Small Gems

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As in years past, when the days get shorter and the to-do-list gets longer, it is hard to find time to read. I would tend to reserve literary door-stoppers like Wolf Hall and The Children's Book for when I could carve out a large chunk of time, and look for the small gems.

Urban fantasy lovers (and Jim Butcher fans) would not want to miss his stand-alone 12,000 word novelette, set in the Dresden Files. Backup is narrated by Harry's big brother Thomas - only this time, Harry is the one in BIG trouble!

In Muse of Fire, Hugo winner Dan Simmons "combines his fine prose with a well-developed sense of wonder and love for reworked literary and mythological materials". In the far future, The Earth's Men, an interstellar troupe of Shakespearean players meet up with the Archons - members of the usually invisible ruling caste and change human and non-human history. This intellectual adventure story of astonishing richness and depth, wit and erudition will please and entertain.

The Moon Opera a "tiny, perfect novel" by Bi Feiyu give us not only a glimpse into the Chinese opera world but also deep into a woman's heart. With drama, intrigue, jealousy, retribution and redemption, it introduces Western readers to one of the most respected authors and screenwriters in modern China.