Poly-Reader Notes: JUNE 2020

Well, as you could expect, I didn’t get a lot of reading done in May, due to moving/homeschooling/etc. We did finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Your Five-Year-Old, which is something, but not much progress made on any other current reads. Oh! I did read all of the upcoming Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror, which was a lot of fun! That’s coming out likely June 19th, 2020, and includes my story, “Rhapsody in Flesh Minor,” a short SF tale about an artistic hermit under attack by a poly-bodied alien. Hopefully as we settle into this new phase of life, I’ll get a bit more time to read (something other than the news).

Currently Reading


The Enchanted Castle – Picked this one up after we finished the fourth Harry Potter book, and I gotta say, as much as I love Nesbit, this…is not quite my favorite. The language, for some reason, is really clumpy to read aloud, unlike her other books, and the story is just…meh… And oh yeah! There’s some blackface in there, which is jarring though not entirely surprising as I’ve run into that issue several times in old children’s books. So THAT involves a conversation with a five-year-old (or, more often, shame-facedly skipping over it because you don’t WANT to have that battle when they’re tired, don’t want to really listen, and will probably only get about 20% of what you’re trying to explain to them). Ideal? No. Not at all. These are important conversations, but gauging how much a young child can understand/appreciate/won’t just confuse them is a complex dance. We’ve had many such conversations before, but I’m still not sure how much he’s really grasped it. And then the book just isn’t that engaging to me, but somehow he’s still intrigued by the magic ring and all that, so we press on for now.

Your Six-Year-Old – About halfway through this one–thank goodness for short books!–and as always, it’s an interesting survey of general six-year-old-ness.I’ve definitely found it helpful at least in identifying behavior that is common and normal at this age which helps calm the panic moments of “I’m a terrible mother! I’ve ruined my child’s life! Why is he so angry half the time then fine the rest of the time?!” Yeah, turns out those mood swings and a tendency to take out his frustrations on me are normal (and perhaps a little extra pronounced because of #pandemic), thank goodness. *phew*

Meander, Spiral, Explode – No progress, but I just need to pull it out of my moving box…

Dad is Fat – Periodically get a second to listen to this, but that’s usually during feedings, which isn’t particularly conducive to jolly laughter…

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – This is the one book I’ve been reading lately, and I must say, I am loving it. Murakami is always high on my list of favorite authors, but I think all the more so recently in light of the pandemic. I was trying to put my finger on it, when I read an article by Miles Howard in the Boston Globe that kind of touched on it. In Murakami books, there’s no hectic sense of needing to be “productive”. His characters almost always seem to be on a stay-cation or a low key vacation, whiling away the hours without much to do. They make simple meals, drink a few beers, lay on the couch listening to jazz or classical records, or read for a few hours. It’s like they’re all living the pandemic socially-isolated life, where productivity is overrated and survival is good enough. And I absolutely love it. It was soothing before; it’s deeply resonant now.

Wild Swans – I forgot I was reading this book! I should put it where I can see it…

How to Write a Page Turner – I haven’t touched this one in a couple months, which means I really need to just power through it…

A Feast of Sorrows – I’m not that far from the end of this one, I’ve just hit the novelette-length stories at the end, and that’s slowed me down a bit. Just need to power through, because I really love Angela Slatter’s work!

Creativity for Life – Forgot about this one as the whole pandemic got started. Just need to power through…

The Power Broker – Hey, I liked this book BEFORE everybody on TV needed it for their bookshelf-backdrops to make them look smart! I haven’t made much progress but mostly because it’s a huge paperback (~2000 pages, I think) which makes it impossible to hold single-handed, which means I need to hold it on my lap or on an arm-rest to read (thankfully it does lay open), but adds just that little bit of extra challenge that keeps me from making it my go-to read. But I have enjoyed it so far, and look forward to continuing it soon.

Story Trumps Structure – Third entry in my “books about writing” list; this one I haven’t read recently, but I’ve enjoyed it so far as an alternative to the hyper-plotted writing books I’ve been reading in the past year or so.

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