books

Thumbs up for Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman.

Pullman writes with such clarity of both thought and prose, he is simply a pleasure to read. As with any book of essays, inevitably, certain sections will strike each reader with greater importance. If you are a storyteller of any bent, or perhaps an armchair philosopher, you will find a gem or two of wisdom that speaks to you.… >> Read more

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Bellwether by Connie Willis. Science fiction.

A comedy about a statistician trying to figure out the genesis of fads (specifically, 1920’s hair-bobbing). Plus a little bit of romance. This book seemed like it was made for me! And it was enjoyable, but…I wanted to be charmed more than I was. Academic/office politics satire is…well, it’s been done quite a bit, hasn’t it?… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Literature.

A sensualist wanderer and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village. Good magical realism is hard to find, but Chocolat is a perfect truffle. Vianne Rocher is a witch – maybe. And the “maybe” is why it’s so lovely. Celeste Bradley once compared my novella The Portrait of Géraldine Germaine to Chocolat, so whyever did it take me so long to read it?… >> Read more

    

Two thumbs up for Johannes Cabal (series) by Jonathan L. Howard. Fantasy.

The adventures of Johannes Cabal, antisocial necromancer, as he seeks the cure for death (occasionally assisted by his brother Horst, the unwilling vampire–who got all the charm in that family). My friend Alex has been bugging me to read these for years now. When I finally got there, I ended up binging all five books and all available short stories in 12 days.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Horror.

Even I, who like long sentences, will admit that Henry James sometimes goes overboard. Nevertheless, his style perfectly fits the narrator’s state of mind. And there’s just nothing creepier than perfect children. Genuinely eerie and highly recommended.

But it was a comfort that there could be no uneasiness in a connection with anything so beatific as the radiant image of my little girl, the vision of whose angelic beauty had probably more than anything else to do with the restlessness that, before morning, made me several times rise and wander about my room to take in the whole picture and prospect; to watch, from my open window, the faint summer dawn, to look at such portions of the rest of the house as I could catch, and to listen, while, in the fading dusk, the first birds began to twitter, for the possible recurrence of a sound or two, less natural and not without, but within, that I had fancied I heard.

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