What Are You Reading?

I'm currently finishing up Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. There's no doubt about it: I'm a huge maven of the much-missed man. He wrote Fahrenheit 451 in nine days which just leaves me saucer-eyed, numb of tongue, and fully flattened.

I do get the sense that, very early on in his life, Mr. Bradbury bravely removed all of his writers' tools from his capacious arsenal and dismantled the wall between the Idea Place in his head and the piece of paper in his typewriter. Speedily dismantled, I imagine, in one glorious, dust-making blow. All of his opinions and fancies and turns of phrase flow with such pizazz and bounce that you feel as if he's right there, talking to you and not censoring a damn thing.

This is a trait in writing I admire and aim for myself. I want to write like I think, or talk, even. Well, I apply some final polish and a bit of snip-snip, of course, because otherwise the result is just a big ol' messy thought splat on the page. But harnessing the energy and fizz and effervescence that is in all of our heads when we think thoughts is a good aim for anyone who writes anything. And attempting to deliver that energy to the page, and deliver it fairly unfettered, is always my end game.

You know those long metal tongs that people in Hazmat suits wield when they're gently moving a test tube or vial of steamy gooey matter? That's how I like to pretend I move my ideas from brain to book. I move stuff from one place to another without mucking with it more than I must. Not that it is so precious or perfect -- ha ha ha, wiping my eyes, ohhhh no -- just I don't want to create too many false roadblocks along a story's route.

I KNOW. I'm practically Walter Mitty some days, with the ridickity fantasies. But we should all honor our most baroque daydreams, as they help us illustrate our daily tasks but in dramatic, often silly, totally fun form. Ultimately, I believe a little outlandish daydreaming helps us greet our everyday to-dos with more enthusiasm and funky flair.


So, what's on your fall reading list?

I want to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which sounds right up my alley. Also, I still need to get Eleanor & Park, which I hear is so charming and romantic and smart and I want all of that in my hands now.

Bill Bryson, who is waaaaay up there in my pantheon of Writers I Gush Over Who Do That Thing Where How They Write Seems To Be How They Talk, has a book coming out all about the summer of 1927. What!? I like this book and I haven't even read it yet. It is reaching out to me and making me like it ahead of it actually being published. Truth.

And Gail Carriger has a new book coming out, too: Curtsies & Conspiracies. The world she's created, in and out of her books, is jewel-box exquisite and perfectly realized. She answered a tweet of mine, too, last year, regarding a steampunk exhibit here in California! Heart palpitations.

So, what books will you try out this autumn? Or spring, of course? (Hi, Melbourne!)


Unknown said...

Wait, Bill Bryson has a new book coming out?!?! How did I not know this?!

Amanda W said...

Current and upcoming for me (until something shiny catches my eye at the library or Half Price Books or discounted for Kindle)...

The book for work:
The Blind Contessa's New Machine

The book from a friend:
The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

The re-read on audio: Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The book club book swapped book:
Wicked by Gregory Maguire

The new fantasy author: Fireblood by Jeff Wheeler

and I usually throw a little romance break in there somewhere...but those are the books on my mind right now!

Amanda W said...

Oh, and I keep meaning to read Bill Bryson...maybe I should just stop intending and add it to my pile! :)

Chiara said...

Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are high on my to read list as well, they both seem really cute.

Currently reading:

- Feed, Mira Grant
- You Went Away, Timothy Findley
- The 30-Minute Vegan

Here are some the books I'm looking forward to reading most this fall:

- Allegiant, Veronica Roth
- Greed, Fisher Amelie
- The Bride Wore Size 12, Meg Cabot
- Horde, Ann Aguire
- Jessica Darling's It List, Megan McCafferty

I also want to reread Insurgent before Allegiant comes out and Catching Fire before the movie comes out. I also have some Margaret Atwood and Timothy Findley I have to read before the end of the year. And I'm participating in a debut author challenge this year, still have 4 books to read but not sure yet which I'll be reading. To finish, I also have three books left on my book resolutions list for 2013: The Blind Assasin, The Uglies and Ready Player One

Reading is serious business ;)

do dah said...

Can bookish people refuse an opportunity to share what they're reading?

I just picked up Salman Rushdie's "Luka and the Fire of Life" today, and so far it's made me smile on the first page and made a reference to Doctor Who, so I'm basically in love.

