This is the latest in a recurring series! For more about the series, please read the original post on Marta Randall, or subsequent posts on Dorothy Heydt, Barbara Hambly, Jane Yolen, Suzy McKee Charnas, Sherwood Smith, Nisi Shawl, and Pamela Dean.
The more I do of this series of posts, the more I discover that one of the commonalities of writers I want to feature here is that they write with great variety--both on a range of topics and for a range of audiences. The first Gwyneth Jones books I fell in love with were the series that starts with Bold As Love--all rock, all political, all relationships, all the time. Focused on the near future, the environment, and how people handle it as people--at basically every scale. Healthy dollop of weird science fiction mysticism.
But then I ran around trying to find as many others of her books as I could--a harder feat than it should be in the US, alas--there were very different things. Weird alien SF! Creepy kids' books! Riffs on classics with heart and humanity! There are authors of whom you can say, "Well, it's a one of those again, if you want that," and...Gwyneth Jones doesn't do that. Even the last book of the Bold As Love cycle departs strongly from the patterns and concerns of the rest of it. (The Grasshopper's Child, and I love that one too.) There's a lot of her back catalog for me to pore through bookstores to find, and I'm eager for it.
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
Witchmark by C.L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing)
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
Fire Ant by Jonathan P. Brazee (Semper Fi)
The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean)
Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield (Tor.com Publishing)
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by Tina Connolly (Tor.com 7/11/18)
An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births by José Pablo Iriarte (Lightspeed 1/18)
The Rule of Three by Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
Messenger by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and R.R. Virdi (Expanding Universe, Volume 4)
Interview for the End of the World by Rhett C. Bruno (Bridge Across the Stars)
The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington by Phenderson Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
Going Dark by Richard Fox (Backblast Area Clear)
And Yet by A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny 3-4/18)
A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow (Apex 2/6/18)
The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch by Charlie Brooker (House of Tomorrow & Netflix)
The Road to Canterbury by Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
God of War by Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog, Orion Walker, and Adam Dolin (Santa Monica Studio/Sony/Interactive Entertainment)
Rent-A-Vice by Natalia Theodoridou (Choice of Games)
The Martian Job by M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram
Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
A Quiet Place, screenplay by John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, and Scott Beck
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
Sorry to Bother You, written by Boots Riley
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt; Macmillan)
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Rick Riordan Presents)
A Light in the Dark by A.K. DuBoff (BDL)
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (Random House)
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien (Henry Holt)
At work, the food services do not take cash. People often use their debit card. But I just take my phone. Today I had a chicken breast / broccoli /rice bowl and used Apple Pay to pay for my lunch. I always have my phone with me anyway. (I listen to music through AirPods while walking between my building and the cafeteria building. Anime songs, of course.)
After receiving Indulgence #2, I did more research into portrait lighting, and I figured I needed a small light I could use for rim lighting. Just a point light. I figured someone would have a small LED light. Nothing obvious showed up. And then I fell into monolights. And this Studio Essentials 100W LED Monolight seemed like a great deal. Also, B&H indicated that a Godox Barndoor Kit was compatible. And since I was getting yet another studio light, I knew I needed a third Light Stand. The package arrived here on Valentine’s Day.
I opened the box for the monolight... and... it was huge. I’ve worked with monolights before; I just didn’t remember them being quite so bulky. But thinking back, I guess they were. The light quickly mounted on the light stand... and then... the barn doors could not possibly mount on the light. What was the deal?
I figured out that the monolight needed a Standard Reflector, not included. 12 bucks. And assessing the size of the monolight and the barn doors, I thought I should play it safe and also get a Snoot. This would give me the best chance for fully controlling a precise area of light. The snoot and the reflector arrived today. The snoot fits fine. The reflector fits fine. With the reflector, I was able to mount the barn doors.
iPhone 8 photo
The variable power LED is really nice. And the "100W LED" puts out like a 500W light. Way, way too bright! At 10% brightness the light was scary, and you wouldn’t want to look directly at it. There’s a quiet fan to keep the light cool.
