News of the World

Or my corner of it, anyway.  Next week, on the 26th, “Suffer the Little Children” is being published by Torquere Press, so Go Me!  On that same day I’ll be hosting the Torquere Live Journal, and on the day before, I’ll be the Featured Author on their blog.  I’ll post links on the days in question for anyone who is interested.  It’s kind of exciting since this will be my first published novel.  I wish that I could break the print barrier, but that will come.  I’m thinking seriously about sending some pieces out to agents.

Around New Year’s I decided that this year I was going to keep a record of everything I’d read.  There actually is a reason for this beyond just intellectual busy-work.  I used to be a voracious reader.  I’d come home from school and read.  I’d read in the bath (My mother hated that.) I’d read in class if I thought I could get away with it.  I’d read during lunch hour and I’d read on the bus.  I’d read anything you put in front of me including the cereal box and the milk carton.

Then I got what I thought would be a dream job at a bookstore, and quickly found that marketing books like toothpaste effectively killed a lot of my desire to read.  I slowed down, got very particular, gave up more quickly on things I didn’t like.  Liked less.  Over the years I remained a great reader but as my folks grew too old to care for themselves and I took on the role of caregiver, I also was tired a great deal, and read less.  And then I became diabetic, and the changes in my eyesight made it physically hard to read.  I stopped reading much of anything for a lot of years.

But little-by-little my desire to read has come back.  I still tend to think of myself as less of a reader than I used to be, but around Christmas this year, as I saw my friends posting their reading lists for 2010, I started listing what I’d read, just for fun, and was shocked to see nearly twenty titles in the last three months of the year alone.  Could I have, in fact, come back to the point where I used to be?   I know I don’t read as fast as I used to, but that’s hardly an issue.  Reading widely is.  Loving the feeling of reading is.

And so I thought, “I’m gonna keep track this year and see how I do.”  I’ve finished three already and given up on one.  I no longer waste my time with books that annoy me.  I think it’s a good start.

Today I saw an article about Reading Challenges and I couldn’t help but feel that a challenge was what I needed.  But being me, I knew that if I concentrated on one, I’d get bored very quickly, so what I’ve done is to choose books from several of the challenges and put them on my TBR list.  I want to read more widely, know more about people, places and things.  I’m hoping that challenging myself to tackle books like “Chocolat,” “The Tale of Genji,” and “Anna Karenina” will broaden my thinking.  As I finish books I’ll post the titles, and perhaps do reviews.

So far this year, I’ve read “Pandemonium” by Daryl Gregory which was a Christmas gift from Dawn and was wonderful, “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi, which probably would count in the South Asian challenge, though not in the Italy one.  I liked it a lot; I didn’t love it. And “Dear Enemy” by Jean Webster, a sequel to “Daddy Long-Legs” which I much preferred, though DE was good enough that it kept me reading until 3 a.m.  The one I gave up on?  “Angelology” by Danielle Trussoni.  Just check the reviews to see why.  Pretty much every problem people reported I found.

I’m determined to finish China Miéville’s Kraken before the end of the month, which will go towards the Chunkster challenge.

I’m also starting a new job this month.  I’ll be working from home as an independent contractor, on things that are highly time-sensitive, and which require a high level of accuracy.  Needless to say I’m occasionally paralyzed by the idea that I will never manage to do a good job at this, but so far the boss tells me I’m doing well.  It’ll be some much-needed income.

And finally I’ve started posting some of my photographs and art over on Deviant Art.  The money isn’t great but even if I sell a couple of things, that’s something, right?

Wish me luck in 2011.

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