It’s been 84 years…

Yeah I haven’t been doing too much blogging here, have I?

I guess the Death Of The Blog is a thing that people have talked about recently. I’ve exchanged blog reading (and writing, lol) almost entirely for twitter and an ever-growing succession of TinyLetters. Maybe someday I’ll do a roundup of my favorites.

In the meantime, I wanted to write a bit about some books I’ve read lately.

Earlier in the year I set my Goodreads challenge to 200 books (I’m back on Goodreads now that they allow you to track re-reads, a feature they’ve needed forever) but between personal grief and the slow decay of our national psyche, it became abundantly clear that 200 wasn’t happening. And it was a silly goal in the first place – I’ve never gone that far over 100, and why would I think that the first year of The Circumstances would be any different? So I’ve set it back down to a reasonable 100 and am over halfway there, with 59 books read. I don’t want to write about every book I’ve read since the  last time I wrote about books (*checks date* *screams*) so working backwards, here are some Recent Reads.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 

I got this for Christmas the year it came out, I believe, and I can’t believe I waited until now to read it. It’s completely charming – Clay, the protagonist, is a refugee from the tech industry who gets a job working the night shift of the titular bookstore. There’s a secret society, code-breaking, a few terrifyingly plausible startups (including one devoted exclusively to the anatomically accurate rendering of breasts in video games) and a definite adventure vibe. Despite one or two quirks of writing that began to drive me bonkers every time they appeared, I found myself racing through the book with a smile on my face, happy to be in this world of books and bookstores and the weirdos that love them.

HHhH by Laurent Binet

IMG_2922This I picked up in Prague, in the train station before I left for the medieval town of Česky Krumlov. I’d seen it on a bunch of lists when it first came out, so it had been in the back of my mind, but I decided to pick it up and ended up reading nearly the whole thing on a train. I read the rest in a restaurant by a river, in view of a four-hundred year old castle. Around this castle is a moat, and inside the moat there are bears, one of whom is named Katerina.  HHhH is a book partially about the difficulties of writing books, a schtick I worried would get really, really old, but didn’t. The other part is about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (the main architect of the Nazi Final Solution) by two Czech resistance fighters, Jan Kubiš and Josef Gabčik, in a military operation called Operation Anthropoid. These two subjects – writing and Nazi assassinations – don’t have too much to do with one another on the surface of things, but Binet (writing in French, with translation by Sam Taylor) asks a valid question which ties the two together: how does a writer tell a true story? How do they tell it in a way that is believable but compelling, interesting but true to the facts? How do you honor someone you know little about, especially when you know so much about the man he killed? I took quite a few photos of favorite passages in this book; here’s one of my favorites:

To begin with, this seemed a simple-enough story to tell. Two men have to kill a third man. They succeed, or not, and that’s the end, or nearly. I thought of all the other people as mere ghosts who would glide elegantly across the tapestry of history. Ghosts have to be looked after, and that requires great care- I knew that. On the other hand, what I didn’t know (but should have guessed) is that a ghost desires only one thing: to live again.

It was heartening to read a story of resistance, even if it didn’t end well for Kubiš and Gabčik, who committed suicide in the basement of a church, surrounded by five feet of water pumped in by the eight hundred Nazis outside, trying to get in. You can still see the bullet holes on the outside wall of the church.

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The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them by Elif Batuman 

Full disclosure: I’ve never read any of the Russian greats. Actually, that’s a lie; when I was 16 I read all the peace parts of War & Peace but I have no memory of it. (I also saw Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 twice, but that’s different.) Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot, writes about her relationship with Russian, Russian writers, and grad school with humor and insight and even for someone who knows nothing about the canon she’s referencing, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

 

Anyway, that’s a little recap of some of the things I’ve liked recently. I have a lot on the docket that I’m excited about; N.K. Jemisin’s THE STONE SKY, last in the trilogy; FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh; and THE BEST OF CONNIE WILLIS which I picked up at the Nebula Awards.

Until next time!

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Where are you coming from?

Somehow in the last week I’ve received 144 queries. I’ve certainly had three-digit weeks before but that’s a lot. At any rate I’m delighted. In the past few days I’ve read some projects I’m very excited about. But seriously, where are you coming from?

A few links to some exciting things afoot in my client’s worlds –

Mark Tiedemann’s novella “Miller’s Wife” appears as an exclusive ebook reprint in this month’s issue of Lightspeed Magazine! Here’s the link. 

