Thursday, December 29, 2011

Books for Christmas!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season. :) We had a wonderful Christmas with our family. Danish dinner on Christmas Eve, Santa's presents on Christmas Day and many wonderful family gatherings throughout the last few weeks. We received many very thoughtful gifts, particularly in response to our recent flood. Though we are grateful for each one, I'm going to focus my blog on what my husband gifted me - my entire Amazon wish list of books.

I am very excited about these books. I had 12 in the list, with 10 arriving because the other two are future releases. More than just reading, though, I chose these books because I think each of them can teach me something I need to learn for my own writing. It's the first time I've picked books with every intention to enjoy and learn from the author's writing styles.

Currently I'm reading a book as an experiment for 42WD Publishing. It is a book I'm not really enjoying by design. There's not anything wrong with the story, it's the style that I'm not connecting with. The point of reading this book is to learn why I don't like it and what I might like or learn to like despite the dislike. I write about what I'm learning on 42WD's blog. It's a struggle, to be certain, but I'm learning how to read with an eye for writing. I'm convinced I can do the same with books I can like.

I selected them after reading another author's review of the story and synopsis of the author's style. If it was something I thought I could work on, I added it to my wish list. So now, along with the self-help writing books I've collected on author-recommendation, I have some live examples.


I know, I know. I can definitely be a geek about books. Without that, though, there wouldn't be much point to writing one (or many), would there?

So, what did I get and why? Well, let me explain. :) I'm only going to write about why I chose the 10 books I have. I can't review them, anyway, because I haven't read them yet. I've posted links to the book and to each recommending blog if you would like to read more. Each link takes you specifically to the blog post I mention (at least, that's how it should work).

  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - This a ghost story, which I usually stay away from because I'm a scaredy-cat. I'm hoping to learn how to use suspense effectively while keeping it lyrical. Sister's in Scribe recommended this book.
  • You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis - This is a mystery that starts with tragedy. I'm hoping to learn how to place subtle clues throughout to lead to the answer while staying true to a character struggling through the emotions her journey incites. The Contemps recommended this book.
  • Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough - This book is said to be a lot of contemporary with a little bit of magic. I'm intrigued by the combination since what I tend to read is either one or the other. I want to see how it's done. The Contemps recommended this book and The Apocalypsies posted an interview with the author.
  • Flyaway by Helen Landalf - This book looks like it's going to be a great character study of a girl dealing with difficult, real-life problems resulting from the choices her mother has made. The Contemps recommended this book and The Apocalypsies posted an interview with the author.
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - This is a ghost thriller. As I mentioned above, I am a scaredy-cat. This book is also a mystery. All of these areas are genres I don't write, but could definitely use aspects of in my own stories. The YA Sisterhood recommended this book.
  • Shut Out by Kody Keplinger - This book is completely contemporary and deals with a lot of teenage boy testosterone and teenage girls thinking they can manipulate it. I think it will be a great character study and just plain fun. I learned about this book on The Other Side of the Story when the author guest blogged.
  • Winter Town by Stephen Emond - This is a complete character study. I'm particularly interested in the female main character who, from one year to the next, changes from 'average' to 'goth.' The Contemps recommended this book.
  • Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler with art by Maira Kalman- This book is a breakup letter using items from the relationship to explain. It's supposed to be a heartbreaking trip through these teen's relationship. The items are written to be conceptual more than literal. I want to know! Side note, the author also writes as Lemony Snicket. The Contemps recommended this book.
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally - The main character of this book is star of the football team, set to get a scholarship, and female. Then the new guy moves in. A contemporary romance, I think this will help me focus on my main character relationships. This book got a lot of buzz, so I'll just list the different links. The Contemps recommendation; YA Highway recommendation; The Other Side of the Story author guest blog.
  • Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay - This really caught my eye because it's told entirely in verse and is about the emotional struggling of finding faith in love when your own parents' relationship fell apart. Having started writing poetry, I think this is one I can appreciate and expect to learn how to use imagery rather than explanation in my writing. The Contemps recommended this book.
I fully believe I have a lot of exciting reading ahead of me. I hope to learn a lot and get back to writing with all my new-found inspiration and suggestions. Maybe I'll even have something to share here. :)

See you after the New Year.

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