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Comfort Reading: 8 Recommendations from Miss Carriger

Posted by Gail Carriger

Every devout reader knows that just as there are comfort foods, there are also comfort reads. And just like comfort foods, we don’t all have the same ones and they are often tied to childhood nostalgia.

I do a number of posts about the books I like to read, Gentle Reader, partly because it’s one of the questions I get a lot. Partly because I’m a voracious reader. And partly because I want to share the love.

Recently, on Twitter, I was asked what I read for comfort. I realized I’d never specifically addressed this kind of book her in the blog. The kind I reach for in times of worry and trouble. The one I wrap around my imagination like a warm fuzzy blanket. I tend to reach for different ones under different kinds of emotional stress, so I will try to tease that out for you.

Without further ado, here are my comfort reads…

Unadulterated Escape from Reality

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

The worldbuilding (and the vast and complex cast of characters) in these books is utterly transporting. For me this is the ultimate epic fantasy. You can keep your Game of Thrones, I will reach for this trilogy once a year, sometimes more, probably for the rest of my life. (Ladies & gentlemen it’s finally coming out in digital form this month! I am over the moon. Along with the other two in the series. )

I Just Want to be Loved

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan

I don’t know why this book. But it is this one. There is something about the way Vaughan writes culture conflict that rivets me. I love a good romantic misunderstanding (a GOOD one, mind you). I can read this particular story over and over again.

Nostalgia for Days

Pierce

Pretty much any of Tamora Pierce‘s Tortall stuff will do although I have a particular soft spot for Alanna, Kel, and Bekka. I put McCaffery, Lackey, and McKinley into this same basket. But, in all honesty, it’s usually Pierce I reach for if I want to dwell for a while in my own past.

I Just Want a Hug

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala

At it’s heart this Sci Fi (light BDSM) m/m romance is a story about discovering exactly where you belong in the universe. Wrap that up in a big purple softie and his fantastically well done alien culture and I find myself rereading this book a lot. Especially if I feel displaced and out of whack.

I Just Want a Good Cry

The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

This is your knights of the round table find each other instead of the chalice. Whatever, I’m losing my metaphors here. But it’s great. It’s romance so I give nothing away by saying the knights end up together, but the book then follows the men through the rest of their lives. Which means you get to see how they die. Which makes me cry.

Similarly The Song of Achilles fills this niche. But it makes me cry too much, so I don’t reach for it as often. If you’re looking to cry over het romance, try The Deep End of the Sea for modern meets ancient Greek fantasy, or the Theirs Not To Reason Why series for space opera.

Here is my: 10 Books to Read When You Need a Good Cry

I Want To Be Reminded There’s Good in the World

For Real by Alexis Hall

Strange that I should reach for a BDSM book when I’m looking for proof of goodness, right? But that’s what I do. There is not only good in the story but good in the writing of this book. Some of Hall’s sentences are almost painful. I will read anything written by this author for that reason alone, but For Real is by far my favorite.

I Don’t Want to be Myself

Mary Calmes Acrobat or Frog

Calmes is a prolific writer and I’ve read most of her stuff, but for me, these are her best. I find her better at full length stand alone than series or shorter works. Since she writes in first person (not generally something I gravitate towards) her style really takes me out of my own head.

Gimme a Happy Ending

Restitution by Aubrey Cullens

This is a straight up redemption m/m romance. (You should know by now that most of the romance I read is m/m. We can delve hard core into my psyche sometime over drinks, if you like. But there it is. I just find the gay boys more romantic because of how I was raised. Anyway, where was I?) This is one of those good man is horribly wronged by the system and then forges and new identity through love sort of stories and I adore it. Adore it. I’d have a hard time explaining why, since there are so many other books like it. But it’s this one.

More recommended reads from Miss Carriger?

So what’s your comfort read?

Meanwhile, I’m giving away 3 copies of the anglicized version of Manners & Mutiny over on Goodreads.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 0r 2019.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

Tiny Navajo Reads says:

“I love that Gail Carriger is moving out of the Victorian Steampunk universe in such an amazing way, magic is explained scientifically, but it’s still magic. The two main characters are wonderfully done, I believe them, I sympathize with them, I can see the area where they are, and I love even the secondary characters.”

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Shrinking Orphan Works Problem

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Invite Your Readers to Help Get Your Books into Libraries

Book News:

V’s Reads says of The Sumage Solution

“I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot, because it’s fantastic and so very different, but I want to mention that it’s got the same fast-paced, witty movement as all the other books I’ve read by the author. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.”

