Posts Tagged ‘ Books ’

Just Do It


The Nike slogan is all too appropriate when it comes to setting and meeting goals. I’ve recently started writing a new book after several stutter starts with a separate book that I finally decided to set aside for the time being. While it’s sometimes difficult to start over or make changes in your life, sometimes the only way to begin is by just doing it. Instead of waiting until tomorrow or a special occasion or when the mood strikes. So instead of waiting until tomorrow to eat better, exercise more, write that book, mend those fences, begin today! 🙂


KIdLit Cares

My director at work brought this initiative to my attention a couple days ago. Created to help those affected by the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, the goal of this program is to auction of things that writers and readers might be interested in with the proceeds going directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. I’ve perused the auction and it’s really amazing what people from all over have donated to help this cause. Anything from Skype visits to editorial critiques to autographed books to school visits. Agents, editors, authors and the like have banded together to give of their time and services in order to help those in need.

I checked out some of the auction items and was blown away both by the generosity of what was being auctioned off as well as how many people are bidding! It’s definitely worth checking out at Joanne Levy’s blog/website. As of today, there are 64 Auction items up for grabs. Stop by and see what cool stuff you can win while you help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.


Pumpkin Fun

Found this on Creations By Kara. With fall on my brain, I might have to make this one for my house! 🙂

The First Draft

  After too much time and about fifty recommendations, I’m finally reading the quintessential book for writers, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I’ll probably post more on the book as I read sections I find particularly relevant, but today is all about the first draft. In her book, Lamott writes about how the first draft is always shitty. Even professional, successful writers write bad first drafts. Here’s a quote from her book that I thought summed it up perfectly:

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something – anything – down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft – you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft – you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.”

One of the traps I fell into frequently when I first began writing, and which ties into Lamott’s subsequent chapter on Perfectionism, is that I would spend hours writing and rewriting the same five pages until I became so frustrated that I wouldn’t want to make the time to write. It’s not as bad now, but I still find myself getting caught up in my own thoughts before I even sit down at my computer trying to work out every detail. Chasing windmills. Just sit down and type. What you end up with will be bad. If you’re lucky, you’ll even realize it’s bad and begin crafting your second draft before you subject your close friends and family to the horrors of having to read it.

Happy writing! 🙂


A Great Day for Up

  One of my favorite Dr. Suess books is a Great Day for Up. There are some books that are just so fun and whimsical that I can’t help but get in a good mood whenever I read them. And with the sun shining and the birds chirping, my thoughts wander to some of my favorite childhood books.

There’s something almost mystical about remembering those books. Almost like I’m revisiting a dream I once had. I have so many great memories surrounding the books I read; My dad reading The Secret Garden to me and my siblings at our family’s cabin in Vermont, me reading Encyclopedia Brown on my parent’s bed for so long that I woke up with my face pressed as a bookmark between the pages, sitting with my brother and sister and reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

Of course, being raised as a book lover, there are hundreds more each with a special link to some memory in my past. I’m sure you have many such memories as well. I’d love to hear them!

Happy reading! 😀

BEA Here I Come!

  It’s still a couple weeks away, but already I’m nerding it up with planning my trip to BEA (BookExpo America). Even though I work at a library, I registered as a book blogger. I hope to use this to meet other bloggers and make some great connections. I’m also planning on bringing some networking (aka business) cards. Would it be wrong to leave them surreptitiously around the expo for people to stumble upon? Hmmm…

When I was younger I wanted to be Penny, Inspector Gadget’s niece, and walk around solving mysteries with her computer book. Finally my lifelong dream is coming true. I downloaded the BEA app onto my iPad and have already researched and plotted my plan of attack. Right now I have my handy, dandy agenda mapped out so I already know what I want to see when. That way I won’t miss any vital authors or books during my time there. One thing they don’t have that would totally rock is a virtual map of the floor at the Javits Center that tracked me as I walked. Maybe that’s a little creepy but how much fun would it be to see little bubbles of my favorite vendors and authors with me walking around so I know when I reach them? I can’t even begin to tell you how confusing that labyrinth of booths at the Javits Center is having been to several expos there before.

