I’ve spent the last week or three studying questionable diseases, watching a maniac decorate other people’s houses with the dwellers’ innards, and smirking with a generously breasted wench with a whip for a mouth. Aren’t books just the best things in the world?
The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts is a hoot. The “Enthusiastic Introduction by the Editors” is funny, the “Reluctant Introduction by Dr. Lambshead” is hysterical, and the details about the diseases have made me laugh until my gut hurt. One of my favorite illnesses is the Third Eye Infection, a malady that produces “trance-like states… [that] resulted in the publication of many philosophy Master Theses in the mid-1970s. Numerous artworks were attributed to it, as well as the creation of… Meta-Infectional Fiction, literature intended to spread itself as an infectious mental illness.” And to my never-ending delight, the Neil Gaiman story is signed by the author… a fact that makes me all giggly and stuff, since I paid less than a dollar for the collection. Go me!
The Thirteen Hallows, by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman, narrated by Kate Reading (one of my favorite readers) has been a glorious surprise. I started reading it under the impression that it would be some lighthearted young adult dark urban fantasy—I was introduced to Scott’s writing, via The Alchemyst, a young adult novel. Well, what I’ve read of this tale about old magic running wild in a modern city is very grown up… and bloody. The mythology weaved within the tale is quite magnificent. And the imagery is startling at times. This bit stuck: “…the dots of her unconcealed freckles were connected with dried blood. Her eyes were deep in her head, black smudges edged beneath them…”
Mabel Bunt and the Mask of M’selle Moppet, written by our own R. Collins and B. R. Marsten is a dance between sharp swords and Mabel’s witty bantering. I’ve been laughing (and nodding) at so many of the things that come out of Mabel Bunt’s mouth. The woman tells it like it is, and the telling is hilarious. Like when she tells her co-protagonist, “If [he] kills me, bury me arse up so people know where they can kiss.” I mean, who doesn’t appreciate that sage sentiment?
And that’s what I’m reading right now. I’ve also finished a handful of books these last few weeks, of which I highly recommend Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. If you like ghost stories and old urban legends made deliciously new, then you might enjoy this one. What about you, my Luvs, what tales have you been delighting in these days?
from “Diseasemaker’s Group”, by Neil Gaiman