Just Finished/Currently Reading:

I’ve been taking a break from the site, but I’ve made good use of the time.  Our move to Wisconsin marked the end of a two-year reading drought.  I can’t remember a similar period where I read so little.  Thankfully, I’ve managed to find time to do a lot of reading lately.

In the last three weeks, I’ve finally finished Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff.

I highly recommend Cryptonomicon.  I felt like I was learning as I read.  This is not something that all novels should aspire to, but I do feel like it’s a high compliment when it’s true.  Stephenson is extremely adept at weaving history (and, in this case, cryptography) into an engaging narrative, and maintaining a balance in the story from beginning to end.

I recommend the other two books as well, although I felt that American Gods didn’t really pick up momentum until the final third.  In the case of Palahniuk, his subject matter may not be for everyone, but anyone who has an interest in the art of writing fiction should study his style.

I’m now reading John Scalzi’s The Android’s Dream and Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky.  Since I finally got through Cryptonomicon, I figured I’d tacked A Deepness in the Sky again.  This is apparently my year for finishing long novels that I’ve been putting off.  I also have a couple of other Scalzi novels on deck right now.

I should mention that I’ve recently dubbed this technique (reading several books during the same day/week/month): “Flooding the Zone.”  As in football, when you overload one area of a zone defense with more receivers than the defensive players can cover, I seem to do best reading when I constantly give myself a lot of options.  If I can find at least one thing I’m in the mood to read, I can avoid putting off reading a single novel indefinitely due to a momentary disinterest or other obstacle.

I’ve also recently applied Flooding the Zone to my writing, with fantastic results, but I’ll get into that in another post, either later today, or sometime this weekend.

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