Sundry weekend reading: Eco, historical fiction, realism snobbery

I used to have no weekends. I had two days off, one weekday and one weekend day, and I loved it. There wasn’t enough time to get away from it all, I could visit almost entirely empty museums, and it was easier to come back to work after just a day. Now that I have a weekend, I both sort of enjoy having two days off to myself and hate the fact that I am once again part of the masses who resent Sunday night and don’t want to go to work on Monday.

foucaultThis week has been annoying to say the least, and now Umberto Eco died, so it is not ending on a high note either. What I would really like to do is to spend an entire day tomorrow re-reading Foucault’s Pendulum, the book with which I used to obsessed at one point in my life. Yet for some indescribable reason, I no longer have a copy, so I am going to settle for another example of strange historical fiction, John Wray’s Lost Time Accidents.

To continue with the historical novel theme, here’s a great interview with Alexander Chee about his new novel, The Queen of the Night, and about how historical novels are still seen as lower-class fiction. You can replace ‘historical’ with any other genre fiction descriptor and it would still apply. The interesting thing mentioned therein is that realism fiction is seen as superior, but only if it’s produced by Northern American writers (so see, Eco was not in this category and thus got a pass to write whatever the hell he wanted). Read it, it’s a very good interview. And read The Queen as well, especially if you, like me, love your novels long, vivid, and detailed.

Speaking of historical scribblings, where would one submit historical weird horror? Asking for a friend.

Non-readings: podcasts, writing, assorted internet stuff

There’s been some writing happening here. I started a short story, and then a day later found the ending, but now I seem to be missing the last quarter of it. The search continues.

I might be doing NaNoWriMo this year, but in a non-conventional way. I don’t really want to write a novel. I mostly want to write a whole bunch of short stories and maybe some essays and posts. This means I’ll mostly be using their word count goal as a way to put some words on screen every day.

Couch to moon asked me a while ago what podcasts I listen to. The list is not particularly extensive, but here they are in no particular order:

  1. About Race. Intelligent, important, a must. Baratunde Thurston started it.
  2. All the Books and Get Booked. Both are Book Riot podcasts, and both are really good if you’re into bookish things. All the Books helps me remember what is out this week, and Get Booked is essentially handselling in podcast form, so both are also useful if you are bookish professionally.
  3. New York Times Book Review: more books.
  4. Drunk Booksellers: run by booksellers who interview other booksellers while sipping drinks. My people. (Plus, my friend and co-bookseller Hannah Depp got interviewed in episode 4).
  5. Midnight In Karachi: interviews with various speculative fiction authors. The interview podcasts get listened to when I’m interested in the interviewee. This rule also applies to The Nerdist and WTF with Marc Maron.
  6. A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment: Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter read whatever they are working on, talk about writing and life, and interview various artists and writers.

If you don’t feel like listening to podcasts or music, this might do: Online Noise Machines. It’s actually pretty neat. Warren Ellis linked to it a couple of weeks ago in his newsletter (if you only want to read one newsletter, his is great).

And finally, I leave you with another random internet thing I discovered while doing some research: Chernobyl New Safe Confinement construction livestream.