Friday, March 31, 2017

On reading more to write better: Wilkie Collins and building supsense

For writers, acclaimed novels offer a chance to see what works in fiction - and what definitely does not work. As I’ve been taking an interest in horror novels lately, I feel that it’s time to examine one to see how authors can best build suspense. Wilkie Collins’ classic The Woman in White has long been celebrated as an early detective novel and a pioneering story of sensationalism. Robert McCrum from The Observer argues that The Woman in White is the 23rd best novel ever written. From Collins, aspiring authors can (and should) learn some methods of building suspense.
(Note: This article will definitely include spoilers. If you want to fully understand the genius of The Woman in White, you should read it and look for the suspense-building, then come back here and see if you agree with my thoughts.)
Collins spends most of this book slowly building suspense and a general feeling of creepiness. The novel begins with Anne Catherick scaring Walter Hartright by placing a hand on his shoulder. With this, we begin with a sense of mystery and fear. Who is this woman and what does she have to do with Walter? Did she really just escape from an insane asylum? Where is she going? Why did she want to talk to Walter? In this position, many writers would spend the entire book having Walter search for the answers to these questions, but Collins doesn’t answer these questions for us until he has brought up even more questions. He continues this pattern throughout the book - when we think we have the answer to one set of questions, another set arises. We are always left wondering what’s going on, and what will happen to the characters we are growing to love - or fear.
Collins also does an excellent job of keeping some questions unanswered for much longer than we like, or by making us doubt the answers we are given. For example, we learn from Sir Percival that Anne Catherick’s mother desired Anne to be locked in an asylum. However, the letter from Anne’s mother is short and gives us very little other than answering Marian’s questions directly - and this seems suspicious. In addition, Sir Percival later has a surprise visit from Mrs. Catherick - who the housekeeper claims to have never seen before now, in spite of how intertwined her life is with Sir Percival’s. This leaves us wondering how involved Mrs. Catherick actually was in her daughter’s incarceration.
It’s also difficult for the reader to fully understand the characters. We fully know the characters who narrate for us (as there are several narrators), but other characters (such as Laura Fairlie and Sir Percival Glyde) are somewhat mysterious to us. Sir Percival Glyde begins as an ardent suitor (and fiance) to Laura Fairlie. On the surface, he seems like a fine and amiable man - he’s thoughtful and sensitive towards Laura’s feelings regarding their engagement, he takes care to get on Marian’s good side, and he acts as though Laura is the most pure and angelic being in existence. There are small clues, however, that let the reader know that all is not as we think it is. The fact that Sir Percival comes between Laura and Walter predisposes us to dislike him and his kind demeanor seems...almost too much. Marian mentions that Sir Percival at one point states that he wishes to know nothing about the mysterious object of Laura’s affections, while simultaneously seeming like he’s fishing for more information. We have only two strong clues (besides a general feeling of creepiness) that let us know Sir Percival is not to be trusted: 1. The Fairlie’s dog is terrified of him and 2. Anne Catherick’s letter. It isn’t until halfway through the book, after Laura and Sir Percival marry, that we begin to see his true colors. And he isn’t the only mysterious character. Though we know Laura is more a victim than anything else, she continually surprises us - by keeping secrets from Marian Halcombe, her beloved half-sister, and by often taking actions that Marian feels are out of Laura’s character. Laura is one of the good guys and yet, her actions and thoughts are a mystery to us. What’s going on with her? What is her relationship with her husband like? And how exactly does she plan on living the rest of her life with this terrible man?
Collins also sets wonderfully creepy scenes - graveyards, angry husbands, dead dogs, people thinking they’re being followed. These scenes are both essential to the story and fantastically set the mood for the book. As the book goes on, it feels more and more suspenseful and terrifying.
Any writer wishing to add excellent suspense into their novel needs to read this as a basis of horror and thriller novels. Also, anyone wishing to write a strong heroine also needs to read this - as Marian Halcombe is surprisingly strong-willed for a woman in her time (though that may be a post for another time).
If you want more writing advice and thoughts, Writing Under the Blankets may be of use to you.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March: Best and strangest

-The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - One of the first detective novels ever written, this book was groundbreaking when it was originally released. These days, it’s considered to be a classic and one of the forerunners of the thriller/detective genre. It’s a great read and it’s easy to see why this book was such a big deal. My only complaint: The ending is a bit meh. There’s all this buildup and then…..oh. Okay. That’s it. You can read more of my thoughts here.
-Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card - It’s been years since I read any Orson Scott Card and this was definitely not what I expected of him. And I mean that in the best way possible. Card is an absolutely fantastic author, but this still blew me away. It’s one of those book that I’ll be ranting about for years to come. If you like time travel or serious moral/ethical questions or history or any of the above, this story is definitely for you. Read my full Goodreads review to read me gushing some more.

