BOOK & BLOG
August 22, 2011
Books of the Week:
This is going to be a rambling BOOK section. While I was on vacation in beautiful Alaska, I took my ebook reader and read David Sedaris (I think I've read almost all of his essays by now), a novel by Linwood Barclay (Fear The Worst), and I've reread all the Cassie Palmer books by Karen Chance. Linwood Barclay writes what I think of as suburban thrillers – totally middle-class people faced with terrifying scenarios. Maybe I identify with the premise! Check him out.
David Sedaris writes with an amazing combination of wit, bitterness, and poignancy about his family, his childhood, and his own shortcomings, which (according to Sedaris) are many and deep-seated. No matter what you think of the adult Sedaris, you have to acknowledge that growing up gay in North Carolina with an alcoholic mother and a very quirky father cannot have been an easy row to hoe. Dip your toes into Sedaris with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, or Me Talk Pretty One Day.
I felt I'd gotten completely confused about the goal of the Cassie Palmer books. The plots are so complicated and twisty that I still don't feel I'm following exactly, but Chance writes with such bravado and charm that I don't really care. I'm having fun rereading these.
I also reread Sarah Monette's and Elizabeth Bear's A Companion to Wolves in preparation for the release of a sequel, The Tempering of Men. I'm going to start this book very soon, and I'm very excited about it.
It was gratifying to see two big magazines mentioning Ready Player One, a book by Ernest Cline, which I got to read in manuscript form. Some of the reviews call it an "instant classic," and I'd heartily agree with that term. This science fiction novel is simply amazing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Since my husband and I hadn't taken a vacation together in about ten years, we thought it was time we ventured forth. I'd glimpsed Alaska when Bouchercon took place there a few years ago, and I've been anxious to go back ever since. We took a combination cruise/train ride/bus tour, and we had a fabulous time.
Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And it was wonderful to go from temperatures over a hundred degrees to daily highs in the sixties! I really can't describe the beauty of the state, or the fact that getting to see land that is essentially wild is a rarity in itself. We saw three grizzly bears, caribou, moose, ground squirrels, a fox, a coyote, ptarmigans, an eagle . . . well, you get the picture. I live in a state where wildlife is abundant and often in my back yard, but deer and wild pigs and the occasional armadillo or raccoon or possum seem pretty tame compared to Alaskan wildlife.
Now that we've done our laundry and made a quick and unplanned trip to New York, we're trying to return to our regularly scheduled lives. Our refrigerator still looks oddly empty, our dogs are more used to the kennel than being home, and we have numerous threads to pick up.
Now that I've turned in DEADLOCKED, what's on my to-do list? Of course, there'll be changes to make to the manuscript once all my readers report in. My editor is happy (so I'm happy), but there are issues to iron out as there are in all books. Then I have two short stories to write, one for our next anthology (AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE) and one for a Joe Lansdale anthology. Chris Golden and I are working on CEMETERY GIRL, our graphic novel. I need to solidify ideas for my next venture A.S. (After Sookie). And I'll start the final Sookie novel.
I hope you all are into your preparation-for-fall modes; this is my favorite time of the year. It will cool off. It will rain, someday! I'll pull down all the sticky notes I've had stuck to the edge of my computer monitor about plot points in DEADLOCKED. New sticky notes will go up in their place. Yay, transition!
© 2011 Charlaine Harris