Deciding what to read

May 5th, 2013Posted by Nancy

Today’s job is to figure out what to read for the Lost at Sea event this Thursday.  (You are all coming, right?   Augusta House, Toronto, 7:30.  Readings, music, art, cake, cocktails, swag, merchandise – it’ll be fabulous.)

I’m always envious of people who can manage to read the first chapter of their novel and have it sound wonderful but that never works for me.  (Of course, maybe this means I should be concerned that I write very bad first chapters.)   Instead, I have to find a section that doesn’t require too  much explaining, contains some incident or theme relatively representative of the novel, has something interesting happen and ends with enough drama to make the listener want to buy the book.   Then it has to actually sound  good when I read it aloud.

The exception to the “no first chapters rule” was The Night Inside, because the opening chapter of Rozokov waking up in the warehouse actually worked quite well.  My second section for that book was the scene in the asylum in which Ardeth offers Rozokov her blood, because it was dramatic, sexy and fun to read.

For Blood and Chrysanthemums, I chose part of “The Tale of Tamakatsura” to give people a good idea what a sizeable chunk of that book was like.  I also, with a certain amount of trepidation, read the Hiroshima diary entry.   I was concerned that it was too dramatic and intense, but something about the writing lent itself to being read aloud and sometimes drama and intensity is what you want.  I’ve read it about 5 times and each time my voice cracks on the last two lines.

The readings for A Terrible Beauty usually involved one scene of Sidonie and Matthew talking (the chosen section varied) and the chapter with Matthew and Lawton sitting in the discussing the finer details of enslavement to a vampire.

I’ve read two sections from Cold Hillside, both of which have centered on Lilit’s experience at the fair, so it seems like it’s time to introduce the other narrative character.  So I’m off to sit in the backyard with a pile of paper, a watch, and a sincere hope that my neighbours don’t notice me muttering to myself.

Hope to see you Thursday night.



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