Oh, Squiders, tech/dress rehearsal is kicking my butt. I am getting nothing else done except a ridiculous amount of laundry. I mean, I didn’t even know we owned so many clothes. I think it’s the combination of doing the laundry from the trip (cruise, so mostly summer clothes) plus clothes from before we left (mostly winter clothes, but not really because it’s still unseasonably warm in these parts). Anyway. No one cares about my laundry. I don’t even care about my laundry. It’s just neverending.
Anyway, what this mostly means is that I haven’t figured out anything profound to blog about today. I went and looked at the most popular posts this blog has had, and with the exception of the alpaca poetry (how could you go wrong there?) they’re all things like the Character Archetype or Sub-genre series, and that is more brain than I am willing to go for today.
So, I thought we’d talk about books. I’m about two or three books behind where I want to be for the year (having only successfully completed two books in February) but hopefully I’ll catch up here as soon as the musical is over.
So! Books! I started off the year with science fiction:
- The Man in the High Castle (1962)
- Escape Velocity (1983)
- Unremembered (2013)
I once had a fellow writer say you should never read anything older than five years so you could get a good handle on the market, which is probably true, but I am bad at sticking to that principle, and also sometimes I feel like a lot of the new stuff reads fairly similarly, and I like some variation.
I also picked up some new fantasy books:
- Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
Both of which are new this year. The first is a more novella-length offering from Seanan McGuire (whom I’ve heard a lot about but have never read before) about the dead and witches in modern society, which had some very interesting worldbuilding. Wintersong I picked up because I went to a workshop in January that talked about taking your favorite stories and changing them to make something new (and also mashing two things together–I got Hamlet and Hawaii 5-0, for an example) and I had started thinking about Labyrinth, which is one of my favorite movies, but hadn’t gotten anywhere with it (see previous posts re: revision). Anyway, long story short (too late), Wintersong deals with the Goblin King and caught my interest since I’d just been pondering this sort of thing, but I had to give it back to the library and don’t find myself much motivated to go and get it again.
And then I ventured out of spec fiction, which happens occasionally:
- The Calder Game (children’s mystery)
- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (contemporary)
The Calder Game is the third in a series that I’ve typically liked, which mixes art history with mystery in a way that’s generally pretty ingenious. (The other two books are Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3.) This one was lacking both on mystery and properly integrating the artist, so it was just sad all the way around. And I read 85% of A.J. Fikry on the plane back from Florida on Monday. It didn’t get too traumatic, which I find is often an issue with contemporary fiction, where someone always seems to die even in the most lighthearted of books, so it was a win for me.
I also read a novella that was written to go along with a mobile game I was playing, but the book was awful. And I haven’t touched the game since I finished it, actually, so I guess that backfired on them.
I’m in the middle of a few books as well:
- Timebound (science fiction, 2014)
- American Gods (fantasy, 2001)
I’m actually making pretty good progress on American Gods, which I took with me on the trip, and, hey, it’s working better for me than Gaiman normally does. Timebound it feels like I’ve been on forever. It’s not a bad book–I’m just not drawn back to it very often. I also have a couple of nonfiction books (one random, one writing-related) that I am not really reading, but did start.
How about you, Squiders? Read anything good so far this year? Any recs for me?