Apologies for not posting for two weeks. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan where I work announced the purchase of a new building and also had one of our largest events of the year all within a span of a few weeks and I got a crazy ringside seat for all of it. I got to take a lot of photos, some of which I’ve added to the site here, and several of which have been used in articles the last few weeks. I’ll be adding more and going back to add some of my previous work as I find the time.
That said the trains have also been a right mess, so I got extra time to read this month as well. I pretty much demolished two entire series, plus a few random extras. Here’s the list and my reviews are below.
Now We Are Sick: An Anthology of Nasty Verse collected by Neil Gaimen
The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope
“Degrees of Separation” (short) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Lisa Shearin Series:
SPI Files Series: “Lucky Charms” (short in Night Shift), The Grendel Affair, The Dragon Conspiracy, The Brimstone Deception, The Ghoul Vendetta, and The Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin (rereads except Myth Manifestation)
Raine Benares Series: Magic Lost, Trouble Found; Armed and Magical; The Trouble with Demons; Bewitched and Bedeviled; Con and Conjure; All Spell Breaks Loose; Wedding Bells, Magic Spells; Treasure and Treason; and Ruins and Revenge by Lisa Shearin (all new)
Now We Are Sick is an anthology of “nasty” poems with illustrations. There are some big names in here, along with a few I haven’t heard of. That’s probably more due to me not being familiar with the horror genre more than them not being notable names. I especially enjoyed the illustrations, which are delightfully creepy. The poems were hit and miss for me, but overall I enjoyed the collection. Note to self: We’ve got to read some of these with the lights out for Halloween.
The Rape of the Lock is not what it sounds like at all. It’s an 18th century satiric poem. “Rape” in this sense refers to something stolen and the “Lock” in the title is a lock of hair. Basically it refers to an actual incident in which a guy was being a dick and liked a girl but she rebuffed him so he cut off a lock of her hair. When she freaked out and demanded it back, he refused and started a huge fight which almost became a feud between their families. Pope wrote the poem in order to emphasise how silly the whole thing was. It’s written in the style of a Homeric Epic complete with the dressing of the hero and a descent into the underworld. At the end the lock of hair has disappeared, becoming a constellation of stars that will outlast the entire episode. Now, why the hell am I reading this you might ask. Well, aside from it being interesting in its own right as an example of an extremely popular book that almost no one today has heard of (seriously, Uranus has moons named after these characters), I am also reading it as background for an upcoming project.
“Degrees of Separation” is a prequel to the short story “Block Party” which was a holiday short written for the Baen website. Lee and Miller continuously astound with their short stories and this one is no different. It is at once a love story, an ode to Parisian baking, an examination of Liaden upstairs vs. downstairs cultures and a tie-in to their main novels. It is probably also several other things I haven’t caught yet, either because I need to reread it a few more times, or it connects to books forthcoming. I learn something new about their universe(s) every time I read something of theirs. If I can create half the connections in my own writing as they create in theirs, I will be content.
I’m going to do a separate post about the Lisa Shearin novels, because this post is getting long and I have a lot to say about them. So look for that in the next few days.
Did you get this far? Please, PLEASE!, recommend a new book series to me in the comments.