Saturday, 7 November 2009

Where I've Been

So. Where have I been?

Mostly, I've spent the last month waiting for test results to see if I have cancer. I've gotten a mostly clean report back, except for one thing that we still don't quite know is going on. I thought I was handling the waiting well - this has been going on since the middle of summer - but I found I couldn't engage in the world while I waited these past three weeks. I didn't know this beforehand, or I would have left a little message! I only realized I was withdrawing last weekend, when I realized I had missed shopping for our youngest's birthday last Monday because I didn't want to leave the house.

I have been able to read, and am half-way through Jane Eyre, and took a break to read Flashforward by Robert Sawyer, which the new tv series is based on. I missed the beginning (3 episodes) of the tv show so I decided to read the book instead! It's good SF - I love the premise, but as is the case with usual SF, the characterization peters out about half-way through, and it becomes explanation, telling the story instead of showing us. In writer's circles, we are always being told "show the reader, don't tell." Science fiction, when they are trying to fit the characters and story around the science idea, always reminds me of this lesson (and how not to tell a story!). A good example of writing for characters and science is anything by Connie Willis, the new Doctor Who on TV, Neal Stephenson (and I just looked at Anathem by him and added it to my Christmas wish list!), Kim Stanley Robinson, Ray Bradbury - character driven science fiction. Among the best? Dune by Frank Herbert. At least for me it is, I'm sure many of you have science fiction authors you love. So Flashforward is enjoyable, but don't go into it expecting great storytelling. It's still worth reading, just for how the flash-forward is explained, and the philosophical discussions around a fixed fate vs free will: is our future already fixed? Or is it fluid? If we see what's ahead, does it have to be that way?

So, as I begin to recover from my first scare (and hopefully many years before any more!), I find I can to talk again. It wasn't just you, my dear Gentle Reader, I stopped talking to really everyone but my immediate family, without knowing I was doing it. I used to do this as a child, and apparently some coping mechanisms never go away!

I hope you all have had a really good Hallowe'en in the meantime, and have watched the leaves falling as the year darkens. The good thing about this time of year, as many of you said in your comments to my post about autumn, is that it means we can spend more time reading happily in our homes. I certainly will be. After getting the good news on Wednesday, I can start thinking about Christmas happily, and the first thing I did was -

go to a bookstore.

Even my husband noticed that I hadn't bought any books for almost two months, which is most unlike me. So I'm going to make up for it now! :

My Christmas Wish List (to be added to until Christmas Eve, and possibly after if I don't get everything I want!!)

Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection (I love my slow cooker!)

Slow Cooker: Best Cookbook Ever - Diane Phillips

Diabetic Cookbook - Bridget Jones (for me, still getting used to this too!)
Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley (this looks really good, finally out in softcover)

Anathem - Neal Stephenson (one of the best books of last year, finally out in softcover, and it looks really good)

Champlain's Dream - David Hackett Fischer (since I didn't get it last year, and I still want to read it!)

All The Colours of Darkness
- Peter Robinson (latest in Insp Banks series)

Arctic Chill - Arnaldur Indridason (the latest in the series)

Doors Open
- Ian Rankin (stand alone mystery)

The Complaints - " " (new series with Malcolm Fox, I think is the main detective's name. Looks very dark and quite good).

The Private Patient - PD James

Tarot Wisdom - Rachel Pollack

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom - " " (both are classic books in tarot reading)
Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories - Connie Willis (sadly the hardcover no longer available, still waiting for a soft cover version. Come on, Subterranean Press!!!)
oooh, her new one is just listed for next Feb '10:
Blackout - Connie Willis

I've only just begun looking, so more will be added! and I don't expect to get everything! It's just lovely to have lots to choose from. Is there anything on your Christmas lists yet, dear Gentle Reader?

I also have to apologize for not finishing the RIP1V challenge the way I'd planned, nor the ghost stories. In fact, I couldn't read any more horror or ghost stories; Jane Eyre was the closest I could come, and I put it down last week when it's her wedding day and she's about to find out about the wife. This is my least favourite part of the book and I hate her journey to the moors and the religious nut she finds (sorry but I loathe him!) so as my test results were given on Wednesday, I put it down until I'm ready to deal with Rochester's betrayal. I had forgotten what a masterful creation he is, such a complex character - he so loves Jane, but he's never quite fully honest with her, and I know he's trapped, but I still think lying to her was reprehensible. Do you have any thoughts about this, dear Reader? Let me know......

Do you want me to keep posting some of the ghost stories from Bluenose Ghosts? Or is it too close to Christmas now? I do intend to finish it now, so if anyone wants to hear a few more ghost stories, let me know (yes, Cath at Read-warbler, I'm looking at you.....)

Mmm. The pictures on the cookbooks have made me hungry.

And then, this book lover admits, it's time for my nightly viewing of an episode of Fringe. Yes, I've watched the entire first season (now on DVD) once, and am working my way through a second time. I love this series!! I won't confess to how often I watch each weekly episode of Season 2 as it airs this season, let's just say, this is one of those very rare tv shows that I can watch two or three times (in some cases many more!) and still feel there are things I'm missing.

Happy reading and Fringe-watching, everyone!


Laughing Stars said...

