Once again, it’s Banned Books Week! This issue is super important to me, as evidenced by my post last year. Lest you think this is a silly topic that has no relevance in today’s world, check out this completely tone-deaf (and poorly timed) move from Highland Park, just down the road from my hometown. Yes people, we are still banning books in 2014.
So, in honor of Banned Books Week, check out the list of frequently challenged books (Harry Potter! Captain Underpants! The Catcher in the Rye! Of Mice and Men! You’re killing me, people!), and GO READ ONE!
Hooray for books! Hooray for freedom! And hooray for Banned Books Week, which has been fighting censorship since 1982.
I’m finally updating what I’ve read for 2014, so I decided to move 2013 over to a post instead. I’m sure I’m missing a few, but this will at least give me a good idea of my literary journey for the last year.
Any standouts? I have to say, for sheer joy of reading it, I loved The Night Circus. Other favorites include The Name of the Star and the Ruby Red trilogy. Any recommendations for this year?
Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
Mao II by Don DeLillo
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Torment by Lauren Kate
Passion by Lauren Kate
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
The Elite by Kiera Cass
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Deception by C.J. Redwine
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Ruby Red by Kerstin Geir
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Geir
Emerald Green by Kerstin Geir
MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
Here in Austin we’ve bypassed spring and forged full speed ahead into “Holy hell, it’s hot outside” weather. The current temperature is 85 degrees, with the threat of 97 degrees on Sunday. Is it too soon to cry mercy? Because I’d love to have those two days of spring back from last week.
I’d like to say this weekend will be spent in air conditioner, or by the pool, but alas I have crawfish, country music plans. I’m also hoping to catch up on all of Jonathan’s Russian adventures, take Lola for a long (hot) walk and get some laundry done. I know, exciting stuff.
This shirt, one of my most recent bookish finds, will likely make an appearance. I love the heck out of this shirt, and also love people’s reactions to it. Some people just. don’t. get. it. Which makes me smile. I’m kind of wishing I had it in tank top form, based on the current weather forecast.
What are you wearing lately? Anything bookish? Happy Friday!
At the recent APLFF New Fiction Confab (more on that later), an interesting question came up, one that I think most of us readers have considered. If you start a book, and you just don’t like it, do you soldier on or do you cut your losses and walk away?
I used to be the former reader, trudging through all number of terrible books, and there were many. In the last few years, I decided that my time was worth more than that, and I’ve started putting books down.
So what kinds of books do I put down? Two notable ones come to mind, only because they’ve received lots of love from friends, family, bloggers, etc. The first, The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls, I just couldn’t finish. I saw Jeanette speak at a charity event, and she was utterly charming. But for some reason, the book was just too much for me to stomach, and I had to walk away.
Another book I put down earlier this week was the second book in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone saga, Days of Blood & Starlight. I don’t know if it’s too much fantasy for me, or if it was the transition from Prague to some other world, but this book just did not keep my interest. And when I start skimming, I know it’s time to reevaluate my choice.
What about you? Do you ever walk away from a book? I must admit, I find it a little liberating.
*Photo by Jeremy Piehler
Sometimes real life can be just like the movies in the worst possible way. So on days like today, when everything just seems so unreal, I go home and snuggle with Lola. Or take a hot shower. Or drink champagne. Or get lost in a good book.
It also helps to think about this quote:
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here’s hoping that tomorrow is a better day than today. Cheers.
As one of those kids who got disproportionately excited about buying new school supplies, I’m always interested in new gear to help with my writing. Now really, you don’t need any of the gear, but it’s fun. And at least for me, I like to have quality tools so I can focus on the writing without needing to find another pen or having a notebook that keeps flipping closed.
Here are a few of my favorite writery things:
1. Macbook Air – I know this is a rather expensive tool, but it’s worth way more than its weight in gold (Get it? Because it barely weighs anything… Never mind.). If you’re a Mac and a writer, I can’t recommend this computer enough. The battery lasts forever, meaning you spend less time being that annoying girl in the coffee shop who is awkwardly looking for a spare outlet. You can also get a really rad case that gives you some major bookish cred.
