October 2010

I found this list via YABOOKNERD  and, due to the human need to keep score, promptly counted up how many I’d read.

Except, some I couldn’t remember if I’d read. Some, I’ve just seen the movie (sad, but true). And some are recent library book sale purchases I haven’t gotten around to yet (also sad). So the ones I specifically remember reading are in bold.

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

#4 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

#5 From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

#6 Holes by Louis Sachar

#7 The Giver by Lois Lowry

#8 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

#9 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

#10 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

#11 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

#12 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

#13 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

#14 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

#15 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

#16 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

#17 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

#18 Matilda by Roald Dahl

#19 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

#20 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

#21 Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan

#22 The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

#23 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#24 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

#25 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

#26 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

#27 A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett

#28 Winnie-the Pooh by A.A. Milne

#29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland /Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

#30 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

#31 Half Magic by Edward Eager

#32 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

#33 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

#34 Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

#35 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling

#36 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

#37 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

#38 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

#39 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

#40 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

#41 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

#42 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#43 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

#44 Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

#45 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

#46 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

#47 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

#48 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

#49 Frindle by Andrew Clements

#50 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

#51 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

#52 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

#53 Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

#54 The BFG by Roald Dahl

#55 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

#56 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

#57 Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

#58 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

#59 Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

#60 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

#61 Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

#62 The Secret of the Old Clock (The Nancy Drew mysteries) by Caroline Keene

#63 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

#64 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

#65 Ballet Shoes by Noah Streatfeild

#66 Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

#67 Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

#68 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

#69 The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

#70 Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

#71 A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

#72 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

#73 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

#74 The Borrowers by Mary Norton

#75 Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

#76 Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

#77 City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

#78 Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

#79 All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

#80 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

#81 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

#82 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

#83 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

#84 Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

#85 On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#86 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

#87 The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

#88 The High King by Lloyd Alexander

#89 Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary

#90 Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

#91 Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

#92 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

#93 Caddie Woodlawn by C. R. Brink

#94 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

#95 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

#96 The Witches by Roald Dahl

#97: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

#98 Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston

#99 The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

#100 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Final count-

  • Novels read: 58
  • Owned but not yet read: 7
  • Fuzzy memory, therefore don’t count: 3
  • Books never before heard of: 9

Look out library, here I come! What are your stats?


Greetings from yet another hotel room, folks. Some fantastic links for this week:

There’s a wonderful compilation of 30 writing quotes making the rounds, and if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out at Writer’s Digest.

And if you needed more inspiration, read this beautiful post from Heather Sellers (found via Jennifer Hubbard) about writing. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Back? Excellent. Next: If there’s a young writer in your life, read this post from the Mixed Up Files blog on what you can do to encourage them.

Agent Kristin Nelson reminds us to clear our Word document of track changes before submitting; click through to see how.

And for this week’s Link of Awesome: Minas Tirith made from matchsticks! And the best part: it’s in Iowa! Thank you mental_floss, for continuing to bring awesomeness to my attention.

No, not waxing unwanted hair, a waxing moon, or waxing poetic. Today is one of my cheese posts. Sorry if you were lured here under false pretenses 😉

My husband built us a small cheese press that will handle about a two-pound wheel, but the only time I’ve used it, we didn’t get the rind dry enough and the cheese got pretty funky. So this time, we figured we’d try waxing the wheel.

Hello Iowa Jack!

This was our first attempt at making Monterey Jack and it took FOREVER! Heat the milk to 88 degrees, then add the starter culture and wait half an hour. Add the rennet and wait another half hour. Cut the curd and let sit for 30 minutes. Raise the temperature and hold for half an hour. You get the idea. Forever.

But we survived and had the cute little cheese on the right to show for it. My home cheesemaking book cautioned that cheese wax fumes are highly flammable, so we ended up melting the wax on a camp stove outside. I think next time I’ll get green wax and we’ll have Christmas cheese.

