WordPress being a jerk; and, give me books to read!

WordPress is being a jerk, and everyone is having commenting problems. Teresa from Shelf Love has a post about what’s going on. Feel free to contact WordPress (not this minute; tomorrow) and express your displeasure. I am displeased. More importantly, my mumsy is displeased. Knock it off, WordPress! Cease at once to displease my mama!

Secondly, I don’t know what to read. A while ago, I begged you to tell me something Awesome to read, and the lovely trapunto told me to read Kage Baker’s Company series, and it was all awesome all the time. (Well, almost all the time.) I just got through reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a book I reread constantly because it never fails to be brilliant and to make me want to do more writing. Further, it is delightfully written, wonderfully plotted, and unendingly creative. And I would like something — not similar similar, but similarly awesomesauce. Would you care to recommend me a book that is awesomesauce? I would like something where I just won’t be able to stop reading it. I checked out a trillion books from the library but I fear none of them will cut it. Help please.

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46 thoughts on “WordPress being a jerk; and, give me books to read!

    • No! And I need to get on that. Argh, how is March half over already? Okay, never fear, I am going to do that. I’ll reshuffle my March posts and slip in a DWJ one. I actually reread a bunch of her books recently.

  1. As awesome as JS&MN? Oh gosh. You’ve read the Temeraire books, yes? What about…Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker and subsequent books! Or…A Drowned Maiden’s Hair!!

    • I have read the Temeraire books — I liked the first one by far the best, and I’m taking a break from the books until people can let me know how the series ends. :p

      Yes to Cherie Priest! I have been meaning to read her books for a while.

  2. Have you read the Bartimaeus books? They’re not as awesome as JS&MrN, but they do have awesomely snarky footnotes. (The first book is less awesome than the other two, just in case you read that and gave up.) Also anything by Sarah Waters. And My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, which is better than Rebecca. There. I said it.

    • Wow. You are so wrong about My Cousin Rachel. It is not even a little bit better than Rebecca. But you have good taste other than that. And yes, actually! I did read the first Bartimaeus book and give up, because the characters were all so unpleasant. Are nicer characters introduced subsequently?

      • Almost everyone would agree with you about My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca. But My Cousin Rachel is so deliciously ambiguous that you don’t even know the truth after you’re finished. If Maxim hadn’t explained everything at the end of Rebecca it would be more awesome.

        And yes, nicer characters are introduced in the later books. Actually, the nicest character of all is introduced in the first book, but she’s minor. She’s a major character in the others. And characters also become nicer, which is even better.

  3. I second Teresa’s Bartimaeus recommendation. Bartimaeus is pretty durned cool, and he can footnote with the best of ’em.

    Now I’m trying to think of something I’ve read and loved that you haven’t read yet… Guy Gavriel Kay? I can’t remember if you’ve ever mentioned him. I personally think the Sarantine Mosaic (SAILING TO SARANTIUM and LORD OF EMPERORS) and TIGANA are his very bestest of best books, but lots of other people think THE LIONS OFAL-RASSAN is better. I will say that LIONS gets going quicker than SARANTIUM, at least so far as I can recall, and it did make me weep my eyes out at the end.

    I also highly highly highly recommend Ann-Marie MacDonald’s books. There are only two of them, and I love them so much that I keep trying to use the power of my mind to make her write more, more, more.

    • I have some mental reservation, which I have not yet tracked to a source, about Guy Gavriel Kay. I think I might have read one of his books when I first got to college and not liked it, and the girl who lent it to me, who I was hoping would become my friend, was upset I didn’t like it and we never really became friends. So I want to avoid that one. It was about a bunch of…students? And they all went to another world? Wow is that unspecific.

      Ann-Marie MacDonald! Got it!

      • That sounds like the Fionavar Tapestry. THE SUMMER TREE was his first book, and it’s definitely not his best. It doesn’t feel much like any of his later books, either; they’re all alternate history (or secondary world stuff that feels like alternate history, even though it’s set somewhere totally different), while his debut trilogy was heavily influenced by Tolkien.

