Hi, I was curious if you had any book recommendations! I'm in a reading slump and your previous recs really helped me out, so I was wondering if you have more to share.
Yes! I have been reading A LOT recently because I… am unemployed… and I have nothing else to do.
I just read A Legacy of Spies, the new John le Carré book, for @overinvestedpodcast, and loooved it, though I would recommend reading/watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold first. I also recently read A Perfect Spy, le Carré’s best book, or so everybody says, and I believe them. It is SO GOOD. Also extremely long in a very satisfying way. You can really dig into it.
Conversations with Friends is the debut novel by an Irish wunderkind writer, Sally Rooney, who is YOUNGER THAN I AM, to my immense horror; I read it in a day. Really wonderful. On the totally opposite side of the spectrum, I just read Uprooted by Naomi Novik which I thought had some problems but found really really fun and which I inhaled. I hadn’t read anything like that in a long, long time and it really transported me back to my childhood. I ordered a few other fantasy books which I am looking forward to reading to ~rediscover my youth. (The best book of this type remains Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, though, 4 EVER & ALWAYS.)
I also finally read The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, which I had somehow never read before, and found it immensely flawed but also I literally read it in one day and it is almost 600 pages long. I COULD NOT put it down. There were a lot of American novels that came out in/around the 2000s that all had a similar sort of bouncy prose style that is a little bit reminiscent of the 19th century novel, and indeed the books themselves were very long and convoluted in a Dickensy way. And most of them were very flawed but YOU COULDN’T PUT THEM DOWN. I’m thinking of Kavalier and Clay, Middlesex, Freedom/The Corrections (straddling the aughts), On Beauty (Zadie Smith is obviously English but this is her most American book), and surely something else I’m forgetting… but anyway The Art of Fielding is so EXACTLY one of those books. Like half of it is a total disaster, and the other half is perfect. Also I love baseball so that was a big plus. But I don’t think you have to love baseball to enjoy the book.
If you DO love baseball then The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World, by Joshua Prager, is super fascinating and entertaining (even if he really needed a better copy editor…). Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, by Howard Bryant, is also excellent and depressing and actually I think would be really interesting even if you don’t give two shits about baseball, particularly if you’re from Boston (as I am). The Good Soldiers and Thank You for Your Service, by David Finkel, are great books about the military and PTSD, the latter especially. (I have been reading a lot of books about war and baseball and so they are basically… all by men… someday I will start reading books by women again… someday… specifically when Jennifer Egan’s new novel, Manhattan Beach, comes out. I CAN’T WAIT.)
Also I reread all of His Dark Materials and it was just as good as I had recalled. J’ADORE.
PS I have a bunch of messages that have accumulated over… months… from when I was locked out of my account, and someday I will reply to them. Somehow despite not having anything to do (except read) I seem to find myself perpetually occupied, and then the emails don’t get sent, and the messages remain in the inbox, and so on and so forth. But anyway: it will happen!
So TES fandom, how many people are “I want to play a diverse range of character types and playstyles” and how many are “every one of my protags is the same race, gender, and class because they’re my favourites”?