Thursday, December 31, 2009

Finishing up the 2009 books

And now, we're back with the last few straggling books to count for 2009! In a short while, Chris and I will depart to watch The Princess and the Frog before coming home for a late dinner and champagne... but first, the books! =)

51. NINE PRINCES IN AMBER by Roger Zelazny
I had never read anything by Zelazny before this year... but my roommate at Odyssey, Lisa (waves!), wrote a short story that was partially based on the same conceit of the book...and the short story totally rocked. So I had to read the book too. =) And I'm happy to say that I like both.

I liked it, even though it was short.

53. THE JOY OF PICKLING by Linda Ziedrich
We've made so many things from this book this year, and they're all good. My kosher sour pickles are seriously some of the best pickles ever. Mmmm... .pickles..... =)

We've done apple jelly from this and quince jelly is next up.

55. FIGGS AND PHANTOMS by Ellen Raskin
This was good, but not as good as THE WESTING GAME.

56. HOT GIMMICK, Volume 1--3 Volumes in one edition by Miki Aihara
This was so twisted and just not right that it turned out to be a fun read.

57. DONBURI MANIA by Kentaro Kobayashi
This was not as great a cookbook as I wanted, but the Loco Moco dish is quite tasty.

58. HARUMI'S JAPANESE COOKING by Harumi Kurihara
We're quite fond of the ginger pork, which we make as ginger chicken, along with the garlic fried rice. =)

59. EVERYDAY HARUMI by Harumi Kurihara
This was another Harumi cookbook (hmm, you couldn't guess that?), although I don't like the formatting in this one as much.

60. A PRECIOUS JEWEL by Mary Balogh
An old one, but a good romance nonetheless.

And now, the grand list, for your edification purposes.

  3. MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY by Winifred Watson
  4. CHILDREN OF THE DUST by Louise Lawrence
  6. PUPPY LOVE by Nancy Krulik
  7. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
  10. HA'PENNY by Jo Walton
  11. HALF A CROWN by Jo Walton
  12. FIRST COMES MARRIAGE by Mary Balogh
  13. SKINNED by Robin Wasserman
  14. LIVING DEAD GIRL by Elizabeth Scott
  15. THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss
  16. WHAT WOULD EMMA DO? by Eileen Cook
  17. THEN COMES SEDUCTION by Mary Balogh
  18. MAGIC TO THE BONE by Devon Monk
  19. MIDNIGHT NEVER COME by Marie Brennan
  20. GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
  21. AT LAST COMES LOVE by Mary Balogh
  22. SEDUCING AN ANGEL by Mary Balogh
  23. THIS DUCHESS OF MINE by Eloisa James
  24. THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
  25. FIRE by Kristin Cashore
  26. THE WINDUP GIRL by Paolo Bacigalupi
  27. WHAT HAPPENS IN LONDON by Julia Quinn
  28. A DUKE OF HER OWN by Eloisa James
  29. FOREST BORN by Shannon Hale
  30. WHO KILLED AMANDA PALMER by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman
  31. STIFF by Mary Roach
  32. THE LITTLE ICE AGE by Brian M. Fagan
  34. DEVLIN'S LUCK by Patricia Bray
  35. THE BABY NAME WIZARD by Laura Wattenberg
  36. BOOK CRUSH by Nancy Pearl
  38. WILDWOOD DANCING by Juliet Marillier
  39. HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY by Justine Larbalestier
  40. BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH by Meredith Duran
  41. DON'T TEMPT ME by Loretta Chase
  42. SLIGHTS by Kaaron Warren
  43. NORSE CODE by Greg van Eekhout
  44. SOULLESS by Gail Carriger
  45. TEMPT ME AT TWILIGHT by Lisa Kleypas
  46. CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
  48. LOST by Jacqueline Davies
  49. LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green
  50. OOKU, VOLUME 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga
  51. NINE PRINCES IN AMBER by Roger Zelazny
  52. ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS by Neil Gaiman
  53. THE JOY OF PICKLING by Linda Ziedrich
  55. FIGGS AND PHANTOMS by Ellen Raskin
  56. HOT GIMMICK, Volume 1--3 Volumes in one edition by Miki Aihara
  57. DONBURI MANIA by Kentaro Kobayashi
  58. HARUMI'S JAPANESE COOKING by Harumi Kurihara
  59. EVERYDAY HARUMI by Harumi Kurihara
  60. A PRECIOUS JEWEL by Mary Balogh

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My life, this decade

I've been thinking lately how when you're really young, a decade can be a lifetime. And when you're a bit older, it's still a long time. And then, when you get to my age, which is 28--a decade starts to be full of milestones that are impressive when you look at them altogether.

