1. Saga, Volume 3, Brian K. Vaughn
2. Chemistry, Weike Wang
3. Tangerine, Christine Mangan
4. West, Carys Davies
1. Speak No Evil, Uzodinma Iweala
2. Lawn Boy, Jonathan Evison
3. Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi
4. Getting Off, Erica Garza
5. Self-Portrait with Boy, Rachel Lyon
6. Stray City, Chelsey Johnson
7. Saga, Volume One, Brian K. Vaughn
8. The Pisces, Melissa Broder
9. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories, Kelly Regan Barnhill
10. Saga, Volume 2, Brian K. Vaughn
11. The Merry Spinster, Mallory Ortberg
1. Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot
2. Asymmetry, Lisa Halliday
3. Autumn, Ali Smith
4. How to Stop Time, Matt Haig
5. An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
1. The Cruel Prince, Holly Black.
2. The Hunger, Alma Katsu.
3. The Parking Lot Attendant, Nafkote Tamirat.
4. Exit West, Mohsin Hamid.
5. Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi.
6. Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan, Ted Scheinerman.
7. The Sky Is Yours, Chandler Klang Smith.
Currently Reading: February, 2018
1. Idaho, Emily Ruskovich.
2. Annabel, Kathleen Winter.
3. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng.
4. Back Talk, Danielle Lazarin.
5. Eternal Life, Dara Horn.
6. The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin.
7. Some Hell, Patrick Nathan.
1. Priestdaddy, Patricia Lockwood.
2. The Wages of Sin, Kaite Welsh.
3. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman.
4. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline.
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah Maas.
2. A Court of Mists and Fury, Sarah Maas.
3. A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah Maas.
4. Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire.
5. Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado.
6. Cat Karina, Michael G. Coney
1. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern.
2. Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters.
3. The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters.
4. The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O'Neill.
5. The Burning Girl, Claire Messud.
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling.
7. Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire.
8. Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire.
9. Dark Currents, Jaqueline Carey.
10. Autumn Bones, Jacqueline Carey.
12. Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire.
I am sure I say this every year, but this year I feel like I have read the best books yet. How to define "the best" in the grand scheme of things, though? Have any of the books I've lately read become my new favorite book? Or just my favorite new book? Too soon to tell.
I feel it comes down to this; these books I've read lately have helped me see a new worldview. That alone should lend them the title of the "best books yet," shouldn't it?
Many of the books I've read lately have been recommended to me by various sources; coworkers, many of whom have lived and breathed and worked around books for as long as I have been alive, local bookstores, even odd nudges from the universe. I've been grateful for them all--like I said, some of the best books yet.
1. Spoonbenders, by Darryl Gregory. Oh man. I loved this one. A dysfunctional family of psychics, the mob, the Cold War, teens discovering themselves? Oh yes. I'm there. The family dynamic here was genuine, messed-up, and so loving. Original concepts and brilliant execution.
2. My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent. Don't pick this one up unless you're intent on not thinking about or doing anything other than it, this book, this story. Even then, after you've put it down, after you're finished and you want to bury it in the ground and cover it in dirt you'll try and get it out of your head by shooting it right in the face and yet it will never leave you. Trigger warning; this book will hurt. It will be worth it.
3. All Our Wrong Todays, by Elan Mastai. This one was fun. A time-travel story that did and did not make any sense whatsoever. While the end was a little muggy for me, the story pulled me through with witty banter, just the right amount of self-deprecation, and the fun dysfunctional family dynamic thread that I've been following with my recent readings.
4. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent. Based on a true story and set in Iceland, this book was a great dip into historical fiction that I don't often take. I'm glad I did, though. This story follows Agnes, a condemned murderess, in her final days as she is sent to live and work for a neighboring Icelandic family while she awaits her execution. I could not put this book down. It greatly reminded me of The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue which I read last month. I highly recommend them both.
Fall is my favorite time of year. The food, the outfits, the crisp chill in the air that makes you want to walk for miles down yellowed-tree lanes, a mug of cocoa between mittened hands and dreams of the holidays and long winter naps buzzing in your mind.
But Fall is not yet here in the High Desert. The nights are cooling down and the mornings aren't as quick to warm, but summer and heat are still abounding. Yesterday I spent a few hours in the park reading, and I had to hop from bench to bench to stay cool in the shade. The ducks were paddling and quaking in the lake and I was pages away from finishing the latest book from one of my favorite authors. I was thrilled to discover it in downtown Portland at Powell's on the new summer reads shelf, which was looking thin as they prepared another book pile just next door, Fall Favorites.
