Books Received: March 27

Interesting Soft Skull Press title, two Conjunctions for Best American Fantasy consideration. Caitlin Kiernan’s latest (with chapbook) and two mystery titles from Penguin (thanks Leslie!!!).



  1. says

    You must be a fast reader to get through all these books and still turn in thorough, considered reviews. Any tips for a painfully slow reader such as myself? Not that I write reviews, but my Honours reading list seems to keep expanding when I’d prefer it did the opposite …

  2. jeff VanderMeer says

    The minimum number of books I usually *have* to read in a month is only about 6 to 10, re the full reviews. My Realms of Fantasy reviews are for a quarterly magazine. The Washington Post Book World assigns me something every couple of months, tops. In any one month, I might be doing full-on reviews of 2-3 books for Publishers Weekly, 3-6 for Amazon (of which half are graphic novels), and 1-2 for SF Weekly. That’s not really very much. I read about 70 pages an hour, unless it’s something where the prose is very rich.

    Re any tips…I dunno. I’ve never really trained myself to read fast, I just do.


  3. kelly says

    Best fast-reading tip (and I’m not being sarcastic): Read only stuff you like. Nothing slows me down like disinterest.

  4. says

    Naturally fast readers make me seethe with envy … like my wife, who never misses an opportunity to rub it in my face, lol.

    Kelly – good point about reading what you like. My thesis is on fantasy lit, so I guess I’ve got that covered. I’ve also been told to try taking in 3 or more words at a time and building on that. I’ve managed to convince myself I’m not a slow reader, just a thorough one. 6 to 10 books a month would solve all my problems, however …

  5. says

    I’d also say: follow your taste and don’t pigeonhole yourself. Even though you know you like one type of fiction, don’t suppress your urges for other types of fiction (or non-fiction, for that matter).

    That may sound ludicrous, but, as a self-confessed slow reader, I often struggle with what I think I want to read as opposed to what I really want to read. OK, this is starting to sound like psycho-babble, so I’ll stop…

  6. says

    I don’t read all that fast, I just spend a lot of time reading, or so it seems to me — yet I still read 50-60 pages per hour. But Jeff, I gotta tell ya, I’d love to get your mail for just a couple of months. I turn green every time you publish a picture of one of these lovely piles.

  7. says

    Ellen–we’re still determining the 2007 contents for BAF 2. BAF 3 will be edited by someone else. We’ll be making that announcement next week–very exciting news.


  8. Alan says

    Time permitting, I can usually manage 2-3 books a week, but I don’t think I’m a particularly speedy reader. I once tried to train myself to speed read, but it didn’t really take. For me, racing through 3 or 400 hundred pages in a couple of hours defeated the whole purpose; it turned reading into something I felt I had to do – gotta hit my quota! – rather something I do for pleasure.

    I’ve just finished reading the new edition of Kiernan’s Tales of Pain & Wonder pictured above – a beautiful book, and highly recommended.

  9. says

    I should add that once the dust settles, in months with a lower review deadline load, I go back to books from previous months I couldn’t read at the time. It’s not very scientific, my process, but I get a lot of reading done.

    Yeah–I think Kiernan’s underrated.