Stephanie Burgis
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Ouch. I stayed up wayyyyy too late last night working on revisions, and now I'm feeling exhausted and brain-dead. But that's fine from Maya's point of view - she's been very insistent on getting her full quota of lap-time ever since we got home!

There's been plenty of good news over the last few days, though. I just found out that Paul J. Iutzi at The Fix did a really nice write-up of "It's All About the Shoes" in his review of Flytrap 8. And one of my fellow writers in that issue just got some really awesome and well-deserved news - Greg van Eekhout is now represented by Caitlin Blasdell, for a novel related to the (really good) short story he published in Flytrap 8. Woot!

I've been doing lots and lots of reading, which is always good. I forgot to say last week that I'd read Carrie Jones's Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend on the plane trip from Florida to Michigan, and I loved, loved, loved it! It's the first YA novel I've read in a long, long time that's really captured the feel of high school as I remember it (as opposed to the Hollywood version) - the way the characters interacted with each other, the heightened emotions and reactions, the way they all felt so true, so emotionally honest and so compelling - and the book was just fun, too! I can't wait until the sequel comes out in March.

By the time I got onto the plane over to Wales, I was so absorbed in my own novel revisions that I was in absolutely the wrong mood to read any more fiction, but I read two great nonfiction books in the next few days (both courtesy of Ysabeau Wilce! thank you!!!). The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons, by David Crane, was absolutely fascinating. Talk about twisted, emotionally destructive - but utterly compelling - relationships! I wasn't crazy about Crane's choice of narrative structure - there's a section of the book where he presents an imagined scene in the form of a play, and it just totally didn't work for me - but he does a great job of drawing out the characters, their motivations and their conflicts in all the rest of the book, and I read it in record time because I was so absorbed by it. Really, really fun - even though I ended up racing to read it instead of sleeping on the plane!

And then during our weekend in Wales, I read one of the best biographies I've ever read, which was also one of the best social histories: Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832, by Stella Tillyard, was absolutely brilliant. It's a group biography of four sisters in an influential upperclass family in 18th-century England, and Tillyard does a perfect job of drawing all four sisters' characters and relationships with each other, their parents, their various husbands and lovers, and their society in general. There's plenty of exciting drama in their lives (marriages, affairs, political successes, betrayals and defeats, scandalous divorces, etc.), but mainly I just read it for the sisters themselves, and for their letters to each other. It was a fantastic book for writing-stimulation - now I really want to write something else set in the 18th century!

And now it really is time to drag myself up off the couch to make some lunch...

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