Readercon and the Art Of Reading
Year after year, Readercon one of the most rigorous and fascinating conferences I attend. Its program book has itself become a significant work of bibliographic scholarship, one that earns no one promotion or tenure but for which readers and scholars will long be grateful. They do all this on a registration fee of $60.
As I often do, I returned with loads of books. Those now on my stack include:
- This Shared Dream (Kathleen Ann Goonan)
- The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
- Mechanique (Genevieve Valentine)
- The Gates (John Connolly)
- Redshirts (John Scalzi)
- Leviathan Wakes (James S. A. Corey)
- Bitterblue (Kristin Cashore)
- The Brides of Rollrock Island (Margot Lanagan)
- Rewired (James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, eds.)
- Booklife (Jeff VanderMeer)
This amounts to nearly three months of reading at my customary rate, just to cover the best genre novels of the last year. Should I change the rate? Does genre fiction from 2011 merit a quarter of my reading for the year? (Quirkily, Readercon regards “literary fiction” as a genre but is not very interested in mysteries.)
Several of these books are parts of longer series. And reading any new writer is dangerous. During “The Year In Novels,” Don D'Ammassa — who reads about two novels a day — described the terrible pickle in which he found himself: he was visiting friends in upstate New York, he had run out of things to read, and the bookstore was closed on Sunday! Things were desperate. He fell back on the book section of Stop and Shop. He settled on a John Connolly thriller. He did not hope for much. But it was really good! So, of course, that’s another ten books to be read.