-The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford - I should preface this by saying that I’ve never read adult contemporary fantasy before. And it was quite the experience. The Last Hot Time is a set up like a film noir - drinking, gambling, impropriety, you know the rest. That in and of itself doesn’t sound too weird, but throw in elves, gang wars, magic bullets, curses…..and it gets a bit more complicated. It continued to feel like a film noir, but with fantasy characters and issues, which made things interesting. I got the feeling the author is a weird dude because no normal person could have thought up such an interesting premise.
Am I glad I read this?: Ultimately, I guess so?! I definitely didn’t love this book. It was a bit of a chore to force myself through it. I loved the author’s idea, but his execution left something to be desired. You can read more of my thoughts on Goodreads. If nothing else, this book opened the door to contemporary fantasy for me and I’ve added Borderland to my TBR (so maybe I’ll actually read it someday) because of this book. I dunno that I like contemporary fantasy now, but the idea intrigues me and I want to test it out a bit more.

What did you read this month? Anything absolutely mind-blowingly incredible? Anything beyond bizarre?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On why I love/hate #AskALibrarian

If you haven’t heard about #AskaLibrarian yet, you need to check it out. Every Thursday from noon to 1pm EST, you can tweet out what sort of books you’re interested in and librarians from around the country will suggest books to you. I’ve been monitoring it for several weeks are here are my pros and cons:

-I have discovered so many interesting and strange books - not from asking for recommendations myself, but from stalking everyone else’s requests.
-It’s very convenient if you need a book recommendation and you plan on buying the book - especially if you’re looking to gift a book to someone. Lots of parents tweet looking for books for their children.
-It starts a conversation about books and reading and gives people a chance to share what they love, what they don’t, which books everyone must read, which books must be devoured immediately, etc
-It allow people to be very specific about what sort of books they like - for example, one tweet asks for “physically small/slim book, not terribly depressing or difficult to read, male protagonist. Ideas?” (@librarianbug), and another asks for “Any books with a focus on tea (rituals, ceremonies, history, et al)? Fiction or non-, Please and thank you!” (@vein_of_silver). AND PEOPLE RESPOND TO THESE AND HAVE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT THESE TYPES OF BOOKS. It’s wonderful and much easier than trying to Google books within a very specific genre and about a certain topic.
-It makes me remember all the books I’ve read and then I want to throw them at everyone I know (or even people I don’t know - like the people on Twitter)
-That being said, it also gives me a chance to connect with people on the internet about excellent books, which is always fun and wonderful.
-It glamorizes being a librarian (which is something I’ve always wanted to be) and makes the job seem like it’s all reading and fun (and none of it is boring paperwork or pushing heavy carts of books up steep ramps or anything like that).
-It promotes reading and makes it look trendy and cool (which it is).
-It makes the world a happier and better place - because what’s better than being really excited to read a book and finally getting a copy of that book and loving it just as much as you hoped you would?!? NOTHING

-It makes my TBR list faaaar too long because every recommended book sounds absolutely amazing when suggested by someone who loves it.

Monday, March 27, 2017

On puppies

Alright, folks. It’s time for something random and ridiculous and today, I have some of my favorite book characters as portrayed by pictures of puppies that I found on the internet.

This lil’ beauty is the spittin’ image of Beth March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - if Beth was a tiny maltese puppy. Like this puppy, Beth is a) absolutely adorable, b) tiny and vulnerable, c) always wearing a shawl or blanket (at least she does in my imagination whenever I read the book…), and d) capable of making everyone want to take care of her all the time.
This little guy is being cast as Locke Lamora from Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. Like this cutie, Locke a) always has his eye on the prize and goes all in to get what he’s going for, b) is kind of oblivious to the fact that what he’s doing may not always be the best idea. (Spoiler: I’m still crying.)

