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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Summer Reading

Next Monday, I go back to Uni and I've got my reading list, bought all my books, I'd say I'm ready, though after five months of holiday and having the best and worst summer ever, I still regret that it's coming to a close, despite that everybody I know is screaming for the term to start already.

So, best summer ever - refraining from going clubbing and other stuff that usually make your life exciting during term time ended up paying off for me. Over the year I'd saved my student loan so between May and September, the length of my entire break from uni, I could finally make the most of it and afford to go and see my friend and do things, and not worry about travel cost either. In the month of July in particular, I think, I was happiest, inexplicably happy. I'd never felt so great.

But towards the end, my personal doubt and insecurities transferred to my work on Out Of The Dust, which was not what I was expecting. That book is my lifeline, without it I feel as if there is nothing holding me up. I desperately want to get Out Of The Dust finished - did I mention? I'm still writing it - and yet I no longer certain if I have the stamina or creatively to pull off something as complex as this. My temporary blues wavered and hit me last week full force. It was incredibly scary in that I felt like it was an exact repeat of last year, when I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression for the first time. It got very bad, to the point where my mother had to sternly tell me to stop cutting myself on her birthday.

So, best and worst, like I said.

But back to the point. I started reading The Handmaid's Tale for my course, though I've actually read it already, waaay back when I was at school, I must have been about twelve. I can't believe it was twelve and I read that book. I know for certain that I didn't understand it anywhere near the level I do now. I must have been so naive. Anyway. I forgot how good it is, started this morning and I'm already halfway through.

Here's a list of the books I read this summer, I won't say if I loved or hated them (and I really did love and loathe certain ones) because such dumb ramblings is for my personal blog.

From May to September 2013, COMPLETELY unrelated to my English lit Degree, I read:
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- How To Plot Your Novel by Jean Saunders
- Magician by Raymond E. Feist
- Lizka And Her Men by Alexander Ikonnikov
- Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
- My Name Is Anne, She Said, Anne Frank by Jacqueline Van Maarsen
- The Fast Track Detox Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman
- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
- The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
- Broken Homes by Ben Aaranovitch
- The Witch Of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
- The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Murial Sparks

Books I started and didn't finish for whatever reason
- 11.22.63 by Stephen King
- Defeat Depression: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Healing a Troubled Mind by Sabina Dosani
- The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway
- Reamde by Neal Stephenson
- A Little Light on Spiritual Laws by Diana Cooper

Currently Reading
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I felt it was important to note these books because as I was writing my book during reading them, so I want to be aware of any potential influences leaking into Out Of The Dust. I think I'm okay, though. I specifically didn't read any sci-fi or fantasy for this reason - except Reamde, which I only started, and Magician, which is my favourite fantasy book ever. I needed to read Magician to remind me why I do this shit at all.

Out Of The Dust is on its way there, but struggling at the moment.

It's taking me a while to string the vastly complex parts of this together. For some reason, like when I've just read a badly written book, my sentences won't string together properly. I can't say how FRUSTRATING that is. Instead, I have to write some sketchy details about what happens to be filled out later when my prose is better, ie. when I've read a beautifully written book, like the prose Rayond E. uses in Magician. After I read that book, everything I write is gold. It happened with the Urban Piper, it's happening again with out Of The Dust.

Jeez, am I only twenty? I feel like I'm frickin two-hundred. Sometimes I really feel like my life is almost over. I take chunks out of my day to sit and wonder about what there is to live for, and my mind goes blank.

Ashana Lian .

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