Thursday, June 30, 2016

My June Reads

In June, I finished 8 books (this brings my total for the year to 61):

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
McSweeney’s Massive Treasury of Thrilling Tales by Michael Chabon (ed.)
The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow
In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu
4 A.M. Breakthrough by Brian Kiteley
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

My favorite read of the month was my first. If you have not read The Raven Boys series, I command you to start doing so. Go. Right now. I’ll wait.

Okay, now that we’re on the same page, amazing, right?

Reading this series has made me a little crazy. When I read these books, I waver between wanting to light everything I have ever written on fire, because it is utterly in consequential by comparison and wanting to make my current work in progress this good.

I have tried to figure out why I love these books so much, why they hit me so hard. I realized it is the voice, the tone. The wit that sneaks up on you from behind and gently nudges your spine.

This month I had an epiphany regarding my own writing and Maggie Steifvater’s series. Part of my love for her books is that the voice and tone are in the same vein as my own natural voice and tone. Not identical, mind you. But on the same family tree.

I also realized that I haven’t seen this particular voice in a lot of novels. And that I’ve been suppressing it in my own work, at least a little. I have been tamping it down, making things more orderly. Reading The Raven Boys triggered a huge change in my current round of revisions. I have been given permission to let my voice go, stop trying to corral it.

Sometimes books are a PSA telling you it’s okay to be yourself.

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