bookish-friends

It’s been quite a busy season these past few months! I haven’t done as much reading as I hoped, but I have been enjoying the bookish community quite a bit! I just got back from a trip to Chicago with some of my favorite bookish friends and BookTubers: Katie, Julie, and Jess. It was so fun to hang out with them for a long weekend in a huge city—especially because this was Jess’s first time in the United States!

We went on an architecture boat ride, to a rooftop bar and a speakeasy, and to a Restoration Hardware that was a cafe and coffee shop, with the best food ever and the softest chocolate chip cookies. We had Chinese at the Airbnb and stayed up talking and laughing and drinking wine until three o’clock in the morning. We filmed three videos together (a goofy, fun mess), and visited three bookstores around town, hauling what had to be more than fifteen books between all of us.

All in all, it was such a wonderful time! I’m so glad I got to meet these ladies in real life, and I’m so thankful for the Internet/YouTube for bringing us together. It felt like meeting up with old friends, which is more than I could have hoped for.

writing-book-club-community

Y’all know me. I’m constantly scheming up new, fun things to start on my YouTube channel or on Twitter to encourage community and discussion! Usually, these initiatives are centered on the idea of LEARNING, and more often than not, these ideas are meant to spark bookish conversations.

I recently learned about #AuthorTube, a new community forming within the #BookTube community. How cool is that?! So many booktubers I’ve come to know and love want to be authors, and so this seems like a natural progression. On AuthorTube, you can find anything from writing vlogs and monthly goals/updates to advice on how to crush your writing dreams and improve storytelling techniques (plot/characterization/POV, et cetera).

As an editor, I’ve loved getting to know people in the publishing world through my Editor Talk videos, especially the independent authors, many of whom I’ve begun working alongside. Lately, I’ve been taking on more critique/developmental editing projects than I have in the past, and it’s pushed me to think creatively about the art of storytelling and all the different techniques authors have to master to ultimately create a story readers can connect to and love.

I’m constantly humbled by how much I continue to learn from fellow editors and authors! I started taking more classes and reviewing old resources that have sparked new and helpful conversations with authors, and I’m addicted to how this knowledge is serving and inspiring authors to tell their best stories. 

SO! I’ve decided it’s time to create tangible goals toward continued education. Because I’m an editor and I don’t feel the pull to become an author at this point in time, I’ve often gravitated toward editing books rather than writing books. But writing books have just as many—if not more—resources for my clients! And since I’ve made it my goal to help authors with their manuscripts or their WIPs, I’ve decided to read one book on writing a month to review and discuss on my YouTube channel. This new book club is called Writerly Reads! I probably won’t be choosing editing-specific books, since I read a lot of those anyway and I’m assuming mostly writers will be joining in, but I think writing-specific books will be just as valuable for editors and aspiring editors. I won’t stop creating editor-specific videos or reading about editor-specific topics, but we can’t help authors excel in their craft if we don’t learn the craft ourselves—regardless of whether we, as editors, plan to write books ourselves! I would love for you to join me. We can have #WriterlyReads discussions in many ways: through my YouTube channel, through yours (if you have one and want to review books with me), and through Twitter and Instagram chats by using #WriterlyReads.

HOW THIS WILL WORK: 
1.) I’ll announce the book at the beginning of every month, hopefully early enough so participants can check out the book at the library or find it/order it online.

2.) We’ll read the book and update/encourage one another through the #WriterlyReads hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

3.) I’ll review the book either in a wrap-up or separate book review video.

4.) In my review video at the end of the month, I will include a date and time for a brief Twitter discussion. No worries if you can’t make it; these will be casual and you can always go back to read them later or respond earlier/later with your thoughts!

5.) I’ll also include the next book we will read in my review video.

6.) If you make your own review video/blog post/picture/whatever, include it in the comments section of my video so I can check it out! I’d love to know what you’re learning as well. Let’s make this a dialogue.

Are you in?! If you are, let me know on Twitter or Instagram using #WriterlyReads. I’m so excited to create this little space for us to continue to learn and grow as writers and editors! Stay tuned for what book we’ll be reading together in August!

 

Harry-Potter-20

Hi friends!

It’s been a while! I promise I haven’t completely fallen off the map; I’ve been making videos and reading and such, but I have to admit, I haven’t had the itch to write in quite a while. Today, however, I’m inspired by the Twittersphere because it happens to be twenty years since J. K. Rowling first publishing the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter series. #HarryPotter20 has been trending all morning, and I have to say, I’ve been a bit weepy thinking about the world’s love for this particular Wizarding World.

