Along with everything else in my creative life, reading suffered a bit during the spring. I’m picking up speed again, now, which always leads to better and more productive writing sessions. Here’s a flyby of what I’ve been reading.
Pretty Birds, by Scott Simon – A devastating, enthralling depiction of the hell that Sarajevo became in the 90s and the journey of a teenage girl from basketball star to sniper.
Hellboy: The Chained Coffin & Others, by Mike Mignola – A collection of short pieces (some stories and some, even the author admits, not) featuring the hulking demon turned paranormal strike force agent. The art is amazing and the stories dip deep into folklore.
A Stir of Bones, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman – A YA ghost/haunted house story that I expected a lot more from, based on the jacket copy and accolades it has received. I found its treatment of the human horrors in the story to be too superficial for my taste and there were a number of occasions where dialogue or decisions just rang false to my ear.
Superman for All Seasons, by Jeph Loeb, Bjarne Hansen, Tim Sale – A marvelous, beautiful treatment of Superman’s early years and his struggles to define his purpose and the extent of his power and responsibility.
Pet Sematary, by Stephen King – Split reaction here. The writing is amazing. A clinic in the craft. But I just could not sympathize with poor Louis Creed after a while. He knows what will happen. He has been shown and reacted in revulsion and horror. There is no evidence anything good could possibly happen. And yet he goes through with it anyway (twice!), leaving me to believe that either The Big Cosmic Force in the Woods has him in its thrall or he’s just gone plain crazy with grief. Neither is interesting (to me) because there’s no struggle he can possibly win. We just watch the ship sink, with the decisions and effort feeling far more foolish than noble (again, to me).
The Sunset Limited, by Cormac McCarthy – A one-act play that I listened to as an audiobook and can’t recommend strongly enough. Two men, “Black,” and “White,” in a room debating the nature of God and existence after a startling encounter on a subway platform.
I’m also working my way through Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, by David Sedaris, smiling and giggling as I go.