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Archive for the tag “books”

The magic of letting go

Yes, I’m one of those annoying people that read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I started tidying (which should be called “throwing out”) on January 1, and while I don’t think my life has changed much, I’ve definitely learned some things.

First of all, I am sort of bulimic when it comes to possessions. I acquire and hoard (the binge) for a decade and then I purge things in a giant “fuck this shit” explosion. In my last purgesplosion I threw away a lifetime’s worth of journals and all of my school yearbooks. If you are a writer you will understand the exquisite pain that haunts me about that decision.

The ten or so years in between binge and purge are very, very cluttered. So. January 1 rolls around and I’m going to get started. I begin with the sock drawer. A giant sock drawer that contains a universe of socks: athletic socks, knee highs, fuzzy socks with lotion cooked in, socks with capes, socks that haven’t seen their mate in years. A lot of fucking socks.

So here’s the thing with the KonMari method: you hold each object in your hand and if it “sparks joy” you can keep it. Otherwise, out it goes. This can be a tough call. Because what might at first register as “joy” is really something else. It might be “But so-and-so GAVE me those,” or “But I might want to wear those in a Halloween costume one day.” That’s not joy; that’s rationalization. Unless I owned both socks, they were still in good shape, and they made me happy to put them on my feet, they went in the giant black trash bag.

After socks I did underwear. I folded them reverently and precisely until two madcap drawers of crazy became one small drawer of peace and order.


Shirts were next. I went from this


IMG_4431to this.

IMG_4432Now every shirt I put on gives me that “Hey, this looks and feels good” spark. I’m not wearing also-ran black t-shirts, I’m wearing the good black t-shirts that feel just right.

But I’ll be honest, some of those shirts were really hard to get rid of. In particular my Xbox and GamerchiX garb that I’ve been hoarding for sentimental reasons even though I left Microsoft over five years ago. Here is where what is magic and different about Marie Kondo’s book comes in. I was able to tell those shirts and hoodies “Thank you. You represent an important part of my life and accomplishments that made me proud.” No, I didn’t say it out loud because I felt a bit silly. But it allowed me to acknowledge how I felt about these inanimate objects and release them.

shirt and chucks with Rock Kills Kid

GamerchiX shirt PLUS orange Chucks. RIP.

I had some of the same trouble with shoes.


Does anyone really need 11 pairs of Chuck Taylors?

My orange Chucks that I bought for the Tokyo Game Show. These cheapo little black flats from American Eagle Outfitters that I wore all over Paris and Versailles. It made me sad to let them go, but I feel so much lighter with just what I need and love. 

me and my flats in Versailles

Me and Mom and my little black flats at Versailles.

I was really proud of myself, and moved onto books with enthusiasm. Ms. Kondo says to do all books at once, but honestly my living room floor isn’t large enough. So, I did one bookshelf. Yep, just one. And it took ALL DAMN DAY.

IMG_4452Why? Because I’m a unapologetic and life-long bookworm. I’ve purged many many books over the years, and I’ve read almost exclusively on Kindle since, well, the OG Kindle debuted in 2007. But the paper-and-ink volumes that I’ve held onto have meaning to me. They represent more than a job or a trip. They are my parallel selves, my possible me’s. The alternate Christa that learns Latin for instance, or writes profiles for the New Yorker (still my dream job!).

IMG_4455Or the me that becomes a professor of folklore and mythology. These books here? Joseph Campbell’s Masks of God series? They represent a future that never took place. But it was a dream that I–at the time a poor single mother attending college on a Pell Grant–was so excited about that I spent money I should have used for food or diapers on these four paperbacks. Joseph Campbell represented this dream and I held onto his complete works for far longer than I needed to. As you may have guessed, I didn’t even read most of them. I was determined to at the very least hang onto my Campbell. I sat on the floor surrounded by these books and sulked. I mourned that woman I never became. That career that didn’t happen. Because that’s really what I was afraid of letting go. In the end I hung onto books that can’t be replicated in e-ink: art books, image-heavy references like atlases, and books that are works of art unto themselves like these children’s books from 1907.


I mean, those endpapers! *swoon*

Anyway, at the end of a long painful dusty day I got a jam-packed, double-parked bookcase down to two simple shelves. I found interesting bookmarks. The funniest was a letter to me from the Friends of John Kerry and the saddest was a train ticket stub for a friend that killed himself.

