I sold a story (maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime) and as a little reward to myself (that story was a lot of work) I bought some beautiful things. To wit:
Hermione Eyre. Viper wine. Early one morning, sitting in the lounge at Readercon with my laptop, I read a review of this book at The Hysterical Hamster, and I knew, I just knew, I had to read it. I haven’t been disappointed.
John Bakeless. Turncoats, traitors, and heroes: Espionage in the American Revolution. I saw this at the Park Service bookstore at the Saratoga battlefield. I didn’t buy it then, but soon it was clear that I’d need it for research on a story that I’ve been turning over in my head.
S.P. Somtow. Jasmine nights. I recently borrowed Jo Walton’s What makes this book so great from the library. Her enthusiasm is so contagious that I made a list of must-have books.
Robert J. Antony. Like froth floating on the sea: The world of pirates and seafarers in late imperial South China. Years ago (how many? Three? Five? More? Years, I tell you!) I requested this book at the Library of Congress, only to be told that its status was “Internal loan: overdue.” I requested it again a year or two later, same status. And a few months ago: same. What…? Why? Turns out, members of Congress are allowed to borrow from the collection — fair enough, it’s their library — but there’s no mechanism in place to make them bring the book back. Obviously, I had no choice but to buy my own copy.
Hildegarde Dolson. The great Oildorado: The gaudy and turbulent years of the first oil rush: Pennsylvania 1859–1880. I consulted this book at the Library of Congress and enjoyed it so much I wanted to have a copy. And now I do.
John M. Ford. The dragon waiting. Jo Walton’s description of this book (Byzantines! Medicis! Leonardo! Vampires! Dragons!) was so intoxicating that naturally I bought it.
John H. Rhodehamel (editor). The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence. The best way, I’ve found, to write convincing period dialog is to read so much prose from that period that you start sounding that way yourself.
Terry Bisson. Fire on the mountain. See Somtow and Ford above.