Sunday Salon - edification and formulating

The year is halfway done and my book buying ban is over.  I was pretty sure at the beginning of the year, that by this time, without buying any books, my TBR pile would be whittled down to a reasonable amount.  I was pretty good and only picked up a book here and there, instead of spending my budgeted $50 a week on amazon.  I tried to limit review books but you know how that goes.  I also tried to slow down my reading a bit.  The end result - for every book I read, I managed to replace with another.  So the TBR pile - still stands somewhere around 60 books and I have a tower of finished books climbing up one wall in my bedroom. However, I have become more judicious in what I put on my wish list and what I buy.   Hubby's about ready to break down and buy me some more bookshelves for the living room.  However, he only likes solid Teak hardwood (no particle board for him) so we're waiting for the ones we want to go on sale. 

A couple weeks ago we were in Borders and as we headed to the check out counter saw the "The Passage" and picked it up to look at because of all the hype.   For some reason it didn't capture my interest right away and I put it back.  My eyes were tired and the font just didn't sit well with me, plus my kid was ready to go.  Not conducive to picking out a book.  I put it back and several days later downloaded a sample on my e-reader. The sample included the first 3 chapters.  It was enticing enough I decided to buy the book. 

I didn't want to get it in ebook form because it's a long book.  I'd rather read a long book physically than on the e-reader.   Short books are fine, but longer books I have trouble with using an e-reader.  Perhaps its the fact you don't turn your head while reading and thus get a stiff neck and  it seems my comprehension and retention is different when I read something off a screen. But that's a discussion for another day.   A couple days ago, my son expressed interest in going to Borders and getting a Bionicles Graphic Novel.   He rarely asks to go to the book store to buy a book so of course I said yes. He ended up getting 4 books (yeah!) and yes, I picked up "The Passage" which for some reason they had in the Horror section instead of the Mystery/Thriller section.   If you ask me, that's kind of sneaky, but actually a good marketing ploy on behalf of Borders because it makes you look through the entire M/T section.  Which in turns causes you to find many, many tempting books you want to read.  I was good and restrained myself.

Plus I've been shopping for curriculum for 5th grade and who can pass up the bargain books at or get sucked in by the interesting covers lining the shelves in the grocery story.   This week I've collected:

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Silent Scream by Karen Rose 
Against All Odds by Irene Hannon 
Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur 
Simon Says by Lori Foster 
The Dead Whisper on by T.L. Hines
The Search by Nora Roberts

Another reason to slow down my reading a bit is more time for writing.  I finally typed up all the handwritten chapters for Eyes in the Ashes which I think is what was slowing me down.  Now I'm ready to finish writing the story.  I currently stand at 48,384 words.  I'm joining Sarah in her 50,000 words in 50 days challenge which is starting tomorrow so I'm going to aim for 1000 words a day.   

I just finished reading Ursula Le Guin's article "Make your fiction truthful" in the July issue of The Writer magazine. It's all about writing what you know but she has a different take on it that made a lot of sense.  

"If you take it in its deepest meaning, "write about what you know" means write from your heart, from your own real being, your own thoughts and emotions.  It means what Socrates meant when he said, "Know yourself."  If you don't know who you are and what you know, if you haven't worked to find out what you yourself truly feel and think, then your work will probably be imitation work, borrowed from other writers. It may be brilliant, full of meanings and ambiguities and symbols and all that stuff they teach in literature courses, but it won't be the real goods.  It won't wash. There won't be any wear in it, and the colors will run."

"Write what you know, doesn't mean you have to know a lot.  It just tells you to take what you have, take who you are and use it.  Don't try to use secondhand feeling: use yourself."

So write what you know isn't meant to be taken in the literal sense which I think many people do.  At least I did at first, then rejected the concept because I felt it limited me. In my 50 years I've experienced many things and met many interesting people.  Life - being my sister's birth coach;  Death and how hard it is to watch someone slip away; Illness and laughter, passion and love and strength and kids, etc.  I started to think about those experiences and of course, the emotions that go along with it.  I decided I'm going to write it all down - bullet point style, instead of an in depth,  this happened, then this.  Don't want to get too mired down yet.  Just want to be able to go back and look through and use them as stepping points.  Write characters with real life emotions and experiences.  You know you got it right when your writing makes you laugh or cry or cringe.  I also love those aha moments when it all fits into place.

Coming up this week, I'll be reviewing "The Lace Makers of Glenmara" by Heather Barbieri as part of the TLC book tours on July 14th.   I'll also be working on my review for "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein for the SFF Masterworks Project.  The site is live now with several reviews posted already.  Well worth checking out and I'll post a link to the review when it's up.  I'll also be posting the SFF Masterworks Meme here in the next few days which will give you an idea of what books are on the list and which ones I've actually read. Turns out very few and hence the reason I joined the project.

Happy Reading!

The Sunday


  1. Your past few weeks has been very busy!! very cool that you got all of your handwritten pages typed up!!! I bet that is a relief all on its own. I can't resists 50% off books either...looks like you picked up some good ones too!

    Have a great week Robin!

  2. As far as your book buying, I can't say much. I've cut back some, but use Paperback Swap all the time to get books in. Library books get read first usually, which means the others don't. Like you, my reading has slowed. This has more to do with getting burned out over book blogging/reviewing. This year, I decided to kick back and read when and what I wanted. So far, I've read the same amount as last year...go figure.

    As far as your writing, WOW, that is awesome! Best of luck with the 50,000/50 challenge. It was the best experience in 2010 for me. I hope you walk away feeling the same.

  3. I've read about a third of THE PASSAGE and I'm not really sure why I put it down. I need to get back to it.


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