Most importantly, of course, I offloaded a bunch of books that had become both physical and emotional baggage and turned it into cash at Half-Price Books.

Which I spent on more books.






How to Write a Quick and Painless Book Review

I review nearly every book I read. But only because the Goodreads app on my phone makes it nearly impossible NOT to select a number of stars when I’m marking a book as complete. As far as a written review? I—probably like most people—only take the trouble when I either love or loathe a book. So, please don’t think I’m up on some high book review horse when I say this because I’m as guilty as everyone else.

Pinup reading

Reviews help readers find books to love and to avoid the stinkers

I’ve nixed dozens of books because someone had pointed out that it was a mess of grammatical and spelling errors and I feel like I dodged a bullet. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

But here’s the other thing: reviews help writers more than you know. The little guys, the big guys, the unknowns, and the darlings of the New York Times. Every writer wants, needs, and loves reviews. Yes, even Jo Rowling and Stephen King want and need your feedback. Because knowing how you feel about their work is what keeps them writing.

We indie authors are especially reliant on the review system. We don’t have a marketing machine to run ads or publicists to book us on talk shows.  The only way anyone is going to consider our work is if they hear about it from a friend or they happen across it in their Amazon browsing. And the more reviews a work has, the higher it will rank in searches.

Here’s the thing: two minutes of your time can make a world of difference in a writer’s life. That’s how long it will take you to review a book. Seriously.

I know, I know what you’re thinking.

But I’m not a good writer

Guess what? You hardly have to type these days. Look how easy makes it for you. Just click some buttons, poke a star and boom!

Super helpful

But I don’t remember everything that happened

So what? No one expects you to summarize the plot. In fact, that’s super annoying in a review.

But I didn’t really like the book

That’s totally okay. Authors appreciate you taking the time to review their book, even if it’s not a glowing endorsement.

But I don’t have a lot to say about the book

No problem, sparky. Your review could be one sentence–or a fragment!–and still let the world know how you feel. Here are some examples of perfectly worthwhile, super short book reviews:

“The detective character made me laugh out loud.”

“I felt like the ending was rushed.”

“Way too much sex.”

“I loved the part in Las Vegas.”

full review

But I can’t think of a headline

Yeah, I hear you on that. But guess what? You can skip it. Just leave it blank and hit “submit” and the world keeps turning. Cool, huh?

Click a few buttons, choose a star, and type a few words. Easy peasy, right?

Here are things to avoid

Personal attacks

“The author is a vengeful slut and couldn’t plot her way out of a paper bag.”

Remove “is a vengeful slut and” and you’ve got yourself a review, cowboy!

“The author’s support of anti-gay campaigns make him a piece of shit”

Be that as it may, that isn’t about the content of his book.

Genre attacks

“I’m not really a Sci-Fi person and all the space stuff and names without vowels really grated on my nerves. There’s no such thing as an anti-gravity grenade!”

“Dragons. What is the deal with dragons? And everyone just walks through the entire book. Hello? BORING?”

If you know you don’t like the genre, don’t rail against the tropes of the genre. It’s like complaining about the heaving bosoms in a Harlequin romance. Which I have totally done.


A customer review on spoiled the ending of Gone Girl for me and I nearly didn’t read it because of that. Don’t be that guy. Just don’t.

So, go ahead and make good on that promise you made to your writer friend (so, so many promises). Take a moment and write a couple pithy phrases about the book you read on the plane. Authors and readers alike will thank you.

A Quick Survey for Readers

How do you choose what to read? How often do you expect a new book in a series. Do you prefer realistic or larger-than-life characters?

If you can take a few moments to answer some quick questions, you’re supremely awesome! *fist bump*


Win a Signed Pwned Paperback


Enter to win a copy of Pwned by writing a review (you’ve read it on your Kindle, right?) by January 31. Check out the details and rules here.

