Top Ten Tuesday: Book I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read

For shame on me, I really haven’t read many of the classics.


Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read

  1. Animal Farm by George Orwell. I somehow missed out on this one in school.
  2. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I was *supposed* to read this in school. Whether or not I did, however…
  3. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I own this book, so I have no reason not to read it. After buy it though, I discovered I’m not a fan of Bradbury’s writing style. I think I’ll have to bite the bullet and just read it one day, since it it both a classic and short.
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker. Although if I read it now, I won’t be able to avoid picturing Winona Rider, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Oldman in the roles.
  5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett . I started this book as a kid but never read past Mary moving in with her uncle and Professor McGonagall Mrs. Medlock. But I loved the movie as a kid so one day I’ll re-start and finish the book.
  6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger . Missed out on reading this in school too, although honestly…. I don’t particularly want to read it… But it is a classic…
  7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’ve only read the scene where Franksenstein sort of, kind of, but not really described how he created his monster.
  8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I haven’t read this, even though I own it in several languages.
  9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. As someone in the mental health field, I feel like I need to read this.
  10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. Same comment as above. There are a lot of interesting books out there on mental illness. (Although I understand this one is a bit racist and misogynistic…)

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Books

Keeping up with this blog in 2015 has been tricky, not from lack of drive or will but from lack of internet… I blame Comcast. Anyhoo, I wasn’t going to attempt a Top Ten Tuesday post since they usually take me longer and involve looking up stuff on Goodreads, but my internet connect is looking good right now for now.


Ten Books I’d Love to Read with My Book Club (Were I to Have One)

My psych grad student peeps were mulling over the idea of starting a psychology book club… Then we realized we don’t have time for that sort of thing… The books I’ve chosen are ones that seem thought-provoking or at least interesting to discuss.

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I’ve actually already read this one, and I taught it to my elementary school class in Korea. Yeah. It was a fun class, but I couldn’t go all that in depth with the discussion. The main thing I’d want to discuss: What’s the deal with that carnivorous vine island?


 2. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

This has been on my To Read List for years. This book’s depiction of the meat-packing industry so disgusted Teddy Roosevelt that it lead to a revolution in government oversight of food preparation… even though it was focused on the much broader issue of social justice.

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The true story of how one woman’s somehow-immortal cells were effectively stolen from her and used to create the polio vaccine, IVF, gene mapping and other medical and scientific breakthroughs… and yet her family was never compensated…

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The struggles of a boy with (I would presume from the summary) Asperbergers as he investigates in a Sherlock Holmes style the murder of his neighbor’s dog.



5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

A gifted professor struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s and the unraveling of her memory. Soon to be a major motion picture staring Julianne Moore! This story hits home for me since my grandmother died a few years ago from Alzheimer’s. I remember how difficult it was, not just for her but for her children to watch her turn into “Dark Mommy” as she lost her memory which warped the rest of her mind.

6. California by Edan Lepucki

I first learned of this book on The Colbert Report (which sadly is no longer with us). The story concerns a pregnant couple struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic (I think) California landscape. It seemed thought -provokey. Plus, you know, Colbert Bump.


7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

One boy’s journey to solve the mystery of the key in his father’s closet after said father is killed in the September 11th World Trade Center Attacks.This story seems likely to be very sad but maybe it will also be uplifting?



8. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

I have absolutely no idea what this book is about, but people tell me it’s amazing.




9. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I have absolutely no idea what this book is about, but I don’t think I’m suppose to. What I gather is that it’s a multi-generational/time period epic that explores the meaning of life and love… I think?




10. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.

Because Asimov. Also, even though he’s known for his science fiction, his arm chair detective mysteries are worth reading. I love his mystery anthologies. He introduces each short story with a brief blurb that is occasionally about the development of the story, but often times not. Either way, he’s clever, funny, and just the right amount of self-deprecating. Honestly, Asimov is one of the people, living or dead, who I’d want at my hypothetical dinner party.

Binge Reading or Paced Reading?

Which do you prefer: Binging on a book series or pacing your reading?

I’ve been think about binge reading recently (which I was disappointed to find is already a thing so I can’t coin the term). By binging, I’m talking about reading all the books in a series in quick succession instead of pacing your reading so you wait months if not years between books. I’m on hold at my local library for The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, the first and second book in a triliogy that’s been published in very quick succession. The Paper Magician was published in September 2014 while The Glass Magician was published November 2014 and the third book will be published in July of this year. My first thought when I saw this was, ‘Oh, that makes sense because once people get hooked by the first book, they’ll want to read the second book/rest of the series right away.’

