August & September 2010 Recommended Reading List

I’d planned to make this a monthly post, but this is the busiest time of the year for me so it didn’t happen.  Maybe next month.  Maybe next year.

In any case, here’s the best of what I’ve been reading.

Cabot, MegQueen of Babble Gets Hitched, William Morrow, 2008.  Meg Cabot is more famous for her Princess series and deservedly so.  Queen of Babble doesn’t quite live up to that high standard, but it is a fun read.  (Adult males are about the last demographic these books are geared toward, but I enjoy them anyway.)

If a writer wants to learn about voice, read Princess Dairies.  Cabot is a master.

Child, Lee, Tripwire, Putnam, 1999. It took me an unconscionably long time to check out Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, but I’m making up for lost time. I’ve started out at the beginning and gotten to this one, the third volume.

As with the first two, Child holds you spellbound throughout.  Highly recommended.

Connelly, MichaelThe Black Ice, 1993. I’d been reading Connelly for quite a while before I decided to go back and read some of his early ones that I’d missed.  This is one of them, the second Harry Bosch novel.  I’m stunned at what a terrific novelist he was way back when he was still earning the fame he has today.

Jackson, Shirley“The Lottery,” The New Yorker, podcast. I know what you’re thinking.  “The Lottery.”  Oh my God, why don’t you recommend Mark Twain or Shakespeare?

Fair enough.  But what I’m really recommending are the podcasts of short fiction that are becoming increasingly abundant, in this case from The New Yorker via iTunes.

It’s fascinating that this story, so widely read today, prompted such outrage when it first was published in 1948.  It still stands tall.

Rusch, Kristine Kathyrn, “G-Men,” Recovering Apollo 8 and Other Stories, 2010.  A terrific alternate history andmystery story.  It’s no surprise that it was selected for Best of the Year anthologies in both genres.  Outstanding.

Rusch, Kristine Kathyrn, “June Sixteenth at Anna’s,” Recovering Apollo 8 and Other Stories, 2010.  A poignant, bittersweet tale that I loved all the way through.   

Rusch, Kristine Kathyrn, Recovering Apollo 8 and Other Stories, Golden Gryphon Press, 2010.  It should be pretty clear that I loved this short story collection.  I singled out two stories in the last edition of my list of recommendations and added another two this time.  I’d have added “Craters” and “Diving into the Wreck” if I hadn’t read them previously.   And you know what?  I liked the other three stories, too, but didn’t feel I could list them all.

This collection should nominated for all the top awards. Consistently outstanding.

Stockett, KatherynThe Help, audio download from, 2009.  You no doubt have heard of this bestselling novel so I’ll just say that it isn’t all hype.  This was my favorite novel of the year. 

Valente, Catherynne M., “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Space/Time,” Clarkesworld , August 1, 2010 podcast.  An ingeniously creative short story.  Experimental, but highly readable.  (Or listenable in this case.)