, by Drake Stutesman
who surprisingly turned out to be a woman, if that wasn't a typo on the blurb on the back of the book.
A little less compelling than Oyster
in the same series, perhaps because the author of that one was also an English Professor whereas Stutesman edits some Cinema and media magazine, or perhaps because the first half of the book was devoted to the snake's symbolism in myth and religion throughout time from pre-historic Neolithic artwork through to modern evangelical Christian snake-handling sects.
Frankly, that much symbolism all in one extended chunk was kind of boring and I skimmed over that until the book picked up again with some interesting stuff about how venom is being used for modern day medicinal purposes and how snakebites used to be treated with bad medicine in the past.
A nice volume in the series, even if not quite as interesting for me as the other one I tried, and recommended for people who like this sort of pop-science/culture stuff.
Also returned to the library Alison's Wonderland
, an anthology of fairy-tale based erotic romance stories in Harlequin's Spice imprint, edited by Alison Tyler
, of m/f and f/f shorts by both female and male authors.
I've always been a sucker for fairy-tale re-imaginings (sex optional) and this was an okay addition to the field. Some of them were clever and imaginative, others had no noticeable fairy-tale/folkloric element and seemed to have been an excuse to write a story involving an "ordinary" fantasy like spanking. Granted, I skipped over the more boring stories so I might have missed something.
Mild recommendation if fairy-tale derivatives are your thing and you also like them sexed up (mind you, given how some of the originals went, "up" is really not that far from the source). There's too high a proportion of straw to gold otherwise.
Best-written/most entertaining (not necessarily congruent qualities, I should warn you) of the lot in my opinion were: Beauty and the Beast's BDSM boundaries negotiation, the D&D game that takes a decidedly kinkier LARPing twist, the resetting of Rumplestiltskin among the aristocracy of Lancastrian England, Snow White's stepmother's magic mirror voyeurism, the cybersex encounter of Cupid and Psyche, and the final 100 word drabble with a hilariously unconventional rescue of a maiden from a monster.
Now currently on Margaret MacMillan
's Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
, about the Treaty of Versailles. I'm about 5% in and so far it's pretty promising, establishing the backgrounds and personalities of the main negotiators.
However, it's marred by flaw in the e-book edition, which doesn't link the footnotes in the text to their references. And it's not just my library-to-Kindle conversion that's at fault; they're missing in the original when I check the ADE download too.