A+ grade for this adorable pup who is wholly dedicated to getting the part of Kaladin from “The Stormlight Archives” by Brandon Sanderson. Kaladin and this pup both a) try to escape and have freedom NO MATTER THE COST, b) get into all sorts of shenanigans by being themselves and by striving for said freedom and c) venture where they shouldn’t.

Some puppies just can’t be messed with and this little one falls into that category. So does Mattie Ross, the heroine of Charles Portis’ True Grit. Maddie and this pup have quite a bit in common: a) Both are tiny and adorable, b) both are going to mess you up if you don’t do exactly what they want, c) both are really good at getting their way by looking like they’re about to pull out their revolver to shoot you in the face.
This cutie aspires to play Ford Prefect from the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy by Douglas Adams. Like our pup here, Ford is a) typically upbeat and optimistic and beyond earnest, b) absolutely determined to get his entry into the Hitchhiker’s Guide book (among other things), and c) sweet and hilarious and wonderful. I just can’t get enough of either of them.
And finally, here is our contestant for the part of the Dormouse from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. He’s a good fit for this part because a) he’s in a teacup.

Do you know any puppies who personify characters? Do you know any characters who could pass as a puppy? DO YOU KNOW ANY CHARACTERS WHO ARE PUPPIES?! Let me know in the comments.

Friday, March 24, 2017

On David Bowie's favorite books

When David Bowie passed in January 2016, my heart broke. And my quiet mourning turned to full-blown obsession. I’ve read three biographies on the man (my public library has the next one I’ll read), watched two documentaries (plus another waiting on Overdrive), listened to all of his music, and watched countless interviews and performances online. Bowie is legend and I, of all people, know that.
So when I happened upon this list of books recommended by David Bowie, I nearly died of happiness. My favorite artist was releasing information about a common interest we had. AHHHH.
Unfortunately, I’ve only read 7 of them so far. The rest….are what I should have expected from Bowie, but not necessarily what I want to read.
David Bowie, from what I can tell, was a very thoughtful and deep-thinking individual. He consumed mountains of art during his lifetime, so if he thinks these books are worth reading, the Bowie fanatic inside me tells me that I must run to my local library and check out all these books IMMEDIATELY.
A different, more rational side of me says that these aren’t the sort of books I could read one after the other. At some point, I’d need a break to read some bright chick-lit or children’s fantasy or a new book from a beloved author and that I’d get bored of David’s deep novels.
So here’s my compromise: I’ve put a handful on my TBR list. Once I finish those, I’ll get around to a few more of them. And eventually, I’ll have read 100 books that David Bowie loved and I’ll get to know him just a little bit better.
Want to know how many you’ve read? Here’s the Goodreads version of the list that you can check.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Series Review: The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins

