Dec 292011

Over the years that I’ve been reading (and writing) genre fiction, I’ve noticed this annoying tendency of literary fiction readers to look down their noses at genre fiction as shallow and simplistic. And, in retaliation, I’ve watched genre readers accuse literary fiction of being dense and obscure and stuffy. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve been in the latter category more often than not, largely because it annoys the hell out of me that some select genre writers (*cough* Margaret Atwood *cough*) get moved over to the bookstores’ literature shelves and get described as “transcending genre.” Bullpucky. Genre writers who explore the human condition with their stories, who create commentary on sociology or psychology or religion or politics, and/or who write stunningly beautiful prose, are just as plentiful as those in literary. Most of them just get overlooked by people who don’t read “that stuff.”

Anyway, Daniel Abraham has a lovely take on the issue right here: A Private Letter from Genre to Literature.

Summer Book Picnic

 Posted by at 8:05 am  Fiction  1 Response »
Jun 262010

Thanks to a friend who showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago with a very tall stack of Elizabeth Bear books that I hadn’t yet read, my to-read shelf is looking very very yummy.

For an appetizer, I’ve just had a lovely plate of Chill, which I knew would be a delight the second I opened it and saw that the first scene was written from the POV of my favorite character from Dust: Tristen Conn. I loves me some man-with-a-regrettable-past, I does! (It doesn’t hurt that I also adore Mallory the necromancer and Gavin the basilisk almost as much.)

Now I’ve moved on to By the Mountain Bound. I’m only about 5 chapters in and already I’m heartbroken for 3 characters (this is a good thing) and am completely in awe of Bear’s ability to write a breathtakingly hot, wrenchingly desperate sex scene.

When I finish that, I still have Carnival, the 2nd and 3rd Jenny Casey books, Undertow, and A Companion to Wolves (written with Sarah Monette). My biggest problem is going to be deciding which order to read them in.

Comfort Reading

 Posted by at 4:31 am  Fiction  No Responses »
Jun 242009

Comfort reading is like comfort food, only not fattening. It’s an indulgence that you give yourself when you’re stressed or tired and want something familiar and beloved. Over the years I’ve discovered that my comfort reading list is really quite short: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks; the original Wild Cards series edited by George R.R. Martin.

And officially, as of right now, Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age duology The Stratford Man: Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth (aka, from Bear’s blog entries while she was working on it, Will and Kit’s Bogus Journey — which joke you’ll totally get if you’ve read it). I devoured it when it came out last summer, and it was the first thing my hand went to a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for something to read and none of the stuff in my unread pile looked appetizing.

And even though I know what’s coming, Bear is still making my breath catch in my throat. And I’m just as in love with Kit and Will and Tom and Lucifer and Morgan and Murchaud the second time around. Maybe moreso.

Apr 182009

I’m enough of a book geek that I’ll frequently choose a trip to a used bookstore over going to a movie. Which is what my husband and I did last night and came away with three bags of goodies.

Among the “new” acquisitions: beginners’ books on learning Persian and Japanese, a quotation dictionary, a handful of paperback novels, a couple of DVDs… it’s better than chocolate.

Gentlemen Bastards

 Posted by at 7:22 am  Fiction  1 Response »
Feb 272009

I’ve just finished reading the first two of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards novels, The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, and… OMG. My first reaction is an overwhelming impulse to go out and find his fan club and start campaigning for president. Almost immediately following that is the jealousy. Damn it. Why isn’t my fantasy world full of cool things like elderglass and wraithstone and cool places like Camorr and Tal Verrar and (most especially) cool people like Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen?

Take an exquisitely-crafted fantasy world. Add interesting and sympathetic POV characters. Throw in a little spice borrowed from Ocean’s Eleven, and perhaps The Sting. A splash of humor. A pinch of heartache. Shaken, not stirred. That’s a powerful recipe, you have there, Mr. Lynch.