And ARCs of Ren Warom’s debut novel ESCAPOLOGY, out from Titan in July, are out in the world! Linked because I can’t get the tweet to embed. God, I’m so excited for this one.

I have no other news, at least none that I can remember, because my brain doesn’t work. I’ve had family visiting this past week and, as always happens when my mother is in town, theater tickets magically appeared, so in the last week I’ve seen five shows: Her Requiem at LCT3, Eclipsed on Broadway, Women Without Men at The Mint, Nice Fish at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s bluegrass musical Bright Star on Broadway. They were all fabulous, and I am now exhausted and suffering from brain drain.

Editing the new Shipping & Handling episode while Bridget & I figure out a date to record. Looking forward to being on the airwaves again! Well, the downloads. You know what I mean.

Haven’t been doing too much personal reading – I did finish THE FALL OF THE OTTOMANS and THE LIVING UNKNOWN SOLDIER, for which the phrase “just fuck me up” has never been more applicable. The reviews of the book I’d read said that the translation was somewhat clunky, but either I’m a philistine and didn’t notice or the translation was absolutely fine. Still, if you can get your hands on a copy of this gem and are at all interested in this kind of thing, I highly recommend it. And even though I am supposed to not be buying books right now I still managed to walk out of Barnes & Noble on Sunday with a copy of NUMERO ZERO by Umberto Eco and TO HELL AND BACK by Ian Kershaw. Who knows when I’ll get to them!

 

 

News Roundup

Being off of social media has been harder than I expected and I have missed a lot, I know. BUT here are some cool things that have happened that I *do* know about!

First, here is Emma Newman’s awards eligibility post for 2015! In addition to PLANETFALL (ahem) her podcast Tea & Jeopardy is also eligible for nomination.

Second, I’m participating in the #DVPit event on April 19, 2016. The marvelous Beth Phelan of the Jenny Bent agency put it together. This is what it’s about:

#DVpit is a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. This includes (but is not limited to): people of color; people living and/or born/raised in underrepresented cultures and countries; disabled persons; people with illness; people on marginalized ends of the socioeconomic, cultural and/or religious spectrum; people identifying as LGBTQIA+; and more.

I haven’t been doing a lot of pitch contests recently but I’m very excited to participate in this one. Follow the link above to see how to participate. You can read this Salon piece by Paula Young Lee to see why this is an exciting, necessary hashtag.

Third… I’m sure there’s a third. I finally finished Alexander Watson’s RING OF STEEL, an 830 page book about Germany & Austria-Hungary in WWI that I’ve been reading since December, and it was fine. I gave it 3 stars because I finished it, but the author never met a pertinent fact he didn’t want to include. It didn’t *need* to be 830 pages, let’s just put it that way. Now I’m on to THE FALL OF THE OTTOMANS by Eugene Rogan, and also half-heartedly participating in the Tumblr Reblog Book Club discussions of SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys, and also gazing balefully at Dorothy Dunnet’s THE GAME OF KINGS and thinking I should put it up again.

Fourth, I’ve figured out my con attendance for the year:

RT Booklover’s Convention – Las Vegas, NV April 12-17
MidAmeriCon – Kansas City, MO August 17-21
Sirens Conference – Denver, CO October 20-23
World Fantasy Convention – Columbus, OH October 27-30

I’m only taking pitches at RT.

Anyway, I think that’s all! Happy reading. IMG_2598

Marieke Nijkamp’s THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS can be found on the “What Teens Are Reading Next” table at most Barnes & Nobles!

Some favorite reads of 2015

Another year, another goodreads challenge crushed. This year I read 79 books, including re-reads, which goodreads won’t allow you to track in any kind of sensible way. I keep thinking I”ll give up on using GR as a tracking system, but in the end, I just can’t give up the stats counter. I also find the “You are 5 books behind schedule” nudges very helpful.

Usually I read much more over the holidays when I’m home with my parents, but this year a combination of exhaustion and the discovery of Midsomer Murders made that pretty impossible.

Nonfiction

In a move that will surprise no one who knows me, some of my favorite nonfiction reads this year were books about the First World War or histories about combatant countries. A late entry in this category was Geoffrey Wawro’s A MAD CATASTROPHE: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, which I finished it on the plane back to Texas. Wawro is funny and indignant (and indignantly funny) by turns, and he makes a compelling case for laying a large portion of the blame for the outbreak of WWI at Austria-Hungary’s feet. Wawro has a deft hand with the horror and senselessness of the war and the megalomania of the leaders who brought the world into it.