In short, Jenny's life in 2000-2009, in rough chronological order:

  • I went to college.
  • I met my husband at college.
  • I discovered that I really, truly loved anime.
  • I injured my ankles a million and one times, ranging from a torn Achilles tendon to sprained ankles. I also chopped off the tip of one finger for good measure. =)
  • I went to Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp.
  • I graduated from college!
  • I started working as a literary agency intern.
  • I started working as a literary agent.
  • I had non-fiction published for the first time.
  • I started a business.
  • I had poetry published for the first time.
  • I went to the Odyssey Writing Workshop.
  • I had short fiction published for the first time.
  • I closed a business.
  • I decided to have lots more new adventures.... =)
It's a ton of milestones, all these things that I never thought I would do in my 20s. But I'm happy I've done them, and I'm hoping the next decade treats me just as well. I remember ringing in 1990 with my best friend and both of us thinking that it was the coolest thing ever because ohmigod, we had never seen a decade CHANGE.

And now, this is my third change of decades. Time flies, but every single moment is worth living. =)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Caving to the E-books

I've owned a Kindle for easily the last year, but I've only read manuscripts and a couple of non-fiction books on it. But lately, I've been trying to save money and really trim my book purchases--including getting rid of books that I'm never going to read again, which is insanely painful for me. So when I had heard many, many good things about THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE by Jennifer Ashley, I figured that I'd read the preview on my Kindle.

The preview was good.

The price of $5.59 was good, compared to the $7.99 I would pay at Barnes & Noble.

The convenience was good--it was pouring rain on Christmas night and I wasn't going to be able to go out and get it any sooner.

Dear Reader, I bought that book on my Kindle. My very first published fiction e-book. And Dear Reader, it was a very good book.

I devoured it. I totally turned to the dark side of e-book reading. I'm going to end up bringing only the Kindle with me whenever I go on trips because the convenience of lugging it, instead of lugging lots of books is a huge benefit. Granted, I missed the *feel* of a real book, but for the price... I'm going to end up buying more e-books, I guarantee you.

That's something I thought that I would NEVER say, by the way. I am firmly in love with physical books, but the fact that I can get something that easily... it's seductive. =)

Was an incredible book, in the sense that it was one of the first romance novels where I was firmly, firmly on the hero's side. The heroine was good too, but this was firmly the hero's story, and for that, I loved it. I do think it's the first romance novel I've ever read with a high-functioning autistic hero, and I truly loved it for that.

48. LOST by Jacqueline Davies
I picked up this ARC at BEA, and I haven't looked it at since. It was good and I really liked reading it, especially because we're fairly certain my great-grandmother worked at Triangle Shirtwaist for a bit.

49. LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green
With this book, read when I was in California, I've now finished reading all of John Green's published novels. I now need MORE. Do you hear that, Mr. Green? I know you're getting ready to be a father, but I want a new book to read! =)

50. OOKU, VOLUME 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga
I've blogged before about how much I adored this manga. The second volume is out now, and I'm looking forward to getting it soon, in an actual paper copy, of course. =) And I'm totally delighted that they're making a movie out of the manga and that Shibasaki Kou will be the shogun and Ninomiya Kazunari will be Mizuno--they're both seriously great actors. The casting gods are totally happy with that! =)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just a brief note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! The husband and I are off to do the tradition of two Christmases, so we'll be back later! =)

Stay warm and gets lots of presents!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wirework for the Win

Because I adore awesome wirework. The song isn't to my taste, exactly, but damn, I love the wirework.

Public Accountability: Up, Over, and Through

"Up, Over, and Through"

Starting Wordcount: 1802 words
Ending Wordcount: 1884 words
Words Written: 82 words

I'm trudging...

"Fever" at Everyday Weirdness

As I announced a few days ago, my short flash piece, "Fever", is now up at Everyday Weirdness.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Public Accountability: Up, Over, and Through

I'm not always going to write every day, but making myself publicly accountable for what I'm writing has to be good for me, I figure.

"Up, Over and Through" is the tentative title of a short story that I've been working on for awhile. It has suicide simulators... =)

"Up, Over, and Through"

Starting Wordcount: 1312 words
Ending Wordcount: 1798 words
Words Written: 486 words (this is a good day for me, don't knock it)

PS. You are in no way obligated to comment on these wordcount posts at all...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good Luck!!

Look, another Japanese drama review! And you wonder what I've been doing lately, besides wrapping up work and holiday shopping? (We won't count the attempts to write that have failed or the hours I've been writing kanji in my shougakusei notebook...)

