Andrea Miles is a graduate of the Master’s of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Her first novel, Trespassers, debuted this week and we ran an excerpt. Originally from a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, she lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, three sons and one old cat. Find out more on her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
As a writer, I always have a list of books I’m interested in reading, whether it be because I want to support that writer, because I might learn something about the craft of writing or about the subject itself, or because it just sounded like a book I’d like. And because of the variety of reasons as to why I have each book within reach, I also usually have a variety of feelings about each book. Let’s face it: some books just keep getting relegated to the bottom of the stack. But the books by my nightstand right now are all books I am eager to read and I have struggled deciding which book should be read first.
Here are the current titles occupying the space, in order by size because it’s as good an order as any:
Young God by Katherine Faw Morris (195 pages) — I am drawn to characters that are almost the polar opposite of myself, whether in reading or in writing. I also like the idea of really sparse writing and would love to attempt something like that in a future book. This novella appeals to me for those reasons.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham (230 pages) – I don’t know how I missed this book when it first came out! And can you believe I never saw the movie either? This book was chosen for our book club and I am enjoying renewing my relationship with Virginia Woolf, even if it is through Michael’s writing. And the contrast in writing style between Young Gods and The Hours is so interesting when reading them back-to-back.
The Last Days of California by Mary Miller (233 pages) – When I was choosing colleges back in high school, I wanted to go to a school in California. But my parents vetoed that idea. So I went to Bradford College outside of Boston. When I decided to transfer after freshman year, I wanted to go to California, but my parents insisted I could find a school in Maryland, which is where we lived. So I went to Loyola College in Baltimore. When I wanted to transfer after my sophomore year, I didn’t even bring California up. Instead I finished my last two years at Columbia College in Chicago. And then I moved to California, ultimately going to grad school at USC. You could say I have a thing for California. (Why I do not live in California currently is for another post!) This novel combines a road trip with California, two of my favorite things. How could I not read this?
Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro (322 pages) – Julia very generously endorsed my book for me so I’m always going to buy every book she writes. Luckily for me, she is a great writer and this, her first novel, is so good. It is one of those books that you can’t help but read as fast as you can because you love every part of it, but you also want to slow down as much as possible because you never want it to be over.
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (370 pages) – My newest acquisition. I am loving so much about this book: the point of view; the details, or lack thereof that cause our imagination to fill in the blanks; how quickly I became lost in the emotion of the characters’ lives; even the chapter headings of tally marks. I’m not ashamed to admit I am jealous of Roxane for writing such a compelling book!
Which books have brought excitement to your life recently?