Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Earth Will Move...

Ladies and Gentlman, boys and girls, prepare yourselves. The literary world is once again going to rumble under the well worn soles of bibliophies from across the bay area as they converge onto San Francisco for one week in October. That's right everyone, Litquake is back, as big and as bad as it has ever been. Litquake '07 rolls into town from October 6th to 13th, hosting such names as Dave Eggars, Amy Tan, Daniel Handler, and underground favorite Michelle Tea. Events venues range from the lovely Herbst Theater on Van Ness to the dank, dark dive bars of the Tenderloin.

The festival showcases writers across all genres and styles, from travel writing to science fiction to feminist fiction and even a literary death match. The whole shebang ends with a wild and crazy night of literary themed parties and readings; a staggering jaunt down Valencia Street called the Lit Crawl. Needless to say, there is something here for everyone to enjoy, this is not just for us bookies who can never seem to keep our nose out of the spine of a novel. Most events are free of charge, and take place in bookstores, bars, libraries and even laudromats, but a few larger events will take place in theaters and will require a fee for admittance.

Get off of your couches for one week in October and hit the town. The world can be a big scary place, but finding a great book and a fun group of people to share it with can make it a bit more bareable. Who knew books could be so cool?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

This thing's a little dusty...

I am a horrible person. Ok, maybe not horrible, but I feel bad. I have been neglecting my happy little book blog for the last couple of weeks while lavishing all of my attention on my ever-so-slightly sexier foodie blog, Six by 10 Tiny Kitchen. I really have to dust off this thing and make it shiny and new again. To be fair, the foodie blog world is mushrooming, and I have gotten caught up in all of the excitement. But the world of books and words is my world, and could never forget my first love. So I hope to be paying a bit more attention to this little piece of the blogosphere in the next coming weeks, adding some content, pictures, links, etc. There is a lot of great stuff going on in the world of literature, and I hope to inform you all about as much of it as humanly possible. For now though, I want to share with you all the last and final chapter of the "Night Watch" trilogy, "Twilight Watch".

In this final chapter of the Russian sci-fi trilogy, the two worlds of dark and light must join forces, however reluctantly, to battle a strangely powerful new foe that threatens to destroy the world of the Others and maybe take the human world with it. Anton, our hero from "Night Watch" returns to lead the investigation into who is attempting to turn regular humans into Others, thought impossible by even the most powerful of the Watches. While on vacation with his family, he discovers the existence of a deceptively powerful witch who possesses many old magical books thought by the Others to be mythological. The world of the Others comes to a screeching halt when they discover that one of these tomes may very well hold the secret to changing humans into Others.

When the book is stolen from the Witches library, the hunt is on for the culprit, and the Night Watch and the Day Watch must team up with the Inquisition, the group of Others responsible for upholding the treaty between the two Watches, in order to find and subdue the rogue Other. The action begins to mount up about halfway through the novel, and weaves through a couple of tight twists and turns before reaching the end. It picks up several years after the final pages of "Day Watch", and spends the first several chapters getting you up to speed.

Readers of this series should be aware that this book is a translation from Russian, and many of the ideas and social commentary that would make sense to Russians may not have as much meaning for English speaking readers. Needless to say, some things get lost in translation. The book is, Russian, and certain social differences should be taken with an understanding that it was not written with an American point of view. Part of it may be the translation, but sometimes the lines feel a bit cold and lifeless. But, like I said, it is Russian. Not a very warm people.

The whole series really is a sci-fi masterpiece, and I can only hope that "Twilight Watch" is not the final chapter. There is so much more that can happen to the Others of Moscow, as Lukyanenko left the ending WIDE open for at least one more book. Any fans of sci-fi and fantasy would be doing themselves a disservice if they did not add these books to their libraries, and quickly.