Friday Five: Books

This Friday Five popped up at just the right time!

1. Do you enjoy receiving books as holiday or birthday gifts?

Yes, very much! Even if it’s a miss, a book gift illuminates what someone thought would interest me. And they’re easy to keep and easy to pass along.

2. What book are you reading (or, what is the last book you read)?
3. Are you enjoying (or, did you enjoy) that book? Why or why not?

It’s so good. A YA novel called Darius the Great Is Not Okay, by Adib Khorram.  Darius is a teenager who loves tea and lives in Portland– his mom is Persian, his dad is white, he has an adorable younger sister, and the whole family goes to visit Iran because his grandfather there is ill. The writing is SO smooth and funny and true. The author is great at introducing bits of Farsi and Persian cultural notes and character notes, and using them thereafter effortlessly with zero didacticism. Darius and his dad both have depression, for example; it manifests differently in each of them, they take different meds for it, and this is all just how it is– it never feels like “and now this story (or even this page) is About Depression.” I’m on page 78 of 312 and so far it’s exceeded all my expectations.

4. About how many books do you read in an average year?

100-120, somewhere in there.

5. What are some of the books on your to-read pile (or list)?

I want to finish my reread of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series before the end of the year, so Imago is next on my list. I also have some fun SF that’s not gonna renew for me at the library– Martha Wells’ Rogue Protocol and Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few.

Online Book Fair for Ballou High School

This is something I almost missed but am glad I didn’t, because it gave my spirits a lift! Guys Lit Wire is in the home stretch of their fifth book fair for a public high school in Washington, DC. I appreciate the decision to stick with the same school and really develop their collection, with librarian Melissa Jackson and the students collaborating to develop the book list.

I got some good intel just looking through the list – Octavia Butler’s Kindred is getting a graphic novel version in January!

If you want to know what I sent this time around, it was  Richard Van Camp’s The Lesser Blessed, which was also the first book I read this year. I hope it finds new friends at Ballou.

I believe the fair will continue until 200 books have been sent.

Yo Mama’s noveling, rain running, and a fine weekend

Yesterday afternoon was rainy and I hadn’t been out of the house all day, so I walked to Yo Mama’s Coffee & Tea House for some writing time. It’s fairly new, over on 65th and Foster, and I liked it as soon as I walked in. Tall wooden booths with good lighting, laid-back music, and good food on real dishes for reasonable prices. Tasty hot chocolate, too. I will never forget you, Bubble Bubble, but my mourning period may be at an end.

I am starting to pull together my next long project novel. Just starting. I am not really sure how to do that, without overrehearsing or overdetermining or scaring it away. But without underworking it until it withers and dies, either. I have a couple of glimpsed characters and maybe a setting, that seem like they might be amalgamated. Other things will present themselves to be added in, and the energy holding them all together will somehow be the aspect of the story that makes people say, “It was very, um…you,” when they read it.

I haven’t decided whether it will be a NaNo project. I will set up a word counter for it, but I don’t know if I am willing to risk rushing into 50k words of crap. I suppose that over the next six weeks I’ll see what the momentum looks like and how much time I’m managing to give it without NaNo to boost and contain it.

Today was my first run in the rain since I don’t know when. Warm, off-and-on rain, so it was fine. I ran down to the college track and trotted around while the Ultimate Frisbee teams warmed up for their games, and listened to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents. My September mileage as of today pulled ahead of August’s total mileage, so my plan to run/walk more miles each month is working. I hope I can keep it up as the weather turns and the days get short.

It’s been a good weekend, also featuring a leaky toilet repaired before the subflooring rotted, and a surprise visit from Evan, who was able to join in our celebratory lunch. Sang and I will finish the night off with purple peppers and jalapenos from the garden, stuffed with cream cheese and roasted in the oven, and eaten while we watch Friday Night Lights and share a beer. I am so lucky.