January Reading & Writing Check-In

I’ve had a busy writing time the last month – I finished another editing read-through of my novel, polished up two stories to send in to journals, and have written a new story, currently in the editing process. I’m intending to send it off this month. I’ve decided to give my novel a rest for a month, then come back to it with fresh eyes in March – it gives the betas that haven’t gotten back to me a chance to finish it, and means that I’ll hopefully have a clearer idea of whether a few changes I have in mind are improvements or just fiddling.

So, last month’s reads!

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Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney – I’d been meaning to read this one for a while – since I studied Linguistics in undergraduate, I’m interested in any story about language, particularly one with as sterling a reputation as this one. And it was worth it – its denseness made it a slow read, but it was fascinating, intriguing and entertaining, as well as very ahead of its time – possibly even still ahead of our time. Its intriguing ideas about language and society, as well as its effortlessly diverse cast of characters, would be the envy of many of today’s writers as something that appears cutting edge.

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis – It’s hard to recommend Bret Easton Ellis to people, not because he isn’t exceptionally talented, because he is, but because his work has so much oddity, so many bleak moments, that it would have to come with so many disclaimers that there wouldn’t seem much point. Less Than Zero is his first novel, and is about a college kid who comes home to 1980s Los Angeles for two weeks and becomes reabsorbed into the narcissistic nihilism of the friends he left behind. It’s absorbing, it feels like it was written by somebody who understands that subculture rather than somebody skewering it from the outside.

The Moomins and the Great Flood by Tove Jansson – This was a birthday gift from my partner – I’ve been slowly collecting Moomin comics for years, and he thought I’d enjoy one of the novels. I did. It’s very sweet, and the art is lovely, and it has the enchanting fairytale quality I’m used to finding in Jansson’s work. It is a children’s book, but a very good one, and one that’s as enjoyable as a modern adult as it would be to a preteen in the 40s.

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