Just a quick note here to let you all know I’m still alive. Unlike this time last winter, when I was fat and pregnant, I’m not getting many opportunities to be online.
A couple updates.
One, I finally have an eReader. A Kindle Fire, to be specific. Which means that soon I’ll be able to accept eBook copies for review. Right now on the Kindle, I’m reading Rutger Klamor’s Z Strain and Dalya Moon’s Practice Cake. I’m liking it. It’s different from print copy, of course, but still good (in my head, I sound like Stitch from Lilo & Stitch: broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.) I don’t know if I’ll ever prefer it to print copy, though- but I’m pretty happy about the doors it has opened so far.
Two, I’m changing my format for my book review blog to simply publish my Goodreads reviews. They’ll be less formal, and probably even shorter, and they won’t include synopses or summaries (because everyone who reads them on Goodreads already knows the synopsis of each book listed.) I figure we live in a hurried age: brevity has value. It’s also more fun to write about the books I read when I’m not worried about sticking to a formula or doing the plot justice in my descriptions. After all, I’m not writing these to convince you to read the books (well, often I am, but…), I’m writing them to generate conversations about the books after you’ve read them.
That said, I’ve scheduled posts for Blackbird for everyday this week. Check them out.
I’m also wondering if I should abandon Blackbird and post my reviews here instead, since it’s not exactly like I’m overwhelming you with content- but that could change. What do you think?
Another thing I want to touch on because it’s on my mind: as readers and writers, how important is romance in your stories? I’m curious because I’ve never been a Romance Reader, exactly, but lately I’ve appreciated romance when it appears in other genres. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness might have been the first time I recognized this, and more recently, Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky. Neither book is solely romantic by design, but the relationships within aid the story in ways that might not have been possible otherwise. Two of the stories I’ve edited for our April catalog are romantic, too, and they’re both completely awesome (I can’t wait until they’re illustrated and out there for all of you.) Now I’m finding myself looking for romance in non-Romance books. Sometimes I’m disappointed when this element isn’t there, even though there’s no reason for me to expect it. And I’m not talking sappy love stories, I’m talking complicated, multifaceted, often doomed tentative relationships. Or a hint of them.
What do you think about romance in non-Romance genres? There’s next to none in my own writing. I’m wondering if I should add some, which actually isn’t half as simple as it sounds, and would require almost a total rewrite of most of my stuff. Which I’m fine with, because I’m a perpetual re-writer.
Dalya Moon writes novels that are called “sweet” and “light-hearted.” She may have to one day murder someone (on the page) to be taken seriously, but for now she’s happy to not be taken seriously at all. She is the author of Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner and Practice Cake.
I thought I’d get the “new baby” chaos under control before I took on other endeavors, then promptly realized that I will never have such a thing under complete control… and that’s okay. I don’t think it’d be normal to attain serene control as a new parent. Sense of adventure? Certainly. Control? Not a chance.
It reminds me of when my husband and I would discuss waiting to have children until we were ready, financially and otherwise. Everyone without children of their own nodded in agreement; everyone with kids laughed and said, “If you wait for that, you’ll never do it.” And now I understand. Regardless of how much we prepare, we can never be totally ready for kids… We learn what we need to know from them, so how could we be ready before we have them? Parenthood is a journey for both parent and child. We can pretend to be the leaders in that journey but we are only fooling ourselves.
And life should be a journey. I’d feel cheated if I could prepare for what’s ahead with a trip to Babies ‘R’ Us and call it a night. I am sleep-deprived and super busy, but I can think of no better reason to be.
Despite huge lifestyle changes, I have managed to sneak in some reading time here and there.
My latest reading adventure lay with a persnickety coyote named Charlie. Shreve Stockton’s “The Daily Coyote” began with a few photos of an orphaned coyote pup in Wyoming, then escalated to a blog and developed into a book that chronicles Charlie’s first year. Stockton does more than capture the beautiful animal on camera; she grows with Charlie and describes the lessons she learns in the process, both the difficult ones and the more rewarding ones. The book is a must for any animal-lover, but I recommend it for everyone else as well. It’s a story of self-improvement and openness, of dedication and love, and Stockton’s honesty in telling it can teach us all a little about life.
Also, her descriptions and photos of Ten Sleep, Wyoming make me itch to get away from suburbia and learn to self-sustain and live off that beautiful land.