Tag Archives: books

Reading Theme ~ July 2016.

Ah, the middle of Summer. July. Fireworks will grace the evening sky soon. Cookouts and visits to the park or lake.

It’s that time of year to make the annual migration to the beach. Hot sand, cool sand, umbrellas and towels as far as the eyes can see. Thankfully, there’s cool ocean water to help with the burn of the sand. Because, let’s be honest, beach shoes are so gauche. (I’m a barefoot girl through and through.)

Surfers and dudes walking the shore.

Great tunes.

Awesome sandcastles and beach sculptures all around.

If you went to the same beaches I visit, you’d spot me right away. I’m that bone pale girl, enjoying the calming rhythm of the waves attacking the shore. Finding shells, saving beach creatures, taking pictures of crabs in the rocks no bigger than a quarter.

I’m the one that has her nose in a book. That one girl shoes off, feet buried in the sand under the umbrella over there. Reading, reading, reading. Probably one of the books I just picked up at Comic Con. Typically books I wouldn’t buy, books that are about sci-fi this or castle storming that. A little romance. Some YA. Quick reads and sagas.

So, in honor of this yearly tradition, the theme for this month:

JULY 2016 ~ Just Beachy!

In other words, beach reads galore.

So many to choose from…

What to pick?

Well, I went through my kindle (as most of my babies are packed away for moving purposes) and chose ones that I know I’d read on that sandy heaven under the sunny blue skies of a gorgeous California day. They aren’t the only ones I want to tackle; they’re just the ones I want to read first.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman ~
I recently read Cary Elwes’ book and found out it’s a real book and not a movie adaption. Then I found this sitting on a shelf in a used book store…and I snatched it.

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Only revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski ~
Yeah, the guy who ruins minds with books like House of Leaves. This one is no exception…just in love story form.

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Kissing in America by Margo Rabb ~
nothing like a summer road trip. Even if it is in pages.

Frosh by Monica B Wagner, Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
Nothing like a chase for love.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
The sounds of waves will hide the sounds of tears.

Someone Else’s Fairytale by EM Tippets
Even the girl on the cover is ready to hit the beach.

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel, We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman
A retelling for fun, and some laughs to go with it. Why not?

There are so many more I could list…

What are you packing up for that trip read this summer?

All gifs found through giphy.com
All images are screencapped from my kindle app of books I own.




Filed under beach reads, read, reading themes

Book sales are down. And how I think it can be fixed.

Not just hard copies, either. Digital copies, too. All but with Amazon.

A lot of the publishers I’ve been reading about lately seem to have some advice. A lot of the agents lately really want you to take it. And it seems this is getting CRAMMED down our throats.

Show not Tell.

Since Darrows, when one of my CPs said I don’t show enough, I’ve read a TON of books. I’ve read old books, new books, and even books about writing books. And this is what I’ve noticed.

A lot of the older books, as far back as The Shining to Gilbert Grape to Silver Linings Playbook. There isn’t this micromanagement of characters and ideas a lot of people will tell you that you have to have. What I found seemed that some fine details were there, but it was done in such a way that it let the story shine. It didn’t drag into this person down with all these little things in between the story. (And the older stuff before PC came into play…was different.) The stories were allowed to go along with the main character and if said character wanted to describe out more details, then so be it. It was a nice on and off…

And it seems they all want you on all the time now.

I happen to like the on and off. It gave just enough info without over-killing the story with the plethora of details. I felt free to imagine what I wanted and what might be necessary. There isn’t much to imagine now and days with all this micromanagement going on.

Now, in reading the books about writing, there was one…and I couldn’t read too much into it because I disagreed with a lot of it. They were talking about how everyone now wants video this and video that. That everything you write should be like a movie described out into fine details. BLEH. If I want to watch a story, I’ll go visit any one of my digital copies or head over to on-demand…Netflix…whatever. I don’t want someone telling me all this stuff they see like I have to know it all. It’s too much to process. Too much information and it gets boring. (IMO…and that’s all this is, just my honest opinion.) Give me a good story. Let me have some creative right by imagining some parts or some people or some events like I used to do when I fell in love with reading.

Thursdays, I help out in a class with doing what the teacher calls “Book Chats”. I call them “Book Interviews”. I ask questions to the kids about their books they’ve chosen to read. I ask so many things, including why they chose the book. (and you get some VERY honest answers: “Because I have to read it to make my pages.” … “Because the cover looks awesome.” … “Because the back of the book description seemed interesting.” … “My mom is making me do it.”) Especially during the fiction chats, I get to ask things like what they imagined and what they wondered about. When we cover the newer books, I always get answers like: “There was nothing to imagine. The author told me everything I had to know.” 😦 That is so sad. Those books are also the ones they seem to not be as into or excited about as the older ones that cycle around. And those chats can last for hours if I let them.

