Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Month In Review and of Things to Come

There was an unprecedented first in this month: I became an uncle. Langston, my nephew is the cutest thing on the planet and that comes from one who doesn't ever use the word, 'cute.' He is perfect, and he looks like me. (My sister would argue that Langston looks like her, but what does she know; we both look like our dad.)

Kinda pissed that one of my best friends is moving away. A bit jealous that he not only has a job, but is thought of well enough that they want to give him a badass two year assignment.

In the book world, I've recovered from my slow reading funk and have been in high gear. I've read five, which is my average for a month: The Blood Knight by Greg Keys, Purple and Black by K. J. Parker, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barows, Sinai Tapestry by Edward Whittemore, and The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick. I hit an unexpected slow spot with the latter.

Swanwick may be my favorite short story writer, but this novel did nothing for me. I was gonna leave a commentary but stopped taking notes as interest waned. It's a unique book; clever and well written, but for whatever reason it didn't resonate with me.

I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to keep up with what is popular with everyone else. It's harmless but nothing special. It reads fast, feels like comfort food and can be finished in three days.

I've never liked any of the commentary I've left for books in a series and so with Whittemore's Jerusalem Quartet I'm gonna try something different. I've written commentary for Sinai Tapestry but I'm not gonna post it until I've finished the last book. I don't know that I'll go back and touch it up upon completion of the series but in an effort to find a sweet spot for reviewing books in a series, be it on the quality of one book or how it fits into the greater whole, I'm taking a different approach. To say nothing of my forthcoming commentary; Sinai Tapestry is without doubt one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read; I missed my stop on the train going to work, ended up at the airport, called in sick, and kept reading for another hour; true story.

I got a bit out of control as far as the acquisitions go this month but everything I acquired was on the 'list.' How to read a poem and fall in love with poetry by Edward Hirsch, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (yes, I've never read it…) The General in his Labyrinth and Strange Pilgrims by Gaberial Garcia Marquez, Dream Songs Volume II by George R.R. Martin (Not a word, Mick; and I know you're reading) The Born Queen by Greg Keyes and The Ammonite Violin by Katlin R. Kieran.

My interest in poetry isn't new, and I don't feel shamed when I say, "I don't get." Hopefully Hirsch will help in broadening my reading horizons. With all the books in the Kingdom of Thorn and Bone series, I can finish my 'not a commentary' this month. Garcia Marquez is new to me and I'm looking forward to reading his works. Martin is new to me as well and we will see where that goes (No Mick, I'm not gonna pick it up and devour it tonight.) True to Subterranean Press's M.O for whatever reason they haven't kept a ship date since I've started purchasing their works. That said, The Ammonite Violin has the most striking book cover I've ever seen. I saw the cover online, but only was taken aback by it, when I held it in my hands.

I really don't know what comes next as far as August is concerned. I have some self-imposed deadlines with Ph.D stuff, and I'd like to think employment lies in the future but I've been saying that for awhile. I'm being ambitious and gonna set aside six books to read this month: Keys, Whittemore, something by Garcia Marquez, Leviatan Wept by Daniel Abraham, The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and The Dragon Quintet (I've learn after reading Purple and Black that I really like reading longer short stories (short novels?), a hundred pages or so).

I also have a book review planned from a publisher at the opposite end of the spectrum from Easton Press and Everyman's Library. Thus far I've compared the former to a

Bosendorfer and the latter to a high end rum; where will my analogies take me next?

Oh yeah, in a sure to be reoccurring event my birthday was overshadowed by Langston's arrival. I'm okay with that. Thirty feels oddly similar to twenty-nine, or twenty-eight, or…

My feet hurt.


Terry Weyna said...

Ah, my child, I remember 30. I'm celebrating the 24th anniversary of my 30th birthday later this month.

Congratulations on becoming an uncle! I have four nephews, ranging in age from just about eight (on August 9) to 25. They are joys in many ways, and have been at all ages.

I sure get a kick out of watching your reading lists get filled out here and there by books I recommended. I guess I'm really a book pusher at heart.

Chad Hull said...

Wow. I didn't even notice how many I've picked up from you.


There is certainly gonna be a regular diet of K.J. Parker.

Marion said...

Congratulations on reaching uncle-status!