Wednesday reading — reading, writing and revenge

What I've been reading

I read Dan Savage's new book, and it was fun, although if you follow Dan Savage in even some of the places where he posts content on the internet most of it is familiar, athough there are more footnotes in this version.

I read It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences, which was a Goodreads rec that did not deliver as strongly on the premise as I had hoped. It mostly followed the format [RECOMMENDATION] because [REMEDIAL GRAMMAR LESSON], except [QUOTATION FROM FAMOUS AUTHOR THAT DOES NOT FOLLOW RECOMMENDATION], so you should [RECOMMENDATION] unless you don't, it's up to you. Uh, thanks, I guess? Also, while it was amusing from time to time, it was nowhere near as funny as, say, How Not to Write a Novel, which is totally worth reading even if you're not looking for writing advice.

I read The Shadow Scholar, the expanded and non-pseudonymous memoir version of the Chronicle of Higher Education article of the same name that you almost certainly read when the link was flying around. Much like the article version, it is scathing and entertaining.

I read Fire with Fire, the sequel to Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian's Burn for Burn. Even though I adore all of Jenny Han's other (solo) books, I wasn't completely sold on Burn for Burn, although I enjoyed it. It's written in a really close first-person present with three different narrators who all live on Martha's Vineyard Jar Island and all want revenge on someone, and I came to the end of the first book and kind of thought, really? This is as much of the story as we've covered so far? The second book is written the same way, and even though I still think the plot of the trilogy could have been compressed into one book, I like how intensely present it is with each of the girls. Also, I was genuinely expecting the speculative/paranormal element that was hinted at at the end of the last book and developed throughout this one to turn out to have a rational explanation. I pretty much thought, well, this looks like it's packaged as realistic fiction, I don't think they're actually going to go there. And so I certainly was not even remotely prepared for the actual twist at the end, which is a crazy reveal to drop two-thirds of the way through a story. Crazy awesome, that is. So in conclusion I need the third book, like, yesterday.

I read The Shade of the Moon, which is the fourth/possibly last book in the sequence that started with Life As We Knew It, where the first book is perfect, the second book (which is a companion book instead of a sequel because her publishers inexplicably did not want a sequel, because they are insane) is really really nowhere near as good, and the third and fourth books are sequels to books one and two taken as a unit and kind of average the quality thereof. By this book the world is two years out from the disaster and there has to be worldbuilding and worldbuilding is hard and I do not totally buy the worldbuilding, and also the main character is the little brother from LAWKI who has always been and continues to be kind of an annoying jerk. But! Series, other characters, invested, would read a fifth book if there was one, etc.

What I'm reading next

I got all three of the Amy Richlin books that I placed ILL requests on today—Marcus Aurelius in Love, Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome and The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor. Interlibrary loan is the best. ♥

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