Reading in March 2020

Post Header

I remember thinking in high school, how distant the years 2000 and 2020 seemed. It was during some of the worst years of the Cold War and one thing I thought as an eighteen-year-old know-it-all was, we’ll never make it. I’m glad I was wrong. But the Cold War gave me real recurring nightmares and a permanent aversion to apocalyptic fiction. Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing sits on my shelf, unread. I’ve read only one book about a pandemic, Stephen King’s The Stand, and that was mostly because of its size and my need to fill up twelve-hour shifts as a security guard in the pre-internet era.

In general, I’ve found it difficult to read anything in recent weeks. I’m behind on the short fiction I love. I know reading would be good for me, but it’s been a challenge to sit still and pull up a book or a short story. I’ve even had trouble reading poems.

Determination and Failure

So the other day I forced myself. I picked up a book I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. A book written by an author I like; with high praise by authors and people I respect. What I call mutual admiration marketing. I also picked up a book with good reviews but not much marketing or mentions by other authors. I selected it because it was a potential comp title to my own upcoming book.

The first book, one I was looking forward to reading for the better part of a year, has significant structural and character flaws. Flaws I expect editors at a trade publisher to fix. The book isn’t terrible, but it is a big disappointment and I’m not sure I’ll finish it. I’m not naming it because I might finish it, and I could decide I like it better than I do now. There is an interesting enough plot to keep me wondering what happens. At least a little.

Renewed Excitement

The other book, The Library of the Unwritten, by A. J. Hackworth, seems to have had little formal marketing and not much buzz from fellow writers. What excitement I saw was from readers and book bloggers. The people who read it loved it and were vocal about it. I’m loving it too. And I wonder why this book didn’t get the same amount of mutual admiration marketing. The author is well-respected within the community, as far as I can tell. Why aren’t other writers and book industry people crowing about this book?

I know; it’s an eternal mystery. Taste is individual. But Hackworth’s book doesn’t have the number of technical flaws, which are less subjective than taste. I haven’t finished it yet, so the ending could disappoint me, but so far, it’s a great book.

How do you find books? What types of recommendations work best for you? Blogger buzz, reader buzz, author buzz, Amazon or Goodreads reviews?

Subscribe to my Bulletin to receive exclusive stories, poems, news, cover reveals and AMA opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.