Books of the Month: February 7-April 4
In all fairness, I have to admit that I didn't get as much reading done in February as I had hoped. That means that this list of books combines the months of February and March along with the first few days of April.
I started reading this collection of poetry at the recommendation of a friend. As usual, she was spot-on. We had several instant-message conversations about these poems. I had not read Atwood's poetry or at least not an entire collection. Several poems focused on fantasy or paranormal, which I generally avoid. But, I soon grew to appreciate Atwood's unique style and poetic perspective. Some poems made me laugh outright. Others made me consider a deeper truth or an upcoming season. I found this collection to quite insightful.
I gave this debut novel four stars because there are places where I could tell it was a first book. The pace was slow at times, and it bothered me that some of the character's first names were similar and, in at least one case, the same. (I realize that more than one person can have the same first name, but in fiction writing, it is generally best to avoid it unless it is a family name. Even then there is usually a distinction between characters such as a nickname.) Otherwise, the novel was quite well done. Historical novels, family sagas, and mysteries are genres I often appreciate, and my own fiction often reflects these genres. I enjoyed learning about painting and bird watching as well. There is something about an old house that does add intrigue to a story. For all this, The House Between the Tides does not disappoint.
I am grateful to a friend who reminded me of this book and that I decided to revisit it. I also chose it for one of my book clubs. I had started reading it several years ago, but my life was too busy for a book requiring a deliberate, savoring read. It turned out to be little of what I expected, and it is written in a styling I may try some day.
The irony of reading a book about productivity as an author is that one does not always feel productive in the area of writing. However, I do appreciate how this book helped me to redefine some areas in my daily life that need refining. I do recommend it to writers desiring a jump start and encouragement to stay on task.
This is an essential reference tool for writers. I found it helpful for considering what I need to do and what I don't need to do as a writer. More importantly, it has given me a template to work from and update depending on changing goals and life changes. I highly recommend keeping this book as well as Joanna Penn's website.