The best kinds of deadlines are reading deadlines. Usually. They’re better than baking deadlines, or party-readying deadlines, both of which I am also currently under. But reading deadlines. Right now I have a firm one for a requested review, a soft one for one of my favorite people’s books, and a semi-firm one for a monthly review thingie.
But Oyster is dying at the end of January, and there are books to finish there, too. Also: a new Shirley Jackson collection. This is worth checking out. There’s a piece on The Toast from its copy editor, too, which is different from Shirley Jackson’s House Hunters, which is my favorite of The Toast’s Shirley Jackson-related pieces. It is not coincidentally by Mallory Ortberg.
It is Halloween. (The whole month is Halloween.) If you have not read Locke & Key, do! I finally finished it, having drawn it out over a really really long time, and also, a short but horrifying read is Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. This title is on the Maine Student Book Awards list for this year, a list with books that are ostensibly for grades 4-8. No WAY is this book for fourth- or fifth-grade students. Although, maybe it is. I had a seventh-grade zombie maven read it, and he wasn’t scared at all; however, he’s a little blunted when it comes to horror. Anyone sensitive to nuance…yes, they might have problems. This is so short! I have students in here today who need help! One of them was book dowsing and gave me a concussion. #halloween #msba #bookdowsing #thetoast #shirleyjackson #seriouslytoooldforhashtags
It’s a title. Not mine, though; not today. Wait until school starts. Or until I get home (although there, it’s Darth Vader Mom). Book = by Michelle Knudsen, and it started off as lots of fun, and it’s still fun, but I haven’t finished it yet, whereas I have finished a number of other things.
DO read: The Fold, by Peter Clines. DO read Alexander McCall Smith’s new Emma, because it’s utterly delightful, and I was very sad when it ended.
I am not sure what to say about The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss. It was so many things. Revenants! Magic! Proper young ladies! Evil guardians! Nefarious clergy! Lord Byron! Rosicrucians! Mary Crawford! … yes, that one, if you are an Austen person. That Mary. But it did have the feel of an improv skit, where the audience tosses out a bunch of unrelated words (see: above) and the performers do their level best to sew them together to create something that works. There is a whiff of James Herbert’s Ash about Twelfth Enchantment, in that I wonder if the project was entered into in an entirely serious fashion.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley lacks this element. It’s utterly earnest. I’m liking it. But it requires a little more concentration than Mary Louise Kelly’s The Bullet, which I really, really wanted to like. Not requiring concentration but requiring lots of future effort: What Makes This Book Great by Jo Walton, which is creating an extra-long reading list just by existing. I was surprised to have read some of the books she mentioned (aside from Tam Lin) like China Mountain Zhang and Black Wine. Moving on.
The reading calendar year starts in July. I don’t know whyyyy it starts in Julyyyy–yes, I do. It starts in July because I started keeping my reading log in July, so the yearly count of books goes from July to July.
At my library the fiscal year goes from July 1 to June 30, so these things are naturally in sync. I’m beginning a blog a month late to be right on the starting line of the new year. But it’s been a busy month. There have been 20+ books logged already, and I’m on vacation next week and taking an exorbitant number of books along.
Additionally, I will be taking an iPad, and there will be 10 active titles in my Oyster app (and some in iBooks, and Overdrive, but these are of far lesser importance). Oyster. I can request almost any book and have it delivered to my library. I order books every month for this community (key words: for this community, not for myself). There are tons of great books at home waiting to be read. But I would give up both Netflix and Amazon Prime before I would give up Oyster.
So there will be book talk when I get back! There isn’t really much now, because…well…this is the “get a post up so there’s at least something when you get back” post. And no one’s going to read it.
Before leaving, I am going to finish Earthworm Gods by Brian Keene, which may be able to be shoehorned into a review, because there is a cool gay character therein. I wonder if she will live. Probably not. What does it say about me that I tried valiantly to read Hild, and failed, but am having no problem with Earthworm Gods and romance-y fluff like In Every Cloud (Tina Michele; next Lesbrary review; fun fun fun)? Why am I asking myself rhetorical questions? And boring ones, at that? Because there are fewer than three hours separating me from a week off. That is why.