Books that keep me up too late

Last night, I stayed up until 1 in the morning to finish The Black Opera by Mary Gentle. It’s a marvelous tale, set in 19th century Naples, with Napoleon, the Inquisition, opera (obviously), zombies (sort of), questions about God, science and reason vs. superstition and faith, a ticking clock, and magic and miracles that come through music. (Also, Italian swearing for the beginner!) I had some issues with the editing and proofreading, but the story itself captivated me, and I was unwilling to put it down and get some sleep. Sure, I could have finished reading it today, but I just couldn’t bear to wait to see how it all turned out.

It made me feel my own writing was inadequate, but at the same time, I am so grateful that Gentle’s writing is so very immersive. I love discovering books that I don’t want to put down until I reach the end.

Have you read a book like that recently? What are you grateful for today?

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  1. The last one I really couldn’t make myself stop reading was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    I do love opera…I’ll have to see if my library has The Black Opera…not that I need more to read, but what can you do?


    • I really need to move Dragon Tattoo closer to the top of the TBR pile. I’ve heard so many good things about it!

      Thanks for commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Most of the books that I read in can’t-put-down heat turn out to be the mental and emotional equivalent of a sugar binge — delicious while I’m pigging out, but no staying power at best, and a hangover of bloat and disgust at worst (The DaVinci Code belongs in that category). Books that are good enough to engage me on multiple levels usually benefit from breaks to allow for digestion and pondering. But that’s just me.

    • This is the first book I’ve read in a long time that I stayed up late with and was not just guilty pleasure fluff reading. (As much as I enjoyed the books I mentioned last month, for example, I didn’t stay up to finish any of them.) It’s also the first one in quite a while that I’m already anticipating re-reading — maybe because I do need to get that pondering in there.

      Interesting points. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

  3. Kathleen Hammond

    Did not read Dragon Tattoo to the end. Just did not like it. My opinion.

  4. I read and loved the deeply disturbing and hilarious Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey.

    • Ooh, yes! I’m about 2/3 of the way through the third one, Aloha from Hell, now, but I set it down to read some of these others. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Interesting your comment that you noticed some editing inconsistencies. Occasionally, just occasionally, I’d like to read a book without having a moment where I judge it from that perspective. Can’t put that chicken back into the egg though.

    • There are a few I’ve managed it with, but it gets harder with time, I find. And I can generally see how they happen. (“Oh, they wanted to move this bit of description 4 pages earlier, and by mistake, someone marked the deleted bit to stet in the ms., missing that it was already present.”) I’m glad that at least I can enjoy the story, even when I see things from this perspective.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Kathleen Hammond

    Other than ‘feel good books’ which would not end up on your blog, I read ‘Glamour in Glass.’ I thought it was very different from Kowal’s first book in the series. Re-read ‘Shades of Milk and Honey’ prior to reading this second one. Perhaps I will have to re-read ‘Glamour’ again in a couple months. Have you read it yet?

    • I haven’t, yet. They don’t have it in the local library system (which is how I read Milk and Honey), and I haven’t been buying much. (Yes, pretty much everything I’ve talked about lately that’s a new release was from the library.) I might have to suggest the library buy it. . . .

      But I did see a comment from Kowal on Twitter, I think, about how different it was from the first and how that was leading to negative reviews because of reader expectations.

  7. It’s hard not to compare ourselves with other writers, but I’m working on it.

    Right now I’m reading a memoir, “Drinking: A Love Story,” and I could groan all day long about how I’ll never be able to write my own memoir as well as this.

    By the way, did you check out You can find proofreading and editing jobs to bid on, and it’s free to register.

    Take good care, my friend. Love you…

    • Good for you for working on the comparison bugbear!

      The problem with bidding sites is that they tend to be a race to the bottom price-wise. I could be so busy I don’t even have time to check my e-mail and still not be making very much money at all.

      Thank you!

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