Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Reads

I read 12 books in January, so I am currently ahead on my GoodReads challenge (120 books)!

Here’s the list:

Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions (anthology) by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Vacations From Hell (anthology) by Libba Bray and others
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
Surviving First Drafts by Erica Crouch
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Horizon by Alyson Noel
His Lovely Wife by Elizabeth Dewberry

I initially intended to write about my favorite read of the month, but I’d rather talk about an interesting mish-mash that happened. (Yes, I know. I have a whole post about two books playing together in my mind. Apparently this happens to me often.)

I listened to the audiobook of War of the Worlds while I drove to and from work during the same time period that I was reading Dreamcatcher. I have read Dreamcatcher before, and honestly, it wasn’t my favorite. I’m not really a fan of alien stories.

Which makes it strange that I was in the midst of two alien stories at the same time…. Let’s call it kismet, shall we?

What I found is that is a lot of interplay between the two stories. Clearly, Stephen King read (or listened to) War of the Worlds. If you are paying attention, you can find it echoing throughout Dreamcatcher. The red fungus, the alien inside another being (although this plays out very differently in the two stories), and the military response (again, this plays very differently) are found in both stories.

 King certainly did not copy the classic story. His story is more of an homage, just a nod to the original. I liked finding hidden nuggets. They made me smile and say “I see what you did there, Mr. King.”

I also found myself wondering how much of the echo was deliberate and how much happened without any conscious thought. I find this in my own writing all the time. I will read something that I wrote, and see things that I read months or years ago lurking in the shadows of my story.

Something else I realized about myself: I am incredibly stingy with my stars on GoodReads. The more I write, the worse this gets. I can’t help it. When I read a book, I see the spots I would tweak, adjust, nudge to make the story even better.

Maybe I need a curve for my GoodReads ratings?


  1. I've noticed the same thing with my Goodreads stars. Fives are rare from me because a book truly needs to be amazing/lifechanging to warrant a five. But what about those 4.5 stars? Not quite four, not quite five? One thing I try to think of now when I'm rating: is this book better than any book I've rated as the star rating below? This helps sometimes.

  2. I seem to have a gap between 3 and 5. I either like a book, or LOVE it and want to have its book babies. I rarely give a book 4 stars. I need to work on finding my middle, I guess.