The End Game

I don’t usually review books but once upon a time I listed them here and wrote a blurb about each one. Scaling down was the best option for me a few years back, but if you’re interested in what I’m reading, you can track them on Facebook. It’s not as visually pleasing but I update whenever I start something new.

That being said, I’m not going to post a book review, rather praise a novel’s introduction. Yep, the introduction. Though from what I’ve read so far, the book is good, too.

The fastest way to bump a book up on my TBR (to be read) pile is to release a movie. ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card has been on my “pile” for at least a decade. (The pile is too big to stack: I have books on random shelves around the house plus a list of books to get—at some point—from the library or at the bookstore.) This November is gonna rock in theaters! I might go to the movies twice a year, but with THOR: THE DARK WORLD, CATCHING FIRE, THE BOOK THIEF, and ENDER’S GAME all releasing in November, I might be going weekly. I used to collect THOR comic books (still have them), I’ve read The Hunger Games series as well as The Book Thief, and now I’m into Ender’s Game.

The old paperback that's been around the house for YEARS.

The old paperback that’s been around the house for YEARS.


Two nights ago, I started Ender’s journey from the beginning. I read books from beginning to end, from copyright page all the way through the dedication and to the author’s biography at the end. I love introductions and author’s notes and the introduction to the “Author’s Definitive Edition” of Ender’s Game published in 1991 was no let down. Orson Scott Card imparted reader/writer wisdom in a way that everyone can understand.

Here’s the breakdown of the main points that spoke to me:
1. A writer is always developing.
2. Simple writing does not equal weak writing. (One of the reasons I love children’s literature—it is powerful.)
3. Truth in fiction is what the reader learns about themselves while reading the story.
4. Writers bring the tools; the readers build the story in their own minds.

If you’re an avid reader or a writer—of any genre—I recommend tracking down a copy with the introduction and read it for yourself. It made me want to rush out and tackle my literary dreams as well as lose myself in a great book.

An Autism Literary Journey

It’s no secret that my oldest child is on the autism spectrum (check out posts under the “Autism” category) but this summer we passed a milestone: a READING benchmark.

Call me a bad parent, but one of my only questions for the neurologist who “helped” diagnosis my son with PDD-NOS was “Will he ever learn to read?”  My sweet son didn’t sit still long enough for me to read more than a page or two of a picture book—he was more interested in lining up his video cassettes.

Thankfully, he did learn to read and in the past year he’s been reading for pleasure. Every night, he’d read aloud to himself from The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter or the Curious George cannon. Over and over. I was happy to see him reading, and had to brush tears from my cheeks the first few times I caught his little brother and sister huddled around him in bed after lights out to listen to the stories, but I didn’t want him stimming on the same stories.

When his fourteenth birthday approached this July, I decided to formerly introduce him to my bookshelves which he passed dozens of times a day. I pointed out a section of middle grade novels and let him pick one of the E.B. White books since he was familiar with the characters from their movie reincarnations. He went through Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan the first week. He plowed through the complete Bunnicula series by James Howe and several Newbery books like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Shiloh, The Whipping Boy, and Sarah, Plain and Tall. He even read Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

SIXTY books in two months! I gave him a journal when he began his novel reading journey and in it he draws the cover of each book he completes. Now, I need to go back to the bookstore and buy another journal.

I’ve always had a major children’s book collection happening but last week I started fearing for my home library. He’d moved from the lower middle grade novel—typically for 7-10 year olds—bookshelves to my personal favorites—the ten and up category.

So, we began this week with a trip to our local library branch like a good homeschool family. Usually, my guy would only look at the DVDs and a book or two if pressed. This time, I showed him the children’s fiction section and he started putting Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary books in our bag. I’m majorly excited but a little sad that he’s got dibs on Lair & Spy by Rebecca Stead before me.

Alphabet Blog

I’ve taken this from writer buddy Stephanie, who took it from another friend, etc but I changed a few alphabet words to mix it up a bit.

A. Age: I’m a bicentennial baby. You do the math.
B. Birth Order: 3rd out of 4. Third is the nerd.
C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning tubs/showers. And bathing kids is my least favorite “mommy chore.” So glad they are getting older…
D. Dogs: They’re nice, but I don’t want to personally own one at this point in my life.
E. Essential start to your day: Alarm clock or kidlets.
F. Favorite color: Purple, with turquoise a close second.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver—or white gold.
H. Height: 5’12” baby!
I. Inspirations: Crisp, autumn-like weather with a nice breeze and music.
J. Job title: Which one? Wife, Mother, Writer, Daughter, Sister, Aunt…
K. Kids: Three kidlets.
L. Live: Mobile, Alabama… or is that live—I love live music! Concerts are the best!
 
