Quiet week, for the most part.  I did get to check out Coco Cinnamon in Durham with Sam last Sunday, which may be my new favorite hot chocolate joint.  The Kublai Khan sipping chocolate had poppy seeds sprinkled on top–very apropos.

Spare time this week was spent working on my story for Rooglewood Press’ Five Glass Slippers contest.  The deadline is the 31st, and I hadn’t planned on entering, but then I had an idea, so…I’m currently writing like a fiend to see if I can finish in time.

Since I’m fresh out of RadioLab episodes, I’ve been listening to the radio play of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere while driving in the car.  James McAvoy, who performs the voice of the main character, keeps his Scottish accent, so I would happily listen to him read the phone book.  Benedict Cumberbath plays the angel Islington and is, unsurprisingly, flawless at it.

Know this:





Books: I blew through The Rider of Lost Creek by Louis L’Amour because it was in the pile of booksale books I hadn’t read, but I must confess I’m getting a little tired of L’Amour.  This one, the first in the Kilkenny series, was still enjoyable enough, but only if you haven’t read a slew of L’Amour in the last year like yours truly.

By the end of the library booksale, I was just trying to fill up my box, so I grabbed any book I saw that had ever been recommended to me.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold was one of those might-as-well acquisitions, and if I ever remember who recommended it to me, he or she is getting a kick in the shins.  There’s no way to describe the plot without making it sound irredeemably hokey, because it is irredeemably hokey: the main character is murdered, and the novel is told from her perspective as she watches her family and her killer from heaven.  (This isn’t a spoiler: they give it away in the first page or two.)  I will admit, however, that the story execution (no pun intended) is well done; even as I was rolling my eyes, I kept reading and finished the book in no time.

Warning: spoilers from here on.  By the end of the book, though, I was thoroughly skeeved out by the main (dead) character and felt pretty dirty.  I’ve never really thought about what the belief that your loved ones are watching you from heaven really meant; it’s not a belief I share (though I am a Christian), so the ramifications never really hit me.  The main character watches her family and friends for years, and I mean WATCHES them.  She knows what they’re thinking, and she feels what they’re feeling.  She’s there when her sister makes love with her boyfriend and while her mother cheats on her father.  She sees them at their most despicable moments, and she’s essentially a ghostly voyeur through every aspect of their lives.  Major spoiler: in the end, she actually manages to temporarily possess her friend’s body in order to have sex with the boy she had a crush on while she was alive, and this is portrayed as a beautiful, meaningful conclusion that enables her to let go of her family and move on to…whatever’s next in heaven.    Theological idiocy and full-on creepiness aside, characters’ actions were illogical (the protagonist, who has been obsessed with avenging her death for years, completely ignores her murderer when she has the chance to do something about him, and the guy finally dies as an afterthought in the last page or two), and no amount of stylistic talent can make up for the bizarre, inconsistent, and uncomfortable plot.