September is a little more than halfway through and I am not quite to my own halfway mark in terms of keeping up with my reading. My goal for this year was (is?) 100 books. I have finished 41 and I am well on my way to #42.
I will definitely reach 50 books this year, and I think I can push to make 75, but 58 more in 4 months? Maybe not...
Even for me, a voracious reader, finishing 14 books a month might be a touch out of reach. I will keep on keeping on, though, as we do.
Here is what I'm reading in September:
1. No One Can Pronounce My Name--Rakesh Satyal
2. Grave Ransom--Kalayna Price
3. When the English Fall--David Williams
4. Everybody's Son--Thrity Umrigar
5. The Wonder--Emma Donoghue
6. Final Girls--Mira Grant
7. Prey of the Gods--Nicky Drayden
8. Geek Love--Katherine Dunn
Some of the books I've read lately may have slipped through the cracks, gone back to the library shelves without any account of me having ever read them. I'll do my best, though, to recount the last few months with as much clarity as I can muster. Let's start from the most recent and work our way back.
1. Arena--Holly Jennings.
2. The First Book of Calamity Leek--Paula Lichtarowicz.
3. Virgin, and Other Stories--April Ayers Lawson.
4. Lincoln in the Bardo--George Saunders.
5. Queen of the Darkness--Anne Bishop.
6. Daughter of the Blood--Anne Bishop.
7. Heir to the Shadows--Anne Bishop.
8. Girl, Interrupted--Susanna Kaysen.
9. The Girl Wakes-- Carmen Lau.
10. The Year of Magical Thinking--Joan Didion.
11. Lit.--Mary Karr.
12. The Liar's Club--Mary Karr.
March was a good month. I finished writing my book, working title "Straight Queer."
I had my first short story published with Foliate Oak, A Low-Hanging Fruit. Follow the link here: http://www.foliateoak.com/paige-ferro.html
I also read a lot of great books. Here's the list:
1. On Writing: I just finished this one, and I have to say I think it is my favorite in a long time. Not too surprising, considering how great a writer Stephen King is, but this book came to me at exactly the right time, as I sit staring at my manuscript, fingers itching to pick it up again and the voice in my head saying, "wait! Not yet! It's too soon!"
Turns out I should listen to the voices, and Stephen, as this is one of the top ten best books to read if you are at all interested in writing, being a writer, or how to become better at writing. Seriously, Stephen King doesn't beat around any bushes; he tells it straight and to the point.
2. Prude, Emily Southwood: I bought this book on a whim. I saw it in the local bookstore in Missoula and decided I shouldn't be buying anymore books right now, so I walked away and went and finished writing my book. Then after I put the final period on the final page of my book, belly full of cheesecake, mind drained of words, I decided the next step was to take a walk. I walked right into Shakespeare and Co. and bought this book. A mini-celebration of my finishing my book.
I certainly think it was well worth the read, not for the writing, but for the story: a young couple recently engaged have to overcome the challenges of first-time living together, and oh by the way the husband is part of the film crew for shooting a reality porn series, and the wife secretly hates porn but agrees to her guy taking the job because she is too afraid to talk to him like an adult and tell him how she really feels because she is worried that will make her seem uptight. I gotta say, the writing was a little over-the-top with "clever" passages, and the narrator was certainly a tad too whiny for my tastes, but overall this was a good read and it gave me lots of good ideas about what to do better with my own book.
3. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss. This is one of the books I bought with my Christmas-in-February money (thanks, Grandpa!). The Name of the Wind is considered one of those big-name epic fantasy series, and I can see why: very compelling story, well-written, classic manic-pixie-dream-girl and dashing hero who first is a young boy learning the lessons of the world the hard way. Altogether very entertaining, but ultimately it does not break out of the genre-defining rules and plot narrative.
4. Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson. This is another one of those big fantasy epics that was very entertaining to read, a good universe, and entertaining characters. The rules of the universe
5. How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Neil Gaiman. Read it. Just read it. It'll take you like an hour to read it, but you'll be thinking about it long after you're done.
6. The Story of my Tits, Jennifer Hayden. I admire the work of graphic artists and the ways they use images to tell so much of the story, and dialogue (for the most part) to tell the rest. It's envy-worthy. You have to focus on the small details, the corners of each panel, to make sure you don't miss something big that's so small.
7. Exquisite Corpse, Pénélope Bagieu. You may be familiar with the term "exquisite corpse," but I am afraid the familiar has little to do with this graphic novel.