I didn’t read much this month, mostly due to spending all of my spare moments writing for NaNoWriMo. But what I did read was pretty good.
On Wednesday, November 23, I reached 50,000 words in Cacophonous, my 2022 NaNoWriMo project. I still have, I think, 15,000 to 20,000 words to go to complete the first draft. It probably won’t be done by the end of the month, but hopefully by the end of the year.
First up is (Re)Living Mythology: A Collection of Black Magical Stories and Poetry, from Android Press, fresh from a successful Kickstarter campaign. The list of authors here is impressive and I very much look forward to diving into this one.
Next is Nicole Sealey‘s poetry collection Ordinary Beast, which arrived at the best bookstore in West Michigan, Books and Mortar. I first became aware of Sealey when I participated in the “Sealey Challenge” a couple of years ago.
While at Books and Mortar, on a whim, I picked up N.K. Jemisen‘s The World We Make, the sequel to her magnificent The City We Became. This book also has the honor of being the 100th piece of reading material to arrive in 2022.
In reading news, I just finished Duncan Hannah‘s collection of journals Twentieth-Century Boy. Hannah is a wonderful writer, and had a rich and full life. This is one of those books (like Jim Harrison‘s Just Before Dark) where it is easy to read a dozen pages and suddenly think, “What have I done with my life?” The answer, of course, is different for everyone, but usually more than you think.
With the end of the month just a couple of days away, I have started my read for Dostoevsky December: Crime and Punishment (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), a book which I am ashamed to say I have not yet read, despite really meaning to for over two decades.
With the midterm elections mostly in the rearview mirror, barring a couple of races which were so close that they are going into runoff, or are still being counted, the world is returning to whatever passes for a state of normalcy. Donald Trump, along with all of his supporters, was once again proven to be a pathetic loser, and most of the neo-Nazi bootlicks who rode, or attempted to ride, his coattails into political office were rightfully kicked to the curb. There were the usual tears and accusations of rigged elections from the emasculated wingnut manbabies of the GOP/QANON/OANN/KKK/Fox News bloc (which is many different names for the same undifferentiated mass of jackboot fetishists), and there will inevitably be a backlash of new bills introduced which will attempt to limit voting rights to only conservative white Christian men who own property. Such are the goals of conservative white Christians in America.
Anyway. Enough about politics.
Only one new book arrived this week – Death in the Mouth the most of the recent spate of Kickstarter rewards. Friends, this book is gorgeous!
In reading news, I finished K.S. Villoso’s The Wolf of Oren-Yaro. It was great! When I am ready to start buying books again, I will pick up the sequel which, based on the excerpt published at the end of Wolf, should be excellent.
I just started Terminal Peace, the final volume of Jim C. Hines’ Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. So far, it is every bit as good as the previous books in the series.
And on a whim, during breakfast this morning, I cracked open Duncan Hannah’s 20th Century Boy, which I can already see I will need to put down until after November, else I will be so consumed reading it that I will not have any time to write.
In writing news, I am at something over 25,000 words in my NaNoWriMo story Cacophonous. Things are going very well so far and I expect to hit 50,000 well before the end of the month.
I have two information-dense personal projects going on right now – the “Bottom of the Top” posts, and my deep dive into all the back issues of literary journals which have been slowly accumulating in my house. This means that I am encountering, in a time-shifted way, many musical and literary works for the first time. The Bottom of the Top project starts in 1977 and runs through 1997 in five-year increments. My stack of old lit journals goes back at least five years, and many of the pieces therein were originally written one to a hundred years prior, though the older works tend to be outliers.
In reading news I am caught up through the end of 2017 in my stack of back issues of The Paris Review. This led me (with reference to the notes at the top of this post) to encounter New York artist Duncan Hannah, whose memoir 20th Century Boy was excerpted in issue #222 who was a contemporary of Andy Warhol and and active participant in the Scene in New York City from the 1970s on. I had not heard of Hannah before reading this excerpt, and immediately added his book to my list of upcoming purchases.
Then I did some more research and discovered that Duncan Hannah died a few weeks ago, on June 11. He was 69 years old, which doesn’t seem that old to me, from the vantage point of 53.
I also had a lot of fun reading Ana Simo’s Heartland, which I would happily put on the shelf next to Michelle Tea‘s Black Wave and Rita Indiana‘s Tentacle. With that complete, I have shifted gears back to more mainstream genre fiction and burned through John Scalzi‘s The Consuming Fire, the second book in the Interdependency trilogy, in two days. I am now reading the final book in the series, The Last Emperox. As with everything else I have read by Mr. Scalzi, these books are a lot of fun.
In writing news, a whole lotta nothing over the past week. That seems to be the state of things this summer.