I started a new thing this year. (New for me anyway). As I read, I make a list of quotes I like for whatever reason, and then when I finish the book, I copy the quotes into a notebook that I have just for quotes.
It’s really fun to flip through the book and re-read the quotes. It takes me back to the moment when I was reading. I love reading them. Some of the quotes I wrote down because they were funny, some were like aha! moments that I feel like could be the seed of a new story, and some of them I write down because I think they’re very clever.
Here are some of my favorites from this year:
“That’s all magic is really: the space between what you have and what you need.” (from The Once and Future Witches)
“He let it slip that he was afraid that therapy might make him normal and well adjusted, and that would be the end of his writing.” (from Armageddon in Retrospect)
“If it’s not Disney, we won’t get sued for it.” (from Kaiju Preservation Society)
“Moral: to avoid embarrassment, never say anything at all to a human if you can possibly avoid it.” (from An Orc on the Wild Side)
“I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t tried it can properly appreciate just how horrible it is to be constantly surrounded by people who believe in absolutely everything.” (from A Deadly Education)
There were so many more, but I’m really enjoying this little side project of mine.
As always, happy reading and writing today and every day!
What have you been reading? And of those, what would you recommend?
This is what I’ve read so far this year:
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco
The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Batman: Three Jokers (comic)
The Haunted Bookstore 1 by Shinobumaru
Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
The Dreaming Volume 3 (comic)
Orlando by Virgina Woolf
Lumberjanes Volume 1 (comic)
Clive Barker’s Next Testament (comic)
Paper Girls Volume 1) (comic)
The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Paper Girls Volume 2 (comic)
Paper Girls Volume 3 (comic)
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Paper Girls Volume 4 (comic)
Paper Girls Volume 5 (comic)
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco
Locke and Key Volume 2 (comic)
Locke and Key Volume 3 (comic)
Locke and Key Volume 4 (comic)
Locke and Key Volume 5 (comic)
Locke and Key Volume 6 (comic)
The Death Cure by James Dashner
The Kill Order by James Dashner
The Fever Code by James Dashner
Redder Days by Sue Rainsford
Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut
There is still a lot of year left, and I’ll be reading more but not many more. I’m currently editing my own novel, and I tend not to read as much when I’m doing that, simply because of time. And, then November is when I don’t have time to read practically anything because I usually participate in NANOWRIMO.
This year I’ve tried to finish reading a few series that I started ages ago, and I’ve been reading more comics than normal because I discovered that my local library has a pretty great comic selection.
For the novels I’ve read this year, there have been a couple of highlights. Basically, anything by Rin Chupeco. I wrote about this recently: see my previous post about her: Why I Love Rin Chupeco.
The other two books that I would highly, highly recommend are The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow and Redder Days by Sue Rainsford. They’re both great, and if you don’t want to know why I think so, stop reading now, otherwise… SPOILER ALERT.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
This book is brilliant. I loved every word. It’s historical fiction that incorporates witch lore and women’s rights issues. The use of familiar nursery rhymes and fairy tales interwoven into the storyline is fantastic. It’s so clever. It’s about three sister witches fighting against an ancient evil as well as trying to be non-traditional women in a time when they weren’t allowed to.
Redder Days by Sue Rainsford
I couldn’t put this down. I read it in one sitting. If you haven’t read Sue Rainsford first book, Follow Me to Ground, go read it too. Both of her books are weird in the best possible way. Redder Days is about two children, twins, born in a commune that formed when the world was ending. However, the world didn’t really end, and these two children are brain washed. Every character in this book is a little crazy. This book falls into my favorite category of Literature — The Weird Tale. I can’t explain what it is, but you’ll know it when you read it. This book holds up that standard. Let me also say this, every author hopes they write at least one story as great as the two novels by Sue Rainsford. I will be reading whatever she writes in the future.
Anywho, enough rambling for today. Get out there and have a great day!
Sometimes I blog about writing (most of the time), but every once in a while, I like to ramble about what I’ve been reading. Last fall, right around Halloween, I read The Bone Witch.
If you are familiar with the series, you know it’s by Rin Chupeco. Since reading that book, I’ve read many more of her books. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I love her books.
I’ve read the first two of the Bone Witch trilogy and am currently reading the third. I’ve read The Girl from the Well and just bought the second book The Suffering.
I’ve also read both the books in the Never Tilting World set. Honestly, as soon as a I get a chance, I’ll be reading the other books she’s written too.
The question you may be asking is why do I love her books so much…
Her books are full of adventure, and they just go. I find them hard to put down.
If you’ve read my books or my short stories, it’s the kind of pacing I like to write as well.
