Book Review: The Anchoress - Robyn Cadwallader

First lines: "I was near the door, where woman should stay.  The floor was hard, refusing me, though I lay face down, my arms outstretched, embracing it, wanting this life, this death. I  knew there were people nearby, those from the village who had come to look or pray, but I saw none of them.  Voices in the sanctuary that seemed so far away sang a dirge, a celebration of loss, prayers for me.  I knew the words: I had read and reread them, memorized them, prayed on them, but now they were nothing but sound."

I was intrigued by the story of The Anchoress as I'd never heard of the anchorite life before.  I knew about cloistered nuns as I had visited a cloistered convent when I was a teenager.  We were allowed to talk to them through a screen in which they could only see us from the waist up, a privacy screen raised in case any outside visitor was inappropriately dressed.  They were a giggly group of ladies who enjoyed their simple life of prayer and work inside the convent walls.  It was an interesting experience to say the least.  

Set in medieval times, Sarah is a 17 year old young woman who chooses to become an Anchoress, shutting herself away from the world. She thinks by leaving the outside world, it will help her forget her grief about her sister who died in childbirth and protect her from marrying the local lord's son.  She will spend her day in prayer and deny herself all those things that will come between her and God.  Except that even though she is shut away from the world, the world still revolves around her. She can still hear all the the activities of the village, the people who work in and around the church.  There is a parlor in which those who wish counsel may sit and talk with her through a covered window.  She goes through a myriad of emotions and in the process, figures out her place in the world and what it truly means to be the Anchoress for the community.  It's quite an intriguing story, delving into the culture of a 13th century village and spiritual life. 

Book Review: Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

First lines:  "Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation.  You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about."

Back cover:  Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure -- a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.
On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land -- the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.
Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage -- a magnificent saga of men against the sea.

I've had Kon-Tiki on my shelves for quite a while, relegated it to the bathroom and had been reading it a few pages at a time, until one day it finally captured my attention enough to make it a priority.  The first three chapters of the book goes into detail as he discussed copying Tiki's voyage, decided to really do it, got permission, put together a crew and traveled through a war zone to get the same wood as the legends of Tiki had used to build the raft. 

Once they launched, life got interesting as the men went with the flow of the water and nature. They learned what plants to eat which allowed them to drink sea water and avoid getting sick as well as harvesting plankton in the middle of the ocean.    I was particularly fascinated by all the underwater life in the middle of the sea that on an ordinary motorized ship would have gone unnoticed.  History and nature combined with Thor and the crew's dedication and courage to follow in Tiki's footsteps (or should I say 'wake') made for quite an adventure. 

Book Review: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

First lines:  "The London air was full of smog and filth. Kai's senses were better than those of a human, though he tried not to be too smug about it.  But even he couldn't see down a dark alley any better than the average Londoner.  And even native Londoners walked carefully in the narrow streets behind King's Cross Station."

Back Cover: The written word is mightier than the sword—most of the time...

Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble.

Kai’s abduction could incite a conflict between the forces of chaos and order that would devastate all worlds and all dimensions. To keep humanity from getting caught in the crossfire, Irene will have to team up with a local Fae leader to travel deep into a version of Venice filled with dark magic, strange coincidences, and a perpetual celebration of Carnival—and save her friend before he becomes the first casualty of a catastrophic war.

But navigating the tumultuous landscape of Fae politics will take more than Irene’s book-smarts and fast-talking—to ward off Armageddon, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear....

The Masked City is the 2nd book in Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series.  Irene uses all the resources possible from the Library to Silver to the King of Dragons as well as masquerading as a fae teacher's student, using her wit and making up things on the fly, to travel  through a world of chaos, in a race to save Kai.  The story is non stop action with unexpected twists and turns that will make you breathless by the the very end.

