Archive for the ‘Friday Fragments’ Category

FF: Reduction

April 21, 2017

A chance conversation led to an idea that seems to be becoming a new novel.  So, basically, I’m immersed in writing the novel I wish I was reading.  That means I’m not reading as much as I’d like.

Kel of the Irish Green Eyes

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:

Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith.  A re-read that, nonetheless, had me hooked.  A book that proves that knowing the basics of the plot is not a spoiler if the story is good enough.

In Progress:

A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane.  Audio.

Whatever After by E.M. Tippets.  ARC.  Just started

Also:

Lots of articles and the like for research.

FF: Inside the Self

April 14, 2017

Quests tend to get sneered at these days but, as the books I’ve been immersed in this week show, the important journey is the one that goes on inside the self.  Without that, it’s not a quest.  It’s just a road trip.

Persephone Catches The Ravens

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:

Frogkisser by Garth Nix.  Audiobook.  Humorous fantasy sneaks in some serious thoughts about personal and social responsibility.  The setting is more formulaic than many of Nix’s other works, but certain twists – like the Gerald the Herald – news franchise gives a certain freshness.

Only the Dead and The Ravens by Vidal Sundstol, both translated by Tiina Nunnally.  Books Two and Three of the Minnesota Trilogy which began with The Land of Dreams.  This is truly a fantastic trilogy — in both sense of the word — an unlikely hero’s journey through which the cost of family secrets ripples as a tremendously powerful undercurrent.  I recommend for anyone who is bored by formulaic fiction.

In Progress:

Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith.  A re-read that, nonetheless, has me hooked.

A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane.  Audiobook.   Just started.

Also:

I’ve started writing something new, so less time for reading.

FF: Interior Landscape

April 7, 2017

This week I seem to be immersed in stories where the interior landscape is as important or more so than the exterior.  Even the ostensibly lighthearted Frogkisser is about the contrast between the world as the protagonist would like to think it is, and how it really is.

Who Gets It First?

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 Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday.  Compelling,  well-written with a darkly ambivalent ending.

In Progress:

Frogkisser by Garth Nix.  Audiobook.  Humorous fantasy that nonetheless is sneaking in some serious thoughts about personal and social responsibility.

Only the Dead by Vidal Sundstol, translated by Tiina Nunnally.  Sequel to The Land of Dreams which I read a while back.  Psychological crime novel.

Also:

Continuing my re-read of my own When the Gods Are Silent.  Still feel as if I’m having conversations with a long-ago self, but I think I like her.

FF: The Making of Heroes

March 31, 2017

Here’s additional information about Sunday’s book event at the Jean Cocteau (see my website for details).  N. Scott Momaday, whose piece “The Momaday Gun” was one of editor Gerry Hausman’s direct inspirations for the Guns anthology hopes to be there.  I’m rather awed at the idea of doing a book event with a Pulitzer Prize winner…

Kel Gives Us Her Thyme

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:

Lamb by Christopher Moore.  Mostly focuses on the parts of Jesus’s life not covered in the Bible.  The ending shifts perception on everything thing that goes before about ninety degrees so don’t peek.  Alan said it was a “funny” book, but this is funny like Terry Pratchett is funny – humor harnessed in tandem with a lot of thoughtful moments.

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

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.  Audiobook.  I think this may be the story that created the trend that would give rise to Zorro, Superman, the Shadow, and Batman in which a heroic figure hides his real identity behind a relatively helpless public persona.  Like Zorro and Batman, the Scarlet Pimpernel has no superpowers, but relies on his wits and skills.

The Time Garden by Edward Eager.  A favorite from my childhood that still reads, for me at least, well today.

In Progress:

This Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday.  I read the author’s House Made of Dawn many years ago, and intended to re-read before Sunday’s book event, but  when I saw this, I decided to try something new.

Frogkisser by Garth Nix.  Audiobook.  Just starting.

Also:

Starting a re-read of my own When the Gods Are Silent.  I feel as if I’m having conversations with a long-ago self.

FF: Moonstone and Lamb

March 24, 2017

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.

FF: Medicinal Reading

March 17, 2017

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.

Kel Claims Cat’s Cradle

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:

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.  Audio of the radio drama.  Enjoyable.

The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock.  More text than his best-selling “Griffin and Sabine” trilogy, but still heavily and creatively illustrated.

Sunchaser’s Quest: Unicorns of Balinor, Book Two by Mary Stanton.  Middle grade “missing princess” story featuring many-colored unicorns.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.  Definitely related to Alan and my discussion of SF andreligion.

