Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gorging on Books

I started writing because I love books. Adore them. Fervently. I have stories of my own to share, and books, being indescribably awesome, are the medium through which I wish to share those stories. Sadly, writing fills up a lot of the time I used to spend reading. Research material gets reading priority these days, pushing my fiction picks to the bottom of the reading pile.

Sometimes I just have to take a break and recharge the creative juices with some novels. Novels are like that old Pringles ad... once I pop, I can't stop. I glut myself on them. Eventually, I stagger away from the books for the literary equivalent of a food-induced coma.

I'm the guy in the red hat.

I've just had a reading feast, and a delightful one it's been. Blue, by Lou Aronica, was totally unexpected. I'm not sure what I thought I was in for, but this was a wonderful surprise. It's a fantasy novel mashed up with a literary look at the bittersweet heartbreak of parenting and growing up and dying.

I read Water for Elephants. I tend to run 5-10 years behind in exposure to popular books, so I'm a total Johnny Come Lately on that one. I enjoyed it. Rosie the elephant is a fabulous character.

Next, I read a novella by new-ish author Courtney Milan, called Unlocked. It's an historical romance that takes place in 1840, the period between the Regency and Victorian eras. I don't read too many novellas, but I was impressed with how fully fleshed out the characters and story are. The shorter length of the piece didn't take away from the experience at all--it was as satisfying a read as a full novel. This was a charming, lovely romance, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for more from Ms. Milan.

Finally, I read the Sherlock Holmes story "The Sign of Four." I've been slowly working my way through The Complete Sherlock Holmes, reading stories here and there. Holmes is such a dark, complex character. In "The Sign of Four", we learn about his worrisome cocaine habit, as well as his generally low opinion of women and the institution of marriage. As ever, I am astonished by Doyle's intricate plot. If only my imagination were so clever!

Great fiction gives my creative brain a rest. It also gets me fired up and inspired and excited all over again about my own work, and how fantastic it'll be to someday see my novels in print. I'm ready to dive into the final push on my current manuscript, which I hope to have completed by the end of summer.

What are you reading? I'm always looking for a good book!


  1. Rosie was my favorite! Now I want to read Sherlock Holmes too. I imagine that would be great mental gymnastics to exercise the storytelling muscles. My top read right now is The Book of Night Women, a novel about a slave uprising in Jamaica.

  2. *makes a note of Blue and Unlocked*

    I'm reading fluff right now. I'm listening to A Discovery of Witches which is - well it's got me wondering whether the author, Deborah Harkness, and Stephanie Meyer are going to duke it out for rights to the same plot line. I've also got Two Kisses for Maddy going. It's a blog I've been reading for years turned book, very touching memoirish story. I've got Father of the Rain and The Particular Sadness of Lemoncake queued up for vacation next week.

  3. Sarah, The Book of Night Women sounds interesting. Are you enjoying it? I've seen the Jamaican slave uprisings referenced in a few novels (in the Outlander series for sure, but I'm thinking I've seen it somewhere else, too), but never read one centered around them.

    Amanda, I had a sample of Discovery of Witches sitting on my Nook for a while. I finally deleted it since I hadn't gotten around to reading it. Sounds like I'm not missing too much. :D

  4. Ooh, thank you for these! I'm off to add them to my list. :)

    Oh me, I just read The Poisonwood Bible. Finally. Not sure what's next.

  5. Not only do I gorge myself as well, I am stubbornly chronological...in that, I can't read a second book if there is a first out there. I can't watch a movie made from a book unless I read the book first. I am a rigidly dedicated reader....

    Much like you, more of my reading time is swallowed up with research (i.e. critical works about literature, or theory, or old texts I am working on) or reading\rereading stuff I have to teach...so, yes, more time spent from my pleasure novels...

    Add to that my physical need to read something before bed...well, I spend a lot of time reading...but my before bed reading must be absorbing, rather than thought provoking...so, I also have different classes of reading material going at any one time...

    Over the last few months I have been methodically plowing through books 1-5 of the Game of Thrones books in anticipation of the TV show (see aforementioned rigidity with self)..the books are a fast read, but they are insanely long...am currently just starting book four and waiting for the release of book five next week....good stuff. He always manages to surprise me, which makes me tolerate some of the war details--but they have been very good....after that, I may hit Hunger Games...