Friday, August 24, 2012

Amazing Flash Fiction

So I have been invited to present at a storytelling event on August 30th in Salt Lake City.  The event is called Goodnight Summer and will begin at 7pm.  There will be seven readers of poetry and short fiction and let me tell you, every single piece is GREAT!  (Even mine, they say.)  I will be presenting the first chapter of my novel (which is almost finished.)  If you want to come, let me know on Facebook and I will send you the invite.

But here is the flash fiction I wanted to share!  So at one of our Goodnight Summer rehearsals, Christian read this piece to us to fill a time slot (it will not be presented at the event) and I was amazed.  Do you ever run across pieces like that?  You read it and go, "If only I had written that!"

Here it is:

Mermaid In A Jar by Sheila Heti

Read and be thoroughly entertained for just a couple minutes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Reviews - July 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This book was very unexpected for me.  A beautiful tale of loss and grief.  Literally beautiful, actually, because the book is chock full of gorgeous grayscale images (example on the cover).  I feel that the illustrator, Jim Kay, should have been credited on the front of the book.  His images create a mood for the prose that wouldn't have been there if not for the atmospheric illustrations on nearly every page.

This book follows the story of thirteen-year-old Conor, whose mother is suffering from a debilitating illness.  As if that's not enough to deal with, Conor begins to receive visitations from a monster, but not the monster he expects.  I cried at the end.  Which I didn't expect from the beginning.  Themes of loss, grief, bullying.

Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck

Blackbird is a beautifully heart-breaking memoir, capturing a snapshot of the writer's early childhood.

I loved it.  A lot.

Themes: loss, grief, abuse.

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis

"Here's the description from Amazon: This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers.  But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. 
At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality."

I liked it.

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

I was privileged to hear Mette Ivie Harrison present at WIFYR.  She compared writing a novel to running a 50 mile race.  Yes, you read that right: FIFTY MILES.  She said that her agent called this book weird, and I have to agree.  This book was weird.

George is a prince bound to marry a princess from a neighboring kingdom, but when he finally meets her, he begins to develop feelings he didn't expect.

Read it and then let me know.  I'd like to hear what you thought.  I quite liked it.

The Plague by Joanne Dahme

Fifteen-year-old Nell was brought into the royal court to act as Princess Joan's double, and what orphan wouldn't want to leave a life of poverty to make new friends and travel the world in luxury? But Nell's experience takes a bad turn when the Black Plague rears its ugly head again during a visit to a neighboring kingdom.

The protagonist in this book seems younger than her fifteen years.  I would recommend this book to a mature eleven or twelve-year-old reader.

Warnings on: plague related yuckiness, violence.

The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card

I picked up this copy at a library book sale.  Orson Scott Card for me is awesome... or not.  I always feel one way or the other, really strongly.  Ender's Game is in my top ten favorite books of all time.  I love all four books in the Ender cycle.  Other stories of Card's I'm not so crazy about.  But some of them I LOVE.  I guess that's one thing he can be proud of.  Not that he thinks about me, but every story he writes makes me feel something pretty big.

This sci-fi book follows the story of Jason Worthing for thousands of years.  It's also the origin story of a planet.  I'm interested to hear what other people think.

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

Isn't this cover gorgeous?  I love this cover.  It's actually the reason I picked up the book.  You all know I'm not crazy about photography covers, but they're kind of the rage right now.  But this one is RAD.

I was raised in Arizona, so a world where water is more precious than oil or gold isn't that much of a stretch for me.  And that's where I think the smartness of this book lies.  The world-building was great and I sent the book home with Cyndal, because I think it will really appeal to her.  She's on a dystopian kick right now.

I felt thirsty as I read this.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

What is Max Brooks' dealio?  I am somehow so impressed with this guy.  First he's an actor and voice-over artist, then he writes with the SNL team, then he writes The Zombie Survival Guide and a follow-up.  Then this.  This book actually scared me.  I started reading it about six months ago and had to take a break.  I picked it up again because it just happened to be sitting on the bed after Tyler used it as a mouse pad.

This book outlines all of the ramifications of a global (zombie) pandemic: social, economic, political, military, ecological, etc.  It was actually quite a fascinating read.  I recommend it, but warnings on: language, violence, gore, general creepiness.

                                                   Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien
This is a post-apocalyptic that I never read as a kid, which is weird, because it was out there.  It tells the story of Ann Burden, a sixteen-year-old sole survivor in her settlement after nuclear war.  The valley settlement itself has escaped radioactive fallout since it inexplicably lies in some kind of weather pocket.  Eventually a man comes to the settlement and they begin a tense interaction that ends in a chilling climax.  Told from Ann's point of view, the entire tale unfolds in journal entries.  A little dated, but it's to be expected.  I liked it.  Don't look for a nice, neat ending.