I always mean to do these book intake posts more regularly. (Maybe I have and I failed to tag them properly?) But the point when I say, "I need to get these in the spreadsheet so I can shelve them" is at least a reasonable trigger. And it's well past time that I cataloged books I picked up on my travels in Europe last year! So, in some vaguely thematic groupings:
Books bought at Worldcon in Helsinki
Sinisalo, Johanna & Toni Jerrman eds. 2017. Giants at the End of the World: A Showcase of Finish Weird. - A small book published specially for the convention. 12 stories that look like they should be very quick reads.
Barbini, Francesca T. (ed). 2017. Gender Identity and Sexuality in Current Fantasy and Science Fiction. Luna Press. ISBN 978-1-911143-24-6 - A collection of academic essays on gender and sexuality issues both in literature and in the social context of writing and publishing SFF. I read this on the plane flying back after my travels and it was perfect distracting me without requiring intense concentration. I know that sounds like a weak endorsement, but it's not!
Books bought while traveling
Groeneveld, Karen. (I think -- it doesn't really have an author credit.) 2017. In de Pan van de Middeleeuwen. Woord & Co., Lochem. ISBN 978-90-823475-5-5 -- I'm a bit of a sucker for popular-oriented historic cook books. I picked this up in Deventer in the city historic museum gift shop. It's a souvenier-type cookbook of late medieval cuisine. The recipes are all modernized and there's nothing in the way of easily-traceable sources, so it's useless for actual research in historic cuisine. But I love examples of how popular history is pitched at the general public. (It's entirely in Dutch, so my chances of treating it as anything but a souvenier and curiosity are small.)
Williams, Gareth. 2014. The Viking Ship. The British Museum, London. ISBN 978-0-7141-2340-0 -- One of my back-burner projects is a historic novel set in the 10th century involving Welsh, Icelandic, and Viking Dublin settings. I took the opportunity while at the National Museum of Ireland gift shop to pick up several useful research books. This is a brief technical guide to the structure and purposes of Viking-era ships, based on both archaeology and iconography. It will help me figure out just what sort of ship my Icelandic girl is captaining.
Griffiths, David. 2010. Vikings of the Irish Sea. The History Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire. ISBN 978-0-7524-3646-3 -- A scholarly but accessible survey of the political, cultural, and material context of Norse presence in the Irish Sea area in the 8-11th centuries, very nicely centering around exactly where and when my novel is set.
Wallace, Patrick F. 2016. Viking Dublin: The Wood Quay Excavations. Irish Academic Press, Sallins. ISBN 978-07165-3314-6 -- This would have been an extravagent purchase if it weren't so essential to the setting of some of the main action of the story. This is the definitive and copiously illustrated report of the intensive rescue excavations of Wood Quay in Dublin in the '70s and '80s, primarily providing evidence on the 10th and 11th century settlement. I can't even begin to say how useful this will be in visualizing the physical environment of my Dublin action in the story.
Schwarz, Christopher. 2015. Workbenches: from Design and Theory to Construction and Use. Popular Woodworking Books, Ohio. ISBN 978-1-4403-4312-4 -- OK, let's be clear: I have no illusions that I will ever design and build the perfect workbench in my garage and thereby enable me to create all sorts of projects easily and efficiently. I'll probably continue cobbling together work-arounds when I want to haul out the power tools. But I fell in love with this book when I saw a copy Joel Uckelman had, so I popped online and had my local bookstore in Oakland order me a copy to pick up when I got back home. (The bookstore owner said she was hard pressed to allow me to take it away with me because she hadn't finished drooling over it yet.) This is, for woodworking, like those glossy kitchen-porn magazines you pore over when you dream about remodeling your home. It's just esthetically pleasing and needn't be anything else.
Recent purchases for the Lesbian Historic Motif Project
Lesbian History Group. 1989. Not a Passing Phase: Reclaiming Lesbians in HIstory 1840-1985. The Women's Press, Ltd., London. ISBN 0-7043-4175-1 -- A collection of biographical articles on specific persons or contexts. This is one of those early "search and rescue mission" books whose main goal was to lay claim to specific persons for the lesbian team. But a couple of the articles are in my list of publications to cover, so it seemed worth picking up a secondhand copy of my own.
Bray, Alan. 2003. The Friend. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ISBN 978-0-226-07181-7 -- Although Bray protests (perhaps a bit too much) against the reading of same-sex passionate friendships in history as being homosexual, the groundwork of evidence for how those friendships were performed and received is rigorous and extensive. His primary focus is on male friendships from the 16-19th centuries, primarily of the English-speaking world. He does cover women to some extent. (I decided to get the book after several references to it in the context of same-sex funeral monuments for women.)
