Random Thoughts

about reading, writing, and anything else that interests me

November Reading, Part 1

I got a lot of reading done last month, so I am going to break this up into 2 posts.  Today, non-fiction, short fiction and audiobooks.  Tomorrow, hopefully, novels.

Non-fiction:

  1. Surviving Camp Inca: A Life Changing Prison Experience by Julienne Burleson was a good book.  Burleson was incredibly naive and paid a steep price for it.  But in the end she came out a better and stronger person.  Although her experiences were not in the US, there were a lot of similarities, unfortunately.  (I used to teach in a women’s prison.  I know at least a little of what I am talking about.)  Many incarcerated people made stupid decisions with no evil intention.  The lucky ones find someone or something to help them survive the experience and come out stronger people.  For Burleson, religion was what made the difference.  And it seems from her website that she has continued on that path.
  2. Brewing Fine Fiction edited by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and Pati Nagle was 314 pages of interesting advice from authors.  I really enjoyed it.  I especially liked the section on research because I am constantly trying to learn more about feudal Japan in an effort to make my book better.  I would recommend the book if you enjoy reading about writing.  Whether you agree with the authors or not, there is a lot to think about.
  3. Writing Fight Scenes by Marie Brennan was helpful to me because I don’t feel like I know anything at all about the subject.  I was leaving the fight scenes to my son, but I have realized I need to do some work on them if we ever want to finish the book.  What I got out of the book, most of all, was that I need to be very sure of the purpose of each fight scene and write it accordingly.  That sounds pretty obvious, I’m sure, but I don’t think I had fully worked out the reason for a couple fight scenes we have included.  I am working my way through that now.
  4. The Pursuit of Perfection by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was probably the most important of the non-fiction books I read this month.  She points out that a career in writing requires a lot of books, not one “perfect” one.  So it is critical to get out there and write.  This, again, may seem obvious, but it is something I struggle with.  Maybe I am afraid I only have one book to write, so I want it to be perfect.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist, I know.  But I am coming to believe that it is silly.  I need to get this first book done as soon as possible — even if it isn’t “perfect” – and get back to working on the second.

Short Fiction:

  1. Stage Door — A Cue to Kill“Stage Door — A Cue to Kill” by Lilian Watts was a fun story.  It was a little obvious at times, but I frequently feel that way about short stories.  There isn’t enough time to really develop the story.  I would consider reading more stories by Watts; she has a two more on Amazon.    She knows her community theater world.
  2. The Disintegration Machine” by Arthur Conan Doyle was the first of Doyle’s non-Holmes stories I have read.  It was good, but again, I found that I wanted more depth than the story provided.

Audiobooks:

  1. The Airlords of Han by Philip Francis Nowlan was another Buck Rogers story.  It was a good one.
  2. People of the Crater by Andre Norton was not my favorite of the Norton books I have listened to.  Not sure why.  I liked the way she showed the cultural differences that created huge misunderstandings, though.
  3. The Galaxy Primes by E.E. “Doc” Smith was interesting on a number of levels.  The basic idea was an excellent one: the four greatest minds in our universe lost in space.  It was dated and, therefore, offered a glimpse into my parent’s generation that I couldn’t get as a child.  A lot of reviews on Amazon don’t speak highly of it, but I enjoyed it.

As always, I got the audiobooks from Librivox.org.

Stay tuned for a review of the novels I read in November!

 

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