Friday, April 15, 2016

Reading? What's that?

I'm reading a ton of stuff right now, but so very little of it is for pleasure. Re-reading my own works in progress to brush them up for publication. Some of those works are co-written, so I'm reading my co-authors' words as well. But reading for pleasure?
Well, I've started several books lately, but not gone too far with any of them. Real world books and e-reader ones. The truth is a sob-story, and that is that I'm writing so many words and making so many covers that I'm not allocating any time for reading at the moment.
Of the titles I've been toying with, the one that's sticking with me is "Burnt Tongues", an anthology of short stories. Words such as "boundary-breaking" and "transgressive" are peppered all over the back cover, and with good reason.
The book is edited by Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas and Dennis Widmyer and is populated with a bunch of authors I've not been aware of previously.
Though the stories are short, I'm still sabotaging the experience by not reading any one of them in an entire sitting, thereby making any kind of review or even basic summation difficult.
What I can say, though, is the imagery within the stories is visceral and direct, even in discussion of dreams or in metaphorical senses. These are not punch-pulling stories, and obviously, would not be for everyone. Events and elements presented almost as minutiae have more weight than would seem normal, and in part it's the form of story which helps create that. After all, the shorter the story, the more integral each part becomes. If it weren't important it would have been cut.
Apologies I can't offer much more than that. I'm only about four stories in, and am reading it as slowly and intermittently as I read everything these days!

Cover and blurb

Transgressive fiction authors write stories some are afraid to tell. Stories with taboo subjects, unique voices, shocking images—nothing safe or dry. Burnt Tongues is a collection of transgressive stories hand-selected by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, as the best of The Cult Workshop, his official fan website, selected by a rigorous nomination and vetting process. These stories run the gamut from horrific and fantastic to humorous and touching, but each leaves a lasting impression. Some may say even a scar.


  1. I used to subscribe to his website. He had 36 lessons about craft. One of them was called burnt tongue which was a reference to writing natural sounding dialog.

  2. Never apologize!

    I'm scared of Palahniuk, after reading some of his stuff!

  3. It's difficult to create spare time for reading. But if you consider reading research into your own writing, you can chalk it up to work. Very pleasurable work. It's really helpful to observe how other writers achieve their goals. Readers make good writers.

  4. Palahniuk is another writer I need to read. Thank you for giving us a taste, Willsin.

  5. I've looked at this collection a number of times, considering reading it. I think I'd worried they might be too self-consciously transgressive, out to shock just to shock. I'll be interested to know what you think, once you get a chance to read this!