I think I may have to start ratcheting up my strength training and running regimes in order to be in prime physical condition for BEA. I can’t wait! 🙂 Hope to see you there!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

We had a beautiful, albeit windy, weekend here in NJ so I spent as much time as I could outside. There was a town wide garage sale that was a lot of fun to walk around, although I didn’t find anything I really wanted/needed and only spent $1 on a little kids lemonade and cookie stand – totally worth it! 🙂 Went to my first baseball game of the season this weekend as well which is always a great time. It’s one of those local baseball teams with tickets for $10 and anywhere is a great seat to watch the game. I love it because it gives me a chance to be outside while supporting a family-friendly baseball team.

As for reading, I’ve been doing much of that as well. I ripped through one book, Grave Mercy, in a couple of days it was that good. It’s hard for me to find a book that captures my attention so fully these days, so it was very enjoyable. I’m already excited for the second in the series, although it’s not being released until Spring 2013. Bummer! Also, my good friend and author extraordinaire, Alissa Grosso, has her second book coming out on May 12. I not only get to attend her release party (YAY!), but she’s doing a blog tour and will be stopping by to guest post on my blog sometime mid-May. Stay tuned! Giveaways ahead! (Her first book Popular was amazing, if you haven’t read it you should, and her second Ferocity Summer is bound to be just as awesome.)

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  His Fair Assassin: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers -I couldn’t put this YA book down. That rarely, and sadly, happens anymore. I saw it come through the library and after reading the inside jacket flap decided to check it out for myself. Usually, I find books through buzz or recommendations posted by other bloggers or readers, but I must’ve been under a rock because I didn’t hear anything about this book until it was right under my nose. I love how the heroine is snatched away at a young age from a horrible marriage and taken to a convent where she is trained to be an assassin for Death. But on a mission she begins to realize that not everything is what it seems. Also, there’s a great love story that slowly unfolds without that being the main emphasis of the story. Nor is the heroine so wrapped up in the guy that she loses sight of her mission and who she is as a woman. My favorite kind of story. A must read!


  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga -This is an intense YA book. Very dark. Actually, I’m more surprised that a book like this, don’t get me wrong, I really love this book, isn’t under fire because of its dark content. I guess sex attracts more red flags than murder. The protagonist, Jasper, is a teenager whose father was a notorious serial killer who, although now caught and in prison, raised his son in the art of killing. While Jasper doesn’t want to be like his father he’s also intrigued with death and killing more than a normal teenager should be. So when a young woman is found murdered in his home town with all the markings of a serial killer’s handiwork, Jasper is drawn to find out who is killing and why. All this is heightened by Jasper’s conflicting desire to not become his father and as he thinks, if you had a gift of running really fast, wouldn’t you be a runner? Some days it’s all he can do not to use the gifts his father taught him.


  Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – I’m sad to say that I haven’t read many of the great sci-fi classics. Verne is a writer I’ve always admired and know the stories of, but haven’t actually read his original versions. So I’m listening to this great novel on CD and want to continue listening to more of the sci-fi classics after this one.




  Everlast by Chad Michael Murray – I wouldn’t necessarily pick out a book written by an actor, unless it were a memoir, but this graphic novel by the star of the TV series One Tree Hill caught my attention. The illustrations are dark and gritty, matching the tone of the book perfectly. What if (and this made a great unintentional reading parallel), someone discovered that the center of the earth was actually hollow? What if the Eden of the Bible were a place of peace and happiness and the chosen few could escape Earth and travel to its secret core? Thus, Everlast and others are bound to seek the people destined for this “heaven” before the end of the world as they know it. A great premise for a novel and I’m loving it already.


I hope you’re reading week is just as enjoyable as mine is! Happy reading! 🙂

1001 Beers

  I really enjoy a good beer. There’s a huge difference between drinking a quality brew and certain carbonated piss-water beverages that pretend they are beers (and shall remain nameless). So I was especially excited when my parents gave me this tome for Christmas. Although I became less excited when I realized I had only tried maybe thirty of the 1001 listed within its pages. Yikes!

