highlights

Thumbs up for Essays on Russian Novelists by William Lyon Phelps. Literary criticism.

After I finish this *grrr* book I’m writing, my reward is going to be delving into Russian literature. (If you’re shocked that I consider this a reward—hi, I’m Emma! We clearly haven’t met.) It seemed like a good idea to do a little preparatory reading around the subject so I could know firstly, what to read, and secondly, what works are supposed to be satire, because it can sometimes be hard to judge that without context.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Benjamin the True by Claudia Paley. Children’s fantasy.

Benjamin discovers a witch, Ellenwan, in a cellar in his otherwise ordinary town. She teaches him witchcraft. There aren’t many books that really make you believe in magic while you’re reading them. This is one of them.

“I am not leaving you behind because I think you are afraid, or because there is nothing for you to do.

>> Read more

Thumbs up for A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard. Nonfiction/Memoir.

Obviously, you shouldn’t read this if you are easily grossed out, or are offended by the mundanity of death. Before you think my reading tastes are horrifying, let me tell you: you have no idea. I know people whose reading tastes make even me—a novelist—want to back away slowly.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Literature/Humor/Science Fiction (sneakily—watch for it).

It’s always a dangerous business when you search out whichever classic it is that has almost the same plot as what you’re writing. Some authors refuse to read That Book (whatever it is for them), and I’ve sometimes fallen into that camp. This time, though, I don’t really care.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Heathen, Volume 1 by Natasha Alterici. Graphic novel.

Walking through Emerald City Comic Con, I spotted some art that made me stop on a dime and walk backward. The author/artist handed me the first volume saying something like, “it’s about lesbian Vikings who go on a quest to kill Odin.” I said, “Sold.” I read it that night and went back to Alterici’s booth the next day to get an art commission.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Nine Hills to Nambonkaha by Sarah Erdman. Travel.

I picked this up as research for a story and within a few pages realized it was not what I needed. But by that time, I’d been hooked by Erdman’s writing. There are so many ways that a white woman’s memoir of her Peace Corps work in an African village could have been irritating or obnoxious.… >> Read more