WWW Wednesday – 3-19-2014

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

 

To 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?

Technically I’m still halfway through my thorough reread of the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer: sixty books written over thirty-five years, a classic of the English girls’ boarding-school genre (despite being set largely in foreign lands: distance only made them all the more English). As it happens, though, I seem to be on furlough from gym-slips and schoolroom pranks; I guess everyone gets a half-term holiday.

Right now I’m reading The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo, a biography of the physicist Paul Dirac. I read once that biography is the lazy man’s non-fiction, but I want to challenge that: reading this is an exercise in self-education, as I keep reading a chapter and then spending half a day chasing down theorems, trying to wrap my head around quantum mechanics as a historical process through the twentieth century.

Meanwhile – because of course we live in the future – I am also reading a book on my phone: Rudyard Kipling’s Letters of Travel, which aren’t letters at all but more like a travel blog written for publication. That’s research of a sort, as I’m currently writing about Kipling on Mars, which is not in fact a destination he travelled to, but he certainly would have done given half a chance. Which is what I gave him, because I could.

• What did you recently finish reading?

On a slightly larger scale, I am not the only person who spent much of the last year rereading all of Iain Banks’ books. Iain was a friend as well as an inspiration; when FogCon proposed a panel to discuss his work, I kind of demanded to be on it. I’m not sure if no one else did, or what: but that didn’t happen, and instead I was empanelled with Tim Powers to talk about building magic systems. So I thought it would probably be a good idea to refresh my mind about the way that Tim builds magic systems, so I just reread Declare. Which is still a damn’ good book: it’s like John le Carre with, yeah, a Tim Powers magic system…

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What, apart from the other half of the Chalet School books? Well, there’s Old Mars sitting on the bedside bookshelf waiting for me – but that’s problematic, as I’m currently writing about Old Mars myself – the whole shebang, with canals and atmosphere and aliens and everything – as a province of the British Empire. I don’t like to read in the genre I’m currently writing, let alone a sub-genre so exactly targeted to what I’m doing myself. Is it research, or is it something else: a temptation, a vulnerability…? So I’ll probably let that lie. I’ve got a couple of contemporary mysteries from the library, which is an old pleasure resurgent and I’m glad to have it back; and I have The Tropic of Serpents by our own Marie Brennan, and I loved A Natural History of Dragons to which this is a sequel; and I have The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi, which again I loved the book that came before. And then there’s the most part of m’wife’s entire library, which I have yet to read, if I can forego the pleasures of rereading further in my own…
What about you? What are you reading, have you been reading, wanting to read next?

 

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WWW Wednesday – 3-19-2014 — 12 Comments

  1. Read:
    Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio
    Gentleman Takes a Chance by Sarah A. Hoyt
    The King’s Servants: Men’s Dress At The Accession Of Henry Viii by Caroline Johnson
    Reading:
    Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio
    To Read:
    Noah’s Boy by Sarah A. Hoyt
    Snow In Summer by Jane Yolen
    The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle

  2. Kipling on Mars sounds like it could be a wonderful book! And I agree about Declare!–such a marvelous book.

    I’m reading Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe and Oliver Davies Celtic Spirituality, both for research, Cat Warren’s What the Dog Knows, an excellent book about cadaver dogs, a cozy, Sheila Boneham’s The Money Bird, and Scalzi’s Agent to the Stars.

    Just finished–well, a little while back–a re-read of Cuckoo’s Calling, which I loved.

    My TBR list is a little daunting, but I hope to read Spencer Quinn’s The Sound and the Furry soon. His Chet and Bernie series is wonderful. I have a series in a similar voice (1st person dog) so I can only read him when I’m not actively working on those books. And, I just added the Kipling travel letters, as that will also work for research–for the time period, not for Kipling specifically. 🙂

      • They’re really good. If I hadn’t already been deep into writing Bed-Bugged when I discovered him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to do the series, thinking anything I wrote would be a pale imitation. 🙂

        Quinn is a pen name for Peter Abrahams, who has a slew of darker suspense novels and an Edgar nominee book under that name, but the Chet and Bernie series, while not as light as cozies, are much lighter.

  3. Just finished Lilith Saintcrow’s The Iron Wyrm Affair. This is the first in a new series featuring sorceress Emma Bannon and mentath Archibald Clare in a Victorian era that never was. A bit Sherlockian (Clare) and very steam punk. Lots of dashing action & suspense, and fun and imaginative magic world building.

    Just started Armistead Maupin’s new Tales of the City one – The Days of Anna Madrigal.

  4. Oh, and I read the 2nd issue of G. Willow Wilson’s comic, Ms. Marvel, today. Enjoying the series very much.