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


Queering-Up Genre One Akeldama at a Time ~ Why Gail Carriger Writes LGBT Characters

Posted by Gail Carriger

 
I’ve been contemplating this blog post for a while, Gentle Reader.
Generally, I try to avoid matters personal or political online, but a review of Changeless finally convinced me I should say something on the subject. (As an aside, images to this post added in 2017, after the switch to a new website/)
You are hereby warned that if you are of a conservative inclination you may find the following post uncomfortable. It is also, I am sad to say, serious. I promise a return to my normal fripperies next entry.
Here’s the passage from The Librarian’s Bookshelf:
I was also incredibly pleased with how delightfully gay the subplots of this book were. Madame Lefoux is a fantastic addition to the main cast, and Alexia’s naiveté as Lefoux flirts with her is fantastic. It’s not just Lefoux, though: Angelique, Countess Nadasdy, and both Alexia and Lefoux’s fathers are outed as well (they were dallying with each other, which makes Lefoux flirtation that much more fantastic). Add in Akeldama and Biffy, and a couple of hints about Woolsey’s Beta, and it’s possibly the gayest mainstream book I’ve read in a while.

The Librarian is not the first to notice. I also, recently, keep getting asked… why?

(Leaving aside what readers should be asking is “why” of every other het-only narrative out there…)

Gail’s Background

I grew up in-and-around San Francisco in the 1980s immersed in the dying threads of the Beat Generation. This should tell you many things, but relevant to this post are the following two points.

First: All the stable relationships I observed in my youth were gay men. These relationships were, to my innocent eyes, incredibly romantic, artistic, loving, and enriching both to the couple in question and the world they inhabited. Aside from myself, all my little friends were the property of neurotic single mothers. (Yes, I intend the use of the word property.) You can imagine this gave me a rather interesting outlook on romance.

The second thing, of course, is that these wonderful relationships all buckled under the weight of three little letters.

The Victorians… Totally Gay

So far as my books are concerned, there is another balance to this equation, which is the Victorian world itself. The England of 1870 was a morally conservative, anti-hedonistic, ultra-religious place full of individuals who valued duty above all else, and regarded anything that smacked of fun as suspicious. This comes off to most Americans as, frankly, gloomy.

Because I have the luxury of writing alt-history, I injected the comedy back into Victorian England through the vehicle of immortality combined with my childhood memories.

The Immortals… Totally Queer

This seems logical to me. After all, if you live for hundreds of years, no matter how straight your inclinations initially, you are likely to get, well, bored and experimental as the decades roll by. And I warn you all now, this probably goes both directions. Don’t settle Lord Akeldama too firmly on the Kinsey scale, for there may well have been a young lady or two in his past. Not that I think sexuality is a choice, just more fluid than the binary system has imposed upon humanity for thousands of years.

The vampires and werewolves in my books can get away with this, of course, because they are supernatural creatures. Church and moral law has no bearing on them for Victorians perceive them as outside the natural order. Ironically, this allows them the power to be even more extravagant and trend setting.

It is no accident that excess soul is linked to creativity in my universe, and that my immortals are forced by procreative necessity to become, basically, patrons of the arts. My Victorian world emphasizes the split between those of a theatrical inclination and the rest of society, but also the strange power that the vampires in particular have over the aesthetic mindset of the ton.

ace-artemis-fanartist biffy & lyall

This is not so very far-fetched. Throughout history is it the disenfranchised who not only bring about social change, but underwrite society’s most dearly beloved (and consequently disregarded) frivolities: music, art, fashion, architecture, dance, or comedic literature.

But why?!

Sorry to get a tad academic, but I guess what I am trying to say is the following:

There are queer characters in my books because there are queer people in my life and soul, always have been, so it would not be my universe without them. They are as fallible, flawed, and as changeable as any other characters.

There are also queer characters in my books because (for me) they correlate to the most dynamic part of any society, the part that brings about wonder.

Romancing the Werewolf (Gail’s first gay main character romance)

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor (Gail’s first lesbian main character romance)

These books are part of Gail’s Supernatural Society Novella series which features only queer main characters.

The third book in her Custard Protocol Series, Competence, also features a queer main character.

Do you want more sneak peeks, free goodies, gossip, behind the scenes info, release announcements? New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
The Tomb of Two “Brothers” Because the Egyptian goons will come in and deny your permit or shut down your site few Egyptologists will talk about this tomb publicly. But I worked for years inside the museum and archaeological world and I can tell you there is very little contention outside of Islamic countries that this is, in fact, the tomb of a gay couple.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about writing gay characters.

Michelle has some very thoughtful things to say including, “Even though it may be satirical, Soulless is not without its serious messages. Tolerance and the dangers of science come to the fore as the story proceeds along its path. Good and evil are not easily discerned as “monsters” protect the Crown, fops come to the rescue, and (heaven forbid!) women hold positions of power.”
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless.
In which I am called a “Naughty Little Minx”: “What’s not to love about this book? There’s a murder mystery. Were-less Scottish werewolves. An attempted poisoning. A tumble off the side of a dirigible. More mysterious vampire politics. A shockingly brazen new friend for Alexia – a female milliner who scandalously goes about in trousers!”
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Sent to agent.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. Book available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
“Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.”
~ Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524


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