I would have loved to go to the RT convention to meet blogger/Twitter/author friends in real life. But I already had an East Coast trip enshrined in my May calendar: my 25th college reunion, to which I had promised to take my daughter. I’m not sorry about my choice, though I’d love to do a romance conference one day.
And actually, I thought a lot about how my reunion was like RT. True, there was less discussion in advance about pedicures and shoes, more about who was bringing her lantern for Step Sing. And we talked about work and parents and children and partners and old times, not books and blogging and genre romance. But it was a few days spent in a community of amazing, smart, accomplished, supportive women (I went to a women’s college), catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I even managed to meet up with some online pals, Victoria Janssen and Natalie Luhrs. It was a pretty great time.
Of course, it did involve two very long travel days, and hours without internet access mean reading! I am not the best at concentrating while traveling so I read bits of lots of things. Here are the highlights:
My daughter tore through two John Green books and now agrees with the lady in the Calgary airport bookstore that Looking for Alaska is better than The Fault in Our Stars. It’s her new favorite book. She also listened to and loved How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier. She wins at travel reading.
Georgette Heyer, Pistols for Two. Somehow I thought this was one of Heyer’s mysteries (the title, I guess), but it’s actually a short story collection, as I discovered when Sunita mentioned one of the stories in a deals post at Dear Author. I snapped it up, though it was not a deal. This turned out to be perfect airplane/airport reading, because the stories are short and funny; they kept my attention but didn’t need much time to complete. They all have a romance element, but don’t look for deep emotion: the comedy is the main point. There are certain plot elements that recur here, like the elopement that isn’t what it seems and the duel no one really wants to fight, but since I read some on the way out and some on the way back, they never felt too repetitive. Highly entertaining; Heyer really knows how to shape a story for a short word count.
Meljean Brook, The Kraken King Parts III, IV, and part of V. I am enjoying reading this steampunk romance serially, though obviously I’m not reading it as the parts come out (the final one was released on Tuesday). Adventure, like comedy, made for engaging airplane reading. Brook uses the serial form really effectively: each episode has a resolution but also makes you want to read on. The adventure and the romance both have “acts” that fit neatly into an episode. I am loving Zenobia, the writer heroine, who has always had adventures by proxy and is finally getting to have one for real (a somewhat mixed experience, since lots of danger is involved). I loved the introductory novella for the Iron Seas series, and this book has me determined to read more.
Joan Smith, A Highwayman Came Riding. (halfway in) A traditional Regency: short chapters, snappy dialogue, humor and adventure. Can you see a trend in my travel reading? Smith has a lot of fun with the trope of the sexy highwayman who is clearly a gentleman in disguise and the innocent (but not stupid) heroine who not-so-secretly yearns to reform him.
D. L. McDermott, Cold Iron. (just started) Paranormal romance is not my usual fare, but something made me curious about this one–I think a comment the author made somewhere about her interest in power and consent. Plus there’s archaeology and museums. I’m enjoying it so far. The Fae hero is very much Not Human, and in that sense it reminds me a little of Anne Bishop’s Others. The tone is quite different from the other reading I was doing, and I found it hard to concentrate on (plus there’s a lot of lusting, and I was wedged in an airplane seat beside a 12-year-old). I’ll get back to this at a better moment.
Connie Willis, Bellwether, read by Kate Reading. (still listening) I’ve had this in my audio stash for a while, but Kaetrin’s review made me think it would be perfect airplane fare (funny again!). And it was. I especially love the workplace stuff and the idiocy of Management. But since I switched from reading to listening when I was tired, I think I missed a lot and need to go back to the start.
Up Next (besides finishing what I’ve started):
A collection of library holds just came in: Molly Antopol’s début story collection, The UnAmericans (took so long to arrive I can’t remember why I requested it); Anne Bishop’s Murder of Crows (2nd in The Others series); and on audio, Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed (I’ve read some of his journalism; I picked this up thanks to his recent NY Times Magazine cover story “Who Gets to Graduate?” and because I’m making education the new focus of my Academic Writing class).