Merrill, Lisa. 2000. When Romeo was a Woman: Charlotte Cushman and her Circle of Female Spectators. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. ISBN 978-0-472-08749-5 -- Sometimes a long trail of breadcrumbs leads you to conclude that there's a bakery worth visiting in the neighborhood. I'd been noting references to actress Charlotte Cushman in various contexts in LHMP publications, but when I read about several other women in her social circle (including several of her lovers) in Improper Bostonians, I decided I needed to do a podcast essay on her circle and began hunting down some books specifically to prepare for it. The blog and podcast are coming to an interesting stage where it sometimes makes sense (or at least is amusing) to plan ahead enough to coordinate a month's worth of publications leading up to the monthly podcast essay. I need to strategize when to schedule this set. I'm reading this book for the blog currently and finding it fascinating and quite a refreshing counter to claims that 19th century Romantic Friendships were definitely not erotic, no definitely not, nice women didn't do those things or even think about them, and they were blissfully ignorant of how their lives and relationships might look to a more prurient age.
Leach, Joseph. 1970. Bright Particular Star: The Life and Times of Charlotte Cushman. Yale University Press, New Haven. (no ISBN) -- An in-depth biography of Cushman. Given the date (and the male author) it will be interesting to see how much it touches on her sexuality and that of her social circle. Cushman gathered around her a group of talented, brilliant, and often homosexually-inclined women, both in her home base of Boston and at her second home in Rome. Their lives, loves, and interpersonal dramas would make excellent fodder for a historic soap opera (or inspiration for some great historical fiction!).
Mercier, Jacques. 1979. Ethiopian Magic Scrolls. George Brazillier, New York. ISBN 0-8076-0897-1 -- If I'd spotted this book (and others on its topic) back when I was doing deep background research for the sort of mystical traditions Serafina Talarico might have known or heard about from her parents, I might have worked bits of the topic into the story of Mother of Souls. This book explores (with copious illustrations) a genre of talismanic magical scrolls that are part of Ethiopian Christian tradition, with examples in the book dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Although Serafina wasn't taught the mystical traditions of her own heritage, it's possible that she may find reason to learn more about this sort of thing in the future.
Schlabow, Karl. 1976. Textilfunde der Eisenzeit in Norddeutschland. Karl Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster. ISBN 3-529-01515-6 (print on demand photocopy of the original text) -- I have an ethical principle that if I encounter a book that I once considered valuable enough to throw onto a photocopy machine in its entirety (we're talking out of print books here, since the labor and photocopy fees aren't really worth it for anything in print), I would buy it to expiate my sins against copyright. I could wish that this were acutally in print, since many of the photos of the textiles are less than useful in their third-hand state. This is pretty much THE definitive book on archaeological textiles in northern Europe from the Iron Age. I was using it recently as an example of the sort of book I would apply the aforementioned ethical principle to, and on a whim did a search and discovered that it had been made available in POD.
Homberger, Eric. 2016. The Historical Atlas of New York City. (3rd edition) St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 978-1-250-09806-1 -- I picked this up at the Museum of the City of New York back at Thanksgiving. I'm thinking it will be useful in sorting out various refernces in Abiel LaForge's diaries, especially after the war is over and he moves to NYC.
I never seem to include ebooks when I do these intake posts, largely because I don't have a good systemtic way of tracking what I've bought since the last roundup. At least physical books sit there in a stack waiting to be entered. I do try to add ebooks to my catalog, but it's trickier.
Hambly, Barbara. 2017. Murder in July. (Benjamin January #15) -- Despite knowing that I have a hard time reading physical books these days, it's hard to let go of buying the hard copies for a series that I began collecting that way. I'm about six books behind in reading this excellent series.
Steffen, David. ed. 2017. The Long List Anthology: Volume 3. -- One outcome of the Hugo Award ballot slating mess several years ago was this project to anthologize the "long list" of nominated short works in order to honor those stories that got bumped off the ballot by the slates. Even as the power of the slates has been tempered by community reaction, the idea of the Long List Anthology has had enough appeal to succeed with this third Kickstarter-driven collection. I very much doubt I'll manage to read any of the works that I haven't already read (in preparation for the voting), but it's a project I don't mind supporting as a subscriber, and that nets me a copy.
Green Sacchi (ed). 2017. Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales. Cleis Press. -- Ok, so erotica isn't really my thing. I admit that. But lesbian fantasy is. And a couple authors I like are in this volume. So what the heck.
Parisien, Dominik & Navah Wolfe (eds). 2016. The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales. Saga Press. -- More fairy tales...a theme? This collection was much talked about (and contents much nominated) last year. But as usual, if I read it, it will be in e-book. So why did I buy a hard copy? Because it's just a physically gorgeous object.