Moving on from yesterday’s blog:
What I’m reading, in actual print: A wonderful new memoir called WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, by Domenica Ruta. Reviewers have compared this book to one of my absolute, all-time favorites, THE GLASS CASTLE, by Jeanette Walls, and while I don’t always agree with critics (especially when they’re talking about one of my books ), I’m onboard this time. I’m about halfway through Ruta’s account of her truly chaotic and endlessly intriguing childhood, and I wouldn’t have put it down at all if my eyes hadn’t been crossing from fatigue.
Since I’m rarely into just one book at any given time, I’m also reading STORY ENGINEERING, by Larry Brooks. As you might guess, this one is about writing, and how to do it well–or better. (As stated previously, I believe in keeping a Beginner’s Mind. I’ve written well over a hundred books, but there is still a lot to learn.) Some of you are aspiring writers yourselves, and I can certainly recommend this one, along with the Red Sneakers Series by William Bernhardt. These are short volumes (also available in audio), and contain excellent information on basics like Structure, Plot, Characterization, etc. I listened to them on my iPod first, over the weekend, and I was so impressed I ordered print copies so I could refer back to specific parts. Good stuff!
What I’m listening to now: ATONEMENT, by Ian McEwan. Bernhardt (Red Sneakers guy and very accomplished author in his own right) recommended this complex novel as a great example of good plotting with an incredible ending, so I downloaded it (check out Audible.com–the first download is FREE for new members) and am listening to it mostly in the evenings. So far, I’m loving this book–it reminds me a little of “Downton Abbey”, since it’s set in pre-WW 1, in the English countryside, at least in the beginning. As for the big finale, well, I haven’t gotten there yet, obviously. I’ll tell you what I think, though–without spoiling the wallop for those who want to read it themselves, of course.
I listened to BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, by S. J. Watson, also over the weekend–it’s a fascinating suspense story, very British, about a woman who’s lost her memory and, except for hastily scribbled notes in her journal, penned during brief lucid periods, she’d have no idea who she is, where she is, or what’s going on. Given that somebody is trying to kill her, that’s definitely a problem. (I hate it when that happens.) Thumbs up on this one, if you enjoy psychological thrillers, as I do. (I did have an inkling of what was going on in the story, but I still had to know for sure!)
Next-to-lastly, I’ve been listening to bits and pieces of an ambitious and slightly weird book called PARALLEL UNIVERSES OF THE SELF, author, Frederick Dotson. It’s a lot to digest, and some of it (okay, a lot of it) is pretty far out, but it is also riveting–the premise, not that it can be summed up in the few words I’m about to offer, is that there may be an infinite number of ‘you’s’ and ‘me’s’, living different lives simultaneously. Again, I am impressed enough with this one that I’ve ordered a hard copy for future reference–both because it’s so interesting and because I hope to write a novel about parallel lives at some point in the (probably distant) future.
Lastly, I read from THE COURSE IN MIRACLES nearly every morning–the moment I open my eyes, I think, “Yipee–time to light my candles and delve into the Course!” I missed it on Sunday, since I slept in really late, for me–awake listening to an audiobook much of the night before.
I’m quite excited about my own work in progress, too. THE MARRIAGE CHARM is really coming together, and I’m always eager to click open the document and start following my characters around. They are an active bunch, full of surprises, even for me.
I’m headed for Boonsboro (spelled correctly, Marylanders?) to sign books this coming Saturday, July 19, with Nora Roberts and an exciting bunch of other writers at Nora’s store, Turn the Page. This is going to be so much fun! Plus, that area of the country is breathtakingly beautiful.
In conclusion, I’m receiving regular video clips of little Gibson Grady Drew, via email and my cell phone, and he’s bigger and stronger every single time his mommy, my niece Angie, sends me an update. What a blessing he is! Thank heaven for little boys.