Poly-Reader Notes: February 2020

As we ease into 2020, I’ve dragged a Marley-sized chain of unfinished (and in some cases, barely started) books into the new year. Last year I hit forty-two books read, which was my goal (woo!), and this year I’m looking to do the same. I’m also hoping to read more classics and get back into audiobooks, and maaaaaybe reduce my “to-read” shelves by a few tomes. I’ve also collected a number of short story collections by authors whose short fiction particularly engages me (Lucius Shepherd, Thomas Ligotti, and Holly Black to name a few), and about a dozen of the Year’s Best SF/Fantasy and Dark Fantasy/Horror anthologies (plus a couple Clarkesworld anthologies), which I’ve painstakingly gone through and tagged every story under 5k or approximately 10 pages or less (stories at or under 5k is my current skill set obsession, so I’m reading as many as I can–Thanks, Thriftbooks!). But since I won’t be reading the anthologies as a whole, those stories will only count towards my “read 1 story/day” goal.

In the meantime, I have plenty of full-length books to read:


The Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony – If I finish no other book this year, I need to finish this one! It’s not a fast read, but it is interesting–just kind of mentally chewy, sticking your thinking teeth together. I picked it up in 2017, and have been chipping away at it since. But I don’t want to just put it aside forever–I want to finish it!

Homo Deus – Started this one over the summer, then got sidetracked. I’ve read the intro (which is 50-60 pages) but need to just get into the book-proper. I suspect it’ll be a quick read once I get started.

Climate Change – Aaaaaand another one I’ve only scratched the surface on. I’m not sure how long it’ll stay up-to-date, so I really need to prioritize this one.

Verbalize – This is a writing-skill book, which is somewhat interesting, but it’s starting to drag. This could be an easy finish, if I move it to the head of the list. I think I was hoping it would vindicate my own process with characters, but it’s a bit different and maybe a bit too overly simplified for my use. We’ll see.

The Power Broker – Got this one for Christmas and it’s fascinating. The only challenge is that it’s hundreds of pages and soft-covered, which makes it a bit tricky to manage one-handed (my normal form now, with baby on-hand almost 100% of the time). This one I need to put in an easily accessible spot.

Murder by the Book – This is my easy read, but with nights being so disrupted (hahaha sleep? What’s that?! Hahaha hahahahahaaaaa *sob*), I haven’t been reading before bed much. But it’s nice to have a fun read on the list when I just can’t deal with heavier and/or nonfiction stuff.

Ozma of Oz – This is me & Bug’s current before-bed read. Man, I love Oz! I’ve had a ghastly chest cough the past couple days, so I haven’t been on reading-duty, but I’m hoping the cough will get better so we can get back to it.

Creativity For Life – Got this at Christmas, too, and am about half-way through so far. It’s definitely more focused on the psychological makeup of artists than other books on the creative process, but it is interesting, and I should be able to finish it soon–but I’ve misplaced it, so I need to find it. XD

A Feast of Sorrows – Halfway through this, and it’s got tons of great stories in it. I’m just getting to the longer stories, so I’ve slowed down a bit, but just need to chip away at it.

How To Write A Page Turner – Picked this up to work specifically on one of my writing weaknesses: pacing and tension. I’ve got two other books on tension/conflict/pacing, too, so I need to finish this one before I tap into those. I’ll probably do a proper review of this one and some of the other writing books, so I’ll get into it more then.

And that’s the current list! I’ve got a bunch of other books I want to read, of course, but I’m nearing the critical dozen-books limit (after which point books stall waaaay too long on the list). So my goal for February to finish at least one of these, and start clearing out the list.

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