Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Books read, week of 3/21

I'm editing like mad, since my manuscript for An Infamous Marriage is due in less than two weeks, but I've managed to squeeze in some reading time:

33) The Duchess of Richmond's Ball: 15 June 1815, by David Miller. Only of interest to the SERIOUS Waterloo geek, especially if said geek is working on a novel including a scene at the famous ball. Containes a complete guest list with mini-bios of everyone present. That said, I'm not sure how far to trust any of those bios, since I caught several errors about the Duke of Wellington's background--e.g. he gets nuances of the Wellesley family's assorted titles wrong, and he says that Wellington was 3rd of 4 brothers rather than 3rd of 5 (admittedly, Gerald managed to avoid the fame/notoriety of the other four--no sex scandals that I'm aware of, for starters--but his existence isn't exactly hidden and hard to discover). Of course, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter that Richard Wellesley was Earl of Mornington before he became Marquess Wellesley, nor that there was a less famous clergyman brother named Gerald, but still, it makes it hard for me to trust the book on areas where I'm NOT coming in with preexisting expertise.

34) How to Be Black, by Baratunde Thurston. One of the blogs I followed obsessively during the run-up to the 2008 election and still check from time to time is Jack and Jill Politics, so when I heard that Thurston, the blog's cofounder, had a book out, I requested it from the library. While I'm white, you can't live in America without being aware of racial issues (especially if you've got a smart kid who asks all kinds of probing questions based on snippets of commentary she hears on the radio), and this book is a satirical, thoughtful look at where we are now.

35) While at Amazon preordering Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, I noticed Proto Zoa, a collection of Lois McMaster Bujold's early short stories that I'd never read before. I'm not a huge fan of short stories, because you don't have time to connect to the characters, but I like Bujold's writing so much I bought it anyway. I'm not sorry I did. It was a nice, quick read even if I didn't love the stories the way I do her full-length books.

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