I spent the fall reading history books about the colonization of Brazil in the 1500s for the new novel I'm writing. Many of them are in Portuguese, but one that I got over here that I recommend is the translation of Jean de Lery's History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil. It is a first-hand account of his travels, but written (or translated) with enough wit and sarcasm to entertain modern readers.
Another favorite is Delicias do Descobrimento by Sheila Hue, which unfortunately has no English translation. It is a compilation of animals and plants used for food in the 1500s, including recipes and illustrations.
I still have more history books to go through, but there is just so long I can go without reading fiction. Fantasy pulled my heartstrings, so I read the novella Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne. It did a great job introducing me to the world and wetting my appetite for her novel Midnight Thief, which will be released in the summer. I found the ending a bit abrupt, but there are deleted scenes posted on her wonderful website, more than worth the visit.
The short book was not enough, so I read Wilder Mage by CD Coffelt. It grabbed me from the start and didn't let go. Great tension and a well-crafted plot. It has the best magic duel I've ever read. Very satisfying ending, with enough unanswered questions to have me wanting more.
I should probably go back to the history books, but there are a couple of sci-fi novels calling at me... Resistance is not my forte.
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