Monthly Archives: July 2011
It’s July 29th already. How did that happen? Part of it is probably the old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Part of it is that I had a class so I can keep my Day Job. The class lasted until the last Monday of June, and then the following week my wife was on vacation. Anyway, this summer has been great for getting out to see movies (so far–it ain’t done yet!) and I’ve been trying to get some reading done.
Now, I’m a slow reader. It has nothing to do with comprehension, but I just get into the story and the words can melt on my tongue. So here’s what I’ve read so far this summer, or what I’ve begun this summer.
Yonder by Charles Beaumont. I don’t know when I first stumbled over Beaumont’s name, but my guess is sometime around the age of thirteen or fourteen, right after I got into reading because of Stephen King. Somewhere along the way, the name Charles Beaumont came up and took a place in my brain that was earmarked for Writers of Importance. Other names that got that treatment around that time were Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, The Legend of Hell House, The Shrinking Man), Harlan Ellison (whom I’ve written and spoken a great deal about, because he’s one of my favorites), Bradbury (whose name I’d already known because of his TV show), Robert Bloch (Psycho), and others. Anyway, I stumbled upon two Charles Beaumont collections, Night Ride and Yonder at a book fair, 25 cents apiece, back around 2002/2003. I read Night Ride around Christmastime 2008 and loved it. Well, I finally got to Yonder this summer. I didn’t love it as much as I did Night Ride, but I did love it. What amazes me is how Beaumont seemed to be ahead of his time in many ways. His work is still relevant. “The Monster Show” could still happen. And there are others that I could go into but won’t. See if you can find Beaumont’s work. I still have some of his books to collect myself.
Game of Secrets by Dawn Tripp. This book is one of two on this short list that I have a small personal connection to. I say that not to sound more important than I am (I know where I stand) but so get that out, and to let you know that my recommendation is not colored by knowing them. Dawn I first met back in 2003. I did my first reading at a local independent bookstore along with three other writers, one of them being Dawn. At the time, she had only one novel published, Moon Tide. In 2005 her second novel, The Season of Open Water, was published. At that time, she had come into the bookstore (I worked there) several times and we’d become friendly. I don’t remember how it happened, but I asked her to read a draft of Alice on the Shelf, and she gave some great feedback. Game of Secrets is a beautifully written novel, which is a consistent thing with Dawn. All of her novels are beautiful, she cares about the language and it shows. Her lyrical prose is a delight to read. Game is about secrets and there are plenty of them. Some have called it a mystery, and I suppose it is, but it’s certainly not the kind of mystery one thinks of when they hear the term. For my money, you don’t buy this novel for the mystery, but for the beauty in the writing. The characters are interesting and it sweeps you in. I happily recommend it.
Ursa Major by John R.Little. I’ve written before about John’s work. John is one of my earliest supporters and I can’t say how honored I am by this. I love John’s writing. I still say his novella Placeholders is one of the best things I’ve read in the past few years. John was instrumental in helping me get Alice on the Shelf published, which is something I’m very thankful for. Still, if I didn’t love the book, I wouldn’t recommend it. But I can recommend Ursa Major. It’s a very different novella than John’s last few novellas. There’s not an element of the supernatural in this short, harsh book. As is often the case, John makes you care about his characters in record time and unleashes a monster on them immediately. The cover shows you the monster. I loved it and highly recommend it.
The following are books I’ve begun but haven’t finished yet:
The Rising by Brian Keene. I shouldn’t be writing about this book because I’ve hardly gotten into it. This has been my beach book. First I was reading Yonder and I didn’t want to ruin it on the beach. Then I was reading Game of Secrets, which Dawn signed to me and Pamela, so I didn’t want the beach to ruin that. And I didn’t really feel like bringing my Nook, which I’m reading another book that I’ll mention next on. So The Rising was chosen. In the years since the novel exploded on the scene and made Brian Keene the wunderkind of small press horror, I sadly admit I’ve never read his work. I’ll qualify that by saying I must have read a short story of his here or there, but so far I hadn’t read any of his books. I own not only The Rising, but an advance readers copy of Terminal, and also Darkness on the Edge of Town, but hadn’t read any. (The fact that two of his novels share titles to Springsteen albums/songs makes me think we have something in common in terms of a favorite musician). So I grabbed The Rising and began reading it on the beach. Wow. As I said, I’m not very far into the book but it has grabbed me by the throat already.
The Freelancer’s Survival Guide by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. This is the book I’m reading on my Nook ereader. I think I was first hipped to Rusch’s blog by the same title by someone on my Facebook wall last summer. I didn’t read it every week but decided to wait until it was in book form. I’m about halfway through and I’m finding it interesting and helpful. I can recommend it.
The Five by Robert McCammon. I only began reading this novel this week. Like Brian Keene, I’ve never read McCammon before, though I’ve been very aware of him (I own a couple of his books). And like Keene’s novel, I’m not very far into this book but–damn!–it’s got me hooked. I don’t know much about what it’s about but it has had some great reviews and I’m loving that it’s about rock ‘n roll. On a sad note, this is that last book I bought from Borders.
So that’s what I’ve read (or what I’m reading) so far this summer. I would check them out.