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This week, YA Highway had a really interesting topic fro their roadtrip: If You Could Be Any Book Character, Who Would You Be?

And it left me stumped. Completely and utterly. So I’ve decided to go off the map and blog about what fictional places I would love to visit.

In part, it’s the fault of this tree:

DSCF4417

Why? Because this tree is, I’m certain, a Newford tree. It just doesn’t look quite real to me. It looks like it should be the home of Crow Girls and lost figments of peoples’ imaginations.

For those who don’t know, Newford is a fictional city in which Charles De Lint sets many of his urban fantasy shorts stories and novels. And Newford, along with Rookery from Someplace to Be Flying is one place I’d love to visit (or would love to visit if I wasn’t such a chicken).

Other places I would love to visit:

The Owen’s place in Practical Magic
Bridget Jones’ favorite coffee shop in Edge of Reason
The TARDIS from Doctor Who
The Millennium Falcon from Star Wars
The Heart of Gold (but only if Ford is slinging cocktails) from HHGTTG
The bleachers from Freaks and Geeks
Savannah from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (which, I know, is technically a real place — I just have a hard time believing it was that cool)

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I adore the opening credits for Stranger Than Fiction. Music + action + animation = perfection.

I’m never certain whether I should wish Emma Thompson narrated my life or be really grateful that she does not.

If you’re ever looking for a hint as to my overall stress level, check the CD player in my car. If there’s a David Gray CD in there, it’s probably a sign that it’s been a rough week. If you ever find me singing along with a David Gray CD than it’s been a _really_ bad week.

If you find “Blow at High Dough” by The Tragically Hip in my CD player with the repeat option selected, it probably means I’m expecting a bad day at work and am trying to gear myself up.

Likewise, repeated listenings of “Uniform Grey” by Sarah Harmer is a sure sign that the drizzle and fog is getting me down.

The awesomeness that is Ms. Kate (at My Sphere oh Domesticity) recently bestowed a “Groovy Blog” award on me. Her reason? My pop-culture references. Those who follow along over at OPWFT know that there are few things I love more than a good pop-culture reference — even though I do try to limit them in my writing.

The result? I sometimes speak like a cross between an episode of The Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I can control when and how much I let loose, but the temptation to bat my Betty Davis eyes and call my coworker “Ponyboy” while telling him he’s still golden is always there.

And, because there are few things I love more than reading something by a writer who shares my love of all things pop and snark, I’m passing the award onto the lovely Deb whose book DG is completely quotable.

Once again, I’m jumping on the Road Trip Wednesday bandwagon (my wagon is painted pink, FYI). This week, the lovely gals at YA Highway asked: Where’s your favorite place to read/write.

One of my favorite things to do on lazy Saturdays is to spend an hour or so in my favourite deli, book in hand, grabbing a late lunch. The music is always at just the right volume (loud enough to help me block out conversations, not so loud as to distract me from what I’m reading) and the awesome staff is attentive without making me feel self-conscious and rushed.

Unfortunately, I only manage to do this once, maybe twice a month.

Usually, I read while curled up on my couch (preferably with a blanket, because blankets are nice). Truthfully, though, I’ll read just about anywhere. Waiting for the bus. Standing in line. The lunchroom at work.

With Writing, I’m a little more particular.

Writing and onscreen edits are always done in my home office (which is a nice way of saying “extra bedroom filled with junk). Edits on paper are always done at a coffee shop. Reading through the manuscript out loud can either be done while sitting on my couch or at a coffee shop (though I get far fewer strange looks when doing it at home).

  1. I once tried to read the novelization of  The Goodbye Girl because I was amused that such a thing existed. I made it to page twenty-three.
  2. I owned all six Anne of Green Gables books before I could read (yes, I am Canadian).
  3. The first Douglas Adams book I read was The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. I was in the eighth grade.
  4. The first book to ever send chills down my spine was Christina’s Ghost by Betty Ren Wright.
  5. I waited in line at midnight for Breaking Dawn. The only other adults were all supervising giggling teenage girls. I told myself I was only there to research a phenomena.  I lied. I wanted the damned book.
  6. I was the only one of my friends to have a “book allowance”.
  7. I owned (and filled out) The Anne Rice Trivia Book when I was in high school.
  8. I always feel vaguely guilty about not reading more non-fiction.
  9. I buy far more books than I’ll ever read.
  10. I sort of love the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were friends.

