Tell Me Something Wonderful

Jeff VanderMeer • August 18th, 2009 @ 2:51 pm • Uncategorized

Finished last big deadline for week and have hit the wall. Brain needs silence. Back Thursday. In the meantime, tell me about some project you’re involved with that you’re passionate about, or the best book you read recently.

41 Responses to “Tell Me Something Wonderful”

  1. Jay Lake says:

    Best book recently…

    Published; JULIAN COMSTOCK by Robert Charles Wilson
    Unpublished: I DIDN’T WANT TO GO ON YOUR STUPID QUEST, ANYWAY by C.S. Inman

    Current project passion…

    Joint novel with Shannon, which is loads of fun and going quite well. Writing ho!

  2. John Teehan says:

    Recent book I’m enjoying the he’ll out of: Starcombing by David Langford

    Passion projects: fanac-papering my office walls and getting graphic novel publishing biz off the ground.

  3. Amanda Williams says:

    This isn’t book related, but as of today an iPhone game I did artwork for is on the iTunes app charts at #36, is #2 in their New and Notable, and we just won an Editor’s Choice Award from IGN.com. It’s called Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.

    Some more info here: http://toucharcade.com/2009/08/11/spider-the-secret-of-bryce-manor-a-wonderfully-imaginative-game/

    And here: http://www.brainygamer.com/the_brainy_gamer/2009/08/emerging.html

    Give it a try if you have an iPhone. It’s quite fun. :)

    Amanda

  4. Matt Staggs says:

    Best book recently: “The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart” by Jesse Bullington. It’s got me thinking about speculative literature in ways that I’ve never examined it before.

    Passion projects: working on my own writing skills, particularly in the realms of criticism and creative nonfiction. I’ve also recently acquired some large stretched canvases and a very nice easel, and I’ve been dreaming of painting again.

  5. Jay Tomio says:

    Semi-passionately working on World Domination, but I’m loving the hell out of DC’s Wednesday Comics until I get there.

  6. Rob says:

    Best book read recently:
    BY HERESIES DISTRESSED by David Weber (Safehold #3)

    Passion Projects:
    THE GHOSTS OF NORTH TEXAS – black & white photographs of aged shacks and barns scattered around the plains and grasslands of North Texas. Kind of an Ansel Adams-y sort of thing.

  7. Paul Riddell says:

    I’m perpetually reminded that NEXT time I’m told “you need to put out a book” to get the money from these geniuses beforehand, but that’s relatively minor. The bright news is that I’m getting ready for a big plant show next month, and I’m trying something a bit different. It’s part Chinese penjing (the art of miniaturizing plants to produce a specific scene), part traditional Western diorama work, and part something new. I’ll post pictures when it’s done. And then, when I’m done, it’s a matter of finishing the conversion of an old Eighties-era floor model television into an orchid display case. You’ll boogie ’til you puke.

  8. Val says:

    I’m passionate about bone marrow registry drives I’m trying to plan, and working on Nanopress, the small publisher a friend founded, although a lot of things have been on hold recovering from Worldcon.

    Mostly reading short stories lately. But I’d like to wholeheartedly recommend “Moon” and “District 9″…am posting a review sometime soon.

    have a good rest.

  9. G. Arthur Brown says:

    I’m writing a story about kitten that is not a kitten. I’m sure there will be more to it and I’ll put some deeper meanings in there, y’know, for the critics, but basically that’s the core. If you don’t want to read a story about a kitten that’s not a kitten, then I don’t want to know you!

    And I read the Wavering Knife by Brian Evenson, which filled me with many emotions at once, not the least of which was envy.

  10. Timblynod says:

    Reading ‘Rashomon’ for the first time. Can’t believe I’ve never come across this before. A fascinating collection of tales.

  11. Adam says:

    Not sure about any books, but “Shining Armor” by Dominic Green was very awesome.
    Project: A story about life, love, and entropy.

