what I’ve read / what I’m reading

11 June 2012

In college I’d joke that I was the worse read (partial) English major ever. You know, it was not far from the truth. I love stories, but I could never really get myself to sit down and finish a book.

Don’t get be wrong, I’d read and complete entire books and series–but on the whole, there were probably more books I started and then stopped than ones I read all the way through. (This was especially the case for almost all of my college classes.)

Over the past 5 or so years, I’ve gotten a lot better. I’m still not reading as much as I’d like–and I’m no where near the reader my mom is–but I’m getting there.

Now, that all said, and remembering I’m not some crazy “book a week” person… Here’s a list of what I’ve read, and what I’m still reading, so far here in 2012.

What I’ve read…

Hot Water Music – I started this in the fall. Because I always read Bukowski in the fall. Always. I got this for our California trip, and slowly continued my way through this short story collect through winter and spring. It follows a lot of what I love from Bukowski: it’s raw, ugly, yet strangely beautiful.

Hunger Games – Okay, by now, if you haven’t read this or read about this… well, I have no idea how you’re even on the internet.

His Dark Materials – I’d been meaning to read this series for a while. It’s not one I grew up with, but well, once “The Golden Compass” movie came out, I was a bit curious. I really love the worlds Pullman creates. Some have criticized this book as being “anti-Christian”, but you know, it goes into deeper things and I didn’t finish it having more questions about organized religion than I got from my time dealing with organized religion personally. I mean, Hunger Games you got the corrupt government, HDM you’ve got the government controlled by the church…

Shiver – Just. No. I’d loved the covers of this series, but that’s honestly the best thing about them. The whole thing has the voice of a 40-something women. You never get the voices or tone of the teenaged characters.

Divergent & Insurgent – So I was still looking for another YA series to try out, but was hesitant after the terribleness of Shiver. But this was a distopian novel based in Chicago. Had to at least give it a try. It’s not bad. I got hooked in book 1, book 2 wasn’t as strong as I’d like, but I’ll still finish the series… next year when book 3 comes out. One of the things that bugged me at first was the author’s representation of Chicago. Things seemed out of place, and she really only covered the Loop area. There’s more to Chicago than the Loop & Michigan Ave.

The Night Circus – I’m still “reading” this one. I got it based on reviews by Erin. It’s not that I don’t like it. In fact, I love the concept. But at this point it’s just not holding my attention long enough to finish. I’ll return to it though.

And these short stories:

“Wants” by G. Paley; “Chrysanthemums” by J. Steinbeck; “News from the World” by P. Fox; “Guests of the Nation” by F. O’Connor; “In the Night” by V. Sharlov; “A New Man” by E. Jones; “First Day” by E. Jones; “Swaddling Clothes” by Y. Mishima; “Here Come the Maples” by J. Updike; “After the Theater” by A. Chekov; “Birthmates” by G. Jen; “The Untold Lie” by S. Anderson; “This is What it Means to Say, Phoenix, Arizona” by S. Alexie; “The Third Bank of the River” by J. Rosa; “Wenlock Edge” by A. Munro; “After the Storm” by E. Hemingway; “Chopin in Winter” by S. Dybek; “Lights” by S. Dybek; “The Liar” by T. Wolff

All I’m going to say about the short stories is: READ MORE SHORT STORIES. Seriously people. There are some amazing stories, a lot are better than full novels. People just discount them because of the size… but I love them. Perfect for the CTA.

What I’m reading…

My Mother, She Killed Me… – I’m writing what my instructor called “speculative” fiction. And it sort of has this folklore/fairytale feel. So I was trying to find something somewhat close to read to give me some inspiration. This collection is really interesting. Some are great, others are meh. But it’s exposing me to new ideas and also new writers.

I Sailed with Magellan – This is my second Dybek book. I loved Coast of Chicago. This one is a good example of a collection of connected short stories to create a whole, longer piece. (Granted, publishers lover this because it’s easier to market. But you have to remember this is not a novel. It’s a collection of stories that are related some how.) I’m just starting this, so I can’t say much about it… but I love Dybek for how he writes about Chicago.

Deadlocked – After I forced my way through the first chapter, I thought I’d give up on the series all together. They’re getting worse. But boredom is winning out and I’m struggling through more pages. I really don’t know why. It’s not great writing at all. Harris tries to play Sookie off as simple and not that educated, but then uses language that’s not consistant with that. She also loves repeating herself. A lot of the books are filler. She’ll pretty much copy-paste descriptions from book to book, and even chapter to chapter some times. Remember, you’re reading this because it’s basically vampire porn, and just accept it for what it is. (However, this is the first time I bought one of these… I recommend just getting them from the library… seriously, save your money.)

Love is a Dog from Hell – Okay, so normally poetry is something I can’t figure out or get into. But I love Bukowski, so I had to give it a try. And well, Bukowski’s take on “love” poems is exactly what I expected. None of that flowery stuff. Love poems with cock and balls and cum. Bukowski’s an interesting character… and well, I’ll be honest, I do question how people read this and thought “he’s a master!”… but whatever. It’s entertaining.

