Inbox/Outbox: October 6th, 2017

I must be eating my Wheaties for breakfast lately or something, because I’ve been reading a crap ton. For me, anyway. My goal is still one day to read half as much as Liberty. My reading habits are always all over the place, usually with books ranging across fiction and nonfiction, as well as print and audio, all going at the same time. I like to have choices, I can’t help it. As I write this, I’m realizing that there is literally nothing much in common with any of these books. At all. Sorry if themes or patterns are your thing. This is not the list you are looking for.

INBOX (BOOKS ACQUIRED)

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

I got this just the other day and have only just cracked the first couple pages of it. I can’t even tell yet if I like it, though I think I do. But it sounded like a quiet novel about a quiet woman and the blurb alone made me like her. There are days when I want nothing more than to just stay in my house and not interact with any other humans at all, so I was intrigued by the plot.

The Long, Long Life of Trees by Fiona Stafford

I’ve been super into nature writing lately and I’ve always liked trees anyway. This book takes 17 different kinds of trees and explores how they have influenced various aspects of culture, from literature to art to religion. I am not far into it yet—in fact, I’ve only read the intro and the chapter on yew trees—but I’m fascinated. Besides being the wood that the kickass English longbows are made out of, did you know that some yew trees in England are older than Stonehenge? How is that not so cool?

The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang

I think I might be the only Rioter who hasn’t read this yet. I have it on Audible and am finally going to listen to it. I started it the other day and am intrigued by the experiences of this family so far. It’s a backlist book but I just got it and am super excited about it.

OUTBOX (BOOKS FINISHED)

Writing and Selling Short Stories and Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published by Windy Lynn Harris

I’ve been working on my own personal creative writing a lot lately. This book has been one of the most helpful books I’ve picked up in a long time on the craft of writing. While it does talk about the actual craft of writing a bit, I really loved the sections on finding the best market for your short stories and essays. This book is a super detailed and helpful guide to marketing your shorter pieces of writing, based on a class Harris designed and teaches to writers across the country. There are SO MANY excellent tips that I never would have thought of, and I’m not a total newcomer to short story publication myself. I’m so glad I got this book.

Prickle Moon by Juliet Marillier

Marillier is probably the one author whose work I universally love. I can’t even say that about my literary husband, Neil Gaiman. Somehow, I had completely missed this collection of short stories when it came out in 2013, so I made up for that oversight this week. I am delighted that Marillier’s gorgeous writing style extends to short stories just as well as it does to her novels. This was a lovely mixed bag of stories, ranging from fantasy (including a Sevenwaters story, fuck yeah!) to contemporary.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco

I’m listening to this one on audio. I’m finallly in a place now where I can handle some political writing again, and this was a good book to ease my way back into reading political writing again. This is the memoir of President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff, her reflections on her years in the White House, and how she came to be one of the most powerful people you’ve probably never heard of. This reads like The West Wing as written by Shonda Rhimes, and I looked upon it and saw that it was good.

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite some time. I received a copy and have found it to be super interesting and enjoyable so far with vivid writing and rich detail. I mean, a multigenerational story about a family of witches. That is exactly what I want to read. I’m pretty sure I have some witch in my ancestry. Anyway, I think it’s absolutely true that there’s a little witch in all of us…

IN THE QUEUE (WHAT I’M READING NEXT)

Theft by Finding by David Sedaris. I don’t know that this one needs an explanation.

Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt. Because I can take it now.

Star Trek: Prey – Hell’s Heart by John Jackson Miller. Mmmm. Sweet, sweet brain candy.

Do you like podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab, or Planet Money? Annotated is kinda like those, but for books. Go here to find out more, or click the image below:
Kristen McQuinn: Kristen McQuinn is a medievalist who dreams of reading more, writing more, and traveling more while being the best single mama by choice she possibly can be. By day, she can be found working with English teachers at the University of Phoenix, where she also teaches the occasional class on mythology, Shakespeare, or Brit lit. Sometimes she updates even her own blog. Follow her on Twitter:@KristenMcQuinn or www.hergraceslibrary.com.  Twitter: @KristenMcQuinn