Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's Talk About Books, Baby!

Okay, for being a blog that primarily was to focus on writing I have not talked about books in a long while!  I shall remedy that starting....now!

My writing style is different from most. Obviously.  I think everyone writes differently; just as everyone studies differently.  My sister graduated Law School by blasting music, whereas when I am in a focused mode I like silence.  In traffic jams or snow storms you will find me in an absolutely quiet car.  No lie.  When it comes to writing, I find that the moment I am focused on what I am doing, all else (apart from the Bible) falls away.  I cannot even look at a book.  It's not that I hate them, it's just that I have a fear that they will somehow taint me.  Books that I gravitate to are very similar to how I'd write and I don't want them to change the true flavor of what I'm trying to express. 

Examples:

  1. Jen Lancaster and David Sedaris are my go-to authors.  They "get" me.  They have that sarcastic flavour that I love and they tell it like it is, much like me.  I loaned out all of my Jen Lancaster books and hid my favorite Holidays on Ice book by David Sedaris last November.  Why?  Because I was writing the book about my life; and while sarcasm and wit (okay, I won't lie, I accidentally typed "shit" instead of "wit" just then.  I didn't catch it until I read back the line.  That's hilarious.) are what I was living, drinking, eating and breathing while I wrote...I didn't want other influences to spice my cooking.
  2.  When I began my book on "Finding the Blessing in Singlehood", I ceased reading any books of the sort.  My experiences, perceptions, revelations and anecdotes need to be my own.  Of course books influence your life and they always will, but in the heat of the moment, I want to get all of my stuff out there before going back in the editing process and changing huge chunks of it.  Also, on this particular subject, I've found that 99.9% of books on singleness are written by married people.  Ironic.  I feel like I have a voice into this subject that a married person just can not carry.
  3. Writing becomes my life.  When I wrote Lily of the Valley back in 2010, I found that my life got shaken.  It was my very first novel and it was (and is) truest to me.  I very much was Penelope and the more I wrote, the more I learned about myself.  It was a strange feeling and very difficult at times.  I found myself feeling like I was living an episode of Dawson's Creek.  Needless to say, my breaks from writing were not spent reading.
After completing the rough draft of my Memoir (back in November) I took a break from writing.  That break is coming to a close soon and I will be going back to tackle the heck out of that book.  In the meantime, I finally picked up some books and caught up on my reading.

For Christmas my sister bought me a Nook.  It just may be one of the best presents I have ever received.  It was extremely thoughtful and something I'd been dreaming about yet never anticipating I'd actually ever own one!  I fought tooth and nail against the switch to ebooks, yet that is the shift that is happening and as an author who hopes of publishing one day, I could no longer pretend it wasn't there.  Nothing will ever in my mind replace the feel of a physical book; the scent of the pages as they age, the crispness of a book being "cracked" for the first time...these are romantic things to me.  ebooks just don't have that appeal.  Having said that, I can't now also confess that I adore the swishing sound my Nook makes when I "turn" the pages!  So consider that (and this) my disclaimer: I love books.  I will always buy books.  Nothing can replace a physical book...buuuuuut, ebooks are convenient and kind of fun!

Let's get down to business:
Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres.  Good book.  Easy read.  DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU DO NOT LIKE ELLEN!  I have loved Ellen ever since way back before she hit it huge and had her own talk show.  My Brother, however, cannot stand her.  If she grates on you, do not read her book because the reasons I enjoyed the book are the same reasons why you would hate it.  Ellen writes just like she speaks.  The book has no real focus, no real point.  It is entirely train of thought; with a few coloring pages and haiku's thrown in the mix (and no I'm not kidding).  It was just what my brain needed and I definitely enjoyed it!  If you love Ellen, read it.  If not, then read Bossypants by Tina Fey.  That book was fantastic.




Sticking with my easy reads, I purchased Become Your Own Matchmaker by the Millionare Matchmaker's Patti Stanger.  A friend of mine had gotten this book for Christmas and absolutely raved about it.  So much in fact, that I had to buy it because she wouldn't lend hers to me!  Now, walking into this read I was hugely skeptical; I mean come on, a book is not going to help me find a man and I'm not going to pretend that it will!  I don't do online dating, I don't go to single's mixers, I'm just old-school.  Maybe that's why I'm still single!  Just kidding.  I read this book with a huge bent in me to just laugh at all the things she throws out there, the odd thing was, I didn't!  I actually enjoyed a lot of the points that she made.  I think it simply was because I was totally skeptical that I enjoyed it.  I ended up taking several of Patti's suggestions and incorporated them into my life; not because I am trying to win myself a man of my very own(!) but because they were actually sage advice.  Good book.  Easy read.  If you're reading it out of desperation, you probably have bigger problems you need to deal with, but if you're reading it for fun - have at it!  As a "single" or a "married" it's good to be reminded what little things we can do in our lives to have an impact on the world around us.

Lip gloss, I never leave home without it!



Not to be without my share of celebrity gossip, I broke down and bought (on my Nook) Jo Piazza's Celebrity Inc.  I have wanted this book since before it even hit the stands.  I am about halfway through it and am definitely eating it up.  Hollywood and "celebrity" has always been intriguing to me.  Like, where did Paris Hilton come from out of nowhere?  And why is Kim Kardashian making so much money?  And what's the deal with people like Spencer and Heidi?  I mean, come on!  This book exposes Hollywood for the money maker that it is.  The truths that are outlined on the pages of this book are shocking and not entirely unexpected.  Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is worth money and it is interesting how we, the consumer, feed into this money machine.  At times boring, but overall captivating if you are at all interested in celebrity gossip and the breakdown of it all. 


My future tackle (no pun intended) is George Orwell's book 1984.  In school I read his book Animal Farm because we had to.  It was one of those books that I remember most of the class hating while I think I actually liked it.  That was probably 15 years ago though, so how great could my memory of that be?  At any rate, 1984 is a book which people reference a lot and I just nod along as if I know it well.  Why do I do that?  Time to fix that by actually reading this literary award winner.  Wish me luck!

What about you?  Have you read any good books lately?

2 comments:

Anita said...

THE WRITING CLASS by Jincy Willett.

Heidi said...

I'll have to look in to that one! :)