  12. Kathy says:

    Best book(s): David Louis Edelman’s “Infoquake” and “MultiReal”.
    Passion project: Hmm…gotta get me one o’ dem.

  13. Kevin Roche says:

    Current simple but exciting project: Arranging a group outing to opening night of Spamalot to celebrate my 49th. It’s nothing big or earthshaking, but it’s generating lots of pleasant anticipation for me.

  14. Larry says:

    Hrmm…project, excited about? Umm…I’m going to write over a dozen weekly educational progress reports tonight? Yay?

    As for a recent great read, hrmm…I did finally read Charles Finney’s The Circus of Dr. Lao last week. Great stuff.

    Currently reading Rabih Alameddine’s The Hakawati, which just won the Roma Prize for Translated Fiction, I see. Very promising, so far.

  15. Ben Seeberger says:

    Best [written] book: Soul Mountain, by Gao Xingjian
    That has to be specified: it’s not a very exciting book, and often feels like a series of very short stories with a loosely related theme. However, it is superbly written/translated, and even more superbly written in Chinese. It’s sad that the author isn’t even known by most intellectuals in mainland China. Hopefully that will change soon.

    Currently prepping my brain for a new job change for teaching in Beijing. I wish I had time for my novel, but it will have to wait until I get settled there.

  16. Dan Read says:

    Recently finished Joker One, a memoir about a Marine Lieutenant’s experiences in Iraq circa 2004. It is a riveting book that does not get into politics or anything of that ilk. It’s a personal story, showcasing elements of courage, humility, and leadership (which, the author shows, is nearly synonymous with humility). Highly recommended.

    Dan

  17. S.J. Chambers says:

    This isn’t the best book I’ve read, but maybe the most draining. I felt like I was dating it, at one point: Drood by Dan Simmons.

    It was compelling, but I was disappointed in how it ended.

    I have a few things up at Bookslut that I’m proud of, and I’m sending out queries and getting ready for the Poe Bicentennial this October in Philly.

  18. Vega says:

    I’m a graphic novel reading spree, and have been quite blown away by Jeff Smith’s Bone and Kazuo Koike’s Lone Wolf and Cub. Gotta read ‘em all now!

    When all my resources come together, I’ll be starting a new photography project. And I’m getting back into my arty groove and drawing a bit more regularly these days. So there’s lots to be excited about! (Unfortunately they’re not my day job…)

  19. Caleb Wilson says:

    I just finished The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. Loved it, hilarious and beautiful in a stressful way.

  20. morgan dempsey says:

    I like sharing lovely things so I’ll share: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1JZ9O15280 (Ukranian woman doing sand art recreating the German invasion of the Ukraine in WWII) and http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/08/living_willow_architecture.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890 (“living willow architecture”)

    I just recently finished reading (unpublished) THE CHILD THIEF by Brom. Due out in a few days. Absolutely *incredible* — I hear it’s being compared to WICKED and frankly I think it’s an apt comparison. Easier language, but just as heartbreaking and dark.

    And I’m about 10,000 words out from finishing my second novel. I’m pretty pleased with this one :)

  21. Conschobhar says:

    Independent People by Halldor Laxness. Dark icelandic mythology. Conversations with dishes. One of the most fascinating characters is a cow. There are so many dazzling aspects to it. By the way, i just noticed the Onion AV article that featured the Steampunk Anthology. Pretty cool.

  22. J. T. Glover says:

    Project: the current novel-in-progress is going more or less smoothly. It’s also enabled me to dabble a little more deeply in The Lake of Research than I did last time out, allowing me to read all sorts of neat things. Such as…

    Book: Witching Culture. It’s an ethnological/anthropological study of contemporary paganism that’s the best thing I’ve read along those lines since Drawing Down the Moon or Triumph of the Moon. Focuses on altered states of consciousness as the key element of modern witchcraft.

    Watching: Torchwood: Children of Earth. Just finished it last night, and it both tied up very nicely what had gone before and was in its own right the best season yet. Love that show.

