Notes from a Poly-Reader: March 2018

So… last month was a bad month for reading, for some reason. The good habits I’d established in January kind of fell apart in the face of vacation-time and watching the Winter Olympics in the evenings, and then unexpected (but thankfully short-ish lived) sick-y-ness, and I never quite got back on track. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading at all, I just haven’t been finishing things (and I’ve been naughty and started a new book, too, because, why not?). I’m very close to finishing a couple books, I just need to force myself to engage with them exclusively for a bit, and I’ve been bad about that.

But in spite of all that, I did finish two books this month (And Be a Villain, by Rex Stout; The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, by–well, van Gogh, but edited by somebody else). The Stout was a standard Nero Wolfe, and just what I needed to get my Archie Goodwin/Wolfe fix. It’s all about character and world in those, and one simply wants to live with these folks from time to time.

The Letters was surprisingly fascinating. As I’ve recently gotten myself back into art lately, and started edging back towards oil painting, like I used to dabble in, it was enlightening to read van Gogh’s rumination on art, oils, and the artistic life, as well as religion and other famous artists. What struck me most was how incredibly ordinary he seems in his letters, which probably sounds stupid to a degree (of course, he was an “ordinary” guy like most people who do great works), but the creative concerns he expresses are so much the same concerns every creative person I’ve ever spoken to has talked about. It’s a bit weird, reading it in retrospect, because of course he has no idea how successful his work will someday be, that he’ll be a household name, and he struggles during this period with relative anonymity and self-doubt. He’s incredibly sensitive, and his discussions of the utilization of color are brilliant, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed his thoughts on religion, too. He seems like the kind of person one would very much like to meet, though might have difficulty sustaining a lasting relationship with. Towards the end, obviously, things get pretty heavy, which was what slowed me down–the end of the Arles period, moving into the asylum, and then back up to the Paris area so briefly. If only he’d lived a little longer, with the way he worked, one can only dream about the kinds of things he might have done next.

But without further ado: the list of what I currently have on the “Reading” pile:


The Year’s Best DF & H 2014 – A good chunk into this one, and got through the fabulous “Silence in the Forest of Shades” by Brandon Sanderson (it’s one of those stories that both delights and secretly crushes your spirit because it’s so damned fun and fine and you think, ok: will I ever write anything a quarter as fun and fine as this?), which was holding me up a bit because it’s closer to a novelette, but I really do just need to set aside some time to focus on reading it. Maybe it’ll become by “before bed” reading…

Bored and Brilliant – This really should be an easy finish. It’s a quick-ish read, and I just need to plow through it to wrap it up.

Clockwork Angel – This, too, should be an easy finish. It’s long, and I’m not super far into it yet (maybe a fifth?), but it’s easy reading. This might compete for “before bed” reading, provided I can get into bed early enough to get some progress made…

Two Years, Eight Months… – I’m really enjoying this audiobook, but for some reason I’m finding myself not making time to listen to the last few hours of it. I need to get back in the habit of doing dishes right after putting Bug to bed, as that’s when I got a lot of listening reading done before. (And I need to remember to listen before it expires…again…)

The Everyday Parenting Toolkit – This is an interesting read, and one I feel like I seriously need right now, as Bug and I have been clashing a little more often than usual over basic daytime/bedtime routines. It’s also a short book, so I probably just need to commit some time to it. I just find that with the van Gogh letters and other non-fiction kicking about on my “reading” list, I tend not to grab this one.

The Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony – I will finish this book, I will finish this book, I will finish this book. I love it, dang it, but it’s not a quick read (at least, it’s an easy read, but it makes so much think happen, I often have to stop, because the brain fills up). I just need to set aside a little time every evening to read five, ten pages and chip away at it. I love it SO DARN MUCH, I just need to nibble at it.

The End of Fashion – I started this one this month, because as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m fascinated by fashion even in as much as I’m miserably unfashionable myself. Does that make me an “armchair fashionista”? But I quite enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to receiving another non-fiction about the fashion industry pretty soon called Overdressed, about the fast fashion mega-complex.

Lumberjanes #2 – I haven’t actually read #1 yet, so I hope I can still pick-up and go with this one, but I’ve been meaning to check it out for ages, and my library had them on ebook, so I snagged this one (#1 was checked out). I must say I HATE HATE HATE reading this on a phone, but at least I can zoom the phone with more ease than I can reading it in my browser. Still…buh… I would really need an iPad to read e-comics properly…

Other books I may start this month, because I’m feeling very naughty…


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