What I’m Reading: October Edition

The multiplying villainies of work, life, and school do swarm upon me, leaving me with essentially zero time to earnestly pursue creative endeavours for the next two months, but I’ve been reading some cool stuff, and  I thought I’d share with you all:

The Woman Who Married a Cloud: The Collected Short Stories of Jonathan Carroll

This is a gorgeous omnibus edition published by the inimitable Subterranean Press, and contains the majority of Carroll’s short fiction output over the span of his career. I expect to do a more thorough review of the book in its entirety, perhaps by December when I get through all of the stories, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this to any Jonathan Carroll fan as well as readers who love the short story form. In particular, read “Friend’s Best Man” which has been the standout story of the collection so far.

The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth, and Other Stories by: Roger Zelazny

Also a short story collection. At Viable Paradise, Zelazny’s Nine Princes in Amber repeatedly popped up as a must-read work for how well it accomplishes sevaral techniques of craft. Zelazny’s short stories are no different, in how they combine beautiful language, narrative intensity of the short story form, and originality in execution. I will also try to review this one when I finish the entire collection.

The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories by: Gene Wolfe

I’m sensing a pattern here. I’ve been familiar with Wolfe for five or six years now. I read a couple of novels of his in high school and also his short stories in anthologies and magazines.  I missed a lot of subtleties in his work when I first read him, and so I’m reading (in some cases re-reading) his short stories as a more discerning reader. It would be, I think, as Wolfe intended:

“My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread with increased pleasure.”

– Gene Wolfe

I’ve also been reading poems on a daily basis. One of the side effects of VP is that I’ve become more appreciative of the beauty of language. I know I enjoyed poetry before, but now I can identify the specific verse in a poem which moves me. I recommended a few of my favourite poems recently, and I’ll echo them here:

1. Tonight, I can Write By: Pablo Neruda

“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”

2. Daffodils by: William Wordsworth

“I wandered lonely as a cloud…”

3. The Stolen Child By: W.B. Yeats

“For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”

I think I’ll be mostly reading short stories for the time being, but I welcome recommendations in any form. What have you been reading lately?

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