"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Monday, January 27, 2014

WOTW: Quotidian

Quotidian: adjective, of or occurring every day; daily

Found in The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara:
"The point is, talking to Norton, working with Norton, being with Norton, was simply part of my quotidian life...."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Writing Update: ROW 80 Week #3

Here's the update!

1/19/14:  173 words of ZF
1/20/14:  0 words
1/21/14:  20 words of ZF; 320 words of journal writing prompt
1/22/14:  0 words
1/23/14:  0 words
1/24/14:  0 words
1/25/14:  0 words

Not a good week.  I hope I haven't lost my mojo.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What I'm Reading This Week

image source:  amazon.com
This week I am reading The Mist-Torn Witches by Barb Hendee.  So far it's very predictable.  I feel like I knew how the whole story was going to play out before I even started reading.  I am hoping for a huge twist.

On another note, today was my first day attempting my goal of daily practice on Duolingo.  I love Duolingo, but sometimes it chooses the funniest sentences.
What are you reading this week?  Have you ever tried Duolingo?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WOTW: Uxorious

Uxorious: adjective, having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one's wife

Found in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:
"Men capable of being uxorious."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Writing Update: ROW 80 Week 2

I am starting to see a pattern :)  Goal is 500 words per day.

Here's the update!

1/12/14:  522 words of ZF
1/13/14:  310 wordsof ZF
1/14/14:  294 words of ZF
1/15/14:  0 words
1/16/14:  0 words
1/17/14:  0 words
1/18/14:  0 words

The Analysis:
I write every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but once Wednesday comes around, I seem to lose all motivation.  Weird.  I wonder how I can fix this little issue....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I'm Reading This Week #5

I am still reading Beautiful Creatures and I am really enjoying it.  I am trying something new with this book. I saw this idea on Pinterest, as something that students could do while reading a book. The basic idea is to devote a page to collecting favorite quotes from the book.  I am having fun with it :)

I also read this great post:  Editing tips from Julie Glover at Threading the Labyrinth.  I am not ready to start editing yet, but it's never too early to start gathering ideas.

What are you reading?

Monday, January 13, 2014

WOTW: Vexillology

Vexillology:  noun, the study of flags

Found in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:
"...but our kid wouldn't be alone, I'd be sprawled next to him.  Aiding him in his budding vexillology, which sounds less like a study of flags than a study in annoyance..."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

The Story: 
This book is a nonfiction account of Henrietta Lacks, her cells and her family.  Henrietta died of cervical cancer in the early 50's.  Samples of her cells were taken and grown in a lab without her knowledge.  Her cells grew at an amazing rate and have resulted in numerous medical breakthroughs.  Meanwhile her remaining family lived in poverty, unaware of Henrietta's immortality.

My Thoughts:  
Before even beginning this book, I had an affinity for Henrietta Lacks.  I had heard about her situation and understood how her family could be upset about her cells being used for research without their knowledge or consent.  What I did not know earlier is that they wanted her to be recognized as more than just a HeLa cell.  No one really seemed to know what/who HeLa stood for, even though they were using the cells in various types of research all around the world.

Henrietta's husband tended to anger me.  Overall I could tell that he cared for his wife, but he often cheated on her and passed STDs to her.  It is possible one of those diseases led to her cancer.  When I read that he blamed her cancer for the symptoms of his STD, I wanted to reach into the book, grab him and shake some sense into him.

It is amazing what Henrietta's cells have done for medicine.  They were used in the creation of the Polio vaccine.  Her cells were used so extensively that they led to the standardization of the process used for growing cells in a lab.  They even helped bring about cloning and IVF.

Overall this book just made me sad.  The Lacks family were so poorly educated that even when they learned what had been done with Henrietta's cells, they couldn't understand it fully.  Henrietta's daughter thought that there were copies of her mother walking around England, because a scientist there had cloned Henrietta's cells.  The family tried to get more information about what had been done with the cells, tried to understand the technical tests and articles, but it was still beyond their level of understanding.

I absolutely recommend this book.  At first I was put off by the fact that the author includes her research process in the story, but as I read on I realized it was an important part of the story of Henrietta's family.  It revealed more about them than she could tell in her own words.  The sad truth is that every day we give our tissues and samples to medical personnel who then have the right to do whatever they want with those samples without ever informing the donor.  This book is a fascinating look into the issue of medical samples and their use.

