Reading Wrap-Up: January 2017

I took a little hiatus in November and December, but got back into the swing of things in January. I dedicated much of the month to planning my latest writing project, and ended up reading several wonderful resources on writing. I also read a few autobiographies, which was definitely a step outside the norm for me. Check out my January reads below!

AUTOBIOGRAPHIES

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love and Writing, by Jennifer Weiner: If you follow me on Instagram, you know I was excited about this one! Weiner’s novel “Little Earthquakes” is what inspired me to write my first NaNoWriMo project in 2008 after a long writing break post-high school, and I’ve been writing ever since. This is a fun collection of autobiographical (and often witty and honest) essays about her awkward childhood, her quirky family, her struggles with weight, and her writing life.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, by Leah Remini: I picked this one up after seeing her Scientology special on A&E. If ever there was fodder for a story, it’s here. It isn’t just about Scientology – it also delves into her childhood and what led her to Scientology and acting. I was super-intrigued and breezed through it, and since I listened to the audiobook, it was even better being read in her distinct voice.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between, by Lauren Graham: Like many of my peers, I binge-watched Gilmore Girls in the past few months, and then delightfully revisited Stars Hollow and my favorite characters in the Netflix re-boot. It was only fitting that I checked this one out from the library, listening to the audiobook since at that point, Lauren Graham’s voice was as familiar to me as my own. I liked some parts better than others. The beginning with the Hollywood diet was eh, but when she narrated her watching the Gilmore Girls, I was enthralled. Pick it up if you’re a fan.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed: If you’ve been paying any attention, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I picked this one up because of its connection to the Gilmore Girls re-boot. This was a super-emotional read to me for whatever reason, literally bringing me to tears when (spoiler alert?) her mother died and then again when they had to put down the horse. I think part of it is because of where I’m at in my life, but that’s a post for another time.

FICTION

The Crown’s Dog (Golden Guard #1), by Elise Kova: I am a huge fan of Elise Kova, and this novella was certainly no disappointment. Jax was one of my favorite characters in the Air Awakens series, so it was wonderful to be able to dive into his backstory.

Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1), by Julie Eshbaugh: I was super-excited for the premise of this one – a prehistoric epic fantasy? Yes, please! But while the writing was exquisite, and Kol and Mya were excellent MC’s, the tone fell a little short for me. I expected something darker, less romantic, more action-packed. I was also not a fan of the second-person narrative, an interesting choice that I would never have considered for my own writing.

Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham: Do you see a pattern here? Because of my obsession with Lauren Graham, I found myself fixating on, Is this autobiographical? Is this how she got into acting? Did she do these commercials? Did she live like this? All that insanity aside, it was a charming and witty story about an aspiring actress. Pick it up if you’re a fan of chick lit and/or Lauren Graham.

WRITING RESOURCES

Outlining Your Novel and its associated Workbook, by K.M. Weiland: Loved, loved, loved this. Especially working on the premise, the scene list, the character arc and interview details, and the setting questions.

Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story and its associated Workbook, by K.M. Weiland: A-Ma-Zing. I had someone I work with tell me that it couldn’t be that hard to write a book. I want to show him this, and how much time and effort and thought it truly takes just to structure one story. I learned so much about structure and it’s made me EXCITED about learning how to plot.

5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel that Stands Out, by K.M. Weiland: Free book alert! I don’t know how I hadn’t discovered Weiland’s resources before. This was an indispensable read for me as I tried to really grasp story structure and how to plan this novel.

Crafting Unforgettable Characters, by K.M. Weiland: Free book alert! Another indispensable writing resource from Weiland. Some of it might be a little excessive for me, at least at this point in my pantser-to-plotter transition, but certain pieces of it were so helpful and made me consider things about character development that I never had before.

 

 

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