Pardon the self-promo, but everyone loves cake, right? Reading the Past celebrates its 4th blogiversary this month. The traditional acknowledgment of a 4th anniversary is fruit or flowers, but neither travels well in the mail, so I'll be hosting some book giveaways instead. Watch for more details soon!
I'm late in reporting this, especially since I got co-opted into helping organize again, but the location for the 4th North American Historical Novel Society conference has been finalized. Come join us at the Holiday Inn on the Bay in sunny San Diego on June 17-19, 2011. (That's 2011... a year from now.) The hotel's across from the harbor, so I understand. I'll be flying out in about a month for our annual board meeting and will see it for myself. A nice late spring break trip. Registration opens this fall.
The Wall Street Journal's Dear Book Lover of March 5th gave recommendations of historical British novels for a reader who loves Philippa Gregory. To her credit, the columnist went out and read The Other Queen herself, but her list of suggestions doesn't work for me. They're all set in Britain, sure, and are excellent novels in their own right, but the style of these books -- labyrinthine Victorian epics and literary thrillers, for the most part -- doesn't mesh with Gregory's royal dramas at all. See what you think. I'd be curious how well the ideas worked out.
A lengthy discussion on Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander from the A.V. Club. (Someone send a few of these folks some more good historical fiction.)
Finally, seen via Twitter yesterday, a talk on the essentials of plot from Cheryl Klein, editor at Arthur A. Levine Books. I don't write fiction but enjoyed all of her insights into how to craft an excellent read.