Really, the monolight was a bargain at the price, as lights go for $500, $1000, $1500 and more. Also, to my surprise, it came with a popup softbox! (I actually had to go find a Video to tell me how to get it folded into the super compact circle it travelled as. I had been wondering what that tiny blob was. The softbox will come in handy, I think.
Anyway, I got way too much light, and it’s a big puppy that I have to figure out storage for. It will be interesting if my experiments work out next week. This could all be a big bust. We’ll see.
The cold precludes from doing much of anything outside when it isnt raining, with the exception of refilling bird feeders and tossing down more seed and goodies for the ground feeders. This doesnt stop all the frogs from singing at night nor the birds from doing their thing.
Another round of appointments, and places to be. One Egypt lecture was cancelled because the speaker couldnt make it, but they found replacement speakers which were quite interesting.
Book club and book signings were attended and some light book shopping. Been dealing with the fallout of MB's life still, and hope to get it all sorted out so that its not as intrusive. then I dont have to do much but maintenance for him. His health is deteriorated in the last year to the extent of him in a wheelchair.
My new passport arrived, which shocked me, guess that the expedite payment was worth it.
Today, lunch with T. I have a couple of birthdays this week, i need to get my act and cards together.
(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)
* Novella: The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.
Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.
* Where Oblivion Lives by T. Frohock
Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light.
As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.
* For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones
But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.
* Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
* Tides of the Titans by Thoraiya Dyer
In the quest fantasy Tides of the Titans, part of Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer's extraordinary Titan's Forest series, trees loom large as skyscrapers, mortals can be reborn as gods, and a young man travels to the far reaches of the land and beyond to unlock the Forest's hidden secrets...
Courtier, explorer, thief: Leaper is a man of many skills, but none of his talents satisfy the yearning in his heart for the Queen of Airakland, the ruler of a thunder-clashed kingdom.
Their affair is cut too short, however, when she is murdered. But who was the assassin? A political rival? The jealous king? Or, perhaps, the god of thunder who oversees them all?
* Cast in Oblivion by Michelle Sagara
Kaylin wasn’t sent to the West March to start a war. Her mission to bring back nine Barrani might do just that, though. She traveled with a Dragon, and her presence is perceived as an act of aggression in the extremely hostile world of Barrani-Dragon politics. Internal Barrani politics are no less deadly, and Kaylin has managed—barely—to help the rescued Barrani evade both death and captivity at the hands of the Consort.
Before the unplanned “visit” to the West March, Kaylin invited the Consort to dinner. For obvious reasons, Kaylin wants to cancel dinner—forever. But the Consort is going to show up at the front door at the agreed-upon time. The fact that she tried to imprison Kaylin’s guests doesn’t matter at all…to her.
* Cicada by Shaun Tan
From the visionary Shaun Tan, an inspirational story for older picture book readers and beyond
Cicada tells the story of a hardworking little cicada who is completely unappreciated for what he does. But in the end, just when you think he's given up, he makes a transformation into something ineffably beautiful. A metaphor for growing up? A bit of inspiration for the unappreciated striver in all of us? Yes, yes, and more.
* The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
From New York Times bestselling author Yangsze Choo, an utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin Lee. Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.
Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.
* Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss
In these eight stories and twenty-three poems, World Fantasy Award winner Theodora Goss retells and recasts fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, always lyrical, the works gathered in Snow White Learns Witchcraft re-center and empower the women at the heart of these timeless narratives. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Jane Yolen, in her introduction, proclaims that Goss “transposes, transforms, and transcends times, eras, and old tales with ease. But also there is a core of tough magic that runs through all her pieces like a river through Faerie . . . I am ready to reread some of my new favorites.”
* Preorder Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden
Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion.
Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void.
* Preorder The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.
But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.
