FF: Moonstone and Lamb

I’m pretty much healed now, and immersed in work, but I’m still reading!

Persephone is a Little Lamb

For those of you just discovering this feature, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  Audiobook.  Proves conclusively that those who think Victorian fiction is all dry and boring have simply read the wrong novels!

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.  Not an easy book to sum up, but I can say I very much liked it.

In Progress:

Lamb by Christopher Moore.  I’m impressed with the level of research that went into this.

Knight of Shadows.  Audiobook.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  Moving on to the close…

Also:

Been spending a lot of time re-reading my own Smoke and Mirrors.  The e-book is in the final stages of preparation.  Sign up for my mailing list (a link is available on my website) to be among the first to hear when it’s ready.

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7 Responses to “FF: Moonstone and Lamb”

  1. James M. Six Says:

    Completed this week:
    “Cemetery Tours” by Jacqueline E. Smith – first book in a series centered on a guy who can see and talk to ghosts; the characters are likeable but it feels like a book for setting things up rather than having its own real plot but it’s the author’s first book (indie-published) and she’s written three more in the series. I have other things to read so I’m not sure I’ll be back to read the rest of the series but your mileage may vary.

    Currently reading:
    “Writing to the Point” by Algis (AJ) Budrys – I’ve decided I want to write longer stories (I’ve fallen into the flash fiction hole) and the first advice chapter in this short book has already helped; I’m looking forward to learning more from this man who was a teacher to Kevin J. Anderson, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and so many others.

    About to begin:
    “Too Like the Lightning” by Ada Palmer – not sure about this one but I read an article which described the future global society in which is it set and the setting sounded interesting so I’m giving the book a try.

    • janelindskold Says:

      You could do far worse than A.J. Budrys… What was the tip that helped? I love those “ah-hah” moments!

      • James M. Six Says:

        It was a simple structural bit of story advice about what to put in the introduction, how to build the tension, and how to end the story after the successful resolution. Flash fiction doesn’t have room for the building of tension in the same way and, somehow, I’d either forgotten that or never really learned it consciously. It’s like a person who builds houses taking a break and building nothing but one-room sheds for a few years, then coming back and wondering how the heck to build and connect all those rooms. Budry showed me the writing equivalent of a sample blueprint of a basic house. Palaces can come later. I’m just glad I can build story-houses again.

      • janelindskold Says:

        Nice advice, but even better is how you took it and made it your own!

  2. Louis Robinson Says:

    Jane,

    You asked for my favourite book on the Etruscans. As I said, I don’t have one, as I didn’t know what was currently available and up-to-date.

    Well, I’ve done my research, and while I don’t have a favourite _yet_, I know 2 books I’d definitely like to get to know better 🙂 Unfortunately, they’re in the stacks at the Toronto Reference Library, so it’s going to take time – ATM I can only get down there on Sunday afternoons. Please be aware that I can’t claim to have read either – you can’t in 3 hours, but I did have time to assess content and style. And decide which I would prefer on my shelf.

    There haven’t been any major studies done in the last 20 years, although Lucy Shipley has something due out in a few months that should cover the popular history side. The most recent work that the TRL had is a massive volume titled The Etruscan World, edited by Jean Turfa, which I fully intend to read as I can, but it is a collection of some 60 detailed chapters expounding on the authors’ research interests. In her introduction, the editor admits that it’s intended as a complement to older studies that were published in the ’90s, not a replacement for them. She lists those works, and I got my hands on 2 of them:

    Sybille Haynes, Etruscan Civilization, is a Museum Book. Almost a coffee-table book, in fact, which shouldn’t surprise anyone since it was published by the Getty Museum. This means that it’s lavishly illustrated, but it’s also a survey, and a survey largely concerned with explaining all the lovely pictures – although it does frequently make reference to items that aren’t illustrated to support its points, and tells you where to find them. It’s also extremely competent, so no one would regret reading it. For my taste, however, it leans too much to the popular side of historiography and the text is too limited, to make room for the illustrations. That means it’s not as detailed or, for want of a better word, profound.

    Baker & Rasmussen’s The Etruscans is a couple of years older, which in this field doesn’t meany anything, and is a true monograph on the subject. Not as many illustrations, but a lot of them are maps and line drawings – which actually do a better job of presenting the artifacts. The authors had the space to go into considerable detail, and they actually discuss evidence for the conclusions – in one case, in a discussion of settlement patterns and their evolution, they take a couple of paragraphs to compare methods of selecting target zones for field-walking surveys, looking at the findings of 3 methods they used in the same area around a smallish Etruscan town-site. All in all, I prefer their style and approach to the organisation of the subject; this is the one I’ll be pursuing further as and when I can. The book is also part of a series called The Peoples of Europe [which includes a volume on the Mongols :)], and if the other titles are of comparable quality I’ve got a lot of time to put in downtown.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks, Louis. This looks great. I agree with you about line drawings, not only for artifacts, but for animals and plants, too!

      I’ll need to see if I can find any of these here. Toronto is a bit far…

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        Forgot to say that all three titles are still in print. In fact The Etruscan World is available as an e-book – for an academically-suitable price. Those of us without research grants are going to have to give it a bye, I fear.

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