I also highly enjoyed Frederick Morton’s THUNDER AT TWILIGHT: Vienna 1913/1914, which is basically what it says on the tin. It takes a look at some historical figures that don’t normally come up in these histories – Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, as they try to make their fortunes in that glittering city. Robert K. Massie’s DREADNOUGHT is a triumph. Massie’s strength has always been personalities. He’s brilliant at the foibles and failings of his subjects, and I definitely laughed out loud several times, which you wouldn’t think would happen in a book about the naval arms race between Britain and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its sequel, CASTLES OF STEEL, was less fun, mostly because I had the problem that I always have with naval histories: “Then this ship went here, and this ship went here, shooting at this other ship, and then they all sailed to Norway.”

This was also a year where I read a lot of writers writing about writing. I read MFA vs NYC, which I didn’t get much from, as it mostly concentrated on the world of high-literary fiction, but I also read the first volume of Virginia Woolf’s diaries and the first two volumes of Susan Sontag’s journals that are being released. I find it fascinating to read the to-do lists and resolutions of writers I admire. Famous Writers: They’re just like us! I also highly recommend Vivian Gornick’s THE ODD WOMAN AND THE CITY, which is kind of indescribable and also indescribably lovely.

Adult Fiction 

I love all my children equally, as they say, and it’s hard to pick a favorite from this year. I made an effort to read books that were published recently rather than digging back into the archives for my favorites, and this year was a cracking good year for fiction.

Hard to pick a favorite, but the one I spent the most time thinking and talking about was N.K. Jemisin’s majestic THE FIFTH SEASON. She is such a talented writer and I was in awe of the way the book unfolded. Secrets on secrets, all wrapped up tightly together, and that ending- it still gives me shivers. You can read a somewhat amusing storify of my Yellin’ about FIFTH SEASON with Sunil Patel here.

This year I also read the first two volumes in C.S. Pacat’s CAPTIVE PRINCE series. I’d been hearing about this online for years but had never gotten around to reading it. More fool me, as now I have to wait till February to read the final volume. It’s a fantasy where the prince of one country is betrayed and then enslaved to the prince of another, but that’s a rather facile description. The characterization in these books is top-notch, and the tension between the two princes is absolutely captivating. I have already pre-ordered the third book.

I also very much loved John Darnielle’s debut novel WOLF IN WHITE VAN. He’s the lead singer of the Mountain Goats, and as a lyricist he’s top-notch, so I knew that it’d be marvelous on a sentence level, but it ended up being incredibly moving and beautiful.

I very much enjoyed the first 700 pages of SEVENEVES, but thought it lost its oomph at the end. I also read the first five books in Ben Aaronovitch’s marvelous RIVERS OF LONDON series, which are fucking fabulous. They’re half-procedural, half-urban fantasy, and the city of London is practically a main character. The sixth book comes out later this year.

I bounced off some of this year’s biggest books – I enjoyed SORCERER TO THE CROWN but didn’t love it, and UPROOTED didn’t do too much for me although it was an enoying, beautifully-written read. Not hard bounces, but still.

YA

My favorite YA reads this year all featured strong female characters that were strong in their separate ways. THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh is loosely inspired by the thousand and one nights, and plays a lot with ideas about who has power, and who exercises it. DUMPLIN‘ by Julie Murphy (who, full disclosure, agreed to blurb one of my clients’ books) features a fat heroine who marches to her own tune (Dolly Parton, naturally.) So charming, so much fun. And apparently there is going to be a sequel, which warms my cold little heart. And my friend Bridget’s client Emma Mills published FIRST AND THEN, which is so charming. Jane Austen meets Friday Night Lights. SO CHARMING.

So, that’s it for the year in reading 2015! This year I became even more aware of how lucky I am to work in this industry, to get the chance to work with amazing authors and read these incredible books. I look forward to all the great things to come in 2016 and beyond.

Some books that changed the way I think, or at least the things I think about

I haven’t updated this blog in a while (why do so many of my blog posts begin this way?) but while I’ve been in Texas for the holidays I’ve been tasked with the cleanout of my childhood bedroom. Not so much cleaning it out as making room for some of my parents’ things – my mom uses my room as an office when I’m not there, and given my predilection for keeping every book I’ve ever owned, she was running out of bookshelf space. And despite my dedication to the cultish but effective principles of Marie Kondo, books are the one thing that I can’t truly purge my environment of of 100%.