* A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
In these tumultuous times, in our deeply divided country, many people are angry, frightened, and hurting. Knowing that imagining a brighter tomorrow has always been an act of resistance, editors Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams invited an extraordinarily talented group of writers to share stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice. They asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in.
* Fog Season by Patrice Sarath
After the shocking events of last summer, the high society of Port Saint Frey has plenty to gossip about. Who was the Gentleman Bandit? Why hasn't he been captured? And what really happened that night when the Guildmaster disappeared? When the Guild hires Abel Fresnel, a detective with special powers of his own, to find the answers, Tesara and Yvienne Mederos have to avoid his probing questions and keep mum about their role in the events of that dark night. Everything's more or less under control until a dead man turns up in the dumbwaiter...
* The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma. To his surprise, he finds that Kathmandu is a cut-price paradise, where citizens want for nothing and even the dregs of society are distinctly unwilling to revolt.
Everyone seems happy, except for the old Gurkha soldier Bhan Gurung. Knife saint, recidivist, and mass murderer, he is an exile from Kathmandu, pursuing a forty-year-old vendetta that leads to the very heart of Karma. Pushed and prodded by Gurung, Melek Ahmer finds himself in ever deeper conflicts, until they finally face off against Karma and her forces. In the upheaval that follows, old crimes will come to light and the city itself will be forced to change.
* Dreams of the Dark Sky by Tina LeCount Myers
The war between men and immortals that raged across the frozen Northland of Davvieana has ended. For men, the balance of power between Believer and Brethren, between honoring the gods and honoring the sword, has shifted to favor priests over Hunters.
But it is the legacy of one man’s love for his son that shapes the lives of all who survived.
While Irjan, the once-legendary immortal hunter, has saved his son’s life, he cannot save Marnej from the men who will make him a killer, nor can he save the immortal girl he’d promised to protect from the secret of her birth.
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen, Episode 6
I’ve been so taken by the spunky Chika Fujiwara in Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen (Kaguya-sama: Love is War) this season that I thought I should do some investigation into the character’s seiyuu. And, frankly, I’m stunned.
The voice actress that plays Chika has been in the business for only three years. She is Konomi Kohara. Her first bit parts were in 2016, but she won leading roles in 2017 – Kukuri in Mahōjin Guru Guru and Akane in Tsuki ga Kirei. Last year she was Kasumi in Asobi Asobase, Erena in Hanebado!, Mina in Karakai Jōzu no Takagi-san, Kirin in Gakuen Babysitters, and Koyomi in Yagate Kimi ni Naru. And of course this season she is the unpredictable Chika Fujiwara. That’s an amazing portfolio for someone who’s been in the business for only three years. And I’ll note that I’ve loved all these shows she’s appeared in – save Yagate Kimi ni Naru, which I haven’t been able to watch (but I’m sure I’ll love because I’m reading the manga). All of Konomin’s characters are great.
It appears Konomi started in the business when she was 23 – which is a little later in life than many contemporary voice actresses. But she’s risen very quickly. It probably helps that she’s represented by Office Osawa – a venerable agency that is also the home of Kana Hanazawa, Ai Kayano, Mamiko Noto, and Ayako Kawasumi.
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen, Episode 4
iPhone 8 photo
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to do this.
Not included in the original kitchen remodel quote was replacing the Venetian blinds with a newer shade. The contractor had planned to simply remount the original blinds. Mid-remodel we had a conversation about a change order, but window blinds aren’t something they normally do. I did some research and decided I could replace the blinds myself.
Regardless of who did the work, nothing could be done until the countertop had been installed, followed by installation of the custom cherry window casing. Once that was complete, I could take formal measurements.
I had decided on a Levolor Custom Cellular Shade. In keeping with the Japanese theme of the kitchen, I chose the whitest, light filtering option. And given that the kitchen window (which someday needs to be replaced with an energy-efficient pane) is the single, large, south-facing window that gets really hot in the summer, I chose the Energy Shield Liner. For a 6-foot by 4-foot shade, that option doubles the cost from $200 to $400.
