Sadly, I had to spend most of the day writing recommendations for colleagues (4 are up for interim or promotion in the department this year). Lots of reading.
On the bright side, I've been reading James Branch Cabell's Jurgen, an odd little novel from 1919 that is apparently hailed as a early work of fantasy fiction. It's definitely picaresque, a little sinister, and sometimes obscene. It seems to me that most modern fantasy, by contrast, has been ruined by Tolkien's ponderous and humorless epic. These days fantasy seems to rely on huge elaborate depictions of alternate (but always medieval) worlds, and the bizarreness of folk-narrative and "fairy tale" has faded from view. Here's a fragment. A ghost king is referring to the ghost of his ninth wife, Sylvia:
"And I regret, I bitterly regret, to confess that, in a moment of extreme yet not quite unprovoked excitement, I assassinated the lady whom you now behold."
"And I am sure, through no fault of mine," says Sylvia Tereu.
"Certainly, my dear, you resisted with all your might. I only wish that you had been a larger and brawnier woman."