Book Review: Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

First lines:  The world is a clock winding down.  I hear it in the wind's icy fingers scratching against the window.  I smell it in the mildewed carpeting and the rotting wallpaper of the old hotel.  And I feel it in Teacup's chest as she sleeps.  The hammering of her heart, the rhythm of her breath, warm in the freezing air, the clock winding down.

Synopsis: How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans?
Rid the humans of their humanity. Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate. 

The Infinite Sea is the 2nd book in the young adult, apocalyptic series -  5th Wave -  in which aliens are trying to wipe out all humanity on earth.  It picks up right where the first book ended with the kids having escaped Camp Haven,  hiding out in an old hotel.  Ringer is leaving to go in search of other survivors, to find a safe place for all of them.  They are all aware she might not make it back, but are willing to take the risk. From there the story is non stop action, even though some of the characters remain hunkered down in the hotel, fighting psychological as well as physical forces, while Ringer battles for her mind and humanity against Camp Haven's commander, Vosch.   I'm looking forward to reading the third and final book in the series - The Last Star.  

Book Review: The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman

First Lines: "Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods.  In the fading light, the trees began to take on unfamiliar and menacing shapes. There was movement in the shadows. Low-hanging branches barred his path; rain-sodden leaved trailed wetly across his cheek."

Back cover:  He was the last-born son of the Duke of York and the last Plantagenet King.  He was Richard III, a complex man living in tumultuous times.  Caught in the vicious power struggle that history has called the War of the Roses, Richard had been raised in the shadow of his charismatic brother Edward.  At nineteen and against all odds, Edward had defeated the House of Lancaster and claimed the English throne for York.  Famous for his sensual appetites and his preference for the expedient over the correct, Edward nonetheless found in his younger brother Richard an unfailing loyal ally.  Richard himself was repaid for his allegiance; he was denied nothing, except the one thing he wanted most in life--the right to wed the woman he adored, Anne Neville. Their love would haunt them both and add to the tragedy of Richard's eventual defeat at the hands of the Tudors.
Sharon Kay Penman has become one of my favorite historical fiction story writers. I was first introduced to her books through her Welsh trilogy with Here Be Dragons.   Her stories are full of depth and richly populated with interesting historical characters.  

The Sunne in Splendour covers the life of Richard III over a 33 year period from when he was seven years old until after his death. From page one she immerses you in the lives of the House of York, as well as Lancaster and Neville.  I enjoyed learning about Richard, his brother Edward's rise to to be King and his relationship with Richard, the War of the Roses, the intrigues as well as betrayals of the time period.  History too often is rewritten with the facts being lost in the process when told from your enemies point of view. Through meticulous research, Penman set out to write a historical fiction novel that would show Richard wasn't the villain the Tudors and Shakespeare made him out to be. At 900+ pages, The Sunne in Splendour is a rich and densely packed story about 15th century England,  family, power, and politics which will capture your attention and hold you there until the very end.  

Book Review: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I finished Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones which was most entertaining, educational as well as an inspirational read.  Her essays are like meandering down a winding trail with something new around each curve to observe and absorb, with new or common sense ideas to try out different approaches to writing as well as writing in different places and spaces.   

Synopsis:  With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing skillfully and creatively. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer’s craft: on writing from “first thoughts” (keep your hand moving, don’t cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don’t listen to it)—even on choosing a restaurant in which to write.  Goldberg sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives. The advice in her book, provided in short, easy-to-read chapters with titles that reflect the author’s witty approach (“Writing Is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger,” “Man Eats Car,” “Be an Animal”), will inspire anyone who writes—or who longs to.

I'm more of a sporadic writer, writing daily for long periods of time, then maybe not at all for weeks or more.  There is always something percolating in the back of my mind but I don't always feel the need to get it down on paper.  After a while, ideas blend together to form an epiphany that gets me writing again.  I had been doing morning grumbles (morning pages), then started to laugh at myself for dwelling too long on things that I can not change and decided to go back to ignoring what Goldberg calls the monkey mind. 

