Monthly Archives: December 2007

Wordamour’s 2007: A Year in Books

Photobucket” Featuring a Top 5 in Writing, Fiction and Nonfiction and a list of everything I’ve read in the past 365 days.  I’ll use a star ratings system until I can figure out something more creative.

Top 5 Writing Books

1. Chapter by Chapter by Heather Sellers *****

2. How to Be a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead  by Ariel Gore ****

3. Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher ****

4. 78 Reasons Why Your Novel Won’t Get Published and 14 Reasons Why It Might by Pat Walsh Reviewed on this Site here

5. Doing Creative Writing by Steve May

Top 5 in Fiction

1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak***1/2

2. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick *****

3. Suite Francaise by Irene Nevirovsky *****

4. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart****

5. The Miraculous Journey 0f Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamilo ****

Top 5 in Non-Fiction

1. The Golden Legacy: How Goldenbooks Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever and Became an American Icon Along the Way by Leonard S. Marcus*****Review coming soon!

2.  Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York by Adam Gopnik*****

3. My Father’s Summers: A Daughter’s Memoir by Kathi Appelt****

4. Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda****

5. The Crafter’s Companion: Tips, Tales and Patterns from a Community of Creative Minds ed. by Anna Torborg **** Review Coming Soon!

A few years back, worried that I wasn’t reading enough, I began keeping a list of what I’d read starting in January, to reassure myself that I was keeping up.  It’s had a few interesting side effects, chiefly that each year the number has gone up–I like to compete with myself.  So, here  you go, all 43 books I read last year.  A pretty revealing list, for better or for worse.

 1. Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York by Adam Gopnik *****

2. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate di Camilo ****

3. Meeting the Professor: Growing Up in the William Blackburn Family by Alexander Blackburn **

4. Author 101: Bestselling Book Publicity by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman ***

5.Publicize Your Book: An Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves by Jaqueline Deval ***

[Can you tell my first book, Can It Really Be Taught: Resisting Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy, with Dr. Kelly Ritter, came out last year.  I should have followed through with the suggestions better.  The publisher’s tell me it’s selling well enough for an academic book, though.]

6. Chapter by Chapter by Heather Sellers *****

7. New York’s 1939-41 World’s Fair by Andrew Wood ***

8. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy***1/2

9. A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman-**1/2 (first half, ***)

10. Ella of All of a Kind Family, by Sidney Taylor **1/2

11. How to Be a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore ****

11. The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron ****

12. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry ***

13. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak ***

14. Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing by Ted Kooser and Steve Cox **1/2

15. Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly by Gail Carson Levine ***
(this is a children’s book on writing)
16. Dream When You’re Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg **

17. Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher ***

18. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick *****

19. Educators as Writers: Publishing for Personal and Professional Development ed. by Caroline Smallwood **

20. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert **3/4

21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling ****

22. Writer’s Workshop in a Book by Alan Cheuse***23. Writing a Woman’s Life by Carolyn Heilbrun***

24. Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen****

25. The Fiction Editor, The Novel and the Novelist by Thomas McCormick **

26.  The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination by Robert Coles***

27. Grace, Eventually by Anne Lamott ***

28. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ***

29. Love, Magic, Mudpies by Bernie Siegel

30. Flea: The Ulitmate Flea Market Guide ****

31. My Father’s Summers by Kathi Appelt***

32. 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just might by Pat Walsh ****

33. Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine **

34. Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky **1/2

35. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky *****

36. Kissing Tennessee and Other Stories at the Stardust Dance by Kathi Appelt***

37. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart ***1/2

38. Things I overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda

39. The Golden Legacy by Leonard S. Marcus *****

40. No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason

41. The Crafter’s Companion: Trips, Tales, and Patterns from a Community of Creative Minds ed. by Anna Torbord

42. Doing Creative Writing by Steve May

43. Handbook of Creative Writing ed. by Steve Earnshaw

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Best Christmas Present Survey

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Yes, it is hokey and completely unoriginal, and yes, I’m still not vacuuming (soon!) but I forgot I wanted to put out a survey of the best inanimate Christmas present you ever got as an a. adult and b. child.  I put in the inanimate qualifier because several important people (and a few animals) came into my life at Christmas and I’m sure lots of people feel the same.