How to make a paperback

Ever since my first book released for Kindle, people have been asking for a printed version. A ‘real’ version. They don’t have a Kindle, they just don’t like ebooks, whatever. That’s a blog post in itself, right? Anyway, recently the second book in my mystery/crime series came out on Kindle, and it seemed like a good time to make a paperback of the first novel available. I really don’t think that people who wouldn’t pay seven bucks for the digital version are going to rush to lay down twelve bucks ($11.99) for the paper-and-ink version. Which is what I have to charge in order to make one dollar per copy in royalties.  Which is almost like giving it away, but not quite.

The advantages of a paper-and-ink version are these:

1. I can do a Goodreads giveaway, which can increase awareness of the book. I did this for my first novel The Sleepless Nanny. Remind me to write a post about that.

2. I can give away signed copies to family and friends.

3. I can use them as rewards in my Indiegogo campaign. (in fact as I write this I owe 13 people copies of Schooled)

4. I can drop off copies at restaurants and bars that I wrote into the book and hope they’ll display it with pride (or hide it behind the counter). I could also leave copies in video game friendly locations like Nintendo and Xbox offices which are both within a couple miles of my house.

Anyway, I decided to get off my duff and put together a print version of Schooled using CreateSpace. I had some preconceived notion that it was going to cost me money to do this. But that’s only if you want them to help edit or proofread or create a cover or lay out the interior. I did all that myself. In the long run, it might have been worth it to pay for the expertise and save myself some frustration. But hopefully we can ALL learn from my newb fumblings.

Here’s how it went down. I didn’t have the full pdf files of my book cover for a couple of stupid reasons. But I did have a fantastic front cover and back cover. Just not in one big file. So I had to upload the bits individually, do some erasing of a logo with MS Paint of all fucking things, and cobble together this cover. Note that there was no option to upload the spine, so I have this dumb one.

Schooled cover preview

Allright, that’ll work, sez I. Then I convert my Word doc of the final text of the novel to a PDF and upload that too. Good to go, right? Wrong. The previewer allows me to see what it will look like in print. And it looks like dogshit. Suddenly, I am struck with the absolute truth that new chapters MUST begin on the right side of the book. So it takes me about 4 hours (I wish I was kidding) to figure out where to make the page breaks so that each chapter starts in the place I believe it needs to. Please note: at no time do I consult an actual fucking book though a shelf filled floor to ceiling with examples of bookdom lies at my right hand no more than 15 inches from my shoulder.

Okay, after multiple uploads with adjusted pdfs, I finally send the whole thing–cover plus interior–off for review. And the next day it comes back. Rejected. My cover is fucked up. The artwork and title are too close to the trim line (the edges of the book). Well, shit. That’s just not something I can fix. Luckily, I have a lot of smart, talented and clever friends. I posted a plea for help on Facebook and the lovely Michelle Silva (of Ska Studios and Charlie Murder fame) volunteered to fix the cover like it was no big deal. It was a HUGE deal to me, because I lack the tools and skill to do jack shit with art. In about an hour Michelle sent back the corrected cover and it was perfect. Now the precious trim line was safe and CreateSpace could suck it.


And suck it they did. The next morning I got the email saying it was approved and I was free to order a proof. Wahoo!! So I ordered the proof and chose expedited delivery. A few days later, the copy arrived. Oh boy I was so excited!

The dollar is for scale. Obvi.

The dollar is for scale. Obvi.

The cover looked great and it was so fat! So substantial! How many pages did it turn out to be, I wondered? Well, guess who forgot to put page numbers on it? Or title and author at the top of the pages?

Has anyone ever been so dumb? You’d think I’d never seen a book before.

Not only was I missing headers and page numbers, but the spacing was DERP and the font so huge it looked like a book for old people or the legally blind. Seriously. It looks like SHIT. Take a gander.

Derp Book

Why yes, it does look like a typed-out manuscript. So much fail.

Back to CreateSpace I went. THIS time I did two things: looked at a real goddamn book and discovered that no one gives a shit on which page a chapter begins and page numbers and headers are legit. Also, no one fucking double spaces and they CERTAINLY don’t skip a line for every new paragraph.  Now that amateur hour was over, I decided to download the template that CreateSpace recommends for this size of book–trade paperback.

