Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year Joy

First things first: HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you and may you get to enjoy in 2007 the fruits of all your hard work, your passions and your dreams. I happen to know one such person, who, just on the eve of the holiday season, received the best news a writer could hope for, but I'm going to wait to tell you guys until I have her permission to post. All I can say is, you totally deserve this and I couldn't be happier!!!(you know who you are...)

I have to say on this eve of the New Year that there's been quite some excitement in our household as well. I went home for the holidays for the first time in five years and was greeted with a deceptive plus six degree Celsius (which is pretty warm for December 22nd) only to wake up to 25 cm of snow (that's about a foot... I think... let's just saw "a whole lotta") on the morning of December 26th. So I didn't have a white Christmas, but I had a lovely, chilly, slushy, but white Boxing Day (that's the peculiar name we citizens of the Commonwealth have for December 26th).

Ok, the excitement... my lovey editor Paul had a bunch of copies of the Fashionably Late ARC sent to my parents' address in Montreal, so I got to come home to this:



AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

My friend and I even took a copy to our local bookstore and put it on a shelf next to the new releases just to see what it would look like (yes, very dorky, I know). But it was definitely a huge thrill. Even more thrilling was watching my parents' eyes light up when they saw the novel was dedicated to them. I'm not one of those types to believe in "positive visualization" or whatever picturing yourself achieving something as a means of actually achieving it is called, but that moment was one I had played over and over in my head, those years I had been working on FL. Next step... visualize myself finishing novel #2...

And that's not all... check this out.

How crazy is that??? I had no idea it would be up on Amazon (and Chapters.ca for you Canucks out there) so soon!!! It was my mother-in-law who discovered this and is now, officially, the first person to have ordered Fashionably Late! (Merci, J!!)

I also did a lot of catching up on my reading these past few days as nothing beats staying in with a cup of hot tea white it's drizzling frozen rain outside... there was also a lot of airport time which most people dread, but you know what? I LOVE airport time (provided you're not running around from counter to counter because you were bumped off your flight, and/or your luggage has gone AWOL, and/or your flight's been delayed five hours, or, better yet, indefinitely) No, my friends, this Christmas flying experience was all-around fabulous. It started with a certain someone in my traveling party (who knows who he is and should be ashamed) dragging me to the "US Citizens Only" line with an air of confidence and implacability which I mistook for knowing what the hell he was doing. I was wrong. First question we were asked when we presented our Canadian passports to the Department of Homeland Security officer was "why are you in my line", and when the certain guilty party feigned not knowing what the customs officer was talking about, I began planning how I'd get word to my family that I'd be missing Christmas because I had been thrown in a Guantanamo Bay jail cell indefinitely. After some "it wasn't my idea! It wasn't my idea!"'s from yours truly, the kindly officer let us go without throwing us back into the sorry hordes of the International Visitors line-ups with a "hey, it's Christmas" (God bless that wonderful man).

After that we were free to enjoy all the consumerist joys of America that are denied to us in the Cayman Islands, like Borders and Starbucks. And I got hours of guilt-free, maybe-I-should-be-doing-something-more-productive reading.

So here's what I read these past few days:

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende. This is supposedly not one of her best, but I adored it. You will too if you're into historical fiction that's more historical than fiction (or at least, it reads that way) and if you like swashbuckling adventure. There's a lot of romance here (just like in Zorro) but unlike historical romances, it's not the point. The point is the adventure, and in this case, the adventure is the conquest of Chile and Peru to a lesser extent). I think Allende was trying to be as fair as possible to both sides by getting into the minds of both the native peoples and the conquistadors, but as with stories of great injustices and suffering, like say slavery or the colonialism, "bad guys" do emerge, and their motivations: gold, greed, glory, evangelizing, just aren't enough to make them human. At least not to me, and I've always been a sucker for novels like Roots (which this was NOT - it was from the POV of Ines, a conquistadora). All in all, it was a page-turner most of the time, and it made me want to read Allende's backlist.

The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman. Maybe it's the geeky business grad in me, but multinationals that shape our lives fascinate me (I told you I was on a non-ficion kick...). This particular Wal-Mart critique (and there have been many) is that it really doesn't have an agenda beyond explaining, as scientifically as possible, how Wal-Mart has changed commerce in out times. When I say 'our times' we're talking so recently that many things I learned at business school are woefully outdated now that Wal-Mart's on the scene. It's not Wal-Mart bashing, nor praising really, but it's a great study of the phenomenon.

The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Frank Rich. This one's about the Iraq war. Now, I know that the biggie out there on this subject is Bob Woodward's State of Denial, but forgive me if he's not my go-to guy on matters of the Bush administration since he's published two Bush suck-up books (Plan of Attack, Bush at War) previous to this one where it would seem he finally saw the light (and now, apparently, Bush won't talk to him anymore...) Frank Rich has been critical of the Iraq war from day one, so no "flip-flopping" here to borrow a page from Bush propaganda tactics. I won't say I loved it: it was dry reading at times (but hey, it's politics, not chick lit), and to me personally, I didn't really learn anything new. What I wanted the most, I didn't get, which was a deep look into the WHY of this whole ordeal, when this book was 250 pages of HOW. he author skims over possible motivations in two pages which wasn't good enough for me, but I guess this was outside the scope of the book (just look at the title). He does however string all the milestones of the war from 9/11 to the present day so you can clearly see how the American people were made to think the Iraq War was a good idea. So good reading if you're confused about the whole thing and want some clearing up of the facts, without too much opinion thrown in.

... I think I've overdue for some good ol'chick lit, what do you think??? I just got my hands on the fabulous Shannon McKeldon's Venus Envy and can't wait to dig in!

Have a great New Year everybody!

4 comments:

Shannon McKelden said...

Yay! you got it! How wonderful that you had a great trip, and your ARCs are gorgeous! I just hopped over to Amazon and preordered my copy. Wish it wasn't so far away!

Have a wonderful new year, my friend! Hope it brings great things! :-)

Best,
Shannon

Nadine Dajani said...

Thanks Shannon!!!

Venus Envy looks GREAT. It's up on the bookshelf, right next to FL Isn't it crazy that after all this waiting, we're finally getting to hold our books in our hands???

Anonymous said...

Yippee, Nadine! This is so exciting. I'm going to preorder my copy. I feel so honored to be one of the people who've read it in its early stages. I can't wait!

xoxo
Wendy T

Anonymous said...

Congrats Nadine, how exciting!
I have another book recommendation. What is the What by Dave Eggers. Not sure if you've read his other book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, also great, but in a completely different way. This novel is about a Sudanese refugee coming to America and the story is amazing. If anything, it should tie us all over until we can read Nadine's book; I know I can't wait!!