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Happy Harry Potter epilogue day! Today is September 1, 2017 – so somewhere out there, if you follow the chronology of canon, Albus Potter is getting on the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Or as one article put it, "Albus Severus Potter has finally left for Hogwarts."  :-)

(Ooh, I only just now saw that fans have gathered at King's Cross today to celebrate at Platform 9 3/4. Awwwwww, that's the best!)


In other news, I'm back in Iceland and as always it feels like a home, each time more and more. It's incredible to me just how much the people I know here feel like family, even though I don't get to be here often. (It's actually hard to focus on writing this, because I'm surrounded right now by all these folks playing music and coming in and out getting ready for a performance tonight.) Beautiful, beautiful days. I also saw SO MANY NORTHERN LIGHTS last night, it was AMAZING. I will never get tired of the northern lights, or the natural beauty here. Home of my heart.
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Wotcher, Potter fans!

Oh my goodness, the twentieth anniversary of the first Harry Potter book – published on June 26, 1997 – is almost here. June 26, that's this coming Monday!

I did manage to write a fic in honor of the date (which I'll post on Monday), despite an intense month of deadlines and stuff, plus now being knocked out by some kind of awful respiratory illness. I'd wanted to do more rallying of "who else wants to write twentieth anniversary fics and all post them on that day??" ...but, yeah, see above re: work + illness.

BUT, if anyone else wants to write something anniversary-ish, even a drabble, I can attest to how satisfying and momentous it feels. :-)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Meanwhile, Holmestice is wrapping up and the RS Games are kicking off, so for a moment my two main fandoms are overlapping. Aw. Fandom is nice.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today was my last day of work for this school year. (Sort of... I've been out sick for days, so I wasn't there to catch most of that year-end feeling. I shouldn't really have gone in today, either, but it was the last day and I needed to get my things and tie up some loose ends.)

I took out SO MANY BOOKS from our library for the summer...





HAPPY SUMMER!


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The all-day book talk about the best recent YA was indeed excellent! Hats off to anyone who can talk for 7 hours about books and make it fun. :-) I heard about a ton of books, of course, but also she presented various fun resources for teachers and librarians. One of my favorites was Recovering the Classics, a project that encourages people to make (and sell!) beautiful, creative book covers for classic literature, instead of the drab covers they tend to get shoved into. (Re-covering...get it? Pun??) So basically, fanart, but cool to see it celebrated and promoted in a mainstream context. And omigosh, so beautiful.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm not on Tumblr, but I occasionally visit, and there I recently stumbled across the suggestion that "The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, 'And then the murders began.'" (via copperbadge)

Excellent! This is great to do with any classic book, of course, but also fun to do with your own stories. Here are a few of mine:


Sirius' jaw dropped. And then the murders began.

Watching Dover disappear into the fog behind the ferry rail, Remus felt some constriction deep in his chest ease, just a fraction, for the first time since the news had reached him. And then the murders began.

Tosh flashed that disarming little smile Jack was quickly learning to associate with a stroke of even more brilliance than usual on her part. And then the murders began.


And the terribly appropriate...

“Which is more powerful, do you think, love or magic?” Albus asked, bending a leafy bough out of the way as he followed Gellert through the sun-dappled woods that dotted the hills outside Godric’s Hollow. And then the murders began.


It's fun! Dooooo iiiiiiiit.

Teenagers

May. 2nd, 2017 09:04 am
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Have you ever been in a room with 35 quietly studying students, 35 teenagers just barely managing to rein in their innate need to be squirrelly and giggly and rambunctious, and despite all odds turning that energy towards independently focusing on schoolwork instead... When out of nowhere one of them falls off a chair?

A whole morning's entertainment in that!

(Especially when he stands up, half sheepish, half proud, holding the now-detached chair back in his hand and announces in response to everyone's exclamations of concern, "...Yeah, I'm good.")
 
 
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I was thinking yesterday that I need an icon for writing, since that's one of the things I talk about most. (I actually made one for books, when I set up here on Dreamwidth, though so far I've forgotten to use it; but I don't have one for writing.) Now I think I also need one for "teenagers are great and they amuse me." 
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Being on break from work last week was good for writing!