  4. I can recommend Kate Griffin’s A Madness of Angels, if you haven’t read it already. Lots of delicious words and tricky city-magic.

  5. hmph. I’m having trouble with blogger today. I read something about content redirect for other countries, and I see my blog address is now blogspot.ca

    But my bigger issue is I can’t see any comments, and i can’t seem to edit my blog from my blog. I used to have a little pencil I clicked,and it’s not there. Plus, I can see the number of comments, but when I click, they aren’t there. I dont’ know why I am complaining to you, you just happened to have a post that made me realize how mad I am.

  6. I was also going to mention Sarah Waters — have you read Fingersmith? Also Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. . . Zola! How about Germinal? Or La Bete Humaine? The Belly of Paris has lots of great food writing if you like that sort of thing.

    Also Trollope — The Way We Live Now was great. Especially if you want a big fat book to absorb you for a couple of weeks, depending on how fast you read and how much time you have. Barchester Towers is great and much shorter, but it helps to have read The Warden first, which isn’t as good.

    I could go on and on.

    • Yes to Fingersmith, yes to Game of Thrones, and I am a smidge nervous of Zola. I like awesome writing but I’m concerned Zola is not plotty enough to make me happy.

      • Actually I find Zola to be more plot than character development, especially in the later books. His writing style is not at all difficult, very journalistic. He’s surprisingly easy to read for a 19th century writer, and I’ve read translations by several different people. Just stay away from anything translated by Vizitelly because those are old translations and very watered down because of obscenity charges back in the day. The Oxford World Classics are good and so are the Penguins.

    • Hell! I have The Gone-Away World! You gave me The Gone-Away World and I have just realized anew that I’m the worst birthday gift recipient in the world and haven’t read it yet. I’m putting everything else to the side and reading The Gone-Away World at once.

  7. Oh, you would enjoy the Bartimaeus books, I think. Footnotes, demons, Ptolemy, rebellion! And have you ever read John Crowley’s Little, Big? It might be more of an autumnal sort of a read but it is a fantastic book.

    I want to read all the books everyone here has suggested myself! My Cousin Rachel and A Madness of Angels, particularly.

    • Little, Big, you say? Okay. I shall try it.

      And dude, just so you’re aware, My Cousin Rachel is not better than Rebecca. If you expect it to be, you will be disappointed.

      • Ah, I see that you didn’t like the first Bartimaeus book. It does suffer from a dearth of non-jerky characters. BUT, if you give the second and third books a try you might find them more agreeable. The third book is so super awesome that it’s almost a shame you have to suffer through the first two in order to get around to it.

        Thanks for the warning! I really don’t see how she could have written anything better than Rebecca, but it is encouraging that My Cousin Rachel is so highly regarded!

      • I didn’t like My Cousin Rachel at all. I had read some of duMaurier’s other work, so I wasn’t just comparing it to Rebecca…it was just boring. I liked Frenchman’s Creek, though.

      • My Cousin Rachel is by far my least fave du Maurier so far. I thought it was because I was having a hard time w life stuff when I read it, but maybe it’s just not as good. 😉

      • Second the recommendation of Little, Big, which is completely fantastic, but DO NOT expect it to be plotty. It’s not a grab-you book, it’s a magical lyrical strange figure-it-out mysterious book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past ten years, but it’s not plotty.

  8. I’ll have to note this post and all the great comments! I was going to ask if you knew about the Book March Madness competition and I’m finding out a few new books to read that I’m shocked I don’t know about. I’m also quite pleased that I had read MANY of the books playing.

    Here’s the link, too late to fill your bracket but fun to see who is ‘winning’; http://outofprintclothing.com/book-madness/

    I want to Jonathan Strange and mr. Norrell some day.
    Now I have to go see what’s up with WP… (sigh)

    • I do know about it and I’ve read almost none of them! I’m never very up on the most recent books, I’m afraid — they’re too hard to get at the library

  9. I also hate the new WordPress system. I admit I have been avoiding even trying to comment on WordPress blogs since it rolled out because it takes me about five times to leave a comment, and of course I never remember to copy the comment before I try to post it and then it’s gone.