Good Luck!! (yes, the exclamation points are part of the title) is an interesting drama from 2003. I seem to be on a kick to watch almost everything decent that Kimura Takuya has ever been in, and this one was next on the list.

Although it's ostensibly a drama about the unlikely romance between a cocky copilot (Kimura Takuya) and a female mechanic (Shibasaki Kou; she's fabulous in everything), the romance isn't really the main focus. Yes, the characters of Shinkai (Kimura) and Ogawa (Shibasaki) do indeed fall in love with each, and they have good chemistry, etc, etc.

But the drama itself is a love story about flying. The joy of being a commercial airliner pilot; of reaching out to touch the sky and the sun. Of working against the odds to get to do something that's your dream. Of being alive when you get off the ground, every single time. It's set in a somewhat-fictional-version of ANA (All Nippon Airlines), and basically the entire drama is about the internal politics and everyday worklife of the airline. Not only did they have a huge budget to do this, including a large use of real planes interspersed with sets, but it's well-acted by everyone in it.

The story might not be the most exciting one in the world, but any show that can make me wish I knew how to fly a 747 is definitely a winner in my book.

Where can I sign up for pilot lessons? =)

(Disclaimer: I have terrible vision and can never really fly a plane, but damn, it's nice to dream.)

A tiny sale

Well, it's always gratifying to sell a piece of fiction, even if it's a very small one.

My very, very tiny flash story, "Fever", will be appearing in Everyday Weirdness on December 23, 2009. That was a sale I totally didn't expect. =)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'm a happy, happy person because we have a real lovely snow here. The last few winters haven't been that great for snow in New Jersey, but we finally have a good snowfall! At last!

Pictures to follow tomorrow, as the bulk of it is coming tonight. We're supposed to have 12 to 18 inches, at least, but we've got about 8 inches on the ground already.

I think I become a small kid when it snows. I want to go out and play in it, even though I have no snow clothes anymore. I take some inside and I let Zoe play in it, which is always amusing. It is cold and it is wet and it melts... where does it go?!

Zoe has decided that, even though we have the heat cranked up, it is way too cold to hang out downstairs. She's secluded herself on our bed for most of the day, other than looking out the window at the snow. Downstairs is way too cold for Her Royal Furrypaws. Our conversations during the day go like this:

Setting: Zoe curled into our blankets on our bed.

Me: Zoe, that's where you were!
Zoe: Of course, silly human. The bed is warm.
Me: But your cat food is downstairs. Aren't you hungry?
Zoe: I prefer to be warm.
Me: You can look out the window and see the snow fall on the patio...
Zoe: Obviously you are not understanding that the bed is the warmest place possible for both cats and humans. *purr* How kind of you to deign to visit me.

Yeah, she's not worth talking to right now, unless you're willing to sit on the bed and act as a human source of heat for her. =)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Arbeit Macht Frei

I am incredibly puzzled that someone has bothered to steal an iron sign--the iron sign that hung over Auschwitz.

Why? Why would someone do that?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kimi wa Petto

It's a somewhat liberating feeling to realize that I can blog about any random subject in the world now! So let's talk about Japanese dramas!

I like Japanese dramas--Jdrama for short--I've been watching them for the last three years or so. Unlike American TV, they're not long-running series; instead, they're usually 10-12 hour-long episodes. Knowing that a TV show is that short actually changes the focus quite a bit from what we're used to. The dramas tend to be more compact, focused on one main plot and several small plots, and they wrap everything up by the end, usually. It cuts down on the anticipation factor that you get with American TV, but it also makes it sort of sad when the show comes to an end so quickly. Think well-acted miniseries on non-serious topics like romance and you've pretty much got Jdramas. They're not all fluffy and they're not all romances, but a good proportion are.

And the one we're going to discuss today is a romance as well. It's called Kimi wa Petto, which literally translates to "You're a Pet". It's sort of a twisted drama too, but I really wanted to watch it because the main actor Matsumoto Jun is in it, and I like what he does. To my utter shame, I actually liked the drama though.

Kimi wa Petto is a set in a not-quite-real Japan, where female journalist named Sumire decides to keep a younger guy, Takeshi, as a literal pet. She finds Takeshi unconscious and bleeding on the street, brings him home to patch him up, and he manages to convince her to let him stay. She dubs him Momo, after her childhood dog, and Takeshi takes up the role. They end up developing this relationship which is half-platonic and half something else, as they live together (but never sleep together) in Sumire's apartment.