In the Never Tilting World books, each chapter is a different viewpoint, and she rotates through them for the rest of the book. I love this. The story is told from so many different perspectives. It gives details and insights that would be missed in a different narrative style.
In the Bone Witch Trilogy, there are two narrators, and their differing viewpoints add layers to the story.
The Grey Characters
What I mean by this is there are characters in her books who are neither good nor bad.
She writes some very strong good guys and some epic villains, but my favorite characters in her books tend to be the ones who are a bit of both.
The Bone Witch Trilogy centers around a bone witch, think necromancer.
In the Never Tilting World books, one of the main characters has to endure trials that give her both light and dark magics.
In The Girl from the Well, a ghost helps free the souls of lost children, and at the same time, kills the people who’ve harmed those children.
I can’t get enough of this type of character!
As you can see, I really love her books. If you like Young Adult Fantasy / Adventure / Horror, read one of her books, or maybe two or three.
As always, happy reading and writing today and every day! GO READ A BOOK!
I just wanted to take a minute to tell you all about something new I tried this month.
Let’s start with this is the pile of books that I own but haven’t read. (To those of us who read a lot and talk about it online, my TBR pile).
I know! It’s ridiculous. I just love books. I feel like it’s never money wasted.
Counting all the physical books and e-books I own, I have roughly 160 books that I own but haven’t read. (For me that would take about 4 years, so still doable in my lifetime for all you haters). However, I have a tendency to read only the newly purchased ones. In order to make myself read some of the older ones, I put all the books in a spreadsheet and used a random number generator to choose my reading for the month of September. This is what I ended up with:
I usually pick 4-5 books at the beginning of each month to read. And in the fall, I tend to choose only 4 because NANO is coming up and I spend more time writing this time of year.
I enjoyed every book this month! It was nice to read a variety of genres too. I ended up with a YA adventure novel, a true crime book, a thriller, and a mystery. I recommend trying this for anyone trying to tackle their TBR pile.
Next month I’m choosing the pile with a theme, but in November, it’s back to the random number generator and I can’t wait!
I want to take a few minutes to write about a few authors I’m currently in love with. I read a lot, and I go through periods where I read some authors or genres more than others.
There are some authors that I gravitate towards again and again. Here are a few I recommend:
The first book I read by her was Alice. It’s part of a series she’s written titled the Chronicles of Alice. It’s a retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story, but it’s unlike any other version that I’ve read. It’s dark and gritty. The magic in Henry’s Alice stories taints and warps those who use it. If you like stories set in wonderland, you’ll enjoy her stories. (They’re not for children). To my knowledge, there is one more book and a collection of short stories set in Henry’s version of wonderland.
I’ve read other books by Henry, and I’ve never been disappointed. I also highly recommend The Ghost Tree. Henry’s stories tend to retell stories we’re familiar with, but in macabre versions with dark, twisted magic.
She’s been writing for a while, and I haven’t read everything she’s written. However, if you haven’t read Uprooted or Spinning Silver, you should. Her fantasy stories are beautiful.
Spinning Silver is a book I recommend to everyone.
I can’t say enough about how much I love Fforde. His Thursday Next series is one of my favorite series of all time. He also wrote the Nursery Crime stories. His books are funny, satirical, and unbelievably clever.
He writes a lot of other books too. If you haven’t read anything by him, I would start with the Thursday Next books. Other books by Fforde that I recommend are Early Riser, The Constant Rabbit, and Shades of Grey. (Despite the title of Shades of Grey, it is not like 50 Shades. It’s a dystopic novel.)
These few words don’t really do these authors justice. I love them all (and many others) but seriously, you will not be disappointed by these three.
I’m going to do something that I don’t do very often… review a book. I personally am not a fan of book reviews. They are either rave reviews or really hateful. You rarely find anything in between. So, as a reader and writer, I kind of ignore them. Additionally, I pretty much like something about every book I read. I rarely read something and want to give it less than three stars.
However, I’m going to review a book I recently finished. If you plan on reading A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer, don’t read any further; there will be spoilers.
The reason I want to review this book is because I’m hoping someone can help me find some clarity after reading it. I honestly don’t know (even though I read all 600+ pages of it) whether or not I like it or not. I find it odd that after reading that many pages I can’t decide. Parts of the book confuse me.
Because I’m not sure about my feelings for this particular tome, I’m going to ask a series of questions about the book and then proceed to immediately answer them.
Question 1: Why is this book in the YA lit section?
I read a fair amount of YA lit and I just don’t think this belongs there. I think that perhaps the publishers felt that because the main characters are teens, it should be YA lit. I can also see that it has an Alice in Wonderland meets Chronicles of Narnia on speed vibe, but that’s not enough for it to be in the YA lit section. I really believe that most YA readers would start this book and then not finish it because of the style (more about that later).