  23. Anne S says:

    After reading John Crowley’s Four Freedoms and A S Byatt’s The Children’s Book, I found it hard to read other lighter fiction. Both the above books are totally wonderful in different ways.

    I am however slightly mollified at present reading Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger – superbly written and a quite spine tinglingly chilling ghost story.

  24. Bryan Russell says:

    Just finished writing a short story called The Clockwork Boy and the Death of Carpentry. Rather like it.

    Currently reading Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. Drenched in atmosphere and quite brilliant.

  25. Andy Wolverton says:

    Best recent book: Elizabeth Hand’s Illyria.

    Recent project: It has nothing to do with writing; leading tonight’s Dinosaur Storytime at the library!

  26. Bob Lock says:

    Best book lately? Neal Asher’s ‘Orbus’ which is due out 4th Sept in the UK. I was given a limited edition uncorrected proof by The British Fantasy Society to do a review of it and I read the whole book in almost one sitting. Has nasty crab-like aliens, big space battles, quirky war-drones, mutated humans that are almost immortal and enough twists and turns to make your head spin.

    Project I’m passionate about? Holding my breath for the results of the above British Fantasy Society’s award for best anthology 2008 because ‘Cone Zero’ is one of the short-listed books and I’m in it and my story has had some of the best reviews I’ve ever had :) JOY!

    http://www.knibbworld.com/campbelldiscuss/messages/1/2294.html?1248004422

  27. Terry Weyna says:

    I’ve recently finished the first complete short story I’ve written since college (and I graduated in 1978!), and it’s being workshopped this weekend. I’m nervous and excited. And proud of myself for putting together a story that I think is actually worthwhile. It’s been in my head for decades.

    Best recent book was Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Angel’s Game. Now I want to read The Shadow of the Wind in the worst way, but the piles standing between me and it will be hard to surmount.

  28. Rachel S. says:

    Weirdest and best book I’m re-reading right now, even though I first read it just a couple months ago: Worse Than Myself by Adam Golaski. Has anybody read this book/heard about this guy?

    Totally inspired, I’m most passionate about completing my own ms. of stories. Wish me luck.

  29. Gio Clairval says:

    I’m reading the most incredible fantasy/mystery noir ever. It’s very imaginative. Quirky. Poignant in places. Achingly beautiful in others. Full of fungi and fruiting bodies. Writing an Amazon review for when it’s published.

    Published book I recently enjoyed: Another mystery in a completely different vein: VICIOUS CIRCLE by Mike Carey. But I must say that it doesn’t measure up to the quirky noir of the paragraph above. In fact, it pales by comparison.

  30. Daemon says:

    Best Book: Jonathan Strange & Dr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    Alternate history fantasy set in England around the time that Napoleon was running around doing his best to conquor europe.

    Magic used to be common and heavily practiced in England, but over the last few centuries the actual practice had fallen by the wayside, and all that remained were some “theroretical magicians” who studied it, but admited they couldn’t do anything, and some generally lower class people who pretended they could. Then along comes Mr Norrell, at the time the only remaining practical magician, who decided to restore English magic to it’s former glory, and a while later his apprentice Mr Strange.

    Largely the book is about the often incredibly strained relationship between the two men, with a major subplot that shows that having a faerie like you is just a different sort of torture than having one hate you. Faeries in this book are totally disconnected from humanity, and have essentially no understanding of how we work, either as individuals or as a society.

    And the whole thing is written in period style, designed to come off as though it were written within the world it presents as a sort of historical novel, and has quite a lot of footnotes explaining everything from historical references to specific works of magic mentioned in passing.

    It’s huge and utterly, utterly awesome.

  31. Jenny Davidson says:

    Best book (published): Peter Temple’s _The Broken Shore_, a reread in preparation for the wonderful (unpublished – coming out in Australia in September, not sure about US – you gotta read this guy, though!) sequel _Truth_.

    Project (extracurricular): opening chapters of a memoir about how I fell in love with triathlon! Project (curricular): a funny longish piece about Shakespeare adaptation for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century.

