This Week, I Read… (#30)

71 - On Writing

#71 – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

  • Read: 7/14/16 – 7/18/16
  • Provenance: Owned (hardcover)
  • Challenge: PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge
  • Task: A self-improvement book (I’m a writer, this counts, I’ll fight you!)
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

Despite this being the most-recommended book on writing I’ve ever seen, I didn’t go into it expecting revelations–I’ve been at this writing gig a while, and I’ve been absorbing (and sometimes discarding) advice from dozens of sources for years.

I didn’t get many revelations, so it’s good that I managed my expectations. What I did get, however, surprised me.

I felt validated, reading this.

I think about several aspects of the writing process the same way Stephen King does. Not all of them, not by a long shot, and where we disagree intrigued me, and made me question my own thinking–always a valuable trait, to be thought-provoking.

But reading this was comfortable, because to some extent, I felt like an old friend was talking to me, one I hadn’t seen for a long time. We might disagree on some things, and no one piece of advice is ever going to sit well with all writers, but I felt a strong sense of kinship, of understanding.

Like maybe, just maybe, I might know what I’m doing after all. And I needed it, just then, when I was struggling with the wait to hear back from my beta readers, wondering if I had to take my draft back to the chopping block.

So thank you, Mr. King, for your moral support.

72 - A Court of Mist and Fury

#72 – A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas

  • Read: 7/20/16 – 7/22/16
  • Provenance: Library (hardcover)
  • Challenge: PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge; also, #readwomensummer
  • Task: A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy
  • Rating: 5/5 stars

I don’t do gushing reviews, it’s not my style, but if I did, the rest of this review would be one long squee.

I read A Court of Thorns and Roses last year, and I was pretty meh about it. As a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I thought it was decent, but I never really fell for Tamlin, and when I finish a love story without being impressed by the romantic hero…

When ACOMAF was announced, I decided to skip it.

Then the ARC reviews started pouring in pre-release, and EVERYONE LOVED IT OH MY GOD IT’S THE BEST THING EVER AND A LIFE-RUINER.

I got curious. Two days prior to release, I requested it from the library, to find out I was seventh in the queue. My county only purchased one copy originally; in the nearly two months I’ve been waiting, checking my position, they purchased two more to handle the load. (I shudder to think how many people are in line behind me, which I have no way to know.)

Now I see what all the fuss is about. Now I know why I never really warmed up to Tamlin, thanks to some subtle groundwork and foreshadowing. Now I know why Rhysand seemed mysterious, and yet mysteriously approachable.

Now I’m probably never going to read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series again, because everything she tried to do, making darkness itself into something lovable and romantic, Maas has done better here. (Don’t get me wrong, I loved it when I read it and have reread it multiple times, but now all its flaws irk me, everything I remembered shrugging off before because I didn’t have a better Dark Romantic Hero to turn to. Now, I do.)

So, to sum up, this book is so outstanding I need my own copy (duh) and also a copy of ACOTAR, because now I need to read it again, knowing where it’s leading, so I can see better everything Maas did to get us there. It’s so good it makes me like the first book better.

I’m not sure I’ve ever said that about a book before.

That’s it for this week, because I started a book after On Writing and dropped it like a hot potato to rush to the library when ACOMAF came in for me. I’ll circle back to it next week. Anyone read anything neat lately you want to recommend to me? Suggestions always welcome!


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