May 16, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Aaron Cance

Aaron knows all things book.  Whilst working for various bookstores (most recently King's English) he also earned in BA in English Lit and an MA in British and American Lit. He writes, he's a dab hand in the kitchen and now he runs the Printed Garden in Sandy, Utah. He and his young family divide their time between Utah and family back in Wisconsin. Here is Aaron's week in his own words. 

My reading week started by tearing through the last half of The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton, a book that's so ridiculously good that that I’m somewhat ashamed not to have found this talented writer’s work earlier.  With a hard, spare prose that would do any crime writer of the fifties proud, he cinches up the suspense a little tighter in each successive chapter until the reader is almost gasping for breath, struggling, with the book's namesake-protagonist, to work all the angles and think through, and beyond, every new hair-raising situation he’s put into.  This also appears to be the first in a series, so I fully expect to run into Nick Mason again.

Whenever I finish a novel, I always try to pepper my reading with some shorter prose or poetry for a couple days.  Whether I've been reading something difficult, intense, frightening, or funny, it's nice to create a couple day's buffer between books.  Of late, I've been filling this gap with pieces from the John Fowles book Wormholes:  Essays and Occasional Writings.  This caught my eye in a secondhand shop some months ago, and I've been pecking away at it piecemeal.  This week's dabblings were his 1964 essay "I Write Therefore I Am" and a piece he wrote in 1986, "The Lost Domaine of Alain-Fournier."  Recently a poetry judge for a contest held by 15 Bytes, an online Utah Arts journal, I also took the opportunity to revisit 88 Maps by Rob Carney, the collection of poetry that I most enjoyed of the work submitted.  We work on a deadline and I wanted to spend more time with this delightful collection.

After a couple nights of this, I eagerly tore into my next novel, Christopher Buehlman's The Suicide Motor Club (a June 7th release).  I was introduced to Christopher Buehlman's work a number of years ago by a friend who (very accurately) described him as "the greatest horror fiction writer you've never heard of."  A number of years and a few novels later, I've become a big admirer of his work, and was thrilled when this new book popped onto the periphery of my reading radar.  Buehlman's an extraordinarily clever writer, and a master of literary slight-of-hand, and has not only delivered some serious chills in his books, but has driven them home so concretely that I've just about lurched forward out of my reading chair on a couple occasions.  I started my Christopher Buehlman addiction with a work called The Necromancer's House, and still give it to anyone who's willing to try it.

Every Thursday morning, we have a children's story-time at my shop.  This week I read Bear's Loose Tooth by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapmen, I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty, and Fox in the Dark by Alison Green.  All three are favorites of mine, and were well received by their audience.

Last, but not at all least, this week, I've gotten a daily dose of How to Train Your Dragon Book 6:  A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons, as my wife and I have been working our way through Cressida Cowell's popular series with our daughter during our own nightly story-time.

Aaron's week in a nutshell

The Second Life of Nick Mason (May 2016)
Wormholes:  Essays and Occasional Writings (1998)
88 Maps (2015)
Bear's Loose Tooth (2011)
I Don't Want to Be a Frog (2015)
Fox in the Dark (2010)
The Suicide Motor Club (out June 7th)
(and, nightly)
How to Train Your Dragon Book 6:  A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (2010)

More at The Printed Garden

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