BOOK & BLOG
July 15, 2009
Books of the Week:
My book reviews will carry over into the blog this week, at least partially, so look for the tie-in.
One of the DAW editors sent me an ARC of Seanan McGuire’s first book. It’s a winner. McGuire’s protagonist is a half-fae named October Daye. October is recovering from having been a fish for fourteen years. What sounds humorous in a summary is tragic in the terms of Toby’s life; in the fourteen years she was transformed, her husband and her daughter have erased her from their lives. Toby is struggling to make it as a human, but the fae world has its hooks in her and pulls her back in, kicking and screaming. A former mentor is murdered; from beyond the grave, she charge Toby with solving the crime. I think any of my readers will enjoy this book, and surely any of Patricia Briggs’ readers will, too. This book will be on the shelves in SEPTEMBER.
I’ve long been a fan of E.E. Knight’s, and I was delighted to get a copy of WINTER DUTY. I never thought I’d read military science fiction, but there are so many things to like about the Vampire Earth books. Knight’s vision of the future is absolutely detailed and clear, his characters are drawn sharply, and the respect the female characters receive is a new and wonderful trend in science fiction. Knight’s women aren’t babes, in any sense. If you’re not tough and self-sufficient in his protagonist Valentine’s world, you fall under the wheels soon enough. WINTER DUTY is not as self-contained as the other Vampire Earth books; since it’s the eighth in the series, I suppose that’s too much to expect. Give yourself a treat and read this series in order. David Valentine is a great character.
Though I don’t read as many conventional mysteries as I used to, my friend Denise Swanson’s Scumble River series remains a favorite. Denise’s books are classical cozies: amateur sleuth, small town, little explicit sex and violence, and a tasty list of suspects and romantic entanglements for the heroine to deal with. Skye Dennison, school psychologist, dutiful daughter, and plus-sized hottie, gets roped into being one of the characters in a haunted house. Naturally, a very disagreeable woman dies in the dark, and her death definitely wasn’t due to natural causes. The school’s finally hired a social worker who’s got her own agenda; and it doesn’t include good works. Skye is dating the police chief, but he’s called out of town since his father’s got a mysterious ailment that requires his son to rush to Texas. In other words, complications abound, as usual, in Scumble River.
Since one of my favorite job perks is meeting new writers and renewing my friendship with writers I know already, this past weekend provided a bonanza of opportunities. When I finalized plans to go to Chicago for a panel at the American Library Association meeting, I also agreed to do Recorded Books event with the fabulous Johanna Parker, who provides the talent for my Sookie books. And the next day, I did a WGN Chicago interview, had lunch with Denise Swanson and her husband, and then went to my signing at the fabulous Oak Brook Borders.
Okay, here’s the name dropping part. Also on the panel at ALA, which was nominally about the difficulties of recommending and classifying paranormal fiction in the library, were Marjorie Liu and Charlie Huston. I’d met Marjorie before very briefly, and I’d long been a Huston reader, though I’d never met the man. So this was an event I really anticipated -- and as it turned out, rightly. The moderator was well prepared, Marjorie was absolutely charming and lovely and obviously one of the hardest-working women in the industry, and Charlie Huston was intelligent and articulate. I think all the librarians present enjoyed the discussion.
Before the Recorded Books event, I met the wonderful actress who “does” the Sookie books, Johanna Parker. I felt an instant rapport with Johanna, and we got along like a house afire. We were the entertainment at the Recorded Books party, where all the guests received a free PlayAWay of DEAD AND GONE. (This was all new technology to me, and I enjoyed creating some of the men who’d made it possible; the people who designed the technology, and the staff of PlayAWay, who put it all together.) Johanna, who is talented, bright, and attractive, read selections from the books, and then I commented. We both answered questions. I think the librarians attending had a great time. I know I did.
Further namedropping! The next day after my television interview on WGN, I had lunch with Denise Swanson and her husband Dave in the restaurant at my hotel. The service was slow but good, the food excellent, and the company delightful. Denise and I have known each other for some years, and we always have things to talk about.
Before I spoke and signed at Borders that night, I had the opportunity to visit with E.E. Knight, his wife Stephanie, and their adorable new baby. I also did a podcast with happy readers Luz and Brandi.
The signing at Borders, as you’ve heard elsewhere on this website, was simply staggering. I don’t know when I’ve been so overwhelmed. If you don’t visit the other places on the site, let me just repeat here that the excellent staff, who had this huge event planned down to a T, were very complimentary about my wonderful readers. Before I spoke and signed I had the opportunity to visit with E.E. Knight, his wife Stephanie, and their adorable new baby. I also did a podcast with happy readers Luz and Brandi.
I was so tired by the end of the night or rather, the next morning, since I got back to my hotel about 1:10 a.m. that I couldn’t believe I had to make an early plane. But I did, and got home that night safe and sound.
Thanks to all of you for a wonderful event at Borders, and for being the enthusiastic and supportive group that you are.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris