Haven't done a reading list for a while…
The Boxer Rebellion, by Diane Preston. No, it's not a book about guys in satin shorts beating up Don King. "In the late 1890s, a virulently resentful peasant movement spread across northern China; foreigners nicknamed its adherents "Boxers" for the martial-arts exercises they practiced en masse. When the movement erupted into open violence in 1900, the imperial government supported attacks on foreigners that escalated into a siege of the foreign embassies in Peking. Diana Preston's The Boxer Rebellion is an account of the 55-day confrontation that alarmed the world." (Snipped from the Amazon site.)
How To Use Adobe Premiere 6.5, by Douglas Dixon. Because thanks to Roman, I now have good video editing software. It's already bristling with Post-Its.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond.
You've probably heard of this one – it won a Pulitzer, and it's been sitting on my desk for a while, waiting its turn. It's pretty dense, but very interesting.
Turning Life Into Fiction, by Robin Hemley. From Amazon: "…this is an enlightening and even inspiring guide to utilizing elements of one's own life and of one's family history as fodder for writing novels and short stories... Journal keeping is heavily encouraged…" Okay, I think I've got that part going on.
Jacobite Spy Wars: Moles, Rouges and Treachery, by Hugh Douglas. The Jacobite story was one of history's longest running spy sagas. Adherents of the exiled branch of the house of Stuart after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Jacobites sought the restoration of James II. A reminder that there's nothing much new under the political sun.
In a bit of possible market research, I've also been reading some "chick lit" novels – and I hate to sound like a snob, but my god, they're terrible. I've read a best-seller called The Devil Wears Prada, as well as Good In Bed, one called Mr. Maybe, and a couple of others whose titles have already left my mind – and I was severely unimpressed with all of them. And these are the trade-sized paperback, not the smaller size, which means I was shelling out ten to fifteen dollars apiece for these things.
I know no one is pretending this genre of books is great lit-ra-choor. But Jesus, even for beach or airplane reading, it was pretty flat. I like reading fluffy fiction sometimes, but only if it's good fluffy fiction. I could write a better novel than some of these authors.
So, maybe I will…