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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Books I Read in 2010 Part 2

Here is the continuing tale of the books I read in 2010. If you missed it Here is the link to my first post. Enjoy!

Most Decidedly Definitely not a book I would normally pick up and read, because it was a little more feminist then I tend to lean. However, I saw it in the library and decided to give it a go. Very interesting stuff. I love reading about fairy tales and folklore, and this was a fascinating read that showed me some ideas that while I might not agree, it's nice now to know what people are talking about.
Why I Picked This Book: Another non-fiction book that I could actually finish. Also, another book that I read despite thinking I wouldn't like it. And I did. I learned a lot this past year that you can't judge a book by its cover, title, or possible content. Well, sometimes you can. But sometimes you can't. So sometimes you need to just give a book a chance and see what catagory it truly fits in.

I read this along with Sophocles threesome. I love Greek playwrights and historians and essayists. I have no idea why. But either way, I loved Aristophanes. Though the one play was highly inappropriate and might skip upon re-reading this: Aristophanes is hilarious.
Why I Picked This Book: Because most people do not count Aristophanes as one of their favorite writers. I think more people should.

Oh. My Goodness. I loved this book. I consider it Snikette-esque (a category in books that I use quite often, though I'm not sure if others do). I laughed aloud time and again.
Why I Chose This Book: I had never heard of J.T. Petty until I was in The Strand in the City with my friend Rose and she laughed. The book was The Hobgobline Proxy and the said, "Look! Hobgoblins!" because a few nights before my mum made a hobgoblin face and we started calling her that (with all the love in the world, I assure you). I read the entire book and then forgot about it. Months later I remembered I had read some book with hobgoblins and amazoned it. Fortunately, there are not a lot of books with the word hobgoblin in it and I was able to find it. And then I read pretty much everything he wrote. He's a funny guy and this may sound strange, but I liked seeing him grow as a writer. His first book, Clemency Pogue Fairy Killer was not as good as Scrivener Bees. Sometimes I read an author and there first book is insanely good, and then the next one doesn't quite match up. As a writer I hope that each book will be better than the last (well, or at least close to). This was strangely encouraging for me to see in real life.

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison, Dear Anjali by Melissa Glenn Haber, Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson, and all of RL LaFevers books were another group I found through agent hunting. I loved them all in so many different ways. They were all wonderfully told stories, though told in significantly different ways.
Why I Chose Them: Again, by searching agents I found some incredible stories. Once I find an agent I will probably still research them in order to find groups of really good books.

I love Lane Smith. His artwork is so fantastic. I just love looking at his artwork. These two, though not written by him, were probably two of my favorite that were illustrated by
him. He helps write a blog about inappropriate books that's pretty interesting. Feel free to check it out Here. That's where I heard about It's a Book. So good, but yes, it is slightly inappropriate.

This book was one of those books that you read at just the right time in just the right moment. I was laughing my face off the entire time, but when my sister read it she found it just a tad too weird. So if you're a fan of weird: go ahead and read it. If you're not the biggest fan of weird: you can feel free to skip this one.
Why I Chose It: This was another one of those books I hadn't seen around anywhere and want more people to hear about it. Thus I have succeeded.

This book I read because of Blam's post over here: Braids of Glory.
Why I Chose This Book: I love books that introduce me, or draw me into, another culture. Although I was already aware of some Jewish sayings and bits of their culture (as my church has held a Passover meal two years in a row... Or the Seder meal? I'm not remembering exactly), it was fun to read something set in Jewish culture so I could learn a bit more and get more of a taste for their culture. Plus, the story is simply fantastic. A strong heroine, evil beasts, and knitting. What could be better?

Well, that's about all for this year. Eventually I will touch on a couple of the other books I read this year that include discussions that will take up more room and time. Thank you for reading! :) Feel free to let me know about any books you've read this past year!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Binge Reading and Bulimia

I have a question for you. Do you binge read? I know I tend to. I will go for awhile without reading anything and then suddenly Ican'tstopreadingtosavemylifeandImustkeepreadingandth

I also do this with writing. You know, where you haven't written since November and suddenly you lock yourself in your room and start screaming about your characters?

Okay. Ahem. Maybe screaming isn't a normal part of the writing experience, but moving on.

It got me to thinking about bulimia. And no, I'm not going to make fun of bulimic people. I know it's a serious thing and I'm not trying to take away from that. However...

I have always thought about my writing experience as this:

1) Read a Thousand Books.

b) Spend two days-two weeks in shock.

3) Write a Book.

Or in pictures:

See the clown read...

Eat Clown, Eat!

Watch the Clown Vomit.
Clown just wrote a book!
Good job, Clown.

Basically, that is what I look like when I write my first drafts.

