Saturday, April 18, 2009

Backstory (aquaphilic-type)

Like Porpoise in her introductory post, I am excited about our update to an electronic medium.  Although the USPS  shouldn’t be blamed for the months and, once or twice, years between book picks (that rests squarely on our collective shoulders), the need to mail the book just exacerbated our tendency to procrastinate.  But don’t let ms. P fool you – she long ago attained slacker-level where keeping in touch is concerned. (‘Fess up, WH!) Despite our slightly pathetic history, I’m optimistic that the immediate gratification of this method will encourage a more rapid exchange of books and generate some lively discussion.

While I was a firsthand witness of Porpoise’s ski-bummery – living with her for 6 months in VT – I didn’t graduate and begin my cross-country travels until the following June.  Where have I been?  Since matriculating from the aforementioned ivory tower, I’ve moved from Billsville to a Twin City (Minneapolis) to Tucson, AZ to my hometown of Waukegan, IL to Milwaukee, WI back to Waukegan and, finally, to my current home in the Windy City.  Whew…

I find it a bit difficult to describe my book taste, so I’ll illustrate it with a recent conversation I had with a good friend from college:

Zombies?!? A friend gawped at me recently when I was trying to describe to him the last REALLY GREAT book that I’d read.  Uh, yep – a “non-fiction” accounting of the zombie wars, actually, I responded. Oh, and then there was this noir free verse thing-y about lycanthropes in L.A. that caught my attention, I forged on gamely.  I think there may have been a small amount of pity lacing his eyeroll as he tried not to laugh at me. Unfortunately, this is the way my “So whatcha reading?” conversations often progress  I love a good story with compelling characters and am not afraid to wade through werewolves or zombies or vampires to get it.  Fiction or non – if it’s got a hook – a way to connect, I’ll probably read it.  I, too, like nearly anything speculative, am always consuming several books at a time of various genres and am looking for the ICBMs to introduce me to stuff I like, but might not have picked up or known about on my own.  

And that zombie book that my friend so hubristically rolled his eyes over?  HE LOVED IT. 




Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some backstory

So a long time ago, I graduated from a very small college and moved to Vermont to be a ski bum for a year before heading off to Our Nation's Capitol for graduate school. Some of my collegiate compatriots and I started a book-club-by-mail: one person would pick a book, send it to the next person who would read it, comment, and send it to the third person. We had a little notebook for all the comments that was going to serve as a record for the ages on our great insights into these great works of literature.

It's now more then a decade later, and I've moved from The Green Mountain State to DC to Tucson, AZ, to Houston, TX, and am now in the process of preparing to move to London at the end of the month. I've finished grad school, gotten married, produced two progeny, and read a lot of books in that span of time. My taste runs strongly to what my husband* refers to as "trashy science fiction", but I prefer to think of as openminded consumption of anything even remotely speculative in nature. I'm currently on a big Elizabeth Bear kick, but thankfully my fellow Mavens keep throwing some good stuff into the mix to keep my brain from disintegrating completely into a pile of alien goo.

We've collectively decided to shift from the postal service to the World Wide Web because really, someone is going to get pissed that she has to ship books to the UK all the time (hence the Intercontinental nature of the blog title). And this way we will have a record of all our thoughts on the great works of literature we're reading all in one place - how many times has that notebook been replaced in the last ten years ladies?

I'm looking forward to reading a bunch of good stuff in the next while, as well as forcing these two slackers to keep in touch. I think we all hope that anyone out there reading will join in the conversation!

*This from a man who reads mostly non-fiction. You know, because if it's not educational, why should he waste his time? Bah!