I finished a complete first draft of the huge Snow-Queen-fairy-tale-Harry-Potter-characters fusion I've been working on since December (actually I reached the final word of the draft on the last day before I went on break, but the final section of it felt like a bloated, confused mess; so over break I did just enough editing and wrangling with it to make it feel like an actual, complete thing that can be set aside to settle for a bit, then returned to for proper editing/revision).

I also suddenly out of nowhere completed a 13k fic (also Harry Potter – nominally a little follow-up to my Be the Light in My Lantern series, but my hope is that it could also stand on its own if someone wanted to read it on its own) that I've had on the back burner for ages and kept adding bits to now and then, but was having trouble pushing through to the end. Now it has an end!

And in a sudden burst I wrote a small Sherlock fic I'd had the idea for ages ago, but wasn't sure I was ever going to manage to write. Now it's written!

So now instead of having four endlessly in-process fics sitting on my desktop, I suddenly have three complete drafts eager to be revised and posted. What! 

I'd also set myself a word count goal for the month of April: 20,000 words. That's not huge but also not insignificant, while still being realistic to aim for in a month where I was moving, going away for a few days, applying for a big-deal job that took all my attention for a few days, etc. I came back on Sunday from a few days out of town and did my latest tallying up to find 17,000 of those words written, and a week still left to the month. Yay!

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 .
  .

    . . . I also came back from my days away to find that the friend I was going to move in with in June, who invited me to split the rent with her on a beautiful house in my favorite part of town where I was finally going to have stability and calm and a place to breathe after two an a half years of bouncing between house-sitting and sublets and always scrambling to find the next short-term solution despite my small budget and uncertain long-term plans, and I was looking forward so so so much to finally having a home after all of that, I can't even tell you...that friend is breaking the lease and backing out on me. Which is not yay.

And so I return to this perpetual peripatetic instability I'm so tired of.

I'm so tired.

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The upside, at least, is that I'm free to travel as much as I want this summer, since I won't be paying rent. Ísland, ég kem! (Deutschland, zu dir natürlich auch.)

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Hello!

Import is complete (well, comments are still queueing to import, but otherwise all's in place), so this journal now has everything my Livejournal has, but this is the first post I'm making directly on Dreamwidth. I've set it to continue to crosspost to LJ, at least for now.

It bears saying: Dreamwidth, you are amazing. The function to import an entire other journal from elsewhere and have it appear here, fully intact, a perfect mirror? Magic!

I'm sad Livejournal is imploding because Livejournal has been my fandom home for a long time, a place where friendships formed that I never expected, the place where I learned to stop being a silent lurker and be an active part of fandom! But I'm so impressed that Dreamwidth was here all along, being quietly awesome. I hadn't joined Dreamwidth before now only because the communities I interacted with happened to be on LJ, but now I am here, and most of my friends and communities are popping up here too, and Dreamwidth has been so gracious to the flood of panicking LJ-ers arriving on these shores. I'm full of goofy, grateful feelings.

Hello, Dreamwidth!

(Now, back to revising the first draft of 35,000 words about rescuing the person you love from an ancient shape-shifting beast who lives at the frozen north of the world...)
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Hi everyone!

Hoo boy, once again I am really far behind, because of the usual things (headaches every day; moving yet again) but also good things (applying to an it's-a-long-shot-but-would-be-extremely-exciting-if-I-got-it job opportunity that came up very suddenly; also just completed the first draft of the novella-length fic I've been working on since December).

BUT. When I've had very brief chances to glance at LJ and my friends feed, it does look like pretty much everyone is making the shift to Dreamwidth, which makes me very relieved. I know my corner of fandom is a tiny corner, but I have treasured it! It seems like nearly everyone is going to rebuild on Dreamwidth and that's heartening. Not everything will survive, I'm sure (for example, the crowd I interacted with when I first started participating actively in fandom is no longer really active on LJ anyway, so I guess that aspect is gone) but it sounds like even comms are reforming over on Dreamwidth, so, yay! In the spirit of things, I think I should sign up for Holmestice. :-) YAY!

I did make my Dreamwidth journal – same username, HERE – when the LJ TOS first came out, but haven't had a chance to import anything yet or get going over there. I will, though, and I'll come find y'all and friend (or whatever the equivalent terminology is there – new things to learn!). I think it's all going to be okay, and I'm glad.

I'll probably switch to posting at Dreamwidth but have it crosspost to LJ, at least for a while, as we see how things go.

Onward and upward!

