February Reading Update

2015 has gotten off to a great start. I read five books in January and three in February, so I’m already eight books toward my goal of 36 for the year.

As an Amazon Prime member, I am able to get a free Kindle book each month via their Kindle First program and, for the most part, I have enjoyed the ones I’ve gotten around to reading. However, I haven’t been keeping up and have a bit of a backlog of titles, so when February rolled around, I decided I would read my Kindle First selection right away. I chose Emily Bleeker’s Wreckage. Unfortunately, this has been the weakest book I’ve gotten through the program and one of the most disappointing books I’ve actually bothered to finish.

The premise of people getting stranded on a desert island has certainly been attempted before but the inherent drama of the situation is undermined here because we are introduced to two of the survivors early on as they agree to participate in a TV interview. We know they get off the island right from the start. This reveal is allegedly justified because there are secrets about what happened on the island which are slowly revealed during the interview process, but these secrets are so obvious that there is no tension. Basically, I finished the book because I was hoping that the big reveals weren’t so obvious but, alas, they were. Neither of the two survivors wanted to do the interview and their rationale for doing so was unrealistic.

The characters are thinly drawn and borderline unbelievable, especially those of Kent and the TV interviewer. The interviews never felt plausible and really undermined the story. Here’s hoping for better luck next month.

The second book I read was Walter Mosley’s What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace. No two ways about it: this is must reading. Although Mosley addresses this 2003 memoir/essay to an African American audience, any thoughtful person will be rewarded by reading this work.

What Next is Mosley’s response to the tragedy of 9/11. He focuses on how the events affect the African American community and how they could react. But his pleas for a better world, although idealistic at times, are relevant to everyone. It’s interesting and to read this 12 years later after seeing how, in many ways, the world has moved further from his idealistic goals.

Finally, I read White Space Is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually Through Graphic, Web & Multimedia Design (2nd ed). It lives up to the promise of the title and provides a great overview of issues to consider in graphic design. My only complaint is that it went into photography and videography which felt out of scope. They were short chapters and didn’t do justice to those complex considerations and felt like they were tacked on to beef up the text. But that’s a minor complaint. Overall, I got a lot out of White Space Is Not Your Enemy.

January 2015 Reading Update

January 2015 Reading Update

I finished eight books by the end of February:

  • The Golden Compass
  • The Subtle Knife
  • The Amber Spyglass
  • The Best American Essays of 2014 (ebook)
  • I Know I Am, But What Are You? (library book)
  • Wreckage (ebook)
  • What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace (library book)
  • White Space Is Not Your Enemy (library book)




February Round Up

Because I often write in various places, I’ve decided that I would like to create an index of sorts every month to help keep track of what I’ve done where and of other things I’ve been working on. So for February 2015:

On SuperPlus Eats:

So, not much on the blogging or publishing front, but as I mentioned in my January Round Up, I have some other writing projects in the works and my efforts went toward those.

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I finished a draft of my novella, Every Day Is Gravy, and started a serious proofreading effort. I also finished another revision of one of my Las Vegas Stories and began a revision of another one. Although I am pleased with the progress I made with these stories, I really don’t want to ignore this blog in the process. Here’s hoping for a better balance in March.


January Reading Update

After reading 32 books in 2104, I set my 2015 goal at 36, which means averaging three books per month. January got off to a good start as I read five books: all three books in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, The Best American Essays of 2014 and, at the recommendation of a friend, Samantha Bee’s I Know I Am, But What Are You?

I had read His Dark Materials before. I believe it was in 2007 before the (awful) movie version of The Golden Compass came out. I recall absolutely loving the trilogy and after my disappointment with Words of Radiance, I was eager to read some fantasy that I knew I would enjoy. The books held up very well after a second reading and I came to the conclusion that they rank among my all time favorites.

As one might suspect given the title, The Best American Essays was a solid collection and, overall, a great read. Out of the 21 essays, I only disliked one. Some of the standouts for me were Wendy Brenner’s “Strange Beads,” Emily Fox Gordon’s “At SixtyFive,” Yiyun Li’s “Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life,” Zadie Smith’s “Joy,” and Wells Tower’s “The Old Man at Burning Man.” You know, every time I come across a Zadie Smith essay, I’m blown away. Makes me think I should read more of her, no?

I Know I Am, But What Are You was about what I expected: slight and more entertaining than not.

January 2015 Reading Update

January 2015 Reading Update

I finished 5 books in January:

  • The Golden Compass
  • The Subtle Knife
  • The Amber Spyglass
  • The Best American Essays of 2014 (ebook)
  • I Know I Am, But What Are You? (library book)