Tag Archives: books

Nanowrimo 2014

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How cool is this! Not only is November a month devoted to giving thanks, eating until you feel like you might throw up (and then you do), putting on boxing gloves and throwing down over the last Barbie or Wal-mart towels, or yelling unabashedly in support of people being knocked unconscious on a field – it’s National Novel Writing Month!

Basically, National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo, is getting hopped up on caffeine and writing with a group, friend or alone in your favorite spot at home until you reach the goal of 50,000 words. This year I participated because it was one of my 2014 new year’s resolutions, which I made on the fly in the spirit of making goals I did not intend on reaching, high on the newness of the year and the idea of endless possibilities – but I digress. When my husband reminded me of my promise, I became angry at myself for making such an insurmountable goal and at him for reminding me that I had done so and being so supportive. The anger was not actually anger at all but fear, fear that I would fail. So, after a few tears and screams in my pillow, I decided to give it a try – no I was in it to win it.

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I wrote like a mad woman for days, setting my timer for an hour and resting for thirty minutes and sometimes doing sprints for as long as I could write. I attended two write-ins in my state. One of them was great with nice lighting and the perfect ambience for inspiration. The other was awful. People kept talking loudly, addressing the entire group instead of using a normal café voice. The owner allowed us to use the facility during after-hours so we could write in a quiet place but I guess everyone did not get the imaginary memo. My husband and I drove an hour to get there. Before long I got up to leave, disappointed that I had not gotten much done at all. But there was a silver lining. I had written for a couple of hours earlier, my husband and I had rousing conversation to and from the venue and I had learned to never attend another write-in with that group again unless I was way ahead of the game, which they probably were.

Overall, my experience was great because guess what?! I won! I reached 50,000 words on November 28. I could not believe I had actually done it with all the other responsibilities I had that month, but the numbers don’t lie. Big thanks to my husband for dictating every word I wrote to make sure I stayed on track, his supportive words and help around the house, and encouraging text messages from my dear, dear friends and family. You guys will never know how much you mean to me.

So I am writing this blog to let you know whatever it is you want to do but think it is just too crazy for you to achieve, do it. Cry it out, make excuses and when you are done – do it. Depend on your friends and family to give you the support you need. Give them the chance to let you know how much they care about you and your goals. Do it! Do it! Do it!Winner-2014-Facebook-Profile

My Favorite Childhood Books

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This will definitely be running a list because I’m almost certain I have forgotten some. Here’s a list of some of my favorite books I read as a child.

  1. A Snowy Day   by Ezra Jack Keats   Age 7                                                                                                                                              As stated in another post, I enjoyed this book mostly because it was the first book I encountered in which the characters were people of color. I think it is really important that children see themselves and their culture represented in story books. The story becomes more relevant and reliable.
  2. The Babysitter’s Club   by Ann Martin   Age 9                                                                                                                                         This was my first completed series. I remember pulling these books out to read, after having completed an assignment in class, and comparing page numbers with my friends. These books were so engaging and fun. I also enjoyed the movie adaptations.
  3. The Secret Garden   by Frances Hodgson Burnett   Age 10                                                                                                                       One day my mother grounded me, I had to stay in my room for the latter part of the day. It was a Saturday, I had gotten a new library book on Friday. I read the entire book that day and enjoyed every minute– best punishment ever!
  4. Goosebumps   (series) by R.L. Stein   Age 10 and up                                                                                                                             These books had just the right amount of creepy I needed. I could read them just before bed and would not experience nightmares. The stories were very cool and would leave me with “goosebumps”.
  5. Sweet Valley High   (series) by Francine Pascal  Age 9                                                                                                                                  This series was just as satisfying and popular among my friends and me as The Babysitter’s Club series. I remember being so disappointed after I realized that I had read the last installment. This series had love, friendship and high school drama — everything.                                                                                                                  What were some of your (childhood) favorite books? Have you read any other the titles on my list, if so what did you think?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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I usually do not gravitate toward classics when I am searching for a leisure read but sometimes I get a hankering for a good old classic reminiscent of my favorite “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.

This book is highly praised and raved as a pioneer for gothic literature in the book community, so I gave it a shot. Also the fact that it is considered a modern classic persuaded me to assume that it would not entail a ton of flowery language and excessive description. I was right. It contains just enough detail to assist in imagery but those who may not be accustomed to reading classics might have an opposing opinion.

Let’s cut to the chase. I really enjoyed this book. It encompassed everything I enjoy in a classic; complex themes and characters, mystery and intrigue. When I finished it, I sat for a while and pondered my feelings. I thought about how much I shared with each character. I also examined my feelings for the villains and discovered that I didn’t hate them but pitied them for I saw their suffering.

The main protagonist constantly rehearses self-sabotaging mantras that she’s too young, inexperienced, unattractive, incapable, and overall boring. Throughout the novel, she undergoes a drastic transformation. Her journey lends greatly to the story.

This book made me contemplate the aging process and the importance of living in the present moment while appreciating what you have and who you are.

I enjoyed the mystery element most. There’s definitely a lot of “woo woo” stuff going on that had me guessing and anxious to find out what was going on.

4 stars!

I would recommend this book to those who:

  • enjoy books with Gothic themes
  • appreciate character development
  • enjoy mystery novels
  • enjoy classics

Other books by this author:

Jamaica Inn, Frenchman’s Creek, Hungry Hill, My Cousin Rachel (1951)

The Birds (1963)

Don’t Look Now (1973)

Reading on the Dark Side

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Want something dark, suspenseful with a splash of grotesque to read? Well, I think I know just the book that properly fits the bill- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Snarky and socially challenged Libby Day has been notorious for being the sole survivor of a gruesome mass murder allegedly committed by her oldest brother, Ben, when she was seven years old. Now in her mid-thirties and nearly destitute, Libby has no choice but to assist a club, whose members are obsessed with murders and murderers, in helping to review the case in exchange for money. She is forced to track down and scrutinize people and events that possibly contributed to the horrible yet faithful night her mother and two sisters were brutally killed.

What I liked about this book:

The characters  felt real. I felt connected to most of them and genuinely sympathetic towards the victims.

The characters are interwoven and relevant to the plot. There are no outliers or people appearing for no apparent reason. Everything is connected.

The ending was satisfying.

Other books written by this author: Sharp Objects (2006), Gone Girl (2012)