First of all, switching computers and operating systems and browsers and absolutely everything — I even have only one trackpad button now, instead of two — is really disorienting. But I love my new little computer. The battery life is incredible and the keyboard is clicketty perfection. Okay, not quite perfection — I keep getting a 1 when I try to get an !, but apart from that, it works really well and feels great.
Writing-wise it’s sort of interesting — the screen is so small that I can really only see a few lines at a time as I write. It makes it hard to assess the flow, but it also feels like I’m starting to write faster, because I’m not spending all my time being critical of the words I’ve already written. They disappear so fast that I don’t have the chance to stare at them gloomily.
However, my writing got horribly negatively affected this week when the library delivered Naomi Novik’s Uprooted to my Overdrive shelf. I was on the waiting list and it was finally my turn. I’m feeling slightly guilty right now that I haven’t returned it so that the next person on the waiting list can have her chance, but I haven’t yet, because I keep wanting to just drop into that world again for a little visit. I loved it so much. I’ve read other books by Novik — I think I read maybe the first three books of her very long Tremaire series? I enjoyed them but not enough to keep going when I reached the end of the series that had been written when I first started. I hate trying to remember what happened in a series that I haven’t read for a year so I often let series go. But this book was nothing like those books.
It’s a fairy tale mix of… oh, Robin McKinley and Patrick Rothfuss and Suzanne Collins and … someone grim and bloody and someone magical and stubborn. Maybe it is its own thing entirely? After I fell in love with it, I listened to the Sword & Laser podcast about it and then read a Slate review of it. One of the things that both of those sources pointed out was that it’s almost a trilogy in one book: a coming-of-age tale with a fantastic heroine where for the first third, she’s learning in a classic Beauty and the Beast scenario, and in the second third, she’s off to the city in a Mercedes Lackey/Patrick Rothfuss watch-out-for-the-evil-peers story, and in the last third, she is engaged in epic battles to save her home, ala people that I don’t read because I’m not so much an epic battle sort of reader. (And wasn’t THAT quite the run-on sentence.) The Slate review criticized that, suggesting that it would have been better as three books, but I totally disagreed — this is an all-things-in-one, breakneck speed, completely engrossing read. For me, it was perfect.
Well, pretty close to perfect. On a second read, I started to quibble with some things. (What happened to the wolves? Where did they come from and why were they never seen again? Why didn’t the obnoxious girl get transformed into a toad? Seriously, on what planet is tilting her headpiece a year’s worth of humiliation for someone that bitchy? Also holy cow, there are a lot of dead people by the end — I’m not sure I’ve ever loved a book that was quite so bloody.) BUT! None of those things remotely occurred to me on my first read and really mostly I just loved it to death. So much so that as soon as I finished, I went back to the beginning and started again and since then, I’ve been dipping in and out of it at regular opportunities. And worst of all, my night-time and morning day-dreaming — the moments when I’m half-awake and story is unfolding before my eyes, words drifting into my imagination — all those moments are being stolen by Novik’s world. *sigh*
I should really return this book to the library right now and try to forget all about it. Noah needs to finish his confrontation with Lucas and Akira needs to get back from her honeymoon. But you, on the other hand, you, dear reader, should promptly put your name on your library’s hold list. I’ve added the book to my Amazon wishlist and someday after I make it through the holidays, after I finish writing a couple books of my own, I’m going to be buying my own copy of Uprooted so that I can read it until the pixels wear out. (Thank God they never do!)
And oh, bah, I was actually going to write the story of my Christmas tree, but I’m out of time. Oh, well. I have a Christmas tree. It feels magical. It’s not really decorated yet, but I feel a decided glow of happiness when I think about it that matches the glow of its lights.