Well, folks, reports have been coming in from friends with sharp eyes: Graceling has been spotted in bookstores in Union Square (NYC); Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA); Decatur, GA; Atlantic Beach, FL; Jacksonville, FL; and St. Cloud, MN. And it’s in stock at amazon.com and bn.com, though not yet at powells.com. I guess it’s official — Graceling exists. Please support independent bookstores! And if you have any interest in buying a signed copy, please contact my local bookstore, the Bookmark, by calling (904) 241-9026 or emailing bkmark at bellsouth dot net. Then they’ll call me and say, Kristin, get your ass out here and sign this, and I’ll be tickled pink, because the Bookmark is only a block from the sea, and I always like a good excuse to go to the sea.
- Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk and author of many things, including Peace Is Every Step. My sister, secret code name Apocalyptica, pronounces it Thick Snot, but I’m thinking that might be wrong.
- Tracy Chevalier, the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels. The French way? The English way? Some third way I haven’t thought of?
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Flow and Creativity. Really. That’s his name.
I’ve read a few articles lately and been involved in a few conversations that have gotten me thinking about the topic of audience age. And then, the other day, a wonderful conversation about writing, readership, the “intended audience,” etc. erupted on the blog of Sarah Prineas, the author of The Magic Thief. The conversation is here, and here are some of my favorite quotes:
- Brahms’ Requiem, which my father gave to me, knowing how much I love Mozart’s Requiem. Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra version, directed by James Levine, with Kathleen Battle and Håkan Hagegård.
- The Into the Wild soundtrack, songs written and performed by Eddie Vedder — acoustic strings and his wonderful voice. Super! (And check out the movie, too.)
- All Things Bright and Beautiful, by James Herriot, read by Christopher Timothy (who played James Herriot on the old TV show All Creatures Great and Small). Do you know these books? Herriot was a farm veterinarian in Yorkshire in the 1930s and 40s and wrote the most wonderful stories about his experiences…. and Christopher Timothy does a marvelous job performing them. They’re especially good for listening to on airplanes. No doubt my airplane neighbors are puzzled to find me weeping one minute, and shouting with laughter the next.
(Btw, my title is from the song “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen and covered a gazillion times. I am partial to the Jeff Buckley version. Also, Kirkus gave Graceling a star, woot woot!)
There was always something a little off about our cat Maggie. It was hard to say whether she ran headlong into walls because there was a problem with her brains, or whether there was a problem with her brains because she kept running headlong into walls. She lost her balance like other cats never did; she neglected her own grooming; she missed the litter box most of the time; she was a little bit stinky. She was terrified of strangers and she was so skittish — the smallest noise, and she’d bolt. And she’d sit purring contentedly while you petted her, and you’d think, Hey, Maggie’s turned normal — but then, when she’d been petted enough, she’d let you know by biting you. I don’t mean a friendly little nip — I mean she’d BITE you. Hard. Sometimes there was blood. I’m certain she wasn’t trying to be mean or aggressive; it was just another example of Maggie not knowing the socially correct way to do things. I think everyone in my family learned to suppress the scream of pain from Maggie’s “thank you, that’s enough now” bite (because if you screamed, of course, you’d scare her out of her skin).
The sun has gone down on the Olympics for me a tiny bit ever since Ian Thorpe retired; how I miss the battles between the Thorpedo and Pieter von den Hoogenband! And MUST they keep showing the President looking like a bored frat boy as he watches the events? Here I am, all gleefully proud of the American men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay team, and then I see that person. Go away. You have done nothing but break my heart for 8 years and you make me ashamed.
-Dad, you were never dying.
-…But I’m gonna live.