Goodbye January. It's been nice knowing you. I'm sure February is nice and all and will treat me well, but I'd just gotten used to you. Sorry you couldn't stay longer. Our affair ended way to soon. Before I was ready and I'm bereft. I dislike endings. Though with each ending, something new begins. New beginnings - anticipation - opportunity. Looking back helps you look forward.
My short story class is coming to an end next week. I've come to appreciate the short story. In the past, have generally avoided them because they were short (duh!) and ended way to soon. It wasn't enough to sooth my soul, to satisfy my mind. I just wanted more... Now I can put my mind in that state that appreciates the short story and the craft that went into it.
The class taught me a bit more about active reading which I hope will carry over into my regular reading. I've never been one to mark up my books, writing notes in the margin, underlining passages or unknown words, actively looking for symbolic meaning. I find myself doing that more and more now with my regular reading. Not every book mind you, because some are just brain candy. Looking for key words that correspond with the theme of the story, writing definitions in the margin, noting when a character or part of the story reminds me of another story, aha moments, connections, or quotes I want to remember.
I've read short stories by some amazing authors whom I'm looking forward to reading more of their works:
Sarah Orne Jewell
Guy De Maupassant
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Joyce Carol Oates
In addition to the stories I read for my short story class, I managed to read 15 books of which eight were new to me authors, during January including two classics: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. I challenged my 52 Books participants to read one of Anne Bronte's books during the month of January in honor of her birthday. It was quite interesting. For my A to Z challenge I completed and reviewed Anna Karenina, Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle, Delirious by Daniel Palmer, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss and Forsaken by Shadow by Kait Nolan. I'll be posting my review of Forsaken by Shadow soon.
Speaking of reviews, I came across a series of posts by author Stacia Kane that has given me pause and has me thinking about the reviews I'll be writing in the future. She makes many good points including the fact that reviews are for readers. Reviews aren't for giving constructive criticism to a writer and telling them how to write their books. By the time the book is published, they've moved on to writing something else and any criticism or ideas how to fix the book is long passed. They aren't going to go back and change the story, nor will they change the way they write. Write your reviews for the readers, not the writers.
Personally, I would never tell a writer how to 'fix' their book or criticize their style. My reviews are my opinion, an emotional response to a story. Did I like it or not. What did I think of the story. If I have a hard time with the book, find numerous mistakes or find their writing style so terrible I can't read the story, I'll quietly put it on my list and say nothing. That author simply isn't for me."And here’s the last reason for that: reviews are for readers, not writers. Reviews are not written with an eye toward helping me improve as a writer. Nor are they intended to do so, nor should they be. If someone has a specific complaint or suggestion for me about my books that they feel I need to see, they email it to me. They post reviews on their blogs to share their opinions with other readers, and that’s it.
What's on the nightstand for February? To start with Green by Ted Dekker, Heatwave by Richard Castle and In the Woods by Tana French. I'll also be participating in two tlc tours this month: The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wisnia and The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas.
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~Paul Sweeney