Before The Hunger Games, there was Gregor the Overlander, one of the most wonderful, delightful, and dark children’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. When my little brother handed this to me in 2005 or 2006, demanding that I read it, I wasn’t expecting much. I should have known better - he has fantastic taste in books (though he doesn’t read as often as he should these days) and always seems to know what I’ll like. We quickly became Underland fanatics, getting our hands on each sequel as soon as we could and staying up far later than our parents approved of to discuss the plot and our predictions. When the final book came out, my brother was vehemently outspoken about his dislike for the ending and stated that he hated the entire series (it’s now been almost ten years and he maintains that the ending ruined everything for him). We respectfully disagreed on this point.
Since then, I’ve probably reread the entire series at least five times. It’s beautiful and brilliant and I can’t get enough of it. When I left for college, I asked for a box set of my own since I couldn’t take the family copies with me (also, they’re all falling apart from being well-loved and well-read by all of us). I’ve forced these books onto several people and have tried to convince several others to give them a chance.
In saying all this, I’m trying to let you know that I’m pretty biased - I absolutely adore these books and I don’t know that I’ll have anything critical to say about them. They’re basically perfect.
To start off, they’re beautifully written. While I don’t like everything Suzanne Collins has written, I can say that she is a talented author and that she deserves the limelight. The descriptions are well done, the word choices are excellent, and Collins has a distinct voice when writing. “The Underland Chronicles” are written for children, but Collins doesn’t talk down to the reader at all. She esteems the reader as an equal and writes as though she’s speaking to a peer rather than a child.
With that attitude, Collins opens the door to handling some rather difficult topics. Gregor, our hero, isn’t perfect and wonderful and superb. He’s actually not someone you’d want to be. When the series starts, he’s the one running the household, watching after his sisters, and trying to stay positive even though he’s a very sad and very confused eleven-year-old boy. Gregor has a tough home life in some non-traditional ways for fantasy - his family loves him and they are close-knit and try to be happy, but the circumstances they’ve found themselves in makes it difficult for them to function as well as they want to. For a children’s book, this is rather heavy. In addition, throughout the series there are several moving and heart-breaking character deaths that are handled with care, though not with condescension. Collins again handles these situations as if writing for a more mature audience, trusting that her young readers are able to handle tragedy. For my brother and I (and our younger siblings, who probably started this series when they were 8 or 9), it was hugely rewarding to be trusted with such serious topics at such a young age. Some parents I lent these books disagreed, feeling that these books were too heavy for young children and held off on suggesting it to their kids until they were older. I was glad that I was able to deal with heavy topics at a young age because this gave me a chance to connect with the world around me more. When Gregor witnesses attempted genocide late in the series, this gives a vivid example of something that young readers will be hearing about for the rest of their lives and makes world tragedies seem more real and accessible.
Collins also makes sure that the adults she writes aren’t perfect. I’ve read too many children’s books that show the adults as all-knowing and all-powerful, which is how children sometimes feel about their teachers and parents. Several adult characters are shown throughout the series to be well-meaning, but deficient in some ways or misguided in others - and not in a “this is a stereotypical adult in a fantasy series” way, but in a very flawed, human way. Gregor is forced to learn who to trust and this gives the reader a chance to do this in their lives as well. This series shows that adults make mistakes and that sometimes, children know what’s right better than the adults. This is shown somewhat humorous throughout the series when Gregor doesn’t believe the prophecies that many Underland adults hold dear. Gregor stands alone in this conviction and is somewhat torn by it until he receives validation from an adult who’s important to him. This doesn’t even happen until the end of the series. Not only does this give the reader a chance to learn that they can (respectfully) disagree with grown-ups, but it shows children that grown-ups often disagree with each other. And that’s okay.
The characters in this series are phenomenal. As I stated before, they’re imperfect and frequently don’t know what they’re doing. People disagree in mature (and sometimes immature) ways, but they can come back from this. We see characters dealing with trauma and disappointment in surprising ways. By the end of the series, no character is the same. Each important character has learned hard lessons and has changed in dramatic ways. And they’re all so human (even the non-human ones). These characters are relatable without being Mary Sue’s or flat and uninteresting. Each character is complex and diverse and memorable and has a surprising depth for a children’s series.
The plot also has a depth that is not seen in many children’s books. In addition to being somewhat heavy, it’s obvious that Collins knows her world and is just giving the reader a taste of it. The plot moves along well and incorporates so many different aspects and areas of the Underland - giving the reader the opportunity to learn as Gregor does. The conflicts throughout the series are intriguing and attention-grabbing and the various plots and subplots stay with the reader long after the series is over. The issues and dilemmas the characters grapple with are so pertinent in 2017 - racism (though it looks more like specism in the series), wars, corrupt politicians, spies, political divisions, etc. It’s a complex series with a complex plot and complex themes - again, Collins is putting more trust in children’s ability to grasp these concepts that most children’s authors do.
Writing this makes me want to read them again. Maybe I’ll rope my brother into reading them with me. And maybe this time, he’ll feel differently about the ending. Maybe he’ll buy his own copy of the series and will love them and read them to tatters like we did growing up. And maybe he won’t this time. But I’ll keep hoping.

Monday, March 20, 2017

On TBR books that intimidate me #1

My TBR list is huge and gets bigger by the day. I desperately want to work through it, but there always seems to be a reason not to - my public library doesn’t have the book, I’m not in the mood for that sort of book just then, a different book catches my eye and MUST be read before I try anything else, I’ve been sent yet another ARC that I feel obligated to finish quickly, the list could go on and on. However, every now and then, I find that I have a really irrational reason for not reading a book on my TBR. Sometimes, I take these books off my list, but sometimes, I still want to read them - I just need to learn to overcome my fear. Below are a few books that I’m absolutely terrified to get around to. Please judge me.

-Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns - My mum adores this book. She owns at least a couple copies of it and has tried to force it upon me more times than I can count. Having read many of the type of books she tends to like (she only reads mysteries and small-town feel-good novels), I feel like I know exactly what I’m going to get myself into with this one. And I can’t handle that.I want a little more suspense and intrigue than I feel like this book will bring me. This book seems like it's for lazy summer evenings in a hammock when I have nothing better to do, not when I'm feverishly trying to read everything ever written as quickly as possible. It'll be too slow to hold my interest and then what?!
-Treasure Island!!! By Sara Levine - I was browsing some Buzzfeed list of “200 books every 20-something should read” or something like that when I happened upon this and it looked somewhat interesting. I added it to my TBR. It’s been a few years since then and I CAN’T FIND THIS BOOK. I mean, my search has been limited to two different public libraries, browsing random bookstores, and looking for free pdfs online, but still - it hasn’t been the easiest book to find. I can’t even remember what this book is supposed to be about and I don’t know if I’ll even like it, but it’s still on my TBR list because I have too much pride to take it down before I have a chance to thumb through it a bit. Also, I’m beginning to doubt its existence and I’ve decided I NEED to find it (as long as I can find a really cheap/free copy). I just don’t know what I’ll do when I actually have it.
-A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - Several people and online lists have stated that this is a must read. I was pretty excited to get ahold of it until I found it at my public library and….it’s HUGE. I immediately put it down and went to find something at least half as long because I do not have a long attention span for huge non-fiction books and my TBR shelf at home is much too large for me to take a break to read a book that massive. Someday, when I’ve finally made it through all my TBR that I actually own, maybe I’ll give this another try. Maybe.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

On new books! - from Half Price Books

Yay! New books!
The husband and I were exploring antique shops this weekend when we decided to take a break to go book shopping. The closest bookshop was Half Price Books and we popped in to see what was available. While this was a lot more of a discount bookshop and less of a thrifty used bookstore, I had a lot of fun and we thumbed through a lot of books and it was overall an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday. And I managed to find two books that I couldn’t bear to leave in the store.

-David Bowie Changes: His Life in Pictures 1947-2016 by Chris Welch - This beautiful book is full of pictures AND information about Bowie and it’s a wonderful addition to my Bowie obsession.
-Thrice Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris - Jean Ferris has long been one of my favorite authors and I’ve had some trouble finding the final book in the “Upon A Marigold” series. Though I’ve heard it isn’t as good as the first two, I’m still excited to finish the story and to own another Jean Ferris book.

Friday, March 17, 2017

On bookish yarn projects #1

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
These Alice in Wonderland mittens, fortunately, are not impossible and by no means unfeasible. With a pattern available on Ravelry and a 3.8 rating from the people who’ve replicated them, this is completely doable and perfect for any knittish reader. These are adorable, extremely clever, and so fun. And the best part? The White Rabbit even has a little pocket watch, which stands out beautifully against the grey and black. I also love the buttons on the side of the mitten - it gives the mitten a quirky look instead of being a straight mitten. I'll definitely be giving these a try when I have more time (and less half-finished knitting projects).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On cleaning out my bookshelves

