What This Writer Reads

by RS on October 27, 2009

As a writer I read quite a bit. Partly because I write freelance book reviews and I’m also the editor and publisher of Alvah’s Books, but I read to write better. Currently, I have several stacks of books to review for two other review sites and/or publications and for Alvah’s Books; I have to admit that I am a little overwhelmed by all the books I have to read and then sit down to write a review.  I love to read, but recently this great affection has turned a little into a chore. In spite of how I feel, every evening I settle in bed with a stack of books and read a few pages here and there, until I settle on one book to complete.

What am I currently reading? First, let’s start with I recently finished. On the top of the list is Frank Bruni’s Born Round.  For those not familiar with Bruni, he’s the former restaurant reviewer from The New York Times. This is his memoir about his trials and tribulations of eating, gaining weight and losing it.  There are several laugh out loud sections in Bruni’s book, at least I thought so. Review will appear soon on Alvah’s Books.

 Next completed book was Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bait and Switch. This one should be of interest to laid-off white collar workers who are going through the misery of job counseling and networking and not getting anywhere. Ehrenreich can come across as sharp with her analysis of career coaches who supposedly know the ins and outs of the job search, but she’s not off-base with her observations. I found myself nodding in agreement that a lot of the job search charade is nothing but horse-shit.  Finding a job in today’s market (and this was written in 2005) for a well-educated, middle-aged laid off executive is a crap shoot. It doesn’t amount much to talent or experience, it’s being whereever you need to be at the right time and right place (and if you’re younger and and have a cheaper salary history, even better).

Now to the current reading list. The big book that I’m slogging through is Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream  by Leonard Zeskind. For anyone interested in this topic, Zeskind does a great job of providing a comprehensive history of the white supremacist movement.

I’ve laid off requesting advance copies from publishers because of my back log, but I today I recently purchased the third and final book of Steig Larsson’s Millenium trilogy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I plunked down the $26.00 and now I have to patiently wait until it gets in my hot little hands. I have a feeling once it arrives, I’ll be pulling a 24 hour read-a-thon.

I could list the other 50 or so books, but the guilt of not getting to them will be too much to bear. Many of those are novels and I’m discovering that I’m getting fussier about fiction than non-fiction. Does that have anything to do that I consider myself a novelist and I’m critical of some the plot devices, character development, dialogue and whatnot? Can’t really say. With the exception of a few novels I’ve read this year, I can’t say that I’ve been wowed by many and perhaps that’s why I’ve been dragging my heels recently. Hopefully that ennui will wear off soon.

Now time to settle in with those nasty white supremacists.

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