Thursday, September 11, 2014


It is hard to believe I've only been back in New York for two weeks. Once the semester starts it is a roller-coaster, all you can do is hang on and wait for it to stop! I guess it is about one-twelfth of the way done?!? Hmmmm, better pace myself for the remaining eleven-twelfths....

Did an amazing triathlon on Sunday (race report here). One more next weekend and then I just need to get on a regular exercise schedule. I've been resting all week due to tired legs, scraped-up elbow and knee and general insanity of school!

Some good light reading around the edges (weeks worth, really - I am annoyed with myself when I go so long without posting it as it becomes tedious to paste in a good many links at once!):

My friend Marco posted a picture drawn by his ten-year-old daughter that reminded me of my passion for Martin Millar's Lonely Werewolf Girl. I checked Amazon and there was indeed a new installment of this utterly enthralling series: The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf! It is just as good as the previous two. Imagine Jilly Cooper (he has her rare gift for writing funny appealing characters you care about & being able to spool off stories about them at nearly infinite length) as rewritten with input from Stephen Elliott and Francesca Lia Block - these books are frankly just ridiculously appealing!

Then I read Millar's pseudonymously published Thraxas, but it is not as much to my taste (if you want to try Millar without werewolves, a good place to start is the hilarious Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me).

I liked Declare so much that I downloaded a few more books by Tim Powers; The Drawing of the Dark and Three Days to Never are bot good reads but neither is as much to my taste as Declare.

A cycling-related recommendation from my friend Troy: Richard Moore, Slaying the Badger: Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault and the Greatest Tour de France.

I got Gwenda Bond's Girl on a Wire as an electronic advance reading copy via Amazon Prime. It is delightful! Gave me happy memories of reading again and again from the school library a Noel Streatfeild book that was not one of my absolute favorites (theaters being more exciting places to me than circuses!) but that still captivated me like all her others, Circus Shoes. (It was clear even to optimistic childhood self that I could not have a career as an acrobat or a trick horse rider if I had to run away and join the circus, but I thought there was a good chance that I could play in the band!)

Amazing two-fer that got me blissfully through the knackered evenings of the first week of classes: Lee Child, Personal and Tana French, The Secret Place. These two books are perfect of their respective kinds, and they are appealing kinds at that. I would teach these on a syllabus to show the equal importance of voice, character and plotting to perfect popular fiction! The Tana French in particular is just remarkably good, I am sure I will read it again very soon - shades of Miss Pym Disposes! Especially impressive is the way the whole thing really depends on the creation of a grimly intense mood - it is really like a much more effective and amazing version of what I was trying to do in The Magic Circle.

A very appealing SF novel by Daryl Gregory called The Devil's Alphabet (reminded me of another underrated old favorite of mine, Peter Dickinson's The Green Gene).

Finally, devastatingly (I finished it an hour ago and can't quite imagine what novel I could read immediately following it - might have to turn to some nonfiction instead?): Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun.

One more tenure letter to write this weekend, and a letter of recommendation I should have done already (many others hard on its heels!); meetings tomorrow morning, but after that mostly just plans to do a lot of work and some exercise. Had to get this post written this evening because light reading catch-up is one of the throat-clearing procrastinatory things I do when I have to write something that takes attention but that I don't really feel like doing, and it will be better to have gotten it out of the way this evening!


  1. Best Tim Powers (in rough order of my taste at least are Declare, The Anubis Gates, Last Call, The Stress of Her Regard, On Stranger Tides. After that, it falls off quite a bit.

  2. I was thinking that sounds great (Millar) except for the werewolves, and then, of course, I loved Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me! Maybe he will write some more without werewolves for me.