highlights

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

Thumbs up for City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism by Jim Krane. History/travel.

Astonishingly good. I would wish that all countries had books this riveting written about them, but I don’t think it’s possible; most places just won’t make your jaw drop this often. If this were a story about oil, I wouldn’t find it very interesting. But oil came late and comparatively little.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Psychology/business.

If you are interested in, hmm…business, creativity, learning, philosophy, travel, diet, training, or just generally getting shit done while becoming a better human being, you do listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, don’t you? Seriously, I hate podcasts and I listen to it.… >> Read more

WomensWork

Thumbs up for Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years – Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.

Curse you, Amazon, for knowing my desires before I do. I was so good, wasn’t I, when you recommended this to me, and I ordered it from the library? You just knew that after I read it I would come straight back to your electronic embrace and order a copy for myself, because oh did I need a copy for myself.… >> Read more

TheSympathizer

Thumbs up for The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Literature.

The unnamed narrator, as he tells us in the first pages, can see two sides to all things. A hard trick to pull off for an author, but it flies. The narrator is a Communist (the story begins just before the fall of Saigon) though he to all appearances works doggedly on behalf of the Southern Vietnamese government-in-exile.… >> Read more