We all have the mind of a monkey. This analogy, slightly humorous though it may be, is actually quite salient. Consider that we humans have around fifty thousand separate thoughts each day, many of them on the same topic. You might imagine that each thought is a branch, and you, or at least the attention of your conscious mind, is indeed a monkey, swinging from thought-branch to thought-branch all day long. ~ Pocket Mindfulness.

So when I came to the chapter The Goody Two Shoes Nature I realized I had been doing some of my writing out of duty rather than because I wanted to, which of course takes all the joy out of it.  

"Some people hear the rule "Write every day" and do it and don't improve.  They are just being dutiful.  That is the way of the Goody Two-Shoes.  It is a waster of energy because it takes tremendous effort to just follow the rules if your heart isn't in it.  If you find this is your basic attitude, then stop writing.  Stay away from it for a week or a year.  Wait until you are hungry to say something, until there is an aching in you to speak.  Then come back.
Writing can teach us the dignity of speaking the truth, and it spreads out from the page into all of our life, and it should. Otherwise, there is too much of a schism between who we are as writers and how we live our daily lives. That is the challenge: to let writing teach us about life and life about writing.  Let it flow back and forth." pg 168-169 

I was a Goody two shoes in all things growing up.  I thought I had gotten past that but discovered I was bringing that to my writing practice. So I did quit, for quite a long time.  So this spoke to my heart. 

Since I am in the process of rewriting my current WIP, her essay on Rereading and Rewriting is synchronous. I had been trying to decide how to approach it?  Do I edit electronically -  cutting, pasting and adding or do I work from the printed out version, making notes and filling in?   Neither method seemed to be working for me. I rewrite scenes all over again on a blank piece of paper, taking what I know about the story?  

Then I read:

See revision as 'envisioning again.'  If there are areas in your work where there is a blur or vagueness, you can simply see the picture again and add the details that will bring your work closer to your mind's picture.  You can sit down and time yourself and add to the original work that second, third or fourth time you wrote on something.  For instance, you are writing about pastrami.  Your first time writing is good, but you know you have more to say about the subject.  Over a day, two days, a week's time, do several more timed writings on pastrami.  Don't worry that you might repeat yourself.  
Reread them all and take the good parts of each one and combine them.  It is like a cut and paste job, where you cut out the strong writing of each timed writing and paste them together.  So even in rewriting you use the method and rules of timed writing.  This helps you to become reengaged in the work you wrote before.  Attempting to reconnect with first thoughts is much better than standing in the middle of your mosquito swarm trying to swat at your discursive thoughts before they suck blood.  It's a much more efficient way to rewrite and it bypasses the ego even in rewriting.
Given that God, the universe, or synchronicity, whatever you want to call it, has in the past few days thrown the idea at me from several avenues -  the prospect of a fresh start, keeping in mind what I've already written -  I think it's time to take that advice. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Writing Down the Bones and highly recommend it.  

Monday Meanders: Weekly intentions - filling in the blanks

Sunday evening and hubby is using everything - including the kitchen sink - to make Margaritas!  *grin*    He dug out the old oster blender and ice crusher and is having a fun time mixing our drinks.  Best he's made yet...Well this time! 

I made great progress this week with outlining my current WIP on poster board and had more than a few epiphanies! I've always been a visual person so don't know why I didn't try this before.  Love seeing each scene and how I can move each one around to make better sense.

I'm far from done  and have written more notes,  found holes in the main arc and subplots and discovered which characters I need to still interview.  Even after two sessions with the storyboard, I can see I need to put in more time ironing out details so this week will continue to work with the story board and adding scenes.  I have made a lot of changes regarding the number of characters, deleting some and including new ones, plus I had too many points of view. I also forgot I had just the basics on my villains and never interviewed them, so will work on their background as well.  I think I'll give myself two more weeks for refreshing myself on story points, discovery and interview process, with the goal of beginning actual rewrites the first week of February.  I know characters will reveal new information and some things will change as we move through the story, so as always I'll remain flexible.  

