Hello Everyone! Welcome to the ’20s!
Time really does feel like it’s slippin’, slippin, slippin’ into the future–which I guess is what it does. I’ve been quite busy with a new project. I’ve decided to make audio versions of my books, narrating them myself. Right now I’m most of the way through recording the Giaco & Luca series. Then comes the really slow part: the editing. It’s a fierce debate amongst authors right now: should you record your audiobooks yourself, thus giving your readers/listeners the experience of hearing you narrate your own stories just as you want them to be narrated (ability allowing), or do you turn that massive task over to a professional narrator and sound engineer? So far I’ve chosen to do it all myself, which has been quite a task–but a very entertaining one. Expect updates about that soon.
Meanwhile, I thought I’d start 2020 off with some of the books and music I liked best from 2019.
This isn’t actually from 2019, but there was a big sale on them a few months ago, so I snapped them up. I’ve mentioned before what a huge fan I am of Robin Hobb, but I only read the Rain Wild Chronicles this fall.
For those of you familiar with Hobb’s other books, these four stories link up the hitherto mainly separate worlds of the Farseer series and the Liveship Traders series. They have their own cast of characters, who start off in Bingtown and the Rain Wilds, and then end in…well, I can’t give it away, but somewhere that’s important to FitzChivalry and The Fool. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, I strongly recommend you run out and grab either these books, or Assassin’s Apprentice, right now.
Another standout fantasy I read this year, which really is from 2019, is The Vine Witch.
Set in a version of early 20th-century France where witches are tied to the land and affect the growing of grapes and the fermentation of wine, this literary/historical fantasy is both beautifully written and a gripping adventure. Definitely worth reading.
And then I have to throw out a word for a couple of standout folk metal albums I discovered. When I’m working at my computer I like to let YouTube trawl around and find me unusual music, which it obligingly does. It has decided to show me lots of folk metal, so here we are. Check out these bands–you will not be sorry.
Skald’s debut album is a unique interpretation of medieval Nordic Skaldic (bardic) music. Turns out this is a whole genre that you can spend hours listening to…
The HU combine hard rock and Mongolian throat singing, in what Apple Music calls “one of 2019’s most singular rock albums.” It may be the apotheosis of metal.