Book Beginnings Friday: A Suitable Boy

Those who follow me on Goodreads know that I’ve just recently finished the 10-volume amazingly epic (and long… very very long) series The Malazan Book of the Fallen. My plans afterwards were to read a few short (like, exceedingly short) novellas and such, but after flying through two thrillers (The Girl With All the Gifts and the excellent, creepy folkloric horror novel The Black Tongue) I decided to plunge back into the world of large book mansions, worlds large enough to get lost in for weeks. Also, don’t tell my Muse this, but I wanted a break from fantasy fiction. So, I picked up a book I’d read briefly a few years before but never finished, or even got too far in, thanks to a freak New England rainstorm which claimed all 1475 pages as a sacrifice, and I’m already lost in wonderment and memories of my first experience with its amazing wordcraft:

‘You too will marry a boy I choose,’ said Mrs Rupa Mehra firmly to her younger daughter.

Lata avoided the maternal imperative by looking around the great lamp-lit garden of Prem Nivas. The wedding-guests were gathered on the lawn. ‘Hmm,’ she said. This annoyed her mother further.

‘I know what your hmms mean, young lady, and I can tell you I will not stand for hmms in this matter. I do know what is best. I am doing it all for you. Do you think it is easy for me, trying to arrange things for all four of my children without His help?’ Her nose began to redden at the thought of her husband, who would, she felt certain, be partaking of their present joy from somewhere benevolently above. Mrs Rupa Mehra believed, of course, in reincarnation, but at moments of exceptional sentiment, she imagined that the late Raghubir Mehra still inhabited the form in which she had known him when he was alive:  the robust, cheerful form of his early forties before overwork had brought about his heart attack at the heights of the Second World War. Eight years ago, eight years, thought Mrs Rupa Mehra miserably.

‘Now, now, Ma, you can’t cry on Savita’s wedding day,’ said Lata, putting her arm gently but not very concernedly around her mother’s shoulder.

A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

The book continues on for over 800,000 words of this marvelous, beautiful prose. After the first 50 pages or so, I found myself immersed, flying through the small print as fast as my eyes could crawl over the letters. The characters are rich, the culture both wonderfully strange and hauntingly familiar, and the plot weaves and wraps around the lives and thoughts of these wonderful four families. I will have a full review when I finish, but I have a feeling I will not want to leave this world when I turn the last page.

And as I often like to do, I’m sharing this at Rose City Reader as part of their Bookish Friday Celebration. I’m there right now, but later on, join me at Friday Night Writes on Twitter. (@bovisrex)

Leave it to Angry Robot(s) to leave the door open

So while I was shuffling through my documents and bookmarks yesterday, looking for something  to work on (my current work-in-progress isn’t exactly progressing) I learned that a publishing company I like is flinging open their mailbox and accepting submissions. From 1 December 2015 to 31 January 2016, they will be accepting full-length works of  “SF, F, and a little pinch of WTF.” This means that I might have hope for the two novellas and scattered story fragments staring a rather different uncivilized hero… it’s now time to put these together, make them something that people will want to read, and then smack them over the head until they read it. Err, I mean, publish it and give them the opportunity to honor me by reading my stories. Yeah. That’s what I meant.

If you’re a writer, check out the offer. If you’re a reader, check out their books. I’ve read a couple of them, and they have good taste.

Angry Robot Announces an Open Door Period

Things I learned after eleven months of not blogging

  1. Creating things is hard. Being a creative person is hard. Trying to create things as a creative person while not doing much creating is foolish, not to mention impossible and probably a violation of several laws.
  2. Books are more fun when you share them with friends. Even if your friends occasionally bend the cover back 2°  more than what is preferred by the book owner, the pleasure of having someone to share ideas and concepts with is nearly as essential to being a book reader as having access to books.
  3. Most publishers aren’t interested in stories that have been published elsewhere, even on blogs. Makes sense.
  4. I’ve been missing an essential part of my life. Granted, eleven months ago, I was holed up in a corner of the house and either reading or knitting or doing little else, and now I travel the east coast and hike and travel with my family, so my life is complete in ways I couldn’t dream of before. (And trust me, I have some pretty bizarre dreams.) Still, I’ve been missing this outlet, and I think I realized this when my Facebook posts (original and comments) started to stretch out over multiple screens. Consistently.

So, we’re back. I’ll still talk about books and my programming projects and my writing, and I’ll still welcome the readership of the blogosphere to tell me where I’m wrong and exactly how wrong I am. I’ve missed that as well.