Monday, March 23, 2020

11. Audiobooks

I can't remember what I decided about listing audiobooks here. I just started listening to audiobooks the last couple of years. I didn't realize how much I would enjoy being read to.

A friend recommended a bunch of celebrity memoirs so since the beginning of the year I have listened to:

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime -- this is a fantastic book. I kept getting recommendations but I'm not that familiar with Noah and didn't think I was interested. I was extremely wrong. He's a great story teller and funny but also, wow, what a life. He grew up in South Africa under apartheid and as the country was changing. I learned a lot. Very highly recommend.

David Spade, Almost Interesting.  Spade had a tough journey to success. His story is also more interesting than I would have guessed. Loved all the behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live stuff.

Illeana Douglas, I Blame Dennis Hopper. Lots of amazing Hollywood stories. The things these people go through before they are successful -- broke ass, odd jobs, auditions. Loved the behind the scenes of making the movie: Alive.

Rob Lowe, Stories I Tell My Friends. Another amazing career with so many stories. I especially loved the story about making Outsiders. I'm ready for a rewatch of St. Elmo's Fire. I thought I owned it but couldn't find it in the DVD closet. I wonder how it holds up. I have never watched The West Wing -- might have to check out a couple of episodes.

Friday, March 20, 2020

10. Doomsday Book

By Connie Willis (578 pp)

What better book to read right now than one about time traveling academics who experience a pandemic in real time while trying to rescue a historian back in 1300s plaguey England? I've read this before and it was just as fun to read again. People seem to either really love or really hate Connie Willis. I understand the frustrations of the haters. Her books can get long on piddly misunderstands and repetitious setbacks. But I love the characters and find her books tough to put down.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

9. Secrets of Story

By Matt Bird (336 pp)

This is another writing book that I've been dipping in and out of for months. One of my favorite writing books in a long time. His website is here. Lots of great stuff about story and characters and revision.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

8. Yours to Tell: Dialogues on the Art & Practice of Writing

By Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem (242 pp ebook)

I've been dipping in and out of this on my rides to work and finally finished. Great writing book by a couple of great speculative fiction writers and workshop instructors. I highlighted dozens of bits I want to go back to.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

7. Understanding Comics

By Scott McCloud (215 pp)

I had the crud in January and spent several days in bed or lounging around the couch and trying to finish books that have been buried in my nightstand drawers for a long time. This is one of those books. It's about all about comics: history, how the medium tells a story visually, the panels, the lines. He talks about art and culture. The book was written in 1993 and his predictions about the rise of comics were on target.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

6. Syllabus

By Lynda Barry (200 pp)

Everything Lynda Barry does is fabulous. This is a book about her teaching university courses that involve art, drawing, story-telling, music -- everything. She sometimes shows and sometimes tells about her approach to teaching -- it's hard to explain. One of my main takeaways is she talks about being present, not just when doing the work, but in life -- observing, listening, being open to what's happening rather than chasing after things. If you're a Linda Barry fan, you'll like this. If I take a writing sabbatical I'm going to follow the lessons in this book.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

5. 10% Happier

By Dan Harris (237 pp)

This is a book about meditating written by a news anchor who goes into the subject with great skepticism. He interviews a number of popular spiritual guides and struggles with meditation and is completely honest about his experience. Ultimately, he finds meditation helpful and gives realistic guidelines for starting a meditation practice.

4. Olive, Again

By Elizabeth Strout (289 pp)

I love Olive Kitteridge and I loved revisiting her, especially since aging parents, not just mine but among my peers, is a  major theme right now. I thought there were a few weak bits in here but the stories where Olive was the main character were terrific. I love the setting in Maine and Olive's son (and family) is a great character. I particularly liked, Light. I thought Olive's brusque manner was exactly what the other woman needed. Recommend.

Friday, January 17, 2020

3. Yes, Please

By Amy Poehler (329 ebook)

I don't often go for celebrity memoir but I heard so many good things about this one I grabbed it when it was on sale. When you know how successful she is now, it's easy to gloss over how long and hard she worked before she got a break. Some good juicy stories and advice for people doing creative work.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

2. The Only Harmless Great Thing

By Brooke Bolander (p138 ebook)

This was on my phone and I had no idea what it was or where it came from but it was fabulous and made me want to go back and read more speculative fiction again. It's also to describe briefly but it's an alternate history with sentient elephants and radium girls.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

1. A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove #2)

By Tessa Dare (354 pp ebook)

It's already February and I am just now posting my January books although I will back date them so it will be hard to tell. This is a romance that was on my phone and I needed something I could read on the bus. This one was super fun. The heroine is a science nerd being held back by her gender, the hero a handsome rake and they have to run off on an adventure where they encounter numerous setbacks.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

29. The Anubis Gates

By Tim Powers (375 pp. ebook)

I love time travel books and a long time ago I copied a list of recommendations. This was published in 1983 -- it's been on my list forever. As the story opens, it's 1983 and a college professor has been invited to travel back in time to see a lecture by Samuel Coleridge in 1810 -- he's skeptical about the whole thing but then ends up time traveling and getting whacked on the head and missing the jump back to 1983. Meanwhile there's stuff with magic, Egypt, dueling beggar groups, and a body-swapping werewolf. It gets pretty crazy. Mostly I enjoyed it but there were a few parts when I got lost. Definitely fun to read.