How 'bout you? *sits at computer and waits* *grabs chips* *waits*

Monday, January 10, 2011

Books I Read in 2010 Part 1

As I read 149 books this year, (including picture books) I don't think I'll be able to go in depths with every single one of them, though I would like to. Instead, I'm going to focus on the main books that meant a lot to me this year. If you are truly interested in seeing Every Book I Read you can click on the link on the side (though I'll be changing it soon for this year's books) or find it Here. I have mini-mini-reviews on every book.

To begin with:

Not only was this book well-written, but it was humorous and the characters were fun to get to know. Patricia C. Wrede is fantastic. I don't know much about the second author (Carloline Stevermer) but her character was equally enjoyable.
Why I Picked This Book: It changed my life. I now have three (and kinda' a fourth) story that I am writing in the way they did. By exchanging letters back and forth. Even if these books never get published it is a fantastic way to write. It hones your skills, gives you an insane amount of thrilling expectation, and you have an opportunity to work with authors in a fantastically fun way. Which reminds me. I need to write my turn for three of them. *headdesk*

Why I Chose This Book: This book opened my mind to the possibility of Philology and Classical Studies, something I probably wouldn't have taken as seriously if I hadn't read this book. It was encouraging to me not just in that aspect, but also because it was a well-written non-fiction book that I could actually finish. This does not happen very often. This book also made me feel smart because there was a misprint saying that Hera was the goddess of love, when everyone knows it is truly Aphrodite. ;)
With this tale every chapter was from the perspective of a different character, with only a few chapters repeating a perspective. While this sounds like it could be annoying, it was done exceedingly well.
Why I Picked It: This story was so very different. I was simply researching Candlewick Publishing (in case I wanted to intern there) and I came across a book that I will always remember. It's not necessarily happy, but it's touching. Also, it reminded me that sometimes I need to read out of my comfort zone, because there are wonderfully good books that aren't necessarily hard-core fantasy. Boy did I learn that this year.

Matisse on the Loose by Georgia Bragg, Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis, The Witch's Guide to Cooking With Children by Keith McGowan, were all books I stumbled across while agent hunting. I enjoyed all three of them immensely and am so glad I found them. I never would have if I hadn't been researching agents. I will love these books forever. Oh! And I found this particular batch of books in connection with Carrie Jones Need, another lovely book. (I am currently reading the third in the series, Entice.) I totally want to meet her some day.
Ahem. Anyway. I am being professional in this post so moving on...

This book is extremely weird and I will caution you with this: If you pick up this book you probably will question yourself about why in heaven's name are you reading it? It is not until the end of the first chapter that you will (quite possibly) scream "What?!" and continue on in fervor. Or the whole time you will repeat, "This is Weird, this is Weird," but will be unable to stop reading. Or you will hate it entirely. Either way, this book was so much fun. One I would definitely read again.
Why This Book: This, among others (such as Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson, Poltergoose by Michael Lawrence, and Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell) reminded me that you can write a book with silly, sometimes nearly unbelievable characters, and still have a good book that people will read and love.
If you knew anything about certain books of mine, you would understand how reassuring this is for me.

I picked up Crank in the middle of the YA section in Borders and sat down, read the entire thing, and cried. So different from what I normally read. This and Speak by Laurie Halse Paulsen has inspired me to write WYC, an almost non-fantasy book dealing with issues I've always thought should be touched upon, but haven't had a book I could do it in. (This is the book that nearly drove me suicidal by empathizing too much with my character). It is not a book to be quickly forgotten, I can tell you that.

First of all: I love Shaun Tan.
Second of all: This book is genius. It's a visual text that tells a story with no words. Something that is so very difficult to do. But SHaun Tan does it masterfully. And the artwork is magnificent. I wanted to just stare at the pictures all day, they were so complex.
Third of All: This book (and Varmints by Hellen Ward and Marc Craste) were among the first that I read that use pictures in large part to tell the story. I love when this idea is used to its full affect. When art and words go hand in hand seamlessly to tell a story. I think sometimes the idea of mixing the two art-forms is poo-pooed or looked down upon. I do not think it should be at all.

I had read a review about this book on someone's blog at some point or another (don't remember who or when or what) and they said they loved it, and was gushing over it. For whatever reason I was not convinced. I don't know why, but I wasn't. I was sure I hated the book and would never read it. In order to prove myself correct of this I picked it up in Borders to read the first paragraph.
Why I Chose This Book: I did not hate it. I sat down in the back and read it all and am desperate to own it. This book blew my mind. It was so well told. The characters were real. The plot was one that I should've guessed, but didn't. I will love this story forever. It is one I am planning on reading a second time, because I know I will get more out of it the second time round, which is not a common thing.

It appears I still have about seven other books I want to talk about, so I will end this post here and continue on later.

Do any of you have books that meant a lot to you this past year? What were some of them? Why did you love them? I would love to know!