End of August Update
I am making great progress! 12/15 books read, not including incomplete anthologies. In fact, the Murderbot Diaries are 4 in one, so you might say I have beat that goal (but I won’t). I have made it through 6/14 of my new list which I think is a major accomplishment. Of course I am not ruling them out, but I have reached the point where I am diverging from my list. This is especially true with Halloween approaching.
After reading Datlow’s Devil and the Deep, I have invested in a list of horror anthologies I want to read (more than I can really manage in two months probably). I have started Fearful Symmetries. I am ~half way though. I won’t publish this just yet. I’d like to save it for when I am closer to being done with my review/reading. In addition to this anthology, I am going to read Dark Dreams (see #4 in my list of ongoing collections).
I attended a very interesting panel at Dragon Con that discussed women of color in science fiction and in part women of color writers. In particular, they pointed out how it tends to be select few who get what may be best described as the “token” marketing treatment. Look at Children of Blood and Bone and the hype its gotten. The panelist I saw spoke about many women of color not getting much of any attention. Therefore, I am trying to dig for more stories from women of color. I am finding that most obscure authors aren’t on audio, my preferred mode of reading, but I can work with what is available.
In addition to this panel, I have started listening to some episodes of Writing Excuses, a podcast cohosted by the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal (of the Lady Astronauts) that discuss what writers need to think about when writing. It is a really interesting and is making for a great guide on how to appreciate good writing. One story was on reading outside your box. This essentially goes back to me looking for more diverse writers. A few years ago I limited myself to women authors for reasons to do with bias. I could redo that, but I am not ready to commit to that just yet. Although, I am making an effort to explore more diverse writers.
Right now, Brandon Massey has a couple anthologies I am going to try out, Dark Dreams being the first. Then his wife, Tananarive Due has a few horror novels I want to try. First, I am starting the House of Dies Drear about a haunting dating back to slavery by author Virginia Hamilton, who is one of the many names mentioned by a few *lists* of black women horror writers.
However, I still intend to finish Fearful Symmetries, and I want to start at least one other anthology of Datlow’s. Which one is TBD, but if I had to choose (if you had to choose, its a tie!) I would probably say Inferno because I love me some demonic stories. Others include, Haunted Legends or Dark (Ghost stories). Then there is still A Head Full of Ghosts, but that is Paul Trembley (white male). An alternative would be the collection of stories by native American Stephen Graham Jones, After the People Lights Have Gone Off.
In case this needs to be said, it isn’t enough for me to go on what seems interesting. Not only do I desire to broaden my understanding of the different walks of life and the different ways of perceiving the world, I also have a desire to experience the best literature that is out there. Literature that will not necessarily make its way to me as a result of my own biases and the biases of other (e.g. look at my attention to the list of Hugo books). There is a world where I am spending my fall reading Stephen King (new and old), and I can’t help but be thankful that I am not so limited in my selections and styles.
So to finish up, I have 2 collections and 2 novels that I want to read for Halloween (preferably more of course). That gets my tally up to 16 books, over my 15 goal. With November and December to go, I think 20 is a reasonable goal to strive for now. If I can keep this up, maybe I can manage 30 next year. Scratch that. I am turning 30 next year. 30 books my 30th year. That is going to happen.
I recently finished Mapping the Interior (★★★★★). I won’t be including it in my lists of completed books just yet because it is so short. I will probably tack it on to another book by Stephen Graham Jones if I get around to one of his. You can read my thoughts at the link here.
There are a couple horror anthologies I want to read. They’re a lot shorter than the Time Traveler’s Almanac (TTA), so I think I may try to work them in with the other stories. The goal being to finish them before the year is out! I love Stephen King, and a lot his best works are short stories. That plus the TTA gave me the idea to check out some horror anthologies. It looks like Ellen Datlow is an award winning editor, so I’ve chosen a couple of her works that appeal to me.