Stephanie Burgis
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Mood rings, frappucinos, and outrage
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Today my mood ring is:

Your Mood Ring is Dark Red

Very happy

Well, no surprise, since it was a lovely weekend. I had breakfast at the Borders Starbucks twice (yeah, I know some of you are thinking "evil chain stores!" but in Leeds, there are no happy independent bookshop-cafes, so I take what I can get), and I discovered the wonders of the newly-created cinnamon-mocha frappucino. Mmmmmm.... So delicious! It's now become my celebration drink of choice. And there was a wonderful piece of news to celebrate, but I am not allowed to post it here until Patrick has posted about it. Aaaackkk! (Imagine me tearing at my hair with frustration.) Anyway, there was great news, which we spent considerable time celebrating this weekend with cinnamon-mocha frappucinos and more.

Also I discovered an amazing book which was published back in 1974 but didn't reach my consciousness until a week or so ago: Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard, a Tudor-era YA fantasy with some of the most beautiful writing and freakiest fairies of any fantasy novel I've ever read. How did this one pass me by for so long? I love it, I've spent this weekend reading it slowly to savor it, and I'm about to order her other book (The Sherwood Ring, which also sounds wonderful)...but oh, I really wish I'd found it first when I was a kid, because it would have blown my mind back then. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

I've recently gotten addicted to reading Booksquare, especially after the wonderful rant there about Muriel Gray's recent accusation that women writers lack imagination. (And can you believe that we're still having to have that conversation???) Today Booksquare led me to a fascinatingly awful piece of news: Jane Austen's portrait has been retouched, with makeup and hair extensions added, for the front cover of a new biography because: '"She was not much of a looker," said Helen Trayler, managing director of publisher Wordsworth Editions.'

OK, we don't need to argue about how she looked - and of course that famous portrait of her by her sister Cassandra doesn't make her look gorgeous, it's true. But the question is: why on earth should it need to? This is a biography of Austen as a famous writer, not a famous beauty. Surely people who pick it up will do it because they've heard of her novels...right? So why should her beauty be at stake? It will be interesting to see if similar actions are taken for the next biographies of, say, Winston Churchill, or Wilkie Collins, or...the list could go on and on.


In better news, today's snow monkey live-cam picture is enormously cute.

And I'm pretty sure it wasn't even touched up to add makeup or hair extensions.

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