Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 2016 Reads

This month I finished 9 books:

The Best American Short Stories 2015 ed. T.C. Boyle
Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair
The Best American Short Stories 2014 ed. Jennifer Egan
Pushcart Prize XXXIX ed. Bill Henderson
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Cheap Diamonds by Norris Church Mailer
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015 ed. Laura Furman
Until it’s Right by Jamie Howard
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer
Let’s talk about the ick first. I did not finish The Castle in the Forest.

It is very rare for me to put down a book with not intention of picking it back up and finishing it. But I could not make myself finish this one.

The first 75 pages or so is told by a narrator who hypothesizes that Hitler was who was due to the incest that occurred in his family tree. Way too much information about his parents and grandparents sex lives.

I was not really loving the book, but was trying to hang in there. Then I turned the page.

The narrator revealed that he was actually a demon and that Hitler was evil because he and other demons were present at the time of his conception.

I closed the book. There was no way I could make myself slog through another 400ish pages.

I’m not sure where the book was headed. Maybe it would have been okay in the end. I just wasn’t willing to entertain the idea that someone’s choices weren’t really their fault, that literally, the devil made them do it. I can’t even buy that excuse in fiction.

On to the good.

So many short stories. I am in the process of sending out some of my own short stories to journals and magazines, which is what inspired this flurry of short story activity. Lots of good stuff out there. And a lot that made me feel good about my own work.

Favorite read of the month? The Raven Boys.

I read two YA fantasies this month (Red Queen and The Raven Boys). Both were very good. But for me, in a head to head battle, the boys beat the queen.

Red Queen is much closer to high fantasy. The story takes place in a world other than our own. Which means there is world building that has to take place. Aveyard did a good job with this, it’s just not my favorite to read.

The Raven Boys is more in line with contemporary fantasy. It takes place in our world. But something exceptional or magical is added. This is much more my speed as a reader. I love stories that could be reality, if the world were just slightly different. This is also much closer to what I write.

I will continue to read both of these series, but I more excited to finish the raven cycle.

What’s the most recent book you walked away from? What made you do it?

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