The gas company is fixing a leak across the street. East of Austin, an entire county is on fire. I’m feeling a little nervous right now.

First up: if you haven’t gone over to My Jane Austen Book Club, what are you waiting for? My interview is up, and you can comment for a chance to win a copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet. An excerpt:

Do  you think that all these adaptations, both written and for the  screen, could alter, mislead  or even distort the interpretation of Austen’s work?
Oh yes. Especially some of the most recent adaptations. I know film is a different storytelling medium but some of the televised adaptations that recently aired seemed to miss the point. Several years ago, a New Yorker film critic quipped that the reason there were so many adaptations of Jane Austen was because her work lent itself so well to conversion to screen. As the article put it, all you had to do was type Fade In, run Austen’s dialog, and type Fade out at the end. If that was the case, then some screenwriters didn’t get the message and messed with perfection.

Ever since I became immersed in the world of Jane Austen spinoffs and sequels, I have been amazed at the number of books out there along with their ardent fans. I’m pleased and humbled to be a part of this new world, and if I sound a bit bemused, it’s because I am. I simply had no idea.

What I’m reading, or, One of These Things is not Like the Other:

I just finished Louise Marley’s The Brahms Deception. I love Louise’s music-rich novels. She is such a music nerd, and I say that with great admiration. It starts a little slow but then gathers speed and does not let up. Seriously awesome and sexy, and it should come with a soundtrack.

Rare Earth, by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee. From what these authors write, it’s not remarkable that there’s only one planet in our solar system with higher order life — it’s remarkable there’s any. Bacteria now, that’s another story. Awesome. I downloaded it for the Kindle and need to pick up a hardcopy because the Kindle can’t handle the diagrams.

The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson. Johnson looks at a cholera epidemic that flashed through a Victorian London neighborhood in the mid-1850s, leading two intrepid thinkers to confirm that cholera was caused by contaminated water, and not bad air, as was largely believed at the time. Even more remarkably, John Snow (not to be mistaken for Jon Snow, but wouldn’t that be neat?) and his map led eventually to one of the most remarkable feats of engineering, London’s sewage system,  and public health systems around the world. Also, I found out via this book that I am not a consilient person.  This book and The Great Influenza are must-reads for anyone interested in germs, cities, science, and public health.

Next up is Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth. I hang my head in shame to say I have not read any Jack Vance before. After that, I will go back to Alternate WWII and the Pacific Theater with Taylor Anderson, and after that, I don’t know. I’m sure I will not go book-less.


Audrey Lockwood · September 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

What’s the news on the fires? Are they getting worse?

Patrice Sarath · September 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

They aren’t completely out and I am not sure at this point of the level of containment of the Bastrop fire. In some other areas, people are being allowed back in, and the newspaper said that residents are patrolling their neighborhoods against would-be looters. Good lord, some people are just amoral. Or, just plain bad.

And as I look out my window, I see a slight breeze. Which is very bad of course.

Audrey Lockwood · September 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Sounds like an awful situation. Wish I could send you some of the rain we’ve been having!

Patrice Sarath · September 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

It’s so weird that while we’re in this massive drought, there are parts of the country with so much rain. If only we could pipe it down here, we’d gladly send you some of our sunshine.

maria ragucci · September 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Great interview, Patrice! By the way, have you heard of/read “Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson? It’s a remarkably fascinating historical novel about the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair, brilliantly bringing to life Chicago in that time period, the architects, engineers and designers behind the legendary fair, as well as the particularly gruesome serial killer who was active in that time and place. I thought of the book when you mentioned “germs, cities, science and public health.”

Patrice Sarath · September 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I haven’t heard of that one. It sounds fascinating. I will put it on the ever-expanding list. I started getting into nonfiction with the book about cod. “Cod, the fish that changed the world.” I love the books that bring it all together. Then “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” which is practically required reading for fantasists, or should be.

maria ragucci · September 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I do, too. (Bringing it all together.) Those sound oddly interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.