Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Caution! Excessive Reading Causes Stys!

Well, at least for me it does. I have a nice, big sty building up under my right eye. That word never looks right...





Over my two-week break for the holidays, I made good use of the public library. I am a HUGE advocate of public libraries. When we move to a new town, the first thing I do is make everyone in the house get a library card. Just think, I tell my boys as they slouch out to the car and act all cool and offended that they have to go to the library, free books, free dvds, free books on name it! And then they get their cards, find some cool movies and go home happy.

I decided to read for my two-week vacation and this is what I chose:

The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith -

This is a very non-standard and practical approach to writing. I loved it! The last page is a punch list, which I copied and added my own notes to for future reference. The best bit from this book: This is what my piece is about (general theme)___________________,  and this story of mine (focused illustration)_______________________ is how I'll illustrate it. It helps to keep a story focused and to cut out all the extraneous junk.

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier -

The story of frontier America when the frontier was just west of the Appalachian Mountains. It's historical fiction and revolves around the character of Will Cooper, who is sold into indentured servitude to run a trading post in the wilderness of western North Carolina. Through Will, we get a fascinating picture of what it was like to see this country grow and move west. 
(This is the author of Cold Mountain)

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier -

A single woman finds herself raising her murdered sister's young children...children who are badly damaged by what they've seen. It is small-town North Carolina in the 1960's. One of the beauties of this book is what it doesn't say. There's no long, involved discussions of the children or what she's going to do with them, which makes it all feel very real and immediate.

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell -

Written in the 1860's, this is a novel about people and their lives in early 1800's England. I've never been a fan of books written in this time period because I often found myself bogged down with the endless descriptions and even more endless discussions between characters. But either I've matured or else this book strikes just the right balance between description, discussion and brevity. More likely, I've just grown up! It's also fascinating to learn about the rigid social rules young ladies of a certain class had to live by. I would've been run out of town on a rail or burned at the stake as a witch! Anyway, at 652 pages, it's not a quick read, but I was enthralled with the lives of Cynthia and Molly from beginning to end. And thank dog I don't have to change my clothes six times a day!

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury -

I first read a giant doorstop of a book called "The Short Stories of Ray Bradbury" when I was in high school. A good deal of the stories from "The Martian Chronicles" are in that book. However, not all of them and it's not arranged the same way. "The Martian Chronicles" is arranged chronologically, and some of the stories are short bridges to the next story...making it read more like a journal; if Mars kept a journal. No one can touch Bradbury in creating a nostalgic, magical and golden world in his work. I also read part of "Dandelion Wine," but I didn't finish it because someone else wanted to read it.

Plus, I threw in a few trashy novels (mostly ★ just for effort) on Kindle. I got the Kindle for PC app and it's great. There's a lot of free stuff to download and read, it you're willing to troll through all the really bad romance novels. Hint: If a book is offered for FREE, there's probably a good reason!

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