BOOK & BLOG
October 27, 2009
Books of the Week:
I’m reading a lot of things for work. The paperback edition of DEAD AND GONE is in the works, and I’m going over the manuscript for things we missed the first time around. I’m also checking out the stories in CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT, the Mystery Writers of America anthology I edited. (It includes a Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.) I’m also trying to read the Sookie books in order, which would be a good idea before I start framing Sookie 11 and finish up the Sookie novella for THE SOOKIE COMPANION. I don’t know if that’ll be the title of the finished book, but it’ll do for now.
In between compulsory reading, I’ve read some things I’ve enjoyed. Faith Hunter’s SKINWALKER is about Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee who can turn into any creature. Most often, she’s a panther. Jane is a kind of gun for hire, and in this book she’s employed by one of the vampires of New Orleans to hunt down a rogue who’s killing humans. Jane is a very physical creature, and she’s also emotionally needy, but it doesn’t make her stupid. I like that about her. And her requirements, pre-employment? There have to be boulders in her back yard. You have to respect a character like that.
Max Brooks is making a career out of zombies. I loved WORLD WAR Z, and THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE. RECORDED ATTACKS is more of the same, in a picture-book format. Not as entertaining, but I find his imagination so lively and vivid I’m willing to go along with him.
An Australian publisher handed THE OPPOSITE OF LIFE to me at Bouchercon, and I began it with great interest. It’s certainly a most unusual vampire novel. Lissa Wilson, librarian, geek, and young woman about town, has a horrendous evening in a club when she opens a restroom door to find two dead girls. But that’s just the beginning of Lissa’s trials and tribulations. She seems to be the magnet for trouble. Even her attraction to a new man, Daniel, comes to an abrupt end when Daniel vanishes. Along the road of discovery about the underworld of her city, Lissa learns a lot about the people around her, and even more about herself. She’s a wonderful character; not because she’s an heroic supergirl, but because she rings true. If you can get this book, do. It’s really a refreshing take on a common theme.
I’m packing again, this time a bit more reluctantly. After this road trip to New Orleans and then to Houston, I have two more events, and then I’m done for the year. The two events are a day at my alma mater in Memphis the Darragh Lecture in Little Rock. Then I can actually work.
I keep saying I’m going to cut back, and then someone will call I don’t feel I can turn down for any one of a number of reasons. But next year, the travel has to be less, because I’ve already committed to some very time-consuming things: my September trip to Australia and New Zealand, for one. I’m also going to Romantic Times and then on tour with DEAD IN THE FAMILY. I’m thinking about ComicCon, and I have a couple of lectures lined up. I’m already nervous about my 2010 commitments, in other words.
It’s time to start saying “no” in a big way.
I hope to see some of you in New Orleans on Friday night, and some more in Houston on Sunday night. I’m packing like a fiend, two bags for two occasions. And I have a signing in Shreveport tonight.
I have a good set of problems. Being in demand is great! And it’s a wonderful change about twenty years on the midlist. But I’m wondering, increasingly, how other writers with this many commitments manage their time. I wish there was a magic formula or some great tip that I could learn that would let me relax into this new role.
In the meantime, the dogs want out, our daughter’s home with H1N1, and I have laundry to do. See you along the road, and when I come home maybe I’ll have a little more time to think about blogging!
© 2009 Charlaine Harris