 My two:

ADULT:
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Christmas 1990
Claddagh Ring from my husband (then boyfriend). Speaks for itself.

CHILD

Christmas 1978
Welcome Home Baby
Yes, I was eleven and yes, a laaaate bloomer. Still loved baby dolls  I had fallen in love with this doll over the summer in a toy shop on Cape Cod. We looked everywhere for it when we got home to Albany but to no avail. I was absolutely convinced I had no hope of getting it for Christmas. I think the story is my father and grandfather actually drove to Cape Cod for it. Can you say, “only child?”

Ok, now I really want to hear YOUR stories. Send em in! To up the ante, I’ll enter any post about this subject into the January drawing, in advance of it.

Now, off to do some speed vacuuming.
SV

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Preview of upcoming posts (aka–books for Christmas!)

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I am supposed to be cleaning my house at this moment, in preparation for most-welcome weekend guests, but I’m finding it hard to get in the vacuuming groove, so I think I’ll give you all a little preview of some upcoming book reviews you can look forward to here (as in, yes, I got  books for Christmas, whee!).

The Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever and Became an American Icon Along the Way by Leonard S. MarcusThis was #1 on my wish list.  I’m almost done with it.  Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Beyond Plot: The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason
Yes, I’m committed to entertaining YOU–and to hopefully growing my audience.

The Crafter’s Companion: Tips, Tales and Patterns from a Community of Crafters
Dispatches from my other life.

The Machine in the Nursery: Incubator Technology and the Origins of Neonatal Care
by Jeffrey P. Baker
Fascinating stuff, background for 2 writing projects I’m working on. Thank God for Interlibrary loan (click the link to find out why).

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda Not nearly as hokey as the title would suggest. The man can write. More later.

Sigh. I’ve put of the inevitable long enough. Back to the vacuum. With DH gone off running errands and the kids upstairs, at least I can crank up the Pavarotti.

So, look for reviews of these and more in the coming weeks and don’t forget the new Wordamour Giveaway, starting January 4 and running till Feburary 4!
Bye, y’all!
SV

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Christmas Greetings from Arkansas

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The Pokemon Shirt Returns!

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For those of you who were following the Wardrobe Issue of the Day (WIOTD) earlier in these posts, step back.  Just when we had abandoned all hope, yesterday, our younger son. . .

requested the Pokemon shirt!!!!!

It was “Pajama Day” (why didn’t we have pajama day when we were in school?) and he wanted to wear his pokemon shirt with his pajama pants. 

Remember, this was the shirt he categorically refused to wear until it was “winter.”

Hmm, yesterday was the eve of the Winter Solstice.  Coincidence?

You be the judge. 

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Pecan Year revised

Please bear with me as I tinker with this online.

Pecan Year*

With staccato notes they strike,

 rolling like billiards

down the shed’s freshly tarred roof.

Gathered together, their hulls clack softly—

A shy child’s blocks in a silver bowl. 

Each ebony streak contains a universe,

each mottled shell a native land.

 

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*Like many pecan trees, ours only bears fruit every other year.

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Winners and New Contest Announced. . .

A photo essay (with an extra bit at the end):

The Goods:
The Goods” alt=”The Goods”>

Basket o'Entries” alt=”Basket O’ Entires”>

The Drawing” alt=”The Drawing”>

And the winners are. . .” alt=”The Winners”>

More specifically, the winners are:

Garrett Steele    Coraline

Karla Nathan     Coraline

Callmeabookworm  Neverwhere

Monda Fason         Neverwhere

Karen         Elivis and Olive

If you didn’t win this time around, don’t be too disappointed.  This was so much fun, I’m going to do another contest from January 4 to February 4, in honor of my birthday.  Also, I’m going to go to the Associated Writing Programs contest at the end of January which means another great bookfair and more great prizes.  The Gettysburg Review usually gives out the best ones (one year, an alarm clock, another sunglasses, this past year really cool coffee mugs). 

Congratulations to the winners–I’ll be emailing you for your address, but if you read this first go ahead and send it to me at stephv@uca.edu. And don’t forget, the next contest will be for all comments posted between January 4 and February 4.

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