Anyway, now that I've made it pleasantly awkward for everyone...It's time to celebrate the thing that has just made Lord Founder Squid feel terrible about being associated with a blog that can make perfectly innocent talk about books sound so weird. But he knew what I was like when he recruited me. Granted, he had only seen my traveling petting zoo act, and you can't go wrong with a traveling petting zoo (unless it has koalas...they bite), but still. (I had koalas.)
Without further inane adieu, here are the books I finished in the past month:
- Zealot by Reza Aslan
- Justice League Beyond: Konstriction by Derek Fridolfs and various
- Teen Titans Vol. 3: Death of the Family by Scott Lobdell and various
- Monorama by Tony Laplume
By Tony Laplume??? Hey, what is this, Pat Dilloway's blog??? (I'd provide a link, but he set it to self-destruct because he read so many spy novels last year.)
Technically, I read Zealot at the very end of 2013, but it wasn't included in December's Coffeehouse chat because I hadn't read it by the time I wrote that one. It's ridiculously good, in terms of illuminating certain things if you're open to their illumination without religious outrage (of a...zealot nature). If I'd chosen to write about reading the Bible, which I'm very close to finishing, only weeks away, I might have talked about both it and Zealot today.
But I'm doing the full Dilloway. (This is different from the Full Monty in that neither of us is British and hey! that means "Monty Python" means "Naked Python"...!) I'm writing about my own book. I'm not too concerned about seeming a little full of myself, though, because I know talking about my books on my blog(s) doesn't translate to sales. I do have a whole blog dedicated to talking about my books and writing and such, so this is kind of infringing on my own territory. But still.
And the neat thing is that Monorama is a lot more relevant to this blog than you might think. The whole concept of the "Eponymous Monk" strip I've been running is taken from a few of the stories in this collection, which in turn is based on stories I originally wrote in high school. (When I was creating a comic strip I actually drew.) There's another piece of relevant prelude material here, by the way, which in fact comes from here. Just in case you wanted to see some of the pieces in place. If you at all care about "Eponymous Monk." Although there are not too many spoilers there. That I'm aware of. (Honestly, I'm making all this up as I go along, even the parts I already know myself...)
Okay, so I'm talking about Monorama, one of my own books. (One???) It's a collection of stories I put together from material I had lying around, filled with nonsensical science-fictiony ideas. Some of the stories are incredibly short, so I grouped those together in the opening section of the book. One of them is a novella (not Nutella), and that's at the back of the book. All of it covers basically a decade's worth of my creative output.
The copy I recently finished reading was one I'd given my parents. I ended up picking it up and started reading. (If I was a better editor, which is really clear if you read it for yourself, I would have read all of it when I prepared it for self-publication back in the summer of 2012.) And you know what? I liked what I saw.
This is not a matter of self-aggrandizement. Some of this material I really hadn't read in years. Now, I know I tend to read about as differently from other people as I write, but there's a comfortable overlap between my twin exercises, which I'm always happy to see for myself. I really didn't come across anything that I found embarrassing to have in this book (other than, again, the editing).
Some of the stories, two or three in particular, I knew when I made the collection, I had never actually finished writing, the novella included (which is the longest source material to date for the "Eponymous Monk" strip). I was surprised to find that they still read well, even the novella that somewhat blatantly ends mid-story, or the strict excerpt from another story that ends the collection. They make sense in their own kind of logic, which is to say the internal logic of the storytelling. (And really, any decent story ought to be able to be enjoyed even if you haven't experienced the beginning or ending, which is why I sometimes actually enjoy catching a movie or TV show only in part. People assuming it's the complete story that gives them satisfaction, but really it's the overall quality of the material. No matter what they say.)
The whole point of Monorama was to present material that potential paying readers could sample in order to figure out what kind of writer I am. And again, maybe it's simply that I overlap comfortably my "reader" and "writer" hats (like the winter hat some people wear over their ball caps!), but I'm as convinced as ever that I wasn't mistaken in putting this book out there. In fact, I'm actually a little more proud now, having read the complete book, completely removed from the creative process, and still enjoyed the material.