Okay, so it looked good at first glance. The font was Garamond, which always reminds me of F. Scott Fitzgerald because the first time I read This Side of Paradise (his first novel) it was printed in Garamond. So. I download the CreateSpace template and begin painstakingly cutting chapters out of my Word doc, pasting them into a .txt file, then cutting and pasting into the template. It looked pretty good, I had to admit. Though very condensed. By the time I had the whole book laid in there, it was 180 pages long. I wanted my acknowledgements at the end instead of the beginning, but the template barfed and I had to start all over. I did manage to flense the table of contents out though. I hate those.

Finally, it was done and I was ready to upload and preview. Well, it looked a hell of a lot better than my first attempt, but I got an error. My gutters were fucked up. Gutters? I didn’t touch the fucking gutters and wouldn’t even know how to. What fresh hell was this? I ranted and raved a while, and RE-DID the whole thing. By the by, Chapter Nine of that template has fucked up indents. I had to do them all manually. TWICE.

Gutter Error

On the second attempt I got the gutter error again and well and truly lost my shit. I even filed a bug with CreateSpace filled with bad words and anger about how their own fucking template sucks sweaty donkey balls. Or something.

After going to bed and waking up with a slightly better attitude I tried saving the template file as a pdf and asking CreateSpace very politely to take it–take it all. It did.


I was about to leave on vacation, so I ordered the new proof by regular ol’ slow ass ground shipping. When I returned home a week later it was waiting for me!  v2 is lightyears better than v1. Compare chapter threes:





I’m still a little dismayed at the slim size.

v1 and v2 spines

It looks more like a novella than a full novel. But. I’m going with it. The paperback version of Schooled will be available in the next few days. Now, when it’s time to put Pwned in print, I will be slightly less idiotic than this time around. Hopefully.

UPDATE Aug 29:

Schooled is now available in paperback! Get it here.

Do we read enough?

I ask the question because for the first time in my life, I feel like I don’t. I’ve always been a big reader. My mom taught me to read when I was very young and by the time I started Kindergarten I was reading books meant for third graders. I was always reading…but I never tracked what I read until I discovered Goodreads. I joined in 2010, and have been progressively more obsessive about tracking my reading as time goes by. Check this out:


It appears that by virtue of tracking, I’m reading more. In 2012 I set a goal for myself to read 52 books–one per week. When I’d already blown past that by April, I upped the goal to 100. I ended up reading 106 books that year, and so on the eve of 2013 I set a goal of 110 books. For no other reason than I wanted to beat my own score.

In the two years I’ve been doing this I’ve always been a little bit ahead of my goal. By a book or two. Once I dipped down to “on track.” But this was what I found today:

2 books behind

I’m BEHIND SCHEDULE. I’m a SLACKER. The judgmental librarian in my head is making tsk tsk noises.

You know what happens next.

You know what happens next.

And here’s the really bad part of being behind schedule. While my stats say I’ve read 59 books (18,711 pages) toward my goal, 5 of them are Kindle Singles and 6 are graphic novels! There not even full-length “books!”

So how did I get here? To the point where I’m not meeting my self-imposed arbitrary reading goal and feeling guilty about it? Maybe it’s because I wrote a novel this year? Sure, but I wrote one last year and managed to read 106 books. So that excuse seems invalid.

Maybe it’s because I’m reading fat ass books like the thousand-plus page A Storm of Swords. BTW GRRM, fuck you very much.  Or maybe because I’m investing a lot of time into books, but not finishing them.

books in progress

That’s four books that are hovering around the half-way point. Why don’t I just finish one of those? Because there’s always a new book I’d rather read. If I’m going to slog away at a painful book, I may as well work on my own! *rimshot*

As I started to go into this shame-spiral about what a shitty reader I am, I decided to look at some national statistics. And yes, I know America is not exactly the most intellectual nation on the planet, but I live here and this is what I’ve got.

Turns out, according to the Pew Research Center (pew pew pew!), that the average American don’t read so much. Only 75% of adult Americans (16 and older) read ANY book last year. In any form. Which includes listening to an audio book. Further stats:

  • 7% of Americans ages 16 and older read one book in the previous 12 months
  • 14% had read 2-3 books in that time block
  • 12% had read 4-5 books in that time block
  • 15% had read 6-10 books in that time block
  • 13% had read 11-20 books in that time block
  • 14% had read 21 or more books in that time block

Check out the full study here

So, even if I never read another word between now and December 31, I’m ahead of the game. But, realistically, I know I’m going to be disappointed in myself if I read anything less than 111 books this year. Because it’s not enough to meet my goal–I have to beat it.



