What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
I've had lots of opportunities to learn how to entertain myself on a wet day, living as I have in Vancouver (where it rains cold, persistent rain for weeks at a time in the winter) and then in San Jose (where it rains in short, intense bursts every afternoon during the rainy season). My favourite entertainment is to curl up in a comfy chair with a book.
It's been raining here for the past couple of days and I have managed to work through a handful of books (although I'm knackered now because I sat up far too late last night and the night before finishing books). I've had a YA binge. Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Maureen Johnson, Libba Bray, Holly Black – a cabal of writers who all live in New York, who all know each other (in fact Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier are married), and who all write YA fantasy.
Holly Black's Tithe, a modern day faery tale, wasn't really my thing. It's well-written and the teenage protagonist is likeable enough, but it didn't take my fancy.
Libba Bray's book A Great and Terrible Beauty is a monster of a novel set in a Victorian-era boarding school for girls. This one kept me up late last night and also caused a case of reading-induced temporary deafness earlier in the evening. Travis was running around preparing Petra's bath and asking me questions about towels and clothes as he did so. I didn't hear a thing even though he was never more than a couple of metres away from me. When I finally looked up, I was startled to find that he had nearly finished bathing Petra without me noticing.
Maureen Johnson's book, Devilish is a light, breezily witty affair – I like her style.
Justine Larbalestier writes in a mix of Australian and American idioms in her Magic or Madness trilogy. I found her Australianisms a bit self-conscious and a bit old-fashioned somehow. I don't know whether Australian teens really talk like that anymore. Although we're talking about a country where the unsuspecting party-goer can be asked if they want a "big boy" by the hostess, so anything's possible. When this happened to me, I was flummoxed and my sister had to step in to save me. Apparently a big boy is a cocktail sausage/saveloy thingy. Language aside, Larbalestier's conception of magic as a force that drains your life away if you use it, and sends you mad if you don't, is an unusual and unusually dark take on the magical coming-of-age story.
Peeps, Scott Westerfeld's vampire novel, might just be the most well-written book of them all. I felt like I was in good hands from the opening sentence and was able to relax into the book the way you can relax into a good movie, sure that the pacing, plotting, and cinematography (or writing) will sweep you along. I wasn't sure about the ending, but I loved Westerfeld's reimagining of vampirism as a virus.