Monthly Archives: January 2011

BTT: Booking it heavy

Booking through Thursday this week:

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?

Well, I’ve read both War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Anna I’ve read twice, and I think I would like to read again at some point. And yes, it was for school. I did an entire semester of Tolstoy and one of Gogol. I’m pretty well-versed in Tolstoy and Gogol (in fact, my senior paper was on The Church versus the Devil in Gogol’s Ukrainian stories, which is something everyone wants to know about).

I’ve also read Gone With the Wind, which is also pretty hefty. Oh, and let’s throw in some Dickens (Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities). There’s also Leon Uris (Mila 18 and Exodus) not to mention James A. Michener (although, at the moment, I can’t remember what I read, but it probably had a lot of setting).

And, of course, Jane Eyre. Who could forget Jane?

In other words, big, fat books? Bring. Them. On.


Filed under Books, Memes, Reading

Girl Drama

As part of the journal keeping book I’m reading (and class I’m taking along with it), we’re required to try experimental ways of keeping a journal for a week. This could include collecting quotes, writing a poem for each day, and so on.

This was my initial response to that:

One poem per day
Our journal class assignment
My brain may explode

 I wrote the following in response to something that went down in Kyra’s afterschool care program.

Girl Drama

A play no one wanted to hear
About five dogs and two cats, who live on the street.
In winter.

Only one friend came to the audition.
The others wanted to make changes. Six dogs! All different breeds! Does it have to be winter?
I’m reminded of H.G. Wells and his quote about the passion to alter someone else’s draft.

No one will ever know if the five stray dogs and two stray cats ever find a home.
They’ll stay on the street. Forever. In winter.
The playwright had too many tears and couldn’t tell me how it ends.


Filed under Kids

WWW Wednesday: it’s here again!

Again, courtesy of Should Be Reading, comes WWW Wednesday:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next? 

Currently reading:

  • Leaving A Trace: On Keeping a Journal by Alexandra Johnson (Taking a cue from Oh! and going through some of the many writing craft books I own. This one is very low key.)
  • The Hollow by Jessica Verday (commute book on audio)
  • An awesome manuscript written by a friend (on the Kindle. Man, I love my Kindle.)

Recently Read:

  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Why hadn’t I read this before? It’s utterly charming.)
  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (I just finished this … OMG. I. Loved. It. It’s incredible. I’m going to have to do a fangirl post/review of this one.)

Up next:

  • Rita books. The box has not yet arrived, but I expect it any day now.
  • Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman


Filed under Books, Memes, Reading, YA

Teaser Tuesday: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“History is a Rorschach test, people,” she said. “What you see when you look at it tells you as much about yourself as it does about the past.”

~ p. 300, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

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Filed under Books, Memes, Reading, YA

L. K. Madigan’s feast of awesome giveaway

The 2009 Debs are celebrating L.K. Madigan’s wonderful books to support her fight against cancer. This past week Lisa shared her very difficult news on her blog.

To show our love and support for her, we’re giving away 40 sets of her two novels over on the 2009 Debs website. Each winner will receive both Flash Burnout and The Mermaid’s Mirror. To enter, simply help spread the love.

Lisa’s first novel, FLASH BURNOUT, won the Morris Award in 2009. Her second novel, THE MERMAID’S MIRROR received a starred review from Booklist.

The contest runs through Monday, January 31st. Click through to the 2009 Debs website for all the information.

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Filed under 2009 Debs, Books, Contests, Writing, YA

Of typos and doe’s snot

The other day, this landed in my inbox:

Win Cash and Prizes with you best writing!

The best part? It came from Writer’s Digest.

I really think the fine folks at Writer’s Digest should use this to their advantage with a funny, follow-up email about how a typo isn’t the end of the world (or even your chances in a contest), but that proofreading can help.

Still, my personal best for typos is the time I wrote:

It’s doe’s snot.

I wrote this particular phrase in a software installation manual. Our software does many things, but it doesn’t need doe’s snot to do them.

The best part? A straight-faced software engineer placed the marked up hardcopy guide on my desk without a word.

So while I don’t want to read novels riddled with typographical errors, I try to keep perspective (especially for blog posts and email).

Typos, like doe’s snot, sometimes happen.

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Filed under Tech Writing, Writing

Booking Through Thursday: Reading resolutions

From Booking Through Thursday this week:

Any New Year’s reading resolutions?

I would like to up my reading again this year. I read 60 books last year (this includes audio books). This year, I want to read one print/e-book per week, for 52 books, plus whatever I listen to in the car during the commute.

Rough goal: 75 books this year. Can I do it? We’ll see.

I’m going to participate in a reading challenge this year. I didn’t last year and I missed that. War Through the Generations is doing a Civil War reading challenge. And hey, I’m one book in already. My goal is three to five, but I hope to read more than that.

What I plan to read:

  • Two Girls of Gettysburg (halfway done and I’m enjoying it)
  • Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War (All her Civil War writings in one volume—I’m on a LMA kick)

Possible Re-reads:

  • Little Women (see above re: LMA)
  • The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (read, more than once, back in the day as officer professional development)

How about you? Any reading plans? A challenge or two? Tackling the TBR pile?


Filed under Books, Reading

It’s WWW Wednesday!

From Should Be Reading:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (in the car)
  • Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein  (print)

Recently Finished:

  • The Driving Force by Michel Tremblay (still need to write the evaluation)
  • The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander (yeah, I’ve been craving historical fiction lately)

Up Next?

Not sure … there’s a box of Rita books heading my way soon. I may go for something short, just so I don’t get caught reading too many things at once.

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Filed under Books, Reading, YA

Word of the day: Targetful

Word of the day: Targetful

Forgetful + Target = the act of going to Target and buying everything but the one item you originally needed in the first place.

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Filed under Misc

The problem with Sunday afternoon

The problem with Sunday afternoon is you can see Monday morning from there.

It’s been a really low-key “staycation” this week. We didn’t do too much. Andrew swam at the Edina JV invitational–and swam pretty well, too, coming in second in one of his heats.

We had snow, and we had rain, and we had cold, cold, cold. I read and managed to write a little, and pondered how I wrote so much last year and yet have so little to show for it. I guess I could print off a those two drafts, stack the paper on the floor, and say, “There be words.” But even that lacks impact.

Still, I wrote a lot (a 90,000 word draft and the revision of another 90,000 word draft). And if I learned anything in 2010 about writing, it’s the things I already knew:

  1. Writing a little bit every day (or almost every day) really adds up. Sure, we all know this in theory, but if you’re pecking out 300 – 500 words a day, it can feel frustrating. It can feel like it’s not even worth it. But it’s a lot like exercise. Not only does your word count grow, when you do have free time, you have the strength to really write.
  2. The quality of a scene has absolutely no relation to how you feel* while writing it. Think you’re writing deathless prose? Ha. Think again. Think it’s crap. Well, it might not be. By mid-year, I’d decided that how I felt during a particular writing session had no bearing on the result, so I simply ordered myself to write–it would all sort itself out later.

*This is a different feeling than when a scene/plot element isn’t working. True, one can masquerade for the other. But in either case, the antidote is the same: keep writing.

And that was 2010: a lot of words in drafts, not so many on the blog. This year, I’m going to aim for a few more in both places.

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Filed under Writing