“Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice” by Colum McCann

I told myself I wouldn’t buy another book about writing until I actually started to write. I don’t know what it is, if it’s fear or laziness, but I keep preventing myself from writing what I want to write. I’ll sit down with the intention to jot down the story in my head, but I either run away from the empty page, or write a few pages worth of stuff, get anxious, and run away. I don’t know what my problem is.

When I saw McCann’s Letters to a Young Writer in the bookstore, I couldn’t walk away from it. I was pulled toward it. I picked it up. I skipped the intro and read the first essay, I held it away from myself wondering if I should buy it, I walked around the store with it in hand, I paid and left with it. The title harkens to Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, which I read off and on one summer in New York, and that made McCann’s book seem promising. He will surely get me writing, I thought.

But McCann is frank about what he can’t do for us and what we can do for ourselves. He mentions in his introduction a statement he includes on his syllabus at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he teaches in the MFA program — that he can’t teach his students anything. He can’t teach us how to write (or make us write), but he can guide us and allow us to do what we most want to do. And in this book, he is sincere, though frank, as he advises us on writing.

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BBC #1: The Inception

So last week’s topics for Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday were about book covers. TTT was a freebie and T5W was based on the BookTube SFF Awards, so participants had to feature their favorite SFF cover art. I wanted to participate. My plan was to smash both memes into a single post and feature 10 SFF covers I really like, but I was sick and wasn’t in the mood to think or search for things on the internet. However, I still wanted to do a post about beautiful book covers, which is why I decided to start a new feature on my blog. I shall call it —

BBC

Of course, I don’t mean anything related to British broadcasting. BBC will stand for Beautiful Book Covers and in these posts, I’ll feature covers of books I have or haven’t read that I think are eye-catching.

Since I was inspired by last week’s TTT and T5W topics, I’ll begin by featuring science-fiction and fantasy novels. The following are the first books that came to mind when I began making a list.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Jacket design by Peter Mendelsund

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“Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah

It’s been such a long time since I’ve done a book review that I feel as if I’ve forgotten how to write one.

“Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”

I picked up Born a Crime in March and read it sporadically until I got hooked and completed it in a few days last month. I don’t often read celebrity bios, but this one caught my attention because there was a lot of buzz about it and it was featured in the New York Times Books section. Plus, Trevor Noah is cute. His winking dimples compelled me to read his book.

Noah is a comedian and the host of the Daily Show, a satirical news talk show that airs on Comedy Central. I hardly watch the show and haven’t seen it since Noah took over from its previous host Jon Stewart, but I’ve heard it’s great. Prior to the Daily Show, I did not know of Trevor Noah. The few times I’ve heard him speak, I assumed he was British. I never would have guessed that he’s from South Africa, which I learned by reading reviews of Born a Crime.

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Weekend Reads #70: Water, Hot Water

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

Once again I’ve turned to Sara Letourneau’s blog for inspiration. In a recent Thursday Thoughtfulness post, she asked:

What was the last object you were grateful for, no matter how small, mundane, or insignificant it might seem? How would life be different if you didn’t have this object, or if it didn’t exist at all? How easy do you think it is for us to take everyday items or occurrences for granted? Finally, how often do you remember to view situations in a pragmatic way (i.e., to look at the good as well as the bad)?

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Bout of Books 19

Bout of Books is back! And perfect timing too because I’m sick. (This is the only time I’ll be excited about being ill.)

Bout of Books is the only readathon I’ve consistently participated in each year. I don’t know what it is about this readathon that makes me commit to it, but I usually read whatever books I assign myself for it. As usual, I won’t participate in challenges because I don’t have time for them and I’ll probably forget to.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda at On a Book Bender and Kelly at Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 8, and runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 14, in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. — From the Bout of Books team

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What’s On Your Nightstand: April 2017

What’s on Your Nightstand, is a monthly meme hosted by 5 Minutes for Books on the last Tuesday of every month that summarizes what you’ve read for the month, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan to read next. For my posts, I also include articles, music, art, TV shows, and whatever else I did in the month.

I’ve been struggling with my reading since the beginning of the year, but it picked up this month. Finally, I’ve started to read books that capture my attention and no longer do I feel like hopping from book to book. But though my reading took a positive turn this month, I was ill for most of it due to my allergies reacting to the pollen in the air.

I’ve spent almost all of April with a stuffy nose, itchy throat, headache, a cough, and sometimes a fever. I took a break from blogging a couple weeks ago because I was too weak to do much, returned because I felt better, but now I’m sick again, though not as much as last time. I now realize that doctors give good advice and I should have rested, as my doctor had prescribed (I’m stubborn so I often don’t do as I’m told). Anyway, back to the fun stuff.

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