Catching up

During the long push to finish you-know-what (so I’m superstitious. so sue me), there were dozens and dozens of times I wanted to post. Something I read or saw or a question that came up. I did restrain myself, as you know if you come by here with any regularity.

I didn’t even allow myself to keep a list, for fear I’d use the list to procrastinate. Now, of course, I do wish I had the list. Some good ideas went by the wayside.

[asa book]0061768065[/asa] In the course of these months I have still been reading. Non-fiction that had to do with writing (history, etc), and fiction before bed. I usually get through at least three novels in a month –and that’s a record low — but I don’t think I’ve read more than five novels total since the big push bgan. Of those, none really stand out with the exception of The Story of Edward Sawtelle, which sticks out because I so did not like it. More on that another time. (Please note: if you adored Edward Sawtelle, please don’t take my dislike of it as anything other than personal taste. That’s all it is.)

There’s also quite a bit to say about various television shows and movies. I hope to get around to all of that.

[asa book]0688163181[/asa] I do have a huge pile of novels to read, now that I’m out of jail. I am about half way through Dennis Lehane‘s The Given Day, historical fiction set in Boston in the late 1910s. I’ll post about it when I’m done. I can say that it is, like all his stuff, beautifully written with some characters who get off the page to follow me around.

One other things I wanted to make note of sooner rather than later. Have you all noticed the proliferation of book challenges on the web? I stumbled across this phenomenon because google alerts keeps pointing me to  them. People commit to reading and reviewing x number of books on topic x, in x amount of time. There are quite a few of these challenges of various kinds where people have read something of mine (that’s what Google Alerts is about, it tells me when somebody posts about one of my titles). Which is of course great. I’ve seen some really wonderful reviews about Pajama Girls especially.

One such challenge is run by Naida, who did a romance reading challenge this year and will start another one next year. She defines romance very, very broadly (something I wish more people would do).  The upside for readers is, of course, hearing about books you might not have run across otherwise. The upside for authors is hearing about people hearing about your book, and talking about it, too.

If you know of other reading challenges you particularly like, please let us know in the comments.

Into the Wilderness Reading Guide

Book groups like reading guides. They like the structure, the questions, the background information because those things increase the possibility of a good meeting and discussion. Homestead, Tied to the Tracks and Pajama Girls all have reading guides, but none of the Wilderness books do.

If anybody has an idea for a good question for ITW (not all the novels, just the first), please let me know in the comments. I’m trying to put a quick guide together. If I use one of your questions, of course I’ll give you credit for it. Also, if you have an idea for something that should be in this reading guide, please speak up. A particular map? Historical background?

I’m not sure I’ll have time to do much extra fancy stuff this time, but I do plan to do a bigger, more complete guide for the re-release in the fall.