the need to read

In this post, Nephele Tempest (agent at the Knight Agency) mentions books she’s reading now, which includes Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered! She also has Rob Thurman’s Nightlife in her soon-to-be-read pile. Since those are both written by clients of mine, I hope she likes them. She invites people to mention books they’ve read recently and talks about the “need to read” and how much happier she is when she’s got a book in hand. I agree with her about that, particularly after going through a period of a little over two years where I only read submissions and felt kind of burned out whenever I tried to turn to reading for pleasure. It was a bad scene and I’m so glad I got over it.

Anyway, recently I have read the following books for pleasure:

*Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest (loved it!)
*The Year of Our War by Steph Swainston (which I expected to like far more based on the cover quotes and the Campbell nomination)
*Iron Sunrise by Charlie Stross (which I enjoyed very much but not as much as Singularity Sky)
*Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (which I just started last night)

I’m not sure what’s on deck, though I read the first 9pp of Vellum by Hal Duncan when I stopped by Random House last week and almost got sucked into it right on the spot. I also scored a copy of Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon. But those are just the two newest books I’ve added to the to-be-read pile (which is 3 floor to ceiling bookcases and an estimated 600 books of fiction and non-fiction).

And I’ll borrow a bit more from Nephele and invite people to post here what they’ve read lately and whether they liked it or not….

26 responses to “the need to read

  1. I can function without: booze, drugs, lipstick, men, and even tea (although that’s really pushing it) but not without something to read. If I don’t have a book on the go, I start feeling shaky and twitchy and the voices in my head get louder and –
    Right, enough of that. I’m finishing a novel at the moment (writing, not reading) so I’m staying away from SF until it’s done and re-reading Anais Nin’s diaries. They are somewhat self-regarding (but then, they are someone’s diary!). Also Henry Miller/Lawrence Durrell’s letters and a book on the construction of women’s domestic altars.

  2. I just read Tom Piccirilli’s Headstone City (Bantam), which I thought was incredible. Dark take on mafia-esque crima families. Every book he puts out is better than the last (and the last was excellent, too, November Mourns).
    And followed that with Douglas Clegg’s The Abandoned (Cemetery Dance), a full-on horror novel returning to his upstate New York house, Harrow. Also great.
    Also A Family Affair, Rex Stout’s last Nero Wolfe mystery, which was good but not my favorite. Probably the most shocking of all of these I’ve read, in that I never would’ve guessed the murderer.

  3. I’m very pleased with Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon. I’m at the halfway point right now, and it’s killing me that Real Life is making it difficult for me to sit down and devour the text the way I’d like.

  4. I just read the edited Warsworn, by Elizabeth Vaughan, which was just as good as the first. Also the first Midnighters book, by Scott Westerfeld. Can’t wait to get into the next one.
    And woo, you totally have me beat on the TBR pile. Mine is just threatening to take over my nightstand.

    • My to-be-read pile ran into a slight problem back during that time period I mentioned where I couldn’t read for pleasure. Because I also didn’t stop collecting books I thought I would want to read. And with all the submissions, I still don’t read them as fast as I acquire them.

      • I am so with you on this one. I probably have close to a hundred books acquired over the last couple of years when I had less reading time, and I’m incapable of just buying one when I go into a bookstore. (And it doesn’t help that Borders keeps e-mailing me coupons!)

  5. Ohhh my to-be-read pile is huge and ever-growing. Nothing to compare to yours, just a couple of boxes stuffed with random books I’ve picked up.
    My just-finished pile includes Sylvia Browne’s “Book of Dreams” and Patricia C. Wrede’s “Caught In Crystal” and Dan Kennedy’s “Ultimate Sales Letter”.
    The “Book of Dreams” was very interesting, it was suggested to me as an attempt at explaining why the same stranger has appeared in my dreams all my life. (And I wonder if some poor guy out there keeps dreaming of a goofy brunette?)
    I picked up the Wrede book at a used bookstore where I was doing a Writers of the Future event — can’t resist a used bookstore! I love Wrede’s Talking to Dragons series, didn’t love “Caught in Crystal” quite as much.
    The Kennedy book is interesting, but I really can’t get into the “sales” mentality. I just don’t understand making something unnessary seem like something you can’t live without… just to make a buck.