Then I thought about it for a minute and decided that was a terrible idea, at least for my reading style. Although I’ll probably binge The Paper Magician series to get the books back to the library in time, that’s not normally how I read. I love the suspense that comes with waiting for the next installment of a story, whether it be the next book, TV episode, or movie. I dislike binging TV shows even though that’s all the rage now (the one exception I will binge is Orange is the New Black, which is designed for that kind of viewing). Binging, at least for me, kills at lot that stressful but satisfying suspense and anticipation.

Last year, I read several first-in-a-series books and plan to read at least some of their subsequent books this year. While I could read all the books in one series before moving onto the next, I much prefer mixing the series up. Once I’ve read book 2 from series X, then Y, then z, I can move on to reading book 3 from series X, then Y, then Z. Hopefully that’ll give me time to let the stories sink in and build my anticipation.

Bout of Books 2015

I had planned to participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish, but the isn’t going to work for me: Top Ten Books You Read in 2014. Sadly, I’ve only read 17 books in 2015 and several of those books are textbooks :(.  A lot of the reading I do is academic…

But I’m determined to read more for fun in 2015! So I’ve decided to participate in the 2015 Bout of Books, which I serendipitously stumbled onto right after realizing how few books I read this year. Bout of Books is a read-a-thon organized by

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

So how do you participate? 1) Declare your intention to do so on the Bout of Books blog. 2) Set a goal for the number of books you’ll read between January 5th and 11th. 3) When January 5th rolls around: start reading!

Since January is winter break and the first week or two I’ll have the most free time from grad school, I should be able to get a lot read. At the very least, I want to finish the series that I’ve started this year: The Clockwork Century and The Parasol Protectorate. And I guess I should get around to reading House of Leaves… even though it is so long and odd…

WWW Wednesday

Tomorrow I’ll be putting up my first significant creative writing post since before NaNoWriMo, but for today I decided to try out Should Be Reading‘s WWW Wednesday meme. To play along, I just have to answer the following three questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?

I recently joined NetGalley to get my eyes on some ARC books (advanced reading copy if you prefer the long-hand lingo). I didn’t expect to receive any  so soon but I was approved to read That Risen Snow: A Scary Story of Snow White and Zombies by Rob E. Boley. So I’ve just started that.

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I actually had a very successful reading week and finished two books, The Awakening of Ren Crown by Anne Zoelle and Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross. I enjoyed them both and planned to post reviews sometime in the near future.

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

My sister recently asked me if I started House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski yet. So I think with my semester wrapping up I’ll need to tackle that beast next.

So what books are you guys reading?

Writer Emergency Pack: Helping Writers Get Unstuck

Just when I thought I was out, Kickstarter pulled me back in. I like supporting indie artists, start-ups and the like,  so backing projects on Kickstarter can be a fun was to do that… but the cost adds up. I made myself promise not to go on any crowd funding websites for a while.

Then someone showed me the Writer Emergency Pack project:

Image from John August’s (the creator’s) blog.

The Writer Emergency Pack is a card game writer’s can use to defeat the nagging monster called Writer’s Block. The 26 cards, in addition to having awesome illustrations, have suggestions on how to spice up your story. It looks pretty neat, a fun tool to help brainstorm new ideas or to just have sitting around on a writing desk for when you want a chuckle.

Image from the Writers Emergency Kit Kickstarter Campaign.

The Kickstarter campaign ends in 12 days. It’s already 100% funded, so if you pledge $19 you’ll get the card set. PLUS, they’ll donate one card pack for every one solid to a young writer’s program, which is pretty cool.

How Do You Start a Sequel?


This year for NaNoWriMo, I’m writing a sequel. It’s one I’ve had in the works for a while and that I’ve tried to start probably about five times. Rather than have chapters, it’s organized by days starting with November 20th. And each time I’ve started to write the story, I haven’t gotten beyond November 20th.

I always get bogged down in exposition that I imagine is the bane of every sequel. My five drafts always end up feeling like this: SO MUCH HAPPENED IN THE FIRST STORY AND I HAVE TO CATCH YOU UP ON EVERY BIT OF IT RIGHT NOW!

It took me forever to get started on my sixth draft for NaNoWriMo… Despite being excited to finally be seriously writing it, I think I started around 5pm. But then I had this mini-epiphany moment: Why don’t I explain nothing at the start of the story? I can begin right in the middle of the action and just write what I’ve planned and see what details from the first story naturally weave themselves into the sequel. Then during the editing phase, I can rework the beginning to it’s less trial-by-fire and I’ll know what details I can leave out because they’re be explained later.

In hindsight, this kind of feels obvious, but I was very proud of myself for figuring out this strategy.

Does anyone else out there struggle with starting sequels or other subsequent stories? Any good strategies to avoid overloading your readers with exposition at the start?