Here are some of my most interesting blog and news reads of the week.
TIME’s book critic, Lev Grossman, wrote an entertaining and validating post about hating specific books. I loved it because not only does it remind me of when people continually question me on why I continue to read a book if I’m not particularly into it (I swear, it’s possible for me to not finish a book, but I have to really hate it for that to happen), but also makes me feel better when I may not like a book that so many others love – or that I think I “should” like based upon bestseller lists or award lists. “I Hate This Book So Much: A Meditation”
Author John Scalzi gives an open mini-autobiography that reassures us that our system of food stamps, welfare, grants, and other federal aid have a direct impact on lives. It’s an encouraging success story overall. “A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It.”
Ali Luke, on the Write to Done blog gives clues to help writers during the times they are wondering if they are any good. If you don’t have the last three, you can soothe yourself with the first three, even if they aren’t exactly foolproof clues. “Is Your Writing Any Good? Here Are Seven Ways You Can Tell.”
This one sort of goes into the “Reading Stuff” section, too, but espouses mostly my writer audience, I think. Author Marcia Yudkin writes a post that gives further explanation of my difficulties with self-publishing. For the many self-published authors out there who really do their homework and put out the best novel they can, I apologize that you are being lost among the flood of those who really appear to just plunk out “first drafts”. Yudkin gives us “In Praise of Ripening”.
Nominalizations are Zombie Nouns says Helen Sword in the NYTimes. One of her opening paragraphs: “Academics love them; so do lawyers, bureaucrats and business writers. I call them “zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings.” Avoiding this keeps your verbs active and your adjectives alive, making for writing that is still smart, but readable.
Feel-Good Video of the Week:
A little over a year ago, a friend of mine shared this story of Rachel, a young girl who decided to ask friends and family for donations for her fresh water project for Ethiopians in lieu of birthday presents. Not long after her birthday, she died in a car accident and her story went public. This publicity brought donations to her charity water site, exceeding a million dollars. This video celebrates this fantastic legacy as the organization brought Rachel’s mother and grandparents to Ethiopia to witness the implementation of these donations for fresh water. I got teary-eyed watching it. (Full story: Rachel’s Gift. One Year Later)