I did a decent job and cleared out half of one set of shelves (I really wish they still made these – they’re from Ikea, they bolt to the wall, they’re strong as hell and hold a bunch of books). While I was deciding what to keep and what to take to Half Price Books I thought it might be fun to do a little post talking about some of the books that have been especially meaningful to me over the years.

Here’s a picture:

Preparing for a special end of year blog post. #texastime #books

A post shared by Jennifer Udden (@suddenlyjen) on

They’re not in any particular order. The only thing these books have in common is that they got me thinking about things I’m still pondering today.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: MASTER OF THE SENATE by Robert Caro
What is power? What does the exercise of power mean for a person, for a country? 

I read this in 2002. Tucked inside the title page is a receipt from The Brazos Bookstore, which tells me that I bought it on April 28th, 2002, along with THE PIANO SHOP ON THE LEFT BANK and EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED (My total was $63 – at the time, I believe I was working at an Eckerd’s, now CVS.) I read it right away. This was towards the end of my sophomore year, and my high school, which was then called Jones Vanguard, was still in its original home at Jones High School. We would move the next year to a new campus amid a lot of controversy and bad feeling, but the new campus was darling – a former elementary school, with a green lawn between the buildings that we hung out on during lunches.

To this day I haven’t read the other books in this set of biographies. I don’t know why. I own a paperback copy of the first volume, but haven’t even cracked the spine. MASTER OF THE SENATE exerted a powerful hold over me nonetheless. It was the first time, I think, that I had read about someone with drive that intense, ambition that ruthless. It inspired me to the point where I tried to become a Senate page – but, my family being Democrats in a red state, I didn’t stand a chance. (I did get a very nice letter from Lloyd Bentsen, my congressman at the time, saying he couldn’t help me out, but wishing me the best of luck.)

At the time I had a fabulous history teacher – Mr. Dewey, who taught an entire semester course on the year 1968, covering the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war and a yearly recitation of Alice’s Restaurant. He was then (and is now) a union man, and a lot of the things I think about politics were formed in his classes – AP US History, 1968. (Government? I think I took Government from him, too.) That summer I took world history in summer school so that I could take both AP World History and AP European history, and took more politics classes in college and eventually declared a major in politics. But this was the book that started it.

Kevin Brockmeier – THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD (Spoilers)
Death & the afterlife

To this day, I cannot describe the plot of this book without getting choked up. I bought it in an independent bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee (I can’t remember the name) the weekend I drove up with my mother to clean out a storage unit that contained my grandmother Marge’s possessions. She’d died earlier in the year, and we rented a Uhaul trailer and hitched it to the minivan and drove to Knoxville. One of the more terrifying experiences of my life, driving on winding roads in the Smoky Mountains with a uhaul trailer attached to my car!

At any rate, we stopped into this bookstore and this book was on one of the front tables. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but this book was so heartbreaking and perfect that I don’t know if I can bring myself to.

It’s told in two alternating story lines – one is set in a city where the dead go after they die, a kind of holding area where you stay as long as someone alive on earth remembers you. The city’s population grows and grows and then abruptly begins to vanish, shrinking by the day as more people wink out of existence, into the place beyond the city. Finally the population shrinks down to a few hundred. And the other storyline follows a woman on an Arctic expedition who begins to think that she is the last person alive on earth.

Yep, I’m crying. I read it in the car, weeping silently while my mother drove. When we got closer to Houston I switched to Wilkie Collins’ WOMAN IN WHITE for levity, but I will never forget this book. I recommend it all the time, to people looking for all kinds of books. Want a literary with fantasy elements? THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD. Want a dystopia? THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD. Want a good read? Etc.

It’s an incredibly emotional and beautiful read. Highly recommend.
THE DIAMOND AGE by Neil Stephenson what does it mean to be part of a group? of a society? 

This is the first hard scifi I remember reading, I think when I was 14 or 15. It blew my mind. I remember finding it a little difficult to get through but I’ve read it several times since then (this is my Houston copy – I purchased a copy for New York reading my second year there) and my poor mass market copy is looking a bit raggedy. I can’t bring myself to get rid of it though.

If pressed to pick my favorite parts, I basically can’t. The magical book that learns and grow, the Neo Victorians. This was my first encounter with a 3-D printer in fiction, and in November my client Emma Newman’s PLANETFALL came out. There is a thread that connects these two, from now to then.

