Notes from a Poly-Reader #2

And so, like a wary snail creeping across the threshold onto the sun-heated stone entryway of a house it can’t afford, June is upon us at last. It still feels weird to think of it as June. Somehow, June seems like–you know–SUMMER. And it is getting quite warm day after day, and I’m already starting the internal debate: Do we spring for a window-mounted air-con unit? Because, dear lord, if it’s as humid this year as it was last year…

But the start of a new month is a good time to check in on reading progress! I managed to pare down my queue a bit by May 31st, so I’m feeling good about that, but I’m also frantically obsessed with getting my hands on *more* things to read (other than what I’m currently reading). *insert eye-roll here* This is why I have a 12 book limit!

As of right now, I am reading:

Status Update

(Technically, I was reading Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace last Poly-Reader check-in, but I forgot… One of the many pitfalls of poly-reading is misplacing a book so that you forget you started it.)

Down to six! Not bad.

Style — Gosh, I’ll have to look, but I think I’m on Chapter 3 or 4… The section I’m on right now is dry, dry, dry, which accounts for my tendency to “forget” about it. But it’s a fascinating book overall, so I just need to make a concerted effort.

Osama — 15% — I’ve been reading other things at bath time, so haven’t made huge progress, but I still really like it whenever I pick it up, so I probably just need to find times other than bath time to read this one.

His Captive Lady — Chapter 8 / 18 — Making good headway in this one. It’s fairly entertaining, though I do sometimes feel like the characters are a bit thin. I don’t read a huge amount of romance typically, so I’m not sure whether the overt intentions (Make no mistake: the point of this story is to get these two people to have sexy sex sex, because ZOMG he’s soooooo dreamy and she lights this craaaaazy fire in him~! xoxoxox<3<3<3) bother me because I’m unused to it as a genre convention (though Outlander somehow managed to keep it from being too overt, even if it *was* the intention) or if it’s a weakness of this particular book. It’s not unfunny, though, and for that reason, I’m charmed by it, but I’m not sure if that’s the intention. ;) I don’t dislike the characters, though I do find them rather one dimensional. I intend to read more of this author anyway (I need to pick up the specific book by her that’s been recommended, and that may show more how much is this particular author’s style, and how much is this particular book).

The Buried GiantChapter 8 / 17 (they’re long chapters)– Still enjoying the hell out of this one. There’s something about the idea of mythic archetypal characters who can’t quite remember who they are or what their purpose in life was that is just fascinating. Ishiguro is a master of inserting subtle questions into the story, things you just *have* to learn more about because WTF? He’s also fabulous at surprise twists. Just when I think I know what’s about to happen, he throws me for a curve. And it’s a realistic, totally believable curve, too! Fantastic. So mysterious. Really enjoying it.

A Right to Die — Eh, still Chapter 8…–I need to just focus on this one for a day or so. Rex Stout isn’t hard to read, and hanging out with Archie and Nero should be fun, even if so far, I’m just not that motivated by this one. I want to like it, but it just isn’t doing it for me for some reason… Maybe it’ll pick up if I focus on it a bit…

The Glass Sentence — Eh, Chapter 5…–Ugh, WHY IS THIS BOOK SO NOT INTERESTING TO ME? It has everything I should like! Adventure! Mysteries! Cool Secret Rooms! Intrigue! Possible Romance! MG/YA Female Lead! Eccentric Intellectuals! Alt-History! Super Cool Cover! It’s a best-seller for goodness sake, it MUST GET BETTER! RAWR! It’s absolutely maddening how little I feel like continuing this book. A big part of it is the writing style. I find it painfully repetitive, and not in a lyrical way, just in a “I didn’t actually do a word-trimming pass” kind of way. The characters repeat themselves a lot, and the main character seems kind of dim-witted to me, and it just kind of feels like–I don’t know. It’s not quite talking-down to the reader, but it’s definitely beating its own plot over the head with a dead raccoon. That’s all I’m saying. I want the adventure to START already! Soooooo boooooooored… *cries* I’m really hedging on this one being like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which I had been warned ahead of time to just get through the first 100 pages, and then it picks up. And oh, did it ever. Hands-down still one of my favorite books. So please, please, please, pleeeeeeease let this one be like that! And it’s a library book, so I really need to make more of an effort, because if I don’t get this one done before I have to return it, I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to fight picking it up again at a later date…

To complicate matters, I’ve got a growing Craving List of books I want to read *so bad* for some reason right now, which I’m hoping will make their way onto this reading list in the next month or so, such as:

1. Life Among the Savages (Shirley Jackson) — I’m craving a little glimpse into the family life of a writing-mom, and only hope that it won’t make me feel like a terrible parent by comparison! Local library doesn’t have a hardcopy, and the e-book has been checked out for a while, so I’ll probably have to interlibrary-loan it.

2. If He Hollers Let Him Go (Chester Himes) — I’ve been wanting to check out Himes’ work ever since reading Chesya Burke’s Harlem-based mystery, Strange Crimes in Little Africa (which was lovely, gritty, and very interesting). I saw Himes mentioned in a book I have of 100 Must-Read Crime Fiction novels, and since I’m always interested in broadening my perspective and expanding the diversity of my often white/male/female reading list and because I’m looking into writing more mysteries and need the exposure to great crime novels, I’m dying to get my hands on this one.

3. The Sandman (Neil Gaiman) — So Trees by Warren Ellis got me freaking hooked on graphic novels/comics. I’ve got the bug, and damn, The Sandman is one I’ve seen and heard referenced so often, I feel like I’m losing out big on a cultural icon without checking it out. There are a number of other graphic novels (like Watchmen) I need to check out, too, but this one has caught my current attention.

4. The Soul of the Octopus (Sy Montgomery) — Nonfiction about octopuses? YES PLEASE. Plus, it’s a non-writing-craft non-fiction book, of which I have to read four more by the end of the year. Also, I love octopuses. SO MUCH. They’re just about the coolest creatures on the planet. Also, I may be brainstorming an MG novel which stars octopuses…just maybe…

5. Enchanted (Alethea Kontis) — I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while, but all the follow-up books look so fabulous, that I really want to jump in and check it out!

So we’ll see. I know there are more books I’ve been jonesing to add to the list, but if I keep adding, I’ll never have time to read. So that’s all for now! Happy reading! :)

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