However, life interrupts with taxes so I'll be working on those this week. I need to run our 2017 numbers and find out if we own more in  taxes than originally planned for, since our next estimated payment is due.  I know I should have done this a while back, but just didn't have the time.  Plus we coming to the end of the 1st semester of 12 grade and you guessed it, grades are due.  Lots of numbers will be floating through my head for the next few days.  

Meanwhile I'm 2/3rd's of the way through Sharon Kay Penman's historical novel,  The Sunne in Splendor.  I really enjoy her writing.  I shelved The Courage to Write because it was too negative for me and happily reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones essays as well as Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day by Katharine Grubb.

I've been quite inspired the past couple weeks and feeling more creative. I now look forward to writing, embracing whatever emotion is raised in the moment rather than burying my head in a book and ignoring life.  

Happy writing! 


A to Z Poetry: Birth


An idea comes in the midst of sleep.
Drowsily you grab paper and pen
to scrawl words to keep,
before they are lost again.

Characters once asleep
 in the shadows of your mind,
come to life with a leap.
A story is born in a moment of time.

Let's start with my name
then we'll fill in the rest,
the chick says as she claims
 a home in your mind's nest. 

I want joy and strife,
a mountain to climb, a pit so deep, 
the bottom or top of my life.
will take time to reach.

I may need a mate,  but not quite like me  
we'll both need a race, a riddle, a quest, to solve.
I don't want simple or carefree
while our life evolves.

She sits on your shoulder, filling your ears.
You'll tell the tale of my life
living vicariously through my fears and tears,
laughter and love and strife.

A lifetime created with one little spark
when you read the page
written so clumsily in the dark.
Psst! My name is Sage.


Thursday Epiphany: Outlining

I had an epiphany today. I have various exercises as well as a short story using the characters from Eyes that I completed while taking classes a while back.  I realized today that all that information can be incorporated into the main story as flashes of backstory or part of the story, providing clues to the characters as well as the conflict.  I don't have to stick with the conclusion in the short story since no ones read it except class mates and it isn't published, so nothing is written in stone. Such a freeing moment.  I've been writing lots of notes and started to fill out post its for the story board.  It's slow going but that's okay.  I've gotten a good start and will continue to work on it throughout the weekend.   

Doing a happy dance! 

Writerly Wednesday: Getting Organized

Our two week Christmas break from lessons is over and time to get back into the groove of learning. Every Sunday I fill out James weekly assignment sheet. The other evening I sat down to fill out his schedule as usual. I happened to look at the pile of books and notebooks in my writing nook, thinking how I'd fit my writing and blogging and everything else in for the day while he's busy working on his stuff, when the idea hit me. To do's and notes and bullet journals just were not working. I needed something simple and always accessible, not buried in a notebook. 

I should make an assignment sheet of my very own to follow weekly! 

I ignored the voice of the editor in my head saying it's another way to procrastinate from what I really needed to be working on, which is the story board. "Hey you," I say to the criticism, "I printed out the story, put it my notebook and I bought a trifold bulletin board so I'm ready to jet. Lots of changes are percolating around in my brain, so shut it." *grin* Besides, I'm being creative.  The lines aren't perfect and that's a bit annoying which I'll blame on paint and having to do a bit of rework since Word wouldn't let me save it in jpeg for some reason.  Pdf yes, Jpeg no.  *facepalm*

I'm psyched and ready to roll! 


Monday Intentions: Review and Rewrite

Have you ever edited the life and your voice out of a story?  I've come to realize I did just that with Eyes in the Ashes.  I wrote it several years ago and had writer classmates and friends  over a period of time review different chapters and provide feedback. Lacking the foresight to decide what was the best thing to do, I implemented way too many changes.  Every time I've gone back and looked at the story, I'd tried rewriting a bit more, but have never been quite happy with how things turned out.  In the meantime,  I've changed and learned so much about the craft of writing and grown into my skin as a writer. Plus I've written a few more stories and even one that kind of ties in with this one, as well as flash fiction and nonfiction.  But I always keep coming back to this particular story.  Things have been percolating in my brain for some time with changes in characters, points of view, and more.     

