As always, I am truly terrible when it comes to updating my blog, and for that, I apologise. But this week has been full of lovely adventures. First off, in case you haven't heard, Chicago's One Book, One Chicago selection for this spring is Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere [Amazon] [Mysterious Galaxy]. As someone who has read both the BBC Books version and the American version when they first came out, I was truly delighted--especially as I am currently re-reading the entirety of Terri Windling's Borderland canon in preparation for the release in May of Welcome to Bordertown [Amazon] [Mysterious Galaxy] edited by Ellen Kushner and Holly Black. So, I have had Magical Cities on the brain, you could say.
I wasn't able to attend Tuesday night's event at the Harold Washington Library, but I did trek out to the University of Chicago campus Rockefeller Chapel for Wednesday night's reading and Q&A.
Now, when most schools say "chapel", I tend to picture a bland, 1970s-built utilitarian space meant to accommodate ceremonies of any (or no) religious affiliation possible. Erm... no. When UofC say "chapel" what they really mean is a GIANT GORGEOUS CATHEDRAL. And Neil packed the place, and read from the pulpit which was a source of delight and amusement for all.
Having had the pleasure of hearing Neil read from his own work many times in the past nearly 20 years, I have to say that this instance stood out from all the rest for one main reason: Order of The Odd Fish author James Kennedy's amazing introduction. Do not take my word for it; see for yourself:
I very nearly genuinely damaged myself laughing. (Though, to be fair, breathing at the moment can cause me a bit of difficulty, as I am currently recovering from a nasty back injury.) However, the reading and Q&A more than lived up to that truly epic introduction, I got to visit with old friends and meet new one, and I stayed out far past my bedtime, having much too much fun. I may have paid for it the next day, but as they say (well, at least they said in Mindy Snodgrass' TNG episode "Up The Long Ladder") "Every moment of pleasure in life has to be purchased by an equal moment of pain."
Then last night (I can say that as it is now just gone 2 AM, right?), I finally got to meet Chicks Dig Time Lords [Amazon] [Mysterious Galaxy] contributor Cat Valente "in real life" as we say on the interwebs. She read from her latest novel, Deathless [Amazon] [Mysterious Galaxy] at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square and she was just as much full of fun, poetry, wicked humour (and--in the end--beer) as promised. Note to any who travel to Lincoln Square staple The Chicago Brahaus in the future: the boot really is the size of a size 6 woman's riding boot which I'm fairly sure holds at least a litre and a half of whichever beer you order. While the entire table contributed to its eventual demise, I can tell you with complete sincerity that Catherynne The Great pretty much killed that soldier nearly all on her own, which I consider a testament to her will of iron and, frankly, her leg of wood.
Lastly, client and friend Seanan McGuire's thriller FEED [Amazon] [Mysterious Galaxy] from Orbit has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, which is in my not entirely unbiased opinion entirely deserved. Also, the sequel, [Amazon] [Mysterious Galaxy], comes out in May and believe me when I tell you, it's on hell of a ride, so you'd better buckle up and hold on for dear life...