Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ensconced in Books

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

- Oscar Wilde

This may the longest I’ve gone without a post.

One excuse is I was away visiting family and friends. Another is I had an idea for a post and needed to download photos, but I didn’t bring the cord to New York so they were stuck on the camera. Seeing a specific family member tempted me to write maudlin posts, revealing way too much, so a break seemed in order.

I have a backlog of about five post ideas, one from the Dublin-Paris trip and the others from sub jobs I have yet to write about, but I don’t feel like writing those. The present gives so much inspiration; I find it hard to go back. Does that happen to you?

Another excuse is because I’ve been spending the last week doing more reading than usual. And in the last month or two I’ve been reading A LOT. Reading and thinking about how the books are written. Reading in all sorts of genres.

This is my booklist since May:


- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (Because of every writer seems to recommend it)

- Page after Page by Heather Sellers (Because Jane Friedman: recommended it. But I cheated, since I didn't do any of the writing exercises)

Middle Grade:

- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Because I tried to get my husband to read it, and reminiscing about it make me feel like reading it again.)

- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Because why stop at 1? J.K. Rowling sure uses “was” a lot. And those adverbs…)

- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Because apparently I’m addicted. I’ve read these all before, and there are so many books to read, so what am I doing?)

- girl coming in for a landing: a novel in poems by April Halprin Wayland (Because someone in my new critique group wrote a manuscript in verse, so I had to check a few out to see what they were like.)

Middle Grade – Audio Book:

- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (For my daughter to listen to on the way home. I had used it for a reading group in the fifth-grade, and thought it was layered and lovely.)


- Hush, Hush by Becca Fizpatrick (Because it was recommended widely around the blogosphere.)

- Tantalized by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Because she spoke at the NESCBWI conference and it sounded interesting.)

- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Because everyone recommended this one too.)

- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Because my son loved it.)

Now I’m reading:


- Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School by Katherine Darling (Because books about food are tempting. And I have a gift certificate to take 6 classes at the Cambridge School of Culinary arts that I got for my Big Birthday, which I’m excited to use.)


Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnankenberg (Because it's fun to read about authors whose angst and appetites make mine amateurish in comparison.)

Middle Grade - Audio Book:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Because we needed something to listen to on the way to New York because Connecticut and New York radio stations rarely play any current rock or alternative music that’s current. I can only listen to AC/DC, Billy Joel, and Rush so many times. We’ll probably listen to the rest on the way to Maine in a couple of weeks. It’s 7 ½ hours.)

What’s next from my book pile?

Middle Grade:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Because why not just reread the whole series at this point? Besides, this video makes me less sad about what happens at the end of the book:



Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (2nd in series. Because I hear it ends in a cliffhanger, and book 3 is about to come out.)

I just realized adult fiction seems to be missing from my list. Since I concentrate on YA, reading YA makes sense. And I seem to be a sucker for memoir of the culinary sort. On top of that, I’ll read any nonfiction by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a pity he can’t write faster.

Aubrie ( gave me a great award she made herself, but I had to promise to list five books I love. Usually I can’t accept awards because I don’t use my blog to list seven things about myself (or any of the other things one has to write to accept awards). And I don’t pass them on because I’m a terrible blogger + I don’t want to use my blog in that way. But since I decided to write a book post, it’s fitting.

My Favorite Books:

Harry Potter Series (I know, SHOCKING.)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Deals with so much in one book.)

Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (Taught me about love.)

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (Gave me a passion for the environment beginning in first-grade. If/when I get The Disappearances published I will probably have to dedicate the book to him.)

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Love his voice and angst.)

Fantasy and Sci Fi writers, I’m passing this award on to you. Just list your five favorite books and this award is yours.

What genre(s) do you gravitate towards?

What are you reading now?

What book(s) do you recommend?



  1. Yay for summer reading!! Sounds like you're putting summer break wisely. I'm sure reading all those YA books is helping you with your writing! Awesome!

  2. Ah, I read To Kill a Mockingbird this summer, and now it's one of my favorite books, too!
    Naturally, I gravitate towards fantasy : ) (particularly YA). I just added a bunch of new YA books to my reading pile last night!

  3. OH! And five of my favs are: The Host by Steph Meyer, Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones, The Hunger Games, The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, and everything HP!!

  4. You have a pretty wide selection here. I almost never read non fiction. Reading is my escape, my refuge. I want to spend my time in some other place, far away...I have one for you-Unwind by Neal Shusterman. If I were a middle or high school teacher, it would be on the required reading list, right along with The Giver...

