alisa alering

Writer of fantasy and other fictions


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The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

I started listening to Sarah Waters’ new book The Little Stranger on Friday last week, while I was doing reluctant battle with the rowing machine. Usually audiobooks are exercise-only entertainment.  This weekend I snuck in an extra chapter while toiling over the litter boxes (we have 5 cats – it takes a while) and tuned-in again while driving to work today (time usually reserved for off-key singalongs to ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ and other filmi classics.)

I’m on the 3rd disc of 13, and nothing has ‘happened’ in any great plot-forwarding sense. I could care less. I want constantly to go back there, to be there– ‘there’ being tumbledown Hundreds Hall in 1949 — with the doctor, and Caroline, and watch the wallpaper peel as the days go by.

This is supposedly a ghost story and I’ve been having fun looking for the tiniest crumbs of supernatural foreshadowing, which are both few and shy. There has been no apparition, no bad luck, not even a feeling of unease. If I weren’t pre-fixed with the notion of a haunting, I doubt I’d even catch them.

I usually don’t listen to authors I enjoy this much-I want to savor them on the page, but I came to Waters through audiobooks – first with The Night Watch, then Fingersmith, so I decided not to interrupt a good thing. I think I’d listen to Waters no matter what subject she writes about. She is a storyteller, in the old-fashioned way, like Trollope or Austen or Ursula LeGuin. It doesn’t matter what she’s saying, I just want her to go on saying it.

But don’t you like the UK cover better?

The Little Stranger UK cover

The Little Stranger UK cover


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My Book Cover

City of Shadows, 1992-1994

City of Shadows, 1992-1994, by Alexey Titarenko

A popular game with, well, pretty much everyone I’ve ever known, is “When I Have A Band It’s Gonna Be Called____.” Fill-in anything from “Dog Turd Minefield” to “Kung Pao Chicken.”

This is my pathetic writer’s version. When I have a book, this is going to be the cover. I love this so much it makes me want to write a book just so it can deserve the cover. My other book cover (the good thing about books is that you can have more than one, it just makes you cooler) is going to be something custom by Irina who did the header for this blog. What is it about Russian art? Why is it so good?


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Seeing Double? (Or, Do All Book Designers Use the Same Photo Agency?)

I was reading ‘White Readers Meet Black Authors’ today, and when I clicked on the post about J. California Cooper’s new novel ‘Life Is Short But Wide’, I thought I was seeing Jeffrey Ford’s ‘The Girl in the Glass.’

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

Stuff like this cracks me up. I freelance as a photo editor, and last month my co-op’s monthly flier showed up in my mailbox covered in the same images I had been staring at all morning for my current project. I see stock images everywhere. Its like my brain has developed stock-dar.

I’m guessing that even if the book designers above were aware of the duplication, they were thinking “Literary Fantasy? African-American? Never the genre shall meet.” But I’ve foiled them. I’m going to read both.

(For a few more covers, see YA author Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Lookalikes‘ post about his own books).