In Progress:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  Audiobook.  Many cite this as the first detective novel in English.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.  Only a few chapters in, but I already really like Marcelo.  The “real world,” not so much!

Knight of Shadows.  Audiobook.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  I’m now over the half-way point.  They don’t benefit from too many at once since, like many radio dramas of the time, they rely on set pieces and a lot of repetition.  Still, they made a great amusement amid cold and fever.

Also:

If there’s one good thing about recovering from a cold or flu or whatever it is I’ve had, it’s that I don’t feel like I’m slacking if I curl up and read.  It’s medicinal!

FF: More Than Usually Varied

March 10, 2017

News Flash!  This week, SnackReads/SnackWrites is reprinting a piece I wrote about narrative hooks.  Don’t know what a narrative hook is?  Turns out, neither did Roger Zelazny – even though he wrote great ones.  Read more here.

A Tale for Sun and Shadow

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:

Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond.   A children’s story.  This edition has notes and a long introduction.  My recommendation is to read the story first, the ancillary material later.

In Progress:

Knight of Shadows.  Audiobook.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  I’ve now listened to the first four.  They don’t benefit from too many at once since, like many radio dramas of the time, they rely on set pieces and a lot of repetition.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.  Audio of the radio drama.

The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock.  More text than his best-selling “Griffin and Sabine” trilogy, but still heavily and creatively illustrated.

Also:

Considering works on the Nebula Ballot.  Anyone have any strong feelings about the offerings this year?

FF: Sailing on…

March 3, 2017

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.

Lettuce Dream

Lettuce Dream

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:

Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian.  Audiobook.  Last in the series!

Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint.  In addition to a complex plot with a truly creepy antagonist, a considerable meditation about the complex relationship between the private and public artist.

Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring by Masashi Kishimoto.  A stand-alone sequel to series.  I suspect intended as a companion piece to the anime movie Boruto (which I haven’t seen).

In Progress:

Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien.  A children’s story.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton.  Loving it!

Knight of Shadows.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  All new to me!

Also:

Pulling random research material together.

FF: Memory and Dream

February 24, 2017

Yes.  That’s Charles deLint title, but also something much in my thoughts right now…

This Books Is For the Birds!

This Books Is For the Birds!

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:

Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich.  I enjoyed this even more than his Ravens in Winter, and I loved that.

The Woman Who Can’t Forget: A Memoir by Jill Price with Bart Davis.  Audiobook.  The title rather overstates the case, but still an interesting look Ms. Price’s experience with hyperthymestic  syndrome.   Glad I read it.

The Hundred Days by Patrick O’Brian.  Audiobook.  One of the ones where action is as much on land as on sea.  Stephen does have a propensity for acquiring other people’s children.

In Progress:

Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian.  Audiobook.  Last in the series…

Memory and Dream by Charles deLint.  A conversation with a friend about “dream” and the book above about “memory” gave me a great desire to re-read this favorite.  Turns out it’s also a very good book about what artists of any sort choose to bring into the world.  This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Also:

Trying to figure out what to do with a craft project that’s gone sideways, so looking at art books, too.

FF: History, Memory, and More

February 17, 2017

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.

Kel Contemplates Cordwainer Smith

Kel Contemplates Cordwainer Smith

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:

And Carry a Big Stick by S.M. Stirling.  Manuscript of the first book in a new series.  I’ll let you all know when it comes out!

The Bees by Laline Paull.  Audiobook.  Fiction.  Although I had my quibbles with some of the author’s language choices, I found this an ambitious and interesting read.

The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O’Brian.  Audiobook.  Jack may be losing both his wife and his command.  Worse – for a career naval officer – the war is winding down.   Will Jack have a chance to be even an admiral of the “yellow”?

Quest of the Three Worlds by Cordwainer Smith.   The only thing that can be “expected” in a Cordwainer Smith novel is the unexpected.  Some very out of date attitudes may jar on modern readers, though.

In Progress:

Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich.  Still reading in small bites so I have a chance to digest the material.  Very interesting.

The Woman Who Can’t Forget: A Memoir by Jill Price with Bart Davis.  Audiobook.  The title rather overstates the case, but still an interesting look Ms. Price’s experience with hyperthymestic  syndrome.  Very anecdotal to this point.

Also:

More archeology.  Particularly taken with an article on how WWI battlefield graves show how archeology is the complement to historical research, and that – even when there is ample written documentation, that documentation does not come close to providing a complete or even accurate depiction.