  5. Happy Independence Day to you and yours.

    Great reviews and you have listed two of my all time favourites in your list - Accidental tourist and Catcher in the Rye.
    The Accidental Tourist was my first Anne Tyler and I have read every one of her books. She is a master, effortless, brilliant writing.
    Dr Seuss is interesting because they are really insightful books and very popular in my house.
    Happy reading, I am reading 'Eat,Pray,love' at the moment.

  6. @ Tiffany, thanks. I know you're a big reader too. I'll have to check your blog and see if you've done any book reviews.

    @ Kari, I'll check out your reads by Jones and Turner. Thanks!

    @ The Words Crafter, I love The Giver. It almost made my list. If I didn't put The Lorax, then it would be in my top 5. Thanks for recommending Unwind. I'll look it up.

    @ Brigid, my mother loves Anne Tyler and has read all of them too. I've read a few. I want to read Noah's Compass.

    Eat, Pray, Love is pretty popular.

  7. LOL!! I love the Buffy and Twilight mash-up!!! LOL!!!! I never got into Buffy and I'm still catching up on Twilight! LOL!


    My goodness such a lot of books!! I feel quite lame and lazy now. I've been reading the same book for over two months (Wolf Hall) only because I am such a slow reader - immensely slow. Oh dear! But it's a great story though - so that's the book I'd recommend!

    I'm very eclectic with my reading - no one genre - maybe I stick to favourite authors and those recommendations by newspapers or word of mouth!

    Great post - good luck with all your reading - wow!

    Take care

  8. Your comments about Harry Potter were so funny lol! I never noticed the adverbs and was, but then I only ever read them once. It's great that you've had so much opportunity to read! If we're writers, reading is not only our enjoyment it's our homework! Yay! Double whammy of wonderfulness!

  9. There's no-one more quotable than Oscar Wilde, uh? Great quote - but then all of his are.

    Re Catcher in The Rye: I've never read it, but I want to. But I have read A Clockwork Orange. The voice is very similar. I'd recommend it.

    Thanks for a fascinating post.

    All the best, Boonsong

  10. Nothing wrong with reading over blogging. I dabble in lots of genres, but like history and crime. I am currently reading one of Dr. Henry Lee's forensic books now.

  11. @ Old Kitty, I think I may rent Buffy. I didn't watch it at the time but I think I'd like to see a tough chick fight vampires instead of the one who likes being watched while she sleeps.

    I'll check out Wolf Hall.

    @ KarenG, I feel less guilty when I read than when I read because as you say, it's homework.

    @ Boonsong, I've quoted Oscar Wilde so many times on this blog. You're right, he is the most quotable!

    I saw the Clockwork Orange movie, and it was creepy!

    @ Slamdunk, I like history but not crime. It makes me sad for the victims.

  12. Thanks for sharing this post and good luck with your reading :)

  13. What a list. I'm Reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
    I generally read YA especially if it has something paranormal/sci fi in it. I do read some adult too.

    Highly recommend Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I know everyone is talking about it--I loved it.
    Hope you had a great weekend!

  14. Thanks for accepting my award! Great choices for books.

  15. @ Short Poems, thanks for your comment.

    @ Christine, let me know what you think of The Hunger Games.

    I enjoyed Hush, Hush. Not like The Hunger Games, but it was very good.

    @ Aubrie, thanks. Was I supposed to list sci fi only? Well, if I did, I'll count more than one Harry Potter (Is that cheating?). And I'd add The Giver.

  16. I loved this post! My Oh My girl who are crazy about books! I LOVE IT!!!!

    I love the Harry Potter series, just saw the new trailer and I'm officially addicted (ok so I was before but now it's officially set in! Bring on Pt 1 & 2 baby!!)

    I just finihsed Firelight by Sophie Jordan (LOVED IT!) now I'm catching up on what I missed so Shiver is next on my list!

    I recommend Firelight, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkings, Matched by Ally Condie, Harry Potter Series (hehe), Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, and more... I can't help myself!

  17. I like your book list! You're so lucky you've had time to get some reading in. I'm working my way through the Harry Potter series for the first time (I'm on book #5) and absolutely loving it.

    I read some of your older posts too, but didn't have time to comment earlier. I like what you had to say about critique groups/beta readers. Great stuff on here as always!

  18. That is an awesome list! I still have some Margaret Atwood on my TBR list right now. Great that you have so many ideas for blogging! That's a good thing!

  19. My favorate Sci/Fi is "World War and Colonization 10 Book Series by Harry Turtledove. This lengthy series depicts an alternative history of what would happen if aliens attacked earth during World War II. The series has a lot of real history, too.

