Still Reading

My relationship with reading has changed. Due to the impact it has on this blog, I feel obliged to mention it and talk about what it means for the future.

January has been a strange month, for starters. My life was turned upside down in the first couple of weeks. Not that anything changed on the outside, just on the inside. I knew I had issues to work on, so I spent some time in deep reflection, prayer, and self-guided therapy. There are few things so uncomfortable or humbling as confronting yourself and your circumstances as they really are. It hurt like everything, but after tearing it all down, I saw a way to build everything back up, slowly.

In the middle of this, I found I had been using reading as an emotional crutch, and worse, for a very long time, and that of course wasn’t a very nice thing to realize. I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing inherently, and I am not ashamed of it, only saddened. In fact, it’s something to be proud of, that you had found a way to construct something remotely positive in the midst of trouble. And reading has been positive, for what it was. It’s why, after ten years, I still have a blog and now a YouTube channel that mean more to me than any other of my endeavors on this earth. (forgive the dramatics) It’s true, though.

So I can salvage the good. But I don’t want to read like that anymore, because I can see the collateral damage it caused, and it is not healthy. I have decided to shed the old skeleton and start all fresh. I hit the factory reset button, and honestly, it feels wonderful.

All that said, here is what I am reading currently:

Dubliners by James Joyce – This is the Ireland pick for Reading the World. It’s my first Joyce and so far I am fully intrigued. I did something different this time and listened to the beginning on audiobook read by Andrew Scott, AKA Moriarty from “Sherlock.” I always knew he was a great actor, but wow, he can read. He fully conveys the eeriness in the stories and has the Irish accent which adds a lot. I may end up getting the audiobook, which is something I never do. (New beginnings, again!)

Asian & Pacific Short Stories, published by Tuttle – Inspired by Dubliners, I was browsing Overdrive looking for short stories and stumbled across this obscure volume from 1974. (For context, it was published when South Vietnam still existed as a political entity.) I was enthralled to find this because I have also been looking for something to read for Lunar New Year (February 1). Some of the authors are rather obscure as well, but I read one of the stories last night and found it thought provoking, which gives me hope for the rest of the collection.

As far as book reviewing in general, I have greatly stepped back from reading and intend to do so for a while. I do plan to finish Crime and Punishment, after a break. New reviews will be less frequent, but maybe I will blog about other book-related topics in between. The YouTube channel will follow a similar pattern.

I’m really grateful to all of you who stick around through my ups and downs. πŸ’› Things are changing, but for the better.

My Poetry Book + Writing Plans

Hey everyone! I’m very happy to share the release of my poetry book Third Life and the commencement of Serious Writing Endeavors. πŸ˜€

It’s been a long time getting to this point—about 15 years. Like many young readers, in high school I really wanted to write books for a living. But life happened… and alongside it I grew disenchanted with my writing, both its actual quality and trying to fit it into the landscape of genre fiction. Not to mention, I was pretty shy back then and had few skills needed to actually make it work.

Maybe it was a necessary break. I became interested in poetry thanks to Tolkien, which started a decade’s love of writing in verse. Getting over my initial skepticism, I competed in NaNoWriMo several years, which turned out to be a joyful experience and extremely valuable for this recovering perfectionist. I read new authors and kinds of literature I’d never encountered before. And then, just living life—which, ironically enough, happens to be the thing that finally gets me back into writing.

So Third Life contains some of that poetry (60 poems total). And next year, I’ll be back to revising the novels, such as Geronium’s Window which some of you were kind enough to alpha-read a few years ago!

I won’t be posting about my writing on this blog much in the future—mixing self-promotion with classic books feels extremely precarious and uncomfortable. πŸ˜† But for anyone interested, the website is MarianHRowe.com. There’s a blog and a YouTube channel now, a bit sparse at the moment but much more to come…