Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Longest Lent--Reading

I don't even know where to begin after taking such a long hiatus from the blog. All is well after a very difficult couple of months--headaches mainly. But it's also been a period of many graces and miracles so I am thankful. Of course, all is not well with the world, so I'm praying for all who are sick, suffering, dying, their caregivers, families, our leaders, our priests. I thought I'd share what I often neglect--ebooks. I loved all of these books and hope you find some gems for yourself. 

Enid Blyton: the Biography by Barbara Stoney is such a wonderful and detailed biography of my favorite author when I was a child. I had no idea that critics didn't think her books were literary enough. The pox on them. Sorry. No one remembers the names of the critics but children are still enjoying her stories. I didn't realize how prolific she was but her writing process is enviable. She just sat and typed out what was in her head and it came out clean. Wow! This happens only very rarely to me.

Beckoning by Claudia Cangilla McAdam has the cast of characters from Awakening back in Jerusalem starting Good Friday. This time Ronnie's best friend Tabby is the one who tells her story. She's the daughter of the Centurion who pierces the side of Christ. I loved this so much, the healing, the miracle, and Tabitha's conversion. Wonderful writing, twisty plot, happy ending.  

The Bargain by Vanessa Riley. I don't read much romance anymore but when I did (in my late teens) there were no characters like me. It didn't stop my imagination but how refreshing to see brown girls getting the boy! 

A Robot Named Clunk by Simon Haynes. Again, I don't read much sci-fi anymore but many moons ago, I started writing the great American novel using Simon Haynes' yWriter. It was a help in organizing my jumbled thoughts. I no longer use it but when I joined Writer Sanctum (a wonderful board for self-publishing) I saw Simon there. He's always as ever helpful and so I got his robot book. Fast-paced and funny, I really enjoyed it. He has lots of interesting books. I hope you'll check them out. He's another like Enid, who just sits down and types out his story. He makes all his own covers too. 

Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith. I've already talked about how if you purchase one writing book, you should consider Writing into the Dark. I loved it so much for giving me back what I thought I was losing, my voice, I had to check out his Sacred Cows--it is a great title, no?--and it will debunk many of the myths that are making the rounds in the publishing industry. I should know, I've been part for it for nearly 20 years. This book gave me the confidence to trust my voice and vision and to bring it to fruition. Thank you, Dean! 

Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write with Confidence by William Kenower was such a wise and gentle book guiding me to lose my many fears regarding this writing life. It was like having a good friend hold my hand through the tough times.  

Some People are Dead: Part Essay, Part Memoir, Parts Unknown by James Scott Bell is exactly that. I've always enjoyed reading obituaries but this was so much more, a reflection not only on people's lives but on society. I enjoyed this book very much, especially since I read it while I was in bed sick, contemplating death, and because he made me laugh with stories from his own life. I enjoy getting to know other writers, especially writers I admire. Mr. Bell is not only a terrific writer and storyteller, but a wonderful teacher.  

Snowmallows by Carol Ann Soisson was such a delight. It has everything I enjoy in MG fiction--active kids, good families, heart, humor, fantastic plot twists, along with science and faith. Wow! What a wonderful debut! I look forward to reading more stories from Carol Soisson! Well done!!! And because it's so pretty--I wanted to have a bigger picture of the cover!  

Happy reading and writing, my friends. What books have you enjoyed recently? Please do share in the comments. 


Jenni said...

Great to see you back at blogging! The writing books look really intriguing, especially the Sacred Cows one. I've enjoyed a lot of James Scott Bell's writing books. I assume it's the same author. Right now I'm comfort reading a Dorothy Sayer's novel and The Stranger by Gail Livingstone Hill. I also really enjoyed Sanditon (the 1975 book, not recent TV adaption).

Mirka Breen said...

Welcome back, in style. How you read so much with headaches amazes me.
I've gotten some good reading done, mostly of books I meant to read back when and haven't. My focus, however, is impaired with all that is going on.

Janeen Z said...

A few days ago, I ordered a hard copy of Awakening from Amazon. I still don't have a kindle, but am realizing it would save me money in the long run. Thanks for the recommendations!

Vijaya said...

Jenni, it's good to be able to share my thoughts on the blog. Sacred Cows is a MUST read for everybody in publishing. And yes, it's the same James Scott Bell--he's a fantastic writer and teacher. I love my comfort books too!

Mirka, thank you. Reading is a distraction from the head. Writing can be too, but takes more effort. One of these days I'll need to write a book about writing with chronic conditions. I'm glad to know you're catching up on your reading but sorry about the lack of focus. Completely understandable. It's so frustrating--just when I get into a good writing groove, something happens to derail it. Sigh.

Janeen, I'm so glad you have a copy of Awakening. You will love it. I have a preference for physical books too, but the kindle has helped with the book-pile management. Fiction is easy on the kindle. Nonfiction, not so much, because I'm often wanting to flip back and forth. But in the interest of minimizing the piles, I'll get a kindle copy. And you wouldn't believe some of the prices--such a good deal!

Sumer Madaan said...

Welcome back at blogging mam

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Praying for your good health.

God bless.

Vijaya said...

Thank you Sumer and Victor.

Faith said...

Thanks for the recommendations! Wow, I'm seriously impressed by writers who can just sit down and write clean. My first drafts are a mess! I read once that Michael Bond wrote A Bear Called Paddington the same way--in one day!
That last one looks like a lot of fun, and something my girls would enjoy--and what a great cover! Maybe I'll get a copy for one of their Easter baskets. :)

Vijaya said...

Faith, color me jealous!!! It's so rare when a story I write comes out clean requiring only minor revisions. I want it to happen more often and figuring out ways to tap into the well and write in flow.

You all will love Snowmallows. The author is in CT so you may even get a chance to have her sign your copy after the madness ends.