What I’m Reading & What I’ve Read (with a Kindle Tangent)

Let’s start with what I’m reading because it’s an interesting story I think. My current read is The Long Fall by Lynn Kostoff. It’s the sort of book I usually find interesting there’s no reason I shouldn’t have picked it up before now except I hadn’t heard of it. I first heard of the book through one of Tyrus Book’s weekly e-book giveaway. It sounded interest so I downloaded it and didn’t think about it again for a while. Then I was stuck without anything to read while waiting to fight a parking ticket and brought it up on my Android phone and read the first few chapters and loved it. At that point though I didn’t pull out my Kindle and finish reading the book, I found the book at my local library and checked it out. Right now my immediate TBR pile has three physicals books I want to read that I also have on my Kindle. The other two I even paid for.

In fact, since Christmas when I got it, I haven’t read a complete novel at all on my Kindle. It’s not because I hate the experience. I quite enjoy it and if tomorrow I was never able to read another print book again I’d be fine with just the Kindle. But for now, I still prefer physical books to ebooks. Everything I’ve read on my Kindle has been long non-fiction or short fiction. I’ve read some short stories and novellas, all of which was Kindle exclusive or I probably would have found the print versions and read those. The part that I fear most about an e-book dominated is the lack of a strong library component. I read far too many books to purchase all of them, and rely on the library to test drive authors, many of whom I later go on to become regular buyers of. But for now, I live in a area with a robust library system and can get virtually any book I desire so that’s what I use.

Now onto what I’ve read. I finished two books this week:

Every Shallow Cut is everything a book should not be. It’s about a writer, it’s very short, it builds suspense very slowly, it sets the reader up for something it doesn’t deliver, and it features a very ambiguous ending. And I loved it. Finishing this book was immediately depressing because I had to confront how much I enjoy books that are way outside of the mainstream taste, but then I came back to a sense of relief because I realized hey, even as screwy and stubborn as this book is, it got published and I read it.

I’ve been a big fan of Tom Piccirilli’s  since I read his two “cold” pulp heist novels and I’m very much looking forward to his new book The Last Kind Words. This was one of those books I found through an exhaustive Amazon search of “Readers of This Bought That” links. This book was the first book in quite some time that I didn’t skim the pages to get to the end to see how it ended. It had such a perfect pacing balance that kept me engaged enough to want to keep reading yet wasn’t so bombastic that I had such a desire to get to the end that I was willing to sacrifice the buildup. Well done, Mr. Piccirilli.

Lay the Favorite came from Chuck Wendig’s guilt-inducing post about writers needing to read more non-fiction. I’ve known for a while that I need to read more non-fiction and expand my knowledge base beyond just writing and publishing so when I saw this on the New Books rack at the library I checked it out. I love anything about Las Vegas and I love gambling so it seemed like a good fit. And I’d been burned previously by several novels and their artificial narratives that a memoir seemed like a nice break. It did everything I hoped it would too. It gave me a great picture of sports betting and the history of sports betting, and another great picture of various sides of Vegas. The narrative voice is honest and edgy and very engaging. It built up enough suspense at the end that I kept reading, but, again, didn’t force me to blow my wad early. The only part I didn’t care for was the very end when she gets involved in the off-shore bookmaking industry, but when it came back to New York and built to a neat little climax I enjoyed it.