    Fortunately my job allows me to read once and a while at work, allowing me to save time for writing and other more fun stuff (like lurking on blogs). I get writing ideas while driving, so there is more saved time.

    "Walter the Farting Dog" was given to me as a present, and now is my favorate bed time kids story book.

  20. I haven't had much reading time for so long. I envy that list, Theresa! I've been reading Shiver for weeks and I kind of started Incarceron. I tend to gravitate toward MG because my son and share a lot of books. :-)

  21. Wo, you've been busy - you're putting me to shame!

    I just finished the YA novel 'Della Says: OMG'. It's great - very frank and genuine.

  22. I was never previously that much into sci-fi but I've read some excellent sci-fi short stories lately, like "Bridesicle." Really good.
    I'm not signing up for the award though. :) I don't do blog awards either.

  23. @ Jen, I'm excited about the Harry Potter movies too.

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I'll check them out. I wish I had a copy of Matched, but I'll have to wait like almost everyone else!

    @ Shelley, book five was my favorite, and they did a great time adapting that one to film. The ending of book seven is very satisfying. J.K. Rowling is a master.

    I'm glad you've been enjoying the posts.

    @ Lydia, I've heard good things about Margaret Atwood.

    @ Walter Knight, I like when I have a sub job that gives me reading time. It's great to have a job liek that.

    Thanks for the series recommendation.

  24. @ Shannon, I liked Shiver. Sometimes I go through period where I hardly read. But when I devote the time, I read quickly. I also read a lot of what my son reads - fantasy and sci fi MG. But now I'm trying to read more YA.

    @ Talli, I'll check it out. I can't wait until your book comes out.

    @ LR, like you, I rarely read sci fi, but I like it more and more. Thanks for the recommendation.

  25. Your gift certificate sounds awesome!!! So excited to hear about you using that! I gravitate towards women's fiction and memoirs, although I am on the lookout to expand. Thanks for sharing this great list!

  26. I tend to gravitate toward YA books as well -- currently, toward YA sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy. I'm thinking of re-reading HUNGER GAMES and read CATCHING FIRE before MOCKINGJAY COMES out!

  27. @ Saumya, I should expand my reading list too. That's what's nice about following writer's blogs - as they get published, I get to read different genres.

    @ Sandy Shin, I wonder if Catching Fire can possibly as good as the first one. It's not like they're in the midst of The Hunger Games again, though being inside Katniss's brain is what made the first book so great.

  28. That's fantastic that you're reading so much and thanks for sharing your list! "To Kill A Mockingbird" is one of my favorite books of all time too:)

  29. @ Kathleen, I'm about to switch to writing and querying mode, so my reading may suffer.

  30. *snerk* I've got the entire Harry Potter series in audio book...and listen obsessively. That's what I listen to as I clean house or wash dishes, and it's so bad that I've got entire chapters memorized and can say them along with Jim Dale, the narrator!

  31. @ Beth, now I feel better. My husband would make too much fun of me if I did that. But I'm tempted.

  32. Hi Theresa!

    You need to read The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. You will love them because I did and I can already tell we love the same books!

    Also, you MUST watch Buffy. They have reruns on some obscure cable channels but it would be better if you rented the series and started at the beginning.

  33. This is a great list and I love that quote!

  34. Yeah, wondering where you went. How about your new blog on what your reading....
    That was how my second blog got started, anyway.....
    Good to have you back...

  35. @ Marsha, thanks for the recommendation. I'll check out the book.

    I should rent Buffy because I do want to see the episodes in order.

    @ Writing Nut, thank you.

    @ Barbra, I still haven't decided about the second blog. I may try a few more places before giving up.

  36. Love this post on books; what you've read, what you're reading, what's in your stack. Reading is such a huge part of our lives as writers, and I'm always looking for recommendations and sharing! Favorite books are: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; the entire No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series (so I guess that's 11 books?) by Alexander McCall Smith; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove and The Late Child by Larry McMurtry; The Princess Bride by William Goldman; The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck; The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis...

    I read all genres. Am now reading Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, recommended by my 9 year-old daughter. About 10 books in the queue!

  37. @ Selena, nice list. You should put it up on your blog and take the award.

  38. I'm not quite sure what the award means...but I did update my site as one of the main points is to share books in my Book Junkies support Group. :-)

  39. @ Selena, drag the award onto your desktop, and put it somewhere on your blog homepage. If you've shared five books, it's yours!