You've never read a historical treatment quite like a Jo Walton novel, which tend to leapfrog across and between genres in the most exciting way. Her latest is Lent, set in 15th-century Florence, and in this reading list, she recommends other books in which story and history are interwoven, a list whose eclecticism demonstrates the way fascinating way in which Walton's mind works to connect disparate things.
Marian Engel's Monodromos or One Way Street (1973) is about a Canadian woman in Greece in the 1950s, dealing with her own past, with the historical past, with the uneasy cultural relationship between Europe and Canada, with the question of love, and with a quest to find the icon of the saint with the head of a dog. I first read it when I was working in Greece between school and university, and I have loved it ever since. It's feminist but set before second wave feminism, and it's a book that's revelatory of many layers of history, including the time it was written.
Dance, Gladys, Dance, by Cassie Stocks
Publisher: NeWest Press
What It's About
Winner of the 2013 Stephen Leacock Award for Canadian Humour Writing, Dance, Gladys, Dance is about 27-year-old Frieda Zweig, who is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives. Then, a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer. The catch? Gladys is a ghost. In Dance, Gladys, Dance, Cassie Stocks tells the uplifting story of a woman whose uncanny connection with a kindred spirit causes her to see her life in a new way—as anything but ordinary.
What People Say
"Cassie Stocks' debut novel, Dance, Gladys, Dance, is a quirky blend of comedy and tragedy with an intriguing dose of the other-worldly. The novel bursts at the seams with imagination..." —Globe and Mail
There Is a Season, by Patric …
As any reader of Jo Walton's Among Others might guess, Walton is both an inveterate reader of SF and fantasy, and a chronic re-reader of books. In 2008, then-new science-fiction mega-site Tor.com asked Walton to blog regularly about her re-reading—about all kinds of older fantasy and SF, ranging from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. These posts have consistently been among the most popular features of Tor.com. Now this volume presents a selection of the best of them, ranging from short essays to long reassessments of some of the field's most ambitious series.
Karl Schroeder’s Lady of Mazes is one of the best pure SF novels of recent years. I read it in 2005 when it came out and was surprised it got so little attention. It seemed to me to be one of those books everyone would be talking about. I’ve just read it for the second time, and it holds up as well as ever. What a good book!