When I'm supposed to be working, I'm also listening to Michael Scott's "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" series. So far, so good.

Near future reads include:
- Mario Livio's "The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number"

- Louise Rennison's "The Taming of the Tights" (I just re-read the others in this series in anticipation; I get it on Monday and CANNOT WAIT; I may love Tallulah even more than Georgia, because she's better to her friends)

- Maggie Stiefvater's "The Dream Thief" (which I also get on Monday; I am basically hopping about in anticipation every time I think about it)

- Sam Kean's "The Disappearing Spoon" (maybe, finally; it's been recommended to me SO many times and has been on my list for two years now)

- Veronica Roth's final Divergent series book

- the next Percy Jackson book (just re-read all of these, too; they make me happy, and prepare me for all sorts of conversations that I never actually have with nine-year-old boys.)

- Iris Murdoch's "The Sacred and Profane Love Machine" (love Murdoch so, so much)

- Deirdre McCloskey's "The Rhetoric of Economics" and

- Steven Johnson's "Where Good Ideas Come From"

Oh, and I recently read Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow," which is a delightful exploration of the ego of important academics (which he does not actually intend) and a good collection of most of the biases we have so far named in human decision-making (which he does intend).

do dah said...

ooh, Chiara: if you have access to the audiobook of "Ready Player One," I highly recommend letting Wil Wheaton read it to you! It's kind of an extra layer of delightful.

Chiara said...

do dah: I'll see if I can get it but I'm usually not really good with audio books, for some reason I have a very short attention span when listening to them. Maybe it works better with an interesting read book.

Wilfair Book said...

Ladies: ALL so good, and I've done much scribbling/typing of your recs. Many thanks, many many many!

I'm probably not done commenting here, but the enchiladas in the oven just beeped, so to dinner I must attend. But I want to say THANK YOU! And wow. Smart and lively choices, all.

Rosemary said...

If you haven't ready Maggie Stiefvater's "The Raven Boys" and its sequel "The Dream Thieves" (which came out Tuesday), you must you must you must!

They are so magical and dark and romantic and sad and beautiful and lovely. I inhaled "The Dream Thieves" as soon as I got it in the mail this week.

Amanda W said...

How could I have forgotten Dream Thieves!! I'm getting it Saturday at the Austin Teen Book Festival and hopefully getting it SIGNED!! I'm super excited, if you can't tell. ;)

Kelly said...

I also inhaled The Dream Thieves as soon as I got it! I was a little worried it would disappoint me since I was so attached to The Raven Boys, but it 100% did not. I sort of wish I hadn't found out about them until they were all written, because about 30 seconds after I finished this one I started to get impatient that the next one wasn't written yet.

I also LOVED Eleanor and Park. If that book was a person, I would hug it so hard. So yeah Fangirl is definitely on my TBR list.

I've almost finished The Diviners by Libba Bray, which is spooky and wonderful and has made me start throwing 20's slang into my everyday language. Next on my list is The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, which a couple of people recommended to me.

do dah said...

Kelly -- I feel you. I'm still in Dream Thieves withdrawal. And might have to just read it again. I want to hug all of them.

Amanda W. -- Did you get your signature? Did it make you smile?

Does anyone know when the sequel to The Diviners is due?

Amanda W said...

do dah - it's this coming Saturday.

do dah said...

ah, the excitement! so, i started re-reading "dream thieves" (nerd), and i've just figured out who ronan is so loyally in love with. and... oh, holy crap, boy, that's gonna hurt. i'm not sure if i was supposed to see it earlier, but i didn't. i don't think so, as we weren't allowed to know much about ronan last time? (i adore that we do now... although noah is still, rather unreasonably, my favorite).

Kelly said...

do dah - the reveal of who Ronan loves at the end of dream thieves was SO GOOD! I sort of suspected by about 3/4 of the way through, but never actually guessed. I love the kind of twist where you don't really see it coming, but as soon as it's revealed you're like "OBVIOUSLY! How did I not see it before! There were SO MANY CLUES!" I really want to go back and read both books again now, because I think there were actually a lot of little hints and moments that my brain just glossed over first time around.

Also - I really can't pick a favourite. Just when I think I have one, the book jumps to another amazing scene featuring a different raven boy and I immediately decide I like that one the best!

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