2. Anyone else get bummed out when they've finished a good book (say, something like Daniel Deronda or Anne of Green Gables, which somehow I hadn't read until now), and move on to another book that's nowhere near as good? It tends to wash out the delightful colors of my whole existence when this happens. Luckily the not-so-good book was a quick read, and I've moved on to something that, so far, is stunningly better written. (To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield.) The not-so-good book: I won't name names, but it was one of the young adult novels I'd picked up to "get familiar with the industry," and it was cliched, dumbed-down, badly edited, and not particularly suspenseful. 16-year-olds had lines like "I'm only a pawn on the chessboard of the dangerous game he's playing." (Ah, lost in the valley of the shadow of the cliched metaphor.) The villain wasn't scary and his name was perilously close to "Marmaduke," which is a detriment if you want to be taken seriously. Also, it was a fantasy--the type where the real world intermeshes with a hidden magical one--and please tell me, where is it written that when the magical people get together in their parallel universe, they need to be wearing long flowing robes sashed at the waist, with capes and hoods, and have long flowing hair of some vivid color, and violet eyes, and gather in palace-like buildings made of gold and white marble with delicate high arched ceilings and idyllic courtyards where they sit on thrones in a circle and have sober conferences? Can we blame the Council of Elrond for this? Well, Tolkien made it work, but the rest of us need to find some new fantasy-world outfits and building materials. That's why Neil Gaiman, say, is so good: he makes his fantasy worlds truly weird and often unpleasant, and doesn't require them to resemble an unusually clean medieval Florence.
3. Could have sworn I had something to say for point 3, but maybe not. Pregnancy amnesia at its finest.