What We’re Reading – American Gods

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I’d been really hype, I’d managed to grab tickets to a literary event in Atlanta and was determined to seem farther along in my business than I was at current. I was going to read up on black authors and authors in my genre, I was going to devour novels like a starving man stranded in the desert. I had been pouring over lists and catalogues for days compiling my shining achievement a Must Read list of 50 books specifically from the Urban Fantasy genre.

This is my swimming pool. I’m a fairy following, vampire documenting witch, with an affinity for the elements and an unnatural affinity for speaking to the GODS. I create them, and their worlds manifest themselves in my memory. I’ve traveled through earth, around it and above, my realm has spanned the cosmos and interrupted normal time patterns.

Yet, after spending half a salary on new books to begin my new expedition into a world of Gods and monsters I found myself staring at the same 3 pages for at least a month. I couldn’t get into the story, the character of Shadow didn’t really grab me. The mystery of American Gods was eluding me.

It opened simple enough , plopping us at the end of a prison sentence; we meet Shadow a young man who’s looking forward to a life of vanilla normalcy once he finishes his time for armed robbery. His wife Laura will be waiting as will his old job. He even picked up a new hobby, he’s recently become infatuated with coin tricks.

A few anecdotes aside, the first chapter or so of American Gods wasn’t enough to pull me in. The book sat closed bookmarked by a transpass for another month or so. Mid July I did manage to make it to chapter 3. The most profound moment at that point; had been reading and then visualizing a woman, who had literally consumed a guy with her womanly virtues. It was this moment that hooked me, i’d been dying to learn more about this Goddess, to discern why she posed as a prostitute and to discover who she’d really been.

Much like  during my time with the Nicholas Flamel series, I found myself researching the Gods origins. As mythic fiction is more my passion, seeing how others write it intrigued me. I’m still reserving all my opinions until I get to the end ofo the book, but the slow set up would definitely be something I’d change in my novels.

Gradually I began to see a true backstory, the world outside the world of Shadow the grieving convict. The world as it was for Wednesday his mysterious new employer. It’s obvious that Wednesday is one of the afformentioned Gods on the cover. He reserved in providing information but happily drags Shadow along to meet a hosts of characters. There is a significance in the coins that I feel speaks to Shadows true nature, but even now I’m not sure what or who he is really supposed to be.

Shadow wins a coin from a self – proclaimed leprachaun after a bar fight and he gives that coin to Laura at her funeral.  I am familiar with the tradition of leaving coins over the eyes of the dead to pay their passage into the underworld. However, I am unsure how I feel about gifting a magicalk coin to you alduturous dead ex-wife.

It seems to bring her back to life somehow, as Laura acts as a sort of ghostly guradian angel, literally murdering to keep Shadow safe.

I stopped last night two pages into chapter 7. The book has over 600 pages and I’m on 157. Originally I thoguht i’d be done the book by August and as of august 16, i’m about 25% through. Here are my take aways at this point.

There is an underlying war that may or may not be happening between the Gods of Myth and the new gods of what i believe to be “Technology” and “Money” or something along those lines. CIA style drones Wood and Stone beat poor Shadow silly during interrogation which ends with one’s death at the hands of Laura. It is definitely becoming interesting but it does drag a bit. I’ll continue to crawl through the chapters. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

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My 2016 Reading Challenge!!!

Earlier this year I wanted to really commit to making myself a better writer. As my high school writing teacher would say writers –write, and therefore to become better writers you must read and then write some more. Who knew that while i was rolling my eyes then I’d be going back to those words now. In the thick of writing my very first trilogy I find myself grasping at anything not a research book to read. My imagination was truly becoming depleted. It was then that I decided to go back to the list of books I wanted to read. Initially I compiled the list for research. When deciding to write a book you have to decide on a genre and my genre is Urban Fantasy. I jumped in head first adding any book that seemed remotely interesting. Some titles sounded familiar though I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading them. They went on the list. Other novels i’d never heard of an hadn’t known they even existed. They also went on the list. I spent a large portion of time looking into Mythic Fiction. As my sub-genre it’s good to know the competition and what ideas have already been tried. At one point my boyfriend the afro-centric individual that he is commented about a lack of African American representation in my genre which sent me down a path to find not only black characters but black authors as well. The effort was definitely worth it. When i finished i’d collected more than 50 books in which to read this year. My 2016 goal is still 50 books of the Urban Fantasy genre. At present I’m starting with Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”.  I’m attempting to read at least two books a month. Wish me luck!

 

Feel free to start on this list where ever you choose!

 

50 books I want to read over the next year.

 

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
    1. Through the looking glass (sequel)
  2. Moon Called:Mercy Thomspon  Book #1- Patricia Briggs
  3. Dead Witch Walking: The Hollows Book #1 – Kim Harrison
  4. American Gods #1 – Neil Gaimen
  5. Mistborn:The Final Empire
  6. The lies of Locke Lamora:Gentleman Bastard Book 1 – Scott Lynch
  7. Vampire Kisses:Book 1 – Ellen Schraiber
  8. Sister Sable: The Mad Queen #1 –
  9. The Magicians – Lev Grossman
  10. Modern Faierie Tales – Holly Black
  11. Iron Thorn – Caitlyn Kittredge
  12. The Name in the Wind – Patrick Rothfus
  13. Practical Magic – Alicia Hoffman
  14. Courting Darkness – Yasmine Galenorn
  15. Something Wicked – Catherine Mulvany
  16. Divine by Mistake – PC Cast
  17. Woven – Michael Jensen and David Powers
  18. The Mephisto Covenant – Trinity Faegan
  19. Dancer’s Lament – Ian C Esslemont
  20. Age of Myth – (Book One of the First Empire Series) – Michael J Sullivan
  21. The Cainsville series Book#1- Kelly Armstrong
  22. The Conjure Woman – Charles Chestnutt
  23. Kindred – Octavia Butler (Showed up on various sites)
  24. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin
  25. Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor
  26. The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
  27. Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings
  28. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
  29. Vampire Huntress  – L.A. Banks
  30. Amber and the Hidden City by Milton Davis
  31. Knights of Breton Court (series) by Maurice Broaddus
  32. Brookwater’s Curse (series) by Steven Van Patten
  33. Immortal (series) by Valjeanne Jeffers
  34. Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  35. Taurus Moon (series) by D.K. (Keith) Gaston
  36. The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan by Zig Zag Claybourne
  37. Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles by Balogun Ojetade
  38. African Immortals Series – Tananarive Due
  39. My Soul to Keep – Tananarive Due
  40. So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy
  41. Mindscape – Andrea Hairston
  42. Filter House – Nisi Shawl
  43. The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer
  44. Shards and Ashes – Anthology (Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong etc.)
  45. The testing – Joel Charbonneau
  46. Superhuman – Michael Carroll
  47. Vampyres of Hollywood – Adrienne Barbeau, Michael Scott
  48. Etruscans: Beloved of the Gods – Morgan Llywelyn, Michael Scott
  49. The drafter – Kim Harrison
  50. Undead and Unwed:A Queen Betsy Novel – Mary Janice Davidson
  51. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series
  52. Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wait For You
  53. Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster
  54. Colleen Hoover’s Slammed
  55. Cora Carmack’s Losing It.