Reading Is Fundamental

I know I read a few things since the last entry, but I lost track. I have no other excuses–just saying that life happens and is actually continuing to happen.  (Cryptic, I know.  Sorry.)  Still, the only way out is through, and I need to get back on track with things like writing and reading, and talking about what I’m reading.

From the 14th through the 20th, I actually read quite a bit…

I finished up the last bit of Lightspeed Magazine 2:

  • “The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball” by Genevieve Valentine. So far, I’m 2 for 2 in never having read a Valentine story I didn’t like.
  • “…For a Single Yesterday” by George R.R. Martin. There’s a certain tier of SF/F writers that I just haven’t managed to read yet. Martin, De Lint, etc. Stories like this erode the consolation I take in the idea that I just can’t read everything.  5 out of 5 for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that if I hadn’t read in advance that the story was first published a mere two years after I was born, I might never have known.

I started Objects of Worship by Claude Lalumière.  As of now, I’m actually almost done with it.  I can’t remember when I got through anyone’s short story collection this fast.  All I can say is that, a few personal quibbles aside, Lalumière’s writing definitely lives up to its hype.

  • “The Object of Worship.” Never before has the opening story of a collection blown me away like this. Wonderful!  5 out of 5.
  • “The Ethical Treatment of Meat” had its ups and downs for me.  4 out of 5, but only because the main conceit of the story started being teased so well and then, in expository dialogue, “Whoomp, there it is!”
  • “Hochelaga and Sons” definitely takes a page out of the Kavalier and Clay playbook. But only one. 4 out of 5.
  • “The Sea, at Bari” hits some really nice Lovecraftian notes, but is still very much its own story.  5 out of 5.
  • “The Darkness at the Heart of the World” seamlessly crams the main character’s entire mortal lifetime in a short-story. I’m astounded, to be honest.  5 out of 5.
  • “Spiderkid” does the same thing “Hochelaga” did, but in a completely different way.  4 out of 5.
  • “Njabo” is a master-class in how to write non-traditional family situations without hitting the reader over the head with “This is a Non-Traditional Family, Look at Me, Look at Me!!”  5 out of 5, even though I’m unsure if the ending of the story didn’t surprise me because the writing telegraphed it or because I chanced upon this article from io9 the same day I was reading this story.

I bought the TPB of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis a couple of weeks ago. In a sense, it was pretty senseless, since I have all four of the original books that make up The Collected Stories, though I’ve only read three. I hadn’t read Davis’s second collection, 1997’s Almost No Memory. I’m about ten pieces in. I won’t list or review them. Anyone who’s familiar with Davis’s work understands that the distinction between “story” and “prose poem” is so blurred–I just don’t feel qualified to comment on it, except to say that rarely do her pieces fail to resonate with me.

3 thoughts on “Reading Is Fundamental”

  1. Actually, Medeia's reading series makes me feel inadequate. I just talk about short stories. It seems like she reads 20-25 books per week! 🙂

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