    That said, I read my first Kage Baker recently and loved it! I can’t wait to tackle The Company.

    • What Kage Baker book did you read? I have a huge girl-crush on her. I am soooo sorry WordPress is being the worst ever. I’m hoping they have some sort of fix-it-and-we’re-sorry policy shift soon. If not I may consider switching to Blogger.

      • I read The Anvil of the World and really liked it! Have you read it? I am going to start The Company series in late spring, I believe. I am very excited! I think I am going to have a girl crush on her, too, so we can sigh and imagine ourselves as time travelers together!

        I don’t know why I bothered writing this comment, really. It will probably disappear. BUT this time I remembered to copy and paste in case it takes five tries to post 🙂

  10. Dude, I cannot believe you are moderating my comments. I never say anything spam-arific, I hope!

    Have you read Patricia McKillip? I just read her Alphabet of Thorn and really liked it, if you are in a fairy tale-like fantasy mood.

    • I’m not! I’m not moderating your comments, I would never do that. WordPress for some reason held it in moderation without asking me. I have no idea. I don’t even know. Dammit. I shall send them another stroppy email.

  11. I loved The Storm at the Door, and read it several months ago. I thought it was a really well seasoned read with some intense emotion. I would love to hear what you think about it if you do read it!

  12. Sadly, there is little sauce as awesome as Kage Baker’s! I too am in a fix for awesome reading. I keep reading books that were supposed to be awesome, and then they aren’t. I want my socks knocked off again just to prove it can still be done.

    Since I couldn’t get through Jonathan Strange (admittedly the audio version), I’m wondering if I should recommend historical-setting fiction but the author I’ve discovered recently who writes the most beautiful and wry descriptions, and is the most satisfying to read in terms of emotionally convincing characters doing things that aren’t boring . . . is Jude Morgan. One of those ones like Baker who makes it look so easy you don’t even notice how good he is at first, just gobble gobble. You’ll want to start with Passion, though his early historical romances are fun too. Symphony is good but depressing.

    It all depends on what kind of awesome you want your sauce. If you are looking for smaller quantities of a darker, stronger sauce, there’s Elizabeth Wein–an author whose talents have given me as much joy as Megan Whalen Turner’s and absolutely ought to be as well known as Turner. Descriptions of her books will make them sound like something kid-ish and history lesson-y you don’t want to read, but they AREN’T and you DO. Her first is The Winter Prince and it is imperative to read them in order.

  13. Oh, and I’m interested to see so many people recommending the Bartimeus books! For me the Amulet of Samarkand is a prime example kind of book that is supposed to be awesome, and I come home from the library and sit down for my awesomesauce sundae, and then it’s like I find out out poured a big jar of ancient chutney all over my ice cream instead.

    • I liked reading the Bartimeus footnotes, for a while, but have to agree with Trapunto…my kids liked them, but they were ten and twelve at the time.

  14. I have nothing useful to add except . . . I love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell! To pieces. It may actually be time to reread it. Although the weather is too springy to read it right now. I like reading it when it’s dreary out.

  15. Do you like Byatt? have you read her novella The Conjugial Angel? I am both fascinated and in too deep. Morpho Eugenia was also more than creepy crawly. (look for Angels and Insects at the library, pub’d in 1992)

  16. I know I’ve recommended you something here before, but I can’t remember now what it was. But here: try A Lemon and a Star by E.C. Spykman. Your library probably has it. And have you tried The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? I like pretty much all of Michael Chabon, but I think that’s his best. And have you read Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series? It seems like you would have, a long time ago, but if you haven’t they are right up your alley and have aged really well. And how about, for nonfiction, Opening Skinner’s Box, by Lauren Slater? It goes into all of those famous psychological experiments that people did in the 1960s and ’70s, and what the implications are. It has flaws but is really interesting anyway. And then three more books: Surrender by Sonya Hartnett (this is YA, really could be shelved with adult fiction, infinitely strange and cool); and two kid’s books by Elizabeth Goudge that you’ll like the same way you like Rumer Godden, I think: Linnets and Valerians, and The Little White Horse.

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