I very carefully took (and retook, and took again) measurements as per the Levolor instructions and placed the order on December 11. The custom shade shipped on December 14. I didn’t track when it arrived – but probably less than a week from shipment. Didn’t matter. The box sat in my living room until the start of February.
Two weeks ago I did the initial work to install the mounting brackets for the shade. It was a real pain trying to maneuver in tight spaces at the header of the window casing. And then when I finally started to mount the brackets, I stripped a screw head with the power drill bit. That stopped everything dead.
The following weekend I got replacement screws (with better heads) at Ace Hardware. Today, I did smarter screw driving (using the hex head driver instead of the slot driver) and finished installing the brackets. Mounting the blinds was a five minute job after that.
So, finally, I’ve got the custom shade installed. It’s really nice!
iPhone 8 photo
(Sooooo many things still to do on my task list. 😑)
Ben Aaronovitch, Lies Sleeping. This is the latest in this long urban fantasy series, and it relies very heavily on both plot and character arcs from earlier in the series. Good news: there is plenty of movement on things that have been going on for several books. Bad news: if you want to start somewhere, this is not it. Peter and his friends, enemies, relations are all barreling forward at top speed, but a lot of it will make no sense without the rest of the series.
Jill Baguchinsky, Mammoth. This is a charming YA about a plus-sized teenage fashionista with a passion for paleontology. It has a lot of genre-YA themes about finding yourself and also maybe someone else, but at the top of the list of things the protag finds is BONES so that is pretty great. I want to put a CW on this for the protagonist starting the book fixating on guessing other women's weight. This is flagged as unhealthy but may still be difficult for some readers, so: choose when you read it accordingly.
Hans Bekker-Nielsen et al, eds., Mediaeval Scandinavia 1968. This is a hardbound annual journal for its field. A lot of the stuff therein has either become basic knowledge since then or gotten debunked, but there were still some interesting rune-deciphering passages. Not recommended unless you're constantly eager for new medieval Scand studies stuff, which...I am.
Blair Braverman, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North. I read this author's twitter, and she writes about dogsledding there. YAY I LIKE DOGS. It was also a good time for me to read about dogsledding, as I revise a book with significant amounts of dogsledding in it. This book...was not really about dogsledding. Very much at all. It was mostly about recovering from sexual abuse, assault, and trauma. Braverman chose to do that in the far north of Norway, and there are interesting cultural things going on there, and I engaged with this narrative, but--if you're here for the dogsledding, not so much.
Roshani Chokshi, Aru Shah and the End of Time. This was a lovely, charming middle-grade adventure. I got a copy for a kid in my life for their birthday. Friendship and magic and figuring yourself out. Yay.
Linda Collister, The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking and The Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home. I flipped through these and wrote down exactly three recipes, but that's actually pretty good for library cookbooks--I mostly am not a big recipe cook anyway.
Philip Cushway and Michael Warr, eds., Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin. This was a harrowing book of protest poetry that was very much worth engaging with, a little at a time. I was a tiny bit frustrated that such a large percentage of the page count was dedicated to writing about each poet rather than showcasing their poems--for most poets there were more words dedicated to their bio than in their poems, which seems backwards to me. I feel like most of the poets showcased probably had more than one good protest poem. But the ones that were there were good to have.
Michael Eric Dyson, What Truth Sounds Like: RFK, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America. This traces the roots and results of a major meeting between American Black intelligentsia/artists and Robert F. Kennedy. Dyson has lots of ideas about the implications of this conversation and conversations like it, and this was fascinating--especially with the range of talent that Baldwin could get to show up on a moment's notice.
Lissa Evans, Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms. This is a fun MG about magic (the stage variety...or is it...) and puzzles and family.
