BOOKS: Thursday Roundup

Since I don't think I'll be getting any more reading done this week (and I dare not cheat you out of the weekly "Friday Roundup") here are a few books/short stories I stuffed down my gullet and happened to enjoy:

Best book I read: Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery, Anne Farrow, Joel Lang and Jenifer Frank.
A compelling look into firsthand accounts of slavery, Complicity illustrates how the tentacles of the slave trade wrapped their influence around nearly every aspect of American colonial life. Surprisingly, some of the most brutal slave traders hailed from the north and Complicity convincingly details how many northern businessmen had a tolerance for, if not an outspoken desire to preserve, the slave trade up to and even following the American Civil War. Entertaining and eye-opening, Complicity is a novel look into the darkest chapter in American history. Highly recommended.

I'm still reading all about the apocalypse. The economy's in shambles, it'd be un-American not to. It's been a few weeks and I still haven't finished the Wastelands anthology (2008 Night Shade Books). I'm getting there. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the book, but I have a lot of reading on my plate right now and unfortunately, not all of it is as exciting as apocalyptic mutants and Ragnarok. Dang. Here's some recent stories from Wastelands that you should check out:

-"Artie's Angels," Catherine Wells
-"Judgment Passed," Jerry Oltion
-"Inertia," Nancy Kress

Nebula Nominees. The audio-sci-fi Web site StarShipSofa has generously posted all the 2008 Nebula Nominees for the short story. Go download them now. They are available as podcasts as well, so take 'em with you on the way to work, it's well worth it. Some of my favorites:

-"Don't Stop," James Patrick Kelly
-"Mars: A Traveler's Guide," Ruth Nestvold
-"26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss," Kij Johnson
-"The Dreaming Wind," Jeffery Ford

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say either Kelly or Johnson will win, but I was honestly floored by all four of the stories above.

Other stuff:

-Backup: A Story of the Dresden Files
, Jim Butcher.
Illustrated by Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame, Backup tells the story of Thomas Raith, one of those cooler-than-ice White Court Vampires from Butcher's Dresden universe. The story follows Thomas's efforts to save his younger half-brother, Harry Dresden, (who happens to be a wizard private investigator) from certain doom at the hands of an evil magic sorceress. Part fantasy, part mystery, Backup is a short read -- it's only about 70 pages -- and is well worth the time. It's also quite funny. I loved the character of Bob, an air spirit living in a skull in Harry's basement, who continuously cracks wise with Thomas as the vampire desperately pumps the disembodied voice for clues to save Harry.

Alrighty, so that'll do it for this week's roundup. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions for good reads, let me know.

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