  6. Candas Jane Dorsey’s Leaving Marks, prompted by alg’s posting a few days back.
    Loved it. I knew a few of the poems, but I hadn’t read the entire collection before. It’s also a city book–I’m reading the book and carrying it around in some of the same places she’s writing about. That’s luxury.

  7. Reading? You mean, something with an actual binding and everything?
    I recently read the collection Tales Before Tolkien for pleasure, and also The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Enjoyed them both, but in somewhat a clinical fashion rather than gobble-em-up.
    Current reading is all research — Facing East From Indian Country by Daniel Richter, and The Perfect Heresy by Stephen O’Shea (the second one’s a re-read, actually)

  8. I’ve just finished the Anne Stuart novella in antho Date With A Devil, started Jonathon Stroud’s Amulet of Samarkand, and the last novel I actually finished was RA Nelson’s Teach Me. WOW. No other words for it.
    I also have Rob Thurman’s Nightlife on TBR, in the tenth slot. Should get to it week after next, latest. 🙂

  9. I’m probably the last person in the world to read Memoirs of a Geisha — which helped remind my writing mind to pay attention to beautiful detail and unspoken delicacy.
    Currently reading (or trying to) a Jonathan Kellerman that’s frustrating me to the point of wanting to fling it across the room. Normally I enjoy his books, but this one, Twisted, is in third person instead of his usual first, and it’s dead, dead, dead. It helped remind me to stay real and vital (and stick with first person!).
    Latest book read was Prayers for Rain, the last of Dennis Lehane’s 5-book series about Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennero. Oh dear God, I worship this man’s writing. He makes me gasp out loud, he makes me weep, and he makes me want to *run* to the computer and seek out and destroy any feeble or halfway measures.
    P.S. Apologies for contributing to that huge pile of reading-for-work.

    • Memoirs of a Geisha…. no, you’re not the last…. Heh.
      As for the huge pile of reading-for-work, I honestly don’t know what I would do with all that free time anyway. *laugh*

  10. Loved His Majesty’s Dragon with a wild and passionate love, and am very anxious to pick up Throne of Jade this week. I have also been madly devouring Rachel Caine’s Weather Wardens series (up through Books 1 and 2 so far), and Karen Traviss’ City of Pearl recently blew me away as well.
    I’ve also just read Carrie Bebris’ Pride and Prescience and Suspense and Sensibility, and have encountered few things odder in my recent reading than the juxtaposition of Jane Austen’s characters and the paranormal.

  11. The best book I’ve read recently is Douglas Lain’s Last Week’s Apocalypse. It’s sorta-kinda Philip Dick-ish.
    The book I’ve been going around recommending to everybody for the past year or so is Sue Goyette’s Undone. It’s poetry (she also writes fiction) and really exquisitely lovely.

  12. I have recently finished Warsworn, the sequel to The Warprize, both edited by ALG and both of which I loved. I also read and loved Gail Dayton’s The Barbed Rose, the sequel to The Compass Rose. I am currently reading (and, yes, loving) Anne Bishop’s Sebastian. I’ve loved every single book of hers I’ve read to date, and I’m glad that the streak is continuing. =)

  13. My to be read pile is a monumental set of stacks on the fireplace, plus another bookcase, plus another, plus…
    Like I always say, I won’t die until I’ve read them all and I expect to be immortal.
    JUST finished Kelly McCullough’s upcoming book WebMage, and Dawn Cook’s upcoming book, Princess at Sea. Also just read a YA book, Stephen Cole’s Thieves Like Us. And Sarah Desson’s Just Listen. And C.E. Murphy’s Thunderbird Falls. Good books, all of them. I also absolutely loved His Majesty’s Dragon.
    About to start on either Violette Malan’s The Mirror Prince, Jack Campbell’s Dauntless, or Wen Spencer’s Wolf Who Rules. Or I’ll finish Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron. It all depends on my mood in the next ten minutes.
    I like most everything I finish. It’s the books I never start that I don’t like. :>

