Saturday Summation – 04 January 2014

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

 

Reading Stuff

Book Riot’s Kim Ukura posted about the idea of whether sometimes you can read “too much”. It came at an interesting time because I was feeling like I was devouring books at an amazing rate during the last couple weeks of December. However, her point is that sometimes you can just be tired of reading, and that really isn’t something that I run into. To me, if you are tired of reading, it means you have been trying to read too many books that don’t interest you, which can indeed, wear you out. For me, though, I found that charging through so many books in a short amount of time put me in a fiction world so deeply, that on occasion, I felt momentary distraction in the real world! How about you? Do you think it’s possible to read too much? If so, what does it mean to you?

 

Minnesota author Kate DiCamillo (maybe best know for Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Tale of Despereaux), has been named national ambassador of young people’s stories. I don’t entirely know what this means, but I think it’s cool that she has been the one chosen for this honor. She’s prolific, writes stories with great themes (and in some cases just great fun), and from what I can tell, is very approachable. She will do well with touring the country and encouraging our children to read and read widely.

 

I enjoyed author Anna Elliott’s post on Writer Unboxed about the trend of ending a story not happily. The trend suggests that avoiding a neat, happy ending is more realistic and therefore to be favored and respected more. Elliott’s reaction:

“Which honestly strikes me as doubly odd– because no ending is especially realistic, really. One of the first things you notice about life is that– except for, you know, death– it doesn’t actually contain endings at all, whether happy or sad. No one gets convenient freeze-frame and fade-to-black at an especially profound high point or a low point.”

For me, I read to escape real life. I don’t need the ultimate realistic ending. This isn’t to say that I dislike an untidy ending, but it should work with the story and not be a stunt (Allegiant, anyone?) or a fear of readers and critics thinking you weren’t brave enough to end something less than happily. In one of my own novels I originally killed off an important character, but an early beta reader told me her issues with it and she was right. I found a new ending that fit with the story better, fit for my protagonist’s story better. What are stories you’ve read where you felt the ending didn’t work due to the happy/unhappy-“realistic” choice an author made?

 

Finally, I read a post this week that also timed well with a decision I’ve been mulling over in the past month or so. Agent Janet Reid fielded a question that asked if an agent will remember if a querying writer wrote an unfavorable review of a book the agent loved. Reid’s honest response was yes because that book might have been one of her clients’, whom she will defend like the mama shark that she is. She did, of course, indicate that it helps if the review was fair (vs disliking a book because you don’t like the author’s personal life/viewpoints or whatever), but that it could still color an agent’s view.

I’ve been considering pausing my monthly Reads and Recs posts for various reasons, and as I pursue my own road to publication, Reid’s post helps give validation for potentially letting myself take a break from it. I haven’t made an absolute decision on it, yet, and am still trying to work out a compromise, since I love talking about books.

 

Song of the Week

I just heard that Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers died yesterday, so let’s watch them perform “All I Have To Do Is Dream”:

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One Response to Saturday Summation – 04 January 2014

  1. Interesting question about reading too much.  Because I read 1-2 books in print and listen to 1-2 books I sometimes need to take a break.  Probably though because they all start to sound the same.  One mystery is much like the next and one romance/chick lit is often somewhat similar in some ways as well.  So why read so many of those? Because they are easy to get into, particularly on the road or when walking.  If a book has too many characters I cannot listen to it because I need to write them down.  Not to say I have not done that but often mid-way through CD2 I have to go back to CD1 and start over, making notes of the characters while I drive or if I am lucky Shelfari has an updated character list which is ideal. But who wants to refer to a printed character list when you are driving?  Not me.

    It could be true, though, that I am just not reading enough interesting stuff.  Who knows.  It is a good point to ponder.

    Good day.

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