What I’ve been reading

As I mentioned before I’ve been busy with an editing project, and as such I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like.  I’m now trying to catch up a bit on that.  I’ll try to make it a more regular habit, for my own sake if nothing else.

Mass Effect: Retribution

This is the book I read right after my edit, and dang if the editing job didn’t hurt my enjoyment of it a bit.  I practically took a pen to it to make changes and suggestions.

Mass Effect is an SF video game series, kind of a cross between Star Wars, Star Trek and Babylon 5.  To be honest, I’d love to see the series made into movies or a TV show.  It’s a rich world that they’ve created, the kind of place I’d love to play in as a writer.

But dang if I didn’t find a number of adverbs, progressive tense and unnecessary dialog tags thrown in there…

I Shall Wear Midnight

The last of the Tiffany Aching books (at least as a Young Adult series), this is another great book by Terry Pratchett.  Pratchett is one of my favorite writers, because he knows how to make fun books and use silly concepts, yet at the same time make them deep and meaningful.

His characters always feel real, even when they’re caricatures.  He turns cliches on their head and makes them feel more appropriate that way.  He draws from the real world and put them on the Disc in a way you can’t help but relate to.  More importantly, he does not shy away from difficult subjects.

This is a series of children’s books  that deal with death.  Not just the ending of life, but everything that goes on after that.  The mundane stuff none of us want to talk about, none of us want to THINK about, let alone tell our children.

And as a series for children it reminds us that the important people in the world aren’t the heroes who charge into battle, because those are few and far between.  They are those who help take care of those who need caring, because no one else will.

And it’s just a fun read, too.  If you haven’t discovered Terry Pratchett yet, start reading him now.  I suggest either Men At Arms or Wyrd Sisters to start with, the former being the first of the City Watch books, the latter being not the first, but the best start for the Witches books.

Oh, and Small Gods probably has more to say about religion than just about anything else I’ve ever read.

The Writing Class

This book, by Jincy Willet, is a light murder mystery set in, as the title suggests, a writing group.

I’m just loving this.  Willet is a good writer, for sure.  But I also like it because I used to be in a writing group in university.  And while none of the characters in the group are really taken from my group, the experience is still a familiar one.  The teacher is a curmudgeony woman who used to be a writer but not anymore, getting by doing editing and teaching a creative writing class at a local university.  The students range in age from freshman university to retired and bored, and cover the full range of broad archetypes you’d expect (heck, that is necessary) in any mystery novel.

I’m only a quarter through this one, but I’m digging it so far.