Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Soup - August 22

In The Soup This Week... Gaiman and Ishiguru, John Scalzi, Ilona Andrews and more...

Soup Dish:  on my mind
One of the best articles on genre I've ever read: Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro : Let's Talk About Genre.  Ishiguro is not an author I typically read, but the book that prompted this discussion, The Buried Giant, just went to the top of my "acquire and read" list.  There's so much good material in this article, I could pull quotes from it all day long, but this one is probably my favorite, from Ishiguro:
I don’t have a problem, necessarily, about reading for improvement. I often choose a book because I think I’m going to enjoy it, but I think also it’s going to improve me in some sense. But when you ask yourself, “Is this going to improve me?” what are you really asking? I think I probably do turn to books for some sort of spiritual and intellectual nourishment: I think I’m going to learn something about the world, about people. But if by “improving”, we mean it would help me go up the class ladder, then it’s not what reading and writing should be about.

A major highlight this week was seeing John Scalzi speak.  I recently (about a year ago) made a move to work for Microsoft in Redmond, and the company hosted a private session.  Scalzi spoke about the similarities between science fiction and high tech work - which incidentally, Ishiguro also brings up in the article above.  A little personal synchronicity, perhaps.  Scalzi also spoke about his choices to speak up about inclusivity and I've got to tell you, I could not like this guy more.  On a lighter note, I have to say that one big highlight was an impromptu Shatner impersonation. 

A couple of book-ish blog post that caught my attention this week:
  • Phyl (one of my most ancient online friendships!) on the Hardcopied challenge. Which  a topic that interests me quite a bit.  I might check out the next challenge round.
  • I always enjoy Pamela's posts, and her latest is no different. In depth, thoughtful, no spoilers but an enticing description of In Wilderness, by Diane Thomas.
  • I really liked Francesca's musing on the evolution of her reading taste, over at Under The Covers book blog.

What I'm reading
I still have the paranormal and the Regency in progress that I mentioned last week.  Their likelihood of becoming a DNF is growing. I've also got one for review that I really can't DNF that I really want to. #reviewerproblems

When you get stuck like that, the best thing to do is to pick up a sure thing. Ilona Andrews just released the latest in the Kate Daniels series and that would fit the bill perfectly. When I went to buy it though, I realized that I hadn't picked up the previous one yet, so Magic Breaks was my choice. The great thing about that is, as soon as I finish the review book and the review, I am going to reward myself with Magic Shifts. I should add that I dearly loved the short story with Julie as the main character at the end, and I am looking forward to more!

From the RT14 thumbdrive, I read The Sixth Lover, by Alice Gaines, which was quite good. If you have a fondness for Victorian erotica (authentic or "in the style of"), you'll enjoy this piece. It has much of the style of that genre, but without the non-con aspect and with enough of a plot and emotional content to remain engaging beyond the erotic scenes.

Ever since I did the Antholopalooza years ago, I stay on the watch for inexpensive print anthologies.  I keep one in my car at all times for time-killing emergencies.  Recently I found The Other Side, anchored by JD Robb, for a dollar at Half Price Books.  I needed something to read but didn't want to start a full novel, so I read The Other Side of the Coin by Mary Blayney, a new-to-me author. It was a short story about a Regency couple who swapped bodies, courtesy of a mysterious coin, a la Freaky Friday. Not bad, but it didn't blow me away.  Cute premise, a nice emotional wrap-up, but an awful lot of internal narrative "telling."


Alice Gaines said...

Thanks for reviewing The Sixth Lover.

Nicola O. said...

You're very welcome, Alice!


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