So I have decided to go back to the beginning and as my husband the engineer keeps telling me - start with the baseline.  He's a great sounding board for ideas and is totally in with me story boarding the story.  Little does he know that I may take over the kitchen wall, but for right now I'll try to keep it poster board size.  *grin* 

I printed out the original draft today and will write up the list of scenes this week and figure out where I need to delete or add scenes.   I've already decided to rewrite from my main character's point of view and have been having fun interviewing and delving into his backstory.  I know much more about him now than I did a couple years ago.   In addition, will write up a current list of things to do involving character interviews,  research and more.  I'm going to take it week by week with the goal of reaching THE END by the end of the year.    

I’ll keep an accountability record by reporting on goals and accomplishments each week. 

The first requirement in taking a step in the right direction is to take a step in some direction. ~Robert Brault

Book Review: Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami


Haruki Murakami 

Amazon:  Wind/Pinball, a unique two-in-one volume, includes, on one side, Murakami’s first novel Hear the Wind Sing. When you flip the book over, you can read his second novel, Pinball, 1973. Each book has its own stunning cover. In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels—Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973—that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age—the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat—are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami’s later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase, of the trilogy of the Rat. Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer’s beginnings.

Hear the Wind Sing is an intriguing first book which reads like a memoir. Like his later books, it meanders and introduces topics or goes on tangents that you not quite sure how they fit, but you know they fit anyway. Parts of a whole, more story to come. Derek Hartfield, NEB radio, the girls who touched his life, Rat who is still a bit of a mystery. Captures you and leaves you wondering.

The 2nd in Murakami's rat trilogy illustrates his growing style for writing in a non linear, pseudo stream of consciousness style.  The fondness for the radio station guy calling out of the blue, his love for cats and dogs, and the theme of obsession.  Murakami loads his books with oddball characters which keeps you reading, wanting to know where he is taking you. The still unnamed narrator's memoir like journey with the nameless twins.  We learn somewhat more about Rat who is an very unhappy guy, but yet remains somewhat of a mystery.    The narrator's obsession over pinball has an quirky resolution you probably wouldn't find in other stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed both stories 

Thursday First Lines: Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami

"There's no such thing as a perfect piece of writing.  Just as there's no such thing as perfect despair." So said a writer I bumped into back when I was a university student.  It wasn't until much later that I could grasp his full meaning, but I still found consolation in his words--that there's no such thing as perfect writing

Book Review: Thomas Merton - Thoughts in Solitude

I fell in like with trappist monk Thomas Merton several years ago when I read Seven Storey Mountain.  Since then I've collected several of his works and they are always enlightening and inspirational.  

Synopsis:  Thoughtful and eloquent, as timely (or timeless) now as when it was originally published in 1956, Thoughts in Solitude addresses the pleasure of a solitary life, as well as the necessity for quiet reflection in an age when so little is private. Thomas Merton writes: "When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, the society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate."

Thoughts in Solitude is a short read of 130 and packed with Merton's philosophical and spiritual thoughts on humility and silence.  So much stood out and I'll probably be coming back to this time and again. 

Part one:  Aspects of the Spiritual Life.  

"What is the use of praying if at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?

The spiritual life is first of all a life.  It is not merely something to be known and studied. It is to be lived.  

Meditation is one of the ways in which the spiritual man keeps himself awake.... It requires unending courage and perseverance and those who are not willing to work at it patiently will finally end in compromise.  Here, as elsewhere, compromise is another name for failure. To mediate is to think." 

