Friday, November 29, 2013

Bookish Black Friday

Cutting up in Santa Barbara.
Moby Dick, anyone?

It's a very bookish Black Friday around these parts. Before you go out shopping (OMG, did you go last night?), download the latest episode (aka the books for your boo edition) of That's What She Read to find out what books Ravena and I are recommending for people in our lives.

Here's a sneak peak!

The Randi: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

For the friend who tends to read non-fiction and has a healthy interest in self-help books.

The Steven: House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

For the friend with the darker sense of humor who can handle a dirty limerick.

The Scarlet: The Wives: The Women Behind Russia's Literary Giants by Alexandra Popoff

For the friend who loves books, dreams of the writing life, and adores anything Russian.

The Mom: Split Second by David Baldacci

For the friend who loves the procedural mystery and is looking for a compelling book that's just plain fun.

Also, I'm over on My Life as a Teacup today talking about The Handmaid's Tale and When She Woke. Check out Kristin's blog to see why I think if you like one you'll love the other one. You can also enter to win one of the new That's What She Read totes we created.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stories We Tell


I'm behind on my whole watch 12 documentaries in 12 months thing, but I'm desperate to catch up. I've even dropped hints to friends with Netflix that we should have a documentary marathon day. Yeah, pathetic.

A few weeks ago I watched Stories We Tell, a documentary by Sarah Polley that explores the life of her own mother and family in a quest to tap into the secret behind veiled rumors she'd grown up with. More than a search for familial truth, the film is a beautiful exploration of storytelling, memory and the narratives we create for ourselves. It really resonated with where I am right now with the short stories and remembrances I share on this site. I'd recommend this film to anyone, but I think that those of you into storytelling and documenting your life will dig it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New podcast episodes are live!

This month is about burning all kinds of midnight oil. I am taking the end of the year on at a sprint. Instead of just being out to finish the marathon and collect my participation badge, I feel like I'm out to place. Don't worry. The only loser in this battle may be my sanity...and maybe my kidneys. I've been drinking a lot of coffee.

Two new podcast episodes did go up last week! Ravena and I are on episode 8 of That's What She Read. We decided to record a special mini episode (*cough* it's not mini *cough*) dedicated to comics and graphic novels. In this epi, we prove our prowess by disagreeing on the definition of what constitutes a graphic novel. You should listen and weigh in ;-) We will also have a special holiday episode hitting the feed shortly after Thanksgiving, so stay tuned!

Episode 4 of Friday Night Dinner: A Gilmore Girls Podcast also hit the airwaves this past Friday. In it, Scarlet and I talk about getting hit by a deer, a cat wake, and other topics that luckily do not relate to animal tragedies. We've stepped it up and are rewatching two episodes at a time, so pull out your season 1 DVDs (because isn't it just better that way) and watch episodes 6 and 7 in preparation for a new podcast on November 29th!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Schoolhouse Rock: Let's get magical!

Shane's Confectionery window in Philly
This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post other than the fact that I think candy in a display window is a bit magical.

You probably think that I'm about to make my pitch to teach at Hogwarts, right? Let's hope you didn't jump to those fantastical conclusions because I'll feel like I'm about to be a disappointment right out of the gate. Instead, I want to share a peek behind the curtain at some research I'm doing.

Do you remember that whole book thing I mentioned last week? In my mind, I want to be Toni Morrison. Go can laugh. I did. I know I'm being ridiculous, but a girl has to strive for something, right? Anyway (I bet Toni doesn't even use words like anyway), I've spent the past year thinking about the direction my story is headed and how to deal with this fantastical element that I've introduced. The book I've conceived in my head isn't science fiction, but with this thing that I've introduced, I haven't given myself many options. Inadvertently, I realized I'd latched onto to this idea that the work I am creating is magical realism.

Now, if you're like me, you're asking yourself why you have to call it anything at this point. Just write the damn story. I hear you. However, having a realistic grasp of what I want my story to be has a direct bearing on how I resolve or deal with these fantastical elements. Unfortunately, about the time I started really thinking about magical realism, I came to the sinking conclusion that I probably didn't have the best grasp on what that was. I'm sure you're just as shocked as I am that a college education focused on political science and biology didn't provide me with the requisite knowledge. 

Instead of rushing out to pick up another degree (though tempting), I turned my attention to the Internet to see what information I could ferret from academics studying and teaching magical realism. While I won't have a professor feeding me information and engaging me in critique and debate, I love that I can teach myself and cobble together education.

So what did I find? Consistency. Most of the university syllabi I perused taught many of the same books, stories, and texts. In case you're interested in geeking out with me, I've included links to some of these texts below, as well as links to a couple of the courses.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

November is my favorite month!

This is not one of those annoying posts where I apologize for not writing. I really dislike those posts. This, instead, is a post wherein I tell you about November.

For starters, it's my birthday month, and if you get anything from the early years of this blog, it's how much we dig birthdays* around here. I've also got a few other things on my mind this month, including finalizing plans for a two-month paid sabbatical that starts at the beginning of January. Holy cow! I really don't know how this control freak is not going to work for that long.

As you can see from the badge above, I'm also doing the whole NANOWRIMO thing for the second year in a row (motivation to write this post = procrastination). I'm cheating a bit because my goal is to finish the first draft of the novel I started last year at this time. Rather than get all weird about it, I just found it helpful to spend this month concentrating on writing (and limit any overthinking). This book will likely be well over 50K words, so don't think I'm taking it easy on myself.

My third goal for this month is to finish writing my first business plan. I'm going to be ridiculously vague, but basically, I feel like I have a good idea worth turning into an actual thing. I (and people I've talked to about it) think it's a good enough idea to warrant an actual plan.

So, yeah, November holds good things. I'm thankful. Very, very thankful. Now to schedule in some sleep.

*However, unless you are in my current immediate circle, I am horrible about remembering dates. I need you to be the kind of friend who reminds me, and then I'll make it as special as possible.