The OF Blog: January 1-10 Reads

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 1-10 Reads

Here is the first reading update for this year.  Unlike previous years, I will also be listing fiction magazines and lit journals that I will be reading as part of my duties as series editor for Best American Fantasy 4.  Perhaps this will spark greater curiosity in this anthology and (hopefully) more readers of this fine anthology series.  As is usually the case for me, the titles will be in order they were read, plus a tiny bit of commentary.


1  N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (debut novel due out Feb. 25.  Will be writing a full review of this work in the next couple of weeks.  Very strong debut to a trilogy that has the misfortune of having the same name as Christopher Paolini's series)

2  G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker, Air Volume Two:  Flying Machine (graphic novel collection of an ongoing comics series.  Plan on saying more about this collaborative effort when the third volume is released in a couple of months.  Highly recommended.)

3  G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker, Cairo (graphic novel set in Egypt with a mixture of current socio-political commentary and Arabic myths involving the djinn.  These two authors/illustrators do outstanding work)

4  Caitlín R. Kiernan, Silk (her 1998 debut novel.  Could tell the genesis of certain narrative traits that she manages to use to greater effect in her latter stories.  Strong debut, though.  Will read other earlier works by her in the near future)

5  Clare Dudman, One Day the Ice will Reveal all its Dead (historical novel based on German geologist Alfred Wegener's latter life and his death in Greenland in 1931.  Very good story.)

6  Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Values in a Time of Upheaval (what the future Pope Benedict XVI had to say about corrupt modern-day societies before he became Pope in 2005.  He has a way with words and I certainly had things to consider afterwards, even if I'm far from a conservative of any stripe)

7  Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (had never read his most famous YA trilogy, so I thought I'd finally take the plunge. Not bad, but a bit boring in spots, or so my Inner 10 year-old is telling me)

8  Kevin Brockmeier (ed.), Real Unreal:  Best American Fantasy Volume 3 (I will be mailing my review copy to a friend to review here, since I feel any opinions I might have on this - positive, in case you're curious - would be unduly biased due to the fact that I'm helping with the development of the fourth volume.  But do read this volume when it comes out next month, lest the rabid squirrels find you and devour your hearts and souls)

9  Mary Robinette Kowal, Scenting the Dark and Other Stories (just-released limited-edition of her first story collection. Very strong stories. Don't believe any are eligible for BAF4, though, although there weren't any bad stories in this slim collection)

10  Oliverio Girondo, Scarecrow & Other Anomalies (re-read; bilingual edition.  This gives a whole new meaning to "weird fiction."  Very good, though)

11  Alexandre Dumas, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo I (French; first volume of Dumas' secondmost famous work.  Uneven, digressive work so far.)

12  Geoff Dyer, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (if I had read this 2009 novel before now, it would have appeared among the best mimetic fictions of that year.  Outstanding execution.  Highly recommended.)

13  Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes (eds.), A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters (another in a long line of monthly themed anthologies from DAW.  Read this to see if any stories merited consideration.  Not bad, but not all that good as a whole.  Some good individual stories, though.)

14  Diana Schutz (ed.), Noir:  A Collection of Crime Comics (graphic novel anthology showcasing the talents of several of the best artists working in the noir narrative mode.  Very, very good.)

Fiction Magazines and Lit Journals

No comments on these, for various reasons:

Alaska Quarterly Review, Spring-Summer 2009

Weird Tales, Fall 2009

Weird Tales, Spring 2009

In Progress

Alexandre Dumas,Le Comte de Monte-Cristo 2

David Soares, A Conspiração dos Antepassados



cristi said...

How is this possible?
How can you read 14 books + other stuff in 10 days?

José said...

What's more, you've read Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, which is quite a big book (even volume I alone) in French, which I understand is not your first, nor your second, not even your third language. Please tell me your secret. Do you have a special method? Cause my reading pile grows bigger everyday and I'm a very slow reader myself.

Aidan Moher said...

Glad you enjoyed Jemisin's book. I've got a copy on its way and it's quickly becoming one of my most anticipated debuts of 2010.

Unknown said...

Cristi and Jose: Larry reads uncommonly fast. He's one of the few who can speed read and actually get the full meaning of what he's reading. Not a lot of people can do that (it's a skill I wish I had, because I have so many books I want to read and probably never will).

Lsrry said...


Yes, French is my fourth or fifth-best language (along with Italian). I'm familiar with the grammar through study and cognates with other languages, plus I was exposed to some French (and Kreyól) when I taught Haitian students (and others) during my time in Florida.


I am able to read 3-4 lines at a time with near-perfect understanding, often without "hearing" the words in my head. I just understand them the way that others do when they are looking at a picture and grasp all the component parts at once. Nothing that can be taught, I believe.


It's a good, solid book. Some flaws, but nothing too major.

Chad Hull said...

The Count was given to me as a 'New Years' gift of sorts. I am very appreciative but that is one massive book.

Maybe one day I'll get over my fear of big page counts.

Lsrry said...


It's one of those books that perhaps best could be read like a weekly TV series. Just a few chapters, then stop and wait until the "next episode." The book was written with that in mind and I've found reading it in huge chunks makes it more tedious than fun at times.

cristi said...

Larry you are a superman for me :)
Great work! Be safe!

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