I figured I should keep to doing this once a month. Mostly I’ve been reading and grading assignments but when I’m not doing that, I’m reading books for articles I am writing/co-writing/revising. I’ve also read some short fiction I really enjoyed, particularly in the August issue of Clarkesworld Magazine (Check out A Thousand Tiny Gods by Nadia Afifi). Recently I also read Black Water Sister by Zen Cho out of curiosity, given it’s set in Penang, and I was also writing a novel set in Penang (set it aside however, despite 8 field trips to Penang in 2018 for academic research, this novel and to get over bereavement) — plus we seem to have shared influences in DeBenardi’s The Way That Lives In The Heart. I’ve used DeBenardi’s research in my article about the Chinese Domestic Gothic (one of three, two more in process), so I was interested in how Cho would work on these elements. I was quite pleased that she’d taken a very literal approach to it, and it was an engaging enough read — plus different enough from my own novel (working title: Streets Eclectic) despite the usual obvious overlaps (cue me scribbling down notes to remove those elements from the WIP I set aside two years ago, heh). Anyway, it is good to see Cho writing longer work set in Malaysia, I wonder where her next one will take her. Also points for the fact that it genuinely scared me, probably because I was reading it during Ghost Month and it talks about the kinds of supernatural visitations quite a few of us are familiar with in these neck of the woods. As for me, who knows if I’ll ever finish Streets Eclectic. I set it aside like I set aside Watermyth. (so what am I working on now? Shhh…)
I’ve also been reading Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, which I brought with me for both of my vaccinations. Sadly, this means this was my Outside Book and now I won’t touch it for another two weeks (I know I’m extra but apparently Covid cooties last longer on paper). So, I’m now reading stuff for work, sheet music for music lessons, articles (also for work), and cookbooks! Hope I’ll have more to report for the next edition of this blog series.
Since I’ve been given two new PhD supervisees working on Doris Lessing, I anticipate reading a lot of Lessing for this later part of the year. I think there’s going to be one working on Atwood also. Dunno. So many new PhD students!