(Edited to add: I just realized I probably sound obnoxiously chirpy about this catastrophe that hit us as a fandom, or at the very least bizarrely chirpy about it. I have the dubious benefit of having been too snowed under with other life stuff to do anything more than watch in horrified passivity as it all unfolded, and am now reaping the benefits of showing up later, when other people have already sorted out most of the mess. For this I am very grateful.)
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About to embark on an all-day writing retreat, looking out over a gentle hill muted under fog. Wish me luck!
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First: You know that weird new(ish) feature LJ has, where you can "like" a post? Just a heads-up, if any of you like a post of mine...I can't actually see it.

I was baffled about this for a while: I would get a notification saying "Someone likes your entry!" (yes, isn't that annoyingly vague, that it doesn't even tell you who, just "someone"?) but then I would go to the post in question, and there was no sign of any liking there. (Whereas if someone likes a post of mine at a comm, rather than my own journal, that does show up.) Weird!

Eventually, I did some poking around and figured out this is because I don't have the latest LJ upgrade or new interface, or whatever it was... And apparently one side of that is that the new "likes" don't show up for me at all.

So y'all are welcome to like posts if you want, but it's just kind of going out into the ether, unfortunately... I get a mysterious "someone likes your entry" message, but I'll never know who!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This Harry-Potter-verse, even-more-feminist Snow Queen retelling I'm working on is still a total blast! I've now written to just before the big final denouement ...which is set on Svalbard, so I get to look at lots of pictures of far-northern landscapes in the name of research. Ooooh. (Latest new favorite thing: Rossøya, the furthest north little island of the Svalbard archipelago, at 80°N latitude, a thousand kilometers from mainland Norway, where it juts up out of the ocean with stern, quiet dignity. Ohhhh Svalbard. I wonder if I will ever get to Svalbard, someday?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My reading is still kind of out of control (there are so many books I want to read...so I keep this long list of them...and I then get compulsive about tackling the list... and now I've somehow landed myself in THREE book clubs??) I keep catching myself thinking it must be almost time to do my quarterly round-up, because I've already read so much, but it's still only February...

I can definitely tell you that the Mirka graphic novels are indeed awesome ("Just another troll-fighting Orthodox Jewish girl!"), and Nimona is indeed awesome (my colleague's been telling me to read that forever!), and I've been catching up on some of the excellent LGBT+ YA books in our library that I've been meaning to read (including Forgive Me If I've Told You This Before, which I read on the recommendation of one of my students, and Skim, which I read on the recommendation of one of my colleagues.)

I'm dying to get my hands on The Last of August (sequel to the modern-day-young-Holmes-and-Watson A Study in Charlotte I loved so much last year), so while I'm waiting, I read yet another modern-day-young-Holmes-and-Watson reboot: The Great Shelby Holmes, which was pretty darn adorable. (They're young kids in this one, so it's Watson's mom who's an army doctor, and 9-year-old Shelby Holmes takes on neighborhood cases like...dognappings.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Right now I'm wrapping up in a café where I was having a hang-out-and-work afternoon with a friend (working on her writing project), her boyfriend (doing his grad school reading) and me (reading-and-feedbacking a friend's play script). The friend who was here today is also the one who's beta reading my Snow Queen story, so she read a chapter I'd asked for feedback on and discussed it right here with me, in real time. In person. Haven't gotten to do that (writing feedback, in person!) in an age. Also, having local friends who want to sit and write together is the besssst. I missed this.
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A little belated, now, because there was so much else going on in January, but I didn't want to let the turn of the year go by entirely without doing this reflection on "what I wrote this past year." (Even though, wow, there's not a whole lot to say about last year in the writing department.)

This is, of course, in addition to my massive reflection on everything I read last year, which you can find here: "Books in 2016!"

And by the way, because I'm a dork (and a librarian in training...) I've added some tags to make everything even more easily searchable: In addition to my general "books" tag, each year's reflection on All The Books I Read is now found under the "year in review – reading" tag, and each quarterly post where I talk about some of my favorites from those three months are under "quarterly books." (My years' reflections on my writing, like this one, will also be findable under "year in review – writing," though I'm not sure why anyone but me would be interested in searching back for that?)

Anyway! What I wrote in 2016...


FIC/FANDOM MEME )

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Those of you who also follow [livejournal.com profile] rt_morelove might now understand why I've spent most of my spare time lately googling information about reindeer and random locations in Norway – because I'm writing an adaptation of The Snow Queen!

