Saturday, August 10, 2013

Extreme reading

...makes for an extremely quick summer. Some writer friends have emailed recently asking what I've been up to, so here's* a little look at the reading side of things.

1.  For the summer I've been starting each day by reading aloud the first poem of this book. A great poem, a great book. 

White Egrets by Derek Walcott.

2.  I'm working my way through this anthology. Slowly. A little bit each morning before I begin work on my projects.

The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fifth Edition.

3.  I read essays when I'm pedaling my stationary bike. I bike every day. I learned about these books thanks to the reading list in Phillip Lopate's excellent To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. Working through the list will take years.   

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov. 

The Disappointment Artist by Jonathan Lethem.

Sex and the River Styx by Edward Hoagland.

4.  Several fine new titles have arrived recently and I've been working my way through them. I usually do this after I'm done writing for the day.

The Boreal Dragon: Encounters with a Northern Land by Katherine Bitney.

Where Calling Birds Gather by John Weier. 

How to Make a Collage by Ariel Gordon.

The Invisible Library by Paul Wilson. 

The Last Temptation of Bond by Kimmy Beach.

5.  I end the day with a novel. I can't believe how much the e-reader has changed my approach to reading. Thanks to it, I buy many more novels now and take more risks**. For instance, I read Inferno, my first ever Dan Brown experience, because of a review in the Globe by a reviewer I respect. I read and enjoyed the first novels of new series by Anthony Bidulka (When the Saints Go Marching In) and Peter Roman (The Mona Lisa Sacrifice). Then, because of all the media attention, I read The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (my first J.K. Rowling reading experience) and finally realized how little I know about the genre. So now I'm working through a series of mysteries by Ian Rankin, books I'm enjoying as well and might never have bought otherwise.

I also had my first Neil Gaiman reading experience (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) thanks, if I remember correctly, to a review in the The New York Times that someone had shared on Facebook or maybe Twitter, wherein Gaiman's work is compared to that of Ursula K. Le Guin, so I thought hey, might as well read some of her novels first and see if I agree with the reviewer. I doubt if I would have done this before.

All this reading makes for late nights. No doubt the bats have bellyfuls of moths before the lights go out in this house.


*  Aug 11 update: For these pics I placed the books on the rock outcrop in the back yard.

**  For the past decade or so at least, up until this point, my novel reading has consisted mainly of titles that land on shortlists and novels by, or recommended by, writers in my circles.


Anthony said...

Glad to have made it on your impressive list of recent reads Brenda! A very well rounded reading experience this summer!

Brenda Schmidt said...

It's been wonderful! My kind of summer! I look forward to seeing what Adam Saint gets involved in next. Hurry!

Ariel Gordon said...

Thanks, B, as always...

Brenda Schmidt said...

My pleasure, A! As always, a pleasure.