Robert Frost, New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes. Kindle. Several of the "Grace Notes" are familiar, much-anthologized poems, tacked on here as extras. The "Notes" tend to be longer, often dialect-laden local poems. And then there's the titular poem. It's massive and rambly and reminds me a bit of W.H. Auden's Letters from Iceland in form/style. I really like this geographical ramble poem thing. I would like a book of them. (But mostly I would like to reread Letters from Iceland because I love it unreasonably and Uncle Wys is the best.) (Ahem. Okay you can read Robert Frost too I guess, but really you probably already know that.) (AUDENNNN.)
Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf. All the other grimdark books are like teddy bears having their picnic compared to this. It is full of multiform rape, genital mutilation, excretion in its various types, cruelty...it is a lot. It is vividly imagined and beautifully written, and so, so very dark. It is doing things with worldbuilding that no one else has tried, and also it is so very dark.
Rosalie Knecht, Who Is Vera Kelly? This is both a spy novel and a young woman's coming of age story. It is the kind of spy novel I have wanted, light and fun and firmly placed in space and time. It has the short, zippy chapters of some earlier works in this genre while leaving out the sexism. Yay for this book.
Rose MacAulay, Crewe Train. In many ways this is a charming and eccentric narrative of a young woman who does not want what she is told to want and the mild chaos that ensues in her life because of that fact. I will read more Rose MacAulay for sure, because this was intriguing and mostly good in an early 20th century way. However, I do feel the need to flag that there's about a chapter of staggeringly racist content that is not only awful but completely unnecessary to the plot, the sort of thing that makes you repeat, "Rose, what are you doing, Rose, what are you doing," over and over as you read. Is one chapter of that too much? You get to decide.
Seanan McGuire, In an Absent Dream. This is the most recent of Seanan's portal fantasy novellas, which are my favorite thing she's doing right now. This one stands quite well alone and is very distinctive in setting and character from the others. I was mostly okay with which things were summarized and which shown (an interesting calculus of novellas), until the ending, which wasn't quite as satisfying because of that ratio. Still glad I read it.
John McPhee, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process. This is the book equivalent of sitting at John McPhee's feet listening to him talk about his long and storied career and how it all has worked. I wouldn't start here if you haven't read McPhee before, I'd start with Annals of the Former World, because that is amazing. But if you already like McPhee this will probably be an interesting and fast read. (Note for people who are always on the lookout for writing books: this is about writing nonfiction, if that changes anything for you.)
Robert Muir-Wood, The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters. Interesting stuff on structure and materials and their adaptations to place. I'd have liked more of the title and less of the background for the title, but I'm told there are storage and organization issues with having everything.
Dennis Romano, Markets and Marketplaces in Medieval Italy, c. 1100 to c. 1440. This goes into a lot of detail about the relationship of the sacred and secular in this context, and about how the different Italian city-states varied but had common elements in how they handled marketplace issues. One of the things that was interesting to me was how much focus there was on fraud--which makes sense, but...well, if you have friends and family who spend a lot of time on deregulation as a political hot button, direct them to the medieval Italians.
Rebecca Solnit, Call Them By Their True Names. This is a collection of Solnit's recent essays on the contemporary scene. I'd already read several of them in their original magazine publications, but it was still an interesting book--and I basically always reach for Rebecca Solnit first whenever I get one of her books.
Vanessa Tait, The Looking Glass House. I didn't see one of the marketing points of this book before I picked it up in a used bookstore--namely that Tait is the descendant of Alice Liddell of Alice in Wonderland fame. This is a novel about the Liddells' governess. Basically everyone in it is unhappy and unpleasant, parents, children, governesses, random family friends, all of them. This is a "sucked to be them" book, and while it's written reasonably well, all that did was make me keep reading until the end, with nothing but frustration and misery as far as the eye can see. Not recommended.
Sara Teasdale, Love Songs. Kindle. There are several things that Teasdale appears to think about love that make me want to rent her a cabin for a year so she can get some time to herself to think, and then introduce her to people who are kind and don't play power games, because wow, kiddo, wow. But then there are the moments where she is wrapped up in natural beauty, and I'm here for that.