January 27, 2012

February Book Lovin'


This year's Cybil's reading had the unexpected reaction of causing a bit of brain atrophy. I was reading frantically right up to the last day, and anxiously pestering the postman, waiting for my next book. I feel like I did only a "meh" job of reading, in the end being unable to gain access to forty of the contenders. Because we have such a doughty crew, though, the books ALL got read by at least two people, but still! I wanted to have done better than I did.

January I took to just relearn to look at words on a page without them swimming around; meanwhile, AF got all thoughty and started rereading Plato's Republic (And today's UNSHELVED is also just for her!!). Now that February is on the horizon, complete with flying dragons, the books are calling us back. February brings with it the read-a-bration that is 28 Days Later, and two blog tours. Look for things to be a little busier around here in the coming days. It's time to set aside the winter blahs and get back to the books!

As I'd thought, Elizabeth Wein's novel Code Name Verity is really, really good... review coming up shortly.

It's always a nail-biter, reviewing a book of someone you know and like, and you just end up doing Liz Burns' patented Hope It Doesn't Suck dance while you read it - fingers tapping, crossed legs swinging, anxiety pouring from every pore.

Of course it didn't suck.

One thing Elizabeth knows how to do (well, she knows how to do more than one thing, but please - this is big) is RESEARCH, research, research. She makes the past come alive, no matter what piece of the past she happens to be into. She immerses herself into her topic - she visited Africa to write her last books -- and she pretty well stayed in WWII era - complete with outfits (dolls!!!), old planes, music, etc. -- to get into character for writing these. (I'd actually like to see what she would do to write a novel set in modern times -- how does one prepare for that?) She is an impeccable historian and her plotting is tight, and ... ah. As I said: review to come.

But, I had to say this: whilst snooping around the web, I found a couple of things that made me laugh -- one was a blog post by someone waiting for their copy of Code Name Verity. They used the 'd' word -- as in debut.

People, people, people.

Google is our friend, all right?
Elizabeth Wein has written SEVERAL other books; please take a moment to check them out, yes? Meanwhile, check THIS out!!

16 comments:

E Wein said...

OMG no freaking nails left. I am doing a guest blog for you on 6 February??? How did I not know this??? *LMAO* *dies* Send me email, let me know what it'll be. (I know... you thought this was in someone else's hands, just like my poor kids think that I have organized their lives effectively and then it turns out I forgot to confirm that they were taking the exam that day, or whatever. This is the first time I've seen this blog tour banner, too! seriously, email me.)

E Wein said...

...Ok, am now suitably reassured. What, me panic?

Thanks for the advance buzz!

tanita davis said...



This has to be the most hilarious one-sided conversation ever...

All is well, looking forward to book talking with you WHENEVER - not necessarily Feb. 6! - good luck with the BBC!! We'll be linking to that, too, you can be sure!

aquafortis said...

Oh, now I REALLY can't wait to read it. I'm not usually a fan of wartime historical fiction, but I do like the WWII period--especially after all the research I did for my MFA thesis. (Which may get a new life...or not...we shall see.)

Love the Plato cartoon, though I must note with sheepishness that I'm reading it for the first time, not re-reading it (if only!!). And, as of last night, I'm done! On to Antigone...and then the 8-10 page paper due next Friday...

Russo said...

ONE OF THE THINGS i LIKE ABOUT YOUR BLOG IS THAT THE POSTS ARE INTERESTING. i HAVE TO READ EVERY PARAGRAPH AND TAKE IN WHAT you are saying (PS-I have no idea why my wacked-out computer typed this in caps, so sorry)

tanita davis said...

Hey, Russo, thanks for coming by! (My 'o' on my keyboard is acting up now, so occasionally I have o-less words... we can at least understand all-caps just fine. ☺)

Chachic said...

There's going to be a Code Name Verity blog tour?! Why did I not know this? But I shouldn't be surprised since it looks like EWein herself was surprised by the news. I can't wait to see the posts for that tour and for the rest of the blogosphere to discover Code Name Verity. I'm planning to post my review later, just need to tweak it. :)

Ashley Hope Pérez said...

I love the general air of bewilderment (blog tour? Me!? Caps? Me!?). Sometimes I find life pretty dang bewildering. EW, it makes me feel a touch better about my own publicity struggles that you--another NOT debut writer--also have these moments of, hey, WHAT?! Reassuring abrazos all around. We're all good!

