Sunday Status Update: September 27, 2020

Jana: This week I read Juliet Marillier’s The Harp of Kings, a mostly-engaging fantasy set at some vague distant point in Ireland’s druid-filled past. I also finished Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s anthology The Mythic Dream, and I would say 95% of the stories were absolutely amazing, while the other 5% were extremely good. Not a bad ratio, all things considered! This week I’ll be reading Naomi Novik’s latest novel, A Deadly Education, and Daniel Pinkwater’s novella Adventures of a Dwergish Girl, in between finally getting to turn on my oven (hooray autumn!) and enjoying All The Baked Goods.

Bill: This week in genre I read Andrea Hairston’s Master of Poisons (a good novella inside a lengthy novel) and Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education (tough go at first but got better). I also read two poetry collections:  Whale Day by Billy Collins and Naomi Shihab Nye’s Everything Comes Next (preferred the former over the latter).

Kat: I’ve just finished up The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey. It’s the sequel to The Book of Koli, which I loved. Unfortunately, The Trials of Koli is very much a middle book, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the final installment.

Marion: I’ve had three friends tell me that my current book is a weird choice to read right now. It’s Flu, by Gina Kolata. Published in 1999, it’s an exploration of the 1918 influenza pandemic. It’s fascinating. I picked up, read and finished a book I’m not going to name by an author I’m not going to name, about Sherlock Holmes fighting Lovecraft-style monsters and mutations in the American village of Innsmouth. I thought the book would be fun, or exciting or maybe even funny. Alas, it was none of those things. To be fair, it turned out to be Book Three in a trilogy, and there’s no way I’m reading the other two.

Tadiana: Well, I have bitten myself off a project and a half. I’ve been meaning to read Brandon Sanderson’s STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE series for ages, but … each book is 1000+ pages, and there are expected to be ten of them. However. Last week I was offered an ARC of Rhythm of War, the fourth book in this series, coming out in November. I couldn’t resist. So here I am, diving headlong into the first book, The Way of Kings. I figure if I read at least 100 pages a day I’ll be able to clear all four of them by mid-November, hah. In other news, last week I read Megan Whalen Turner’s final QUEEN’S THIEF book, Return of the Thief, and Susanna Clarke’s long-awaited second novel, Piranesi, both of which were marvelous.

Terry: I just finished The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune, and it was the most charming thing I’ve read in quite some time. I finished Forged by Benedict Jacka, and I’m having difficulty seeing quite where his mage, Alex Verus, is going and what he intends to do once he gets there. I also finished The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, which was as good as I’ve come to expect from her; I love how evil her fairies are. Every time I read one of her novels, I think that I’ve really got to make a concerted effort to read them all, because she is predictably wonderful.  Inspired by Marion, I’ve started The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart as well, but I’m not far enough along to venture even a parenthetical opinion.

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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. Paul Connelly /

    That’s pretty funny, Marion. You’re reading Flu and I’m halfway through Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (surprisingly readable for a 300 year old book). If the next pandemic to come along is anywhere near as lethal as either of those, we are in a giant heap of trouble, judging by how incompetently most governments have reacted to COVID-19. If the Peter Principle can be applied to entire species, homo sapiens is starting to look like a perfect exemplar.

    • That looks like an interesting one. We learn good lessons from each pandemic, and then the next one is slightly different and the old rules don’t work. Or, we freak out and jettison them all.

  2. Tadiana, you are bold!

    I want to read both Piranesi and the Return of the Thief.

    • Tadiana, I’m so jealous! Normally, I can find highly desired books via the (illegal) secondary markets, but not this time for Return of the Thief. (Note: I always buy the actual book too, when I acquire an ARC).

      I just started Queen of Attolia so we’ll see if I manage to finish the series before next Tuesday. There’s some work stuff plus C’monfluence next weekend which may make it a bit difficult.

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