How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (non-fiction)
I placed a reserve on this book months ago at the library and then when it was finally my time, I was reading it with the eyes of a father-to-be. I could have a daughter before the year is out (we've left the sex a mystery), and maybe I should have thought a little more about the F-word (feminism), but okay, here I am, reading this book about how to be a woman, surely that's a start!?
Caitlin Moran LIKES TO SHOUT IN CAPS. A LOT. But it works for her. When she wants to, she can turn a great, surprising phrase. Por ejemplo: "I feel embarrassed that she is now having to deal with our secret blackness. This is private. The admin of my soul."
A long-time Times columnist, Moran's prose beats at the columnist's furious, hummingbird heartbeat (though, if you've seen Moran talk, it's not just on the page).
Interesting. Moderately enlightening. Always entertaining.
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (short stories, audiobook)
Another audiobook read by the author. This one moderately remarkable since it's fiction and Gaiman is a very able 'voice artist'. His consistent performance 'at the mic' isn't quite matched by the stories 'on the page'. They're a mixed bag. 'A study in emerald', Gaiman's mash up of Arthur Conan Doyle and Ursula Le Guin opens the collection strongly, but there are a few too many shrugworthy stories and unclassifiable snippets (see: filler) for the book to hang together.
Also: the last six New Yorker Fiction podcasts. Still a fan. Magic.
And: Literary Consolation Prizes (via NY Times).
Lots of Ronnie James Dio (in his various bands) and Neil Young with his scungy hombres, Crazy Horse.
Recent home improvements
Installing a dishwasher (handy timesaver when baby arrives). Knocking down a wall in the garage (handy for getting baby in and out of the car). Fixing the guttering (nothing to do with baby, but it needed to be done).
(You can always tell the weekends when my mum and step-dad have come down to visit by all the things we manage to get done around the house. Power tools are useful! Know-how, even more so.)
* Slagging off Palmy, then explaining it how it's kind of a compliment.
* Improving The Mannequin Makers.
I have four pages of To-Dos, things like "Explain what happened to Colton" and "More reaction to the differences btwn imagined world (windo scheme) and real world -> the lies! the confusion! the freedom!"
Making changes at this late stage is always interesting. A small tweak can remove a big problem. Equally, a simple change in one chapter can require changes throughout the rest of the book (or at least, necessitate you reading the whole thing specifically looking for things that no longer fit this brave new world).
I'm supposed to give another version of the manuscript back on 1 December so it can be edited over Christmas. It'll happen. Balls to the wall as usual, but it'll happen (as long as the baby doesn't drop before then).