Monday, April 7, 2014

So Many Books...

Like so many writers, I'm generally reading more than one book at the same time. Sometimes I'm just skimming a quick sample, other times I'm in it for the whole thing. I read voraciously in YA because I write YA and I need to keep up with what's out there. Less so in MG, but I'd like to change that. When I'm working hard on something new, I'll read other genres just so the voices don't bleed into mine. That's when I'll read biographies or histories or binge read articles on line: New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, McSweeney's… I read a lot. Even more so if an author catches my attention. Then I'll binge. During those times, I find myself studying style. What is it about that author that captures my attention? What can I learn from his/her craft?

In no particular order, here's what's on my nightstand/floor/desk/Kindle right now:

  • Dragonfly in Amber (book 2 of the Outlander series),  by Diana Gabaldon. A glorious romantic time travel series. 900 page books! Jamie and Claire. Holy cow, Jamie and Claire! I am in huge, fangirl-y love with this series.
Claire and Jamie. I know, right??
  • Nightingale's Nest by Nikki Loftin (a haunting MG retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale by my lovely friend in Austin.)
  • See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles. I have actually finished this one and am re-reading it. MG/tween. Totally heartbreaking and gorgeous.
  • Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin-- this one was a National Book Award finalist, and I've talked about it on my own blog last week. Spare, slim volume. Stunning prose. I am in awe of her writing. Simply in awe.
  • Swamplandia, by Karen Reese. Strange and wonderful. Set in Florida.  Got her nominated for the Pulitzer in 2013. Gators. Magic realism. Evocative setting. The weird landscape that is FL. 
  • When Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Again -- strange and wonderful and evocative and lush. I'm not too far in, but oh my.
And I just finished Grasshopper Jungle by my delightful and droll friend Andrew Smith. I do think this may already be my favorite book of 2014. At least it will be in the top 10. Just beware, there are giant praying mantises who do what giant praying mantises do: they eat and have sex. A lot. yeah, it's YA. The main character is Andrew Szerba. He is, to paraphrase Smith, a 'dynamo.' Love this book. 

What should I read next? Give me some titles.


  1. Thanks Joy! I'm adding a lot of your picks to my list. :)

  2. So many good ones--Grasshopper Jungle is on my nightstand, ready to go really soon!

  3. You've got me intrigued. Love the sound of GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE!

  4. Joy, the last four on your list are on my reading list (not my current pile, but getting there!) and I think I need to add Nightingale's Nest, too!