Monday, November 02, 2020

Pre-election reading

 Haven’t written much this past month – either fiction or non-fiction. To be honest, I feel like I’m in a holding pattern until the U.S. election is done. Here in New York State, we’re voting not only for President, but also for our Congressional Representative and several local offices. Most of my neighbors don’t agree with my choices, if the signs in their yards are any indication and normally, that wouldn’t bother me one bit. We each have our vote and sometimes it goes my way and sometimes it goes theirs. That’s what democracy looks like.

 This election, however, has a very different feel to it. The stakes are higher, for one, and I’m not entirely sure but that the country I grew up in will still exist in a year or two. Lots of stress right now, and knowing that the results of the election will not be known for days, weeks, months, isn’t helping.

 The characters in my head are just as stressed out as I am and have retreated to their respective rooms, cozying up with cups of hot chocolate – or glasses of whiskey, depending on the book-in-progress – so I’m giving them their time away and have turned to other pursuits in order to cope with my own concerns about the future. Mostly I’m escaping into the past and scrapbooking the several boxes of stuff that have accumulated or I’m escaping into other people’s worlds and reading.

 So what have I been reading? Here goes:

 Eragon, by Christopher Paolini – this one ticked me off. Yes, I realize it was written by a teenager – but it reads like it, too! NOT well-written at all (lots of passive sentences. LOTS of passive sentences). I wanted to shake the editor. It’s a good story and the kid should’ve been taught how to rewrite and make it smoother how to make the language flow rather than just patted on the back and published. Grrr. Started the 2nd in the series (Eldest), but no one had told him any differently, so he was still writing in the same immature style. Stopped reading Eldest after a chapter, so not counting it in my list.

 Grant, by Ron Chernow – am about ½ way through this one, still. Started it at the end of September, then needed something fictional, so set it aside. Will get back to it, though, so I’m counting it here. It’s good – and not a dry biography.

 A Princess by Christmas, by Julia London – a quick one that’s a companion to A Royal Kiss and Tell, which I’d read back in July. I like her writing and will continue to read her books!

 Cryptonomicon, by Neil Stephanson – my son recommended this one and, Oh. My. Glory. I didn’t understand ANY of the crypto stuff and ended up skipping those extremely detailed explanations and it took me a while to realize the time-hopping simply was telling the story of two generations of the same families, but eventually I got it. Not really my kind of story (graphic!) but the overall storyline was compelling enough that I finished it. All of it.

 By this point I needed something far more light-hearted. Found it in Rose Pearson's books. I read three of them in a row: In Search of Love, A Mistaken Rake, and A Broken Betrothal. I’ll read more of her!

 Moved back to fantasy for the next one – Brandon Sanderson’s The Arcaneum. This is a collection of short stories from his various worlds. I’d read most of them before, but I finished off the ones I hadn’t read, so am including the entire book here.

 I also have on hand a book of short stories by various authors all dealing with magic. But since I haven’t finished it, I’ll save it for November’s list.

 So, for those of you keeping count – that’s a total of 63 books for the year. More than one a week, but then, some of them (I’m looking at you, Cryptonomicon!) took a while to get through. And, depending on what tomorrow brings – I may yet hit a record number of books read in a single year.

 Play safe – wear a mask – and cross your fingers the country doesn’t fall apart,

 Diana