Part Two: Love of Solitude:

"Words stand between silence and silence: Between the silence of things and the silence of our being.  Between the silence of the world and the silence of God.  When we have really met and know the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality. 

"Do not flee to solitude from the community. Find God first in the community, then he will lead you to solitude." 

He recommends reading the Psalms as well as Max Pickard's The World of Silence from which he found inspiration.  I fortunately found The World of Silence online in pdf format and began to read it last night. I'll let you know what I think when I'm done. 

2018 Challenges, Goals and Intentions

Balancing Rocks by Stuant63

Happy New Year!   Yes,  it's that time of the year when we start over with good intentions to balance out our lives and spend less time on the internet.   I’m still trying to figure out my Word for the year – debating between persist, steadfast, or intention. 

To persist is to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance.  Also means to last or endure tenaciously.  

To be steadfast is to be fixed in direction; steadily directed

Intention - purpose or attitude toward the effect of one's actions or conduct. To have purpose or design. 

Now that I’ve looked at the definitions, persist and steadfast seem to be pretty much the same. Continue to stay the course, being stubborn, have purpose, despite opposition. The only opposition is myself and neither word at this point seems too terribly optimistic  or will help me move forward.  Intention is more positive, more purposeful. More action oriented.  I feel like I’d make more progress with life and  writing and other projects if I went with intent.  Instead of saying I think I will or maybe I will or perhaps we should, it will be I intend to.  Or as Yoda says "Do or do not, there is no try."  

Blog wise, the official posting schedule will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday which means the posts need to be written the day before. I started to dabble with poetry and created my own A to Z poetry challenge. I made it through K this past year since I started midway.   So I'm going to start all over again.  I want to keep the schedule flexible as I'll be working on not only poetry, but flash fiction and nonfiction, book reviews.

Back in June after reading Sage Cohen's Fierce on the Page,  I tried my own My Promise to Write Month (MyPRoWriMo) in which I posted every single day of the month and I did well for a couple months. This year I'm going to take it month by month, play it by ear and maybe do it every one month. We'll see.  I need to spend time coming up with an outline, work on editing my current WIP as well as coming up with new story ideas so will probably start MyProWriMo in February.

Writing wise, I've been having a  failure to commit to anything. My last WIP is festering. I haven't any new ideas except perhaps one that is percolating at the moment.  This is where my word of the year comes in.  My intent is to finish rewriting my current WIP by the end of the year or decide once and for all to shelve the story.  Now that I'm starting to feel more creative having freed myself from the 'silence' debacle, I'm ready to dive in.  I'm going to feel my way through the schedule for January, determining when the best time to write and the best time to edit works for me, plus figure out a weekly word goal. 

Reading Wise: For the next few months, I’ll be reading from my TBR shelves since every year I start off with the goal of a  4 month buying ban.  I usually make it until February before I’m enticed by a new release by a favorite author.  *grin*  

I’m starting my year with something historical but couldn’t wait to start and dove into Sharon Kay Penman’s 15th century history fiction novel -  The Sunne in Splendor – a couple day ago.  A dusty and chunky book which has been calling my name for some time.  I’ll be dipping into Murakami’s Trilogy of the Rat starting with Hear the Wind Sing in between Penman's book since it is quite chunky.

My 52 Books armchair travel adventures are starting the year in Japan and China so besides  Murakami’s Trilogy of the Rat and Miyabe’s The Gates of Sorrow, the other books on my nightstand is  Keigo Higashino's Devotion of Suspect X, Qui Xiaolong's Mao Case, and Cixin Lui's Three Body Problem.

Inspiration  wise – I’m reading Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude.

Writing wise – Katherine Grubb’s Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day as well as Ralph Keyes The Courage to Write.  

Audiobook wise – I’m listening to Faith Hunter’s Blood of the Earth.  James and I are also listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.” 

― Mary Anne Radmacher

~Cheers to a wonderful, productive, intentional writing and reading new year!