Call it sentimental silliness (even though I just read the books for the first time as an adult), or call it inspiration, but I’ve decided to reread the books (again) with Pottermore’s new book club, the Wizarding World Book Club (@wwbookclub on Twitter). Weekly discussions exist on Twitter—which, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think they center on different themes and further CHAPTER chats—as well as published articles delving into the different topics and character studies. All this to say, I’m extremely excited to continue to learn from this lovely series, especially alongside true Potterheads.

Reading about the boy who lived for the first time—as an adult—was one of the most magical experiences of my life. J. K. Rowling taught me that my childhood could live also, and while I grieve the fact that my eleven-year-old self didn’t adventure with Hermione and the gang, I like to think I found her in these pages: a wildly hopeful kid with Hogwarts-sized dreams and a ravenpuff heart. Happy twentieth birthday. Here’s to you, Wizarding World, for shining a light in the dark. I like to think this good-over-evil story is just a taste of what’s to come. xx

24-hour-readathon

Where I’ll be reading today. 🙂 It’s very cozy with the light streaming in.

I’m joining in (last minute, of course) with thousands of readers today for Dewey’s Read-a-thon! I won’t be able to read all day, but I do have quite a few books I want to finish before May 1st (and the Do-a-thon!).

I’m treating today as a “wrap-up day” for all the books I’ve either (1) been reading forever and can’t seem to finish or (2) put down at the beginning of the month and neglected to pick back up. Strangely, I’ve been enjoying all of the books on this list; life has just been in the way a lot lately.

Other things I need to do today:

  • Edit several pages of a manuscript before deadline day.
  • Walk the pup.
  • Meal prep/buy groceries.
  • Clean the house, including mountains of laundry.
  • Scope out some children’s books at the library to read to the third-grade class next week.

The good news is that I can listen to my audiobook while I fold said mountain of laundry!

On my TBR today:

  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel)
  • Monstress by Marjorie Liu (graphic novel)
  • How People Change by Paul David Tripp and Timothy S. Lane
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)

Mini challenge (#1):

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Raleigh, NC
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Dream Thieves
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Banana, berry, and spinach smoothie!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I’m a full-time book editor and have way too much to read/edit. 🙂
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I didn’t participate last time, but I’m looking forward to finally finishing book #2 in the Raven Cycle. I love it, but it’s just taking me forever. 

definitions-of-indefinable-things-book-review

While I’m so grateful to have received this book from the publisher, I’m sad to say it wasn’t for me. I can see how this book would be a favorite for younger (snarky?) readers, and the writing was decent, but I just couldn’t stomach the YA cliches, bad attitudes/angst, pretentiousness, and other frustrating elements.

I really REALLY wanted to love this book, and I do think fans of John Green or “witty” romance will potentially enjoy this book. I did like, for the most part, how the author portrayed depression and how it can take many shapes in our lives and in the lives of people we love. The letter at the very end of the book was probably my favorite part of the novel for this reason; the main character defines depression for herself and likens the experience to walking a tightrope. If the whole book had been written with this level of vulnerability and humble insight, I may have enjoyed it more.

The main reason I disliked this book was because the main character, Reggie, is one of the most frustrating characters, and not in a Holden Caulfield/endearing kind of way. She hates everything and everyone (and says it multiple times; the author doesn’t even show us this. She tells us). She is mean to everyone she comes in contact with (without reason), which somehow spurs on the romance?

Which leads me to the boy, “Snake.” I really didn’t like the romance. Snake continues to pursue her even though she tells him she hates him and insults him pretty much every time she sees him. I also felt that Snake was way too pushy about their relationship. He literally grabs her at one point and she asks him to let her go, and he doesn’t? I guess it was supposed to be a cute, quirky part of their relationship, their banter and “I don’t give a shit” attitudes about the “uselessness of our condition,” but to be honest, it didn’t come across on the page for me. Maybe it did for other readers, and again, maybe high school readers will feel differently about this book. I just personally didn’t find it funny or endearing, and I didn’t connect with the characters at all. I wanted to stop reading, but a few reviewers mentioned that it got better as the book went on.

At one point, Snake literally told Reggie, “You were wrecked before you met me . . . it suits you though.” Which, in my opinion, felt a bit off. I wouldn’t say it’s romanticizing mental illness in any way, but I definitely got the sense that Snake and Reggie held this superior attitude because of their illness. I don’t know. Maybe I’m hyper sensitive to it, but I didn’t enjoy this book.

I agree with other reviewers that I think people will like or maybe even love this book, and I’m sure people will be able to relate to it, so it isn’t really a one star for me. I also think the author is a talented writer; the characters just weren’t for me.