Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do you Re?

How many of you reread books?  I know people who do and people who don't.

I do. Sometimes.I used to reread more. Now, it seems my list is too long and my time too short.

I have often had people ask why I reread books. The question used to bother me. Now, I just ask them if they've ever watched a movie or TV show more than once. I've never had anyone answer no. So I ask why they re-watch movies. The answer is usually one I can apply to books too.

The truth of it is, some books are just good friends. Friends you want to visit from time to time. Friends you can learn things from, about life, or about writing.

I don't have specific requirements for comforting rereads. They just have to be books I connect with. There is a wide variety, depending on my mood and why I'm rereading. I have books that are easy reads for when I'm sick and my head feels stuffed with corn husks. At that time want something entertaining but something I don't have to think too hard about. There are times I'm worried or depressed, then I might pull out something with hope, something that helps me see the good in myself. I might be bored or dissatisfied with life and something will just stick in my head until I read it.

I have a degree in comparative literature so I've read a lot of classics. I have a weak spot for Russian authors such as Tolstoy, Valentine Rasputin, and Chekhov.  I've enjoyed Harry Potter several times and many books by authors Thomas Costain, Diana Gabaldon, Robin McKinley, Megan Whalen Turner, Juliet Marillier, Deanna Raybourne Jane Austen, and Anne Tyler. JANE EYRE, ANNA KARENINA, THE FAMILY NOBODY WANTED, I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, PAVILION OF WOMEN, KETURAH AND LORD DEATH, and Terry Pratchet's THE WEE FREE MEN series. (I'm finishing my first reread of them now. Actually I'm listening on audio book and that may make the difference.)

Not all of these are the best written books in the world. Many of them are books from my youth or college years and maybe that's why I go back to them. To remember a bit of the past, a bit of me that I've lost. Or to remember how I felt and dreamed back then. I don't know. I just know that sometimes I need something comforting and that means visiting an old friend.

Do you reread? Why? What books?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recent Reading

Back in August I won a contest over at The Blabbermouth Blog. As a prize I won two books.

Seriously, nothing is better than winning books.



The first book is SKINK-- NO SURRENDER BY Carl Hiaasen.




I have to admit, the cover and title didn't do much for me.



I know we're not supposed to judge books by their cover, or title for that matter, but we all do. It's the first impression we get. I'm glad I didn't listen to my first impression though. I found this book to be engaging, fun, and well written. One of the things I liked most about this book is that while there are serious situations, and while people do get hurt, the author didn't feel the need to turn the characters into violent teenage action heroes. He could easily have made this book much more violent, we've all seen the trend, but he didn't feel the need to. I love that this book while it puts ordinary teenagers into an extraordinary situation, still keeps the characters as themselves, in a way that many teenagers would act.  Congrats to you, Carl Hiaasen. 



The other book I won is  SECOND SIGHT: AN EDITOR'S THOUGHTS ON WRITING, REVISING, AND PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS.






I'm only half way through this book but so far I'm finding a lot of useful information.  The highlighter has made an appearance. The blue one, which of course is only used for the best highlighting. 


What have you been reading lately?


Monday, September 29, 2014

Fear



I had no idea being a parent was so filled with terror. Fear of losing them, fear of their running into the street, fear for the hurts and slights they experience at school, fear for their pain, for the expense of raising them, fear that I’m providing ample need for future therapy, fear that they’ll discover I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. 

The thing is, you just have to keep going. Those fears don’t stop life. Kids keep growing and experiencing more and if I stop to deal with the terror every time I’ll never keep up with them.  I just have to keep teaching them, keep doing my best and hope that someday it results in productive, happy, well adjusted people.

Writing is a little bit the same way. I’m always afraid I won’t be good enough, that my story is lame, that agents will think I’m a dork, that they’ll know I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, that no reader will like me enough to spend money on me. 

Like parenting I can’t let those fears overcome. I have to keep writing, keep doing my best, and hope that someday it all comes together in something people can love.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Death of Books


I killed a book. 

Not one of those 'my book is so bad I’m going to lock it in a drawer' mercy killings. I killed a book I was excited about and wanted to write. 

Four or five months ago I tried plotting a book. Not even plotting, more just brainstorming and thinking of plot points. Ever since I’ve wanted nothing to do with it. I can’t even force myself work on it. I’m hoping that if I toss everything I brainstormed out and go back to the original characters and flashes of scenes maybe, just maybe I can want this book again. 

Or maybe, I’ve killed it forever.  

 No doubt about it, I’m a pantster through and through.

Anyone ever raised a book from the dead?
 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Colectable (otherwise known as 'The Star Wars post')

I collect books. Not consciously. I didn't start out thinking "hm, I want to collect something. What should I spend my time, money and space on?" I just read. A lot. I read around 150 books a year. More on good years. Less on busy toddler years. I love books and I keep my favorite, my friends, around.  A few weeks ago I posted some shelvies. We actually have 9 bookshelves that hold books. plus there are five boxes of books that we don't have room for.

My son, Mini-Engineer collects things. I don't know where he got it from.... (whistling into the wind)



He picks up rocks and leaves and shells and takes them home to collect. The stickers he gets from doctors' offices and grocery stores he carefully peels off his shirt and puts them on a piece of paper so he can keep them.


My husband however is the biggest collector of us all. He likes StarWars. A Lot.  I'm going to put in a disclaimer here. We are not hoarders and we throw things out on a regular basis. Just not books or Star Wars. Also, he is not the type of person to dress up to go to comicon (though he would probably like going) or to the movies. He just enjoys the 'historical documents'.

We have ships on our ceilings


We have dioramas. No, they don't get dusted often.

We have original packaging displays.


We have pictures, yes, those are his ticket stubs at the bottom.
We have toys for the kids.

















And we have boxes

And more boxes


of Star Wars we don't have room for or don't want the kids to destroy.

We live a Star Wars life. And it's a good life.

What do you collect?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Soul Food

I've gone technical in a big way.  I love gadgets.  Three years ago I didn't even have a cell phone. Now I have a smart phone. I use it to coordinate schedules, listen to audiobooks, read ebooks,  play games, entertain my kids, and make grocery and to do lists. The number of lists I can have soothes my list loving soul.  I use it for pretty much anything other than making phone calls.

But...

I've noticed, when I'm stressed I still turn to pen and paper. There's something so comforting about carying around an assortment of scraps covered with a dozen or two lists.  About five years ago I forced myself to write on the computer until it became familar. Now I do most of my writing there. But I still carry around a notebook and pen everywhere, even in the house. Just in case I want them. I have a specific notebook I use. No matter how cute, I won't buy anything else. I also have a specific pen. You know I have problems when I throw away perfectly good free pens just because they aren't "my" pen.  And deep down in my soul I long for the day I can buy a fountain pen, even though I know they're expensive and impractical.

I look at tablets and laptops and pretty new monitors with longing, but it's not quite the same.  I guess for now pen and paper are still my comfort food.

Do you have a comfort food?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Chat with author Barbara Rogan

The fabulous Barbara Rogan's latest book, A DANGEROUS FICTION, has been chosen by Penguin to be the book of the month.  I did an interview with Barbara when the book came out, here.  It's a truly deserved award as the book is fabulous. A mystery set inside the world of publishing. What could be better?

Being Penguin's book of the month entails having two book chats on twitter.  @readPenguin if that means anything to you tweeters.  The first chat is Sept 9 from 3-4pm ET. You can check her blog (linked above) for more info and for her official announcement. I hear the  ebook price just dropped so now is a perfect time to pick it up. I hope you do, you'll enjoy it. You'll also enjoy chatting with the author. Hope you join in!