Notes from a Poly-Reader #3

Since it’s been about a month, it’s time for a reading check-in! June was a tough month for getting much reading done, but I did manage to wrap up four books, which I consider a major victory considering all the travel and distraction. I’ve also picked up a few new reads to add to the pile (of course!). So let’s see what we’ve got!

Status Update

So back up to eight, currently!

The Buried Giant – Chapter 16 – I’m stalled out on this one temporarily, not for lack of interest so much as not remembering to renew the audiobook. O_O It’s a long read, and I think I’ve still got about 5 hours left of it in the last chapter, though I *think* I’ve passed the climax (or the faux summit, perhaps). Still love it, but our evening hours have made it harder to get the alone-time needed to listen. I’ll probably put a hold on the audiobook so I can get it in two/three weeks, but we’ll see when I can pick this one up again…

If He Hollers Let Him Go – >50% – I am completely obsessed with this book right now. It’s just so…fiercely real. Chester Himes is a master of connecting you to the main character, of really getting the reader to feel what he’s feeling, and it’s brilliant. Wherever he takes me, I’m with him, 100%. With all the things going on in the US today regarding the relationship between black and white people, it’s a masterful work that illuminates a lot of the roots of our continuing conflict.

Style – Ok, if I’m being honest, I haven’t touched this book in weeks. I’ll try to pick it up again and make some progress on it this month…

Writing Picture Books – 102/244 – I’ve decided to just read this one, without worrying about the exercises at this point. They’re fantastic exercises, but one of the reasons I’m interested in them is Paul’s unorthodox (and colorfully hands-on) editing process and it’s possible applications for longer, non-children’s works. Really enjoying it so far. I feel like it spells out those basic story tenements in a way that makes them even clearer, so we’ll see if it helps!

Osama – ~10% – I haven’t made much progress on this one, though every time I pick it up I enjoy it a ton. I think this one I would do better with if it was a paperback rather than an ebook, because it’s too easy to forget it’s on my phone. That said, I really just need to commit the time and dig my teeth in, because it’s beautifully written and immersive.

Selected Stories of O. Henry – I love O. Henry stories as it is, but recently I’ve been wanting to take a closer look at how he executes his delightful twist-endings. He never cheats, as far as I can tell, and I want to see how he weights details to redirect emphasis and hide those crucial details from the reader without actually withholding them.

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2014 – Also, I just need to read more short fiction. I’m just, just, just starting to get this form of storytelling (at least successfully enough to sell), and I was so inspired by Cat Valente’s interview at ReaderCon about how when she started tackling short fiction, she read only short fiction for six months or something like that. The thing is, I’m not sure I’ve ever done that, and damn, do I need to. I need to kick my game up a notch (or ten), because I’m competing with pros when I submit a story, and my work needs to be as good or better than theirs, and I know how crazy good that is. So, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Just started this one, but the first few stories were quite illuminating. The library also has a lot of these collections, so I may have to pick them up, too.

Flotsam – Still pretty early on in this one, but mostly because I started it before vacation and focused vacation on some other books I really needed to finish. But I’m enjoying this one so far, so I need to put some time into it.

And that’s it for this check-in! :D

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