I never know what to do with books I own after I’ve read them. And I haven’t had great examples. My parents have bookshelves full of childhood favorites, old college textbooks, worn copies of books they swiped from their parents’ houses, books my uncle gave them when he moved to China, books I brought back from college, book people have gifted them, and boxes and boxes of books that no one has dared to go through. In addition to this, they each have a bookshelf on their side of the bed that are full of books. And an alarmingly large pile of books on the floor next to it.
I’m still at a transitional period in my life and I simply don’t have the space or the resources to store and lug around boxes and boxes of books. Sadly, I’m frequently in denial about this. I’ve tried in vain to combat this. In my most recent move, I donated several books that I’d been holding on to for years, but hadn’t gotten around to reading yet. It hurt - far more than I expected it to. Now I’ll never know if that was meant to be my new favorite book, I agonized inside, apparently forgetting about this cool thing called a library where you can check out any book you want. I justified my actions by telling myself that this meant I had my addiction under control - that I was in charge, not the books. However, recently, in a rare moment of clarity, I noticed that my nightstand/bookshelf was full - and that I had a growing pile of books on the floor next to it.  I knew I needed to find a better system (and a healthier attachment to the books I own). I needed to clear shelf space, but I also needed to make sure these books went to a loving and kind home for people who could use and appreciate them the way they deserved to be appreciated.
And that’s when I had a wonderful awful idea. I have all these books. And I have all these friends who like to read.
They obviously needed these books.
And so it began. I immediately started mailing books to my friends. Sometimes for good reasons (i.e. my friend who teaches American History will LOVE this book about the Revolutionary War). And sometimes for irrational ones (i.e. my old roommate also received several self-help books from work a few years ago and she dutifully read them, so maybe she’ll read the self-help book I got from work, too?) And sometimes for vengeful ones (i.e. Dad raised me to be like this and it’s time I punished him with more books. Muahahaha. Also, he loves Dostoevsky. And I have a collection of Tolstoy’s novellas I need to get rid of.)
It’s been fun to see people’s reactions to receiving free and unexpected books tailored to their tastes (somewhat). There has been a mixed bag of excitement, confusion, gratitude, and “Well, at least it was nice to get a gift, even if it was this.” I’ve even had someone say “I probably won’t read this. You should donate it to the library and get a break on your taxes.” And I expect more hilarious, wonderful responses from my dear reading companions. Mailing books I enjoyed to people I care about has been extremely rewarding on a personal level and has enabled me to strengthen connections with those around me. But the best part? The pile of books next to my bookshelf has stayed at a somewhat steady size for several weeks now. That’s what I call progress.

Monday, March 13, 2017

On what I'm reading right now #1

The past few weeks, I’ve been very torn about whether I’d rather spend my time listening to new music or reading new books. Books have seemed to be winning out lately - I’ve finished a ton so far this month. Here’s what I’m working on right now:

  1. I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone by Jeff Kaliss - I’m trying to read more rock ‘n’ roll histories (as part of a compromise with myself to learn about music while I read books) and this one caught my eye. It was slim, it was about a band I like, but don’t know much about, and it was brand new to my library. I couldn’t resist. I loved Sly’s intro and George Clinton’s preface, but beyond that, nothing about the book has stood out too much yet. I’m enjoying it, but it feels a lot like...every other rock ‘n’ roll history I’ve read - complete with drug abuse, issues with managers/recording companies, fragile egos, and name-dropping famous people. But I am learning interesting things about Sylvester Stewart and about a lot of songs and bands that influenced the group, which I love. I can’t wait to dance to the music with a better understanding of the group that made it.
  2. Slade House by David Mitchell - Several people I follow on Goodreads have given this book outstanding reviews and it finally caught my eye. I’m not very far into it, but I’m loving it so far. It’s just creepy enough and it leaves me guessing, which is an excellent way for any story to start. Also, the writing is absolutely fantastic. I care about the characters much more than I assumed I would - even though, so far, each character has only lasted a short time before meeting an untimely end….
  3. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams - This has been on my TBR list forever. My public library didn’t carry it, so I put in a suggestion that they get it. Lo and behold, when I went to the library last week, they had a brand-new copy of it and I’m the first person to check it out! It’s nice to see my tax dollars doing something I like. I’m only a few pages in so far, but I’m really excited to finally read this! Adams always makes me laugh.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Once upon a time....

....there was a girl who loved books to a near obsessive extent. One day, in an effort to both read more and write better, she decided to start blogging about books.
And that, folks, is as far as my plan has gone so far.
I've always wanted to be a writer. In third grade, that's what I was on Dress-up-as-your-future-career Day (slash how do you even dress up like an author? The best my parents and I could come up with was carrying around a notebook and a pencil everywhere). I've started countless stories, written two really rough (and really terrible) novels for NaNoWriMo, and dreamed a lot. These days, I've become more of a reader than a writer. This blog is my attempt to push myself - to be a more thoughtful and more analytical reader, and to also be a stronger, better, and more prolific writer.
So, let's see how this goes.