by Cara McKenna
I've had a crazy June so far, writing-wise. May I vent? Why thank you!
In the past two weeks I've accepted a new erotica contract with Ellora's Cave, added a whole new genre to my repertoire with my first romance novel sale to Samhain, lived through another release day, fielded edits and paperwork on four contracted novellas, redesigned my website, and received a completely unexpected and terrifying phone call which may or may not equal an opportunity too exciting to even mention by name, lest I jinx it.
So needless to say, I'm surrounded by books-to-be, and by books-which-may-one-day-be. Let's get away from that and talk about books that actually exist, now! What's everybody reading? What's on your summer to-read list? I don't care if it's erotica or romance or a tractor manual or the back of a box of cereal, so long as I don't have to edit it.
Oh and if anybody else is on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend and I promise I'll follow you back…unless you're a spambot. Sorry, spambots.
Anyhow, I'll start. I tend to stray outside my own genre quite a bit, reading only a couple eroticas and romances a month, the rest a grab-bag. My head's so full of passion and conflict and longing from writing the stuff, I need to venture out into the larger literary world and refresh my brain with change. Our genres aren't stale, but my skull is when I forget to air it out.
A couple weeks ago I finally read a book I've been meaning to for years—Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. So good, so gruesome. I rather unwisely followed it by reading The Lovely Bones, (a couple years after everybody else on Earth read it, but oh well). Two books about brutal murders back to back wasn't the most cheerful of decisions, but my GOD, Alice Sebold is such an awesome writer. If you're one of the three people on the planet who still who haven't read The Lovely Bones, I can't recommend it enough. Funny and heartbreaking and frank and beautiful, everything I want in a book.
Most recently I finished a memoir by Nancy Makin, called 703. It was all about the author's descent into depression and rise to 703 pounds, and how she survived it all. Really enjoyable—very candid and uplifting, not sensationalist, or a how-to diet book disguised as a memoir. Just a real person's fascinating story.
Next up on my bedside pile is Chuck Palahniuk's Pygmy. Oh, Chuck, I just can't quit you. I don't always love his books, but neither can I seem to stay away from them. I always want to see how he's going to surprise me this time. When I'm done with that I want to read a book my husband took out—The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. It's a nonfiction title about how the internet has affected our brains, our attention spans, the way we process information. I love stuff like that—books and documentaries about how the media is melting our kids' heads, about how industrialized food production is making us all obese, how celebrity obsession has robbed humanity of its sense of personal value and spirituality…my own little slow-motion Apocalypse. Morbid? Glib? Disheartening? Awesome. Send it my way.
So how about you all? What are you reading, what did you just finish, what's on your summer reading list? Also, where are you reading? Beach chair, recliner, porch swing, bath tub, sitting in the car, waiting to pick up the kid / husband / parent / dog? And why are you reading? For research, escape, relaxation, homework? To stay up to date with the newest releases? If it's about reading, tell me!