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Books I read in February and March, 2009


1. Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2006, ed. Rich Horton

Genre of book: SFF, short stories
Grade: A

I especially liked "Three Urban Folk Tales," by Eric Schaller; "Five Ways Jane Austen Never Died," by Samantha Henderson; and "By the Light of Tomorrow's Sun," by Holly Phillips.


2. The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life, by Noah Lukeman

Genre of book: Non-fiction, writing
Grade: A+

Lots of really useful ideas about improving characterization, especially, as well as other big-deal aspects of fiction like suspense and conflict. I will be keeping this book close to me and returning to it often.


3. Lamentation, by Ken Scholes

Genre of book: SFF, science fantasy with steampunk
Grade: A

I'm not usually a reader of epic fantasy with tons of political intrigue, but this one pulled me into the story and kept me interested despite my typical reading inclinations, so that says a lot. The characters plot and scheme about secrets within secrets all the way through.


4. Fathom, by Cherie Priest

Genre of book: SFF, urban fantasy
Grade: A

This was the first time I read any of Priest's fiction, and it made me want to read lots more. Her prose is excellent, and I love the crazy characters and this book's setting in Florida in the 1930s.


5. A College of Magics, by Caroline Stevermer

Genre of book: SFF, alternate historical fantasy
Grade: A+

I want to go and study magic at Greenlaw! It's a real place, and I won't listen if you say it isn't! Great characters, lovely settings.



1. The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon.

My rule is that if I'm not into a book by page 50, I move along. I tried with this one, because there were cool ideas on every page, but the plot was too random.


Short Stories
(This category only includes published stories read a la carte from magazines and websites; it does not include anthologies, collections, or slush).

1. "Lucky Day" - Elizabeth Bear and Emma Bull; Shadow Unit
2. "The Loyalty of Birds" - Rachel Sobel; Clarkesworld #30
3. "Herding Vegetable Sheep" Ekaterina Sedia; Clarkesworld #30



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Plots as Thick as Pea Soup
I'm very curious about the Lukeman book. What did you find particularly useful? Can you give 1 or 2 of the 8 ways? ;-)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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