Last week I had the great joy of attending Kwame Alexander’s event at a nearby bookstore! I hadn’t read any of his books, but I’ve heard fantastic things about them, and I make a point of attending author events whenever possible. I tend to be inspired, and to be much more interested in their books. Something about seeing an author’s passion firsthand is just unreplicable. Continue reading
- Total books read: 150
- Pages: 60,000
- 40 non-fiction
- 10 classics
- 10 translations
- 22 books from my TBR list (my current list is at 52, and that’s a pretty limited list)
- 50 book reviews
Totals through October
- 163 books (17 in October)
- 54714 pages + 55 hours of audiobook
- 27 non-fiction
- 37 book reviews
August and September were reading slump months, which is probably obvious from the lack of recaps. I don’t stress about reading slumps–my reading moods ebb and flow, so I don’t try to force anything. While I wasn’t reading, I explored new parks, visited my family, rode out a hurricane, and got a new kitten.
In October, reading returned. I *finally* got a local library card (it was more complicated than it should have been) and immediately piled up a stack of stuff I was excited to read. Highlights include:
- A Shadow Bright and Burning
- Crooked Kingdom
- The Upside of Unrequited
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
- The Four Tendencies
- Tell Me Three Things
- Once and For All
- Draw the Line
And…um, I haven’t reviewed any of them yet. So that’s next on the list: actually review some books.
What else? I saw some authors. In the last month I saw both Leigh Bardugo and John Green speak. Author events are stressful for me, but I’m glad I went to both. Leigh, while immensely popular, is new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her talk about her work while I was just discovering SOC and CK.
I was a nerdy teenager in the years that John Green was becoming a force both in YouTube and YA literature, so it will come as no surprise that I am a fan. I’m a keen follower of the Green brothers’ digital media empire and I’m very excited to see John openly discuss his mental illness in Turtles All the Way Down. (I haven’t read it yet. It’s silly, but I think I’m waiting for the right time. It feels like…like I may need to treasure reading it for the first time. I distinctly remember feeling that after first reading TFIOS.)
I also started working part-time at a local used books store. I mostly do shelving and sorting, which is soothing in constantly surprising ways. It’s also growing my TBR in ridiculous ways. Most recently, I brought home Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater and Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott.
Last year I made an unsuccessful attempt at NaNo that yielded a little over 10k of a book I don’t like much. This year, I’m not in a good mental place to write a book, so I’m not. I have an idea that’s brewing (has been for months, actually), so I may use the NaNo inspiration to do some outlining. Best of luck to all of you who are writing this month! I encourage you to be disciplined, but also be gentle with yourselves. Remember that first drafts are meant to be crappy, and any words are a triumph, even if they don’t add up to the number you want.
Published this month
- The Sunshine Blogger Tag (do it yourself!)
- Lyse Links — I know I’m supposed to be a book blogger, but this (semi)weekly post is actually my favorite. I love reading neat stories and sharing ideas.
- Book Review: All the Crooked Saints
- I’m also trying to publish smaller things more often, so: Monday Musings
I also joined ARCs Anonymous, a Goodreads group run by blogger friend Avalinah (I’m also a moderator, but she does all the work.) If you’re a book reviewer–especially one with unread ARCs–I encourage you to join us! November’s theme is your oldest ARC. We have competitions, support threads, and good fun!
How was your month? Have any book recs for me?
Okay, I’ll be honest, this is a mostly a books-related Lyse Links. But I think everyone will like it! And I needed an excuse to share this week’s grand caper. And hoo boy do I think you’ll like that one. It’s an intersection of my favorite things–Twitter, a great detective story, and the YA/book community. Continue reading
If you clicked on this post, you probably know what Myers-Briggs/MBTI is. But just in case: Myers-Briggs is a “personality inventory” that defines 16 personalities, described through 4 dichotomies. More at the Myers & Briggs Foundation. Free test at 16 personalities.
