Tuesday, June 20, 2006

reading

One of my responsibilities for Lit Crit Night is providing the readings. For the past couple of months, I've been looking through my own collection of books as well as trawling through the net, questing for interesting stories. I want to share not just stories that I personally liked or enjoyed, but stories that the group and I can learn from, in our dual roles as developing writers and critics. The latter sort of story includes texts that are so poorly written but somehow published - there is value in seeing taking apart something to see how it works or doesn't work, and how our own writing can be improved.

One of the nice things about going through my collection of books and magazines at home and shifting through online sources is that I'm reading more than I used to. As part of screening, I need to read the text, and because of that I discover wonderful new stories as well as rediscover old ones that I loved (my astonishingly poor memory is a blessing in this case, because I reexperience both a thrill and a subdued sense of wonder when I encounter something familiar).

While most of the readings of the group is speculative fiction, I make sure to include doses of realist literature and Philippine lit. In fact, in the many weeks of reading, the group enjoyed Albalucia Angel's "The Guerillero" the most - the very first story we took up. Since then, we've had stories by Kelly Link, Christopher Barzak, Jeffrey Ford, Gavin Grant, Anna Tambour, Samantha Henderson, Ian McLeod, Karen Joy Fowler, Greg Van Eekhout, Teodora Goss, Chuck Palanhuik, Eleanor Arneson, Avram Davidson, Suzette Halden Elgin, John Varley and more. We also spent two weeks critiquing our new fiction - six stories by the six Litcritters, something we'll do again next month, to show that we're not only about reading and learning, but also about writing and producing.

In the coming weeks, the lineup includes Haruki Murakami, Greg Brilliantes, A.S. Byatt, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian Casocot, Rosario Cruz-Lucero, James Patrick Kelly, Tim Pratt, Ray Bradbury, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Joseph Conrad, Krip Yuson, Ursula Le Guin, Harlan Ellson, Gene Wolfe, Sarge Lacuesta, David Moles, Luis Katigbak, Terry Bisson, Michael Chabon, Bing Sitoy, Margo Laganan, James Tiptree, Jr., Vince Groyon, Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow... And that's just my list - participants may submit stories for the group to read and learn from.

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