Sunday Status Update: January 2, 2022

Marion: I finished M. A. Carrick’s The Liar’s Knot, and enjoyed every minute of it. I sent off interview questions to the two writers who comprise that author, and look forward to providing that interview and a giveaway in the near future. I finished up Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence, a nice bit of metafiction about Tookie, who works in a bookstore owned by a writer named Louise. Tookie is haunted by a ghost of Flora, an annoying regular customer, who is now haunting it (she didn’t die there, just really likes the place). The book did not go to any of the places I would have expected a “ghost in a bookstore” book to go, and yet Flora is always there, waiting for what she needs from Tookie–and what Tookie needs from her. This week I finished Helene Wecker’s The Hidden Palace. I loved every word of it.


Bill: Since my last status I’ve read (review to come):

  • Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham/Ty Franck): Already missing the Rocinante crew!
  • Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi:  first entry on my running Best of 2022 list
  • Tales of the Greatcoats by Sebastien De Castell: a fun return to the world of the GREATCOATS QUARTET via nine short stories
  • Dionysus by George O’Connor: end of a great graphic novel series on Greek myths
  • Absynthe by Brendan Bellecourt (Bradley Beaulieu): a fun alternative Jazz-Age/psi-power story
  • The Amber Crown by Jacey Bedford: a solid enough story whose content gave me some difficulty
  • Rise of the Mages by Scott Drakeford, a debut fantasy with the usual debut issues
  • Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire: Another miss for me in this series, which I’ve been up and down on
  • Dark and Magical Places: The Neuroscience of Navigation by Christopher Kemp: a fascinating look at how we get around in our world

Sandy: Moi? I am currently in the middle of reading another collection of wonderful short stories and novellas from the always-dependable Algernon Blackwood. This collection is his classic Pan’s Garden, which was originally released in 1912. I am now reading the 1924 edition; a big, beautiful hardcover of well over 500 pages. I look forward to sharing some thoughts on this one with you all early in the New Year! And that reminds me…a Happy Healthy New Year to you all!

Terry: I read John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society, which is prime snarky Scalzi. Lots of fun! I also finished The Hour Game by David Baldacci, one of his earlier novels, and it was very long and only okay. It’s interesting to follow how an author gets better book to book. Finally, after watching “The Witcher” on Netflix with much fascination, I read The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, which was a lot sillier and actually less captivating than the show, to my considerable surprise. Still worth reading, though, and I’ve already started on the second book in the series, Sword of Destiny.

Tim: I finally had my encounter with Covid-19 during the holidays, which disrupted a lot of plans but gave me time to read. I revived a holiday tradition from my teens of reading Lord of the Rings around Christmas (LotR is a perpetual 5-star to me, though I recognize that I’m biased), and also read Matt Haig‘s The Midnight Library (very enjoyable, if a bit predictable at points). Finally, I’ve begun Robin McKinley‘s The Blue Sword, which seems lots of fun so far. Happy New Year!

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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  1. Terry, I didn’t realize you were watching THE WITCHER, and I was surprised at how much you were enjoying it. The books never really worked for me.

    • Marion, as much as I dislike funny SF or fantasy on the page, I really like it in movies and television, so The Witcher series works for me, at least so far. (There are plenty of grimdark moments and lots of serious plotting, too, which is occasionally hard to follow because the series jumps around in time without any markers of any sort to let you know when you are. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt so far.) I also enjoy lots of superficial things about it, like the costumes (which are lovely to look at), Henry Cavill’s muscles (which are glorious; word is he wore out leather costumes with them, though I have to say that sounds apocryphal to me); the sets and scenery (I keep trying to figure out what’s CGI and what’s constructed), and the beautiful actors. And I’m curious about what happens next! I suspect I’ll finish reading the books before the series has been completed, but that’s okay; these days I tend to forget details as soon as I’ve read them unless I’m concentrating really hard, as in reading a book for review.

  2. Paul Connelly /

    I’m about ¾ of the way through L. E. Modesitt’s novel, Isolate, the first thing I’ve ever read by this author. Although it has its faults (lots of repetition), it also makes me realize, in contrast, how little diversity there is in the plots and characters that exist in most fantasy novels. So that’s been interesting to consider. If I had to compare it with other books, I’d say the closest you could get would be combining some elements of C. J. Cherryh’s Cyteen, John Brunner’s The Squares of the City, and Edwin O’Connor’s (non-genre) The Last Hurrah. Unless the ending shifts the story in some major way, that is.

  3. Tim, I’m sorry you’ve been sick and hope you recover quickly!

    Terry, I liked the Witcher books a lot and have enjoyed the few episodes I’ve watched on TV. I need to keep watching.

  4. Katharine Ott /

    Bill, thanks for the Greatcoats mention – I read the first in the quartet in 2020 and would love to keep going. 2022 is going to be my year of continuing series, so I’ve just added this fun swashbuckler to my list. Happy New Year!

  5. Christopher Kemp /

    Hey, thanks for mentioning my book! That made my day.

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