Yes, after giving over 2 or 3 months of my life to stage managing a play version of The Snow Queen, I'm now also writing a version of it... I actually think I'd enjoy someday writing an entirely "original" adaptation (for example like Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs) – it's such an endlessly fun story to play with; it's usually kept as a children's story more or less in line with the original, but I think it would be interesting to give it adult characters, and maybe two female protagonists instead of a girl and a boy – f/f romance maybe? Anyway, who knows, someday I may also write a full-length original novel version, but first, right now, I needed something to write for rt_morelove and stumbled on this idea of doing a Snow Queen fusion (Harry Potter characters and universe + Snow Queen plot) and it's SUPER FUN to write. Whee!

So, yeah, I spend lots of my time lately looking at pictures like this:


(Photo from Wikipedia.)

That's the town of Honningsvåg, very near to the very, very northern tip of Norway. I was gazing soulfully at this picture at work the other day, and showed it to my colleague when he happened to pass by my desk, and thus learned an interesting difference between the two of us: When I look at this picture, I think, WANT, whereas his response was, "If that's the sky that's coming at me, I think I'll run the other way."

Anyway: looking at pictures of far northern landscapes = always the best, writing a fusion of Harry Potter and The Snow Queen = SO FUN, and best of all having this project (and a deadline attached to it) has kicked me back into writing regularly for the first time in ages. As a direct result of all this writing-ness, today, too, I finally got unstuck on another fic that's been sitting here for ages: It's going to be four chapters total, and I've been stalled on the very last (but crucial) bit of Chapter 3 for months. Tonight, just now, I figured out and wrote that last bit, and finished the chapter. Wheeeeee!

I didn't do NaNoWriMo in November, partly because I didn't have time and partly because the friends here in town who'd wanted to do it together ended up not doing it. Then I didn't do NaNoWriMo in January for the same reasons (still didn't really have enough time, and the group of friends who'd said they didn't have time in November but would totally do it in January...didn't end up doing it in January). But partway through this Snow Queen/Snow Wolf writing process, during a week when I was pushing myself to write at least 1000 words each day to keep up toward the rt_morelove deadline, I decided to aim for a "mini" NaNo this month, see if I can get my writing by the end of January to average out, at the very minimum, to 500 words/day. Doing well so far! (Average of over 600 words/day, and that's only because I didn't really start writing in earnest until partway through the month.)

Writing mojo reclaimed, or at least once again visible to the naked eye, after a long disappearing act.
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One of the greatest things about writing (well, among many things!) is the delightfully random assortment of things I find myself needing to research for story purposes. In the last 24 hours, for example, just a few of those things have included:

–what precisely is considered the border between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea?
–are there any Norwegian women's names that mean "deer"?
–what's the difference, in appearance, between female and male wood pigeons?

I think back on my own search history, and it cracks me up. :-)  (And by the way, if you can guess what story I'm working on just from those clues, I'll be very impressed!)


I just spent a few hours at a café, having a sitting-and-working-on-our-respective-projects writing meet-up with a friend. Yes, I finally made a local writer friend here in my new-ish town! I am rapturously happy.

It was when I was cracking myself up over my own research of wood pigeons that I admitted to my new friend about the exact nature of the fanfic/fusion project I'm working on; she's a Serious Writer from a Very Literary Background, not a fic writer, but she said it sounded amazing and she wants to read it.  !!

That's even more motivation to write thousands of words in the next few days if I possibly can, and complete this story. (This is the fic I'm writing for [livejournal.com profile] rt_morelove, and I'm 10,000 words in but still only maybe...2/3 of the way through the plot? Because it's a fusion, there's a fairly clear plot arc I have to follow, and I've got a few sections of it still to go!)
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Sherlock! I watched the new episode last night with a group of friends, which, wow, was really fun. We made drinks and got cozy in the TV room of the house where I'm currently living, and in honor of the episode, we all did one of the temporary Sherlock Holmes "literary tattoos" that my colleague the Awesome Librarian gave me a couple weeks ago. Totally perfect for the occasion. Shoutout to [livejournal.com profile] indybaggins, who had the idea of using the temporary tattoos for the Sherlock-episode-watching!

