Extra, Extra! Read All About It.

I’m opening a long-closed blog door, peaking inside, breathing in dust. I’m calling out to see if anyone answers. If they don’t, it’s because they’ve moved on, as people often do in long abandoned rooms.

Annnnnnyway. I have a new website and I wanted to let my friends know about it.

Full disclosure: I’m almost finished with a novel I love, and it will enter the world before too long. It’s got all the things I’m interested in woven into its fabric, i.e. sisters, sons and daughters, jealousy, violence, school shootings, God.

The website is a more “professional” Internet home, though, Lord knows, I’m not the professional type. The website itself in its baby stage, but there’s a way for people to stay connected to my work by signing up for my newsletter on there. If you do, I’ll send you a short story I wrote. It won a prize I’m pretty proud of.

So, but this is the kind of thing I hate to do–mention my writing in a “join my email list” kind of way. But this is how it is, now, folks.

This is how it is.

If you’re still reading, and you feel like it, head on over to hannahvanderpoolbooks.com and sign up for my newsletter to stay in touch. You’ll be the first to know when my book baby takes its first wobbly breath. I’ll also be sending out free stuff (fiction) once-in-a-while. Oh, and news.

It may be that I’ve written all of this for the sake of that little mouse over there in the corner. If so, I hope mice like to read.



Chekhov and the Art of Slow Reading

I’m reading an enormous anthology of Anton Chekhov’s short stories on my Kindle before bed each night.  It’s taking me forever to get through.  The little percentage icon on the bottom right of the Kindle screen only bumps one percent higher every few stories, and it feels like I’ll never get finished.  Meanwhile, other books languish in my to-read queue.images-3

But something wonderful happens when I stick with a mammoth chunk of writing over a long time.  I become absorbed in it.  I develop a genuine sense of the author’s style, language, and aesthetic sensibilities.  I start to understand his quieter ideas because I’m moving slowly enough to notice them.images-2

Chekhov’s short stories aren’t characterized by big plot twists or literary fireworks.  They’re about everyday provoking situations that bring out people’s true selves.  Chekhov writes about a time we don’t remember, about people with whom we may not share a background, but his words strike clear and true.  We see ourselves in his Russian peasants and landed gentry because they are, after all, just people.


I know that if I were able to blitz through his writing, I would miss things worth savoring.  So, for now at least, I’m content to read slowly, one story at a time, for as long as it takes.  The other books will have to wait.