Notes from A Poly-Reader #4

Time again to account for myself, particularly after such a wretched month of reading. Seriously, I still don’t know what happened. July was just…blech for reading. I still managed to finish three books (by the skin of my teeth), but it took some major effort. And it’s not because I don’t have a bunch of books I’m currently reading–it’s just…for some reason I haven’t been picking them up. Could be schedule clashes, could be hot weather, could be any number of things, but I was surprised by how tough it was to make progress, especially after last month–which involved loads of traveling–when I still managed to finish four. Ah well, there’s no accounting for some things, eh?

So just a few books on the currently-reading pile…:


The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror – ed. Paula Guran – I’ve only sort of just started this up again after a long break between reading the first few stories. I’ve been craving short fiction lately, particularly as I battle a difficult rewrite, and I figure it’s time to indulge. I imagine this will take me some time to finish, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Selected Stories of O. Henry – O. Henry – Again, just started this. I’ve read chunks of it before, but I really, really wanted an influx of his style to try to understand (through mass osmosis) how he structures his twist endings. I love the idea of twist endings, but I’m still working through the trauma of getting SO MANY BAD TWIST ENDINGS as a slusher for many years, so I really want to understand the dynamic that makes a good twist verses a crappy twist ending (and hopefully, how to turn that to genre fiction).

The Beck Diet Solution – Judith S. Beck, PhD – Okay, so to be perfectly honest, I’m not really reading this book as a serious dieter. (Eh, who couldn’t maybe lose a fiver or so now and then, but seriously, it’s not a top-tier concern for me at this point. A year ago when I was losing the baby-weight, this might have helped me do so more efficiently, but meh. For future reference, perhaps.) No, the reason I’m reading this one for two reasons: 1) Because my mother is a mental health counselor and does a lot of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) type stuff, and it’s been a super helpful technique for my own anxiety-coping, and she recommended it as a possibly useful book for a few of my friends who are actively trying to lose some weight (and therefore I feel I ought to read it before fully recommending it to them), and 2) because I was curious if some of the methods (such as keeping a motivation card on hand to remind you why you want to X) might be useful in debt-reduction. It’s not an exact translation, but I’m finding some interesting ideas in it that I’d like to try. I’m about a fourth of the way through at this point, and although at times I find the authorial tone a teeny weeny bit condescending, I do suspect it’s meant well. But it’s a mental note, just the same.

The Soul of an Octopus – Sy Montgomery – I’m only about a chapter in to this one, but I AM IN LOVE with this book. For one, I’ve been meaning to check out several books on octopuses, because I find them fascinating despite knowing very little about them. This book so far is packed with trivia I had no idea about previously (though if you’re more versed in your octopus data, your milage may vary–I’m a complete noob aside from a few PBS specials), and the narrator (Ms. Montgomery) is endearing and really comfortable to listen to. It’s rather like having a coffee with an NPR-voiced best friend. Very fun so far. The only trick I’m running into is that since getting a better grip on dishes lately, I haven’t had my usual hour of kitchen cleanup to take care of in the evenings (my prime audio-book time).

Style – Williams & Colomb – DEAR LORD, I’m so stuck on this book. I even picked it up today, but uuuuuugh, the chapter I’m on is just so freaking dull. I need to just plow through it at some point, I just…ugh… I know it’s all good stuff to know, I’m just being lazy and ugh I don’t want to, I just don’t, don’t judge me…

Flotsam – Peter M. Ball – I picked this one up at long last because it’s been on my to-read list for ages now (or, at least, all three novellas have been, and then here they are, all compiled in a single package!). I haven’t gotten in too deep yet–travel and library books with pressing return dates and extinguished renewals took up a lot of my time this past month–but what I’ve read so far has been delightfully fun. I need to just give this one a little lovin’ attention, because it’s a fun, comfortable read.

Osama – Lavie Tidhar – Talk about another fun read I need to just devote some attention to! This one’s suffered for being an e-book on my phone, since Bug’s baths have been increasingly shorter (when we get him in the tub at all), and even when he is in the tub, somehow, for some reason, I do other things besides read. Partly, it’s because I want to actually sit and enjoy this one for a chunk of time and not be constantly interrupted by What is he drinking? Where did he get that? No, DON’T dump water out of the tub! And since it’s an e-book, I tend not to read it in the evenings, since I’d rather rest my eyes on paper (and my ancient Kindle is deadbones…) MORE TIME. I just need to put in more time…

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury: Vol 1 – Brandon Thomas & Lee Ferguson – This was one of those graphic novels I’ve seen recommended in numerous internet-places time and again, and I finally got my hands on a copy. So far, I’m really enjoying it. It’s spunky, badass, and just space-awesomey-ness, so I’m pretty confident this will be one of the “finished” books this month.

So besides having way too many books already on the docket, I’ve also been eyeing Sandman by Neil Gaiman (which they have at our library), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which I meant to read months ago and extinguished my renewals before getting to), as well as an ever rotating selection of other books I have in my recently acquired pile (*cough* I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas being one *cough*). I WILL GET THROUGH MORE BOOKS THIS MONTH. I WILL GET THROUGH MORE BOOKS THIS MONTH. I WILL GET THROUGH MORE BOOKS THIS MONTH. *repeats ad nauseam*

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