Here's one okay picture of my 221B tattoo, followed by one grainy and terrible picture of several of them together:



You can't tell at all, but here the second one says "to a great mind, nothing is little," the third is a picture and the words "the game is afoot," and the last one just says "elementary." Not pictured: the other two in our group did their tattoos on their necks instead of their arms. :-)


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Today's the one-year anniversary of when I started at the school library where I now work, and my colleague the Awesome Librarian gave me a present: temporary "literary tattoos" of Sherlock Holmes quotes. Because he's awesome.

He said it was actually a goofy impulse buy, because he and his wife were recently at the local bookstore, running around and buying lots of little presents for people they know, behaving like kids in a candy store, except, you know, with books and bookish things (how to spot a librarian...) And he wasn't sure when he should give my present to me – until I mentioned that today was the anniversary of my start date, and he decided that between that, and it also being about halfway between the time of Krampus (he just discovered this German/Austrian/etc. demonic "bad cop" counterpart to jolly old St. Nick and is kind of obsessed with the whole idea) and then Chanukah coming up in late December this year...  So he printed off a little greeting card showing Krampus stuffing terrified children into a basket, and gave me the Sherlock Holmes temporary literary tattoos tucked inside that. :-)
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FANFIC FESTS VS. LIFE

It's definitely been frustrating to see so many cool things slipping by over here in fandom land, and barely having time to glance at them as they whiz past, let alone even think of participating!

Holmestice sign-up season came and I was so tempted, but I couldn't see how I would possibly have the time. The Remus/Sirius Games are now posting, and it's all I can do to skim the entries and maybe bookmark one or two for sometime later. I'm not participating this year, not even a pinch-hitter.

And Yuletide! I did consider trying to learn the ropes and do Yuletide (back before my time – or lack thereof – went completely nuts) because, how cool. It's a fest for small fandoms, and people can nominate any fandom as long as it's below a certain number-of-existing-fanworks limit, which means you get stuff like:

–Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (surprised that made the cut-off, actually)
–Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
–the Lord Peter Wimsey books
–the Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters (that series about the medieval mystery-solving Welsh monk)
–that book On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta that I liked so much recently
–or even Norse mythology!
–...or John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme! (writing about the actors and not the characters, I assume, given that it's a sketch show and the characters are different each time?)

Then there are really, really small fandoms included, like for specific board games or TV commercials or blogs. Or fandoms that consist of anthropomorphizing cities, or wines, or varieties of cheese. What? But cool.

But... No time.

...and why is that...? )
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This was my room number, when I was in California last week for a family wedding...




There, now it's right!  :-)

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I spent all summer traveling – to Germany, briefly to Belgium, to Iceland. Now that I'm looking back on it, I realize even more how unbelievably, stunningly lucky I feel to have been able to do that. (I mean, I was able to do it because I work at a school and have the summer off, so it's not that weird. But still!) I'll try to share a few pictures, whenever I finally find time to organize allll of a summer's worth of photos.

Okay, actually, here's one to start with... I walked past this view every day for three weeks, up in the West Fjords of Iceland:




The only unfortunate thing about this whole amazing, beautiful, stunning summer? I barely wrote at all. I'm still between writing projects, and it still feels deeply weird. (I posted the final chapter of "Raise Your Lantern High" just days before I left the US in June, and haven't posted anything but a tiny fic translation since then.)

I did manage to get about halfway through the first draft of a small follow-up story to "Lantern" early in the summer, but I keep trying to pick that back up now and finish it, and I just can't seem to get inspired. Even the process of writing feels unfamiliar – I've fallen out of the habit of it, while focusing so hard on other things (language course, music, etc.)

So:

• Does anyone who's in HP fandom feel like bouncing around ideas with me? Specifically about an 11-year-old soon-to-be-Hogwarts-student's first experience of Diagon Alley, a la Harry's first visit there in the first book, but with a very different backstory.

• Anyone have a go-to place for getting prompts and inspiration? (I do have a few pages bookmarked, I should browse through them.) I basically need to remember how to write anything at all, and a short fic off a prompt (not a daunting story that I've been working on forever and feel a lot of pressure to get right) might be just the thing.

• Or I should sign up for a fest or two. Maybe I'll do Holmestice again? Or dare to join Yuletide for the first time? (There's also maybe maybe maybe going to be a revival of [livejournal.com profile] hp_holidaygen, which is very exciting!!)


I've also been thinking.... I want to do NaNoWriMo this year.

