As a writer, I read a lot. On average, a little more than a book week. 76 last year, and 46 so far this year. Come at me, bro. I tend to read a couple of books at once, so I won’t necessarily have finished a book every week. Bot for the weeks I do, I plan to update this on Fridays with a bit of informal chat. (I’ve done reviews. I hated writing reviews. This won’t be reviews). This week I finished Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Parker and Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories by Kevin Wilson. (They Wilsons are not related, in case anyone was wondering).
Cairo was good for a first graphic novel. It’s got a lot of the elements that make G. Willow’s later comic work so good. It’s funny, and it’s got the kind of narrative arc that drives a person to read the whole thing in one sitting. (I did). My feeling is that in a month I’ll remember that one of the characters was a Jinn and they went on a magic carpet ride and it was weird for everyone. If you really want to see G. Willow Wilson at her best, pick up her first couple of issues (or the trade paperback) of Ms. Marvel. It’s the best things in comics right now.
I highly recommend Tunneling to the Center of Earth. It’s also a debut work, but it doesn’t read like a first book. It’s a story collection. I’ve never read one that’s been of a consistent quality, but even the bad stories work pretty well. He deals with loneliness in an authentic and compassionate way that reminded me a lot of George Saunders. It’s also got a few good laughs.
The publisher’s interview with him in the back is awful. They added it in to show some of his personality or something, but the questions are terrible. The first one is too many words to ask, “What characters do you see yourself in?” Spoiler: His answer is all of them, because putting themselves into characters is what authors do.
Next week, I’m reading Sweet Diamond Dust by Rosario Ferré. I may also finish Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Space Traveler by Ben Grossberg, and/or Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson. (I may try and interview her sometime soon, so I’m going through all of her work).