Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Slow Blogging

I promised when I started this blog that it wouldn't be navel gazing. I promised myself and others. Who cares about whether I got a good haircut on Tuesday or not. I'm truly trying to write about books and writing. Mostly.

So I was intrigued when I read in the newspaper last week about Slow Blogging. I clicked on over to the blog mentioned (click here to read it). I'll be checking that one out. Even though I guess I'm not officially a slow blogger. They write long, evocative posts about things other than haircuts and how hard it is to think of interesting things to write about.

But my real find this morning, as I blog while little ones sleep with visions of "Chicken Fries" dancing in their heads (but they'll get turkey and dressing nonetheless!), was an emailed link to a funny funny blog by a fellow librarian. This one will definitely be on my to-read list. In fact, I just added it to the Blogs I Follow. Click here if you want to have a great laugh.

This librarian-blogger is writing about writing porn. See, I thought that would get your attention.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sports Writing

OK, so I don't usually spend a lot of time in the sports section but the picture of Dean Smith caught my eye. Hey, it's basketball season, right? And almost every single UNC game is being broadcast this season, so I can already see where a lot of my TV time is heading. But back to the sports section. Today's story about the Joe Lapchick Character Awards started with a great quote, something my grandmother would have said to us children. A little like her favorite: "Pretty is as pretty does." Or maybe, even more to the point: "Don't get too big for your britches."

But this is one from Coach Lapchick, as told to his friend Lou Carnesecca:
Peacock today. Feather duster tomorrow.

I'm writing that one down.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Book Award

Hot off the press! Just announced today- Click here for a list of the National Book Award winners and runners-up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Save It for the Page

I do love the stuff my critique group comes up with. This one's from my friend Teddie, who writes features for my most excellent hometown newspaper, The St. Petersburg Times.

I think we were talking about the moon. Or the trees. Or the Gulf of Mexico. How some people can creatively speak about the natural world, at length. Then there are those who look, mentally record, possibly, hopefully remember to get it right. Pray that we succeed in what Eudora Welty advises- that as writers we take care and get the moon in the right part of the sky. And the tulips blooming in the right month.

So, writers are always looking and paying attention. And from now on, I'm trying Teddie's advice: "Save it for the page." Keep those tidbits close to the chest. Write them in our notebooks. Pull them out when we need them on the page. Get the moon and the flowers right, but no need to babble on.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More on Words

Yes, I know, I already wrote about how I love words. But now I'm in good company. What a great review of Roy Blount Jr's new book ALPHABET JUICE in today's New York Times Book Review. Can't wait to read this one. As Jack Shafer cleverly writes in his review, "Blount hangs out in dictionaries the way other writers hang out in bars."

As a huge fan of Blount's, I suspect it will be fun to "pub crawl" through the OED and Webster's Third with him.

Friday, November 14, 2008

From the Horn Book editor

You can't get any more knowledgeable in the field of children's literature than Roger Sutton. This is from an article about choosing books for kids in the November/ December issue of Horn Book. Here's Mr. Sutton on helping good readers become passionate about books. And a word or two about parenting while he's at it:

Parents of an early expert reader — heck, parents of any kind of a reader, from reluctant to ambitious — are confronted with two sometimes-conflicting sets of expectations: what they want for their child and what their child wants for him- or herself. I would suggest that, ultimately, satisfaction will be found for the former by assiduous attention to the latter. Just because your child can read at a fifth-grade level doesn’t mean he needs to at all times. (Think about your own reading: just because you can read Henry James doesn’t mean you must, does it?) At the same time, of course, just because your child is seven doesn’t mean she can’t take a crack — if she wants to — at Harry Potter, either. Given access to a wide variety of reading — both print and pixeled texts — and given the proper tools and encouragement to wade through it and choose, children turn themselves into the readers their parents want them to be.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Unreliable Blogger...

Which I guess is something like the Unreliable Narrator, since this blog is supposed to be mostly about reading and writing. But click on over to the #4 Most Emailed article in today's New York Times to see the latest blogging hoax. Oh, wait, it's moved up to #2 in the time it took me to write this entry!

