Writings: October Reading List & Reviews by Beth Bowser

Novels by Chris Wooding, Phaedra Patrick, Sarah Kozloff, and Elizabeth Gilbert October Reading & Reviews Click here for a printer friendly version of this page

To begin this month, I finished the book I picked up near the end of September, Retribution Falls, book 1 of the Tales of Ketty Jay series, by Chris Wooding. It's a steampunky science fiction action novel, think Firefly rather than Star Wars, full of antiheroes that I came to like very much as their stories unfolded! It did start rather slow and the characters felt disconnected, but stick with it, the end seems to change them! I am sad that you have to read it almost all the way through for it to turn into a really satisfying read but I will definitely read the 2nd book in the series!

The second book I grabbed was a suggested one - The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. This is another that didn't pull me in at the beginning, for a different reason though. Rather than bored, I was angry or irritated! The main character, Martha just does everything everyone asks of her, ignoring her own wants and needs. I hate seeing or reading about a person being a doormat so early on, I did not like this novel. But I stick around because it had to get better right? Overall, I am glad I finished it. I won't be spoiling anything by saying, it may make your eyes water, but the message is a great one, and likely why it was suggested to me to read! Basically my takeaways were that you need to stop living you life by only looking for approval and to do what you want to do. If you loved writing as a youngster and are not writing now, why not? Pick up writing again! Yes novel, I believe I will do just that!

The third book I grabbed was a mistake. A Queen in Hiding, the 1st novel in the 4-part Nine Realms series, by Sarah Kozloff is a young adult fantasy and I struggled to even finish reading it... It was an incredibly slow slog while all the protagonists made horrible decisions or had things just *happen* and we the readers may get an explanation or not, regardless, it's very unsatisfying. There were deaths of characters I would consider major, but the author spared barely a paragraph for them. I suppose this first book could have been created as a long overdrawn setup for a triolgy. No I say, unacceptable to force your readers through that drivel. Pass.

Lastly, I grabbed Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert as was recommended to me by Anne Hawley, a wonderful author, editor, and teacher with Pages and Platforms. Big Magic is a self-help novel, mainly I believe, for writers, but could be extended to any creative field such as artists. Certain chapters stuck with me and others didn't. It got a little old how often I had to read about her big break with Eat Pray Love. I tried to breeze past those mentions with the thought that I could get a big break like that myself if I keep writing (and am super lucky)! I will definitely attempt to not let rejections and negative reviews affect me as much as they have, but that is still easy to say, not easy to do. There are not unlimited publications looking for fiction pieces and she dates herself a little with all the talk of mailing of her pieces. Speaking of publications accepting fiction, I have found that some of those fiction publications appear to be mostly literary-minded, highfalutin, sniff your leavings as perfume, gotta-know-someone publications. I will never be part of that inner circle to get a piece of mine accepted to those so there's no use being upset over it. Still, continuing her dating herself, it honestly made me wonder how much her story can compare to mine. Overall, I do like the takeaway of not to be discouraged, write for yourself, "Just Keep Writing" overall, and I'll do my best to keep that up!

I have to close this page with a sad, but hopeful note! My monthly reading list will be sparse as I have committed myself to the #NaMoWriNo creative writing project (National Novel Writing Month, which is November)! I didn't join anything officially registered with the nonprofit organization, but I did join a group where we will sit down and write for 90 minutes each weekday (weekends excluded). I'm not expecting the 50,000 words but I'm hoping it's the push needed to finish up my novel. Good luck to all writing during #NaMoWriNo!!