WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.
This month I was trapped on a transatlantic plane in steerage where, if I wasn’t being forced like my fellow coach-passengers to shovel coal to keep the thing in the air, I had my head buried in my Kindle. My reading consisted of three things: my own work, work I’ve promised to review, and very early work by PG Wodehouse, much of which is now in the public domain and available for free.
• What are you currently reading?
Right now I’m in the middle of Mike, a two-book Wodehouse compendium of boy’s books about English boarding schools. In my own youth this genre featured American high school football players. These stories feature Mike Jackson, youngest of a family of stellar cricketers, beginning when he goes off to the prep school where all his famous brothers have been educated, and thence to the highly-academically-rated but games-poor school his father sends him too when he blows off his classes at the first school in favor of cricket.
The first book is very, very heavily into cricket neep, which I find hard to follow since I’ve never been educated in the game. That doesn’t matter, because the rest of this alien world is as rigidly courteous as a Regency romance in some ways, and as lawless as a cowboy book in thers. The language, mores, practices, and passions are all strange and compelling. One of these days, someone who knows cricket will sit with me through a game and my education will be complete.
The second book of Mike introduces Psmith, a larger-than-life character about whom Wodehouse wrote (I’ve found so far) four stories: Mike and Psmith (in this volume), Psmith in the City, Psmith Journalist, and Leave it to Psmith. Psmith functions in these stories much like Wodehouse’s later outrageous protagonists, Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton Fifth Earl of Ickenham, Galahad Threepwood, The Old Reliable, and other loose cannons of comedy. Mike’s orderly life of games, rags, and (when unavoidable) academics is exploded when he and Psmith meet up at the new school and decide to share a dorm, a study, and sundry extraordinary rags (trans. hijinx).
• What did you recently finish reading?
The Spiral Path by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel (coming soon). This is the third book in the stories about Allie, a high-power practitioner born to pioneers in the Michigan Territory in the early years of the United States’ history. This story moves away from the deep Michigan woods and into a fancy school for magic users in upstate New York. When I finished it, I turned right around and read it again. The second time I had brainspace between the dazzling special effects to appreciate the inch-by-inch training of a gifted, experienced hedge witch in the processes of ceremonial magic. Kimbriel writes about magic, both frontier woodcraft and poncey ceremonial, in a way I find singularly satisfying. If I were a magic user, and if I taught magic, I’d teach it like this. Recommended. Look for it in ebook stores everywhere, later this fall.
The Hinky Brass Bed, and all its friends by yours truly. It’s always a little weird to read five of one’s own books in a row. In between bouts of intense satisfaction (who is this Jennifer Stevenson? She’s good!) and the inevitable howls of anguish when I found another tiny typo that had escaped numerous nitpicky copyedits, I wondered how many more times I can keep coming up with something hinky to do with a frothy, sexy, ridiculous situation. At this rate it seems like forever.
From Left Field by Mindy Klasky. Seventh in a series of short, spicy, contemporary baseball romances. These have been a total hoot, featuring the starting lineup of a fictional major league team in Raleigh, NC called the Rockets. This is impeccable category-length romance with sweet characters and great sex. Klasky gets the athleticism right, which makes big points with me, including the pain and the gain, the media circus and the messy backstories of guys who make money with their muscles. I recommend all the Diamond Brides books.
In this one the girl next door and the hot left fielder battle over the chance to buy the next-door farm where, long ago, they played every childhood game except one. Maybe that’s why this book is the hottest of the Diamond Brides so far. Haley is a class act, full of imagination and executive ability and a big, big heart. It’s always a pleasure to see a girl like that nail the hunky athlete and, uh, bring his good intentions into focus.
What about you? What are you reading, have you been reading, wanting to read next?
I expect I’ll reread Psmith in the City, Psmith Journalist, and Leave it to Psmith now that I’ve got all that cricket in my tummy. As Wodehouse says, Psmith is “like chewing gum, the taste lingers.”