Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Reading, Books 97-99

97) Deadly Heat, by "Richard Castle."

This series continues to be enjoyable meta-fun for fans of the Castle TV series, though I doubt I'd find it particularly interesting if I didn't watch the show. This particular entry got a little convoluted for my taste, but it was still a quick, entertaining read.

98) Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire, by Flora Fraser.

My research book collection, purchased to aid me in my fiction-writing career, fills a tall bookshelf and spills onto a second one. This would all be very well were it not for the fact I've only read maybe half of its contents. It's not that I don't spend a lot of time researching my manuscripts--I do. It's just that I'm greedy when it comes to used bookstores, bargain book catalogs, and the like, and I'll pick up anything even vaguely related to something I might want to write about someday. The new acquisitions get alphabetized neatly by subject, then all but forgotten about, given how busy I am.

Only lately I've been working out three times a week in front of my main research bookshelf, which happens to be right next to the computer I'm using to stream exercise videos. And all those unread research books are TAUNTING me, I swear. So one evening after my workout I made a quick list, divided into six loose subject categories, of my research TBR pile, leaving out books that aren't really designed to be read, like map collections, who's who lists, and the like. I plan to draw random books from each list, rotating through the subject divisions for variety's sake, until I've either made it through the collection or given up and accepted the lack of world enough and time to Read All the Books. While I'm shooting for two books a month, it isn't a hard and fast schedule, since some of these books are far longer and denser than others.

My first unread research book turned out to be a quick read. Pauline Bonaparte would've fit right in to a certain niche of modern celebrity culture. If she hadn't been Napoleon's sister she would've lived and died in obscurity, not having any particular greatness, intelligence, or accomplishments in her own right. But she was extremely beautiful by the neoclassical standard of her day, not to mention as well-connected as it was possible to be while her brother's power lasted. And for the most part she was just a shrewd, selfish party girl. Today she'd be all over People and Us Weekly, being famous for being famous.

I don't think I would've liked her even a tiny bit, but her life was a window into the upper echelons of Napoleonic society, and who knows when that might come in handy as I write?

99) Midnight Blue-Light Special, by Seanan McGuire.

I loved the first book in this series so much I didn't wait long to read the next one. This one expands the focus a bit away from Verity alone to include more about her family and the paranormal community of New York, especially her adopted cousin Sarah, who looks human but isn't. I enjoyed it, though I missed All Verity All the Time, and my anticipation of the next book in the series is muted a little now that I've learned the focus is to shift from her to her brother, whom we haven't met on the page yet.


  1. "d I'll pick up anything even vaguely related to something I might want to write about someday. " Been there. Done that. Got the book several times.
    Didn't care for Midnight Blue-Light Special at all. Given the build-up of OMG The Covenant Is Coming I expect the equivalent of a SHIELD task force. instead we get three unremarkable people with guns. Unimpressive.

    1. Yeah, I agree the Covenant wasn't quite the Big Bad I was expecting them to be. I think that aspect of the plot would've worked better if they'd been there to check out Dominic for not performing up to expectations or something.