I'll make a point of getting my paws on Code Verity, too, since novel #3 for me is set in 1930s. I have a kind of knee-jerk recoil from the term "historical fiction," probably because I know how it would make my kiddos eyes glaze before they even tasted the prose. How would YOU label your book? I plan to rivet my readers so thoroughly that they will forget they thought such a boring thought ("historical fiction") at all. And it will then be "the amazing YA novel" that just happens to be set in 1930s. :)

Delusions of grandeur, anyone?

tanita davis said...

To be honest, I really feel like the phrase "historical fiction" should be abolished. It brings to mind thinly disguised textbooks which were offered to me as reasonable fiction fare at school (although, the "We Were There" series I'll never forget - I read a book on the Normandy invasion that was amazing - the two kids along for the ride were right in the thick of the action). No one thinks of the Little House books or anything fun like that when they think "historical fiction."

Meanwhile, Ashley, I thought of you this morning when it was -5°C/23F and it's only a little warmer than that now. Yeah, this is what's called "early spring..."

tanita davis said...

PS - Chachic - yes, the blog tour is a little quiet. Glad you'll be talking it up, and linking, too.

E Wein said...

first of all, the blog tour: originally they said they could only find 4 bloggers were interested in me because everybody was all booked up till 2031 or something. Then, I told them to try Finding Wonderland which they appear to have done successfully, but didn't confirm that with me. Then, I roped in the Bookbabblers MYSELF through the wonderful Estara who begged me to send them an ARC. Which is when I sent Chachic an ARC as well. So! Chachic, I will blog for you ANY TIME (as you know!).

Historic fiction: GAH!!!! I have to give a speech next week on 'how to make historic fiction appealing to teens.' I had a kneejerk reaction against calling it historic fiction at this point. I call CNV "a spies-n-pilots thriller." I mean, it is a thriller, which happens to be set 70 years ago. I notice that adult war thrillers don't get labeled "historic fiction" so often.

Sharyn November, editing my Aksum/Arthurian novels, coined the term "historic suspense" SPECIFICALLY for application to my novels, but no one ever picked it up. I think it is just the "history" word that makes everyone's eyes glaze over.

Tanita, thanks for flagging these comments up to me! My gmail box is probably full of unread notifications!

Ashley Hope Pérez said...

On "historical fiction" and its booby traps... I've read a post from LH Anderson who tries for the term "historical thriller." One of her commenters pointed out the basic problem, which I think is true for "historical suspense," too: the word of death in "historical fiction" isn't "fiction" but "history." That is because most people have had crap history teachers and think that "history" is where good stories go to die. For similar anti-social-studies-connotations reasons, I don't want a glossary ANYWHERE NEAR any of my fiction, as I said here (http://bit.ly/xHmDA2).

Ashley Hope Pérez said...

As for blog tours, I can only say, from my limited personal experience, that in the end, it's just easier to set things up myself to avoid gaps in communication. (And more fun to get to know the bloggers a bit.) My secret weapon is using a scrivener file, which lets me avoid the gazillions of word docs and see everything in one place. It also makes it easy to tab through the posts in order and see how (or if...) they build on each other. Someday I'm going to do a blog post about how this tactic worked out for me, but I guess I'd better finish the tour first.

Finally, just read more on CNV, and I want to read it... YESTERDAY. It's not available on amazon.fr yet, but I will be looking to snag it as soon as my temporarily ex-pat self can. Let me know if you have a good link to a non-kindle ebook (say from the publisher?). Kind of have a private hatefest against the kindle app on my ipad.

tanita davis said...

Ashley, I order everything on The Book Depository because NOTHING seems to jump the pond as fast as I think I *need* it. Also: let's chat. I will send you my copy of the book, and pester Liz until she gives me another one. ☺

E Wein said...

I think arranging one's own blog tour *is* the way to go. It was awkward being invited to guest blog for bookbabblers, then tell them I was doing a tour then anyway, then have to liaise with the publicity person, etc. etc. - and this is also how Chachic ended up out of the loop. But of course, having never HAD a publicitst assigned to me before (that I know of), it never occurred to me that there was another way of doing it - far too shy to offer my services! I think originally I became friends with Tanita because my previous publisher recommended Finding Wonderland do a blog interview with me! But as I say, I would NEVER have been brave enough to approach a blogger on my own.

OK, I know how dumb that is. But you live and learn.

Ashley Hope Pérez said...

I am one of those shy people nobody believes is shy. But I've learned to get over it by imagining what a not-shy person would do, and then doing it. Faking it, basically. :)