July 29th marked the end of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. I participated, as you know, and sought to reach my goals while raising money for the CW workshops. I raised $10. Let’s recap what else I set out to do. This is my Write-a-Thon Wrap-Up.
Write a novel for real this time. Or, begin work (again) on longtime project Timeless Kid.
Keep up with weekly blogging right here at Ink’s My Thing.
Here I am, back from the beach, and with at least some progress on my Write-a-thon to report. I do not have any startling writing totals to share, but all told, I have been true to my stated goal, which was to begin. And, there is a lot of Write-a-thon left to go. As you may know, this has been week one.
Written: about 1,000 words of the novel Timeless Kid. One blog post.
Read: One graphic novel (Fantastic Four Foundation), three comics (Nightwing, Stray Sod, and old school Mister Miracle).
With that being said, I’m off to continue my Write-a-thon sans the beach distractions. Until the next update, I hope you’ll enjoy some photos!
So I took a week off from blogging; come at me! And what was I doing? Well, reading Nausicaä for one thing, and the collected “Forever” storyline of Fantastic Four (review forthcoming). I was also busy compiling this:
~Steven’s to be Read List~
I have never made a point of keeping a ‘to be read’ list, although my list of ‘currently reading’ or ‘#amreading’ is well documented, and so long that it’s running off the page. I think the act of ‘making it official’ in a list is daunting to me. But tonight is the night we shall be dauntless. It’s not like it has to be set in stone, right? Right?
I’ll try not to feel bad if I don’t get to all of these in due course.
All of the books are in my possession, and only wait upon me. Here is a roll call, eight tomes long.
Lieutenant Dunbar wasn’t really swallowed. But that was the first word that stuck in his head. Everything was immense.
This Dances with Wolves review is brought to you by over 500 native tribes, a bloody past, the 1990 film of the same name which helped popularize the story, a stampede of buffalo, and last but not least, author Michael Blake.
For some reason, this has never found its way into any of my favorites lists, or into too many enlightened conversations with bookish friends. But that does not mean that Michael Blake’s novel about a disillusioned Civil War era lieutenant did not find its way into my heart.
Because in all honesty, in all truth, in all reality, when I look at it, Dances with Wolves is one of my all-time favorite reads.
I make the distinction of a book, as there is a very famous film adaptation of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. And to distinguish it further, I must say that Nausicaä, the book, is a beautifully rendered manga, or graphic novel. My edition comes in two hardcover volumes.
Last year, I had the pleasure of reading Starting Point, the autobiographical work by Hayao Miyazaki, where he discusses, among other things, the great difficulty he experienced trying to complete Nausicaä, the book. In fact, the final version of the story was released a decade after the film.
I should note that this feels like one of those books that I’ll actually finish in a decent amount of time. That may be due to the fact that ever since seeing Spirited Away a few years ago, I have been obsessed (at least a little bit) with Studio Ghibli. For those of you looking to watch the film you’ll have the added bonus of Patrick Stewart voicing the character Master Yupa.
Whether in book or movie form, I believe most people would enjoy following Princess Nausicaä as she fights for her kingdom, and tries to restore a balance between humans who have lost their technical ingenuity, and the toxic jungle which has claimed much of the earth.
She’ll have some help from the aforementioned Master Yupa, the greatest swordsman on the Periphery, and from her uncle Mito. But she finds herself in a dangerous position, as the only human who can understand the Ohmu–a giant insect species who most everyone view as the enemies of humankind.
For this literary update, I #amreading The Dark Tower. It’s time again to revisit King.
I say that as though I read Stephen King frequently, but in truth my King checklist amounts only to Riding the Bullet, The Dead Zone, Blaze (written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman), bits of On Writing, and an unfinished copy of The Stand which lays in a 1,000 page hardcover heap in my closet. Anyway, Ma was a pretty big fan of King, even if I was not, and his TV movies IT and TheLangoliers scared just about all the shit clean out of me as a kid.
So, needless to say, respect. (And, that Joe Hill sounds like a real chip off the ole’ block, by the way. NOS4A2 has been on my reading list for a while.)
Why this book?
I can honestly say that The Dark Tower is the series that comes up most often in conversations with reader and writer friends, when those conversations are positive. My discriminating friends delight in panning lousy teen romance, and groan with a wide range of opinions when it comes to something like the 15 books of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Believe it or not, not everyone has read Harry Potter, and the same goes for The Hunger Games. I think the only series I have got around to openly praising is The Hyperion Cantos.