2. Scrivener – I’ve posted about it before, and I won’t bore you again, but this software blows Microsoft Word out of the water.
3. Moleskine Large Ruled Notebook – What’s good enough for Papa Hemingway is good enough for me. I go for the basic lined journal. It opens flat and stays that way. The paper is nice, it has a handy bookmark and elastic closure, and best of all, it doesn’t have an on/off switch, so you never have to put it away on an airplane. I keep mine with me at all times, just in case inspiration strikes.
4. Fisher Bullet Space Pen – I know what you’re thinking. Is that really necessary? And maybe it’s not, but it certainly is cool. The nice thing about the bullet is that it’s compact, but when the cap is placed on the end, it becomes a standard pen length. The ink cartridge is sealed and pressurized, so it writes upside down or sideways, and it has an estimated shelf life of 100 years, so chances are you’ll never have to buy a pen again. Just don’t lose it.
5. Snap Backpack from Everlane – Now that I have all of this writer gear, I need a place to put it. I’m a big fan of Everlane. They make quality products at reasonable prices, and their Weekender is the perfect travel bag. I recently purchased the snap backpack in green, and I can’t wait to start carrying it around town instead of my college Jansport. It’s a little more mature, even if it is still a backpack. Hopefully people will stop confusing me for a student.
So there you have it. My writing necessities. What’s on your list?
If you’re anything like me, the thought of a writing conference is both exhilarating and terrifying. I love to learn from the experts, so a weekend with authors, agents and editors is ideal. However, having to talk to said authors, agents and editors is fairly intimidating for an introvert, considering I’d rather be reading at home on a Friday night than, you know, interacting with people.
Still, a writing conference is a great opportunity, so I put my fears (and social awkwardness) aside for one weekend to attend the DFW Writers’ Conference in June. It was a great experience, and I learned a whole lot about writing. I also learned what to do (and what not to do) next time. If you’re an introvert like me, check out the tips below for ways to stay sane in an environment that might otherwise be incredibly overwhelming.
1. Attend icebreaker sessions. If you’re like me, the thought of attending an icebreaker session is somewhat akin to the threat of water boarding. However, it’s a great way to meet a few people that will become friendly faces throughout the conference. Who knows, you might meet someone from your town or exchange email addresses with a potential critique partner. It also sets the tone for a weekend of getting out of your shell just a bit to really experience what the conference has to offer.
2. Sit at empty tables. Too intimidated to approach a table full of people, especially when they’re already in the middle of a conversation? I feel your pain. Choose the less daunting option of sitting at a table with only a few people. Chances are, the other people are introverts just like you and will be relieved to have a new friend. Or, pick a completely empty table to catch up on your conference schedule. You likely won’t be alone for long.
3. Ask people what they write. The great thing about a writing conference is that there is already a common interest inherent to all attendees… writing! It’s a built-in conversation starter, and a great way to get people talking. Likewise, know your answer to this question before you arrive, because you’ll get it over and over again. It also helps to have a few comparable titles in your back pocket to help explain your interests.
4. Use social media. Social media is a great way to connect with other conference attendees. If you’re on Twitter, follow the authors, editors, agents and other writers. Tweet tips from the conference, share photos on Facebook and interact with other attendees without the intimidation of face to face conversation. Also, make sure your social media icons are actual photos (not your cat), so your fellow attendees can recognize who they’ve been tweeting with in real life.
5. Take a break. Everyone needs a break, but especially introverts. No panels catching your eye? Take that time to grab a coffee and read, catch up on emails or just relax. No one wins a prize for attending the most events and panels at a conference, and you’ll be much more open to learning and meeting new people once you’ve a little time to recharge.
6. Bring a sweater. This is less introvert-related and more comfort related. If you’re always cold like me, bring a sweater. Conference rooms are notorious for being air conditioned to an extreme degree, and you’ll have a much easier time listening if your body isn’t fighting off the first stages of hypothermia.
Any other tips for introverts at writing conferences? I need all the help I can get sometimes.