It’s already next year, which means 2014 was last year, and man, time flies! Yet we’re still finding time to read in all the chaos. Here’s some of what we’re reading now:
Leesa Cross Smith:
I’m reading THIS IS BETWEEN US by Kevin Sampsell. I love reading about men and women, relationships, marriage, breaking up, getting back together, dates and dating. Those are prettymuch my favorite things to read about besides baseball. Kevin’s writing is simple, beautiful. In love.
I’m reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter and Slant Six by Erin Belieu.
- Richard Maxwell, Plays 1996-2000
- Bruce Andrews, Designated Heartbeat
- Lucy Ives, Orange Roses
- Megan Martin, Nevers (still because it’s that awesome)
- Joseph Aguilar, Half Out Where
- Mac Wellman, Cellophane
- Bernadette Mayer, Sonnets
- Lots of others when my accursed novel is done, starting with the recent novels by Ali Smith (How to be Both) and Blake Butler (300,000,000). Plus physics, Hebrew, trigonometry and organic chemistry textbooks because I’m a witless masochist.
The Tyranny of Words by Stewart Chase. Came out in 1938, found it at 17 for ten cents all beat up in a throw away book pile, found the copy last week in a drawer I had not opened in 20 years in my closet. It is amazing. He was a frustrated ad copy and speech writer and questions semantics, semiotics, words in different forms and usage.
Michael J Seidlinger:
The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini, Turtleface and Beyond by Arthur Bradford, and a few manuscripts (details classified).
Such Great Heights by Chris Cole. It’s a reimaging of The Great Gatsby, set in current day silicon valley. Also, always re-reading Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson.
Sheldon Lee Compton:
I’m reading The Baltimore Atrocities and sort of loving it. I dig how he put it all together with the flash kind of pieces and the interweaving sections with the narrator and his companion and then, of course, the red drawings. I’ve torn through this one, I’m telling you.
Shane Jesse Christmass:
I’m reading 100 Artist Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists – which is pretty much what it says on the tin, an anthology of 100 art manifestos from the last century. I’m up to “The Auto-Destructive Art,” one from the early 60’s. I’m really enjoying the whole book, it’s a book that is so me.
In December, I read the fantastic short story collection The Tenth of December by George Saunders. I also read Maria Luisa Bomball’s House of Mist, described as one of the first works in the genre of magical realism (although it has at least as much in common with Gothic fiction, e.g. Jane Eyre). This month, I’m reading a Christmas gift, Caspar Henderson’s Book of Barely Imagined Beings, a collection of thoughts about and inspired by some of the stranger creatures known to modern zoology. I just finished Chapter 1 on the axolotl, the origin of vertebrates and the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish, and started Chapter 2 on the barrel sponge and the Elephant Man.
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust.
David S. Atkinson:
An ARC of an upcoming novel by Joey Hirsch. I’m not sure the publisher has announced it yet, so I’ll have to omit any details beyond that, and beyond the fact that it’s really good.
I’ve been reading Rebecca Soltnit lately. Here’s a quote from The Faraway Nearby: “We are all the heroes of our own stories, and one of the arts of perspective is to see yourself small on the stage of another’s story, to see the vast expanse of the world that is not about you, and to see your power, to make your life, to make others, or break them, to tell stories rather than be told by them.”
“They knew that no one heard, that bloodless people cannot be made to bleed.”
I’m currently reading Ben Lerner’s, 10:04. Just finished Charles D’ambrioso’s Loitering. Both are excellent; I am catching up on recommended 2014 reading.
Joseph Michael Owens:
- George R. R. Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire
- Ted Chiang’s Lifecycle of Software Objects
- Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven
- Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Summer Tree
- Nicola Griffith’s Hild.
Dennis James Sweeney:
I’m moving toward being a total stereotype by reading Living Zen by Robert Linssen, translated from the French and published by Grove Press in 1958. I got it for five bucks with the last of my gift certificate to Half Price Books. It’s full of sentences like, “The mirage of the ‘I-process’ is like the sieve of the Danaides and can never be filled because it lacks real solidity.” Also: “The mind does not uncover anything…It covers.” Needless to say, I do a lot of underlining.
The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion by Thorkild Jacobsen and Brian Allen Carr’s Short Bus. They actually pair quite well.
