* Fiction recommendations:
First, I'm very pleased to announce that one of the stories from the new Bordertown anthology has just been posted at Tor.com, giving readers a sneak preview of the book before its May 24 publication date. And it's a doozy of a story too: "Shannon's Law" by Cory Doctorow, in which this insanely clever author brings the Internet to Bordertown...in a crazy, Internet-Genuis-on-the-Border-of-Elfland kind of way. You can read the Introduction to Cory's story here; the story itself here; Cory's post about it on BoingBoing here; and you can listen to an audio version podcast on Escape Pod here. I adore this tale.
Second, Genevieve Valentine is fast becoming one of my favorites in the new generation of speculative fiction writers. Her latest story, "Study, for Solo Piano," can be read online in Fantasy Magazine -- and three other terrific tales (just in case you missed them) can be found as follows: her vampire story for the Teeth anthology is available online on the HarperTeen site; a brilliant fairy tale inspired story was published on the IAF site; and a second fine fairy tale re-telling can be found in the JoMA archives.
* Art recommendations:
I'm charmed by the three-dimensional paper creations of Canadian artist Ellen MacKay (via Ruthie at A Faerietale of Inspiration); and I love this odd image from Yanoakiko (via Lori Field). For trees, handmade books, mythic symbolism and more, visit Valerianna Claff and her students at RavenWood Forest; and for comic art steeped in Tarot and Renaissance magic, there's a new Friday post up at John Barleycorn.
* While searching for something else entirely, I happened to stumble across a 2009 post on faeries and mushroom circles by Seabrooke Leckie, a biologist, naturalist, and writer in Canada. Did you know that the biggest known mushroom ring is over 600 yards in diameter, and about 700 years old? (Leckie's dog looks remarkably like Tilly, and poses for the camera just as obligingly.)
* Keeping folklore alive in Britian: You'll find an Oxfordshire Bosky Man on the blog of Andy Letcher (writer & musician with the fabulous "darkly crafted folk" band Telling the Bees), and photos of the May Day/Beltane bonfire here in Chagford on my neighbor Tom Hine's Westcountry Folklore blog. (Check out the photo titled "Flames of May," which is simply stunning.)
* Spurred on by the Royal Wedding Hoopla, YA Fiction writer Charles Butler reflects on monarchism and fantasy novels at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. "When it comes to royalty," he says, "there is a strange porousness about the boundary between fantasy and reality...."
* George Saunders discusses writing with Patrick Dacey over at Bomblog (in the first of a two-part interview); Lori Moore discusses recent memoirs and the art of memoir writing at The New York Review of Books; and Zadie Smith discusses rules for writers at The Guardian's website. (via Gwenda Bond)
* I always have a running list of books to track down and read, and this is at the top of my list right now: Phillip Connors' Fire Season, about his life as a fire lookout in the beautiful Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. (I may be a Dartmoor lass these days, but passion for the landscape of the American Southwest is still lodged deep within my soul.) Connors' book began as a diary in The Paris Review -- and, having loved it there, I'm now eager to read the book-length version. Maud Newton has posted an interesting interview with the author on the TPR website (with thanks to Colleen Mondor, of the Chasing Ray book blog, for the link).
* Speaking of the American Southwest, one of the things I miss about my former life in Tucson (along with coyotes, tamales, Spanish radio stations, and the smell of the desert after the rain) is being able to pop down to the readings at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, especially those that showcase the many excellent writers from the region's indigenous nations. So I'm delighted to discover that some of these readings are being filmed, allowing one to watch them from an ocean away. Go here, for example, to hear a reading by Dine (Navajo) poet Luci Tapahonso, or here for a reading by Tohono O'0dham writer Ofelia Zepeda, or here for Laguna Pueblo writer Leslie Marmon Silko. The Poetry Center also has an extensive library of audio files. A great resource indeed.
* I also recommend a series of videos taken from a talk on "The Ecology and Perception of Language" by David Abram (author of two of my all-time favorite books: The Spell of the Senusous and Becoming Animal): Air, if Sacred; The Rich Otherness; Breath and Poetry; etc.. Then check out the lovely and inspiring website of the organization Abram directs: The Alliance for Wild Ethics -- where you'll find his essay "Storytelling and Wonder: On the Rejuvenation of Oral Culture," and many other treasures.
Have a good weekend.