What Are You Reading? (2)

Posted by bob on December 16, 2019

Do you love reading? Reading can take you to places you have never been and also to places you will never go (far away galaxies and planets). Sometimes a well-written story takes you back home to feelings and ideas that are welcome and warm. A well-written piece may expand your thinking and challenge your previous beliefs.

I have found that I really enjoy anthologies of short and longer-form science fiction writing. Some of this is because I might be able to read an entire story in less than an hour. It can be difficult to carve out several hours of time to plow through a longer novel, so a collection of short stories often fits my schedule a little better. But occasionally, especially during the holidays, I do enjoy ignoring other demands and simply diving into a longer piece of reading. Once I have wrapped my head around multiple characters and plot lines, it gets easier to continue reading with slightly better comprehension. “Wait,” I might think, “did he say, ‘The butler did it?’”

Reading fiction can help us escape the relentless tide of bad news delivered by good journalists. It is an unfortunate truth that scary headlines, bad news, and stories that alarm us are more likely to get increased readership than happy news. Outrageous click-bait headlines work. Unrealistic promises of fortune, fame, or improved health work too. It’s human nature to fall for such lures. Please remember that every generation throughout history is convinced that things are getting worse. Yet somehow, many things get better. Some problems do get solved.

Hopefully, you will carve out a little time in the coming weeks to ignore some current events and dive into reading that might entertain, enlighten, or improve your life.

I have recently read through an ebook compendium of the science fiction writings of H. Beam Piper. I particularly enjoyed a 2-part story, Little Fuzzy. The good guys are clearly good, the bad guys are clearly bad, and some of the aliens are cute, fuzzy, and lovable. These stories were all written from approximately late 1940 to late 1950. One thing that stands out is how often characters smoke in his stories. Pipes, cigarettes, and cigars: everybody seems to constantly be lighting up as a device to move action and characters along. I imagined how bad all of these characters smelled at the end of each day. It was definitely a different time and culture.

I am currently reading a ‘Virgil Flowers’ novel, Bloody Genius, by John Sandford. Crime, detective work, humor, and excellent writing: I have always enjoyed reading Sandford’s books and this particular book is meeting my high expectations.

What are you reading this week?