Perilous Admission: Feeling Slightly Nauseous

So…after more than nine months of reading for The Weird, Steampunk Reloaded, and other projects, I’m officially sick of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Some parts of it make me more physically ill than others. I can still read weird, or certain types of it, but at the moment, I can’t read steampunk without feeling nauseous. For real–like, I feel ill. It’s just a function of being force-fed so much of it, and it’ll fade, but it’s clearly time for a change.

What am I reading over the rest of the year, beyond what I need to check out for the Amazon book blog?


Well, the Europa editions are gonna help a great deal. I bought most of them at a bookstore on the Sunset Strip last year on my Finch book tour, because they’d thoughtfully put all the Europas in the same place. This stuff is a nice blend of noir, nonfiction, and mainstream literary fiction. It’ll stop that barfy feeling for sure.


There’s also something truly marvelous and cleansing about their approach to cover design.


They’re kind of the antithesis of another translation line I like a lot–the books put out by Dalkey, which take a minimalistic approach to their covers. But one thing about Europa I love that trumps Dalkey–their spines stand out on bookstore shelves. And they’re not afraid to take some pulp-lit and publish it.


In addition to the Europa editions, I was thrilled to discover a newish collection by Claire Keegan in our used bookstore today. I think she’s a terrific short story writer.


Never read any of Jane Smiley’s fiction, so I thought I’d give it a go. Never read any Anthony Powell, either. That there is also the last Robertson Davies I haven’t read, so I thought I’d uncork it this fall and finish him off.

Lots of other stuff will doubtless enter the mix, but that’s some of it.

Please tell me I’m not alone in being omnivoracious?


  1. says

    You are not alone in being omnivoracious, Mr. VanderMeer! Just wanted to suggest that you begin with Powell’s A Question of Upbringing, the first novel in his Dance to the Music of Time. Moo is, unfortunately, a dreadful novel. But Smiley’s award-winning A Thousand Acres is a good read.

  2. says

    Nice selection, but I am curious about one thing: have you ever read any Thomas (NOT Tom) Wolfe? Was thinking the other day of re-reading his novels as a cure for the ennui I’m starting to get again when looking at SF.

  3. says

    I am incredibly fond of both Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat; I did not fall quite as hard for all of the stories in The People on Privilege Hill, but I’ll probably pick up anything else by Jane Gardam I find in a used book store.

  4. says

    Jane Gardam is wonderful, any of her novels are highly recommended, and Anthony Powell is seductive. I’ve read the whole of the Dance to the Music of Time – also highly recommended.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Thanks, Sovay and Anne for confirming the Gardam! Might pick those up next.

    Larry–I’m not a big fan of that Wolfe.

  6. Eric Schaller says

    There are those who have exactly the opposite reaction to Smiley’s work (c’est moi)! Found 1000 acres dull, but Moo LOL. That she can elicit such varied responses is, to me, a testament to the overall strength of her work–she doesn’t repeat herself.