Summer Binge Reading

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Half the planet is in summer reading mode, even if summer won’t officially begin for a few more days. But summer reading means different things to different people. Some think about light beach reads enjoyed in the sunshine, others seek to catch up on the hefty titles they couldn’t spare the attention for during the winter months, and still other readers care less about what they’re reading and more about binging on books in general.

For those of you intent on cruising through a bunch of your TBR pile, I have wonderful news: not one, but two readathons on the horizon.

What’s a readathon you ask? It’s pretty much what you think it is. Organizers set their own rules for each specific event, but the basics remain the same. A time period is set, and readers dedicate themselves to reading as much as they can between the start time and the finish time. Some events challenge you to read for twenty-four hours straight. Others ask you to set goals for what percent of the time period you will spend with your nose in a book. But all readathons allow you to schedule a book binge with a clear conscience, because while that readathon is taking place, you’re supposed to be reading.

Regular readers of this blog might recall that I became a readathon convert last fall with the 24 in 48 Readathon in November. I spend so much of my reading time focused on client work or submissions that it’s not always easy to get around to those published books lining my shelves and piling up next to my bed. I love the idea of setting aside a weekend with the expressed purpose of reading for myself. And I am definitely overdue for a bit of personal reading time.

So if you’re feeling the need to read, check out one or both of these upcoming readathon events. I’m already signed up for 24 in 48 in July.

The Tenth Annual 48-Hour Book Challenge

This challenge runs from Friday, June 19th, through Sunday, June 21st. You choose when to start and finish within that three-day time frame, but you much pick a 48-hour window — Friday at noon to Sunday at noon, for example. Within your chosen 48 hours, you decide how many reading hours you want to shoot for, and the Mother Reader blog, host for this event, is providing prizes for top readers in various time frames. And even if you don’t win, you’ll get tons of reading done! Complete rules and instructions are up at the site. This sounds like a fun challenge and I only wish I could take the time to participate this weekend.

24 in 48 Readathon

This challenge runs from 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 11th, until 11:59pm on Sunday, July 12th. The premise is simple: read for 24 hours total, spread out however you wish, during the 48 hours of the challenge. This leaves plenty of time for things like sleeping and stretching and grabbing a bite to eat. I participated in last November’s challenge and had a great time. Rachel Manwill, the force behind the challenge, sets up fun check-in tasks and prizes throughout the weekend, and everyone is great about sharing what they’re reading and how they’re progressing on social media. As I said above, I’m already on board for this one.

 

 

Friday Links

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Happy Friday, everyone! My week has been quite busy, but overall very good, and part of that has been that I feel rather inspired and energized by a couple of things that happened. Unfortunately, I cannot talk about them. One of the problems of this job is not all news is suitable for public consumption.

However, I do have links to share, and I sincerely hope that they inspire you and leave you feeling energized and anxious to write. At the very least, I hope they make you take a fresh look at certain aspects of writing and of reading, because I find a new perspective can be excellent for generating new ideas. Enjoy, and happy writing!

“Let’s Talk Genre:” Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in Conversation – A great conversation inspired by the release of Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, and the genre-related chatter that followed.

On Writing Diverse Characters… And Moving Past Passive Aggression – An intelligent, informative blog post about what diverse characters should and should not look like.

Ten Commandments of Writing – An interview with Karen E. Bender in which she shares her wisdom.

Artist & Thief – Author Maggie Stiefvater shares an excerpt from her SCBWI Keynote speech.

The Power of Female Friendship – In the wake of the discussion of how unlikely books featuring females are to win major prizes, Michele Filgate offers this short-but-intriguing list of books about women and their friendships.

Playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins on His First Time

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As part of their “first time” series, The Paris Review posted this wonderful video of playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins and his experiences writing his very first play, where he addresses race and black theater culture, touching on subjects that traditionally make people very uncomfortable. I love how he traces his own thought process and the realizations he came to as he wrote and eventually mounted this challenging work.

Friday Links

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This has been the sort of jam-packed week where I actually had to do a double take to make sure it was really Friday. But rest assured, I am here with links to get your weekend started in style. I hope you’ve got a little bit of time set aside to write, or at least for a good book. Personally, I’ve got a huge backlog of work reading, so I’m afraid books-with-covers need to wait a bit, which is especially difficult this time of year when there seem to be so many fun new things hitting bookstores.

But you are here for links, so without further ado, I give you this week’s selection. I hope they inspire and entertain you. Enjoy!

Giving Voice – An interview with Jacqueline Woodson, who has been named the new Young People’s Poet Laureate.

C.S. Lewis on Why We Read – Some great thoughts on the effects that books have on us.

How to Analyze Your Bad Writing Habits–and Break Free from Them – Good advice from author and editor Lexa Hillyer.

Judy Blume on Writing, Twitter, and Vaginas – Yes, really. A fun interview with Jami Attenberg.

Haunting Houses: An Interview with Angela Flournoy – A intriguing discussion about her book, THE TURNER HOUSE, and the roles of place and history in the story.

