Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wolf Hall

Yesterday evening, after working for a few hours at a coffee shop, I decided to swing by the bookstore before I headed home. I had a gift certificate burning a whole in my purse, and I wanted to look around. Specifically, I was thinking that maybe the time had come for me to pick up a copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

I know everyone else has already read it and that I'm late to the party. But I hadn't picked it up yet since it's so long, I have a dissertation to write, and my dissertation is about the c18, not the c16. But, for some reason, I started to feel as if it might be time. I think part of the impulse might have come from my recent reading of Heresy by S. J. Parris (it is billed as an "Elizabethan Thriller," but I thought of it more as a historical mystery). And I guess it got me in the c16 frame of mind. It might also be that the evenings are getting colder and darker, and such a context seems fitting for a such a book.

But I had read mixed reviews of Wolf Hall, so I was hesitant to take the plunge. Most readers seem to love it, but quite a few deemed it "unreadable" because of a taxing writing style. So, when I arrived at the bookstore, I immediately texted Amstr to ask her if I'd like it. Amstr knows me very well, and she has an amazing way of remembering a lot of details about my interests and tendencies (a great quality in a friend, no?). She texted me back right away, which was fantastic because I only had about 15 minutes to spare. Here is what she said:

"Yes! I really liked it! It took a while to get into the groove of the narrative style (a weird kind of limited omniscient present tense, if I remember right). It took about 50 pages to get into it, but I'm glad I did."

I have just started the novel. I'm only about 15 pages in, but I really like it. And do you know why? Well, yes, because it's good, but I think I like it mostly because of the completely apt heads up that I got from Amstr. Since I knew what to look for in the style, and since I was assured (by someone who knows my interests well) that there would be a pay off, I wasn't thrown or confused by the POV. In fact, I was able to focus more on its benefits--the ways in which the characters and the relationships between them feel so real and alive.

So here's to good books and, even more, to good friends.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Freaks Come Out

I have some crazy friends who are doing NaNoWriMo. These are crazy friends who are even busier than I am who are committing to write 50,000 words of a novel this month. I can't believe how crazy they are. I am just not that crazy.

But still. I kind of wanted to stick my toe in the water to see how it would feel. So today, after a few exuberant texts were exchanged with my buddy over at Cleared for Flight, I gave myself an hour to write 1,000 words. And, guess what? I did it! I wrote 1,200 as a matter of fact--1,200 words of a novel. And you know what? It felt pretty friggin' great.

So. Even though I am not crazy enough to commit to writing 50,000 words this month, I am going to commit to writing 10,000 words of a novel and 8,000 words towards my dissertation. These are my goals for November, and they are crazy enough for me.

And Tiki the Wizard (a.k.a Tiki Freaky) hopes that you had a great Halloween.