If you’re interested, the best books I’ve read so far this year are:

Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Obsession, change, and superstition — tales from the sequel



File this under More Bitching About Writing a Sequel.

Over the summer I wrote a post about my writing rituals and the magic number of words I needed to write to feel I was ‘done’ for the day.  When NaNoWriMo came around in November (the same month I published Schooled) I thought about taking part in the madness but said to myself: No. I have a system that has been successful one out of one times. I’m not messing with it. For those that don’t want to click the link, the ritual is simple. Write 500 words, print pages, review/revise daily output, make changes to master doc in the morning.

Well, with this book my ritual is all messed up. First, though I usually print out the day’s writing and read the pages in bed, I’m not editing as I go. I’m only updating the master doc for really horrible errors if I happen to scroll back and see them, or if I have to change a character’s name or fix something that effects the plot later on in the book. I tell myself that the momentum is all-important, and I will edit later.

While I’m sticking to the 500 words per day goal, in reality I’m writing at least a thousand words a day six days a week. Some days I write 1200 words (and post it on Facebook–I’m obsessive about updating my FB status each day with my daily word count/cumulative word count. So much so that if and when I think I’m done for the day but end up writing more I stress out about it: Do I do another word count post or roll up the extra words into the next day’s word count? These are the things that I wrestle with.)

Many days lately I write my thousand words (though I’m not really satisfied-ish unless it’s 1200 or more), chill out a while and find myself unable to do anything else but write. So back to the computer I go. I’ll just make some notes for tomorrow, I say, but end up knocking out another thousand or so words. So that’s it then, I tell myself. I’m spent. No more today.  And I feel like I’ve done well. I print my pages and read them in bed. Turn out the light and go to sleep.

And dream about my characters. Then I wake up. And in that limbo between sleep and wakefulness I’m composing dialog in my head. Or figuring out the logistics for an action scene. I can’t shut it off. Last night I was up until 4:30 a.m. writing and re-writing a scene in my head until I finally just got up and wrote it longhand in my notebook.

That’s another thing with this book; I’ve got snippets of dialog EVERYWHERE. I firmly believe that when the Muse delivers something to you, you snap it up and say thank you. Once I even–thanks to a reader’s suggestion–used the voice recorder on my phone to preserve an important bit of dialog.

Another thing I was pretty uptight about with Schooled was chapter length. I was certain that each chapter should come in at around 5,000 words. So if I wasn’t close to that, I’d drag the chapter on. In one instance, there’s a chapter break where there really shouldn’t be one simply because I’d hit 5,000 words since the last chapter break. Stupid, right? It seemed extremely important at the time.

With Pwned I’m letting the chapters break where they need to. Oh, I’m keeping an eye on the word count, but I’m not being a freak about it. Subsequently, I’m already up to Chapter 15 of Pwned and am about halfway done. Schooled only had 14 chapters (though the 14th was more of an epilogue and didn’t come close to 5k words.)

Overall, with the sequel I’ve relaxed some of my rules, but am much more immersed in this book than I was the last one. Is there a causal relationship? If I go back to my magical rituals of daily editing and being truly ‘done’ when I hit my word count will my characters let me sleep at night? Unclear. But I’m kind of afraid to change anything lest I lose my mojo. Are writers as superstitious as baseball players? Or is it just me?

What to read – the bibliophile’s dilemma

Haruki Murakami’s new novel 1Q84 will be released in the US in five days. I’ve had it pre-ordered for months. I know that as soon as it lands on my Kindle I will be torn between tearing into it right away and barreling through as fast as I can, or delaying the pleasure (and the subsequent pain of finishing). But before I get there I have five days of reading time to fill.

I actually meant to write this post last week, when The Marriage Plot downloaded to my Kindle. It’s been 10 years since Jeffery Eugenides’ last novel (the brilliant and Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex). I didn’t read it right away because I was completely entranced by A.S. Byatt’s 2009 novel The Children’s Book. Being on a Dame Antonia high, I ordered her series of 4 novels in paperback. Paperback! Anticipating a winter’s worth of brilliant writing I figured I would stay in Byattworld for quite a while.

