My friend the Constant Reader linked to a blog post on the way we use words in Christian circles on facebook this morning. I quite like this post. It reminds me that words are important.
It also reminds me of a book I have been meaning to read, also about the importance of words. I read the first ten pages and really liked it, It made me think. Since that bus ride where I dipped into it, I’ve not made time for it. It is important to make time for books one thinks are important. I’m about to move this book up on my to be read pile. Possibly it will be summer reading, the kind of summer reading one actually does rather than only talking about.
Why are words important? And which books make you think that you should be reading right now?
I’m a little bit noise sensitive. I prefer silence when I work. The ambient sound in a space is more important to me than the ambient light.
In my new apartment my work space is regularly invaded by three kinds of sounds:
- Birds – there is a pet bird down the hall. And now that it is spring there are the birdies outside. I guess I shouldn’t complain about those birds. But the birdie down the hall sounds like a smoke detector that needs a new battery.
- Babies – there is a new baby across the hall, less than six months old. The baby doesn’t wake me, but I can certainly hear if baby cries when reading in my living room or working at my desk.
- Bass – the heavy beat of my downstairs neighbour’s stereo. He has days where this is particularly bad, then weeks of no noise at all.
I’m looking for a way of coping with this that doesn’t involve ear plugs. I use them, but don’t like the feel and sound – I get a ringing in my ears when I wear them, and this seems to defeat the purpose. I’m thinking sound cancelling headphones. We’ll see.
I found a couple of interesting articles about women, writing, and publishing today. I’m still digesting the ideas and information in them, and expect I’ll have more to say in a few days. Meanwhile you can check them out too. Here they are:
- Interesting thoughts about marketing to men and women. Love the alternative On the Road covers.
- Thoughts about recognition of women and men in the publishing industry.
Look for more on this in this space.
I’ve been listening to the Michael Scott series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. So far I’ve listened to the first three books (The Alchemyst, The Magician, and The Sorceress) and must report a few things about the series.
- This is not a series of books, it is all one book. There is one plot arrow, there is little to no resolution at the end of each book, and the story line so far has taken about four or five days of story-time in three volumes. Compare the Harry Potter books. Each Potter book has a plot that resolves, and each book takes a school-year to come to that resolution. Yes, there is a larger trajectory in the Potter books, but you can read one Potter book and feel like something happened, not that you were dropped into the middle of a story arc and then ripped out of it just as it might make a move toward resolution.
- There is an inordinate amount of repetition in the books. Possibly this is to remind you of pertinent details since this is all one book. Even so, the amount and detail of the repetition is wearing. The use of characters full names all the time is ridiculous. Every single time the point of view shifts to someone else, the new point-of-view character’s full name is given. Possibly this is Mr. Scott’s way of signalling that a point-of-view shift has occurred, but it is also wearing. And possibly silly.
- I’ve noted that there is a lot of repetition and that the action in each book seems to be about a day and a half or so. I think that the story might have been told in much less time and to much greater effect. I think an editor could help a lot. But maybe then not so much money would be made? Who knows. I’m just glad that the library has the books and I didn’t make any financial investment in them.
Do you know of other book series that are basically all one book? Do they repeat themselves all the time? Am I just becoming a grumpy person? Do tell.
Over at Publisher’s Weekly some staff people mentioned books that made them love reading. I thought about their question: “What was the first book that made you love books?” I’m not sure what was the first book. I remember the first book that I had a strong reaction to, the first book that I remember re-reading multiple times, the first one that made me want to go out and read everything else the author had written — but I’m not sure I want to tell you which book it was. Ok. I will. It was Treasures of the Snow by Patricia M. St. John. I have not seen the movie or listened to the audio book. I am not actually sure how old I was when I read this book. I probably started reading the Narnia books before it, and in the long run those have influenced me more, but I don’t remember first reading them. But it was P.M. St. John who really sealed the deal on the whole reading thing. I think I was already hooked, but she made sure the hook stayed in.
What about you? What’s the one book you think hooked you on reading? Or are you still unconvinced?
To wrap up April, a couple of Clerihews composed while waiting for the bus this morning. A book on women of the gospels has been simmering on the back burner for a long time. I’m a little worried it might be over cooked. Anyhow, I have been giving them some thought as evidenced here.
The Blessed Virgin Mary
Was (quite rightly) wary
When an angel – Gabriel
Appeared with news to tell.
Why are we so keen
To label you a harlot
When the gospels do not.
And that’s a wrap for poetry month 2013. It has been fun.
I’ve had the idea for this poem in my head since November and NaNoWriMo. I ran into a snag this month, and ran out of time to finish it. I realized this afternoon that I have to publish what I’ve got. Instead of six verses, there is only one so far. Maybe someone else will feel inspired by it and finish it off. I’ll keep working on it, but I’ve run out of time for Poetry Month. There’s just been too much going on. With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot, here is the first verse of a new ballad.
The Wreck of a Writer’s Draft Novel
The legend has grown, would-be writers are told
Of the project they call NaNoWriMo.
NaNo it is said, leaves all wordsmiths for dead
At the end of November if they’re slow.
Sixteen hundred words a day or you’re in a big hole
Much to big to climb out without Word Wars.
The goal a first draft of a novel – tis true!
So the “Words of November” need to flow.
This afternoon was a big staff event for the camp I grew up attending and where I now volunteer. It was a celebration of 50 years of camp — and 50 years is a big deal as we were reminded this afternoon. It was great to see so many familiar faces, to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in many years and to enjoy being together. It was also nice to get encouragement from some of the faithful readers of this blog, two of whom mentioned the blog this afternoon, and one said she really liked the poems. Thanks Whatsit, I’ll be able to finish now!
Since it is still April, you know I’m going to write a poem about the event. I’ve decided to write a poem based on Pascal’s Triangle again, but using the numbers in the triangle to guide how many syllables a word must have. I decided to stop after the fifth line as I didn’t want to hit the 10 syllable words demanded by the sixth line of the triangle.
to describe it?
Wow. Ambitious. Exciting. Full.
Big. Extroverted. Indefatigable. Overwhelming. Fun.
In the category “April is the cruelest month” you will be glad to know that there are only four more blog posts containing poetry to endure before I will have completed the Poem a day challenge. I know it has been a long month. I thought about quitting, but haiku kept me going. Apparently there is such a thing as a Haiku Slam. Who knew?
A Haiku a day
Must keep something away!
I am not sure what.
So I just had this great idea for a crazy random erasure poem. I’ll go through the first page of Pride and Prejudice (as printed in my particular copy) and take the words indicated in each line by Pascal’s triangle! In the first row, the first word. In the second row, the first and second word, in the third row, the first, third and fourth word, etc. Lets see what we get.
However known the
his a truth is
minds families the some one
My his Netherfield had returned she
told Bennet his why young the north.
that is to
servants be house by.
What Bingley Oh! to be
four year how his be so
you thinking nonsense, them occasion girls may.
Excellent. Nonsense. Just what is needed for a Friday night.