March Reading List

Finished:

Lips Touch: Three Times, by Laini Taylor

There’s not a lot of point in my telling you how amazing Laini Taylor’s writing is. Describing her writing would be a sad imitation of the writing itself. So seriously, just go read her stuff. I turned to Lips Touch, a collection of three short stories, after finishing Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight. Loathe as I am to start a series before it’s finished, Laini herself makes a compelling case for a) picking up a series before it’s done and b) BUYING (not “acquiring” with shifty quotes) BOOKS.

I know the cool thing to do these days is to pirate stuff, especially if you have an ebook reader, but I think Laini makes a compelling case for your purchase literally determining whether or not you get to continue reading the things you want to read.

To Read:

Kushiel’s Legacy series, starting with Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey

If the internet tells me right, there are six books (two trilogies) in this series, so it should keep me busy for a while. This series is complete, so none of this languishing in my desperate need to know what happens next. I’m about a hundred pages in and so far the universe is very compelling. I love me some royal intrigue and high society drama.

What are you reading this month? Any good books you just finished?

December Reading List

I’m going to start doing these lists monthly, hopefully more toward the beginning of the month. Why? 1) Writers should read to be better writers. 2) I can’t remember what I read more than two books back. 3) Some of these are really good books and I want to talk about them.

And thus!

Reading:

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (book 2 of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy)

Finished Reading:

Blackout by Mira Grant (book 3 of the Newsflesh trilogy)

Going to Read:

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin (book 1 of the Dreamblood trilogy)

I have got to quit reading trilogies that aren’t finished. But damn Laini Taylor is good, and N.K. Jemisin I am chronically unable to put down.

Cloudy Perfection (Short Story Excerpt: The Singularity)

Yep, still picking at this one. An excerpt from my short story where boyfriends who die come back as androids, called “The Singularity.”

“You need something to distract yourself,” Yui’s mother said at the breakfast table. Yui had been picking apart her toast, very carefully and precisely, for the better part of ten minutes. Her mother tapped on the table to get her to look up.

“Don’t play with your food,” she added. “That’s the sprouted wheat that we get because you like it.”

“Sorry,” Yui said. “And it’s good for you.”

Her mother looked at her.

“What do you mean, distract myself?”

“You need something to do.”

“School isn’t something to do?”

“Not your school, not for you.”

Yui snorted.

“Don’t tell your teachers I said that.”

“Okay.”

“But you do.”

“You mean like a hobby? I have hobbies.”

“You don’t do them anymore.”

Yui looked at her picked-apart toast.

“You need to find something that doesn’t make you think of him.”

Because that was the rub, wasn’t it. Yui had hobbies. She had things she loved to do. She had things she loved to do before she met Victor, and then they became things she loved to do with Victor. That seemed to be love, to her. Proper romantic love. Doing things you love with your best friend who also loves them. And sometimes kissing, and the rest.

But now that the things she loved were things she had loved to do with him, they hurt. Their joy was gone. She’d drawn, once. There were stacks of sketchbooks in the attic, carefully filed and dated and tucked in banker’s boxes by year. In the last few years she’d put them away by quarter.

She always hated what she drew, but still marveled at the progression of the things she could make. They were never right. But they were better than they had been, and they would keep getting better, even if, in their exponential growth, it was impossible for them to reach the cloudy perfection of what she thought she was trying to express.

The construction at the house next door started, sudden and loud, a table saw somewhere making short work of planks. She pulled her hands off her toast crumbles and wiped her fingers on her dress.

“You’re going to be hungry,” her mother said when she got up from the table.

“It’s okay.”

“I’ll put some granola bars in your bag.”

Yui didn’t say anything, just went upstairs to brush her teeth and put a comb through her hair and grab her coat.

It was so aggravating when her mom had good ideas. She’d have to play it down. Otherwise she’d think every one of her ideas was a good one, rather than just a product of random chance. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

She looked up, to the ceiling, though the pull-down stairs to the attic were out in the hall. She had some unfinished sketchbooks, tucked with their siblings in Summer.

Had it only been this summer, when she could still love something? When loving still felt safe, a happy thing, and not like she was asking for trouble?

She snapped the rubber band bracelet against her wrist and jogged down the stairs to catch the bus.

Pariah. That was the word. She’d been trying to think of it all day, while she, at the beginning of the route, took a prime seat near the back and no one sat with her even as the bus filled to capacity. As she reflected on all the days before this that the exact same thing had happened, with only one or two slips where people sat without looking then stood as if the seat was hot, or wet, or a hot poker had protruded up into their ass.

Sounds like piranha, she thought, while she had her lunch outside, because all the tables were occupied to some degree and she didn’t want to watch while people got up because she sat down, while the whole room turned to observe not their awkward shuffle to find new places but her, alone, eating a sandwich. Like you do. Because what are you supposed to do? She knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to scream, and shout, and possibly do bodily harm to a select group. She wanted to force them all to sit and listen as she called them out on their bullshit, their utter and complete bullshit, with eloquent words that she couldn’t fathom but could hear the cadence of, then drop the mic and walk out of the room. She wanted her day, her grand triumph, her epic finale. She wanted to win.

But this was life, and in life you don’t win. In life you sit outside even though it’s too hot, you steal the prime spot under the shade tree by sitting down and ignoring the trio of freshmen who get up and leave. In life you feel a small thrill as, just biting into your carrot sticks, after trying to think of the word all day, you finally come up with “pariah.” And then you feel like shit.

Short Story Wednesdays

I know, it lacks that specialness of alliteration, but I liked the idea of posting something mid-week to keep me going.

I am publicly committing to you, my imaginary friends, that in addition to my other scheduled posts, every Wednesday I will post something. Maybe it’ll be a full short story draft. Probably it won’t be. It’ll be pieces of a work in progress, or a response to a writing prompt, or something else of a fiction writing persuasion. It might be good. It might be bad. But it’ll be writing and I’ll post it.