This would seem to be the series everyone can agree on, and I have high hopes for it myself. And if not the novels, then maybe the comics that came later.
Anyway, we may not get a chance to read every great series that comes along in our lifetimes, but let us begin. That is the point. Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s experience the craze.
If there is anyone out there who feels these two–reader and book–should not be wed, please speak now or forever hold your peace. Or, in other words, does everyone like The Dark Tower?
It’s my first Genrethon, or as I saw it on Twitter, ‘#genrethon’, and for those who don’t know, this is the readathon when one tackles three different genres in one week (April 10-16). Sound daunting? Well, it is, if you’re a slow reader with any plans to finish the books.
I’ll wait ‘til Saturday to see how I do. Write-a-thons I know I can do; Readathons make me dig down pretty deep. But I’ve always been a firm believer that readers or writers who wish to have any idea what they’re talking about should read it all. As much as you can in as many genres as you can. So, whether you finish or not, this is a good habit.
(That’s right. I’m already hedging my bets.)
Anyhow, I think I first owe some thanks to the people who brought this to my attention by blogging, booktubing, tweeting, or reviewing. It’s much appreciated, SFF180 and Reader Rayna! Following the links will bring you their three choices.
Where am I going with my own Genrethon? The first place I’m going is Hell.
Genre #1: Epic Poetry, Paradise Lost by John Milton
The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can we make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. / What matter where, if I still be the same, / And what I should be, all but less than He / Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least / We shall be free.
Christopher Hitchens once said that Paradise Lost was not in fact John Milton’s greatest poem. However, a lot of other fine scholars disagree, and we’ll see what I think. This work of course details the fall of many of the angels from the Christian Heaven. It is considered by many to be a must-read of the English language.
These next two (one, two) you know, but I’ll freshen it up a bit with different photos and quotes, and hope that it’s not considered cheating that I began these books a bit before Genrethon week.
Genre #2: General Fiction, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Ah feel thit ah love thum aw. Matty, Spud, Sick Boy and Lesley. Ah want tae tell thum. Ah try, but it comes oot as: — Ah’m cookin. They look at us, fuckin scoobied. – That’s me, ah shrug ma shooders, in self-justification. Ah go ben the livingroom.
Genre #3: Graphic Novel, Star Wars Infinities edited by Mark D. Beazley
Play “What if?” with the original trilogy in a series of tales exploring the endless possibilities of Star Wars. How would A New Hope have gone if Luke Skywalker had missed the target in his attack on the Death Star? What would have become of the Rebel Alliance if Luke perished in the icy wastelands of Hoth during The Empire Strikes Back? What if Return of the Jedi’s rescue of Han Solo had gone wrong?
I’ll see you Saturday with my update/excuses, as it were. Are you taking part? If not, what other readathons are you missing out on?
Tonight, we venture out of genre. I #amreading Trainspotting, the classic novel by Irvine Welsh, at last.
The wait is nobody’s fault but my own. I spend probably three-quarters of my time in genre, but you may be surprised to learn that I once called the film adaptation of this book my favorite all-time movie. To let you in on a little secret, though, I think it helped that I saw it well after the Star Wars prequels came out. My familiarity with Ewan McGreggor, and fondness of young Obi-Wan Kenobi was already well established. In any event, it always feels like everyone else has read this but me.
I am about seventy pages in. It’s hilarious and sad, and the Scottish slang does not apologize. Ye cunt, ye. So, am I crazy, or has everyone read this? Because I know everyone’s seen the movie.
After reading the highly entertaining “Lila the Werewolf” from Beagle’s collection, it’s time to cavort with some popular science fiction. Of a sort. This week’s #amreading update was a gift, a comic collection:
The cover artist is Nick Runge. These comics are re-imagined stories based upon the original Star Wars trilogy.
Back cover artists are Tony Harris and Chris Blythe. I am intrigued by Star Wars: Infinities, since it conjures another old trilogy graphic novel I read as a kid, The Early Adventures. I’m of course wary of the many things being re-imagined these days, but I cannot say I have never played what-if with these characters myself.
Anybody out there read this one? I now flip to the very first page…