So the next pictures are what a homemade wheel brushed with wax looks like. Hardly consumer-ready, but certainly an experience. So how did this waxing thing remind me of writing? (see, it comes back to writing

Wow, that's bright red


  • It takes at least two layers to protect the cheese and develop deep flavors. For a really great book, it’s not just the primary, obvious story line, but the layers of conflict and character that create the full taste.
  • Practice makes…less ugly. I’m hoping our inaugural waxing experience is much like a first draft: the next version is smoother.
  • Both are needy. The cheese needs to be stored at 55 degrees and at least 65% humidity, turned several times each week to keep the butterfat from migrating to the bottom. Manuscripts don’t come out right the first time and won’t get any better just by sitting there.

    Ta da!

So now we just have to keep turning the cheese and wait at least two months to eat it. That’s another thing writing and cheesemaking have in common, you craft something and develop the flavors and hopefully your patience pays off. Now if only I was patient!

Anyone have general waxing stories to share? What interesting cheese or book packaging have you seen?

I had the pleasure of hearing Wendy Delsol speak at the Des Moines Public Library about her debut YA novel Stork, and what a fantastic event it was. Great crowd, beautiful space, lots of shiny new books for sale, and a supportive library staff.

So I’ve been thinking about what makes a successful book launch/author event. Here’s what I learned from Wendy’s:

  1. Planted questions are a great idea – Wendy had three friends in the audience with pre-written questions to show she’d answer anything from literary questions to tennis questions to raising-teenage-boy questions. It was a fun way to break the ice and get everyone laughing. Plus, it’s probably nice for the author to have the first three questions planned out before having to deal with point #2:
  2. Have grace under fire – I’d heard from other authors that people will ask about money all the time, and they were right. Wendy handled the “how much goes in your pocket” question with a lot of poise.
  3. Bring your family – Wendy’s sons were helping sell books and her husband was a salesman, a photographer, and general support system, which was adorable. You have to have a supportive family to be an author, I think, and it was such fun to see them helping Wendy during her event.
  4. Bring non-writing friends – While writing people are some of the best, Wendy also had a group of tennis friends in the audience. It was great to see the support she had outside of “writing people.”
  5. Yay for after parties – Assume you won’t have much time to visit with folks during the event and plan for drinks at a local establishment afterwards. It was lovely to mix writer and tennis friends and a good time was had by all.

What have you learned from author events? Any advice to share?

Hey everyone, just a few links this week as I’m refocused on the WIP after Wendy Delsol’s great author event on Monday:

Pat Zietlow Miller has a great round-up of advice from the Wisconsin SCBWI conference. Looks like it was quite an event!

If you’re looking for literary themed Halloween costumes, check out GalleyCat’s list of ideas. Or see mental_floss’ post for more Internet topical costumes.

And finally, I’m very excited about this week’s Link of Awesome: a British rap video to promote a dairy company. Yes, you read that correctly. HUGE thanks to my future sister-in-law for sending it my way!

I’m gonna do it. Yup, true story. I’m gonna do it.

I’m taking a vacation day from work to write. *Yay, I’m going to get something done!* *Oh no, I’m going to get so distracted!*

So here’s the question: where is your favorite place to write? I can’t stay at home, because farm things find me (ack, harvest!). The library is good, but I’d have to sneak in the Diet Coke and strawberry sour straws. And cafes have internet access. This will certainly be a good exercise in self control and focus…ick 🙂

What works for you guys?

Is it Wednesday again already? Groovy!

This week’s links:

Jody Hedlund continues dispensing sage advice with this post on planning her debut book party. Congrats, Jody!

*Fiction Groupie* gives great tips on avoiding wordiness.

Another fantastic post at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, this time addressing Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. A must-read for anyone looking to increase tension (And who isn’t? In WIPs I mean, not real life). 

Great brain tricks from author Robin Mellom. I can’t wait to try changing the font for a revision read through!

If you’re feeling discouraged by your day job, check out this mental_floss list of famous authors’ early jobs.

Serious Link of Awesome this week, folks. In light of the recent bullying-induced suicides, author Shaun David Hutchinson wrote this open letter to those with no hope left. Please read, please pass along, please help someone.

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