I’m still more or less on track to meet my reading goal for the year. I finished another 2 in March and have read 6 for the year. I’m hoping to read 25 books this year, so 2 a month is about right. Somewhere along the line, I’ll have to sneak in an extra book. Perhaps later in April when I will be taking direct flights to and from San Francisco.
The two books I read this month were Adam Christopher’s Empire State and The Blogger Abides by Chris Higgins. Back in January, I wrote a post about broadening my reading horizons because I found a great list from The Ranting Dragon of Fifty Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels to Look Forward to in 2013. I pared that list down to a handful of titles I am interested in, among which is Adam Christopher’s The Atomic Age. That book is a sequel to Empire State, so, of course, I needed to read that first. I found Empire State to be an absolute joy to read. It’s a bit difficult to describe since it blends so many diverse ideas. It’s a science fiction tale set ostensibly in the prohibition era and also features super heroes and robots. What’s not to like? The novel doesn’t take itself too seriously and just tries to be as much fun as possible. My reading tends toward the heavier side, so reading something like this really does fall into the “broadening my horizons” category.
The Blogger Abides positions itself as a guide for freelance writers to help them write more, find writing gigs, and manage their writing life. For the most part, the book succeeds. Where it failed for me is that it is definitely geared to a novice blogger, which, of course, is no fault of the book. As someone who has been blogging for years, much of the advice was obvious, but it would certainly be helpful to someone starting out. Higgins’s writing style is enjoyable and even some of the chapters on drier topics (e.g. contracts and taxes) are entertaining. At times, the book feels a little padded and it teeters on a thin line between providing plenty of examples and gratuitously linking to a lot of Higgins’s online work. I was able to glean some helpful suggestions from it and enjoyed reading it, but this book would be much more useful to the uninitiated.
I also began reading A Storm of Swords in anticipation of the new Game of Thrones cable series. As what happened with A Clash of Kings, I got about 50 pages into it and was insanely bored and wound up just reading a synopsis online. I think it’s safe to say, I am done trying to read any of the books in that series. Martin crafts incredibly interesting plots and characters but I find his writing turgid at best.
So, I am pleased with where I am right now, although I have begun April with Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, which is a long and dense novel. I’m only 50 pages or so into it and am loving it, but it’s going to be slow going.
My plan has been to take a picture of my growing pile of read books throughout the year but have realized that among ebooks, library books and borrowed books, the pile will never accurately reflect my progress. C’est la vie.
- Anathem, Neal Stephenson
- Netherland, Joseph O’Neill (library book)
- The Buddha in the Attic
- McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #13 (borrowed book)
- Empire State
- The Blogger Abides (ebook)