Here’s what I read in June 2015. Numbers are for chronology, not rank.
1 – Wired for Story by Lisa Cron: The angle here is neuroscience meets storytelling. But I thought it was too skimpy on the science. The writing advice is good, but I felt the book failed on its promise.
2 – Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel (short story): Time travel story told through forum posts. “Everybody kills Hitler on their first trip.” Search and you’ll find it.
3 – A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury (short story): You can find this with a search, too. This story is where the term “butterfly effect” came from.
4 – The Lake by Ray Bradbury (short story): This pushes emotional hot buttons, but it’s weird in a way that I personally didn’t appreciate. In Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury said this was the first story he wrote that he thought was any good.
5 – The Plague by Albert Camus (audiobook): Camus is infinitely brilliant and equally boring. There’s no hook here. The characters are dull. The POV is all over the place. There’s no real plot. There’s just a plague, and plague-related things (dying, lots of dying), and then it grinds on until the plague stops. And somehow Camus’s writing still shines. But, I think there’s only so much Camus one can take before insanity takes over, so if you’re only going to read one you should choose The Stranger. IMO, it was more interesting.
6 – Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant: This is a thorough guide to self-publishing for beginners and novices. If you’re more experienced, this will remind you of what you should already know.
7 – Ringworld by Larry Niven (audiobook): Much of this is standard SF fare. The interactions between the alien races are fun. There’s some poetry to the size and scale of the Ringworld. There’s also a little bit of sexism. The second half gets a little darker. I love how the luck theory evolves through dialogue. Kind of a weak ending. Good read overall.
8 – The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven (audiobook): Bland intro/set-up, but then it finds its stride. Ridiculous over-the-top inter-species sex theme going on. Another weak ending.
9 – The Ringworld Throne by Larry Niven (audiobook): This one felt forced. The former MCs sit back and watch the action while on vacation, and you’re stuck with previously minor characters dictating the action that leads to… well I already forgot. That’s how important it was to the story. Worst book of the 4.
10 – Ringworld’s Children by Larry Niven (audiobook): Better than the previous book, but still nowhere as good as the first in the series. Hindmost gets lost in the shuffle, because everything else is a protector at this point. I was just glad this stops the series (Kinda? It’s over for me, at least). I’d recommend only reading the first Ringworld and forgetting about the rest.
11 – Quit Your Job in 6 Months by Buck Flogging: I love whatever clusterfuck this genre is, so when Steve Scott emailed his list saying his pal Buck was launching this book I grabbed it. It’s better than average, but the author has a terrible sense of humor and tries to dial it up to 11 on every page. It doesn’t work. It was free, though, and although it mostly serves as lead-gen to get you on his list and get the rest of the books in the series, there is some good info here. Don’t think you’ll quit your job after reading this alone.