Notes from a Poly-Reader: September 2018

August was a great month for reading. Strange, given that I feel like otherwise everything else fell by the wayside, and I definitely wasn’t reading the entire time. Hmm… But I did finally pick up a couple graphic novels/comics that I’ve been meaning to check out, and boy am I glad I did! I finished Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (loved!) and the first volume of Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (ZOMG HEAD-EXPLODEY-AWESOME). I’m seriously obsessed with Saga now, and am trying to figure out how to get my dirty little hands on the next volume as soon as is earthly possible. I mean, a ROBOT MONARCHY?! With cravats and enormous ballgowns and princes and kings and- and- Oh, Saga, where have you been all my life? *sighs dreamily*

A trip to the local library also means I stocked up on some other books I’ve been wanting to read, too, so the list has grown, rather than shrunk, but meh. Don’t care!


Damn Fine Story – I am still working on this one. It’s still a bit of a slog. I have no idea why it’s striking me as a slog, because the information is really good, and has already elevated my understanding regarding how or why a story works. So I’ll keep chugging away at it, because it’s definitely WORTH the read.

Work Clean – I picked this one up as it’s often mentioned in the Sunday Circle crew, and so far I am really loving it and my kitchen is insanely clean (and has been for FOUR DAYS IN A ROW)! *what is this witchcraft?!* I’ve finally decided just to read through it cover-to-cover and not worry too much about the exercises, because while I’d like to do them all (ALL OF THEM), I’ve only got the book out for two weeks from the library and don’t want to get hung up. Should finish this one this month.

The Year’s Best DF & H 2014 – I…haven’t been reading this one at all. But I really need to. I need to commit to just getting it done, because I can tell how rusty I’ve become on conceiving short fiction, and there’s nothing like reading a ton of great short fiction to get one’s brain in gear about the form. Don’t know if I’ll double down on it this month or next month. Will have to see.

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony – I need to get back to two pages a day on this one. It would be easy. It should probably be my before-bed read, because I’ll bet it’ll give me the craziest tripped-out dreams (if it doesn’t just keep me awake spinning thinky-thoughts). I really enjoy it, but I need to commit to it, even in small chunks, if I want to finish it by the end of the year (which I do, but damn, it’s good brain food!).

Barrayar – Had to had to had to start another Vorkosagan Saga book, because it’s been too long, and I missed my pals there. This time, stepping back to Barrayar and Cordelia while pregnant with Miles (I’ve already read Warrior’s Apprentice, so actually know what happens in this book, but not the HOW). It’s satisfying my space opera itch, and I’m realizing SO probably needs to be a regular portion of my reading diet, as I always come back to it (and always end up writing it).

Going Clear – Set this one briefly on the back burner while I plowed through some slightly more relevant work regarding the dark fantasy novel I’m rewriting at the moment, but I look forward to getting back to this one, because it’s well written and it’s very, very interesting.

Enchanted – I…really want to like this one. I really, really want to like it. But right now, I’m afraid I’m just a bit bored with it. The story is bouncing all over the place, the through-line is muddled, and I’m kind of meh about the characters. I feel like a lot of questions are asked, but very few are satisfactorily answered (rather than just dropped or passed over) which makes for a rather frustrating reading time. Honestly, I’m waffling on the edge of probably every polyreader’s dilemma, which is, when do I decide a book isn’t worth pushing myself to finish? And I hate that I’m asking that about this book, because I really, really, really want to like it… I love the author’s short fiction, but this one, so far, just hasn’t done it for me. *sigh*

Quakeland – I’ve wanted to read this one since Trevor Noah had author Kathryn Miles on the Daily Show a few months back, but it’s always been checked out or full-price on But last week, I checked our local library, and BAM! There it was, so I picked it up. So far, it’s pretty good, though definitely a little sensationalist in tone, and a little helter-skelter compared to other books in this genre I’ve read recently. But I am enjoying it, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. Will likely finish this one this month.

Making Your Own Days – Haven’t touched this one in a while, but I’ve been absorbed by other books and not really in a poetry mood. But do want to pick this one up again and learn a little something sooner rather than later.

An Ocean of Air – Haven’t made much progress on this one, but it’s pretty much in the same category as Quakeland, so once that one’s done, I’ll probably get back to this one.

The Castle of Lyr – Third book in the Prydain Chronicles!!! YAY! We’re plowing through it at bedtime, and things are about to get exciting! So thrilled that Bug likes these books, even as young as he is. I’m perpetually impressed by how well these ones have weathered the test of time, more so than many of my other fondly-remembered childhood favorites. This should be considered the gold-standard for what writing a children’s books ought to be: clear, concise, simple but not easy or boring, with beloved characters and deeply emotional core.

(That’s all for now, but let’s be honest, I’ll probably pick up Saga #2, #3, and #4 (and all of them) over the course of this next month…I kid you not.)

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