August 2009


Finished Savvy by Ingrid Law and loved the voice of Mibs and how the savvys of each family member works into their characters and lives. Out of all the wonderfulness though, my favorite was the “Kansaska-Nebransas” idea; I had to smile whenever I saw it on the page. If you’re wondering what that means, read the book now!

Also read The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie which, like Savvy, was as wonderful as advertised and more. A unique voice and story, with heart and hilarious illustrations addressing serious subjects.

I have been trying to get into Diana Wynne Jones for awhile now, and finally found a copy of Howl’s Moving Castle during the last library trip. It was certainly a unique story with some entertaining characters, although I couldn’t get into the ending and how things end up. So much time was spent developing the main character and Howl’s issues, I don’t think we saw enough change in their feelings to justify the ending.

The Off Season is the sequel to Dairy Queen, a book I loved because the main character is a farm girl who plays football. In the sequel, we get to see more Schwenk family humor and character development during a tragedy that hit home for me because my boss had a similar accident and is in a wheelchair. Looking forward to the last book!

The Dragon Heir is the third in Cinda Williams Chima’s series and possibly my favorite. Each book has a different narrator, which lets the reader get different viewpoints while bringing back characters from previous books. I love series-ending books because everything finally gets tied up, but these characters and the world of Trinity is one I’ll miss.

Finally, I plowed through Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr last week and wow, could not put it down. Totally unique story with well-drawn characters and a protagonist who refuses to accept the given options. Seth is now one of my favorite male characters in literature!

What are you reading?

OK all you wonderful people out there, I need help.

I have two characters that are mainly intended for comic relief, but not clowns, something like the Weasley twins. The problem is, the only people who think I’m funny are my family members who are forced to pretend. So, how do you make your writing funny without trying too hard or being too obvious?

Have you ever finished reading a book and thought “Wow. I want to take my writing to that level.”? I just finished Graceling by Kristin Cashore (FINALLY checked in at the library) and wow, I’m pumped to write!

What books have inspired you to work on your own writing? Whenever I need a little boost, I fall back on

  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

What are your inspirations?

I’m off in cheese world for the rest of the week, or more specifically, at the American Cheese Society conference in Austin, Texas. This is my favorite conference of the year for my full-time (non-writing) job and I’m eating amazing (and free) cheese like crazy!

One of my favorite things about traveling is the excuse to sit around in airports, on airplanes, in hotel rooms, etc. just reading and writing. On this trip, I have my work-in-progress printed out for revisions to get ready for next week’s critique group deadline. Despite these good intentions, I did spend most of the trip down to Austin reading The Wizard Heir instead J During the typical work week, I try to spend the time after my work day ends writing and the time right before bed reading.

Do you have full time jobs outside writing, and how do you work writing into your day? Do you set regular goals on word count or progress? Do you have any tips to share on time management?

Has anyone else noticed library publicity in the media the last few weeks? First, we have the “Geek the Library” campaign. I geek cheese, cows, and sports, when I’m not raiding the young adult section, or as my husband puts it, “taking books from children.” (He’s very supportive, just amused at my preferred reading material. I remind him it will pay off someday.)

Then I heard a radio commercial for Literacy.org. Anyone have experience with this group?

Finally, a news article combining two of my favorite things: ice cream and the library. Hello wonderfulness!

So with all these notices in the media and summer reading programs winding down, I can’t help remembering my favorite library moments. I was lucky enough to work at the local public library in high school shelving picture books, and it always made my day to pull an old favorite off the shelving cart. I also volunteered, preparing crafts and props for storytime. I just love libraries with the book smell and (mostly) everything in order, waiting for me to wander the shelves…

What’s your favorite library memory?

Quotes of the Week: (too many great library-related quotes to narrow down to one!)

“A library is thought in cold storage.”  ~Herbert Samuel

“We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.”  ~John Lubbock

“A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.”  ~Shelby Foote