While I can’t say for sure that’s the reason more people are turning away from books, it feels like that’s it. I’m sure time is a major factor, but there seems to be no room left for the reader’s imagination and wonder. That was something I always LOVED about my favorite books over time.

I don’t think “Show not Tell” will save the publishing industry like everyone thinks it will.I think there is something obvious that’s being skipped.

Remember BIG when the adult Josh has this idea for an interactive comic. Back then, it was going for a choose your own adventure sort of thing. This idea goes a little above and beyond…and I would LOVE to figure out how to do it, because I think it’s where some books need to go.

Imagine reading a book, let’s go with RomCom since I’m so into them these days. There is a song the characters are dancing to…on a device (something like a Kindle, the Fire tablet, even an iPad) you touch the song name and it takes you to the YouTube video or the iTunes or Amazon song where you can sample or listen. There is a movie they go to on a date…touch the movie’s name, it could take you to a preview (faux or real, the fake ones usually better)… Touch a name of a character or place and get images to appear…Make it interactive.

Now I know someone is thinking…that’s crazy talk or I must have ADHD. No one can concentrate on the story. Well, if the links aren’t within the text, there could be footnote numbers (What’s Your Number?/Twenty Times a Lady had those with humorous notes) and those numbers could take you to a section at the end of the book. Sort of like the special features on a Blu-Ray or DVD…Behind the scenes, deleted scenes, character extras, soundtrack/playlist the author was inspired by, images, drawings…whatever the author would love to share. Imagine finding the book trailers back there…some actor or voice actor doing a quick read of a few pages of the book…So many possibilities and options.

Something like that would BE SO AMAZING! I think making a book more interactive and less micro-managed with words is the way to go. With younger people especially who seem to respond better to more interactive computer games, music venues, etc. Even the book chats are more successful and popular than the other option of book reports…because they can interact and engage.

I’m sure this might cost a fortune to do and that’s why no one seems to be exploring the possibilities. But, more and more publishers are asking full print book price for digital copies…which makes me want the paper versions because then you get that wonderful New Book smell as part of the price…I’d be willing to spend same as print book price if there were extras like this included. Maybe even a little more depending on what the extras are.

Dare to daydream.

Until that happens, I’m going to keep writing, toning down my micromanagement…because I can micromanage my characters down to the eyelash order of a blink if I’m not watching myself. I admit, I am horrible at doing this. I will work on getting an agent…and I hope to be among the first of interactive stories out there. If only I was Stephen King or someone who could make it happen now.


this post filed under writer/reader wish list

all gifs found on giphy.com


Filed under author woes, finding myself, keeping entertained, romcoms are my peeps, thinking out loud, wish list

Monthly Reading Theme – February 2016.

I was so busy writing and drawing, I almost forgot to announce this month’s theme.

February is too easy with all that’s going on this month.

It’s Black History month.

Then tomorrow is Groundhog’s Day.

The SuperBowl seems to have migrated over from January permanently.

Of course, Cupid’s Birthday *looks at Quentin Darrows*, Valentine’s Day.

President’s Day.

Then, this year is special with that extra Day added on:
Leap Day!
(my official un-birthday for this year)

So many different themes are available. I could go for the obvious romance, but I don’t want to be that easy–combining Valentines with the Super Bowl, I did lean towards romantic erotic novels starring faux footballers (not you McLane, though I could write one) and, admittedly, I do have some in the Kindle. I should read something historical. Honestly, I probably would add more to my DNF list than actually read if I went in that direction. I would LOVE to read some diverse MC’s, but I read those anyway, though they are difficult to find. Have never seen an adult or YA Groundhog Day book. Add Leap Day to that list–not going to count the movie novelizations should there be any.

But I’m not doing any of those.

What is February?

That’s right. The shortest month of the year, every year.

Going with that thought, I am pulling out my short story compilations. I won’t reread my older Stephen King ones (Skeleton Crew and Different Seasons) but am hoping to find my hardback copy of Full Dark, No Stars. I also have Joe Hill and Owen King (maybe I have a Stephen King theme going after all since they are his sons).

Then, of course, to overlook the Tiny Stories books would be a crime. (The first one was read a few years ago. Just fun.)

