by Susanna Clarke (2006).
Clarke was on my list of authors to read in the new year, but spending hours in the Atlanta airport this holiday season made me crave short stories. I wanted the sense of repeated accomplishment, of finishing quickly, of not being interrupted and losing the thread.
I haven't read Clarke's breakout debut, but these stories certainly whetted my appetite. None of them were life-changing, but all of them were pretty fun. I have the feeling I'll enjoy her novel immensely, once I get around to it.
My favorite story by far in the collection was "Antickes and Frets," mostly because I've had a lifelong love of Mary Queen of Scots. I also enjoyed "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse," because it's always fun to read stories set in other people's worlds, and goodness knows there aren't many worlds I love more or know better than Neil Gaiman's.
I also have to mention Charles Vess's illustrations for the book, which I adore. I don't have much to say on them other than that. His work thrills me and comforts me. I know where I stand when I'm looking at a Vess drawing, but I never know what's standing just out of sight.