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July (No Lie) Reading List

It’s a mathematical truth: The older you get, the faster time passes. When I was ten, a year was 1/10th of my life. Now, it is 1/39th.

1/39th of something is a much smaller amount than 1/10th. Time does indeed fly.

This year is marching forward at breakneck speed. School starts again soon. The chaotic summer schedule will begin to simmer down, and I’m looking forward to the steady-if-slow progress the Fall and Winter promise.

For now, here is my list of books read in the month of July.

  1. Elegant Punk, by Darlin’ Neal – As I was reading Ms. Neal’s intriguing and captivating book of flash fiction (with a couple longer stories tossed in) I received a rejection email from Ms. Neal’s desk, declining a short story I had submitted to the Florida Review. I didn’t hold that against her. That story has been well-rejected. I did find it interesting that the story had been under consideration for more than six months when I bought Elegant Punk, and that the rejection came as I was reading her book. Life can be funny like that. (In addition to the Amazon link I provided, you can buy the book directly from Press 53. The book, Uncharted Country, which I talked about last month, as well as Clifford Garstang’s second book, can be found there, as well.)

  2. Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, by Leonard Mlodinow – I’m a sucker for these brain books. This one was an eye-opening read. Modern research is allowing a much more detailed picture of how our mind works, and how certain aspects of how we are hard-wired can influence how we react and act. Interesting stuff.

  3. White Truffles in Winter, by N.M. Kelby – Historical fiction, bordering on romance at times, though not in the bodice-ripping way you might expect when you hear the word, “romance.” This book examines the imagined life of the famous, turn of the century French chef, Auguste Escoffier. Interesting read, if a bit repetitive, at times, in the way scenes played out.

  4. This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald’s first novel is a coming of age story of a young man trying to find his intellectual and ideological center point. Certainly different in tone and subject matter than Gatsby, but still a captivating read. This book feels more like it is idling along, though, and is centered much more internally than Fitzgerald’s most famous work.

  5. I also got caught up by reading three issues of One Story, including: #164 – The History of Living Forever, by Jake Wolff; #165 – The Kontrabida, by Mia Alvar; & #166 – World’s End, by Clare Beams.

When I first looked at this month’s list, I thought I was slipping. Just four books? That’s a pretty slow month.

Then, I realized I had also read somewhere around two-dozen short manuscripts for the two classes I was teaching and for several writer friends. Most of those, I read two or three times in order to give a well-rounded written response. That’s a lot of “extra” reading, and it doesn’t show up in the monthly log.

There are still about 30 books on my “next to read” shelf. Onward and upward!!

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