July 4th, 2005


Pack mentality

I spent most of the weekend packing. This might explain why I've got such big bags under my eyes today.

I don't exactly dislike packing. I like sorting through my stuff, partly just as a general inventory, and partly as an opportunity to throw things out and free myself of some of the clutter that weighs me down. I even quite like the challenge of trying to get as much stuff as possible packed neatly into one box; it's the only time that I feel justified in my belief that Tetris does count as a transferable skill. I like feeling that I'm imposing some kind of order on it all, that just for a second or two I'm making inroads against entropy.

What I hate is the times when I survey the chaos around me and it feels like so many tin cans tied to my ankles, clattering around after me every time I try to take a step. And the times when I look at the slowly-emptying shelves and remember why I put everything here in the first place, and all the little bits and pieces seem to rise up in a huge wave of guilt and sadness.

We're all walking around backwards: we can see where we've been, but not where we're going. We're packing for rain, for shine, for first dates and last rites, for days and nights and all the grey times inbetween. We're packing anything that looks like a map.

I feel as though I have spent half my life cramming heavy-handed symbolism into tattered suitcases.

VLADIMIR:  Where do you go from here?
POZZO:  On. (Lucky, laden down, takes his place before Pozzo.) Whip! (Lucky puts everything down, looks for whip, finds it, puts it into Pozzo's hand, takes up everything again.) Rope! (Lucky puts everything down, puts end of rope into Pozzo's hand, takes up everything again.)
VLADIMIR:  What is there in the bag?
POZZO:  Sand. (He jerks the rope.) On!
VLADIMIR:  Don't go yet.
POZZO:  I'm going.
VLADIMIR:  What do you do when you fall far from help?
POZZO:  We wait till we can get up. Then we go on. On!

Guessed authors

It's my mum's birthday in August, and she usually has a book wish-list which she gives to my dad, my sister and me in case we can't think of anything else to buy her. Now while I don't really mind buying stuff off the list, a) it seems a bit daft given that she's quite happy to buy them for herself anyway, and b) there's always a lot of faff between the three of us as to who buys what, sometimes resulting in duplicate copies. I'd quite like to get her something that she wouldn't buy for herself, i.e. something she might not even know exists, but should like anyway.

So, knowing that there are a fair few SF/Fantasy geeks reading this, I'm turning to you guys for help. Things I know she has read and enjoyed recently:

[edited to include suggestions that I know she's already got/read]
  • Pratchett (funny how it's always the obvious ones you forget to mention)
  • Katherine Kerr (? I think she's got some of these)
  • Terry Goodkind
  • Ursula Le Guin
  • Mercedes Lackey
  • Raymond Feist
  • Julia Gray, The Guardian Cycle series
  • Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time series
  • Guy Gavriel Kay, pretty much everything AFAICT
  • Robin Hobb, "Assassin" / "Fool" series
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Sheri S. Tepper
  • Barbara Hambly
  • Elizabeth Moon
  • Diana Wynne Jones
  • "Bridget Jones" :-)

Can anybody recommend anything that someone who's liked all these might enjoy? (Apologies in advance if I end up saying "I think she's got/read that", I can't remember everything that's on her shelves...) Ideally I want to avoid authors she's already buying everything by, because it's just too easy to duplicate stuff.

NB it doesn't have to be Fantasy (you know I don't really do genre anyway!) but she doesn't read that much SF and I've not had that much success finding non-genre things that she likes... at least, I lent her a huge stack of books a while ago and she wasn't wildly enthusiastic about any of them. Open to suggestions, though.