Monday, July 27, 2009

Reading Monday!

Well, not so great about keeping my schedule, but apparently I can keep a Monday appointment at least. In my own slightly pitiful defense, it has been a ridiculously busy week and I'm not going to make any promises for the current week. This next week is very busy too. But, no more excuses... here's my reading for the week.

I actually haven't made a whole lot of progress on either Wonder Boys or The Writer's Journey. I did start The Bridges of Madison Country, but have not gotten very far. So far it's okay, but I'm not very impressed with the writing.

So, since I don't really have books to actually blog about, I thought I would share some of my favorite book blogs and websites.

First up: Bookshelves Of Doom. This is a great blog run by a librarian, or self-described uber-librarian. She offers astute and funny reviews of books, some YA movies and life in general. She always cracks me up and somehow manages to find tons of amazing new stuff on the web. Definitely worth checking out.

Next: Henry Sene Ye Designs I don't talk about it much on this site, mostly because I already have a lot to cover, but I love design and art. This is the blog of a book cover designer. He shares his process in deciding on cover designs, contacting artists and putting it all together. I find it really interesting, especially seeing the failed designs.

Finally, one of the most fun new sites I've stumbled across: The Book Seer. Though slightly silly, I really like it. At this site you type in the title and author name of the most recent book you have finished and the site pulls from Amazon, Librarything and BookArmy to compile a list of recommendations. Now, I don't particularly need to add anything else to my TBR pile, but I like it nonetheless.

Hopefully you'll all enjoy clicking around these new sites! I'm going to try my best tomorrow to be back with some writing news.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Schedule and a Book Review

So, I've decided to try something new here on the blog, in the hopes that it will keep me more accountable to posting more than once a month. Following in the title of the blog I'll keep this schedule: Mondays will be for reading, Tuesdays for writing, Wednesday for knitting, Thursday for panicking :), and Friday for whatever else might come up. We'll have to see how this actually goes, but that's the current plan.

And for this Monday, here's what I've been reading.

The Writer's Journey by Chris Vogler
I haven't actually finished this yet, but so far so good. I'm really enjoying it so far. It's an interesting analysis of the structure of the stories that we as a human race love. They all follow the Hero's Journey. It's been recommended to me by a number of other authors and I think that it will be really helpful in the development of my plot. We shall see.

Wonder Boys- Michael Chabon
I'm also in the middle of reading this. I've seen the movie, and loved it, but the book is so much better. I've only recently started reading Chabon, and I'm not quite sure where he's been all my life. His writing is so beautiful and his images so striking that I nearly weep when I read it, seriously. He has such a unique way of putting everything. I only wish that I can someday rise to this level of literature. The story is hilarious. The comedy of errors that ensues from page one is fantastic without being completely improbable and the characters are ridiculously interesting. I'm really excited to finish this one.

The Notebook- Nicholas Sparks
Well, this book was on my Project 100 list and I believe I was one of the last remaining women in the US that hadn't read this novel. I'll preface all of this by saying that I'm not a huge romance reader, but having read and enjoyed Sparks' Three Weeks with my Brother, I was willing to give this a shot.

I'll not give away too much of the plot, but very basically it is about a young man of little means and a young woman of fantastic means who fall in love only to be separated by time and social circumstances.

What made this novel better than the typical love story is the framing of it, as a old man reading the story to an unknown woman. The story is touching and while predictable, still genuinely warm and fuzzy. I did enjoy it. It's a great quick read and especially good when you just want to read and not think too much. Sparks' writing is lovely, clean and concise and his characters are lively and real. While I enjoyed the book in general, I think that I enjoyed it more after reading Three Weeks because I knew how he wrote it and what was happening in his life at the time. Overall, it was worth the hype (and million dollar advance) that it received.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If You Want to Write- Brenda Ueland; The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- David Wroblewski; For One More Day- Mitch Albom

Here's a drive by book review. I haven't been in my house for more than about 48 hours in the last two months. Unfortunately, that also hasn't translated into good blogging or reading time, but I have read a few books. Here are the super quick and dirty reviews.

If You Want to Write- Brenda Ueland
This was a decent book. I liked some of her advice, expecially about finding the microscopic truth in everything you write. It really had a quiet confidence to it. I don't know that I like it more than Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, but it was pretty good. Worth the read for any writer.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- David Wroblewski
I'm almost always a day late and a dollar short in jumping on the Oprah bandwagon. So, I'm sure by this point many of you have already read this book, or read a million reviews about it, but here's what I think anyway. I liked it. It was a nice sweeping style family epic that we haven't seen in a while. I felt it moved a little slowly at times, and I can't say that I loved the ending. However, Wroblewski's writing is fantastic and his characters are really intriguing and have a depth that most authors don't achieve. Quite good overall, but not earth-shattering.

For One More Day- Mitch Albom
I might be a little biased on this one, having lost my own mother, but I loved this novel. It is so crisp and beautiful. The concept is intriguing and the pacing is spectacular. Albom creates a magical space and I bought it. The characters are very real and the plot is everyone's wish. Read it, definitely. It's a quick read and is quite amazing.


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