Busy Bee

Oct. 8th, 2009 08:28 am
prosodic: (books)
A sure sign that I've bitten off more than I can chew? I no longer have time for leisure reading.

I've been reading The Thirteeth Tale for weeks (perhaps even 2 months). I don't think I'm even halfway through it yet. And it's not because I don't like the story, because the story is great. I just haven't had the time.

And I'm trying to finish up another book that I need to review. I'm about 30 or 40 pages from done. This is a non-fiction book about house decorating, so it's not the most riveting read, but it has a few kernels of wisdom that I can take away for our own house. I always find that mileage varies with these types of books because everyone's house is different.

I just got another book from my editor a couple days ago - Emily Arsenault's The Broken Teaglass. It seems to be a literary mystery, and I've been getting into those lately. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I just sent my resume and a small excerpt from an undergraduate literature essay to an academic company that is looking for writers to do book summaries of canonical and popular fiction and nonfiction. They specifically asked for a sample from a literary analysis and they want people with teaching backgrounds. So I seem to fit the bill perfectly. They pay for the reviews too...not much, but I don't get paid for the reviews I do now (I get free books, which is why I do it...because I mostly spend my disposable income on books anyway. Well, that, and I sometimes get the chance to interview an author I really admire, like Susan Vreeland).

ETA: I just got an email from the editor for this academic website. It's eNotes. And I'm already an approved editor with them, so he says I can go forth and start writing reviews! I didn't realize they had these assignments open.

Anyway...I have some stuff to do this morning for class tonight. I have to edit part of the group project that hit my inbox a couple days ago. And I need to look for clipart having to do with airline travel. And I still need to do my day job stuff. I was just given a new assignment to work on yesterday, so the article format is different and I'm trying to get used to it.

Oh...I got through the peer review last night. We had a class chatroom session on Blackboard, since my document design class is entirely online. It went well. Honestly, I thought my poster was the most boring of the bunch, but I was mostly focused on accomplishing the 4 required design elements to make the poster easy to understand. I didn't give it much flair (as my instructor likes to call it). I got mostly positive feedback. So I'm happy with it. As the instructor said, it's our first assignment anyway, so she didn't expect perfection.

I have to leave early today for campus because I have a meeting with my academic advisor. We're going to discuss what electives I might take and what direction I might take this program to fit in with my goals.

Back to the grind...


Jun. 18th, 2009 09:04 pm
prosodic: (hyperbole)
So I am now maintaining 3 blogs. I started a new one today. Not ready to release the URL for it just yet until I have a few more things posted on it.

This is madness, I swear. And each of these blogs serve completely different purposes. I hope the new one gets a lot of visitors, because it's not really writing-focused. It'll mostly be links - just trying to compile information in one place that is otherwise scattered throughout the internet.

I'll probably wake up tomorrow thinking I'm insane, and then I'll end up deleting it. But it's something I've been contemplating for weeks. And I've mentioned the idea to a few people and they thought it was very useful. So we'll see.

Anyway, I spent part of the afternoon at Kathy's. It seems her son has acquired a big box (a plastic backyard playset came in it) and she wanted to do something crafty with it, since he wants to play with the box. We contemplated turning it into a castle or a boat...and I even thought it would be fun to turn it upright and make a refrigerator/freezer out of it. We both really loved that idea, but Beck wanted to have the box horizontal instead of vertical. So we just cut random shapes into it...made random little doors and windows (I even cut a big B-shaped door into it). We wrapped it in white paper. Beck took his colored pencils and scribbled all over it and we had a bunch of stick-on stuff to decorate it.

So that was our crafty thing for today, although we're both anxious to do a girls' only craft afternoon with decoupage. She has a bunch of small wooden boxes.

Also, the birthday present she got me arrived today while I was there - the t-shirt she bought from Mental Floss. *points to icon*

She wants to get together soon - all of us - and have a picnic or go somewhere new and interesting. I'm kind of digging Wright Park in Tacoma. Although it doesn't look to have picnic facilities. But it has a conservatory and a sculpture park. Fantastic photo opportunities.

I came home at 5, about half an hour after Lance called me from McChord to tell me that he was on his way home. And I found a package of books from my editor on the doorstep:

The Wandering Heart - Mary Malloy
The House Always Wins - Marni Jameson (a home improvement book)
Writing Places - William Zinsser
The Devlin Diary - Christi Phillips (this is the one I'm reading first)

The Wandering Heart was compared by one reviewer to A.S. Byatt's Possession, so I hope it's really that good. Possession is an amazing book.
prosodic: (books)
The latest review copies came today:

- The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing

- Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure by Cheryl & Bill Jamison

- Puppy Chow is Better Than Prozac: The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life by Bruce Goldstein

- Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco

Today has almost been like Christmas!!
prosodic: (ex libris)
So I've been wanting this book titled Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction. It's more or less a textbook, and priced as such...about $40 on amazon, with used copies being around $24.00 or so.

