Book meme (what I'm reading, writing, thinking about)

I'm reading more than writing at the moment, though I haven't shut down the latter by any means. Sometimes it's good for me to upset that balance, to remind myself that there's stuff out there both better and worse than the crud I'm churning in my works-in-progress. At any rate, it was a good time for the Book Meme to pop up on my screen (thanks ever so, mouse_rat). Here goes:

Books I'm Reading:

The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, by John Kelly. Love the chatty, accessible tone of this book, which despite all that is jam-packed with good history. When I was in uni, the astronomy department offered classes for non-science majors, classes with titles like "The Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life" and "Does Science Fiction Have Good Science?" This book is kind of that, for non-historians who still want to have a good time and learn something.

The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great, by Donald Maass. Recommended by folks in my local RWA chapter, this book has been a fun read so far, though it's not as illuminating and game-changing as I'd hoped. It's like sitting around a table with a bunch of former lit majors talking about what works in books and what doesn't. I'm still waiting to read a nugget of new, though even if I don't find it, the reading won't have been a wasted effort: Those around-the-table chats are fun.

The Ambitious Baronet, by April Kihlstrom. Ahhh, Regency like I grew up loving it. This title was released for Kindle just recently, and halfway through I am finding it charming.

Books I'm writing:

Well, there's Archie (What's Coming to You), which is nearly done. It is the story of a Regency villain who gets his comeuppance, but it's just such a wrong story about such a piece-of-work dude. I can't imagine anyone wanting to read it, though it is kind of my guilty pleasure.

King's Witch, a high-fantasy court intrigue romance, started off with a lot of steam but has cooled to tepid. I don't like the plot anymore, and it languishes at about 20k words.

And about a dozen other half-baked sub-15k-words-plus-an-outline attempts just sitting there on my computer doing nothing. Oh, and a novel that teases me with "Are you sure you don't want to try to edit me till I'm good?" every once in a while. I think it's time to start something new.

The book I love the most:

I never can answer this question. The books that impressed me most are books that I read a long time ago, and I'm not sure if they'd still impress me if I read them right now. I suspect that Ender's Game (by Orson Scott Card) and The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (by Neal Stephenson) would. But how about One Hundred Years of Solitude (by Gabriel Garcia Marquez)? Or A Wild Sheep Chase (by Haruki Murakami)? Or More Than a Mistress (by Mary Balogh)? Probably they would, but I don't really know. And even among those, I don't think I could pick a favorite. How do folks even pick one single favorite book?

The last book I received as a gift:

The Irresistible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald. I got it for Christmas and, um, haven't read it yet. Anybody else read it? Ought I?

The last book I gave as a gift:

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. I gave this to Mom 'cause I knew she'd like it. She did. I win.

The nearest book:

Not counting all the books on my Kindle, which is right next to my desk, right? Hmm. The Cat in the Hat, by Dr Seuss (which also could count among my favorite books; that thing is subversive!).

Okay, done. Now I shall pass along the meme to you, the three people who actually read through the whole thing. Ha! Good luck (you know who you are).