Here. Have some reviews.

A few books I’ve read recently …

emotional craftThe Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass | Oh man. This is changing my life, guys. Hands down, it’s the best craft book I’ve ever read on fiction. A week ago, in an email to my editor, I described myself as having “a novelist’s heart but a poet’s education.” (Don’t get me wrong– I adored my education! But I focused on poetry, not on fiction, so in some ways, I am learning as I go.) This book is helping. A ton. (I also recommend The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.)

gap lifeGap Life by John Coy | I was lucky enough to share a stage with John Coy earlier this year, and the man is just so wise and well-spoken and lovely. In the green room, he selflessly doled out advice to this newby from the perspective of a man with something like sixteen published books to his name. Gap Life was an interesting read about Cray, a boy finished with high school but not yet ready for college, who is figuring out how to navigate his own pursuits versus the dreams his father has for him while working at a home for adults with development disabilities and while falling head over heels for a girl unlike any he’s ever met before.

whisperThe Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski | Man. This book. It’s a children’s book with the most incredible illustrations (Zagarenski is a two-time Caldecott winner!) and the … plot … I guess … is also so lovely. A girl borrows a book from her teacher, but the words spill out on the way home, so she has to come up with the stories. This book is a must have for every creative child, itty-bitty through age 100.

incarnadineIncarnadine by Mary Szybist | This collection of poetry as hailed as a best book of the year by NPR, Slate, Oregonian, Kansas City Star, Willamette Week, and Publishers Weekly. It was full of poems whose forms pushed the envelope, all while having the utmost care put into every line. There was a theme of annunciation running throughout the book, and I found it stunning.

literary sextsLiterary Sexts: A Collection of Short & Sexy Love Poems edited by Amanda Oaks and Caitlin Siehl | Don’t be flabbergasted by the title; this was a fun and interesting collection of short love poems written in the form of texts and meant to read like one long texting conversation between lovers. Some were, of course, far better than others. Some were outstanding. Many were average. For the outstanding ones, though, I say this was worth it.

spare georgiaSpare by Georgia Lundeen | I will post about this what I shared on Instagram: “OMGOSH, I have been waiting for this for YEARS.
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I began following Georgia’s blog, knowing nothing about this anonymous poet who had this incredible rawness and total command of language. She had one photo on her site, tinted green, a girl in sunglasses.
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Then one day I ran into her on Facebook. No joke. We had a mutual friend and I definitely recognised that photo. I tentatively messaged her to say hello and found out we were practically neighbors. WHAT!!
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These days, I consider her a friend. Georgia’s poetry is best described as TAKE NO PRISONERS. I love it, ruthless and unassuming.
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So I’m not joking when I say that I’ve been waiting for this book for years. I love poetry that doesn’t apologize for itself, and I cannot wait to dive into Spare! (!!!!!!!!!)” Guys, I loved it. Of course I did.

pipers sonI’ve also been re-reading the Narnia books (this is an ongoing thing, for any of you who are new to the blog and didn’t know) and The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, which is just about as close to perfect as I think a novel can come. I’ve talked about Marchetta pretty extensively on the blog (here, here, and here) and never hesitate to call her my favorite writer. If nothing else on this list catches your eye, then why not read The Chronicles of Narnia, a Marchetta book, or one of my other favorites?

What have you been reading, peeps? Anything incredible??

books books books

Just finished:
the whole Narnia series (again)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith — it was okay, kinda sweet, didn’t knock my socks off
Mister Death’s Blue-eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn — not the best-written book ever, but especially interesting since it was based off a true event in the author’s childhood

Chloe and the Lion
by Mac Barnett, a children’s book about writing a children’s book, super cute

When She Woke
by Hillary Jordan, a fascinating futuristic retelling of The Scarlet Letter, set in a society where criminals’ skin is dyed according to their crime.  It was fun to see the parallels with Hawthorne’s story.  I really liked this book except for one scene that was completely out of place and (I believe) cheaply inserted by the author to make her book trendier.

Naked
and Me Talk Pretty One Day, both by David Sedaris — so ridiculously funny!  I am talking literally laugh-outloud funny.  But also sometimes inappropriate.  Proceed with caution. 🙂  But I love David Sedaris, and his audiobooks are even better than the paper versions because you get to hear the stories exactly the way he intends.  I listened in my car and kept wondering what the drivers around me were thinking of the weirdo in the Stratus who was laughing like a madwoman with no one in the passenger seat.

Currently reading:
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis — breathtaking.

The Name of this Book is Secret
by Pseudonymous Bosch — a children’s story, riveting.  The narrator is very, very intrusive, and I kind of adore it.  So good.  Would be a fascinating read for late elementary-aged students, perhaps fifth grade.

Up next:
About fifteen books (mostly novels) about synesthesia, which I will blog about on Friday!

Any suggestions for my next must-read book?

Currently reading …

Currently reading …
The Narnian by Alan Jacobs … a biography of C.S. Lewis, based primarily around his imagination, not his life events. I only just started it yesterday, but I’m enjoying it so far!
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger … pretty brilliant.  I keep wondering– if I would have written this book– if I’d have planned everything out beforehand or just written myself into and out of messes.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis … I honestly have only been “away” from Narnia for like 3-4 weeks, and I was craving it again.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith … John Green gave this book his thumbs up, so I decided to just buy it instead of waiting for the library to have an available copy, yet it hasn’t completely sucked me in yet.

On my radar …
Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn (I didn’t know she was still writing!)
Broken by Laura Hillenbrand (apparently this one is life-changing)
World War Z (started it awhile ago and then got distracted by some other stuff)
plus I have been missing my favorite Hogwarts trio, so I might need to dive back into Deathly Hallows.

Just finished …
Ender’s Game by Scott Orson Card … fascinating!  Really loved this, even though I was skeptical at first that I would.  Now I need to decide just how big of a sci-fi nerd I want to become: there is a host of other Ender-related books, and I don’t know if I should just let Ender’s Game stand alone for me or if I should dive in.  Thoughts?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak … as always, it was brilliant.  Cannot get over this book.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, which inspired me to read Time Traveler’s Wife

What’s on your reading plate right now?  Any suggestions?