reading list

The Count of Monte Cristo (finally getting around to Dumas, thanks to free ebooks -- he reminds me of Balzac, but faster-paced)
The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
Twenty Years After, Alexandre Dumas
Aurora Rising and Elysium Fire, Alastair Reynolds
Divergence, C.J. Cherry (please, no more Foreigner books -- Cherryh has forgotten the value of an "antagonist" in moving the plot forward)
The Green Brain, Frank Herbert (screams "mid 1960s")
Thorns, Robert Silverberg (screams "early to mid 1960s" even though written later)
Revenger, Shadow Captain, and Bone Silence, Alastair Reynolds
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Several ebooks by contemporary NYC writer Zak Zyz: Hawks at the Diner, Xan & Ink, The Master Arcanist, The Right to Bear Arms, and Survival Mode
The Cook, Harry Kressing (hat tip JS)
The Confessions of Arsène Lupin, Maurice Leblanc
The Ministry of Fear, Graham Greene

Kidnapped (notes)

Public domain ebooks might be a good way to stay amused and edified during plague time. For example, Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, known as a boy's adventure story, in fact details the intricacies of manners, social position, notions of honor, and the limitations of masculine pride in the Scottish highlands, during the time of the Jacobite uprising of the middle-1700s. The Wikipedians say the novel is about "justice," and that's in there, too, among uncounted arguments about how gentlemen should behave. It begins with a rousing shipboard battle with an alarming body count for a boys' book (or maybe that's what makes it so), and then tracks the two main characters through various physical trials as they cross the wild, sparsely populated Scottish outback. Their narrative includes many encounters with hill people, scrupulously describing dialects and customs, and the writing is fairly brilliant throughout. The Bloomsbury Group excommunicated Stevenson from the canon for some reason, relegating him to the children's section of the library, even though his admirers included (as the Wikipedians tell it): "Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, Marcel Proust, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, Cesare Pavese, Emilio Salgari, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton."

update re: Doris Piserchia website

For almost 20 years I've been maintaining a website (with Joanna Pataki) on science fiction author Doris Piserchia. At the time we began the site Piserchia's books were all out of print; they've since been rediscovered and republished as ebooks by SF Gateway, a Gollancz affiliate.
In the past couple of days I've added some posts to the site's blog, so check 'em out.

And thanks again to Jim Bassett and Digital Media Tree for making the site possible.

reading list

The End of the Story (Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 1)
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
The Faded Sun Trilogy Omnibus, C.J. Cherryh (good, but the ebook is riddled with typos)
Resurgence, C.J. Cherryh (am sticking with her Foreigner series even though nothing happens in this or the previous installment)
The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy, Mervyn Peake (not what I expected -- these books have been described as a "fantasy of manners")
The Last Good Kiss, James Crumley
Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
The Eye of the Heron, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Beginning Place, Ursula K. Le Guin
Worlds of Exile and Illusion, Ursula K. Le Guin (three early sf books by her)
The Genocides, Thomas M. Disch
Stalingrad, Anthony Beevor
Shōgun, James Clavell
C.S. Forester's Hornblower books (never read these)
Various series novels by Alastair Reynolds, Linda Nagata, Tony Hillerman, Arthur Upfield, Ngaio Marsh, Georges Simenon, Colin Dexter, etc etc

marketing music (or not)

Jonathan D. Kramer, Postmodern Music, Postmodern Listening (Bloomsbury, 2016), chapter 10.8:

"...When Beethoven put on concerts for his own financial benefit, he was marketing his wares. Paganini and Liszt cultivated public personae of considerable magnetism, in an effort to draw attention to their product -- that is, their spectacular compositions as they themselves flamboyantly played them. Were they selling out when they composed music with an eye toward the marketplace? Or is selling out a particularly modernist idea? Schoenberg refused to sell out. He did not try to market his wares. His Society for Private Performance was created to avoid all influence of commodification. At that stage in his life, he wanted his music to be heard only by those who were likely to be interested in it and sympathetic to it. He was not trying to convert outsiders to it; rather he was willing to welcome into his circle those who were ready to enjoy and appreciate his music and that by his colleagues. He decidedly did not want to use showmanship to attract large audiences. He preferred small audiences of true appreciators to huge unwashed masses..."