When I was a librarian, the second graders in my classes knew Africa was a continent, so I was a bit doubtful when that news originally circulated. Then again, I'm pretty gullible when it comes to believing what you see in print!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Bags!

Hey, out there, all you librarians and book types. This is too good to resist. Click here to learn exactly how to make these babies! Well, some of you might be able to make them. I'm not that handy with glue and floor polish. But I bet my friend Leslie could make about a million of them in no time flat.

I'm kind of partial to book-related decorations. I actually own a beautiful Book Jacket "wrap" (as my grandmother would call it) given to me by my sister, also a librarian. And once I actually made book earrings as part of a Library Week workshop. For now, I'll just admire this picture of penwiper337's Book Purse.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Words Each Day

I've been a big fan of Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day emails for a long time. Sometimes I delete but frequently I put them in a special folder to savor later. Today I read it and remembered.
When I was in high school (click here for a link to the school's Centennial. All the other links to the school bear no resemblance to my memories), I studied Latin with an amazing teacher, Mrs. Garrett. We chanted our Latin declensions. (Amo! Amas! Amat!) That I can remember this and can't remember a friend's phone number puzzles me. 

So when today's Wordsmith word was CIRCA it brought back a lot of memories. Mrs. Garrett taught us to recognize and decipher many English words by considering their Latin roots. Something that's served me well. And circa is just one of those fun words to say. Covers a lot of ground. Makes up for incomplete knowledge.

Earlier in the week, the word of the day was MAUGRE/ Mauger. Despite its supposed Latin roots, I had no clue to its meaning. You really do learn something new every day. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Every Soul a Star

Is that a great book cover or what?!

I've been a fan of Wendy Mass's books for a while and I recently, really loved Jeremy Fink.
She writes the kind of books kids actually read, more than once, ask for by name, recommend to their friends. So I couldn't wait to get her latest, Every Soul A Star. How she comes up with these absolutely fascinating topics to write about amazes me. Synesthesia? The Meaning of Life (now that's no topic for slouches)? In her new book, a solar eclipse is about to take place and I think I learned as much about the sky reading Every Soul a Star as I remember from my college astronomy course (but that's another story...)

Click here to read my review in today's Christian Science Monitor.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted!

What a great country we live in! And not just for the free Krispy Kreme, Ben and Jerry's or Starbucks I could get for showing up with my "I voted" sticker on. The lines were short, actually non-existent, and everyone was glad to see me, polite and helpful. I'm wondering how everyone else feels about their voting experience today? Any comments?

After voting, I meandered a short block from the church polling place to the beach and walked for a bit. Even though the day is slightly gray and overcast here on the west coast of Florida, it was delightful. Gulls calling out, waves lapping. All the good stuff.

I followed a couple arguing over his "wasted vote."

She: Your daughter wants to know why you voted for Ralph Nader.
He: He's the best candidate! He's the one to save America! (etc etc etc)
She: She doesn't care what you think about Nader. She just wants to know why you wasted your vote.

It went on for a while like that. Only funnier. 
I should have taken notes. I could work that couple into a scene somewhere. He with his bermuda shorts, sneakers and black socks. She in lime green pants suit/ jogging suit. Me wishing for my notebook.
Now off to Starbucks. Maybe I'll even take that notebook.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Writing about Voting?

If you need inspiration for your writing on any given Monday morning, head on over to Jo Knowles' blog (click here for the link). Today she asks writers to describe  what it's like to vote, wherever they are. So far, the reports from my county say people are waiting in line for 3 hours... 
But tomorrow's the real day so I'm hoping when I show up at my little polling place, all will be well.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween in Florida

Back to St. Petersburg where trick or treating involves grownups sitting on lawn chairs greeting the little ghouls and gremlins with big bowls of candy on tables. And neat decorations. Like my favorite southern tree, the live oak, seen here spruced up for Halloween.

And very inventive palm trees with eyeballs...     

I got to go trick or treating with two cute kids, Tinkerbell and Minnie Mouse. It's nice to be back. Now back to reading and writing.