My Year in Books – 2011

I’m a few days late (thanks to some looming writing deadlines, and all the media attention this week over my Grandma’s story), but here is the list of the books I finished in the last year, separated by the month in which I read them.

(I am also “currently reading” 16 different books – which, I can’t even talk about that. I so prefer reading books one at a time. Such is life with small boys.)

I publish this list, really, in the hopes that others will follow suit (and if you do, please direct me there.) I love knowing what people are reading. In fact, when I see a photo of a home library in Architectural Digest, I always turn the magazine sideways and peer at the spines of the books, trying to see the titles.

I know. NERD. Continue reading


Coffey’s Angels

One of my favorite writers is celebrating the release of his second novel today – so naturally, I had to get in on the fun.

If you’re unfamiliar with Billy Coffey, let’s fix that right now. Billy is a thirty-something writer from Virginia who keeps a blog called What I Learned Today. Ever since I discovered it last year, it’s been the one blog I would choose to take with me if I was going to be stranded on a desert island. (You know, if said island had electricity and wi-fi.) The posts consistently inspire me, soothe me, and remind me of things I didn’t know I’d forgotten.

And also, Billy’s one of the finest writers I’ve ever read. I don’t mean “in the Christian world.” I mean, anywhere.

In 2010, Billy turned his attention to fiction and published his first novel, Snow Day. His second novel, Paper Angels, was just released today.

These are the only two Christian novels I’ve chosen to read in the last seven years. Continue reading

Fiction in a Flash

I few weeks ago, my Twitter buddy Jay DiNitto told me he’d just published an e-book of Flash Fiction. My first reaction was, “What kind of fiction?”

I’d heard the term before, but had no idea what it meant. I’d certainly never read any. But bring up something I know nothing about, and it’s like waving a pound of catnip above a box of kittens.

So here’s the scoop.

Flash fiction dates at least back to 600 B.C., when Aesop was writing his famous fables (The Tortoise and the Hare, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, etc.) It’s generally considered to be a story of less than 1000 words – but many are far shorter than that. Continue reading

Dan Simmons Is A Stud

“Dan Simmons is a stud.”

So said my high-school-English-teacher brother, after a friend had recommended one of Simmons’ books to me.

My brother was referring (I would soon find out) to Simmons’ writing abilities and to his raging intellect.

Before encountering Simmons, the only science fiction books I’d ever read were The Sparrow (which is one of my all-time favorite books and sort of defies genres: you can read my post about it here) and Ender’s Game.

I am not at all, in other words, a sci-fi connoisseur. But when my brother speaks about writing, I listen. Continue reading

My Year in Books – 2010

I blatantly stole this idea from my friend Tony Alicea, who posted his own list a couple of days ago. People who like to read like to see what other people read – it’s one of our little things. So, below are the books I finished in 2010.

Actually, these aren’t all the books I read, because I wasn’t keeping track as I went along, and I honestly can’t remember some of them, especially the ones I checked out from the library. (I own most of the books I read – almost all of them were bought on clearance or from my favorite used bookstore, for anywhere from 50 cents to four dollars.)

I was surprised by how many books I managed to finish, given that my reading time has shrunk to the hours when my boys are unconscious or absent – and they’re rarely absent. Or unconscious. Also, writing has cut into my reading time, this year. Also, almost every month, I read the following magazines: Oprah, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Guideposts, and Better Homes and Gardens. Also, I read about 30 back-issues of Architectural Digest this year.

(All of this does explain why my house is not quite as tidy as it could be.) Continue reading