Have your read this book?  What did you think?

Writing Update: ROW80 Week #1

I started out strong, then lost my momentum.  My goal is to write 500 words per day.

Here's the update!
1/5/14:  183 words of a future blog post
1/6/14:  329 words of ZF; 175 words of blog post = 504 words total
1/7/14:  388 words of ZF; 158 words of blog post = 546 words total  
1/8/14:  0 words
1/9/14:  0 words
1/10/14:  17 words of ZF
1/11/14:  28 words of ZF

My Excuses:
The first week back after winter break is always stressful, and I felt more tired than usual all week.  I just lacked the motivation to do anything other than sit and watch tv.  I'll do better next week.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What I'm Reading This Week #4

image source:  amazon.com

I am reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Gacia and Margaret Stohl.  I saw the movie first, so I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen in the story.  I know, I know, it's like breaking a rule: watching the movie before reading the book.  Truth be told, it's a rule that I break more often than I follow :)  

I'm really bad at keeping track of current book releases and often miss the great ones until everyone and their mother is reading it.  I am constantly surprised by tv shows and movies when the credits list the book that inspired the storyline.  I just keep adding them all to my reading list :)  No matter how much I read, my to-be-read list keeps getting longer.

Speaking of reading lists, here is the list of books I read in the past year, 2013:
Total: 30 books
1. A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin
  1. Emma by Jane Austen
  2. Artist’s Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson
  1. El amor en los tiempos del cólera by Gabriel García Márquez
  2. Carrie by Stephen King
  3. The Time Machine by HG Wells
  4. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  1. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  2. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
  3. Painless Poetry by Mary Elizabeth
  4. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
  5. Poetry as Spiritual Practice by Robert McDowell
  1. A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin
  2. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  3. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future by Michael J Fox
I kind of lost track of when I read what :)
  1. The Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
  2. The Edge of Midnight by Beverly Jenkins
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
  6. Offworld by Robin Parish
  7. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  8. The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum
  9. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  10. Horns by Joe Hill
  11. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  12. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  1. Deception Point by Dan Brown
  2. Doodler’s Mandala by Dan Lemaire
  3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Goals and a Review of 2013

I had two reading and writing goals last year:
   1.  Read more classics.
   2.  Complete first draft of my novels.

They were good goals, achievable goals, so did I achieve them?  Let's see!
   1.  I read four books that I would consider classics: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, and Emma by Jane Austen.  It's more classics than I read in 2012, so I consider that a victory!

   2.  I did not complete the first draft of either of my novels.  :(  Oh well, there is always this year......

Here are my reading and writing goals for 2014:
   1.  Write 500 words each day(3500 total words per week) ►ROW 80 starts today!
   2. Complete the first draft of my novels (ZF and DOVH) and begin the next.
   3.  Read at least 35 books.
   4.  Post on this blog at least 3 times a week.
   5.  Practice my German every day on Duolingo.com.
   6.  Take care of myself (floss, moisturize, pay bills on time, exercise, etc.)

What are your goals this year?

WOTW: Bespoke

Bespoke: adjective, part of bespeak, made to order

Found in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:
"They are the high-end men's stores, the places that hand-tailor suits, where salespeople carry ties individually, draped over an arm, to male shoppers nestled in leather armchairs.  I mean, this shit is bespoke."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Writing Update: Not Much Progress

Here's the update!

12/23/13: 122 words of ZF; 75 words of blog post

Oops!  Looks like I have already fallen off track :(  It was winter break, though, and I love to be lazy over break.  Also I did go on a little vacation to visit family which always interferes with writing time :)  A new round of ROW 80 starts on Monday, and I will be posting my goals for the year and beginning some serious writing.

What I'm Reading This Week #3

image source:  amazon.com

This week I have been reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Fascinating book!

I have been struggling with how much/what level of profanity to use in my book.  This post from Writer's Digest discusses the issue in detail, complete with definitions and ideas of how to write creative insults.

What are you reading?

WOTW: Wastrel

I have been away from this blog for a little over a week because I was on vacation, visiting family for the New Year, so here is a belated Word of the Week post.  Enjoy!

Wastrel: noun, a wasteful or good-for-nothing person

Found in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:
"The booze floating, sludgelike, just beneath the surface of my skin made me look like a fleshy wastrel, just sensuous enough to be disreputable."