Monday, November 25, 2013


I cannot believe that it's time again for Liza Weimer's annual Read-a-thon.

Here's the basic idea: Read and give. 

That's it. 

You pledge to donate based on the amount you read during the read-a-thon. You can pick an amount per page ( a penny a page, a dime a page, etc.) or an amount per book (a dollar a book, five dollars a book). 

Then, you spend the weekend of December 6th-8th reading and donate your pledged amount to the charity of your choice. 

It's hosted by Liza Weimer-- sign up at her blog. Liza's readathon was the inspiration for the I Dig Reading Challenge that I host year-round. 

You can tweet about it over the weekend with the hashtag #readathon, and Liza's hosting a twitter party on December 8th from 9-10 EST with prizes, etc. 

Are you planning on participating in the challenge?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's up, November?

What's up Wednesday 

What is up, my friends?  It has been much too long. 

The last two months with baby Alice seem at times like the blink of an eye and at other times like a million years of sleeplessness, tiredness, and also sweet moments with the older boys and lots and lots of laughing. I'm completely smitten with this baby and she is thankfully very sweet and likes to sleep. (She also likes to eat every two hours on the dot, around the clock, but that I can handle). 

It was only last fall when at book club (of course book club-- lots of wine was flowing!) I mentioned that my husband and I wanted to have another baby, but didn't think we could afford it. My book club mates, also imbibing, pointed out that if we always waited for things to be "perfect", especially financially, nothing would ever happen. 

Here I am a year later and so happy for that encouragement. Alice has already brought so much fun and joy into our family. She is super and I can't imagine our family without her. 

On to What's Up Wednesday!

 What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Join by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

What I'm Reading
Nursing at all hours of the night and day, not to mention being couch bound for a couple of weeks due to extreme anemia, really gives you time to get some reading done. 

It has been two months of excellent reading. 

I finished Finnikin of the Rock by the masterful Marchetta. LOVED it. No surprise there. On to the next!

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Lovely and encouraging book for writers. I heard her first on one of my favorite all-time episodes of This American Life. She is so funny and delightful. 

SHIFT omnibus by Hugh Howey. The sequel to WOOL is every bit as good as the first. This is an indie worth reading.

Crazy River: Exploration and Folly in East Africa by Richard Grant. This travelougue is part history of the region (but fascinatingly written, not dry) and part adventure journal. If took me right back to my trip to Kenya last year. Grant is an excellent writer and his travels are worth exploring. I would recommend this to anyone traveling to East Africa for the first time. 

The Butler by Will Haygood. I haven't seen the movie, but I think I will enjoy it more. The Butler the book was more like a series of magazine articles. I wanted a lot more depth in the subject, which I think the movie provides (though it's usually the opposite!).

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. This book was well-written and really cool in concept, but it wasn't for me. Please understand I'm not disparaging the writing in any way-- this is just a preference thing. In this stage of my life I'm looking for a like-able main character and my favorite books tend to have a redemptive plot line. The music scene Egan depicts over time is pretty rad and the characters are fully realized and quirky (though I hate to use that word because it seems like I'm saying they're "wacky" and they're not-- they are unique and complex). 

Pastoralia by George Saunders. Now this book is wacky. This was a book club pick and I'm glad for the uniqueness of my book club. These short stories were downright off-the-wall, but interesting in their own way. For me, they were saved by the fact of being short stories-- so if I found one excruciating, it was over quickly. The motivational speaker with the analogy of people in your life who are "crapping in your oatmeal" {story: Winky} saved this book, but it was a tough read at times (for me), again because I love a like-able character and a redemptive storyline. These were often short stories about people caught in surreal yet crushing lives, with not a lot of like-ability to go around.  

Still working on A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Lies my Teacher Told Me
Uh, these make American Thanksgiving a little hard to stomach, but continue to fascinate. 

I'm also reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, but as I just downloaded FAULT LINE by the LOVELY and TALENTED Christa Desir, these will have to take a back seat. 

What I'm Writing
I imagine it will surprise no one that the writing has taken a back seat these last few weeks. 

If you recall what I was working on this summer, I was able to complete edits on Mina Takes the Sky before Alice's arrival. I'm still awaiting feedback there. 

I was able to complete the tenure packet-- that was submitted about ten days after Alice's birth. I then went to Hartford for an interview with the committee in October. I think I made sense, considering I was working on no more than two hours of consecutive sleep for six weeks. Now I'm waiting to hear the verdict...

In other writing, I'm taking my trunked post-apocalyptic/dystopia and turning it into a graphic novel acted out by playmobil figures. Just for fun. This is not for commerce. It's not for profit. It's just for me. 
You can see the adventure unravel at my TUMBLR.

Finally, I've been making notes on changes to make to my first manuscript STUNG, and awaiting the time to implement those changes. 

What Inspires Me Right Now
That's simple. 


and this.

P.S.: Here's something for your radar-- the Fourth Annual Holiday #readathon hosted by blogger Liza Weimer will be happening December 6-8th. #Read and #Give.

Put it on your calendar!

Now, What's up with you?