I’ll also take any compilations or novella recs you all have…in case I run out of tales.

Thanks in advance.

*SHORTY FEBRUARY* it is! As soon as I finish the last bit of The Oddifts…because, again, I’ve been busy writing and drawing on a story for a project I forgot about.

Happy Reading! And please share what you plan to read this month.


all images are my own screen caps of my kindle.

all gifs are found on giphy.com

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Filed under art journal, book covers, on the book shelf, reading themes, to be read list

Reading Theme: January 2016.

This reading theme thing is fantastic. I wish I thought about it years ago. Instead of spending weeks looking through my books, trying to whittle my choices down, I stick to the theme and read from there. I haven’t been lost for a book to read in just over six months. Yay!

Last month (December 2015), what little I did read, was Star Wars related books…as if that isn’t painfully obvious to figure out as to why.

Well, the plan I had, was to read The Force Awakens, the book last month. But, only the Kindle version was released. And while I do have a Kindle and could read it, I want the hardback book more. Because Barnes & Noble has a special edition version with bonus stuff coming out…and that’s the one I want need want need, making this month’s theme a little more difficult to come up with.

Or not.

I mean, for Christmas, I get an assortment of books anyway–from graphic novels to longer-than-years-thick books to quirky reads.

 JANU-RANDOM it is! Any book from any genre/theme as long as it’s newer than older.

What are you reading this month?


This post filed under Reading Themes.
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Filed under goodreads, read, reading themes

Reading in Themes.

I know I am one of millions (probably) who has a TBR list that is both daunting and exhausting.  I read one book, I’ve added ten more to that list. When it comes time to choose the next read, I wind up flipping through pages and pages of books on my e-readers and/or digging on my shelves for what’s next. And most of the time, I wind up picking something that’s not even there yet.

It all started at the beginning of:

I was stuck for something to read. I wanted to read a hundred and one books and couldn’t whittle it down to the magical one. Did I want Romance or Dystopia? YA or Adult in some form? Did I want to start that new series I just got or finish out an old series that I love? No, no, yes, wait!!! I like that cover! Oh, that premise is really cute.

I wasted a week looking for a read.

And one day, it dawned on me. What I need is a monthly/seasonal theme. Then my choices of what to read are cut way down and I can choose a book much easier.

Last summer’s reading theme:

Under that, I spent my summer finishing out a few series I loved, starting a whole new series I’ve been wanting to read for a while, and possibly acquiring a series or two I had heard great things about. If the book wasn’t in a series, I could add it to my TBR. I could buy it. But I wouldn’t read it. The system worked great. I finished out quite a few series, finally. I found a few more series I could love. And I started one more that I like, but I have to wait for the next book to come out to really finish it.

Since it worked great, I went straight into another theme:

That one was tougher to do than I thought it would be. I actually blogged about not being able to find what I wanted in the category. But of the ones I did find, I read and adored. Another successful month of a few choices to read and books I actually read. (Another five whittled off my list!)

Current Theme for October:

wish I could have found a Captain America or Marvel cosplay gif…

Under that theme, I’ve read stories/graphic novels of things people would CosPlay or dress up as for Halloween. I’m also pulling out a few scary books that I’ve put off reading for years. This year’s Horror: The Shining. Last I left that book, about a decade ago, I was less than halfway through and creeped out.

It went in that proverbial Freezer. (Currently 72% complete! Yay me! Even if I am thoroughly scared to pieces a lot of the time I’m reading.)  *deep breath* I plan on finishing. I’m not sure if I’ll get time to start its sequel, Doctor Sleep. It’s probably for the best if that one can wait for a while…

Good news is, I’m already plotting next month’s theme, narrowing my TBR list down even more.


I have four of the books planned–two for Back to the Future (We Don’t Need Roads & BTTF The Visual History), The Wes Anderson Collection, Michael J Fox’s book, and As You Wish by Cary Elwes about The Princess Bride. I could toss in that Twilight book I never read (the one similar to the BTTF Visual History book) and if that Mocking Jay “making of” book comes out…I’m in!

I’m glad to have found a system for deciding on books. It’s working. The real beauty of this system? I don’t even have to stick to it. (I stuck another RomCom in the middle of this month because I really wanted to read it!) It’s purely okay to wander. The real test of this system will come next summer. Is it another SERIES time or will I opt for something else? Time will tell.

Anyone else have some TBR list cleaning tips? Suggestions for themes?

Happy Reading!



Filed under back to the future, having fun, keeping entertained, on the book shelf, random blathering, read, romcoms are my peeps, to be read list