The Books I Recommend More Than Any Others – Part 3

Here they are, the final ten.

When I decided to list my top thirty in alphabetical order by author, I thought that might eliminate the need to organize the books from bestest best favourite to one of my favourites (or however you’d label the books below number one). But the truth is, for as much as I have LOVED all of the books listed thus far, I’ve been looking forward to talking about these ten. Many of them really are my bestest best favourites.

Continue reading “The Books I Recommend More Than Any Others – Part 3”

Reporting from Mount TBR (May Edition)

My plan to read less in 2021 is coming along nicely. Normally, by the end of May, I’d have put down a hundred or so books. Last time I “noticed” the number of books I’ve read this year, it was 50-something. This noticing was incidental, by the way. A part of my desire to reduce the number of books I read was my desire not to keep track of the numbers, but I still occasionally play with the data in Notion, sorting by author and subject, and the number of titles pops up at the bottom of the chart. I look. It’s hard not to look. I really do love data.

My plan to climb Mount TBR is also coming along nicely. I read three titles from my teetering backlog—although two of them were audiobooks, so there was no teetering involved. Still, it was nice to sort two digital files from Not Started to Finished.

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What I’ve Been Reading

The #WritersRead prompt for September was: a book I wished I’d read in school. I’ve written before about books I’d like to see on high school reading lists. It’s a subject I’m passionate about, so I was determined to read something I really, really wished had been recommended back when I was in school.

When I researched current high school reading recommendations, I was pleasantly surprised to find a more diverse list than what I’d expected. Although there were titles I’d replace (ugh, Nathaniel Hawthorne, I both love and hate you), there were several exciting choices. I’d just about settled on The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela when a title farther down caught my eye—A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.

I was born in Australia but attended high school in the United States. My knowledge of Australian history and culture, therefore, has gaps. I grabbed a copy of Alice from the Free Library of Philadelphia and started to read. Half an hour later, the app I use to read library books posted an alert: The Bridge by Bill Konigsberg was ready for me to borrow.

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What the Actual @#%&?

Part three of my series on (relatively) recent gaming disappointments. Part one covered Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Part two covered Outer Worlds.

There’s a board game I love that no one else in the family ever wants to play. It’s called Iron Dragon, and whenever I suggest a round, everyone groans. Part of it is that the game takes at least four hours to play. Usually more. Okay, a lot more. Another part is the absolute tedium of it. You start out with a small train and a bag of money. You draw a card listing a series of destinations, the cargo they’re after, and how much they’re willing to pay. Then you plan your route accordingly, building track as you go. First player to connect six cities wins.

Playing well—and winning—requires a careful balance of risk vs reward as well as luck. I love it. Planning out my routes and calculating exactly how much it’s going to cost me to build the track there. How much I’ll make by connecting the dots.

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Flash Fiction: “88 Days” and “Mine”

I used to write a lot of flash fiction, at least one piece a week. Last year, when I wasn’t writing anything, people suggested I try flash fiction again and I thought about it but didn’t get very far. This year, now that I am writing again, I have the urge to flash.

I will be keeping my clothes on. 😉

I find it interesting that creativity seems to spark creativity and for me, writing small follows writing large. But I do remember that what I used to love about writing flash fiction was the break it offered my novelling brain. For an hour on Monday morning, I could step out of the universe that was all but consuming me and think about something else for a while. In another direction. Usually in a post-apocalyptic direction. 

We’re not going to talk about why the first two pieces I’ve written in two years are set after some sort of apocalypse. We’re just going to roll with it. “88 Days” is inspired by Fear the Walking Dead only in that the picture reminds me of the LA neighborhood where the series starts. The story is original, or as original as anything post-apocalyptic gets. “Mine” is a return to the world of “Reminders”, this time consciously. I searched for an image that would take me there as I’ve always been fascinated by this world and wanted to explore it further. Continue reading “Flash Fiction: “88 Days” and “Mine””