Saturday, November 7, 2009

Reading, week of 11/2

I'm planning some changes to my blog in the next week or so. I want to make it less of a reading diary and more about writing, research, and the writing life.

I'm still figuring out how I'm going to go about that. I may set up a weekly schedule--say, Research Mondays, Craft Wednesdays, and Time Management Fridays--or I may just commit to blogging three times a week on a writing-related topic but not being terribly regimented about topics and times.

But I have decided to limit my reading diary posts to once per week. With that in mind, here's what I've been reading the first week of November:

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome (Christopher Kelly, 2009): Until recently, I was only familiar with the Roman Empire at its peak in the 1st Century AD. I knew early church history and the Marcus Didius Falco novels (there's you a contrast!). But of late I've been seeing a lot of books about the fall of Rome. (Imperial anxiety on my own nation's part, perhaps?) The End of Empire explores what can be known about Attila the Hun and how his actions helped cause the collapse of the western empire within a few decades of his death. I had trouble keeping all the eastern and western emperors and their generals and diplomats straight, but it helped fill out my picture of a corner of history I'm just beginning to explore.

I read the first chapter of Betraying Season (Marissa Doyle, 2009) several years ago when Doyle entered it in an RWA contest I was judging. Between the time my daughter was born in 2004 and when I went back to work in late 2005, I must've judged over a dozen writing contests. RWA chapters are always looking for volunteer judges, and I had enough time on my hands to answer most of the pleas for judges that went out. Betraying Season was one of the two or three most outstanding entries I encountered, and I was thrilled when Doyle sold it and its prequel, Bewitching Season. It's the story of a magically gifted young British aristocrat in the 1830's trying to improve her witchy powers while visiting her old governess in Ireland. If you liked Sorcery and Cecelia, give Doyle's books a try.

Cake Wrecks (Jen Yates, 2009) contains many favorites from the Cake Wrecks blog along with some new material. Fun for a laugh after a long week.


Anonymous said...

What type of historical novel do you aspire to write?

Susan Wilbanks said...

I've got an alternative history manuscript I'm in the process of polishing so I can start submitting it by the new year.