The Reading List 2012 – Update

I realized this week, as I finished Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Impossible by Nancy Werlin, that I hadn’t checked in on my original reading list since March.

Also, after this week’s awesome news, which was pretty much like the entertainment gods saying “Happy early birthday, Michelle!”, this slipped my mind.

Here’s where I stand:

My 2012 reading list

Hector wanted to be in the picture.

Kindle books:
As You Like It by William Shakespeare
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Endymion by Dan Simmons (Just started)
The Ancient by R.A. Salvatore
Long Lost by David Morrell (currently on loan to my roommate)
A Coral Kiss by Jayne Ann Krentz (Screw it. Life’s too short to read romance novels you don’t like.)
If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire by Susan Ronald
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham
Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

Story by Robert McKee

I’m more than halfway done!

New stuff added to the to-read list It’s been slow going, partly because I’ve been editing and then plotting out a new WIP, partly because a lot of these books are outside my normal genres (or are just plain huge, as in the case of The Wise Man’s Fear), and partly because I kept discovering new writers and recommendations from friends that I just had to read right NOW. (See: The Parasol Protectorate.)

In fact, that new stack you see just to the right here are books that have been added to the “unread stuff on my shelf” over the past two months. (Including a birthday gift from my roommates. GUESS WHICH ONE THAT IS.) 😀

However, it’s progress, and it’s also broadening my horizons. I’m insanely glad I made myself sit down and read The Shadow of the Wind, and the nonfiction books I’ve finished so far have been really, really helpful in terms of studying the craft.

Are there any books you didn’t think you’d like that you ended up loving once you read them?

Final July #WriteMotivation Update

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

1) Finish August Buzz articles by July 13.

2) Read 1 book a week.
And this past week has been:
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Heartless by Gail Carriger
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The Shadow of the Wind is interesting because it’s not the kind of book I usually read. It’s more along the lines of literary historical fiction, taking place as it does in Barcelona over the course of about 10 years right after World War II. And it took me quite awhile to finish, in a large part because it’s not what I’m used to.

That being said, Ruiz Zafon has some absolutely beautiful language, an artful way of phrasing things so that you can feel the ideas and emotions he’s trying to get across. That’s what I admired most about this story: the use of language.

In this manner, secretly, the Fortuny family let the years go by, silencing their hearts and their souls to the point where, from so much keeping quiet, they forgot the words with which to express their real feelings and became strangers living under the same roof, like so many other families in the vast city. –p. 129

“Look, Daniel. Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.” –p. 225

She wandered off into the shadows, carrying her bucket and dragging her shadow like a bridal veil.  –p. 252

It just resonates with you, makes you pause your reading and actually consider what he’s saying, reading the sentences again and again to make sure you suck all the meaning out of them.

Reading The Shadow of the Wind reminded me that it’s a good thing to branch out of my normal genres. Each genre has its own style, language, and tropes, some of which you’d never know if you didn’t dip your toe into the pool occasionally. And the more you read, the more you can bring those disparate tropes and styles into your own stories and give them a twist that may not have occurred to you otherwise.

The Writer’s Journey was also well worth reading. One of these days I’ll make up a list of best books for writers, which ones are good to read at least once and which ones you should own and read over and over.

3) Update blog twice a week.
Done and done, and I usually managed to make it three times a week.

And now, I’m going to enjoy some #writemotivation cookies and rest up for August and Camp NaNo.

Hope July was just as good for you guys!