Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shiver and say the words of every lie you've heard

Sorry I haven't been blogging regularly. I have discovered that revisions are like zombies: they eat brains. By the end of the day, I can barely speak in coherent sentences, much less think about blog posts to write. Also, revisions hurt. I am definitely buying a new desk and a fabulous (and ergonomic) desk chair when I move. (Which, by the way, will be sooner. The closing has been moved up a week, to 21 May. Um, yikes?! Twin Cities area people - or nonlocals who want to stop by - there will be a Going Away Shindig.)

But life is not all slaving away over a hot manuscript, so here are some things I have recently loved:

The Sorcerer's House, by Gene Wolfe. An epistolary novel! By Gene Wolfe! Gene Wolfe is one of the most precise writers I have ever read. Every word in the text is important, and is exactly what it should be. His characters are often people I wouldn't allow in my house, but I cannot stop reading about. He is an excellent, excellent writer, and this book is brilliant. Also, epistolary novels are perhaps my favorite literary form ever, and it is a form that is perfectly deployed here. 

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, by Deborah Blum. Seriously, do you need anything other than the title to decide to read this? I tore through it in a day. It's that good. I picked it up for research for a future book I want to write (spec fic procedural, not to be begun until I have a better grip on writing with plot). It's full of grisly and wonderful detail, and Blum's writing gives as much insights into the people as the science.

Terminal. Peter Gregson. I'm not sure exactly the technical music term to describe Peter Gregson's music. Avant-cello, maybe? But as far as I'm concerned, the best term for it is amazing. I've been a fan of his music since the first time I heard it, and this album is so good it blows his others (which, let me be clear, are fabulous) away. It's so beautiful, that I stop thinking, "holy cats, a cello can do that?!" and just listen. (And I forget that I have a rubbish shoulder, and think seriously about taking up cello.) Available in limited release, only through the end of this month. Terminal is music to think to.

Evelyn Evelyn. Evelyn Evelyn. I had my doubts, serious serious doubts, when I first heard about this project. I love Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. They make brilliant music. But I really do not love concept albums. I think they are like idea stories - they often crumble under the weight of their own conceit. This one doesn't. It's lovely and sad and smart and snarky and very, very knowing. Oh, and the music is great.

Finally, my friend Megan wrote an extremely lovely poem


  1. Yes, it is an extremely lovely poem, and I never would have found it without you. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome! Delighted to have helped.

  3. Thanks, Kat. I am a dabbler in poetry, but it's so very fun.

    Also, I've been meaning to read The Poisoner's Handbook... It looked fabulous, and now I'll definitely read it since you recommend it.