Now, I’ve got Shadow and Bone on the docket for later this week while I’m on the road. YA novel involving flesh eating things in the shadows. Another book I’m hoping will help me with that one story I’m writing. But for some reason I’m just on a YA kick.

I’m still trying to seek out new titles to add to my list. (Which is another reason I read short story series–they give you a nice break between novels.) And that’s sort of the inspiration for this post. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what others are reading, and have found some really good books/stories from there.

I’ll be checking in periodically with what I’m reading. And I’ll also be posting things on the AdorkableMe facebook page–which, if you’re not following it means you’re missing out on a lot of bonus adorkableness. You can also keep up with me on GoodReads.

So. What are you reading?

  • I did the whole “read a book a week” thing before and it was quite stressful. haha Now I just read whenever I have the time (which isn’t often enough!).

    Have you read Entwined by Heather Dixon? It was a quick, entertaining, and easy read.
    My friend really likes The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simons. I thought it was much better than Hunger Games/Shiver. (The Shiver series was HORRIBLE by the way..)

    I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series which I really enjoyed. And now I’m reading The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Easy peasy reads.

    • Erini

      I’ll have to check those books out! Thanks for the suggestions Stephanie! 🙂

  • wow! what a list 🙂 i really enjoyed the golden compass and want to read the rest of the series… i just finished divergent and the girl who kicked the hornet’s nest in the last week. now i’m working on finishing jonathan strange & mr. norrel. i think the rest of this month will be devoted to finishing books i started heh. i feel bad that i abandoned them for other quicker/more currently popular books

    • Erini

      The rest get really interesting. Some people didn’t like the third, but if you can’t get used to these awesome worlds created then yeah, I can see that.

      I’ve been debating that series, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… not sure if I’d get into it or not… might have to hit a library first before paying for it.

      I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself for not finishing books. If I’m not into it, I’m not into it. 🙂

      • i’m all about the library these days! i forgot how much i love checking out books 🙂 the girl books are slow to get into and really graphic in parts so definitely a “library before buying” choice. i would loan you my copy of the 1st book, but my sister’s boyfriend ran off with it lol

        • Erini

          I need to get to my library… I’ve got a book from December…. Luckily there’s a branch not too far from me, but sadly it’s a small one.

  • I liked “the Night Circus” but it’s a book mostly driven by setting. The circus is absolutely breath taking, but I found the characters static and the plot flimsy. I’m glad I read it, though, because really, the circus. Just imagine.

    I have Smoke and Bone on my list too. I’m also waiting for the weekend to get to it.

    Happy reading. 🙂

    • Erini

      I think that might be why I’m having a hard time letting Night Circus hold my attention! I mean, YES, the circus they created is great. And I think I might keep reading it to just pick up more craft on how to do setting… But for circus books, I have to say Water for Elephants was just great. I tried reading The Last Confession of Mabel (?) Stark.. I think that was the title. I couldn’t get into that one either. Circus books are tricky apparently…
      Happy reading to you too, Lor! 🙂

  • I do love to read but I have my lazy moments, which is pretty recent. Lol. Right now I’m in the middle of Stephen King’s “The Stand.” I would love to read Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” after. As for YA… I’d have to admit that the “Fallen” books have me intrigued. Here are some web addresses:
    http://www.fallenbooks.com.au/books.html
    http://laurenkatebooks.net/books

    • Erini

      I actually haven’t read any of King’s work. For some reason I stay away from those crazy “push out tons of books” authors–though I did read a few Patterson. They’re not bad, but they don’t take much thought.
      Gaiman is great, from what I’ve read so far… which is the Sandman series. I love graphic novels, but tend to go towards the lit fic/personal narrative-historical ones. Obviously Maus and Persepolis, but also Blankets, Palestine, and some others I’m not quite awake enough to remember (sadly)…
      Thanks for the links to Fallen! I’ll check them out!

  • Oh we’ve read many of the same books! I actually adored Divergent and Insurgent, but I have never been to Chicago so I have no reference for how well they described the setting. Loved the plot & characters. I just finished reading the Night Circus and I enjoyed it, but I had the same issue as you… I never felt compelled to just sit and read it. I agree I think it’s because it was a little flimsy on the plot but it was nonetheless an enchanting picture they painted of the circus. I’m reading Pandemonium next, the second book in the Delirium trilogy… and I’ve also read Hunger Games and Matched trilogies recently so I guess I’m on a YA kick too! I think I’d like to read a non-fiction soon for something different. I’ve been hearing a lot about Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. As an introvert I am rather riveted by this idea 🙂

    • Erini

      I’ve heard some good things about the Delirium trilogy. I might have to check them out! I haven’t done non-fiction in a while… I got into this book on behavior genetics & domestication of animals… nerdy, fascinating stuff!

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