Every year, there's some reason why that's not a good year for it. (Like, you know, the year I was packing up eight years' worth of life and moving internationally...) This year, too, is probably not quite the right one, given that I've earmarked this fall for "figuring out what I'm doing with my life professionally, and whether I'm applying to grad schools, and if so, applying to them." But there's never going to be a perfect year with nothing else going on. And I'm in a stable work/apartment/etc. situation for once, and I even have a local friend who wants to do NaNo too. So......?
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Hey, so, a mention of real-life stuff seems far overdue!

Since I now work in a school, I have the immense benefit of having the entire summer off. This is especially good, because when I moved away from Berlin last year (after living in Germany for almost a decade), I left with the clear understanding that a life in which I would never get to come back to this place that's so much a part of me – well, that would really not be okay.

So for this summer, at least, I get to live the dream! A whole month in Berlin, seeing old friends and being part of daily life here. A bit of traveling around, too – primarily to Belgium, where I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] indybaggins in person!! If you know her online, then all I can say is that she's just as awesome in person as online! Really, it was so cool to meet and talk to her. Definitely hope to meet again. :-)

Next – just two days from now – to the other part of my dream summer plan: to Iceland for a language course + a music festival, a particular combination I've been dreaming about for two years now... Yes, an Icelandic language course. Yes, I know only a few hundred thousand people speak it. Doesn't matter, I still want to give it my best shot!

Then in September, back to work where I get to hang out with kids and books. Put that way, it's really not a bad life, is it?

Meanwhile, of course I'm always reading and watching and etc. A hodgepodge of books and fandom things under the cut...

books and fandom and TPLOSH oh my )
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Hi from Berlin!  ....or actually, at the moment, from Ghent, Belgium.

(I'm based in Berlin for a month, on a long visit just hanging out and seeing old friends – it's WONDERFUL – but this weekend I decided to spontaneously hop over to Belgium for a few days to see some other friends. I'm also going to meet up with a fandom friend IRL for what I think is only the second time, ever, for me? Yes, I've been shy and slow at making fandom friendships, but I treasure them once I do make them!)

Meanwhile, books! Recommendations and thoughts from my second-quarter-of-the-year reading. Luckily I was clever and drafted most of this post ahead of time, before I set out traveling. :-)


VERY TOP BOOK:

I read a lot of books, and I love a whole lot of what I read, but sometimes this bit where I look back over the last three months to think about what really stood out still takes me by surprise. Out of the 20+ books I read this quarter, it turns out I’m naming this as my favorite:

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
     My reaction to word of a new Sherlock Holmes adaptation tends to be equal parts “ooh, exciting!” and “…but does the world really need yet another take on Holmes and Watson”?
     In the case of Brittany Cavallaro’s “A Study in Charlotte,” emphatically yes.
     Teenagers Watson (Jamie, a boy) and Holmes (Charlotte, a girl) are the great-great-something descendants of the famous Holmes and Watson, and are both more than aware of the legacy they carry. They meet at boarding school, first repel each other but then quickly bond, and soon (of course) find themselves solving a murder. This book has everything a YA book should have and more – smart dialogue, engaging characters, a dash of romance, a dash of danger, a very relatable POV character in Jamie, and a very intriguing, brilliant, prickly and entirely feminist Charlotte Holmes. I agree with the reviewer who said, this is the Holmes you didn’t know you were desperately waiting for!

even more great BOOKS here )

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Oh man, oh man. The other day, as I was waiting for a bus downtown:

Two middle-aged-ish women – friends, who'd apparently just run into each other while waiting for a bus – discussing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and what kind of story it might turn out to be, and the related matter of the 19-years-later epilogue at the end of Deathly Hallows, and how a lot of people hated the epilogue but they both actually really liked it. It was a such a sweet conversation, and an unexpected one to randomly hear at a bus stop. I had to turn away, so they wouldn't see my desperately delighted grinning.

Now I'm housesitting for the weekend in The Most Wonderful Little Village, looking after a friend's cats. Alternating my time between leisurely rambles through countryside on the cusp between winter and spring, and lying in front of the woodstove with a book in hand and the three cats taking turns being the one to drape themselves over my stomach and/or head.

As I write this, one of the three, who happens to be one of my favorite cats in the whole world, has taken up position on my chest, cuddled up under my chin, purring like a fiend.

It doesn't get much better than this.

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