What makes it a good show though is that you realize that the characters are doing this because they are so deficient in certain things. Sumire can't ever reveal her true emotions to anyone but Takeshi; she's so buttoned-up that she refuses to show anyone who she is, and adapts to who they think she should be. But when she can pretend that Takeshi is a not a guy that she would ever be attracted to (although she is), she's able to relax and be herself. To cry and to laugh and to not be so painfully, painfully shy. Takeshi, on the other hand, is a modern dancer who needs a place to stay for three months before he goes abroad to Germany. He takes up the role of Momo to avoid having to return to his family, and face things he doesn't want to face. At first it's just a role to him, a way to get free food and housing and hang out with a beautiful woman... but then he makes the mistake of falling in love. And realizing that he can be himself around her too.

Because the chemistry is so good between Matsumoto Jun (who plays Takeshi) and Koiyuki (the actress who plays Sumire), you actually end up rooting for them to end up together, despite the twisted nature of why they're living together. Which is either a mark of a good show or just good acting, but whatever it was, I actually liked it. It's worth a watch, if you can get past the premise, which is completely not as bad-porn-movie as it sounds. =)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peter Watts

Two and a half years ago, I had the utter pleasure of spending three hours in the bar at Readercon with science fiction writers, David Edelman and Peter Watts. Peter was articulate and amusing, incredibly knowledgeable on many subjects, and a delightful companion. We've kept in touch intermittently since then, and every time we e-mail, it's been a lovely conversation.

But now, Peter is in trouble, and it's entirely not his fault. Our insane, idiotic attempts to keep the United States "safe from terrorists" (notice the irony dripping from my words) have resulted in Peter being wrongly arrested at the Michigan border, pepper-sprayed, beaten, and jailed in a freezing cold cell. All Peter did was ask a question about why he was being stopped, and this is what he gets...

Now, Peter needs help. He's a critically acclaimed science fiction writer, but critically acclaimed doesn't translate into financial success. He needs a defense fund, and anything you can donate to help correct this utter atrocity will be well worth your money. You're not fighting just for Peter's rights--you're fighting for your own rights.

Please consider donating to help him. And if you're a United States citizen, particularly if you live in Michigan, please consider writing to your congressional representatives and lodging complaints on Peter's behalf. The more volume this gets, the better it will be for him.

Sleep and then some

I know that lots of people want the blog to keep going, as do I. But it's going to take me a tiny bit before I totally get back into the groove about what's interesting to readers again. So for the time being, I shall just babble. =)

I went to bed at 11:50pm on December 9th and woke up at 4:50pm on December 10th. I was out for a full seventeen hours, which while totally refreshing, has left me totally wide awake at 3:11 am. And while awake is good, I have to get to sleep at some point because it's Hanukkah today! I have presents to wrap! I have gift breads to bake (Raw Apple Bread)! I have to get things ready to go celebrate with my parents later tonight. =)

Can you tell that I'm totally excited about the holiday?

Today was a fairly boring day--the husband and I trekked over to John Joseph Adams' house, to return several boxes worth of agent copies that I had. We played Xbox games (the graphics in Borderlands are insane) and had Chinese food and hung out. We cavorted with John's dog, Echo. And then we returned home to the dubious stares of Miss Zoe, since Cavorting With A Dog is definitely a forbidden activity in her cat code of ethics.

It is also freaking cold here. I understand we don't have snow, which is nice. But usually, sitting in my home office with two computers running full tilt, I'm fairly warm. Except I'm not, not right now. And we've turned up the heat once already, and I'm going to go hike it up again before I go to bed. Brr...

And that's all I've got for you today, except that Kirkus has apparently shut down too, and has replaced the story of the agency closing in the publishing news. Which is all well and good, as they're a much bigger and longer-lived entity than I am. =)

Have a Happy Hanukkah, everyone! If you have suggestions about what you want to hear from now on in LIT SOUP, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thank You

The outpouring of support and commiseration and well wishes through Twitter and the blog and my e-mail and by phone has been overwhelming, in a good way. You know, you close a business and you expect to feel sad, but you don't expect to start crying because people are so nice to you...

I just need some time to process, that's all.

Thank you. =)

Closing the Agency

Press Release:

It is with a great deal of sadness that I announce that The Rappaport Agency, LLC will be closing for business at the end of the year, due to economic reasons. I have been privileged to get the chance to work with amazing people over the last four and a half years, many of who I am proud to call my friends. In the coming weeks, I will be wrapping up outstanding submissions and putting things in order. I can be reached by e-mail at

This isn't a decision I've come to lightly; it's taken a lot of thought and effort to reach this point, and to decide to seek a change of careers. I want to thank you for reading along with me on LIT SOUP, and I hope to remain connected in the writing community. I'm still going to be writing myself, striving like the rest of you for publication, and to get my own words out there.