While I work my way (slowly) through the book, I’ve been having a lot of fun finding out more about the beers I’m drinking as well as the process that goes into making beer. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people who are in the brewing business or just appreciate the finer qualities of a good beer. And, to top it all off, I got a beer making kit and am trying to do a little research before I jump into making my first home brew.

Here are a few of my favorite resources:


Brews & Books – Josh Christie keeps his sleek blog up to date with his picks and reviews of all things literary and beer.

Beer Advocate – The quintessential beer website that has pretty much every you need to know about anything beer related. It also has a companion magazine.


Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer

Brewmaster’s Art: The history and science of beermaking (Lecture on CD by expert Charles Bamforth

Brewed Awakening


DRAFT Magazine

All About Beer

Brewing Kits

Northern Brewers

Enjoy your beers and remember to drink responsibly! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

Snow in October! ARGH! Normally I do my long runs on the trails close to my house because they are relatively flat and stretch for miles and miles. But with the snow and the frozen crust of ice on it that formed overnight, there’s no way the trails will be clear for my run today. So I decided to hit the gym, although 9 miles on a treadmill is not fun :(, only to get an email that the Y is closed until noon! What a bust! Meanwhile I had a shindig planned Saturday that had to be postponed until Sunday afternoon, so I need some time to prep for that so my time is sadly limited. Oh well, best laid plans and all that. 🙂

I’m still listening to The Marriage Plot by Eugenides and really enjoying it. It took a little while to get used to Eugenides style of narration, but once I did I quickly got sucked into the depths of the novel. I highly recommend the book or, rather, the book on CD.

Other than that, I’m only reading one (only one?!?) book this week:

  The Taker by Alma Katsu – I’m enjoying this debut novel by Katsu with it’s unique story about a doctor that has a chance run in with a woman who has a mysterious past. The present is interspersed with flashbacks of who the woman is and how she came from 1817 to live to today. The novel reads almost like a fable or a fairytale, which feels fresh and unique.

I hope you are enjoying your readings this week as much as I am! 🙂

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. Want a good book to read? Stop by and see what’s new in the world of literature!

It was another beautiful day here on the East Coast. My half marathon is fast approaching (Philadelphia Half Marathon, Nov. 20) and I’ve been working to get those runs in so I’m ready for the big day. Today I ran 8 miles on a trail close to my house. It was like running through a postcard it was that picturesque. Absolutely beautiful. It definitely didn’t feel like 8 miles with that scenery all around me! 🙂

I’ve been reading some great, great books, hope you have too!

  A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny – I love, love Louise Penny. Even her name is perfect for a mystery author – Louise Penny. Perfect. I’ve been reading Penny since she wrote her first book and I was amazed by both her great writing skills and her skillful gift at telling a good mystery story. Now, she’s getting well known and, as it is with every famed author, her name is beginning to dwarf the title of her book. 🙂 But good for her! I think everyone should read her novels, starting with the first Still Life as they build on one another, and am happy that she’s gotten so much acclaim. Her latest in the Three Pines series deals with the art world which is my background and previous life so I enjoyed all the art references. The only disappointment is finishing as I will have to wait again for her next brilliant novel.



  The Clockwork Girl by Sean O’Reilly and Kevin Hanna – A great little graphic novel filled with beautiful illustrations and a great story about love and acceptance.





  The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides – I’ve never read Eugenides before, but picked this book on CD up based on his previous popularity. So far the story is interesting and the narrator does a good job as well. The story follows a girl through college in 1982 as she majors in English and researches the role of marriage in literature. The primary thrust of the story however deals more with her pursuit of men and how those relationships both bud and wither. Eugenides paints a great picture in regards to the multiple layers that relationships hold and how these in turn affect one’s life. It’s a little too narrated though, but maybe once I understand where Eugenides is taking his readers, I’ll appreciate the story more.



Happy reading! 🙂