LABYRINTHS by Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino’s IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER.
Mind bending stories 

I was recommended Labyrinths by an ex-boyfriend of my aunt’s. He turned out to be a gigantic d-bag but he pointed me towards Borges, which I suppose I will always have to be grateful to him for. Coincidentally, IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER was recommended to me by a guy I wanted to go out with – an English guy I met on a canvassing trip for the Democrats in advance of the 2004 election. He ended up having a girlfriend and didn’t mention it the entire time we were having dinner.

At any rate, my love for weird structures and twisty literary fantasy can probably be traced back to these two books. The library that doesn’t end, a book that is a different genre in every chapter. I’ve since read (mostly) everything I could get my hands on by these two authors. I’d be hard pressed to pick my favorite Borges story, but this will always be my favorite Calvino. INVISIBLE CITIES does have a special place in my heart.

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger
Just rip my heart out and leave me to die 

I read this one in college, in one big gulp in the library atrium at Mount Holyoke College. I forget what year, and which class I skipped to finish it. Probably in my top ten, all-time favorite books, though it’s another one of those heart-punchers that I haven’t had the heart to reread. And this was before I knew that Henry and Clare were based on Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. Or maybe this was before I read GAUDY NIGHT. At any rate, I love this book. From a SFF perspective, the inventiveness of the time travel and the real problems it presents are delightful and exciting. From an emotional perspective, it’s one of my absolute favorite fictional relationships. I can’t quite … describe what I feel about this book, or point to any one thing. I just remember sitting in the library and feeling like I was being carried by a wave, and that it was very important that I not resist, because it was important that I go where the wave wanted to take me.

And yes, I cried.


Charles Dickens – OUR MUTUAL FRIEND

You mightn’t think it, but Sloppy is a beautiful reader of a newspaper.  

I’m including this half for the book, and half for the amazeballs 1998 BBC adaptation. Dominic Mafhan’s Mortimer Lightwood saying “Eugene, Eugene, this is a bad business,” Keely Hawe’s otherworldly beauty as Lizzie Hexam, David Morrissey as Bradley Headstone angrily punching that gravestone – amazing! Check it out if you haven’t seen it. This is my favorite Dickens because, of the books of his I’ve read, OUR MUTUAL FRIEND has my favorite set of side characters. Silas Wegg; the lovely and illiterate Boffins; the greedy and social climbing Lammles; Mr. Venus (and his sweetheart who did not wish to be regarded in that bony light.) It’s a rich and cohesive world of characters and though I’m sure others can say more intelligent things about it, the fact that this is the only Dickens I can quote bits of is my highest compliment.

Margaret Macmillan – PARIS, 1919: Six Months that Changed the World
Oh, where to begin

I was reading this when I was on one of my trips to look at colleges in the Northeast. I remember nothing else about my interview for Mount Holyoke (where I ended up going) other than being asked by the interviewer what I was reading. I may have even pulled it out of the bag to demonstrate. As I mentioned on Instagram, this was the book that started my obsession with World War I. There are 23 books on my “wwi” shelf on Goodreads, which includes diaries, novels, military history, and books of history that focus on the various belligerents (I’m looking at you THE BALKANS by Misha Glenny.) But Paris 1919 was the one that started it all. Something about the negotiation of the Treaty of Versailles caught my imagination and my interest, and the more I learn about the first World War the more parallels I find with the world today. My latest book in this series is A MAD CATASTROPHE by Geoffrey Wawro, which looks at the Hapsburgs and Austria-Hungary’s role in World War I. Highly recommend, especially for his hilarious righteous indignation about the inefficiencies and poor decision making of people long since dead.

 

 

August 2014 Reading

Books Bought August 2014

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
Persuasion by Jane Austen

Books Read August 2014

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Night’s Honor (Elder Races #7) by Thea Harrison
Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Good Books by Nick Hornby
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (half)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (half)

I was totally prepared to moan and groan in this space about how little I had read in August. For some reason I was convinced that everything I had touched remained unfinished- I think it’s because of the pile that is growing next to my bed of books I’ve started and then put down. That’s actually only true of two books, so I’m feeling much better about myself. It is true, however, that most of my completed reading happened at the beginning of the month, and that is due entirely to three factors: First, I agreed to judge a contest, for which I had to read a large number of books in quite a short amount of time. Second, over Labor Day weekend I spent three days in my apartment doing nothing but combing through partial and full manuscripts that I had requested over a quite long period of time. Third, I discovered the iPhone game 2048 and its various flash permutations. (Tom Hiddleston 2048, Sexy Chris Evans 2048, etc.)

