pick it up.

Ahem.

Hello.  My name is Megan, and I'm a book addict.

My mother introduced me to books at age two.  The Firehouse Cat was my first book, and I actually remember reading it.  From there it was easy to see that I would become an addict.  I carried books with me everywhere (still do - I actually picked out my newest purse based on how large it was and if it was big enough to carry a heavy book on top of everything else in there), even to the dinner table and out to restaurants.  I would read before the start of a movie, or while waiting for food to arrive.  I would read while waiting at the doctor's office, or on the school bus.  It definitely irritated my family but what the hey, I was reading, right?  Couldn't be too destructive!

Well, I have been resisting the addiction for some time, although I can't say it's working all too well.  Every year I get at least one gift card to a bookstore for Christmas or my birthday, and I have no problem spending it.  Now that I have a fiance who understands my book-mania, I get actual books!  It's hard to say which is better: opening a gift on Christmas to see a book under the paper, or getting a small square envelope and knowing I'll get to go pick out my own books.  Both are fantastic, especially when all I have to say is "Here's my Amazon wish list...I'll be happy with anything on it!"

For the record, my fiance's name is Chris, and he is not a bibliophile.  He does, however, concede to having a library in the house when we finally buy a house (as long as he gets his game room, which is fine with me).  We have even made plans to build one just like the one in Beauty and the Beast, although that's more a fantasy than a solid idea.  The rolling ladder in the bookstore would be awesome, though.

Last year my goal was to read 50 books.  This goal was not reached...although I did get kind of close.  I blame it on Chris for buying me video games that I could bring to work (he bought me a DS for Christmas 2009, along with a copy of one of the older Final Fantasy games remade for the DS; and later followed the newest Pokemon game.  Last year he bought a PSP and then bought me Final Fantasy: Dissidia.  This cost me a lot of reading time).  Pokemon Black & White just came out and he's been playing...so far I have resisted the temptation.

Books are my friends.  They make me happy when I am sad.  They make me feel and experience things I never would have if I hadn't read them.  They open up new worlds for me to explore.  I stay up late to finish them, I read nonstop when I can, and I spend most of my breaks at work sitting with my feet up, headphones on, book open.

So welcome to my life of books.  To start, tonight I went to Borders to pick up something Chris had ordered and made myself walk in without looking around and then back out.  I did happen to look at some of the shelves, caught myself slowing down and craning my neck to see what was out, and then told myself to keep those feet moving!  I try not to enter a bookstore unless I'm prepared to drop some serious cash (or if I have a gift card to spend - yay for other people's money!).  Tonight I also finished a book I've been reading for about a week, Katharine Kerr's latest, License to Ensorcell, which made me happy and eager at the same time.  I loved the book but now I have to wait months for the next one!  To alleviate the need to read more, I started a new book, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen.  This book was the result of a gift card purchase, which is to say, it was on a whim.  I tend to be freer with gift card purchases - since it's not my money, I'll buy something I've never heard of before.  This book looks good.  It's about a girl who hides sweets in her closet and meets another girl "who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them," as said by the back of the book.  Interesting, yes?

Review: Dance of Thieves by Mary Pearson

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson My rating: 5 of 5 stars I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes. ...