Sunday, June 19, 2011

Knock my socks off...

Hey look, a post!  Wed. didn't happen, obviously.  Too much on the platter.  Actually, I'm surprised I'm posting anything at all today, but kidlet is still sleeping and the husband has decided that his father's day gift to himself is building a chicken coop.

"Honey," I said, "We can do anything you want.  Go for a hike, go see a movie, go play at the pool."  
Oh no.  A chicken coop is the order of the day.  So he's off doing that somewhere while I recover from having a three year old birthday party at my house yesterday.  It was fine, we invited a small number of kids so it would stay low-key.  The kidlet had a great time.  There were chocolate cupcakes involved. :)

All in all, it's amazing I got any writing done at all, but somehow, I DID!  In fact, ROW friends, I hit the midpoint of Aeris, FINALLY!!!  It took me 58,000 words to get there, but it happened, and now I'm so relieved.  As for my original goal, I believe it was 70,000 words.  I wrote 7,600 for The Demon and His Lover (sequel to my other Samora short story)  So that puts me at 65,600.  Which is almost there.  I have 4,600 words left until the last check-in, Wednesday, and if I put some effort into it, I'll just make it. :)  

More exciting for me right now, is that I sent off the first half of Aeris to my lovely beta readers and I've already gotten some GREAT feedback, so yay for that, too.  All in all, feeling good about my progress for this  ROW 80 and I'm so glad I decided to join, because I really needed a kick in the pants to motivate me to get that next book started.  I still haven't decided what I'm going to do about releasing books, but I'm okay with what is my process right now.  They have a summer bootcamp for Nano coming up that I might join.  I think it's in July.  Anything to get this book finished and off my plate. :)

Onto other things, my reader friends.  11 years ago, just in time for its movie debut, I read Waking the Dead by Scott Spencer.  I'd never read anything by him before, and I had no idea that when he wrote the book in question in 1986, I was eight.  I believe I saw the movie cover with Jennifer Connelly on the front and assumed it was a new book.  And nothing ever clued me in that it was otherwise.  In other words, it turned out to be timeless, and truly one of the best/hardest books I've ever read.

I don't know what made it pop into my head this week, but it was enough for me to try and figure out what it was called, because I don't own a copy and never re-read it.  These are the books that make me want to read.  Yes, yes, a blockbuster by your favorite author is GREAT.  George's soon to be released book or the final Harry Potter —as a fan, I'm big on those.  But there is something about the unexpected pleasure of picking up a book, on a whim, and being totally transformed by it.  

There are a few of these, in my life.  Maybe they aren't classics or best sellers.  Maybe you'll read them and hate them yourself.  I don't know.  I wanted to share some of them with you.  Meanwhile, I'm off to find my library's copy of Waking the Dead, to see if it's all that I remember.

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes.  This book is probably her least recognized and least popular, and that is a shame, because it is arguably her BEST.  It follows the first person account of Rachel, stuck in rehab against her will, for a drug problem that isn't a problem.  If you knew her crazy family, you'd understand how, in a fit of paranoia and panic, they insisted she get some help.  And she proceeds to spend the entire book describing the circumstances on how she actually landed in rehab.  This book is hilarious, heartwarming, and knocked me on my butt halfway through when I realized how staggeringly GOOD Marian Keyes is as an author.  I honestly never took her seriously until that moment, and if you've read any of her other books you'd understand why.  (Not that they're bad, to clarify, they're just so light and fluffy.)

The Love Letter by Cathleen Schine is one I hesitate to nominate, simply because I've recommended her before, to my friends' dismay.  I've been told that this book is slow, that it's hard to get into, and not funny.  But I find it delightful!  It's like that last cup of iced tea, just as the sun is going down on a hot summer day.  The main character is bookstore owner and I find her perspective on life and books delicious.  

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  If you do not know and love this woman by now, PLEASE for the love of all that's holy, go and find a copy of one of her books.  I didn't list my favorite by her (Prodigal Summer) because by the time I read that book, I already loved her.  I hate, hate, hate that this book is an Oprah book.  Not because I have a thing against Oprah, but because it gives a certain perception of what the book will be like.  It's an amazing book, and I loved the prose so much when I read it that I went back immediately and read it again.  I consumed, devoured and savored each word and the characters of this book... wow.  

Drop City by T. C. Boyle.  This book was a fascinating journey back into the 1970's, during the peak of the commune, free love movement.  Somehow it also intertwines with Alaskan pioneer life and mail order brides. Fantastic, riveting, and one of the most interesting premises for a book that I've read.  I don't know if you could say it has a PLOT, but it definitely has a journey.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.  I hated this book the first time I read it.  I hated it the second time, too, but it was an assigned English assignment and required about four readings to get through all my papers and homework and by the time I read it the third time, I was in love.  This was the first book I read that didn't have a typical chronological storyline.  It was also the first book I ever read that didn't have the traditional "happy ending".  That is the reason, IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.  But because of this book, I was able to read quite a few literary fiction books without fear or hesitation.  I don't think I would have read Virgin Suicides if I hadn't read this book, first.  There is a section on the different types of desert winds that is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I've ever read.  That being said, I've never read another book by this author since.  :)

That is the end of my interesting list.  There are many many more I could add, but this is a good starting place.
Happy Reading!
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