M. Marriage Status: Married, with children.
N. Nicknames: Care Bear is the most common, from multiple sources.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Five times, three from childbirth.
P. Pet peeves: Dishonesty: lie, cheat, or hold back the truth and I will not trust you.
Q. Quote from a movie: “As you wish.” I swoon for Westley.
R. Right or left handed: Right, though I always wished I was a lefty.
S. Secrets: I’ll never tell.
T. Time you wake up: Whenever I’m needed.
U. UFOs: Possibly, but not necessarily with little green men…
V. Vegetable you hate: Canned red beets. GAG.
W. What makes you run late: Kidlets—1, 2, 3, or all.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Neck, back, and that lousy right ankle—I’ve sprained it three times.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Cookies! Nothing fancy, just the basics: chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, peanut butter, etc.
Z. Zoos or Aquariums: I love a good aquarium. It feels like I’m in a time warp, in another world, and then the sun is SOOO bright when I step back outside—WHAM! Welcome back to Earth.
 

In Which I revert to Rambling

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Which I revert to Rambling

I put a call out for blog ideas on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AuthorCarrieCox) the other day. The two options listed are difficult, to say the least. One humorous, one serious. I might tackle them at a future date, but I need something fluffy to get me through this week.
Music, as always, pulls me into the writing zone. I was productive last week, which was good since I needed to produce several pages to submit for my critique group to read. I went on a musical binge and piled 196 songs into a “Fortitude Groove” playlist in my iTunes account. Those were just songs that jumped out at me while scrolling through my music library. I’ve narrowed it down to 150 songs so far. I’m listening to each one while working on Fortitude related tasks: note taking, editing, writing, and playing Free Cell to zone out before/after writing. It will be awhile before I create an actual “soundtrack” (see http://wonderwegian.blogspot.com/2011/08/corroded-soundtrack.html) because I’m never quite sure if the story will keep to my outline. I’m already rethinking the ending and I’ve only written two chapters. But, for now, the music is doing its job.
Down to 149…
This time, the selections are heavy on the Irish/Celtic, country, blue grass, and my hard rock favorites.
… 147…
I don’t think I could write something without being inspired by at least three songs from the likes of Europe/Joey Tempest/John Norum, Mitch Malloy, Nelson, Tyketto, or Firehouse. Just to name a few. Those are the songs that filled my boom box when I began writing in earnest at 14. And several of those guys have fabulous new albums.
… 145…
Some terrific songs are being deleted because of modern references, like phone calls or cars. Just like Bid Time Return (aka “Somewhere in Time”) I don’t want anything that might jar me out of the moment. Timeless is perfection. That’s why I LOVE the classic Disney cartoons—the ones when Walt was alive—there aren’t any “modern” jokes thrown in. They are truly timeless masterpieces: Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan. I enjoy Robin Williams as the genie in Aladdin, but most of the humor is current references. Pulls me out of the story.
… 143…
Fluffy just turned into rambling so it’s time to stop.
Any other bright ideas out there for future posts? Remarks on this one?

Escape into Reading

This month has been filled with family and home. I’ve been surrounded by a few nieces and many more nephews, and all the things that accompany them. Laundry, food, messes, and noise. And of course fun, laughter, love, and adventure. But I’ve had to cope with lack of quiet and thinking time. So I went into literary hibernation.

I escaped what was going on around me by snuggling into books. Forget the army battle sounds coming from down the hall and the trail of toys stretched from the sofa to the bedroom–I’d rather be in Kosovo or playing middle school soccer.
So, as you can see from my list of books in the past two weeks, I’ve been hibernating a lot! A couple of these books were read in less than 24 hours.

A great closing to The Hunger Games series. A kindred spirit gave me the first book for my birthday and immediately loaned me the other two books so I could read the series straight through. Loved how it ended, though about ten pages before I was about to scream at Katniss for one of her decissions.

Katherine Paterson has been one of my favorite writers since I read Bridge to Terabithiacirca 1989. This book came out about two years ago but I finally purchased the hardcover (thank you Books-A-Million bargain tables, for this and two other books on the list) last month. I had no clue about the wars in the Kosovo area during the past two decades, other than people were dying. This book made me want to learn more about recent history I’ve been blind to.

Nice summer romance with a HEAVY dose of southern spice. This is the most southern sounding book I’ve read in recent years, if not ever.

I was able to meet the gracious author, Crickett Rumley, at a local book signing last week. Fun read–laughed out loud many times.

Wow! This is the best contemporary middle reader book I’ve read in a LONG time. Amazingly deep. Will be looking for more by Edward Bloor!

Does this make half of my books this time southern? Even Tangerine was set in Florida, with scenes in TX and AL. This was one of my 24 or less books. Adventure with heart. Enjoyed it enough to want to purchase my own copy to have for my kids to read.
So, what have you been feeding your mind this month?