Reading List 2018 – June

Still making my way through Ruth Rendell’s Wexford novels. It’s fascinating to watch as both Rendell and her main characters adapt to the changes of time: the first Wexford novel was published in 1964, and the one I just finished, “Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter“, came out in 1992. A lot happened in real time over those ~30 years, but Wexford only ages about a decade (maybe? she’s left it pretty vague) so it would’ve been a challenge to update her characters for more modern audiences without totally changing their personalities. It’s indicative of Rendell’s skill as a writer that she accomplished this so smoothly.

Speaking of writers, I spent June organising a local writers group, which necessitated reading some books aimed at writers as part of my prep. I spent quite a bit of time with Diana Wynne Jones’ writing memoir – “Reflections” – and then had to re-read some of her books so that I could give context to her musings. I will forever be in awe at her mind. It’s always been obvious to me that she was a terrific writer, but then when you read about her story-building process (especially for “Fire and Hemlock” – my God!), you realise she was a wildly creative genius who left the world a better place for having had her in it.

The other observation that reading “Reflections” left me with was when I’m struggling with low mood, reading anthologies is a wise choice – being able to pick up and put down a book at regular intervals seems to improve my concentration and focus at such times. In that vein, I recommend “Te Kōrero Ahi Kā“: a delicious collection of scifi, fantasy and horror submissions from members of SpecFicNZ

Honourable mention goes to Vanessa Cuccia’s “Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure“. The founder of Chakrubs has done an excellent job of writing about sexuality, healing and the use of crystals in this book. It was a beautiful and edifying read.

Murder Being Once Done by Ruth Rendell
Plus+ by Bethany Rutter
Angel Fire by Lisa Unger
The Perfect Cookie ed. by America’s Test Kitchen
Some Lie and Some Die by Ruth Rendell
Shake Hands For Ever by Ruth Rendell
Witch, Please by Misty Bell Stiers
The Workshop Handbook for Writers by Jackie Wills
Medea by Kerry Greenwood
Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
Daily Writing Resilience by Bryan E. Robinson
Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner
Reflections on the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones
A Sleeping Life by Ruth Rendell
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
The Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones
Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones
Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
Put On By Cunning by Ruth Rendell
The Witchmaster’s Key by Franklin W. Dixon
Bless This House by Donna Henes
The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones
Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure by Vanessa Cuccia
The Speaker of Mandarin by Ruth Rendell
An Unkindness of Ravens by Ruth Rendell
In the Shadow of the Trees by Elenor Gill
The Writing Group Book ed. by Lisa Rosenthal
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā: To Speak of the Home Fires Burning ed. by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray, Aaron Compton
The Veiled One by Ruth Rendell
Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell

30 in total.

Candles, cats, cheese, chocolate, coffee, crystals. Why do the best things in life start with C?

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