I say that it has vibes from other stories, and by that I mean that it is a story about parallel worlds and in those worlds animals talk. There is also a series of magical doors involved. That, however, is where the comparison ends.
If I were asked to categorize this book, I would put it with “Weird Tales.” I love weird tales btw. It’s one of my favorite type of stories to read.
Someone asked me what is a weird tale? My answer: you know it when you read it.
That’s how I felt when I read this book. It belongs with adult lit, and with the weird tales, wherever they are.
Question 2: Was he drinking?
I’m being completely serious. The reason I ask this is because almost all of the conversations between characters in this book are impossible to follow. It reminds me of being in a room with drunk people and you’re the only one sober. There are 10 conversations going on and no one is having the same one, but they are all talking to each other anyway.
At first I thought maybe the author was trying to be silly, but it continues throughout the whole book (did I mention it’s 600+ pages)?
The stilted conversations are not the only style choice that I struggled with. There were what felt like an unnecessary amount of puns and play on words. I’m not sure what the point of most of them were. All the double meanings and trick word play and weird conversations made whole sections of the novel very hard to follow.
I think most of what I find odd about this style is simply a choice the author made. Perhaps it makes more sense if you drink while you read it? (Again, should not be in the YA lit section if it requires alcohol to understand).
Question 3: Why are there so many characters?
This is not the first author to include an astronomical number of characters (anyone heard of Charles Dickens), but some of the characters didn’t even appear until page 500 or so. Additionally, because the author likes puns, some of the characters have nick names given to them by other characters.
And then what felt like randomly a character we hadn’t heard from in 100+ pages would show up again. IDK but sometimes I felt like I was falling into a rabbit hole. And other times I started to wonder if maybe there were pages from a different book accidentally printed with mine…
Further investigation is needed. I have added another VanderMeer book to my TBR list because I am curious if this is his style or if this was something new for him. I am going to figure this out.
Plus, despite the length of this book, the story isn’t finished and if the next part is published, I will be reading it. I have to know where all this nonsense was going.
Ultimately, I did find the plot engaging. It’s about parallel worlds, and big baddies versus inept teenagers. There are also lots of spies and wars going on. Distilled down to it’s essential plot, it’s a great story, and I really do want to know where it’s going.
I have been meaning to write this post for awhile (since June actually), but I haven’t gotten around to it till now. I wanted to discuss what I’ve been reading this year.
Here’s a list of the books I’ve read so far this year:
1.Chistmas Cake Murder
2. The Gate Thief
4. The Gatefather
5. Dark Matter
6. Hocus Pocus + Sequel
7. Mortal Engines
8. Beautiful Creatures
9. Early Riser
10. DuckTales: Treasure Trove
11. And Then There Were None
12. The Dark is Rising
13. The Mists of Avalon
14. Jem: The Outrageous Collection
15. The Roller Birds of Rampur
16. Bridget Jones Diary
17. Symptoms of Being Human
18. Waiting to Exhale
19. Soul Music
22. The Mermaid
23. The Dreaming Volume 1
24. The Book of Speculation
25. The Girl in Red
26. Artemis Fowl
27. The Hunger
As you can see, I read a variety of things. This year
I’ve read some young adult fiction, graphic novels, a couple of thrillers, some
sci-fi / fantasy, and even an Agatha Christie classic. I try to read from a
variety of genres because I tend to not get bored that way or hit reading
slumps too hard.
I just wanted to mention briefly some of the highlights
of my reading year so far.
Symptoms of Being Human
The Book of Speculation
The first because it’s an important book for right
now in our society. It challenges the notion that gender is binary. I feel
everyone needs to read this book now, with an open mind, and really let it sink
The second book because it is smart sci-fi (which is
my favorite genre to read). It’s not about space or aliens, but about parallel
universes, and the chaos that would ensue if we could travel between them. I
could not put this one down when I started. Highly recommend!
The third because I bought it on the discount book
shelf and didn’t expect it to be as great as it was. It’s about a family and
their neighbors and how their lives are all intertwined in ways even they don’t
understand. There are mermaids and carnies and a house falling into the ocean.
Seriously, great read.
Anyway, I just wanted to touch on a few of these. Happy reading and writing this month!!
It’s time for my mid-month (or slightly later in this case) check-in. I am working on several projects this month. I am writing the short story of the month, prepping for “Writing Camp” in July which I am doing with one of my sisters, so I am super excited, and I am starting a letter writing project with another sister.
In addition to these things, I wanted to break from my tradition of having my second post be about my writing struggles for the month and do something I haven’t done in quite awhile (so bear with me) — a BOOK REVIEW.
