Posts Tagged ‘ Reading ’

Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

While books would be the easiest buy for the writer or reader in your life, below are a few fun gifts for all those budding authors.

 

 

 

Moleskins – These handy little books come in all shapes and sizes and colors. Easy to pack in any bag and with their stylish look they make a great gift for writers to jot down notes as they go through their days.

 

Vintage typewriter braceletTypewriter keys make some great jewelry. From cuff links to bracelets to necklaces, these fashionable accessories are fitting for any writer.

 

 

 

Writing retreat – Okay, this may not be the most economical choice for many gift givers, but it would still be an awesome gift! Any writer looking for more time to spend on their craft would most likely love the chance to get away from distractions if only for a weekend. If spending the money on a retreat isn’t realistic, then create a “Day Away” certificate for your writer to spend a few uninterrupted hours away so they can work in peace and quiet.

 

 

Author pillows – Treat that bibliophile to fun yet utilitarian pillow covers featuring classic authors. Found at uncommongoods.com (which has a ton of really great gifts in general), these would make a perfect holiday gift.

Happy writing! 🙂

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! 🙂

 

Fun Vacation Reads

  I’m preparing to depart for a much needed vacation. This year we’re headed up to beautiful Cape Cod. Beaches, biking, great restaurants, and, of course, loads of reading. One my favorite parts of going on vacation is the planning. I love to have an idea of places I want to visit and activities I want to engage in while I’m visiting a certain place. Having an idea of what’s out there makes the idea of going that much more exciting.

One of the best parts of taking a vacation anywhere though is the reading. While I don’t hole myself up in a room while on vacation, I do know there’s bound to be downtime, planned and unplanned, that is ideal for relaxing with a good book. A couple years ago when I went to France I took books that centered around France and/or the French culture like Elegance of a Hedgehog and Les Miserables. It made me feel more in tune with the author’s words as I walked through their world both physically and through their words.

This year I’m opting for books that just seem like delicious reads that beg to be devoured while laying on a beach and dreaming of far away places. Here are a few of the books I’m bringing:

  Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron – Not the most uplifting subjects with this book centering around the conflicts of Rwanda, but the central theme of running and pursuing that which we love drew me to this book.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin – I’ve heard of both Albin and her highly praised dystopian YA novel for months before actually laying my hands on a copy of her first installment in the series. Crewel is about a young girl who has a gift that she doesn’t want, to weave the fabric of time and matter together and decide the fate of the world around her.

East of the Sun by Julia Gregson – I’m most excited about this novel as it detours from my usual running/YA reads. Viva Hollowat is already regretting her decision to act as chaperone to three young charges on their voyage to India. “From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of the orphans on Tamarind Street, East of the Sun is everything a historical novel should be: alive with glorious detail, fascinating characters and masterful storytelling.” (goodreads)

I can’t wait to read these vacation books! Happy reading! 🙂

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!

This weekend seemed like a small sampler of how buy my June is going to be. Not only is it one of the busiest months for me at work, but I already seem to have plans piled up around my ears. Lots of it will be fun just not as laid back as these past couple months have been. Saturday I got to see Olympic hopefuls for the U.S.A. Equestrian Team compete at a course in Devon, PA. Today, went to a christening for the son of close friends that took up almost the entire day. While it’s great to see friends and enjoy the beautiful weather, I also thrive on my alone time to write, read, and relax. 🙂

I can’t complain too much as I have been reading a lot lately. Here’s what’s new:

  Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs – I’ve been on a Reichs kick lately and have devoured her last three books. She’s a perfect summer on the porch read. Her books are filled with detailed mysteries, heart pounding plot twists, and great characters. Also perfect for a day at the beach!

  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – This is another book that I should have read a long time ago, but for some reason never had. I appreciated this book, but felt as though it would have been more profound if I had read it when I was younger. I remember reading 1984 when I was young and it just blew me away. This one, not so much. It’s a thought provoking concept of the future and playing with the idea of a utopia (kind of) society. If you haven’t read it, it’s definitely one that should be on your TBR list.

  Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed – When a colleague of mine saw this book she exclaimed, “Oh, that sounds like a horrible story!” I was confused as I had read the blurbs on this memoir and thought the idea of a woman hiking to find herself again sounded like a great story. But what she thought when she read the title was that this woman got lost literally and then was found literally. I could see how the tagline would be a little confusing without any prior point of reference. Regardless, I’ve been listening to this one on CD and loving it. I love memoirs to begin with, but combine one with soul-searching and the outdoors and it doesn’t take much to win me over.

  Jubilee by Robert Kirkman – I picked up this graphic novel because it was penned by Robert Kirkman and I’m a huge fan of his Walking Dead series. So far though I’ve been a bit disappointed by the lack of wow factor. While the story progresses, it’s not very exciting and definitely not what I would consider a good representation of Kirkman’s work. Still, it is a fun, fast read.

Hope you have a great week! Happy reading! 🙂

Memorial Day Fun

  My weekend was filled with sun, family, bbqs, and swimming. And lots and lots of reading. I checked out a couple of Kathy Reichs’ forensic mysteries just so I could sit on the porch and read something I knew I would love.

The pools in my complex opened this weekend so a lot of the weekend was spent relaxing poolside. The water was still freezing but very refreshing after basking in the sun. Got a little burnt because I forgot to bring sunscreen to the pool, but fortunately I’ve been blessed with a complexion that will allow it to fade into a healthy glow. 😀

I love grilling in the summer. Everything just seems to taste better. I’ve been loving all the fresh fruits and veggies that are starting to come into season and can’t wait for corn on the cob on the grill! Yumumum!

It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend too however you chose to celebrate it.

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!

 Americus by MK Reed and Jonothan Hill – This was a great graphic novel. When a conservative mother makes it her personal crusade to rid her town of sin and evil, which comes in the form of a well-loved novel featuring dragons and magic, chaos ensues. Parts made me mad because I know there are actually people like this woman out there who want to censor books that libraries carry because of their personal beliefs. A very good read though with great subplots threaded throughout.

 Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton – I really enjoy this series featuring a woman who inherited an English cottage in a small town from Aunt Dimity, a friend of her mother’s whom she never met but speaks to in the form of a journal. What’s great about these books is that they aren’t dark and murderous, they’re set in the English countryside, and, despite trials along the way, always have nice resolutions. Purely an escape novel, which can be so nice.

  The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells – I’m listening to this sci-fi tale on CD. It’s another novel that I should have read a long time ago. When the protagonist, through a series of unfortunate events, comes to the island he is disgusted by the grotesque creatures that inhabit it. Only as he sees and learns more does he realize the true madness that has captured the island and fears for his life. The only bad thing about this CD is that I’m certain I’ll miss a turn one day because I’m so entranced with this nail-biting tale.

  The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz – An adult novel based on a case of Sherlock Holmes. I hope he plans on writing more as I am thoroughly enjoying this novel. Filled with the spirit of Doyle plus twists and turns that will keep your heart thupping until the last page.

 

 

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

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! 🙂