Reading: inbox-outbox for 6 Dec

This was a good week for books. I got some promising new stuff, and I finished two novels, both of which made me want to hug my Kindle when I finished them. Read on to find out more…

Inbox (books acquired)

  • All My Puny Sorrows (signed hardcover) by Miriam Toews — I received this book because I subscribe to Powell’s Indiespensible and this was the most recent selection. I read the summary and it sounded like a somewhat depressing book. But, then I read the interview with the author and now I’m thinking I might give it a go. Mental illness and suicide kind of freak me out a bit. When I was younger I would avoid things that freaked me out. But I’ve come to believe that it’s this fear of things we don’t understand, while completely natural, is ultimately unhealthy and prevents us from experiencing all the awesomeness that life has to offer and from treating others with empathy and kindness. So, now I confront these things head on.
  • Parable of the Sower (kindle) by Octavia E. Butler — In an effort to “put my money where my mouth is,” I’m creating a reading project for myself for 2015: reading books by diverse authors, or that feature diverse main characters. I’ll talk more about this new project in a separate blog post (or video) as we get closer to the end of the year. I bought this book because I’ve had it on my list since I saw it on a top five sci-fi book list by author Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hr Bookstore). It sounded amazing. It’s sci-fi by a female, African-American author, so it qualifies for my project. I am *very* excited to read this book.
  • Astonish Me (kindle) by Maggie Shipstead — This one had been on my list for a while. It’s a literary fiction novel set in the world of ballet dancers. I started it almost immediately. More on this below…

Outbox (books finished)

  • This Night So Dark (kindle) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner — I just discovered and purchased this novella last week. There’s also a preview of the sequel to These Broken Stars at the end of this novella. I pretty much devoured this delicious little morsel of story, but I really want the next book. I’ve had This Shattered World on pre-order since May. It’s already been released in some countries, but it doesn’t come out in the US until the end of December 23rd. I expect I’ll have it finished before Christmas.
  • Ready Player One (kindle) by Ernest Cline — I’ve been holding off reading this because of the hype. The premise sounded so cool. So many people whose book opinions I respect gave it great reviews. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype and I’d be disappointed. I needn’t have worried. I *loved* this book. It might end up as my favorite book of 2014. The 80s pop culture references are great, but what I appreciated most was that the author took a few non-standard narrative turns that ended up giving the book more meaning than you’d expect from some 80s gaming culture nostalgia book. If you’ve had this on your list and haven’t read it yet, read this next. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Astonish Me (kindle) by Maggie Shipstead — Ballet dancers and dance culture are fascinating to me, partly because I used to dance, but mostly because I appreciate the discipline, athleticism, and commitment necessary to succeed in this world. I love getting glimpses into this world that I would never have been talented enough to enter. But, beyond that, the story is so tightly wound and so intricately woven. It’s not told in a straightforward linear progression, which adds to the suspense and drama. The ending is perfect. I could not put it down. When I finished it, I kind of want to start over at the beginning and re-read it.

Queue (what I’m reading next)

  • I still need to finish The Algebraist … it’s due on the 10th, and I don’t think I can renew it again…

I need to read about four more books this year in order to hit my annual goal of reading 36 books per year. With Christmas vacation coming up, I don’t think that will be a problem. Of course, all this reading means that little writing is getting done, but I’m okay with that for December. Just like November is a great month for writing (for me), December is always a great reading month for me. There is something about the holidays and the cooler weather that always makes me want to curl up with a book.

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