Saturday, December 20, 2014

K.V. Johansen

K. V. Johansen is the author of The Leopard (Marakand, Volume One) and Blackdog and numerous works for children, teens, and adults.

Her latest novel is The Lady (Marakand, Volume Two).

Recently I asked Johansen about what she was reading. Her reply:
I tend to always be reading a bunch of things at once, switching between them as the mood takes me.

Just finished Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Read it at one sitting as soon as I wrested it from the Spouse’s hands. (He got it first because he’s the one that paid for it, house rule.) I love this series. Very well-conceived ‘magic-in-the-real-world’ fantasy, very good mysteries, great characters. I enjoy the way that the landscape, human-made and natural, carries weight and reality and becomes essential to the story.

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

I’m enjoying this and wondering where the larger plot of the series is going. I like his battle scenes; they’re very well done, both technically and emotionally. I’ll definitely be reading The Shadow Throne afterwards.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (audiobook)

I like to listen to audiobooks while I’m cooking; it keeps me from suddenly thinking of a good line and rushing off to my computer, leaving things to burn. I find it has to be books I’ve read before, though; I don’t like listening to something new nearly so much, but listening to something I’ve already read seems to come at it from a different angle and enrich the reading. With Rothfuss, it draws extra attention to his prose, which is quite beautiful. As a story, Wise Man’s Fear works really well in this format, since aside from the framing narrative, it’s written to be an oral tale. I do wonder how Kvothe managed to tell all that in a single day, with interruptions, though, because it certainly can’t be read aloud in that time! I suspect Chronicler must actually be accused of embellishing it extensively later, if not of making it all up in the first place. (Okay, not really. Probably not really ....) I want to know more about Bast; he’s definitely becoming the most intriguing character in this for me.

Perdido Street Station by China MiƩville

I’d read The City and the City a while ago and found it interesting, though it demanded a conscious “let’s pretend” about basic human nature (whereas I find it’s far easier for literary belief to allow the impossible when it’s about almost anything else), but a friend’s interest in MiĆ©ville got me to pick up this one. I’ve only just begun it, but I’m finding that the characters and world are really working well together and pulling me in without reservation. Beautiful prose, too.

The Soldier-Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb

I’ve liked some Hobb more than others. I haven’t quite made up my mind about this one yet. Lately I’ve been finding myself more irritated than interested in child-protagonists in adult books, but that’s probably just a phase I’m going through -- and he’s bound to grow up soon. That aside, which really is just the reading mood I’m in, Hobb always writes well. It’s what I think of as American-frontier fantasy.

Strathclyde and the Anglo-Saxons in the Viking Age by Tim Clarkson

This is a period and a place that I’ve always been very interested in. A very well-rounded history so far.

Roots and Branches by Tom Shippey (rereading)

I’ve been re-reading this collection of essays on Tolkien lately, for the third time, I think it is. I always find Shippey very enjoyable and thought-stimulating.

I’ve also been reading Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Paiboun mysteries. They’re set in Laos in the seventies; in addition to the setting, which is a look at place and time I didn’t know that much about, they have what I most look for in a mystery, which is good writing, a complex problem that has its origins in ordinary human drives (I’m not a fan of the sadistic serial killer mystery mode), and main characters with some integrity and intelligence.
Visit K. V. Johansen's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Leopard.

Coffee with a Canine: K.V. Johansen & Ivan.

The Page 69 Test: The Lady.

--Marshal Zeringue