Micro Mondays: Young Lady and the Sea

I actually thought of two (albeit related) story starters for this picture.

Image from Writer’s Digest Story 54

Scrambling onto the sinking scraps of her sales shack, Sally swore to cease selling seashells by the seashore.(18 words)


As she stepped onto the chair sunk into the shallow tide, it occurred to Meg that this was the strangest flash mob she’d ever participated in. (26 words)


Book Beginnings and Friday 56: Sourcery

I picked up two other books (House of Leaves, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell), hoping their page 56 would have something very quote-able… They did not. So I turned to Terry Pratchett, who writes something quote-able on almost every page.

For Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader

There was a man and he had eight sons. Apart from that, he was a nothing more than a comma on the page of History. It’s sad, but that’s all you can say about some people.

For The Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice

“I’ve just killed a wooden box,” she said.

Rincewind looked around the corner.

The Luggage stood in the dripping street, the knife still quivering in its lid, and stared at her.

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 Book 2015, Pt. 2

At the end of last year, I was super looking forward to 2015 Bout of Books. I’m on Winter Break so in theory I should have plenty of time in January to read. Then life happened and my beautiful plans to read from sun-up to sun-down fell apart.

Bout of Books took place from January 5th to January 11th. Unfortunatley, during that week, I had to read about a business trip and several screaming and sick toddlers my roommate was unexpectedly babysitting. I did not get much read. I decided to spend last week as a sort of 2nd chances Bout of Books to see if I could read anymore without distractions… unfortunately, that’s when I got hit with that stomach bug from those screaming toddlers….

During week one, I read a book. During 2nd chance week two, I read a whopping… book and a half! One half more book! Of course that book is only about 100 pages… but still it’s half read!

The book I read for actually Bout of Book had been recommended to me: Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. If you’ve ever wondered if evolution is a true fact, or if you’ve ever  said to yourself (like I did), “Hey, I know evolution happened/is happening, but I’m not sure how I know that” then this is a good book to start your educational journey. It is a tough read in some places, though, and I definitely benefited from having a science (if not evolutionary science) background. The half book I read this past week is called The Big Questions: Evolution, and is part of a series of question and answer-style books on science.

The full book I read this week was a surprising gem: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. I had to make several trips to the children’s library last year for research into children’s books for my work, and I kept seeing this book on the shelf. It looked like the kind of story that I’d have loved as a kid, so I decided what the heck, I’m not to old to read a children’s book and I checked it out.

Splendors and Glooms is a gothic thriller for children, that concerns the kidnapping of a lonely rich girl and plight of two orphans apprenticed and abused by a puppet master who is at war with a dying witch. To me, this book came off as a more Dickensian The Night Circus. I also kept getting hints of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (another children’s book that I read when I was outside of the prescribed reading age because my younger sister refused to read it herself).

While reading, there were times when I forgot it was written for children. Part of that is because it was very well written and had some impressive language (It is a Newbery Medal winner.). It was much more richly detailed, especially in terms of smells, than a lot of fiction that I’ve read recently (which maybe says more about the quality of the books I’m reading… hmmm…). There are also several scenes where I was a like, ‘Well that would have progressed/ended a lot differently if this were geared for an older audience.’ One scene that stands out is when a man who’s been sexually harassing one of the orphans finally makes a move on her. An uncomfortable scene, but nicely handled.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Splendors and Glooms. It was a fine book to end my 2nd chance Bout of Books, and it’s one that I’d recommend to anyone who has kids or doesn’t mind reading a children’s book.

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…

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56: Mort

For today’s Book Beginnings and Friday 56, I thought I’d pull from Mort, my favorite Terry Pratchett novel (so far). I wanted to do a Terry Pratchett book since I noticed during a trip to Barnes & Noble that Good Omens (written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) was organized under ‘G’ rather than ‘P’. Tsch.

For Book Beginnings

This is the bright candlelit room where the life-timers are stored – shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, one for every living person, pouring their fine sand from the future into the past.

For The Friday 56

(I’m cheating on this a little, choosing several lines from across page 56, to better show case Pratchett’s humor and wit).

The woman said: “Why does the demon show his teeth, husband of my life?”

“I’m no demon! I’m a human!”

“You’re a thief?” said the father. “A murderer? To creep in thus, are you a tax-gatherer?” His hand slipped under the table and came up holding a meat cleaver honed to paper thinness. His wife screamed and dropped the plate and clutched the youngest children to her.