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Books & Authors

I nor­mal­ly have sev­er­al books in progress at any giv­en time — fic­tion, anthol­o­gy, and at least one non-fic­tion audio­book that I lis­ten to while dri­ving or doing hand­work. There are only a few authors whose works I read and re-read, and some of those have had quite an influ­ence on my life.

If you’ve been here before, you may have noticed that this page got a lot short­er. Some of the items had got­ten pret­ty dat­ed, so I removed them. While I’m still read­ing vora­cious­ly, I keep track of what I’m read­ing over at GoodReads, occa­sion­al­ly review­ing books here on my blog.

Also, because the sci­ence fic­tion and fan­ta­sy books and authors were tak­ing over the page, I’ve giv­en them to their own place.

Books

Cover of The Red Tent

The Red Tent by Ani­ta Dia­mant isn’t a book I would nor­mal­ly have picked up. I trust Cather­ine, though, and she rec­om­mend­ed it, so I read it. In fact, after I start­ed read­ing, I couldn’t stop. It’s a fic­tion­al account of Dinah, the only daugh­ter of Jacob (of Old Tes­ta­ment fame). It’s told by her, and it’s absolute­ly fas­ci­nat­ing.

Cover of Obsidian Butterfly

After read­ing the first book of the Ani­ta Blake series by Lau­rell K. Hamil­ton out of sheer bore­dom, I had to go out and get every oth­er vol­ume, and devoured them in no time at all. I want more. Right now. I don’t even like hor­ror in gen­er­al, but I’d have to say that these books are more dark fan­ta­sy than hor­ror, and they’re always spiced with plen­ty of humor. (Lat­er note: Obsid­i­an But­ter­fly was the last book of the series that real­ly focused on plot more than sex, so those who don’t want to read about Anita’s increas­ing col­lec­tion of lovers should stop with this vol­ume.)

I am wait­ing, very impa­tient­ly, for Lynne Mur­ray to get her next book out so I can read more about Jo Fuller, hero­ine of Larg­er Than Death and Large Tar­get. While I have been prac­tic­ing size accep­tance for sev­er­al years now, Jo Fuller is the first fic­tion­al char­ac­ter I’ve encoun­tered who does the same, and the dia­logue between the Jo and those push­ing diets at her real­ly rang true for me.

I encoun­tered Mon­i­ca Fer­ris in the rec.crafts.textiles.needlwork news­group, and then found her very read­able mys­ter­ies that are set in a needle­work shop, Crewel World, owned by Bet­sy Devon­shire. The first book is also called Crewel World and has a count­ed cross-stitch pat­tern relat­ed to the plot print­ed in the back of the book. Framed in Lace has a sec­ond cross-stitch pat­tern in it. There’s a needle­point pat­tern includ­ed in A Stitch in Time. I have no idea what she’ll put in Rav­eled Sleeve, book four — but I look for­ward to read­ing the book and see­ing the pat­tern! I met Ms. Fer­ris this past spring when Sam­pler Cot­tage in Mari­et­ta host­ed a book sign­ing, and she’s every bit as delight­ful as her detec­tive.

Mag­da­lene la Bâtarde, hero­ine of Rober­ta Gel­lis’ nov­el A Mor­tal Bane, is in some ways far removed from Bet­sy Devon­shire — she runs what is referred to by one char­ac­ter as “the most expen­sive broth­el in Lon­don.” The busi­ness is reg­is­tered on the tax rolls of medieval Eng­land as a house of fine needle­work­ers — and they do, in fact, design, stitch and sell var­i­ous pieces when they aren’t oth­er­wise occu­pied. I found the nov­el fas­ci­nat­ing, and it cer­tain­ly seemed true to the peri­od (although I’m cer­tain­ly not an expert). The char­ac­ters were well-drawn and sym­pa­thet­ic, as well. I hope to read more about Mag­da­lene la Bâtarde and her ladies in the future.

Bad Blood is the lat­est of Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series. It was a good as I’ve come to expect from her, but didn’t hit me as hard as an ear­li­er vol­ume, Hunter’s Moon, did (if you’ve read the oth­er books in the series, I’ll warn you — Hunter’s Moon one will tear you up). I cried, and that just doesn’t hap­pen often — I can’t remem­ber any oth­er book of fic­tion that’s pro­voked tears from me. I’m enjoy­ing the Liam Camp­bell series as well (lat­est is Bet­ter to Rest), but I relate to Shugak more than Camp­bell.

I Still Miss My Man, But My Aim Is Get­ting Bet­ter, Sarah Shankman (yes, it is the title of a coun­try song, in the book, at least!). While I’ve enjoyed Shankman’s Saman­tha Adams series, I didn’t love them like I do Shel­by Kay Tate’s sto­ry. I want to hear more about Shel­by, but since this book came out sev­er­al years back I’m start­ing to think I’ll be dis­ap­point­ed.

Authors

Madeleine L’Engle was one of my heras. I love every one of her books, fic­tion, poet­ry and prose. She was sim­ply an incred­i­ble lady.

I used to have most of C.S. Lewis’ books, and re-read them every few years. I’ve heard an audio ver­sion of The Screw­tape Let­ters record­ed by John Cleese that is absolute­ly side-split­ting, but I don’t own a copy (yet). The Great Divorce is the only book I’ve ever read that pre­sent­ed any the­o­ries about hell that I could rec­on­cile with the con­cept of a lov­ing deity.

Leslea New­man is a joy, but it’s often hard to find her books. Her vol­ume of poet­ry, Love Me Like You Mean It, is one I near­ly wore out before it dis­ap­peared. I wish I could find a hard­cov­er edi­tion, but I would set­tle for get­ting it in paper­back again. Most peo­ple know her as the author of Heather Has Two Mom­mies, and she has pub­lished quite a few children’s books – in fact, Belinda’s Bou­quet was one of Katie’s favorites when she was younger. Fat Chance is an excel­lent book for teens.