Now, I am not a gamer of any sort, by any stretch of the imagination. I gave up on Angry Birds, the last computer game I gave a serious stab at was Myst back in the 7th grade, and I have the eye-thumb coordination of a blind, thumbless creature. But I am obsessed with 2048. I have only beaten it twice, and the closest I have come to the 4096 tile is 2048 with an adjacent 512. (If you are obsessed with 2048 like I am, and if you have played it ever you are probably obsessed, you know what that all meant.) Something about it is inexplicably soothing and yet also anxious-making. This wave of obsession of mine is a throwback to when I would play Windows solitaire for hours, starting over when I could make no more moves. I don’t have the highest of high scores – I think it’s somewhere in the 27Ks – but damn if I haven’t been playing practically every subway ride or long elevator wait. And thus, little reading has happened!

Still, August was not too shabby, book-wise. Early in the month I re-read The Hot Zone for mystifying reasons relating to the current Ebola epidemic. Hot tip: if you are a person who doesn’t deal well with body horror, do not read this book. The opening chapter, which describes expat Charles Monet’s death from Ebola, is one of the most horrifying, deeply upsetting things I have ever read. Let’s just say you’ll never look at an airplane barf bag the same way again. Early in the month I had an afternoon to kill and so spent it in a Barnes & Noble reading Olivia Laing’s excellent book about writers and drinking. The Trip to Echo Spring is troubling, illuminating, and hilarious by turns, and is well worth a read for anyone interested in the Fitzgerald-Hemingway school of getting shitfaced. Sometime that month I also read this fabulous article from the Hairpin about Jean Rhys– one of the weaknesses, if there are any, of Laing’s book is that the focus is overwhelmingly on male drunks, when Rhys’ story shows us that women can be just as destructive to themselves and others while on the sauce as their male counterparts. So now I want to go out and read Rhys, which I will no doubt do in the ample spare time I have coming up. Pardon me, I have to get this 32 to combine with this 64.

I’ve written before about how much I love Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, and so I won’t go on at great length about Night’s Honor, except to say that I stole the ARC off a colleague’s desk and haven’t given it back (and don’t intend to – sorry, Amy!). I will read anything Harrison writes. The Elder Races series features great worldbuilding, compelling relationships, and a lot of hot sex. What else do you need in a book?

Well, Sometimes you need dry facts about how freaking crazy Serbia in the 19th century was, so I finished up Christopher Clark’s mammoth tome The Sleepwalkers last month. Clark does such a clear and excellent job of drawing together seemingly-disparate threads from each country to demonstrate how the whole damn thing happened. Hell if I can summarize it for you though, so I recommend checking it out if you’re into that kind of thing, and have some time before Agents of Shield comes back on TV. It’s out in paperback now, and weighs about four pounds less than the hardcover, which should be added incentive. All that Austen and the trip to Bath in July led to my re-read of Persuasion in a lovely copy I picked up from Book Court in Brooklyn (when I went in to try and find Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, which I still haven’t managed to lay my hands on.) Persuasion is, I think, my favorite Austen. Mostly because it’s basically Pining: The Novel, which is one of my very most favorite things to read. I guess maybe I love the idea that you can want something that you think you’ve lost forever; that you can be surprised when that thing comes back to you.

My half-finished books this months are books I love but for whatever reason put aside. I read half of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay at the beach the weekend before labor day. I love this book, and had somehow completely forgotten about the golem in it. Swordspoint is – well. Swordspoint is amazing. Lush and beautiful and adventurous. Full disclosure: I know the author and her lovely wife, both of whom I met at Sirens a few years ago and promptly began a stealth mission to befriend. So far my campaign seems to be succeeding.

That’s it for this month- it’s the fall, which means that Publishing school is back in session, so there are more events and cons and things in my future. I’m looking forward to reading Robert Jackson Bennett (a DMLA client)’s new fantasy City of Stairs at some point, as well as finishing the aforementioned half-read masterpieces. I also just found a list of about 100 books on World War I that I hadn’t read before, so, that might happen, too. In the meantime, I’m going to tab over to the game of 2048 I’ve got going to see if I can get past the Captain America tile. The glamour of agenting, folks!