  14. My most recent reads are Niven & Cooper’s Building Harlequin’s Moon, which was fun but not flawless, and this odd thing I got in the mail from Ireland from some bird named Catie. I’ll keep my thoughts on that one to myself… 😉

  15. Yay!
    Oh good – I’m so glad you liked it 🙂

  16. I’ve been on a paranormal reading binge recently (hence my request for sugary werewolf stories).
    Blue Moon by Lori Handeland – enjoyed it quite a bit. Mystery light with a decent layer of sugar.
    Touch of Evil by Adams and Clamp. This book didn’t know what it wanted to be: romance or suspense and it kinda failed at both for me.
    Down Home Murder by Toni L. P. Kelner. Low-key, nice characterizations. I’d read more as I find them in used bookstores since the series is out of print.
    Sex, Lies, and Vampires by MacAlister. Awful. Just awful.
    Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Vaughn. Loved it. Already have the sequel prepurchased from Amazon.
    All of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, except the new one that hasn’t been released yet. Liked the first few just fine and the last two not as much. Starting to have that Anita Blake feeling where everyone wants to sleep with Sookie. I liked her better when she was a very uncomfortable telepath who just happened to go out with vampires.
    Currently reading Working for the Devil by Lilith Stormcrow. Alternately wanting to throw it against the wall and enjoying it.

  17. Just finished The Knight by Gene Wolfe. I was assured that I would like it once he lovingly referenced Poul Anderson in it. Before that, I finally got around to Bujold’s A Civil Campaign and was absolutely delighted with that.

  18. I recently tore through Elizabeth Moon’s Engaging the Enemy (third in her Vatta’s war series) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The series is pretty light reading — space opera and all that — but a great deal of fun.
    I also recently started and dropped Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. The introduction (Locke’s past) was engaging, but chapter one (Locke’s present) was the literary equivalent of a shot of novocane. The next book showed up, and I never looked back…
    …That next book was The City Beneath Us – Building the New York Subway (NY Transit Museum / Vivan Heller). It’s lush with hundreds of archival photos. The text could have used an editorial pass to get the chapters to feel like a better integrated whole, and it was skimpy on the technology, but as a ‘consumer’ history (vs. a scholarly history), it’s a neat book. In my collection of books about the hidden guts of New York, it gives a needed measure of context for the others to fit into.

  19. I’m almost finished with Alice Munro’s Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage – wonderful short stories about interesting, deep, and surprising people.
    Next up: John Scalzi’s Old Man War.
    Sometimes I make a dent in my “to read” pile by starting books that no longer appeal to me (or which were dubious gifts). If I don’t enjoy it, I quickly abandon it to the donations pile.

  20. Normally I don’t tend to reply to these kinds of things but I just couldn’t resist this time…
    I just finishedLord Logic and the Wedding Wish by Melynda Beth Skinner
    I had a bit a trouble figuring out if I was supposed to be reading it in a fantasy mode, (like Karen Harbaugh’s books,) taking Artemis’ signs as an aspect of the world, or if I was suppose to be reading it historical mode, and taking her signs as an aspect of the character. This puzzlement on my part distracted me a bit from the fun.
    I was also tempted to write a gypsy rant on my lj (like the whist rant I recently did) but decided my own researches on the subject had been insufficiently stringent to justify one.
    The second coincidence of the day is that I’ll probably read Sword of Orion next. I had it on order it because I missed it when it first came out, and the local sf readers club is discussing it a week from Thursday. The book store just called me to say my copy has come in.
    I know these are useless to you as book recommendations, but you *did* ask… 🙂

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