Book-recommending has unsurprisingly become a tradition at the BG Literary retreat (see 2013, 2012). Below are the titles we talked about this year, and as a bonus, miscellaneous productivity & other tools. In no particular order.
Revolution by Deborah Wiles
Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Last Dragonslayer series Jasper Fforde
The Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
The League of Seven by Alan Gratz
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle
Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
Doll Bones by Holly Black
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Sixth Gun by Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn
Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer
The Fiction Editor, the Novelist and the Novel by Thomas McCormack
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sacks
Productivity & Other Tools
Mind mapping with coggle.it
SpiderOak as a DropBox alternative
For outlining: Screenwriting Beat Sheets
And finally, not a tool, but forever my favorite article about procrastination, Robert Benchley’s marvelous “How To Get Things Done,” which begins: “A great many people have come up to me and asked me how I manage to get so much work done and still keep looking so dissipated.” Read the whole thing, then get to work.
I don’t post here often enough for a period of silence to seem especially notable, but this time, the silence has been on purpose while I’ve been reflecting on current events.
Today I went to use the restroom at a coffeeshop and found the toilet clogged. (Aren’t you glad I’m not accompanying this with photos?)
I thought of leaving. I thought of telling the staff.
Then I picked up the plunger. Sure, I hadn’t made the mess, but whoever had left the toilet in its heinous condition was long gone, and the coffeeshop staff had a lot of other things to do. I unclogged it myself.
I’m not saying that dismantling the befouled toilet’s structural and institutional equivalents is nearly that simple. But that’s the approach I intend to take: recognize the mess, use the tools at hand to work on cleaning it up.
Obvious metaphors are obvious, but still.
I have to tell you that I’ve begun to rethink a thing I’ve been struggling with for some time.
Rocks to navigate, river to cross, the woods to get through.
The fallen tree that seemed like it could be a bridge doesn’t extend far enough.
Maybe a way to proceed.
Still not sure where exactly I’m going, but on my way again.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks; in the car to make long drives bearable, at night to slow the hamster wheel of anxiety.
I never look for a specific title. I browse, often clicking through screen after screen of books that aren’t to my taste, like sifting through the racks at a thrift store.
It was after midnight and I was nine screens in when I found Valeria Luiselli‘s Faces in the Crowd, read by Roxanne Hernandez and Armando Durán. Hernandez’s voice was immediately captivating, and I was intrigued, too, by the double translation, first from the original Spanish Los ingrávidos (The Weightless Ones), then into audio.
I’m not going to tell you what it’s about, only that I highly recommend it.