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25 May 2010

Rambles: SWF Poetry & Melina Marchetta, Lover Mine, Desert Spear, Insomnia reading etc

I haven't had any time to write reviews, nor have I found any definitive stories to blog about this week. For that reason this entry will just be me blogging, on a book-themed ramble. Things that have been happening lately are the Sydney Writer's Festival, a LOT of my favourite authors bringing out books, twitter, and my new reading regime.

Sydney Writer's Festival: I had plans to go to two of these events, Poems To Share and Melina Marchetta and David Levithan discussing writing YA Fiction. The first was on Friday. I went to Poems to Share with Anna and some of her PhD friends. Yep, they are all studying English and Medieval Literature. That for me is completely swoon-worthy, and something I would have focused on myself if I wasn't so positive that Archaeology was where I wanted to go. I loved studying Anglo Saxon (Old English) at university - and I was bloody good at it! My lecturer was always talking about me doing my PhD in it, and I always got HD grades LOL That is where I met Anna. She lives the dream! She did her Masters studying Medieval Literature at the University of Leeds in the UK, then came back here and is now doing her PhD at University of Sydney. All her friends are through her postgrad studies, except little old me. I'm a wannabe. I get so depressed that I work in a office, with no vocational connection to archaeology or cultural heritage management. And then I see my friends all living the dream or still studying. Damn I miss uni. I would have stayed there if I could afford it LOL Okay, I got off topic! So Anna invited me with her uni mates to go to Poems to Share at the SWF. I love poetry, but have never been to a reading before. I was concerned that is would be completely pretentious, and whilst I found the first poet's list poetry to be, the rest was great! I really liked a lot of the poetry. The only two I remember the names for are Lachlan Brown who wrote some really amazing poetry about growing up in the Western Sydney suburbs. The other is Kate Fagan, who I also know as a folk singer. I have to admit, we got there about 5 minutes late, and the lady who was meant to show us our table was clueless. We ended up sitting on chairs up the back instead of our table up the front. The entire night was unpretentious and fun, and I found most of the poetry to my taste. And I had fun! Later we went to Pancakes on the Rocks and can I just tell you, waiting for a table for 8 at Pancakes is terrible! But it worked, and was worth the wait! So I spent the night talking about all the various adaptations and interpretations of Robin Hood (which is what Sabina is doing her thesis on - also a fellow nerd, so we got into authors like Gemmell and Zimmer-Bradley etc), about the sucky job opportunities of humanities degrees without postgrad *le sigh* and just general chit chat. It was a lot of fun, and I would go again! I was meant to go see Melina Marchetta and David Levithan discuss their characterisations and writing young adult fiction on Sunday. I was getting really excited, because I have been a fan of Melina Marchetta for nearly 15 years! I discovered her novel Looking for Alibrandi when I was in year 7, about the same time I discovered See How They Run by David McRobbie - I reread both of them numerous times. In year 12, they bought out the movie with Pia Miranda and Anthony Lapaglia - we studied the novel for English and the movie was a field trip (that I missed because I was on a geography excursion). Anyway, Melinia Marchetta has been a part of my teens, and I was looking forwards to hearing her talk about her characters and writing YA Fiction. I've seen her talk before, at the film festival in Leichhardt but that was about being and Italian Australian, not about her writing. I've always borrowed her books, so I didn't have any of my own to get autographed (She has always been on my buy list, but I never get around to it LOL) but Bonnie did, so I was planning on getting Melina to sign Finnikin of the Rock for her. However, on Sunday I was having an off day, and couldn't get out of bed (I couldn't even get into the kitchen to find food.. got a bit hungry!) so I had to cancel. I am so sad and disappointed. I really really wanted to go! It seemed like it would have been a really interesting discussion about YA Fiction. Another time, I guess *sigh*

In other news, last Sunday, the day after the ARRA Awards ceremony, I went into Galaxy because my friend Sofia said that Tracey O'Hara and Erica Hayes would be there. Sadly Tracey had to head back home and couldn't make it, but she commented on my blog!! *squee* I have met her before at my PR book club, and she is such a wonderful person. I love her book, can't wait for the sequel. Definitely squee-worthy! So, there was just Erica Hayes. She was lovely. She signed my book for me (I will photograph that later and add it to my collection here) and had a little chat before heading off to the book stacks. I read the book straight away, and said something on twitter, and she replied! Not only that, she spelt my name correctly! :D I love her book too. It is set in Melbourne, and it has that gritty feel to it that I find a lot of Aussie authors seem to have.

Recently read books I was jonesing for:

Lover Mine by JR Ward - I think I focused more of Quinn and Blaylock than I did on John and Xhex. I loved it! It was sad and violent, but at the same time, there was always hope. I love the twist about Xhex's origins. I really think that Quinn and Blaylock need their own book! I am not sure if Ward will write a M/M, but I think these two characters deserve their own stage. They really were outshining John and Xhex, despite those two being favourites we waited for impatiently.  
5/5 Stars

The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett - I finished this last night. I really loved the first half about the Krasians. I have a thing about desert cultures, and it was really good to see more about their motivations. I think the second half of the book went on too many tangents, but I still loved it. I think he is mostly setting up the third book, but at the same time, I am not too sure I like the connections he is making. The last tangent is annoying me, and the last line was a total WTF moment. I love the development with the corelings, and I want to know more. There is a passage at the end of the book that was very intriguing. I am hooked, I need to read the third book! I would have given it a lower score, but the first half of the book was terrific.  
4/5 Stars

My review for the first book in the series (The Painted Man, called The Marked Man in America) can be found here.

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong - I really love Kelley Armstrong. She rarely writes something I didn't like! I really like this series, and I love they way the plot is playing out. The love triangle gets resolved as well, people are lost and people are found, and friends aren't always what they appear. The intrigue in this series is great!
5/5 Stars

I have a new regime when it comes to reading. Previously I was reading one book actively, and about 9 waiting for me to finish them at any one time. My new deal is I have a book for work, normally one I am hooked on and am likely to fly through. Then there is a home book that lives on my spare pillow. I read it of a night and they tend to be rereads or slower books. I am not allowed to read my work book after 12am (because I tend to read them until they are finished). I've been doing this in just over a week, and it has been going well. I am trying to get my sleeping patterns under control (insomnia, so my bedtime is 2am) and I think having a sure fire way of putting my book down when I can't keep my eyes open will help. I tend to steam on when it is a fast ride. Even if I don't change my sleep patterns by doing this, I am hopping to get through my stack of partly read books that I put aside whenever I hit Galaxy bookstore and pick up fresh titles. Wish me luck.

So, questions... Did you go to Sydney Writer's Festival, have you been to a poetry reading, what did you think of Lover Mine, and how do you cope with your reading pile? And do you squee when you interact with a favoured author?

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