Book Talk: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

i-shall-wear-midnight-pratchett-fan-art-tiffany-aching-illustration

I finished Terry Pratchett’s I Shall Wear Midnight last week, and it was the perfect salve to a week of terrible news and family crisis. Pratchett is always the right move when you’re facing difficult times and need to feel like the world isn’t entirely, completely against you. And I got around to another #ReadtoDraw illustration (above) as a result.

I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in the five-book Tiffany Aching Adventures series, and is one of his Discworld books. But, as is the case with Discworld books, each book stands on its own. The others are referenced here and there, but they aren’t required reading to get what’s happening.

I’m going to read the last book, The Shephard’s Crown, next because it’s the last book Pratchett ever wrote. Predicting that my heart will break, I can then go back to the beginning and read the book I missed–The Wee Free Men. Somehow, I think that will soften the blow and make the final book seem less … final. That’s the strategy.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb, in case you’re interested in reading it (you really should):

It starts with whispers.

Then someone picks up a stone.

Finally, the fires begin.

When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . .

Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.

But someone or something is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.

Chilling drama combines with laugh-out-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.

Advertisements

Book Talk: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Storied-Life-of-AJ-Fikry-Gabrielle-Zevin-IllustrationI just finished reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin and I’m gobsmacked by a sense of unfairness. How could they up and leave me, these characters I followed for so many years? (It’s a sign of a good book when I put it down feeling heartbroken.)

A.J. Fikry is a widower, a snob, and a curmudgeon. But, most of all, he’s a bookseller and a reader. After his wife’s untimely death, he mans the bookstore he and his spouse opened on Alice Island, a (fictional) small town off the coast of Boston, alone. With a knack for recommending books and drinking himself to sleep, he’s the sort of protag you’d want at your local purveyor of literature but, perhaps, not the sort to whom you’d want to try selling a YA novel or befriend. When Fikry finds two-year-old Maya abandoned in his store with only a note from her mother and a knapsack, everything changes. This is where the story truly began for me. We follow his life and those of his intimate circle as he picks up the pieces. There’s intrigue surrounding Maya’s parentage, a love that takes years to arrive, a rare book robbery, and so so much more. This is a story for book lovers–I take unchecked pleasure in finding book mentions in fiction narratives and this one has it in spades.

I’ve found myself reading more diversely and am learning that I enjoy whimsical, heartfelt slice of life fiction more than I thought I would. I usually go in for the epic and fantastic, but intimate, insular tales of lives lived contemporaneously are giving me the feels lately. In the words of a favorite songstress, “them heavy people hit me in a soft spot.” Not to be misleading–this book has heart-wrenching moments dealing with fatherhood, loss, and relationships, but wry humor softens the blows and the sorrows are as sweet as they can be bitter.

I decided to read this book because it was in my Audible recommendations and the summary alluded to a bookish story, but otherwise I didn’t know what I was getting into. I’d just come off reading Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and while this book shares genre similarities, Fikry proved a good balance to Groff’s more drastic and painful tale of life and love.

In my movie version of Zevin’s novel, I cast Ben Kingsley as Fikry, Amandla Stenberg as Maya, and Charlize Theron as Amelia.

Read to Draw Recap #1

I’ve been really bad about posting my Read to Draw stuff here. I’m making up by posting a few at once!

  
My most recent is an ink drawing of Melanie from The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey–a zombie book I could not put down. I really didn’t care what happened to anyone else in the story as long as Melanie survived. Is that terrible?

  
H is for Hawk is a moody memoir about depression and loss, and a book that made me wish I’d taken up falconry. While I have no experience in training a goshawk, Helen Macdonald’s experiences in coping with depression resonated with me. I drew this while visiting family in Tucson, Arizona–it seemed, oddly, the right atmosphere.

  
I had such a hard time drawing something for Seraphina! I don’t know why. I think I wanted to do something conceptually interesting to fit the complexity and coolness of this dragon tale but I couldn’t make up my mind. So here’s this. Seraphina is a beautifully-written YA fantasy.

I’m finishing up Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. Should be an interesting challenge for the next set!

Inktober and NaNoWriMo Prep

It’s inktober–31 days and 31 drawings! I’m comboing my NaNoWriMo prep with my 31 drawings, world-building and developing character sketches as I set myself up for a (hopefully) productive November of writing.

Here’s my first sketch for inktober. It’s a scene and a shard of story from my upcoming NaNoWriMo project.  

Christmas Aunty guides lost children through a war-torn kingdom.

I’ll also be continuing #ReadtoDraw, which also pairs nicely with this month’s challenge. I just finished H is for Hawk and might try my hand at drawing a goshawk.

Anyone else participating in inktober?

#ReadtoDraw – SEEKER

  
I guess I should actually post these drawings from my Instagram. This is the Yound Dread, my favorite character from Dayton’s YA fantasy book, Seeker, which I finished a couple weeks ago.

And…Dayton reposted it!  

I was both proud and inexplicably self-conscious about my work. Like, this is HER character? Did I do it justice? I kept asking myself. That aside, it was encouraging; I’ll continue to plug away at the challenge!

#ReadtoDraw Challenge

ReadtoDraw ChallengeFor the next 365 days, I’ll be tracking my reading through art and posting these drawings on my Instagram (@szainabwilliams) using the #ReadtoDraw hashtag. And…I’m extending the challenge to YOU!

You don’t have to be a great artist to participate, but I’ll bet that after 365 days of reading and drawing, you’ll be a better one.

Details

  • Read a book.
  • Create art using the medium(s) of your choice. You can draw a scene that captivated you, a character you loved or loved to hate, an alternate cover, or even draw as you read and as flights of fancy strike you—it’s totally up to you what/how many pieces you draw as long as they relate to a book you are reading or have read during your 365 days.
  • Post it! Instagram will be my main stomping ground where I’ll post WIPs and book-related warmup sketches, but I’ll also post finished pieces here on my blog and on my Inkypasta Tumblr. Post on the platform(s) of your choice.
  • Don’t forget to include the #ReadtoDraw hashtag so we can find each other!

Start your 365 days now or next month or whenever. The point is to track your reading for a year and memorialize it through art. Encourage yourself to read more and create more.

AND encourage others to do the same by challenging them! Share the #ReadtoDraw challenge with your fellow book and art lovers.

I’m looking forward to reading, drawing, and seeing what you create.