Rather than keep trickling the books out, I figured I should just get caught up....
Book #10 - Nana by Emile Zola - in French. This one took a while and I may have missed some subtleties wading through Zola's French, but I think I get it. Zola really had a dislike for the "kept women" of Paris or as the US Amazon puts it "hypocrisy and fin-de-siecle moral corruption". I could tell from the footnotes that Zola was trying to denounce Nana and her set, but there are elements in the middle where I started to like her. When she first gets a country home and feels at peace playing house, before her city guests arrived. When she leaves the theatre set to "settle" with a man she believes she loves, though neither of them has much money. It seemed a bit brutal, what Zola put her through during the months she lived with this guy. At the end, there really wasn't a person left in Nana - she wanted more and more and more and hated it when she got it and crumbled into ruin. I'm still not quite sure what I think of her.
Book #11 - Flash Fiction Forward, edited by James Thomas and Robert Shapard. Very very short stories. A range. Some really compelling and moving - leaving you marveling at how they got that much into less than 3 pages. Others seemed very random and made little sense. Neat medium, though.
Book #12 - Manga Claus: The Blade of Kringle written by Nathaniel Marunas, illustrated by Erik Craddock. An amusing break/ distraction.
Book #13 - Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock. Most excellent. I think I did enjoy it more than Mythago Wood, the first in the series. Did it help that the main character was a chic? Probably. Rhyope Wood is a mystical place, larger inside than its perimeter would indicate, where time warps, and the land itself and the creatures within it emerge from myths buried in the collective unconscious of those who cross its threshold. Fascinating, and I loved Tallis' story. It got very circular at the end, though, and left me a little undecided on how I felt about its conclusion. Neater would have been easier - but would it be as likely to stick with me??