Happy Book Day!

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Shards_of_Hope_low

Wishing a very happy book birthday to Nalini Singh, whose SHARDS OF HOPE, the next installment in the Psy/Changeling series, releases today!

Awakening wounded in a darkened cell, their psychic abilities blocked, Aden and Zaira know they must escape. But when the lethal soldiers break free from their mysterious prison, they find themselves in a harsh, inhospitable landscape far from civilization. Their only hope for survival is to make it to the hidden home of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

And they must survive. A shadowy enemy has put a target on the back of the Arrow squad, an enemy that cannot be permitted to succeed in its deadly campaign. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope. She knows she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what. This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough—because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken…like Zaira.

 

Friday Links

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TGIF! We’re winding down the month of May, and per usual, I’m not sure quite where time is flying. Did you set any goals for your month? If so, I hope you nailed them. If not, maybe take a moment this weekend to decide what you want to accomplish with your writing in June. Sometimes a mini goal can be a great way to spur yourself on and enhance your productivity, or even come up with a wonderful new idea. A month-long goal needn’t be anything as ambitious as drafting a 50,000-word novel, though of course if that’s what gets you in front of your keyboard, I say go for it!

But first, of course, I bring you this week’s links. They involve quite a few different writerly points of view, and I hope you find them interesting and inspirational. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, good luck with your writing and/or reading. Enjoy!

Shadowing Jason Matthews, the Ex-Spy Whose Cover Identity Is Author – What writing is like for a former CIA agent who has turned novelist.

Books About Women Don’t Win Big Awards: Some Data – A blog post from author Nicola Griffith where she assembles a few depressing statistics.

Horror Stories Are Love Stories – An interview with author Kelly Link.

Writers Read – A wonderful blog where each post features an author talking about what they’ve been reading lately.

Christine Schutt’s First Time – Another in The Paris Review series, and wonderful in the way it illustrates how much time and persistence it can take to achieve your writing goals.

Miscellaneous Words of Wisdom

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This is less of a formal post and more me throwing a few quick things at you all. First off, I did an Agent Q&A over at Book Country and it is up today, if you want to check that out. It’s part of an ongoing series, so be sure to browse around while you’re there, as each agent participating has their own set of questions they answered and there’s lots of good information floating around.

Second, I mentioned The Paris Review is doing a new series of short video interviews with authors where they discuss their “first time” experiences. They’ve only posted a couple so far, but today’s struck me as particularly meaningful, whatever your creative process, as I think it really underscores how important persistence is when you’re trying to make progress in your chosen field.

Friday Links

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Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all had a great week and are gearing up for some weekend fun, especially here in the U.S., where today kicks off the Memorial Day weekend and marks the unofficial start of summer.

Now, summer’s arrival with all of its various entertainments and distractions is no excuse for slacking. Rather, take advantage of those longer days and clear summer nights to find a quiet corner to plot you next book or work on your current project. Writing is a year-round endeavor, so while it’s great to take a bit of time for a BBQ or pool party or family vacation, make sure to schedule in your writing time around those new diversions.

Of course, summer is prime reading time as well, so along with quality writing efforts, I wish you some wonderful literary finds that inspire and entertain. There might just be a few to check out in this week’s links. But whatever your plans for this weekend, I wish you good reading and writing. Enjoy!

17 of the Best Books of Summer – The first of what I’m sure will be many lists of recommended summer reads.

Diversity in YA: You’ve Got Mail, Young Writer – On the importance of inspiring the future generation of writers and giving them a reason to believe they can be writers, too.

The Big Idea: Naomi Novik – The author talks about the role of memories, faulty and otherwise, in writing her latest book.

Diary of a First-Time Book Tour – Entertaining anecdotes and lessons from the road.

A New Series from The Paris Review 

Friday Links

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TGIF! We’re having a rainy end to the week here in SoCal, for which I’m truly grateful. Not that I think it made much of a dent in the drought conditions, but there was a genuine downpour for a change last night and every bit helps. It’s also put me in the mind for a reading weekend, which is excellent, since I have a pile of manuscripts looking at me.

But first, links! I’ve got some meaty reading material for you this week, which also seems appropriate given my mindset, but also some great writing opportunities for you to check out. I hope you’re inspired to spend some quality time with a good book and to give a solid chunk of your weekend to your current writing project or maybe start something new. Enjoy, and happy writing!

Oxford’s Influential Inklings – An interesting look at the impact of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and their cohorts.

James Patterson Teaches Writing – An at-your-own-pace online writing class with the prolific thriller writer. Not just for aspiring thriller/mystery writers.

Publication Opportunities for Writers: June and July, 2015 – A round up of places to submit your work.

Lynda Barry: ‘What Is an Image? That Question Has Directed My Entire Life’ – On drawing and storytelling.

The Real World vs. the MFA – An interesting look at the various paths to developing one’s craft from a writer who has combined a number of routes.

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