But then I finished The Children’s Book and The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman hadn’t arrived yet. So… did I dare dive into the new Eugenides? What would happen if I wasn’t done with it by the time the Murakmi released? The dude took ten years to write it; I didn’t want to give him short shrift by rushing through it.

Maybe I could read something else in the meantime. Then, wham! I was hit by a bunch of other new releases or books from favorite authors that I’d missed.

The Lady of the Rivers appeared on my Kindle. Third in the Cousins War series by Philippa Gregory and a prequel that tells the story of the witchy mother of the White Queen. But diving into a historical novel takes a certain frame of mind.

Then again I had Jeanne Kalogridis’ new one on the Kindle too: The Scarlet Contessa, which is about Caterina Sforza. You may mock historical fiction if you want to, but on my travels overseas for business I have oftentimes been the only person among my coworkers who has known jack about the history of the place, and most of this knowledge comes from historical fiction. Example: in Milan for a video game tournament we visited Sforza Castle. I knew the history of the Sforza thanks to reading Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex.

So I read a few pages of The Scarlet Contessa and wasn’t quite in the mood for war. So I just peeked into The Marriage Plot to see if it grabbed me. It did. It’s now in the “read” pile and I still have five days til Murakami-san graces my Kindle.

Listening to an interview with Amitav Ghosh on local radio the other day (He has a new novel River of Smoke which is second in his series about the opium trade) reminded me that I have Sea of Poppies on my Kindle to read. I definitely want to read it before River of Smoke and I REALLY want to read River of Smoke. So… that’s another possibility.

And then I discovered that somehow I’d missed the July release of A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black. (Black is the pseudonym for John Banville who writes literary novels as brilliant as any you’ll find. I’m a particular fan of The Infinities). As Benjamin Black, he writes a series about a Dublin medical examiner named Quirk who solves mysteries. They’re dark, rainy, booze-soaked books and I loved the first three.

But then if I was going to veer away from literary fiction into crime/thriller territory I may as well consider going back to the well of Jo Nesbo, Hakan Nesser, and Lars Kepler. Though on further investigation I’ve already read the only Kepler available in English. (The Hypnotist – gory and beautifully fucked-up)

I’ve got Jo Nesbo’s Nemesis on the Kindle already so I should probably read that before I go download another Nesser, right? But by that logic I should read my Kindle backlog before taking on new releases, and I think it would take me far longer than five days to read these:

  • The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens (the formatting is fucked up on this one)
  • Mile 81 by Stephen King (got scared and had to put it in the freezer)
  • The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (Tommy and Tuppence annoy me)
  • To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (couldn’t take the N-word)
  • The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (got distracted by another book)
  • The Echo Man by Richard Montanari (I love the detectives in this series)
  • Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow (His book The Last Witchfinder is a favorite)
  • “A” is for Alibi by Sue Grafton (I can’t remember which letter I read last so figured I’d start over)
  • Ice Cold and The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
  • Gilbert and Gubar’s The Madwoman in the Attic after Thirty Years
  • Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman
  • Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance by Sara Poole
  • Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
  • Syndrome by Thomas Hoover
  • SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern (lol)
  • The Scourge of God by William Dietrich
  • The Harry Bosch Novels by Michael Connelly
  • The Wild Trees by Richard Preston (he once replied to a fan email I wrote him about The Cobra Event)
  • Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King by Antonia Fraser
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
  • Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs (Fourth in the Mercy Thompson series. Got distracted)
  • The Unremembered by Peter Orullian (Not a fantasy fan at all, but my friend wrote it. I bought two copies)
  • Elizabeth I by Margaret George (I loved her books on Cleopatra and Helen of Troy)
  • Kleopatra and Pharoah by Karen Essex
  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind was one of the only fantasy novels I’ve ever enjoyed)
  • The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire by Matt Taibbi
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  • The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs (I loved The Year of Living Bibically and Know It All)
  • The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (one of my favorite living writers)
  • The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan (brilliant writer by the missing child subject matter is too hard atm for this mommy)

Holy shit that’s a backlog. And that doesn’t even include Kindle Singles or samples. I’m especially interested in the sample for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. So much so I’m afraid to read the sample, get sucked in and have another option to deal with.

So yeah. Five days and an embarrassment of reading riches. What to read?!

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