Now, I will be blunt. The usefulness/scientificality of MBTI is hotly disputed. I have no interest in arguing that. The MBTI has been immensely helpful to me personally in both understanding myself and others. So I will continue to champion it.
If you’re a little obsessed with MBTI, you find typing other people to be FASCINATING. So I started researching the MBTI types of authors. Continue reading
Ok, let’s talk about a thing that bothers me. (because what else is a blog for??)
You know this idea that readers/bookworms/writers are secluded nerds with no athletic ability or physical fitness?
[If you don’t know, it’s totally a thing. See pictures.]
Logically, this stereotype sorta makes sense. It’s not very easy to read while exercising (although the prevalence of ebooks & audiobooks has made it lots easier!). So when we grow up, we have to choose between reading or playing sports. And most people choose one and mostly ignore the other. It’s a real thing. Bookworms like their tea/coffee & blankets. Inside. Not exercising.
But I have a lots of problems with this stereotype. Not because I don’t like blankets or coziness. (I don’t drink tea or coffee. I knooooow, it’s weird! You can stop throwing things.) Also, not because I think jocks/athletic people can’t be bookish (they definitely can be).
I’ve been very systematically observing bookworms for a few months now (maybe a year? what is time???) and I’ve reached a conclusion.
Lots of readers and writers love moving and being outdoors. Like, really love it.
Writers talk/write/post often about how physical activity helps them sort through plotting/writing issues. They walk. They run marathons. They do yoga (or aerial yoga–looking at you, Gwenda Bond!). And I’m sure many of them are active but don’t post about it.
Readers are the same. I play soccer. I run. Have played sports basically my entire life. Readers carry huge stacks of books. Readers play with their dogs. Readers stand in long lines to meet authors.
But here’s the most irritating thing about this stereotype.
We–the readers, the writers, the lovers of books–perpetuate it. We embrace it.
I’m far more likely to share a funny book meme than something about running. I’m more likely to post a picture of my book than a post-workout selfie. It’s time for that to change.
Can we make bookstagram/booktube/book blogs/etc. encompass all our interests? Can we stop pretending that we all live in book burritos all day?
Can we ditch this idea that readers avoid outdoors and activity at all costs? We’re strong enough to imagine others complexly. (h/t to the Green brothers, obviously)
As a career writer and aspiring fiction author, I really enjoy the writing advice that successful authors offer at conferences. It’s equal parts discouraging reality (12 years to publish??) and encouraging normality (they’re real humans like me!).
I don’t want to recreate all of the keynotes/panels, but I jotted down a few interesting points.
It takes years for the ideas to come together. Several authors have mentioned this concept–basically, the idea for a story starts many, many years before they’re finally able to write it. In some ways, that gives me hope, but Continue reading
I missed this post last week, so lots of links for you now! Continue reading
Here are some articles to keep you occupied until the snow melts away and you resume normal life.
- Why It’s a Problem that Writers Never Talk About Where Their Money Comes From — Money is an interesting topic in the writing world. This author is mostly discussing the fact that writers who only write have to be sponsored by someone.
- The Top-Earning Authors in 2015 — while we’re talking about money and authors, here’s a discussion of what some contemporary authors are making. What I took away: Movies change things a lot.
- Used Bookstores Making A Comeback — another comeback article. I’m fully on-board with used bookstores staying strong, although the predictions on that keep fluctuating.
- How Silicon Valley takes on happiness. If you’re interested in happiness, productivity, coding, or humans, this an article you want to read.
- This Russian spy solved his own murder. Yes, it’s as odd as it sounds. Everything I read about Russia is fascinating and terrifying.
Thoughts on these? Read something interesting that I would like? Let me know in the comments!
As an avid reader, I’m drawn to a lot of articles about books, writing, and the future of bookstores. Here are my recent favorites. Continue reading
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
Creativity is my job. Change is life. Innovation is success. And all of it is vulnerability, which goes against the grain of every single person.