Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is the author of eight novels in a range of genres from urban fantasy (with a healthy splash of chick-lit sensibility) to traditional fantasy. She has also written a number of short stories and essays.

I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
When I'm in the midst of writing, I tend to avoid my genre. Overall, I try to alternate my reading between non-fiction, so-called-literary fiction, and genre fiction.

While enjoying Thanksgiving vacation, I indulged in a fantasy read (one more indication that I wasn't writing!): Naomi Novik's Black Powder War. This novel is the third volume in Novik's acclaimed fantasy series, where she envisions the Napoleonic wars as if dragons were an active force on both sides. I am not a historian, and I know precious little about warfare; however, the brilliantly realized characters keep bringing me back to this series. I love the way that the main dragon, Temeraire, acquires and expresses a social conscience, and his conversations with his captain, Laurence, typically make me smile. I'd recommend these books for classic fantasy readers, history readers, and any readers who want to study the craft of character creation.

I also recently finished reading Ball Four, by Jim Bouton. This memoir is written in the form of a diary over the course of one baseball season, in 1969. When the book came out, it was a sensation, mostly because Bouton named names and told true stories about the behind-the-scenes antics of major ball players. I have become a baseball fan in the past five years, and I very much enjoyed reading this insider's view on the game. The book, though, goes well beyond baseball, as Bouton discusses the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and financial inequality. I would recommend this book for any student of contemporary American social history, along with any baseball fans.

Next up on my to-be-read list is a collection of Barbara Kingsolver essays, High Tide in Tucson.
Mindy Klasky's books include Sorcery and the Single Girl in the Jane Madison Series -- which describe the trials and tribulations when a librarian-witch is invited to join her local exclusive Coven -- and The Glasswright Series, the story of Rani Trader, a merchant girl who witnesses an assassination and is accused of being the killer. Even after she brings the true killer to justice, she struggles to find her place in her highly caste-bound, religious society.

Visit Mindy Klasky's website and her blog.

--Marshal Zeringue