I went through the first 65 pages of STRANGER today and they don’t suck! Hurray!
Finished Peter Abrahams’ OBLIVION today — a good, well-written thriller that clearly appeals to John Sandford fans like me. (I heart Lucas Davenport. In fact, I told E. that through high school and college my dream car was a black Porsche 911, because that’s what Davenport drives). Also found OBLIVION unexpectedly inspiring (in a writerly way, I mean, I’m not talking about some life-affirming Oprah thing). The protagonist has brain cancer, which affects his personality. My UNTITLED book also deals with mind, brain, identity, and although cancer definitely isn’t a factor, some of the material in OBLIVION sparked off an idea for UNTITLED that intrigues me, and that I hadn’t considered before. You don’t change your mind. Your mind changes you.
For the next novel to read I’m dithering between Roth’s PLOT AGAINST AMERICA (how is it that I haven’t read this yet?) or Francine Prose’s A CHANGED MAN. I also just picked up Steve Cash’s MEQ, which looks interesting. Couldn’t help noticing that MEQ is a Del Rey novel, and couldn’t help wondering if Del Rey was accepting Cash’s novel for their list the same time they were rejecting BLOODANGEL. (Although, now that I think about it, they never officially rejected it. Aside from a friendly email that said he was ‘enjoying it so far’, my agent just never heard from the editor. Which makes me suspect that, for a while anyway, the ms. disappeared into a great black hole of Maybe). Not that that should mean anything — acceptance is about luck and timing as well as everything else — just that, well, rejection sucks, and (she sniffs, stamps her foot) what did that guy have that I didn’t have?
At the moment, however, I’m scratching an itch for nonfiction: switching off between BEFORE THE FALLOUT: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima and ISTANBUL: Memories and the City, by Orhan Pamuk… I’m enjoying them so far.