  32. Janie H. Harrison says:

    Congrats on the finish.

    Am reading The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes. Very dense. Very good. Inspiring. Only on page 157. ‘William Herschel discovered Uranus with a telescope he made in his basement. The mirrors were cast with moulds formed out of horse dung. Just think, no computers! No cell phones for communicating. And horse dung!’
    Now I am on the age of ballooning, of course they wanted a military application for balloons, which reminds me of the current movie, District Nine…and it’s all swimming around in my head, and making for good ideas.

    Am working on the same weird novel that I have been working on for years, passionately, alone.

  33. m. says:

    I am reading the Girl Who Played with Fire. Had someone actually stop me on muni to talk about the book. Am due to try Drood soon but am a bit afraid after that review.

    Am restarting and finishing all kinds of little silly projects including documenting cat’s recovery from ear removal surgery in pictures.

  34. Samuel Tinianow says:

    Best recent book: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. Was expecting a horror anthology, instead got an eclectic one that suits me even more.

    Current project: Winterizing my bike. Need to commute to work, about 50-100 miles per week depending how many days I ride, in the cold, and possibly in the snow, ice, and even worse, salt. Complicating this even more is the fact that I ride a steel Miyata frame from 1985 with 27″ wheels, which leaves me solving problems ranging from traction to snow clogging up the brakes to pitting from aforementioned salt. This on a $150 budget (albeit with employee pricing).

  35. Justin Mitchell says:

    Book: “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge” by Rainer Maria Rilke. How is it possible that I haven’t heard of Rilke before? Even in translation, the writing is so decadent that it is almost obscene. I wonder what it is like in the original German.

  36. Will Hindmarch says:

    Best book recently: Finch. Review forthcoming. I am also CRAWLING through Kavalier and Clay. Still.

    Project: I am cracking away at a 90,000-word game project, plus a serial novella for Jet Pack. And I’m just wrapping up the layout and book design on a couple of additional books. But it’s all very languid.

  37. The Brucolac says:

    Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, is exciting on every page and vastly more thoughtful than recieved wisdom had led me to believe.

  38. Hannu Blommila says:

    Books: “The Chronicles of Li Kao and Number Ten Ox” by Barry Hughart. Absolutely gorgeous, signed, limited hardcover omnibus edition by Subterranean Press of all three Hughart novels. (The Bridge of Birds, Story of the Stone & Eight Skilled Gentlemen) Not exactly cheap, but it’s Hughart, so what the hell. I’ve had the paperback editions for years, but when I saw this, I just couldn’t resist it as these novels are among my all-time favorites. Beautifully written, wise, evocative and quite often funny as hell.
    Another book I’m loving at the moment is “Engine’s Child” by Holly Phillips.

    The Passion: To improve my writing skills both in english and in finnish and get all those stories done that are currently crowding my head. Hopefully I’ll be able to start writing that damn novel as well that’s been haunting me for a while now…

  39. Hellbound Heart says:

    books? gotta couple that i’m reading at the moment, but i must say i’m still reverberating from reading veniss underground a while ago……there’s images that haunt me……..

    passion? teaching children who can hardly read and string a couple of letters together on a page to be literate…..

    peace and love….

  40. Seth Merlo says:

    Currently reading J.G. Ballard – The Complete Short Stories Vol. 1. Great stuff, of course. Also gearing up to begin my PhD in a week’s time. I’ll be looking at ‘story’ as a mode of information transmission in highly networked societies, specifically through the medium of transmedia storytelling. Can’t wait to get into it. If anyone has any suggestions of texts or sites I should know about, please email me.

  41. marianasoffer says:

    I am doing research on spanish linguistic to automatically understand some things about a text. And I just realized a funny thing today, that when you negate something, it is not the same as saying the opposit of it, for eample if I say is not excelent, it does not mean it terrible, so the negation does not negate indeed, it just diminishes the intensity.
    Hope you like my random story!
    Cheers

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