Saturday, 8 October 2011

An Auction, and Robin McKinley

I don't know if it has ever come up on this blog, but I really enjoy reading.  Mostly fiction, and especially fantasy.  And, for the last many years, especially the books of Robin McKinley.  She's been publishing since before my parents were married, but I first discovered her books in eighth grade when I pulled "Beauty" off the shelf.


I was immediately hooked.  I discovered that my mum had a copy of "Rose Daughter" also, and I thought it was fascinating the way the same author could take the same fairy tale and turn it into two completely different books.  (Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favourite fairy tales, which probably contributed to my love of McKinley.)


Then I went looking for more.  I found and devoured The Blue Sword.  (This is still the one I go back to again and again.)  I read The Hero and the Crown.  I read Spindle's End and wasn't sure if I liked the ending.  I got The Outlaws of Sherwood from the library and converted my older brother to (at least some) McKinley novels.  I checked out Deerskin and had it vetoed by my mother.  (I was still only 15, and while I was resentful at the time I understand now.)  I read the short story collections.  A few years later, I read Sunshine.  I'm glad I waited, because I don't think it's suitable for a young teenager, but it was a fascinating read (and a refreshing look at vampires after the travesty that is the "Twilight" series, which I'd just suffered through.)  I loved this one almost more for the tantalizing references to baked goods than for the vampires...


I read Chalice shortly after it was published and fell in love.  It's a quieter book than some of the others, more introspective; less of the action which drew me to The Blue Sword, but there is something about the book which draws me in and makes me sorry to be finished reading.  If I had to choose a favourite, it might be this one.  Or Pegasus, which was dreamy and slow-moving at first, building up subtly to a moment of crisis - and a cliffhanger.  I pre-ordered this one and thought I would tear through it, but the writing is such that I read it much more slowly than I usually do, savouring the language and the world-building.  I read it again in Italy in the spring, finding it the perfect travelling companion.

And who wouldn't love that gorgeous cover art?

Last summer, I finally read Deerskin.  I took it with me for a two-day house-sitting job and couldn't put it down.  I didn't enjoy it.  At times, I wanted to close the book and forget everything I'd read.  It was horrifying, draining.  It devastated me.  And yet, I am glad I read it.  I may never re-read it.  But it needed to be read once.

~~~~~

All this is by way of leading up to the main point, which is, I've loved Robin McKinley for about a decade now, and I think I've bought more of her books than I have of any other single novelist.  I've been following her blog for several years also and now, there is a chance to do something for her.

Anyone who reads her blog knows that she is a woman of many interests: not only writing, but gardening, animals (especially her own hellhounds), and music.  And not just singing and piano playing, but bell-ringing.  I don't pretend to know anything much about change-ringing (though I know more now than I did three years ago), but I do know that the bells and towers need upkeep just like any other instrument -- only it's more expensive.  Robin's local bells are in need of expensive repairs, and as part of the fund-raising for this, she's holding a sale and auction.

I've left my blog post rather late: I think the sale ends tomorrow.  But if you have any interest in fine fantasy writing, change-ringing bell towers, or humorous sketches signed by a famous author, hop on over to the auction page.  If, like me, your funds are limited and you can't manage to bid on one of the out-of-print copies, Robin has options for signed and "doodles" copies of her in-print books for a reasonable price, or you can just purchase a signed "doodle" for a flat rate (these are $10 or $15, and a special "bats in the belfry" one for $20.)  You can request a subject for the doodle, so they're totally personalized.  And it's all for a good cause!

Bats in the belfry.  Teehee!

Doodle examples.  Entirely Robin McKinley's work, not mine!
The link is here:  http://robinmckinleysblog.com/bells/  I'm sure Robin and the bells would appreciate even the purchase of a $10 doodle!  Or, if you're not familiar with her books, perhaps a signed copy would be a good way to introduce yourself :-)

4 comments:

  1. I have never been able to find Beauty. :( But I love all the Robin McKinley books I've read -- although I do wish I could read the sequel to Pegasus. That was an annoying spot to end the book. I kept looking for the pages stuck to the back flap.

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  2. I know - that was a doozy of a cliffhanger! She's writing Part 2 (not really a sequel, a continuation!) as fast as she can though :)

    Beauty is lovely. I found a paperback copy at Borders a few years ago, and I know it's still in print... I hope you can get hold of it some day!

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  3. Oh, I wish I had seen this earlier! I knew I liked you for a reason: McKinley is one of my 5 favourite authors! (I can't pick between the top 5). And I missed the chance to buy something cool from her :-(

    I'm still trying to build up my collection of McKinley books. They are so hard to find in NZ. I want them all, except Deerskin. I don't think I could have that in my house.

    I haven't read Pegusus. I'm not good at cliffhangers, so I'm waiting till part 2 comes out to read them both!

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  4. Once they get the aftermath of the auction sorted, Robin has promised to have a semi-permanent option for buying doodles - not the books, but you could at least have a piece of paper she's drawn on and signed!

    They're sometimes hard to find locally even in the U.S. - I had to order Pegasus from Amazon, and some of them are out of print. If you'd like, I could keep my eye out for copies - if it's not one I'm trying to find myself I'd be glad to send them to you :-)

    Oh, and Pegasus is going to be in three installments now, not just two! I can't decide if I'm delighted or disappointed. On the one hand it means an extra McKinley book - but on the other hand it means waiting longer, and more cliffhangers!

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