November 15, 2013

Ready to Become a Fan of...Catherynne M. Valente

It's the sad truth that one lifetime will never be enough to read every book I'd like to read. This was true even before I became a book blogger, and since then the number of authors whose books I'd love to read has expanded exponentially. Shiny new books, easy-to-access library books, and even merely the stresses of everyday life have all contributed to my ever-growing pile of unread authors I really do intend to read.

Thus this feature was born. Ready to Become a Fan of... focuses on those authors new and old whose works I have every intention of eventually reading, but haven't been able to devote the time to just yet. By discussing authors and their works that I'm sure I'll love, given the chance, hopefully I can be more easily compelled to take the next step in not simply acquiring one of their books, but actually take the time to read it.

This month I'm putting on record that I am ready to become a fan of Catherynne M. Valente.

About the author:

Catherynne M. Valente has written more than a dozen fantasy and science fiction novels in the past decade. She seems to be best known for her current Fairyland series (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was #8 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2011 and trilogy’s finale, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, was published this past October). Her works have garnered accolades such as James Tiptree, Jr. Award, the Mythopoeic Award, Andre Norton Award, and Locus Award. In addition to her novels, Valente has published poetry collections, short stories, and literary criticisms. 

Work I'm most looking forward to reading:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. (Goodreads)

Why this author & this work:
It’s funny how life has a tendency to go about and change things. I’m not the biggest fan of unexpected changes, but I’m a bit excited about this one. I had originally decided to spotlight Deathless for this feature. I have a library copy that has been sitting on my floor for a few months, and I like the fact that this book is geared towards adults and explores Russian legends. I’ll never say no to reading a beautifully written mythopoeic work of fiction. I mean, that’s the type of story that I can easily see myself falling in love with.

And then there was the additional knowledge that I had actually bought my little sister copies of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There for Christmas last year, fully intending on borrowing them myself. But I can acknowledge that I have a bit of a mental block regarding stories labeled as “middle grade,” and there
was also the fact that I had ample opportunities to read it in the past year and didn't. All these factors coupled together made me think that perhaps this story wasn’t going to be my best introduction to her work.

Sometimes the universe seems to find ways of changing even our best-laid plans, however. When the final book in the Fairyland trilogy was released last month, a bunch of blogs hosted giveaways from the publisher, Feiwel and Friends. I entered a few because, as I said earlier, I have every expectation of loving that series once I can surpass the hurdles mentioned above and give it a fair chance. And then I won one of those giveaways and am now the proud owner of the entire trilogy. I’m going to take this as a sign that perhaps I should start with Valente’s Fairyland series. After all, if you’re familiar with my blog at all, you know I have a soft spot for fairy-tale esque stories. I’m excited to finally have the opportunity to read all about September and experience her magical journey for myself! A
nd I have every expectation that a reading of Deathless (and the rest of Valente's backlog) will shortly follow.

For those of you who've already read some of Valente's works, I'd appreciate hearing what you think about them. For those who also haven't read her works yet, let me know what's been holding you back!

Ready to Become a Fan of... is an original feature of Late Nights with Good Books.

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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.

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