It’s been a long time since I did one of these! It’s been hard making time to read in between all my other busy-ness but I did start on a number of books.
Early on this month, I decided to put on my reading list classics that, for some reason or other, had passed me by (I’m sure we all have those!). Don Quixote is one, as are things like Herodotus’ The Histories and Plutarch’s Lives, and pretty much the majority of the American classics that most Americans read in high school (The Great Gatsby, The Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick, to name a few).
It’s been a long time since my formal education, so I thought I’d get into a “study literature” mood with some reference books. The two I read bits and pieces of were The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer and How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren. I’ve decided that my high schoolers should definitely read the latter before they go off to college.
I was also in the mood for science fiction short stories, so I got a Larry Niven collection and an anthology out of the library.
The anthology is Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozoir. The premise instantly attracted me: all these stories are set in the Venus of science fictional imaginings–a world of lush tropical jungles and huge oceans–before science revealed it to be the hellish place we known of today. All the stories showed a high level of skill and detailed envy-inducing worldbuilding, so which ones grabbed me and which ones didn’t came down to a matter of taste. My particular favorites were Matthew Hughes’ “Greeves and the Evening Star” and Ian McDonald’s “Botanica Venerica: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathagan”, both of which feature upper-class aristocrats (one English, the other Irish). I’m not sure what that says about me!
Since I published Ironhand, and have other projects in various stages of completion on my plate, I re-read Discoverability by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. This book started life as a series of blog posts that you can still read for free on Rusch’s website. I love Rusch’s approach to writing-as-business. My big takeaways from the book this reading were the WIBBOW test (Would I Be Better Off Writing? In most cases, yes), the necessity of having several books for sale before launching a massive marketing campaign (working on that), and of seeing ones’ books as individual assets and treating them as such.
What about you? Have you read anything good recently?