I'm glad you got good news on your tests for cancer, and I hope you get reassuring results soon on the one thing they're unsure about. Great wish list!

Kerry said...

I'm so glad to hear the test results are good. I hope you get the last confusing one sorted out as well.

I like your wish list. Maybe it's time I started one for myself. We're thinking about getting a slow cooker for Christmas so I can start meals in the morning and leave them cooking instead of rushing around trying to get something sorted when I get Marcus home from school.

I never used one myself, but we have a friend who says they're great.

Hazra said...

I hope that all your test results turn out to be good. Sending you my prayers.

I love your wish list; the cookbooks remind me of how I've got to "update" my cooking skills over the winter. Happy Fringe-watching to you too!

brideofthebookgod said...

Yay!! Welcome back Susan, we missed you...

DesLily said...

wow.. that's some scare, and I'd do the same as you and clam up totally happy to hear that so far so good!! I hope the last of the wonders comes up with the answers you want too!!!

I am not in a position to do christmas any more but if I were I would simply more my amazon wish list and call it a christmas wish list LOL..

let us know when the last of the worries is gone.. until then be as quiet as you want.

Anonymous said...

Six months of waiting! I don't know if I would be able to function as well as you have. I'm sending all the best wishes and good thoughts your way---

mariel said...

So sorry to hear you've been having such a hard time recently, and so relieved that you have had good news. It really put things in perspective for everything else in life. Thinking of you.

I love Jane Eyre, and the slow romance and companionship rather than immediate passion between Jane and Rochester, but agree that lying to her like that was inexcusable. I also just finished the first series of Fringe...ooh!

Cath said...

I'm so sorry to hear you've had this awful scare! Hoping the rest of the test results are okay. Thinking about you.

Gavin said...

So glad everything is well with you. Thanks for the Sc Fi list, I really must read Connie Willis! We've discovered Fringe on DVD at our house and are loving it, but REALLY miss Firefly.

I am so happy you are back, have a wonderful week.

Susan said...

Laughing Stars: Thank you for your wishes, and I love my book want list! Every time I look at my post I think about the books! lol

Kerry: I know, I do too, so does my family.

Slow cookers are amazing; just remember to add as much spice or herbs as the recipe calls for, and that chicken doesn't always do so well in slow cookers. At least so far I've found beef and lamb to be much better for it. And it helps so much to know supper is there waiting, at night.

Hazra: thank you very much for your prayers.

I was hoping people would enjoy just looking at the covers of the books, even if they weren't interested in them! lol I have quite a few cookbooks, so now I pick up the odd one here or there to supplement my main ones.

yes, Happy Fringe watching to you too! Do you get season 2 there? Or do you have to wait for the dvd?

bride: thank you! It's good to be back too. missed you too, you know that! :-)

Deslily: thank you, I will let everyone know. It was so hard to talk about until I had some idea what was going on. I'm not very good with waiting. Or being sick.

you reminded me to update my Amazon wishlist!

StephanieD: thank you. It was hard, especially this last month of just waiting to hear back the results.

Mariel: It does put things into perspective! Suddenly the important things became so much closer to home. I'm still thinking some things over about what I want to do next in my life. I'm not getting any writing done, and I want to start again. Thanks for your kind thoughts :-)

Yes, I liked that too about Rochester and Jane, that they are friends first, and talk, and she can be rude to him and put him in his place, and he lets her. I know why he lies, I just find it reprehensible like Jane does!

Fringe...I'm so happy so many of us are watching and loving it!!! I wish we could have a Fringe-watching party together! lol

Cath: Thank you, Cath, for your love and thoughts. I'll let you know. YOu didn't say anything about Bluenose Ghosts though! Do you want some more ghost stories?

Gavin: I miss Firefly too. I think its wonderful that so many of us love Fringe!

And I hope you like Connie Willis when you find her.

Thanks, it's good to be back, and able to talk to all of you again. Have a good week too!

Cath said...

Susan, yes please to more ghost stories. Apologies, I was so horrified that you've been going through this awful thing that I clean forgot the rest of your post!

Clover said...

Oh how scary, I hope everything checks out in your test results!

I've been thinking of reading FlashForward after watching some of the series, but I'm not sure that I will.

Susan said...

Cath: your wish is done! will post tonight another marvelous Canadian Maritime ghost story :-) and I know, I look at this year as pretty sucky over all.

Clover: thank you so much. And really, the book you could skip over the science parts if you want to. I usually do if it gets too technical in anything! Are you enjoying the series? Is it over there already?

zetor said...

Pleased that tests have good results, hope the remaining one is in the same vein. Best wishes.

suzie said...

Wait, a diabetic cook book?
Did you find out you had diabetes? :(
it's Suzie by the way.

Daphne said...

Glad to have you back (you were missed!) and glad things are okay (and hopefully continue to be okay)! That is a great wish list. I need to work on mine...

Susan said...

zetor: thank you so much. I won't know for a little while (next test is in two weeks.) Fingers crossed!

suzie: I see your mom more than you! Yes! I am diabetic, since June. I'll go on Facebook and tell you more. :-) Have to see you before Christmas!!

Daphne: thank you so much, that is so sweet. I missed you too! My wishlist is ever-evolving!! lol I've added some more since then, just from blogs!