Now that I have caught up on all of the posts that I missed while I was working both jobs every day last week, I feel ready to write my monthly blog. This time I want to share what I'm reading, and ask what's on your TBR pile.
On the romance side, I gave myself permission to read an entire book in my kindle on Mother's Day, after the 20 relatives had gone home. It was a short novel, only a few chapters...as my one son has told me, he's read short stories that were longer. But I'm okay as long as the characters are given a background and personality, and there is a conflict between them that results in lots of hot sex. And boy, was there ever! The book was Make Me Sweat, by Avril Ashton. Needless to say I really enjoyed drinking my sparkling wine while reading the wild sex scenes...but I think I finally have figured out the difference between erotic romance, and romance with erotic scenes. This one was definitely an erotic romance since the sexual journey between the hero and heroine was the main focus of the book. I used to think I write erotic romance also, but now I think I put in too much plot! (grin).
What else have I been reading? I just finished To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip Jose Farmer, a sci-fi author from back when sci-fi was in its heyday. This book was written in the 70s, but he was born around the turn of the last century, so he was already old when he wrote it, which might explain a lot. I had read a review that claimed it was the one book that person wanted to have with them, if they could only have one book. My husband had just finished and passed to one son a book of Arthur Clarke's short stories that he claimed was wonderful. That son had just finished a college lit class on sci-fi, and he's been sharing stories with us. So I wanted to find a new author we could all enjoy. Alas, it was not to be. This book is the beginning of the Riverworld series, but I won't be reading the rest. The main character is an alpha male in the old school of being a "man's man" who has no use for women except as stress relief and recreational sex. When he dies and "wakes up" in a tube, he wonders what is going on. He is "reborn" into a land where he and all around him are naked and hairless and as confused as he is about where they are and what is going on. Seems the men are all reborn having been circumcised, even if they weren't in real life. And miraculously, the women are all reborn as virgins, which is a fact the men have great fun in discovering, though the women don't seem to enjoy it as much, since we never find out much about any of them. Men being men, they immediately set about conquering each other, stealing each others' women, raping the unwilling, building fortresses, etc. They soon discover that killing each other just gets you reborn again, so they resume their vicious, macho killing ways with gusto. The misogyny was so overwhelming that I had real trouble forcing myself to finish the book, but I felt I owed it to the author, and to the one who had recommended it in a national magazine. But I won't pick up any of the other books by this author.
I also read The End of Faith by Sam Harris, because my oldest son wanted my opinion of it, since he agreed with it so much. Harris argues that if we allow religions to continue to influence world events as they have always done, that we are no better than the ones who watched quietly while the Spanish Inquisition raged, or the Moors attempted to create a world-wide caliphate. He says we must learn to govern the world and ourselves with reason before we are destroyed by, "Fourteenth century hordes who now possess nuclear weapons and have no reason not to use them, since they look forward to death." Scary stuff, and something I'll be mulling over for a while.
I also just finished Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World, which I found at the local used-book store, where the owner is always glad to sit and chat about books, reading and writing. That's why I don't bemoan the loss of big chain book stores...there will always be people who love to read and share their recent finds, even if they can't make enough profit to please stockholders. This book examines how gullible the public is, how anxious we all are to believe in things like alien visitors and people having special powers, but how ignorant most of us are as to the actual wonders of science that are being discovered every day. He warns that if we are to advance as a society, and as a people, we must learn to value science for its own sake, and it we must realize that an educated populace makes wise choices, just like an ignorant people will yearn for the comforts of the past, when things were predictable and understandable. What would he have thought of reality TV?
I've now started Jared Diamond's Collapse, about how societies choose paths that can either help them to survive, or to destroy themselves. I got interested in this book because I just finished doing some research into the Mayan culture in order to write my latest book which I've submitted to a publisher. I have no idea if it will get a contract, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
So that's what I've been devouring lately. What have you been reading?
And if you are in the mood to read some contemporary romances with erotic elements (grin), please visit my blog to read blurbs, reviews, a short story, and access the link to an entire novel free on Smashwords.