The Good: a lovely day strolling around Oxford with Niall Harrison, followed by relaxing & dinner with Niall and Nic Clarke.
The Bad: Doing all that without Curtis. As we left the hotel for the tube station yesterday morning, in one of those freak accidents, he sprained his ankle on some uneven pavement. He briefly tried to soldier on, but we decided to get him back to the hotel. He spent the day with his foot up, occasionally limping out to get more ice from the hotel bar. I left him with water & juice, chips, a laptop, DVD player, and Ibuprofen, so it wasn't an entirely miserable day. And he got to watch the final match of the Euro Cup football (soccer) tournament, which was apparently most excellent.
Back to Oxford, then. Absolutely lovely. Buildings, gardens, places I'd only heard of before, places where many famous people have walked. It was also a relatively sunny day, which made the gardens even nicer. I even remembered to take some pictures! (Usually that's Curtis' domain.) When I get home we'll put the best of them on Flickr.
We alternated between talking about the sights and talking about reviewing. One thing that really stood out for me was talking about the criticism done by Joanna Russ and "William Atheling, Jr." back in the day. The idea of reviewing advocacy is one I instinctively reject, but now I realize that I really shouldn't. We all do it to some extent, and it's better to do it consciously than simply to point to "stuff I like."
When I get back home (Thursday, effectively) I think I'll rename this blog "Spiral Galaxy Reviewing Laboratory" and start experimenting a bit more with ranges of approaches. I think I'll also use my $10-off ABEBooks coupon and finally track down some of those older criticism collections. So much to read, so much to write! It's exciting to have so many ideas kicking around my head.