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links, reviews, and research (or, in other words, it's Tuesday)
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First of all, I absolutely loved Karina Sumner-Smith's September 20th blog entry, about Kenneth Opel's review of the new Susanna Clarke novel. I'll just quote a bit of it, because it was hilarious:

"I then spent a very long time laughing, because the first sentence of this book review is this:

"'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in want of a good fortune should write a book about magic.'

"Listen up, ladies--we've hit the jackpot here! If you feel like someone in need of a little money, your course of action is clear: merely write a book about magic, and lo!, a fortune shall drop into your lap. Skeptical? No need! This is a truth universally acknowledged! None can deny the truth of this statement--after all, one need merely look at the statistics. J.K. Rowling became rich by writing "a book about magic" and another woman might very well do the same thing. That would be two women. Proof undeniable!"

And I particularly love Kenneth Opel's discovery of the 'new' genre of adult fantasy.

Read, read, read! Much fun.

In other news, I've written about five more pages of Chapter Four of Thief of Souls, and have done just enough research on 18th-century Istanbul to be aware of just how little I really know about it. In other words, I've read two academic books and one article, and I'm smack in the middle of the frozen, deer-in-the-headlights stage of writing a historical novel. This too shall pass. The one thing that keeps me going with the research (one book at a time, one book at a time, I murmur to myself consolingly), instead of fleeing straight to high fantasy, is how totally I do NOT want to have to make up two distinct world religions to parallel Christianity and Islam. I respect Guy Gavriel Kay for managing it, but I have no desire to try it myself. Reading another fifty books and absorbing information isn't all that hard, by comparison. Especially since it doubles as "useful research for the thesis"!

And just for one more link...Matthew Cheney has an interesting entry about book reviews in general, their purpose and function. Whether you agree with him or not, I think he's put together an interesting set of questions to ponder.

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