However, I found a used copy on half.com for $17.99 + shipping. Sold!

It's been so long since I used half.com that my account still had my maiden name and my grad school address on it. And a credit card that expired four years ago. Hehehe.

I'm surprised I remembered my password to log into my account.

Anyway, I've been playing around with the idea of taking a nonfiction writing course, but I think this will have the same sort of impact, only a bit less expensive. Well, and I lose the advantage of having peers review my work, but that is what my writing group is for anyway. I might still take one though...I just have to wait a bit. Anything I sign up for this upcoming semester will be interrupted by my trip to New York.

I started a 1400 page novel today - Hunger's Brides. I really don't know if I'll get through it or not. I'm about 30 pages in and I really don't know what's going on. If I don't finish it, no biggie. I bought it for $7 at Barnes & Noble and I can always sell it on amazon. Or I can use it as a doorstop. ;)

I finished The Triumph of Deborah last night, the third novel from Eva Etzioni-Halevy. I've read and reviewed her other two novels, and always got very nice emails from her afterwards thanking me for my comments about her books. She even quotes me on her website and links to my reviews, which I think is very cool. So I was more than happy to review this third book of hers, and I liked this one very much as well. But for some reason, I am having a bit of a problem writing the review. I guess I'm just not feeling it today or something.
prosodic: (books)
If anyone is interested, my latest book review is posted:


And while I am on the subject of books, the Kent Library's Book Bunch is meeting on the afternoon of the 12th to discuss Suite Francaise, and that's good, because I just read that book in December. So if I'm still free on that day, I can go and hang out and meet some new people!
prosodic: (books)
I love it when I find a book that is difficult to put down. And when I do have to put it down, all I can think about is when I can pick it back up again.

I just finished All For Love: The Scandalous Life and Times of Royal Mistress Mary Robinson.

Wow. I mean...wow!

I have to write up a review of it, so I won't go into any detail about it here. But I absolutely enjoyed it.

And Mary Robinson's name was so familiar to me for some reason, and I couldn't quite figure out why...finally the novel revealed to me why she's familiar.

She is the poet who wrote Sappho & Phaeon, one of the works I had on my MA comprehensive exam list, and ultimately one that played a critical part in what happened during my exam. While that poem has remained etched in my memory, and not in a good way, the poet's name had escaped my mind. Until now.

Still...a fascinating woman, and a fascinating read. I will probably hold off on the review until tomorrow, since I want to give myself a day to savor it and think about it. But I have no doubt that the review will come easily to me when I do sit down to write it.
prosodic: (ex libris)
I am going off hiatus as a book reviewer for curledup.com. I decided that since I have some extra time right now, I might as well keep my writing fresh. And getting some new books is always good, too. ;)

The titles I selected:

- The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street (Charles Nicholl)

- The Triumph of Deborah (Eva Etzioni-Halevy) (I have reviewed two of her books previously, and both reviews were excerpted on her website)

- All For Love: The Scandalous Life and Times of Royal Mistress Mary Robinson (Amanda Elyot)

- Loss of Innocence: A Novel of the French Revolution (Anne Newton Walther)

- A Choice of Shakespeare's Verse (Ted Hughes)

- Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of my Father's German Village (Mimi Schwartz) (and my obsession with Holocaust literature continues)

YAY! So excited! I haven't been doing a lot of reading lately, except that I picked up Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool the other day and started reading that. So this will get me back into the books again.

And I still haven't broken in my library card! Been meaning to do that!


Oh, and while I'm at it...last night's dinner, which was much tastier than I was expecting. Adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.

Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew
1.5 pounds beef stew meat
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. chili powder
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 TBSP. onion powder
11 oz. can mexicorn, drained
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

Mix first 3 ingredients in a 3-4 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 9-11 hours.

Mix in remaining ingredients and cook on high for 15-30 minutes, or until stew reaches desired thickness.

Serve with sour cream and cheese. Yummy yum. The meat was just falling apart when I took it out.

I would actually consider this more of a chili variation than beef stew, but who cares? It's delicious!
prosodic: (books)
Right now, I'm slogging through Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, which is an 1100 page magnum opus by Rebecca West chronicling her travels through Yugoslavia in the 1930's. It's not just about her travels, but also about what she learns in regards to political and religious strife. It's also about her extreme hatred for the Germans.

Anyway, this is supposedly one of the great books of the 20th century...and I feel like I'm going to be reading this thing until I am dead.

But I have to read it to review it. I wonder if I can manage to write up a review without reading the entire thing. Because seriously...if I do? It will kill me.

Right now, I need to read something else. Sister Carrie seems like a good option. I have Black Lamb sitting on the downstairs coffee table, and I can beat someone to death with it if we get an intruder in our house. Or I may have to beat myself to death with it to spare myself from reading it any longer.


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