Fiction: I finally started to read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke this month, but ran out of steam, so it’s still not finished. I state that here so I will be ashamed and go back to it, even though to date (May 2015), I still have not. I bought the book when it came out, in hardcover, and because the hardcover is ginormous I could only read it at home. Yes, I know that now there is an e-book. I am stubborn. I bought the hardcover and I am going to read it that way.

Prisoner by Lia Silver was really really fun. It reminded me a bit of the first Marjorie Liu I ever read, Shadow Touch (still my favorite one!), except with more action and less navel-gazing. The hero and heroine are utterly different from that book, and their situation isn’t the same, but anyway, I was reminded of it; something about the intensity of what the characters are dealing with. I loved how tough both hero and heroine were, and how funny the hero is. Bonus points for the heroine’s sister being a romance reader. Also, I get cited in the acknowledgments because of a long-ago music suggestion to the author! Go me!

Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy – I read this as preparation for a Readercon panel. It’s a space opera romance that distinctly reminded me of books I enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s. The genius programmer heroine is abducted into a dangerous situation against her will and is inextricably tied to the mysterious, dangerous hero in such a way that if they get too far apart, he dies. Aaangst!!!

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb – I was meh on this one, though usually I find this series soothing in its repetitive mediocrity.

Tarzan the Terrible by Edgar Rice Burroughs – I read this looking for WWI references for a Readercon panel, and mostly concluded that the book is indeed terrible. For the same panel, I read Tales of War and Unhappy Far-Off Things by Lord Dunsany, which is infinitely better, and a very interesting comparison to his famous fantasy novel The King of Elfland’s Daughter, which I read back in high school.

Nonfiction: Bogs, Baths and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation by David Eveleigh. This was the best book ever. The author is a docent who got a lot of questions about historical defecation procedures (he didn’t put it quite like that), so he wrote a book (after an incredible amount of research). From this book I learned pretty much everything I ever wanted to know about closets and toilets and baths and showers and piping, all of it backed up (see what I did there?) with information (and lots of illustrations) from period catalogs and various sanitation reports. If you like neepery, you will love this book. It is awesome. You should probably go get a copy now.