When is a thief not a thief?

We’re planning something exciting in July for the bookstore. One of the coolest things would be several (hush!) Skype events with one of them being with Megan Whalen Turner, who’s books i simply adore.

So with all this excitement, we thought of doing up event specific bookmarks with quotes from the authors’ previous books. Mari asked me for a quote from any of The Queen’s Thief books and i immediately thought of the conversation between Eddis and the Magus, where a comment from Helen describes the Thief and we get an inkling that their responsibilities as one wasn’t merely someone who stole things.

You know, the kind of traditionalist that I am means that i really wanted to use a quote from The Thief but couldn’t because i wasn’t familiar with it, at least not as much as with the rest of the books.

Hence, there must be a complete and chronological reread.

The first book starts with Gen in prison. I’ve always wondered about this part of the book, since of course, this was an unreliable narrator tale. It wasn’t that he was imprisoned but he wanted to be seen as being so. He did talk of how he eventually got tired of putting back on the shackles. I am more curious of the prison guard who came by to laugh at him, perhaps this was his contact (this was never really confirmed but i like to think so.) As always, even when i thought enough time has passed that i could read this book again as a complete new read, my memory refusec to let me do so.

But there were parts that i seemed to have missed the last time, especially where it reveals little things about Gen. His age, for example. I never really thought of it, but in relative to the other books, this book does hint at his age, which would be older than Sophos, and several years younger than Ambiades. Perhaps he was fifteen? Did anyone enrol to an army at that age? Sixteen? Ambiades might have been nineteen.

Also, he is probably quite handsome, startlingly so, because he charms the ladies easily. The landlady in one of the inns has a double take and one of my favourite quotes from this book, I clean up nicely, Gen says. So, so, so … he has charm, too.

The Thief turns out to be as wonderful as i remember it,  brilliant even. 

I remember skipping the myths during one reread, now I’m wondering if i should be rereading that closely to see if any clues pop out.

There were so many cool scenes as you read it, because trust me, when all is revealed, you can only be left stunned. That is if you actually get that its such a great book.

I read a comment somewhere about how he could have died, and would have if he wasn’t carrying the Hamiathes Gift at that time. He thought he had, in fact. In the last chapter of the book, there is an allusion to that.

Again, this made me think of how deliberate and thorough Megan Whalen Turner is.

At the beginning of my reread of the Queen, i realised that Gen had been in Attolia for sometime, as spy, as bootboy in the palace, which is why he was in uniform, and why Attolia was furious with him. And this was after he had met and become friends with Kamet.

This is getting more and more complicated ….

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The Reading Girl

The other day, my colleague and I both wore the same pin. It was one of a girl with a ladybird in her hair, reading a book. When she saw me with it, at the moment the only thing that flashed through my mind was this — does this look odd to you?

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Somehow, I always think that pins and tees we don bear our little affliations. But I don’t think I ever was that reading girl, not as she is.
As a child, I was shy, somewhat uptight because I was very unsure of how one should be in any situation. Of how we should act, or say things, or not do anything at all. Talking to people only revealed how inadequate I was, so I tried to improve on that, but it backfired at me most times. It still does, when I forget how to be myself.

Books became a place where I could look into people’s exciting, jubilant lives, where they had chums and picnics and camping trips and solved mysteries together. Since they weren’t that many books available when I was growing up, they were reread into pieces. I sometimes compensated with my father’s newsstand Silverage and Amar Chitra Katha comics, and my mother’s pattern books, also reread until they burned into my memory.

They mean so much to me, but they also represent leisure, as I loved whiling away doing nothing for entire afternoons, reading. I liked my reading to be fun and as light as possible.

Fast forward to the future, to the present and here I am working in a bookstore, the weight of books bearing down on me. When I first joined, I was so put off with the idea of children’s books as educational tools. I came to realise that since children are blank slates, everything is the classroom. Books are special because beyond the covers, they give children so many varied views of a world — some they may experience for themselves, or at times, they never encounter outside of a book.

My philosophy became like this (before I got married and had kids) — remember when you were a kid, when you look at those shelves. One of my bosses said that once a children’s book buyer, will always give precedent to it. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I love children’s books. However, since I was also assigned lifestyle books sometime later, I had to walk out of my box and see what the big people were up to.

It’s been fun, so I wanted to share this love, this continuing journey, this search for a new book.

Taking the big stride

Yes, I should have done this earlier.

In an alternate world, where I have less qualms, this blog would have been a long-running, maybe 20 year old blog. Instead, I had starts and stops, and so many things I wanted to say but knew I could not. And the type of issues which I wanted most to talk about — I felt would be either be counter productive, or create such a huge conflict of interest at work, that was of course, my huge, gigantic baggage of qualms.

Well, I decided to take the first step out, because it dawned to me that there would be no conflict of interest if I blogged about books, and be honest with what I thought. Any bookstore can sell it, and it’s only the opinion of one me, not the bookstore and their many customers and staff.

Let’s get on with it.