Auden used to say that he had a kind of guardian angel who was always there to tell him what to read next. I sometimes I think I have one too, though my angel is rather less consistently attentive than Auden’s was. But she has one habit I like: she tells me when not to read something. Yes, you’ll want to read that, she whispers, but wait. Wait a while. Not now, but later.

One book she told me to delay the reading of is Robin Sloan’s novel Sourdough — but recently she gave me permission, and I eagerly, um, devoured it. What an absolutely delightful tale! I recommend it to you all, as soon as your reading angel — you have one, I trust — gives you the O.K.

One of the great things about Sourdough is that it’s an utterly charming story that opens up, at the end, towards a future that could be quite utopian … or, marginal chance, quite dystopian.