In Which Georgette Heyer and Remington Steele Are Juxtaposed

I stumbled across Remington Steele on Hulu and figured I’d take the opportunity to actually see the show. It’s a detective show that was on the air from 1982 to 1987. For a variety of reasons, my access to TV as a kid was spotty, and in spite of the crush-worthy Pierce Brosnan, I’d onlyContinue reading “In Which Georgette Heyer and Remington Steele Are Juxtaposed”

Serendipitous Reading Choices

I accidentally did some thematic reading this week: Blind Descent, by Neveda Barr, followed by Bulletproof Texas, by Kay Thomas. Both are mysteries that figure largely around caves. Barr writes a series that takes place in the national parks, and this one is in Lechuguilla cave in Carlsbad Caverns park. I didn’t realize that Thomas’sContinue reading “Serendipitous Reading Choices”

I Was a Child Freshman English TA

When people ask what books influenced me, they’re usually expecting a list that could double for some Great Books High Literature syllabus, especially if they know my father was an English professor. In fact, my exposure in that genre is pretty sketchy, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t reading. For one stretch of middle school,Continue reading “I Was a Child Freshman English TA”

Some Prereading for NaNoWriMo

Before you bury yourself in the available hundreds of how-to books, take another moment to ask what your problem is—some books are very nuts-and-bolts, step-by-step instructions, and others are more philosophical. As a critic, here’s my definition of a good book about writing: when you’re done reading it, you feel like writing something (rather than,Continue reading “Some Prereading for NaNoWriMo”

What’s the Point of Reviews?

A debate’s been going on about what is the responsibility of a reviewer. Should reviewers be authors, that is to say, what kind of understanding about the process should the reviewer bring to their critique? Should reviewers read within their area of expertise? Should, even, they write negative reviews? All these variants of who isContinue reading “What’s the Point of Reviews?”

Life and Fiction and Barry Eisler

Another bout of vacation reading: Rain Fall, the first of Barry Eiseler’s novels about a Japanese American assassin, and another book I found out about by hanging out on Twitter. My response to the novel gets me thinking about how readers engage writing. Eisler pulls off a tough sell: a first-person narrative by a killerContinue reading “Life and Fiction and Barry Eisler”

Fantasy Baseball: Jill Shalvis’s Double Play

My recreational reading this summer has taken a backseat to my new membership on Twitter. (I’ll pause here so you can lay in firewood or whatever your personal preparations for the apocalypse involve—the beauty of the interwebs is we’ll be here when you get back.) I decided to check it out because a writer friendContinue reading “Fantasy Baseball: Jill Shalvis’s Double Play

Reading about People Who Look Like Me

You may be aware of the controversy around the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s book Liar: the American edition of the book has a picture of a white girl on the cover, even though the narrator of the book is black. The first publisher rationalization for the decision was that the character tells lies, and maybeContinue reading “Reading about People Who Look Like Me”