I didn’t write any posts during the readathon this time, opting instead for a barrage of tweets about what I was reading, what was up next, etc. Since I read mostly short stories this year, in between each story, I would check the #24in48 hashtag, try to like a few tweets, and try to comment on ones that I felt connected with me. In fact, the “interstitial tweeting” and following the readathon online made it a lot of fun this year. I should say also that one thing that I feel strongly about regarding reading short stories is that each one must be read “separately” – as its own “reading experience” if you will. If you finish one and start another immediately, you may have trouble with them “running together” when you try to remember them later. That belief made the “interstitial tweeting” a good idea and yielded almost a palate cleanser effect before proceeding on to the next one.
What did I get read, and how much time did I spend reading?
I knew beforehand that I wouldn’t get 24 hours of reading in, but I did get more in that I have in the past – if I count some of the audible.com “reading” which I did. I probably totaled about 13-14 hours, which is very high for me. I did finish my planned 24 short story/essay reads, which I outlined in a prior post, and ended up liking at least 20-21 of them. I also read close to 300 pages of the behemoth, “A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Marlon James, who is in Indianapolis tonight at Butler University. One of my book clubs is attending his ‘talk’ en masse, which is one reason I was hustling to get this book finished. (I should wrap it up on my lunch hour today – nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?)
Anyway, I haven’t enjoyed this book very much at all, and would’ve abandoned it if it weren’t a book club book. As always, I’m curious what my fellow will have to say about it.
As for my short stories and essays, I had 3 each from eight sources:
- Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales – Ray Bradbury
- The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 2 (anthology)
- Hoosier Mosaics – Maurice Thompson (short story collection)
- Irredeemable – Jason Sizemore (short story collection)
- Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay (essays)
- Strange New Worlds, Vol. 2 – (anthology of short “Star Trek” fiction)
- War by Candlelight – Daniel Alarcon – (short story collection)
- The End Was Not the End – Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Tales anthology
I’ve read something from all of these already, many from my Deal Me In challenge from over the years. Each provided some fun, challenging, or thought-provoking reading entertainment.
Pound for pound, the Alarcon collection was probably the best of the bunch. Bradbury’s story, “Bang! You’re Dead,” was probably my favorite from that collection. Oddly, two of my favorite stories – and my least favorite story – came from The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction anthology. Jack Finney’s “The Third Level” was a great, Twilight Zone-y piece, and “The Country of The Kind” by Damon Knight was also a surprise favorite. I enjoyed all three of Roxane Gay’s essays, especially her one about being a “Typical First Year Professor.” She’s also coming here to town tomorrow night for an event at the Central Library sponsored by Indy Reads Books. I have my ticket for that. J
I’m a sucker for dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction, which is why I own – and included stories from – The End Was Not the End anthology. Only one of them (William Ransom’s “In the Hills Beyond Twilight”) really resonated with me, though. From Irredeemable, my favorite was “The Dead and Metty Crawford”, featuring teens hired to ‘guard’ a secluded marijuana crop, a terrifying old mountain man, and … zombies! It had some intense scenes which I “enjoyed.” Somewhat of a disappointment for me – considering how much I liked his two stories I read during Deal Me “IN” 2016 – were the stories from Maurice Thompson’s “Hoosier Mosaics.” “The Venus of Balhich” is the only one I’d feel comfortable recommending to others. It’s the tale of a pathetic suitor who misreads his intended’s feelings about him, with tragi-comic consequences. The End Was Not the End was my favorite book cover though, so it’s pictured at right. 🙂
That’s how I spent my #24in48 weekend. How did YOU do this time around?