Weekend Reads #71: On Writing

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.

Again, I hopped over to Sara Letourneau’s blog for inspiration because I couldn’t think of anything. In a recent Weekly Writer Wisdom post, she asked this question inspired by a William Gass quote (I focused on the questions rather than the quote in my response.):

How do you view the act of writing? If you could compare writing to other activities or process, what would you liken it to? Why? What other thoughts do you have when you read this quote?

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“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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Weekend Reads #69: Reading and my beliefs

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.

I often run out of ideas for discussion posts so along with Sara Letourneau’s Thursday Thoughtfulness and Weekly Writer Wisdom posts, which inspired my last Weekend Reads post, I’ll also look to the Book Blogger Hop feature for ideas.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly book discussion meme that was created by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and is now continued by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. It offers bloggers the chance to find new blogs, gain followers, and discover new books. It also provides a long list of discussion topics that stretch well into 2018, so no need to cast around for topics if you can’t think of any.

This week’s question was submitted by Maria at A Night’s Dream of Books:

Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished the book?

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Weekend Reads #68: Cinderella

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.

This weekend’s post is inspired by a Weekly Writer Wisdom post I saw on Sara Letourneau’s blog that asks:

What stories (novels, myths, legends, etc.) have taken up residence in your soul? How or why do you think they moved you to this degree? Has a story ever inspired you to do something new or different, change your worldview, etc.? Is this something you hope to accomplish with your own work?

Instead of focusing on several books/stories that have resonated with me, I’ll instead discuss one that has stuck with me since the first time I read it as a child, Cinderella.

We’re all familiar with this fairy tale about a girl who’s abused by her evil step-mother, attends a ball with the help of her fairy god mother, and is later rescued from her horrible life by a charming prince. I can’t recall having the story read to me, but I do recall reading it over and over again as a kid.

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Guest Post: Miri Castor

With this post, I’m introducing a new feature: Guest Posts! I think this will be a great way to broaden the scope of my blog, introduce bloggers and authors, and discuss things I’m not well versed on or do not usually mention on here.

The first person to be featured is Miri Castor, author of the young-adult fantasy series Opal Charm, who will share what it took to write the first novel in the series, The Path to Dawn.

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Weekend Reads #58: Freedom to Read Tag

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. In honor of Banned Books Week in the United States, September 25 – October 1, I’ve decided to do the Freedom to Read Tag, which was created earlier this year by Canadian booktubers for Canada’s Freedom to Read Week, a reading event that I find to be similar to Banned Books Week. Both promote access to books.

Banned Books Week is a much needed campaign to promote freedom to read in the U.S. as well as highlight problems with censorship. I understand that some parents would rather not expose their children to certain topics, however, I do not believe it is their right to impose their beliefs on other children. Of course, maintaining the innocence of children isn’t the only reason why books are banned. Reasons for banning books are myriad. I, however, believe it’s best to share knowledge and experiences so that people can make more informed decisions and gain greater understanding of what is going on in the world, what occurs in other nations and what others have endured. Banning books won’t obscure reality; it only makes it easier for one to turn a blind eye to problems in the community.

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“The Life of Elves” by Muriel Barbery

The Life of ElvesI’ve found a new writer to admire.

Cover overview:

An inspiring literary fantasy about two gifted girls from the bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Life of Elves sings of the human spirit and conveys a message of hope and faith.

Muriel Barbery’s new novel is the first of two books about Maria and Clara, unforgettable heroines of a world facing annihilation. Animated by a large cast of endearing characters, it is a timeless story about the forces of good and evil and a moving meditation on the power of nature, music, art, storytelling, and love.

When the harmony between living beings turns to discord, the seasons will be loosed from their moorings and the natural world thrown into disarray; human beings—no longer capable of feeling either empathy or enchantment—will abandon themselves to hate, violence, and war.

An epic battle between forces that wish to reestablish harmony in the world and those that wish to shatter it definitively is being waged on earth and in the mysterious land of mist, where the elves dwell. A ragtag army of rural peasants gathers in readiness for the fight—their weapons, an age-old kinship with the land and an affinity for magic. But humankind cannot hope to win this battle alone. Victory depends on help from the inhabitants of a world that is hidden from human sight. Hope rests with Maria and Clara, two girls whose prodigious artistic talents and deep connections with nature make communion with the numinous realm possible.

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