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what i’ve been reading…

November 18, 2009

Spouse has been sick  since Sunday (bronchitis), and I woke up this morning with a sore throat. I’d planned to write a post earlier today, but the good brain energy never materialized.

So, I’ll do something easy, what I’ve been reading lately.


  • Fire and Hemlock,
  • Dark Lord of Derkholm and
  • Year of the Griffin, all three by Diana Wynne Jones (one of my favorite authors).
  • The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker
  • A Plague of Angels by Sheri S. Tepper (my most-favorite author)


  • The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer
  • The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock
  • A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
  • Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art by Jennifer New
  • Visual Thinking for Design by Colin Ware (utterly amazing! I’ll have to re-read it soon)

Hoping I’ll feel better enough tomorrow to write something more substantive.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Amaryllis permalink
    November 20, 2009 16:00

    Hi, M!

    I’ve read, and enjoyed, four of your five fiction selections– but then Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorites too. And I love <the Anvil of the World. Have you read Baker’s “Company” novels? Of which I liked the earlier books in the series better than the later ones, but it was an interesting concept.

    Sheri Tepper I find a little too didactic for my tastes.

    Haven’te read a single one of your nonfictions!

    To play the game:
    Fiction– currently reading another Trollope, The Eustace Daimonds, one of the “Palliser” novels.
    before that, one of Louise Penny’s “Three Pines” mysteries.

    TBR: a couple of Ya novels, Edward Bloor and Laurie Halse Anderson.

    recently read Eric Gritsch, Toxic Spirituality, and William Cooke, Justice at Salem. (A friend of my husband’s; his theory is that at least some of the peolpe executed in 1692 were actually witches, builty of at least attempting malevolent magic against their neighbors; he leaves the question of the actual existence of Satan and effective black magic open, but seems to have a sneaking belief in it. Personally I thought his arguments were unconvincing.)

    TBR: Let Them Eat Cake, an account of one of those Food Network cake challenges, with a lot of local interest.

    P.S. – am I missing somethign, or is there a “preview” feature on this page somewhere?

    • November 20, 2009 17:05

      Hi Amaryllis!

      I do not believe there is a preview feature, but since I rarely get comments, it hasn’t been missed (noticed) before now.

      I’ve not read any of *your* fiction. What is Trollope like? I’ve not read much “great literature” (it wasn’t assigned in h.s. or college, and I didn’t get around to it on my own), but I like Dickens and Austen and comedies of manners.

      I know Tepper can be heavy-handed, but she’s been essential for me figuring out social dynamics with authoritarians. Also, she and I agree on political stuff, and I don’t run into that much IRL. Loved the earlier Company novels, yes, esp character of Mendoza, but it dragged on too long, and I stopped reading them. (Also, only finding hardcovers or trade-size gets expensive.)

      I love Food Network (even though I don’t cook). I do bake, so I quite like “Ace of Cakes” and the local angle is wonderful now that I recognize locations for deliveries!

      Yay reading!!

  2. Amaryllis permalink
    November 21, 2009 10:24

    No preview? Then you’ll just have to put up with the typos– of which I see there are many in my previous comment. Oh well.

    If you like “Dickens and Austen and comedies of manners,” you might like Trollope, if you have the patience: he is long-winded. And less overtly dramatic than Dickens; in The Eustace Diamonds, the only externally dramatic event in 700 pages is the mysterious theft of a valuable heirloom necklace. Other than that, it’s ordinary life, marriages and deaths, careers and house-holding, politics and religion. The interest is in the study of character, as individuals and as part of society: who’s honorable? Who’s corrupt? Is is possible not to be corrupted by “the way we live now”? Who’ll do what for love, and who’ll do what for money? Who is self-deceived, and who’s deceiving others? What’s a woman to do? And so on…

    The actual title of the cake book is Let Me Eat Cake, by Leslie F. Miller. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks like it will have considerable local interest. Charm City Cakes seems to be heavily featured, and not necessarily always admiringly. but I can imagine that our Duff might not always be the easiest person in the world to work with, much as I enjoy the show. Anyway, we’ll see.

    Oh, and as for the Company novels, you didn’t miss much by not getting to the end; I got quite tired of Mendoza and her triply-incarnated great love long before that, and the end itself I found kind of unsatisfying. But the earlier books were good; Mendoza before she went off the rails about whatsisname was an interesting person, and I will always be glad to have met Joseph.

  3. November 21, 2009 23:35

    Trollope sounds like someone I might like then. Remember when hapax talked about the sorts of questions she asks readers about what they’re looking for in books? That was a new way of looking at the topic for me, but I realized I like setting and world-building, and I like characters. I care almost not at all for plot, and there are books I’ve read multiple times that I cannot remember major plot points from one time to another – it’s just not important to me.

    I’m *sure* Duff isn’t easy to work for or even with, although he seems a more *interesting* type of (potentially) bad boss than some of the ones I’ve had.

    Yeah, I liked Mendoza the moody and brilliant botanist. Mendoza, the soppy soul-mate of the triply-incarnated pain in the butt? Not so much. I liked Joseph too, and Lewis, and the little boy in Mexico – what was his name? In fact, a bunch of minor characters were much more intriguing to me than the 3-in-1 guy. I didn’t realize the series had finally come to an end though.

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