- The Sun Also Rises Library Edition(for the Hemingnerd in me)
- David Joy’s novel Where All Light Tends to Go
- Don’t Touch That Dial!: Radio Programming in American Life from 1920 to 1960 by J. Fred MacDonald (research for my next novel)
I keep reading the books everyone was excited about 1-2 years ago. I’m in the middle of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. Loved the nightmare-scape of the first book and ongoing mystery of the second. Also finished Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death, and I understand now why it’s a classic: it made me want to immediately join a death society, and I ended up in a long conversation with my husband about how exactly we hope to shuffle off this mortal coil.
I just finished reading Sarah McCarry’s super dark, punk YA novel Dirty Wings, which is right up yr alley if you love badass teenage girls, adventure stories, and underworld motifs. Now I’m onto All That Heaven Allows, essays on the films of Todd Haynes, who’s one of my favorite filmmakers; I’d like to write more about film & am interested to see where the authors go with the arsenal of topics that relate to Haynes’ work.
This book and it is blowing my mind. Almost every sentence is a micdrop sentence.
“We should speak of relations of power, not of power plain and simple.”
“The modern state, then, is a contradictory institution: a promise of safety, security and meaning alongside the reality of abuse, control and coercion.”
I just finished the awesome Fourteen Stories, None of Them are Yours by Luke B. Goebel and am doing a free raffle for this book NOW on my FB page!!! Now reading The Tears of Eros by George Bataille and on deck Is Every kiss A War by Leesa Cross Smith. Vacations rock!
- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
- The Road to 1914: The War that Ended Peace by Margaret MacMIllan
- 33 Artists in 3 Acts by Sarah Thornton
- Head Off and Split by Nikky Finney and from the series
- Country Music by Nathan Hauke and Kirsten Jorgenson
I’m squeezing in some comics between prepping classes for the Spring semester. I’m reading this AMAZING graphic novel by Lane Milburn called Twelve Gems. He uses this great throwback style that’s an homage to seventies Science Fiction and fantasy comics with their cheesy expository dialogue, their pencily line work, and their phallocentric star ships. It’s hilarious while being a really good exercise in genre, too. I love self aware stuff like this. I also just read Drew Weing’s Set to Sea. It’s a sailing comic that’s also a great meditation on inspiration and the writer’s life, and the ending definitely brought a tear to my eye. Plus, I’m trying to read all of Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, but tracking down cheap trades is a real pain. Those omnibuses are pricy!
Sara Finnerty Turgeon:
I just finished Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. I am exactly the target audience for this book. I have emotional and physical connections to Italy, I am a writer, and I have a newborn. Doerr mostly writes gorgeous fiction that makes me ache with jealousy, but this is a small non fiction book about his time at a residency in Italy with his wife and newborn twins. “Rome is a broken mirror, the falling strap of a dress, a puzzle of astonishing complexity. It is an iceberg floating below our terrace, all its ballast hidden beneath the surface.” I love him.
The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. An interesting take on epic fantasy that was written in direct opposition to the Tolkienisation of fantasy, and was also a huge influence on George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s sort of a meandering novel with less propulsion than Martin, but way more depth and intrigue than Tolkien.
Reading short stories online, too many to link here. From every genre and style. And excerpts from some books that are not out yet.
I’m reading with my five year old…. “I am Jazz” by Jazz Jennings (bio of a young trans girl) and “What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis (Based On The YouTube Sensation). Also: “The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy” by Irvin D. Yalom, for one of my social work classes; what I wish I were reading “Last Psalm at Sea Level” by Meg Day; “The 8th House” by Feng Sun Chen (both sitting on my desk, mocking me for being a piss-poor poetry reader.
Just finished Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, a WWII alternative history parable. Currently reading The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde, ed by Lily Hoang and Joshua Marie Wilkinson, a bit every day to sink into my writing morning and Qwo-Li Driskill’s collection of poetry Walking with Ghosts alongside the anthology Queer Indigenous Studies (for a class I’m teaching) as well as Edith Wharton’s ghost stories (also for class).
The Novel: a biography by Michael Schmidt. It’s a biographical history of the novel as an art form as told through interviews, letters and conversations with authors. It’s academic but not torturous.