Monday, February 25, 2013

Gail Carriger

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London.

Her Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless. Soulless won the ALA's Alex Award and has been turned into a graphic novel. Carriger's young adult Finishing School series begins with Etiquette & Espionage and follows the exploits of Sophronia who discovers her dreaded lady's seminary is a great deal more than anyone realizes.

Earlier this month I asked the author about what she was reading. Carriger's reply:
A friend came across a beat up old copy of Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine Vol. LXXV From July to December, 1872 in her grandmother's attic and mailed it to me. (Not all that uncommon, actually, when on writes books set in the Victorian Era one suddenly becomes the recipient of primary sources ~ it's marvelous). Despite the fact that I'm supposed to be immersed in the 1850s working on the next Finishing School book, I'm enjoying Godey's far too much to put down. It's a bound journal collection of several issues of a woman's fashion magazine. It has everything a young lady might want: from bursts of romantic and sentimental fiction like "Fannie's Fourth of July"; to a Works Department wherein one can learn to DIY such useful items as a Case for Holding Tatting Work; to Fashion plates with the latest dresses, hats, and drawers; to cooking tips such as the Management of Hot Indian Pickles. I travel a lot and have a weakness for reading modern fashion and gossip magazines on planes. This is like just such a magazine, only 140 years old. It's hypnotic. Some of the advice is spot on, and then other tips are totally awful; it's uncomfortably similar to Cosmopolitan. I'm left each evening with a list of silly notes for my various blogs, oddball recipes I'm dying to try (you wouldn't believe how many eggs these people ate), to weird terms I now must look up.

There are even book reviews. For example, My Hero by Mrs. Forrester is described as "autobiographical in form, pleasing in character, possesses vivid interest, and will doubtless prove satisfactory to all who read it." How amusing would it be if modern book reviews were similarly verbosely damning?
Visit Gail Carriger's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Soulless.

The Page 69 Test: Changeless.

Writers Read: Gail Carriger (November 2010).

--Marshal Zeringue