Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Restless without a book you're sunk into?

I'm reading a couple of books (always, a couple of books, it seems) I'm enjoying (The Artful Edit and Claire Davis' Labors of the Heart), but when I'm not deep into a book, I feel ... restless.

I came across Marisa de Los Santos' Love Walked In at my local Barnes & Noble. I wrote down the title and contacted the publicity department. I wanted to talk to Santos on my show. This week I've been restless without a book I'm crazy about and today her book arrived (she's on the show next month). And now that I have a book I feel I may love, I feel more relaxed.

Do you go through this, too? Without a book you're mad about, you feel at loose ends?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bookstore report

People are not reading as much as they use to--or at all--so say the reports on reading and the Internet and book sales, but I'll tell ya, I've been to my local Barnes & Noble a few times in the last couple of weeks and it's busy! It's New York busy! Lots of people milling about, looking at books, buying books, and hanging around. I love it.

What's your bookstore like? C'mon....time for bookstore reports! (And I hope books are making up at least a portion of your holiday gifts.)

Have a great holiday...!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach

Seems I pick up so many books these days--for the show, mostly--that I just can get into. I don't know if it's me or the book. Probably a combination of both.

But I have read one that I loved: On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan's new book. It's received mixed reviews, and I think part of the problem is that it's a book for older readers who've made choices that in retrospect may not have been the best choice.

If you haven't read the book and plan to, then don't read on. What's to come is a SPOILER of sorts.

But the main character, Edward, makes a decision on Chesil Beach that changes the course of his life, that he regrets to his dying day, and realizes if he hadn't been stubborn, if he'd reached out to Florence, if he'd been more patient and loving, he might have lived out his days with the girl of his dreams. But he wasn't.

I don't think younger readers can relate to that and maybe that was the problem. When you're young, you think you'll live your life with no regrets, that the choices you make are all valid, good ones. And later you find that perhaps not all of them were.

So what are you reading that you love? I ask this question a lot, don't I?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Too busy to write?

I love the holidays but I'm with everyone else: Things become so busy and accelerated that it's hard to find time to write. Not to write emails, of course, and Christmas cards and this invitation and that, but to work on fiction--it's the last thing I put time into doing. After my ongoing deadlines--The ASJA Monthly and teaching, there are cookies to bake, shopping to do and costumes to construct. (Tonight my one class is having our annual party, and this year we're going as literary characters. Brian and I rented costumes yesterday so I think we're going as characters from a Dickens novel or The Count of Monte Christo.)

So this is one more thing I love about the holidays, this year, anyway: I'm too busy to work on my book. So Starletta awaits me, and I dwell on what I want to do with her and the story when I return to it. Which is good because I've hit another wall and need to figure some things out.

Are you finding time to write?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Grammar/style guides

One of my online students feels she's lacking in the basics and asked me which books I recommended she read.

Here's my short list:

Elements of Style by Strunk and White

Spunk & Bite by Art Plotnik, a great follow-up to Elements

Woe is I
and Words Fail Me by Patricia O'Connor

And if you're interested in writing fiction, Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway and Ron Carlson's Ron Carlson Writes a Story would make for a great beginning.

What are your recommendations?