Saturday, November 30, 2013

Still Writing

Still Writing: 
The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
by Dani Shapiro

Genre: Non-fiction

Review: Dani Shapiro, memoirist and novelist, shares a little book full of wisdom about writing and life. The title is true to the content of the book. If you plan to live a writing life, you should learn about both the perils and the pleasures. The solitude, uncertainty, and anxiety, as well as the joy of flow, discovery, and delving deeper into yourself and your stories. This is honestly the best writing book I have read since Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I have a feeling I will keep coming back to many of these quotes...

My favorite quotes from the book:

Act as if…
“Act as if you’re a writer. Sit down and begin. Act as if you might just create something beautiful, and by beautiful I mean something authentic and universal. Don’t wait for anyone to tell you its okay. Take that shimmer and show us our humanity. That’s your job.” p.32

About Reading:
“Fill your ears with the music of good sentences, and when you finally approach the page yourself, that music will carry you. It will remind you that you are part of a vast symphony of writers, that you are not alone in your quest to lay down words…” p. 34

 “It allows the greatest consolation of literature, which is to pierce our separateness, to show us that, in this business of being human, we are not alone.” p.124 

On practice
 “If we are patient, if we place ourselves in the path of possibility, we might just find our own rushing current…Lives are made up of days. Days made up of hours, of minutes, of seconds during which we make choices, and those choices become practice.” p.131

“Why are we writing about this moment, and no other?” p.137

“It is the truest lesson I know about writing—and life—that we must always move in the direction of our own true calling, not anyone else’s.” p.192

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Good Daughters

The Good Daughters
by Joyce Maynard

Two "birthday" sisters grow up in rural New Hampshire, both of their lives tied to the Plank farm in indelible ways

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: Dana Dickerson, daughter of a painter mother, secretly longs to work the land someday, and Ruth Plank longs to be a painter. Life on a farm in the harshly beautiful landscape of New Hampshire is evoked. Dana and Ruth grow up beside each other in a sense, yet far apart; both feel out of place in their respective families. The story hurtles toward a conclusion that you know is coming, but still shocks, like a Greek tragedy. Maynard weaves the symbolism of strawberry vines, called daughters, throughout the story. The writing is honest, sensory, and emotionally evocative. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Divergent Trailer!

Who is excited for the film adaptation of Divergent?

Shailene Woodley and Theo James star as Tris and Four.

Watch the movie trailer here:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Virgin of Small Plains: Mystery on the Prairie

The Virgin of Small Plains
by Nancy Pickard

Genre: Mystery 

Review: This mystery set in Small Plains, Kansas switches back and forth between the present and past. In 1987, Abby and Mitch are two 17-year-olds in love, but when Mitch witnesses something appalling, he leaves town without warning. 

Almost 20 years later, Abby finds Mitch's mom wandering in a farm field, near the grave of the Virgin of Small Plains, a young woman who was lost on the night of the blizzard in 1987.  Abby becomes determined to find out the truth about the Virgin's true identity. The characters are realistic and compelling, and the setting is richly drawn.

Now I am reading her latest book!