Reading,  Work-In-Progress

January 2020 Wrap Up

Update time! πŸ˜€

So…I meant to read one more novel than I did this month, but one of the books I’m shuffling is just hard on my brain, so I’m having to take frequent breaks and read something less taxing, which is working out really well and making that book fun to read again. I’m desperate to know what’s going on, but it’s not getting anywhere fast, and I’m dying.

On a random note, I’m trying to be more decisive this year, because some random Chinese Zodiac expert I found via an in-game ad told me that Rats are in for a good year if they can stay focused on what they want and be decisive: two things I’m terrible at. I’m not really into anyone’s astrology, but I thought it was worth a try, because I can only benefit from staying focused and being more decisive. ^_^

Here’s what I read this month:

1: Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker
Author: Gregory Maguire
Genre: Fantasy/Historical/Retelling
Rating: 3 stars
This was…interesting. A bit hard to read, hard on the eyes and on the brain. I guess the author was going for an immersion thing with the extra formal, old-fashioned speech, but it gave me a mild headache. This follows Drosselmeier (sp?) from like 10 years old to his death around 80 or 90, plus an extra, rather senseless Coda that take place another 80 years or whatever after his death. I didn’t hate it. Parts of it were quite engaging and enjoyable. Unfortunately, I only really liked one character, and he was probably only in 10 percent of the book. I don’t feel like I understood what was going on sometimes or how any of this has to do with the Nutcracker, but I did feel like I got a sense of how Drosselmeier became a toymaker and why. And I not only don’t want my $5 back, I would read this entire book again. I can’t explain it! It’s stuck on me.

2: Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go
Author: Analog de Leon (Chris Purifoy)
Genre: Poetry
Rating: 4 stars
This was in an epic poem style, which basically means that it reads likes a story. I haven’t read much in this style, so it was interesting, and it flowed, and I thought it was beautiful. The author had this forward that made him sound super pretentious, especially coupled with this pseudonym, not that I mind. It paints him with a personality that reminds of some of the writers from my writing classes back in college. He even has a playlist to accompany the poetry, which I did listen to, and it didn’t really elevate the experience for me, but it was fun.

3: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy/Anthology/Retelling/Young Adult
Rating: 5 stars
This anthology has six fantasy stories, a few of which are set in the same universe as some of her other books, but I haven’t read any of her other books so I don’t know which ones those are, but all of the stories were surprising in a really fun way, and I found the worlds rich and engaging. There was only one story I didn’t really like, a Nutcracker tale, and I think the reason I didn’t love it was because I literally just finished Hiddensee, and I’m not familiar with the origin story, so I don’t know why everyone is so weird and creepy with it, but that story was still extremely entrancing, and the writing was fantastic throughout.

4: The Sun and Her Flowers
Author: Rupi Kaur
Genre: Poetry
Rating: 3 stars
I’ve never not rated a book before, and I was tempted not to rate this one, because I was conflicted. I liked some of it, and most of what I didn’t like is a style thing, which does effect the experience. I’m too far up Edgar Allan Poe’s butt for this style. I don’t think slapping words on a page is poetry, no matter how heartfelt and raw and beautiful it is. I feel like I’m being a poetry snob, but it’s just not what I want. I’ve heard a lot of about her, so I picked this one up instead of the other one because I like this cover better, because that’s how I roll. While I’m nitpicking, I didn’t like the artwork in this, but little half-formed sketches are also just not my personal taste.

5: Batman: Harley Quinn
Author: Paull Dini, Illustrator: Neil Googe
Genre: DC Comics
Rating: 5 stars
This is a compilation of different Harley Quinn stories from over the years, and it’s a lot of fun. I could have liked some of the artwork more, but all of the stories were interesting and fun to read. Most of the time with Harley stories, I can’t tell if she’s crazy or…crazy? But now I’m very sure she’s crazy. She’s a no-longer-licensed psychiatrist and ex-gymnast, and I think something in her brain snapped when she went to work at Arkham. The Batman panels are often really funny, because Bruce Wayne Batman is very stoic, and everyone around him is so crazy, and the juxtaposition adds a nice laugh-out-loud comedic effect to the pages.


Mini writing update: I have a couple of chapters done in “Tower” but I need to rewrite chapter two, because I didn’t realize my preordained order of events didn’t make sense until I saw it on the page. It’s early. I’m still getting settled. πŸ™‚

Also, I went through R.L. Stine’s Masterclass, and it was really fun. He mostly gives advice about writing horror for middle grade and YA, but there’s a lot of useful general advice in there, too. I wanted to take it because I read so many of his books growing up, and I wanted to see how he works. He’s part of my writing foundation, and a national treasure. ^_^

Happy February!! πŸ˜€

4 Comments

  • Tonja Drecker

    I love your variety of reads. It’s been a while since I read an epic poem. Thanks to you, I’m wanting to pick one up again (writing one would give me a headache). And the anthology sounds interesting, but I can see that too much Nutcracker would turn anyone off. Happy Writing!

  • Michelle Athy

    Great job at reading this month. I’m always impressed when people read poetry, not being a poetry person myself. I ended up reading 6 books in January, which was me binging on books before my semester started. Still reading not for school, though, just slower πŸ™‚

    • Krystal Jane

      I remember the days of binge reading during school breaks. ^_^ I got into poetry during a 7th grade assignment. We had to create a collection of poetry from different poets, and she encouraged us to write some poetry of our own as well, if we dared. πŸ™‚

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