Because I deserve December

Seems rather telling re what kind of reading year 2013 has been, I know, but: For December, I am going to read books that I really want to read. That is: I’m going to read books I’ve been saving up as treats. So out trot the Anna Campbells and the Sarah MacLeans, the Stephen Kings and the Bill Brysons and the Jude Morgans and the Batman comic books whose protective plastic wrap still glint at me from my shelves. The close of crazy, beautiful and halfway-grotesque, infuriating and always-at-the-edge-of-something-new-and-terrifying 2013 will be spent reading—because I fucking deserve it.

(And the gleeful romp through my book stacks is also a nice lead-up to Long-Awaited Read Months, organized by Ana and Iris—which is of a different stripe but otherwise same feel: Read those books that have been languishing on your shelves forever. I am filled with glorious, motherfucking purpose.)

MACLEAN — No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

I came to aforementioned purpose when I decided it was time to read Sarah MacLean’s No Good Duke Goes Unpunished. I bought it Monday last week, promising to read once I was assured of a real weekend. When I finally got to settle with it last Sunday, it was very much a comfort: The ills of the workweek would fade in the seedy London underground that was MacLean’s world of choice. Our heroine Mara Lowe would sternly eye the deadlines, our hero Temple would but shift his shoulders in a fighting stance and those deadlines would run toward the horizon mewling for their mommies.

MacLean is an author I only started reading this year. I started with her new series, with A Rogue By Any Other Name, thought it a good romance novel—but it wasn’t until I read One Good Earl Deserves a Lover [twice, mind you, reread almost as soon as I caught my breath] that she earned a moony-eyed fan. And I went back and re-read Rogue, too. My read of No Good Duke was more like Rogue than One Good Earl—the latter I loved instantaneously, the former needed time to settle.

While I wait for the next, and final, book in the series—Chase’s story, sweet god [and, for the record, I don’t think I have ever screamed so loudly at a page 382]—I think I’m going to reread the first three books. Again. Precisely because I need to get ready for Chase’s book.

Anyway. The rest of December should be right along these lines. Late last night, I finished reading Sasha Grey’s debut novel—and I liked it a lot, infatuated by the rightness of it, even of the awkwardness in its earnestness. And it got me to thinking, too, about how poorly it’s been received in a landscape that’s bursting with variations of Fifty Shades of Grey erotic romance. Because Sasha Grey didn’t write an erotic romance—she wrote erotica. In a publishing world where hypersexed courtliness has trended and reigned and remains chugging along, Grey’s discomfiting and utterly un-romantic novel cuts.

But Grey is for later. And after I write about Grey [and daydream fondly of what a novel from Stoya would read like], I am going back to my shelves and wonder what books will offer themselves up. The hardcover of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep that I bought, despite my insistence to wait for the paperback? An early Eloisa James I’d always been curious about? Some swashbuckling with The Scarlet Pimpernel? We’ll see.

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