In Which Our Heroine is Consumed By Gentleness

6 March 2004

I broke down like a cheap watch. When I finished the Tuchman, I looked at my big pile of books borrowed from Mom and Stella. Then I looked at my big pile of books borrowed from the library. And then I picked up Mary Gentle's Carthage Ascendant, which is my very own, a gift from Mark for Valentine's Day. Because it's what I really, really want to read. When I'm done with it, I'll really want to read something else, but the last few books I've read have been making myself when what I really want is the next Mary Gentle. And since they're right here...enough is enough. I can be virtuous with research later. Books aren't always about being virtuous. As Arlo says, "You can't always do what you're supposed to be doin'."

These books -- I'm barely into the second one, but man. They eat my head. They're in two parts, a main story and a framing story, and for once the framing story matters. For once I'm eager to get at both halves of the tale she's decided to tell. (I'm distinguishing here between two different time streams, not two different POV characters, although that's sometimes annoying as well.) So often when I read a book that has interwoven stories in different times, I care a lot more about one than about the other. Margaret Atwood is the worst example of this -- I rarely care about more than half of one of her books. But Mary Gentle does it right, even though I thought she wasn't going to at first.

So I'm devouring it. I can't entirely say why I love this book, these books, so much, but I'm glad I do. I don't want to do much else but find out what happens next. I love that feeling all the more because it's gotten rarer as I've gotten older and more serious about this writing thing.

But there are some things I'm willing to do even if I'm still not done with the book. This afternoon, Uncle Hugo's is having a ton of people sign books. So off we go to say hullo to Pamela and shove books at non-Pamela people. I'm a little put out, because I'd like to meet Lyda Morehouse (and shove a book or two at her), but she's not going to be there until 4:00, and I'm really not sticking around that long or returning. Unless it's a wild party at Uncle Hugo's, I suppose.

Because, y'know, we all know what a wild party girl I am. Fantabulous rock stars and all that.

And speaking of my fantabulous rock star friends, Michelle has picked a bridesmaid dress for the upcoming nuptials, and I'm happy with it, and I hear tell the others are, too, which is only the result of Michelle digging through pictures of hundreds and hundreds of them and then actually listening to what we said about them. Lots of work, happy dress. For my mom's benefit, it looks like this (the red one in the middle, only it'll be black and I promise not to look as snotty as the model). So now I just have to get measured and send them my numbers. And pick the dress up, and get it altered if necessary, and all that. Which, compared to the rest of what needs doing for a wedding, is not all that much. Bridesmaids get off easy. (Not as easy as groomsmen, but....)

Heh. I turned away from this and finished Carthage Ascendant, and now it's taking great effort to read Lawrence Block's Tanner's Tiger instead of The Wild Machines, which is right here and all sequelly and wondermous. The Tanner book will be fun -- they're always fun, that's why I read them -- and when I read The Wild Machines, I will never again be able to read it for the first time. Silly, isn't it? And yet there it is. So I wait. Even though the last line of Carthage was about how they were worse off than they'd started, and oh, it was true, and it had no more of an ending than The Secret History did. Sigh. All right. I have other things to do than moon and swoon over books. That is, I have other things to do while mooning and swooning over books. I can wallow in books while showering. And usually do. So okay then.

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