WWW Wednesday 11-13-2013

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

www_wednesdays43To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?

I’m in NaNoWriMo mode, so I am plowing my way through first editing one manuscript and finishing another.  But I find I need distraction after a writing day, and sometimes a book is the perfect distraction.  I’ve been picking up a lot of comfort reads, books I’ve previously enjoyed, with the occasional new book.   Right now I am working on two nonfiction books.  One of them, Summoning the Fates by Zsuzsanna E. Budapest, blends autobiography, Hungarian folklore, and ancient Goddess worship into an interesting stew.  This was a research project, but it has turned out to be a joyous examination of the history of the women’s spirituality movement.  So I have both fodder for a new book, and a history lesson!

Werewolves, Bird-Women, Tiger-Men, and Other Human Animals by Frank Hamel is an old book, originally published in 1915 and released by Dover in 2007.  It is simultaneously fascinating and infuriating because it is both filled with tidbits about the beliefs of hundreds of native peoples and patronizing of many cultures around the world.   So far I find the base assumptions to be pure Western European late 19th century white male and engraved in stone.  Modern anthropologists would be appalled.  But what I can find out about Hamel suggests that he was a respected scholar of his time.  From my vantage point–suggestions to my subconscious for material for a new novel–his work is still very useful.  But be warned–the style and tone will probably make you want to toss the book across the room.  I’m only on page 40 and I’ve gone up in flames several times.  But I must keep reading–it has that many good bits of information.

For fiction, I am finally reading a Christmas present, Dewey, about the small town library cat who touched the world (quote-unquote).  Librarian Vicki Myron wrote this with Bret Witter.  He is a darling cat.  The style is not drawing me in, but the stories of small town life as it was and is, sieved through the struggle to hang onto a world changing beyond recognition, are interesting.  I’ll definitely keep reading.

I am also reading Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold, and I am…stalled.  I have not read every book Lois has written, I’m behind–haven’t read The Hallowed Hunt or the Sharing Knife books.  But this is the first Vorkosigan novel that has failed to pull me in.  I managed to get half-way through the book, and I have no inclination to pick it up and finish.  This may be a case of Ivan being a better second banana than a lead character.  The glimpses into life at Jackson’s Whole intrigue, but everything else just…is not grabbing me.  I will attempt to muscle through, but since I borrowed this one, I feel like I need to return it soon.  May have to make another attempt on it later.

• What did you recently finish reading?

October is in our rear view mirror, and that means I just finished rereading Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October.  With illustrations by Gahan Wilson!  If you have never read this short, sweet gem, I highly recommend it.  It’s narrated by Jack the Ripper’s dog, and tells the tale of what happens when “the proper people are attracted to the proper place in the proper year on a night in the lonesome October when the moon shines full on Halloween and the way may be opened for the return of the Elder Gods to Earth…”  Of course some people want them back, and some are resisting.  The dark humor and inventive twists will keep you in the Game long past your bedtime.

I also visited with Meg Langslow and her crazed extended family, re-reading Six Geese A-Slaying and Stork Raving Mad.  These are cozy mysteries by Donna Andrews, laced with a lot of humor and a reoccurring cast.  The murders are off-stage, and an amateur detective solves the case.  They make me giggle.  The first is Murder with Peacocks, if you like to read series in order.

Another series I am behind on is Nancy Martins’ Blackbird Sisters Mysteries, where family curses, Philadelphia blue bloods, Mafia by-blows and murder all get together in an intriguing way.  I’m learning a lot about ghastly family dynamics, haute couture, starting over from nothing, and women always attracted to the wrong men.  The books are a pleasant light mystery read and I have new information in new areas.  Just finished my fourth, Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die, but the series starts with How to Murder A Millionaire.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What’s next?  Well, I think it’s time to read a curious little book called Dojo Wisdom by Jennifer Lawler, about essential lessons martial artists learn in the course of their studies.  For fiction, it’s time to read Terry Pratchett’s Soul Music, and Paper Mage by Leah R. Cutter.

How about you?  What are you reading this week?



WWW Wednesday 11-13-2013 — 9 Comments

  1. I’m reading ‘Oxygen’ by Carol Cassella, which a student in my patho class recommended. Thanks to kindle, I was able to call it up on the computer and buy it, right in the classroom! Also open on the Kindle are Rod Dreher’s ‘Crunchy Conservatives’ and an old collection of L.M.Montgomery’s short stories. I’m in the middle of rereading Pratchett’s ‘Feet of Clay’ for a book club, and Morris West’s ‘The Shoes of the Fisherman,’ just because all the angst over the new pope made me think of it.

    I just finished “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler. I was one of those books you don’t put down once you’ve started it, and that you can’t write any more about without giving away the hook.

    What’s next? Probably ‘The Hound of the D’Urbervilles’ by Kim Newman, for the same book club.

    • I enjoyed Feet of Clay, but I’ve never gotten around to Shoes of the Fisherman. I think it’s time it goes on the reading list! Which short story collection of L.M. Montgomery’s are you reading? I’ve read Tales of Avonlea but that is the end of my short story experience with her work.

      • It’s “Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1896 to 1901” from project Gutenberg. They’re not particularly good, but still interesting to the die-hard fan.

  2. Read:
    The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by B.R. Myers Reviewed here. (Discussions of the state itself are only as relates to the subject matter, and so it is easier to read in a short period than most books on North Korea.)
    Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 by Roland Marchand Fascinating look at all sort of angles.
    To Read:
    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

    • Mary, your review makes that book sound fascinating. I wonder how many of their people still buy this, when some of them are smuggling their children across the border into orphanages so they have enough to eat.

      Yet when their second Leader died, grief seemed to be hysterical and sincere.

      • He reports that many of them who fled the country still believe it.

        Given that he worked at a South Korean university teaching North Korean literature, he probably has some experience in the area.

  3. Dewey sounds like something my granddaughter would love. And the October book sounds way cool. Am going to be checking both of those out.

    I like digging through old references on magic, mythology, anthropology, to cherry-pick ideas for my fantasy. I am not trying to write anything that could be mistaken for historical accuracy, but I like the roots of the story to come from historical connection and not just, “Wouldn’t it be cool if they are all tattooed and pierced because that is so hawt!”