Recommended Reading List: June, 2022
June was a weird month. As I blogged about earlier in the week, I got so sick I couldn’t read. When I came back to reading, I read a few novels that were good, but not compelling. Certainly not worth recommending. One I had been reading as I got sick and thought maybe the problem was me. No. The problem wasn’t me. The book was well-written, but the story/plot didn’t carry me. The words did.
Once I got better and got things done, I read parts of several non-fiction books because I was researching a historical fantasy story (that you’ll be able to read in the Uncollected Anthology in August). I read a lot of good stuff, just didn’t finish it.
So, for the first time since I started to do this list, I have no books on it. I did read a lot of good articles, though, so some of them are here. And I must say that it’s already clear that I will have novels (and maybe other books) on my July list.
Here are articles that I enjoyed, with links to free versions of them…if there are free versions.
Brant, John, “The Day A Killer Came To Track Practice,” Runners World, Issue 2, 2022. Sadly, this article isn’t free, but some of you can click through. It’s good.
The US has become a nightmare of murder, usually with guns. I’m not going to enumerate all of the various places that people have been killed just this year, but I will point out that the leading cause of death in children in the U.S. right now is gun violence. I am not fucking kidding. And yes, that infuriates me. (Vote blue, Americans. We need sanity to win this November.)
Strangely, this article is about another form of death, one I’ve seen Las Vegas protect against all over the city: Idiots use their vehicles as weapons to mow down people. In February of 2020, some stupid idiot who had just lost his own child mowed down high school runners at the end of their track practice. Normally, I don’t link to pieces like this, but this one is in Runners World, and right now (and for the past few years), Runners World has dealt with the ways that people survive after a major tragedy.
This article does that. It’s sad and inspiring. If you can get your hands on it, please do.
Breznican, Anthony and Robinson, Joanna, “One Show To Rule Them All,” Vanity Fair, Hollywood issue, 2022. Fascinating look at the deal-making behind the upcoming Lord of the Rings show. If you’re interested in the intersection of books, copyright, and licensing for film & TV, then read this. (Or if you’re a Tolkien fan.)
Keegan, Rebecca, “The Thirty-Year Journey to Dark Winds,” The Hollywood Reporter, June 1, 2022. I’ve been trying to tell writers for years now that a movie or TV option is no guarantee. It takes years—literally years to make a TV show. Sometimes it takes longer to make a movie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of a project that’s been “in the works” for more than a decade. I have one that’s been in the works for 11 years, another for five. And those are just the ones that I give a real shot to.
This article about Tony Hillerman’s books coming to the small screen delineates the issues and the challenges beautifully. Robert Redford has loved this project for literally decades. However, during those decades, he lost clout, in Hollywood terms. He went from a man who could make anything he wanted to a man who needed someone else’s help getting a project off the ground.
Here, the help was George R.R. Martin. George has (had?) a development deal with HBO, and he has used it for good. I’ve been harsh on George for abandoning his book fans, but he’s been using his Hollywood clout to help deserving writers and old friends get their projects in development. Dark Winds was initially part of the HBO deal, but eventually HBO lost interest. The series came out in June, from AMC.
Writers, you need to read this. Readers, I’d suggest reading it as well, because that way you’ll understand that when your favorite writer announces “their” movie option, it means that they got some money and some interest, but it doesn’t mean your favorite book will actually become a movie. There are so many slips twixt cup and lip that I can’t even enumerate all of them.
Press, Joy, “The Big Red Flag,”Vanity Fair, April 2022. This is an indepth article about the estate problems at Scholastic. I mentioned the situation in one of my business blogs earlier in the year. Scholastic was a family-owned business that eventually went public, but was still run by the family. When the CEO died, he left the business to a woman who worked at the company who also happened to be his mistress. Whoops. The sons expected to inherit and they did not.
What’s really good about this article, besides the way it handles the difficulties of whether or not the woman actually slept her way into the inheritance or whether she was the right heir apparent, is that it gives the history of the company itself. This is how small businesses become big businesses, and those businesses sometimes need to change as they get bigger. This one really did not. Definitely worth the read.
Rozzo, Mark, “Ghosts in the Machine,” Vanity Fair, Hollywood issue, 2022. Well, I learned something. I knew that the scoring of some orchestral works was done by interns assistants and other composers, as well as some of the arranging, but I didn’t know that major film composers were farming out the actual writing of the works. And of course, the younger composers are getting a pittance. I’m shocked and honestly, I had no idea I could be shocked anymore. Read this one.