It’s a bit odd that it took me this long to read The Stepford Wives. I have a huge soft spot for the 1975 movie and I’m the type of girl who loves a good Stepford reference or joke (sadly, most of these go over my coworkers heads).

But I never seemed to get around to the book.

Until Monday.

And I was blown away. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Yes, I knew (vaguely) what would happen, but the ending in the book is just so sad and desperate. So much more powerful than the movie ending. So much creepier.

It’s also got some wonderful “telling” passages which Levin uses to mark off the amount of time Joanna has been in Stepford.

The dishwasher broke down, and the pump; and Pete’s eighth birthday came, calling for presents, a party, favors, a cake. Kim got a sore throat and was home for three days. Joanna’s period was late but came, thank God and the pill.

She made autumn-leaf collages with Pete and Kim, and helped Walter put up the storm windows, and met him in the city for a partners-and-wives dinner–the usual false-friendly clothes-appraising bore. A check came from the agency: two hundred dollars for four uses of her best picture.

Which I’m pointing out because they work so well and keep the pace moving so quickly that they are a great example of how telling sometimes really is the right choice.

What do you mean Stepford Wives isn’t an ideal subject for a Valentine’s Day entry?

So yesterday’s road trip was far to fun to just restrict to YA. For those just catching up, I’m listing a few of my favorite scenes of affection in adult novels.

Two this time, as well: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding, and Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Not coincidentally, these are two of my favorite books. Like yesterday, excerpts may contain spoilers.

First up, some Darcy love!

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

When we got up to his bedroom noticed a little pile of books beside his bed. “What are these?” I said, not believing my eyes. “How to Love and Lose but Keep Your Self-Esteem? How to Win Back the Woman You Love? What Women Want? Mars and Venus on a Date?”

“Oh,” he said sheepishly.

“You bastard!” I said. “I threw all mine away.” Fistfight broke out again, then one thing led to another…

Throughout the book, Mark makes it clear just how little he thinks of self-help books and Bridget’s religious-like devotion to them. That’s why it’s so incredibly sweet, funny, and sexy that he resorts to reading a whole stash of them in his desire to get Bridget back.

Circle of Friends

‘Fonsie should be canonized,” Benny said to Clodagh.

‘Yes, I can see his statue in all the churches. Maybe they’d even make this a special place of pilgrimage for him. We’d outsell Lourdes.’

‘I mean it’ Benny said.

‘Don’t you think I don’t know?’ A rare look of softness came into Clodagh’s face.

My two favorite characters in Circle of Friends are Clodagh and Fonsie. Trendsetters and misfits with good natures. Clodagh is so tough and stoic that the affection she shows towards Fonsie with that one line tugs at my heart.

Over at YA Highway, this week’s road trip asked readers what their favorite display of affection in a YA book was.

Because I’m indecisive (at least when it comes to books), I’m going to list two–one from Going Bovine by Libba Bray and and one from The Princess Bride by William Goldman (even though I do not, personally, classify it as YA).

These may be slightly spoilerish. You have been warned.

Going Bovine

“Dulcie?” I call. Already, I miss the feel of her skin against mine.

The sheets are a rumpled mess. I slept hard. On the pillow is one pink-tinged feather. It smells like rain and laughter and the unexpected. It smells like Dulcie. There’s no note on it this time. No secret code. I don’t need it. My jeans are on the floor; I slip the feather into my back pocket for safekeeping.

Dulcie is one of my favorite characters in recent years. In fact, she’s the reason I bought Going Bovine. I was flipping through it at the bookstore, stumbled upon a Dulcie scene, and was immediately taken with the idea of a punk angel.

What I love about this scene is how intimate and sentimental a gesture it is. It’s so very far removed from the Cameron we got to know in the first half of the book.

The Princess Bride

With no more words, she whirled into his arms, then, saying, “Oh Westley, I didn’t mean that, I didn’t, I didn’t, not a single syllabub of it.”

Now Westley knew she meant to say “not a single syllable of it,” because a syllabub was something you ate, with cream and wine mixed in to form the base. But he also knew an apology when he heard one. So he held her very close, and shut his loving eyes, and only whispered, “I knew it was false, believe me, every single syllabub.”

And if you don’t know why I adore that little snip, there’s really nothing I can do to explain it.

Other titles in the unpublished spoof series:

Agents Just Aren’t That Into You: The No Excuses Truth to Understanding Form Rejections

Agents are from Mars — Unfortunately, You’re From a Whole Other Galaxy

The Secret (There Really Isn’t One)

Blink (No, Your Inbox did Not Refresh)