Thursday Three 22 June 2017
a place for me to set down three writerly + readerly thoughts for you to ponder each week
- June marks the start of “summer reading” for me (though school isn’t out until tomorrow).
- What I’ve read so far: Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, Peggy Orenstein [nonfiction] and Chemistry, Weike Wang [novel].
- What I’m currently reading: Hunger, Roxane Gay [memoir] and Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri [short stories].
- What’s in the “purchased” TBR queue so far: Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny [novel], Evicted: Poverty and Profit in The American City, Matthew Desmond [nonfiction]; When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead [YA novel]; Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds, Lyndall Gordon [biography], plus my book club is reading Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi [novel] for July.
- Who are your favorite book reviewers? I’m talking about the longer types of reviews rather than the 200-300 word quick take, the ones where there might be criticism too (not a mean takedown, but thoughtful push back). (Incidentally, if you haven’t seen any of Ron Charles’ Totally Hip Video Book Reviews, you are missing out. Here’s a recent one for The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. I love his dry wit on Twitter too.)
- I’m thinking about this “don’t read the comments” related piece recently on CNN. (The video at the top is so great.) As a writer, I don’t necessarily think it’s healthy to read toxic comments on something one’s published, and over the past year or so I’ve essentially taken a “don’t read the comments” stance. So has my husband; I have way thicker skin than he does when it comes to mean or unhelpful comments coming in my direction. To be clear, my pieces don’t generate a ton of comments, but there always seems to be at least one that is mean-spirited or resorts to name calling, particularly if there is a feminist angle. It’s also comically amazing when people comment on stuff you didn’t include, ignorant of the word count limits that most places strictly enforce and yet thinking your piece has gaping holes because it was not the length of a Ph.D dissertation (and sometimes that feels like the hardest kind of comment to endure). But what do you think, writers? Do you read the comments? Why or why not?
- Bonus: some shameless promo! My short story, “Three Angies,” went up on Random Sample Review yesterday. The inspiration for the story was the random shopping carts you see on the side of the road sometimes…what’s the backstory of how they get there, I often wonder? Then it bloomed from there into two additional stories, with all three trying to show the common but invisible threads that likely tie so many of us together despite leading disparate lives.
Copyright (c) 2017 Kristen M. Ploetz