This month I read Altered Carbon. I read it because my sister recommended the show to me, but I prefer to read than to watch tv. Anyway, I LOVED IT!! I highly, highly recommend it.
I felt like I was “reading” a graphic novel. It was violent and gritty. The fight scenes were bloody, graphic, and really well written. (I enjoy a good fight scene).
In addition to being violent and brutal, it’s a detective story mixed with a dystopic sci-fi tale. It takes place on Earth in a galaxy that has been colonized and has changed because people don’t have to die anymore. They can be “re-sleeved” and placed into other bodies, even synthetic ones.
I don’t want to give anything specific away. Go and read it.
Last month, I read all four of the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris. I admit that I have seen most of the movies before I read the books, and recently, I watched the first season of the show Hannibal. The reason I decided to read these is that I was wondering why Hannibal is such a popular villain. I have seen allusions to him in other novels, in comic books, and various TV shows.
After reading the books, I get it. He’s a really well written bad guy. He is just evil for the sake of being evil… or is he? After I finished the series I saw him a bit differently.
WARNING: SPOILERS COMING
Let me begin by describing my general thoughts about the series of books. My strongest reaction to these books is that they seem to be written by different people. Stylistically, they are very different. And, even though they are considered a 4 book series, I wouldn’t even classify them as the same genre.
The four books I think should be read in the order they were written.
Silence of the Lambs
The reason I say they don’t fit into the same genre is that the first two books are what I would consider crime thrillers. Both stories are about the FBI tracking a serial killer, and in their hour of desperation, they consult with Hannibal Lecter because he has unique insight into killers.
As a reader, you learn a lot about Lecter in these two books. He is depicted as pure evil, and he likes to manipulate people. He is kind of humorous in a dark, grotesque kind of way. I think readers like him because in the first two books at least, he is a very well written villain, and he is also smart and often finds ways to manipulate the very people who have him locked up. In the first book, he toys with Graham, an FBI agent who has trouble with crime scenes because he experiences pure empathy. In the second book, Lecter meets Agent Starling.
These two books are fairly typical for crime dramas. There is a clear bad guy, clear good guys, and in the end, the bad guy is taken down by the hero or because of the hero’s actions. However, how these books differ from the normal crime thriller is that the character of Lecter is presented in a way that you want him to escape, even though he is a known serial killer. And unlike the TV show Dexter, Lecter is not a serial killer who hunts down “bad guys.” Lecter likes to kill people who he finds rude, which is most people. He really is evil but you will be rooting for him anyway.
After the first two books, I expected the third, Hannibal, to be similar — it’s not. The third book is about Hannibal on the run and Starling trying to find him and a man named Mason trying to get his revenge on Lecter. Again in this book, we are made to feel sympathetic to Lecter. We don’t want him to get killed by Mason and his man-eating pigs. We want Lecter to be free, and I personally couldn’t wait for him to “get” Agent Krendler who is determined to bring down Starling simply because he’s a chauvinist.
This book is not a crime thriller like the rest. I would call it a thriller, but it is not necessarily about crime. It’s about revenge and some very crazy people.
By the end of the book, I was beginning to doubt Starling’s sanity as well. The biggest surprise to me was that in the end, Starling decides to “love” Lecter. I seriously thought, “What the hell?” I feel like the author thought that would be a really twisted ending after everything that Lecter has done and so Harris changed Starling to fit that role. It annoyed me a little because I felt like she was suddenly a different character.
This brings me to the fourth book, which is a prequel to the entire series. Of all the books, I liked this one the least. Just as Harris rewrote the character of Starling in the third book, the last book provides “justification” for why Lecter is the way he is. I didn’t like it. I thought he was a much stronger character when he was just evil for the sake of being evil. Instead, the fourth book tells the story of his childhood and how he becomes evil because he witnesses some Nazis eating his sister. Anyone would be crazy after that.
Another reason I didn’t like this book as much as the others was that it’s not a thriller like the others. I guess I would call it a psychological drama or something like that. There are still “bad guys.” And again we are made to sympathize with Lecter, but I felt like Harris was forcing it. He was forcing me to feel sorry for Lecter, and I enjoyed reading about him more when I didn’t feel sorry for him.
Overall, they are still page turners. I finished each one in a day. I get why people read them when they were originally published, and I get why they turned them into movies. (Especially the third book. It reads like a script at times rather than a novel).
And my final conclusion about the Lecter series, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, is that I like the movies and the TV show better. I very rarely say that about novels vs. their big and little screen counterparts, but in this case, I would say, watch the movie. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal is fantastic and really creepy. And I’ve only seen the first season of the TV show Hannibal, but so far, it’s really great. I can’t wait to see where they go with it.