Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nightstand Books?

No one else has their posts up yet, and since I haven't heard to the contrary, I suppose it is still going on...
This is what I have been reading the past month of June!

I didn't finish one single book in June. Isn't that horrible? This month will be chock full of reading, I'm sure.

Some people have comfort foods, or comfort possessions, and I have comfort books. Replay by Sharon Creech is one of them. The story follows Leo, a 12-year-old boy living in a large Italian family. He has two nicknames: Fog Boy, because he's a dreamer, and Sardine, because, once, he said that he felt like a sardine squished in a can. He often feels invisible in his family, especially since Papa had his heart attack three years ago and changed from happy into testy. When Leo finds his father's Autobiography, Age 13 in the attic, Leo can hardly believe that the carefree boy in the book is his father. And who is the mysterious aunt in the pictures who is never talked about anymore? At school, Leo and his classmates prepare to be in a play that their teacher wrote: Rumpopo's Porch. Leo plays the Old Crone.
Sharon Creech was my favorite author when I was younger. Something about her books just appeals to me.
I think it's that the stories are about regular kids doing regular things and going through regular changes and trying to figure everything out. There are no wars, no explosions, no damsels in distress (well, except maybe in The Castle Corona), only regular, everyday sorts of mishaps and adventures.
The only fault in her writing is that rather than look to God for answers, her characters look into themselves. If Sharon Creech had lived 100 years ago, she probably would have been a Bohemian. 200 or 300 years ago, an Enlightenment thinker. I can't stand them either.
Another thing that I love about Replay is watching Leo and his classmates get ready for their play. This book has so many interweaving plot lines, just like life. They don't all come together at the end in a massive plot twist, but how often does that happen in real life?

Next on the list is another comfort book... The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. I started reading this one last night at 2:30 AM when I couldn't sleep. This morning, after some consideration, I decided not to finish this one and put it back on the shelf. After I finish the other books I'm reading, I'll treat myself to The Penderwick sisters and their summer adventure as they vacation at Arundal Hall.

To the Lighthouse by Virgiania Woolf. I hate this book. I'm reading it for literature. I hate this book. More on it later, when I review it. It is the reason I can't stand Bohemians. Ugh.

These next three should look familiar...

Agatha Christie's Autobiography! Yep, still reading this one. I've gotten to World War One. Agatha has begun to write (finally!) and she's married her first husband. Hoping to finish this one in July...

The World of Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. There are about six more short stories in this collection and I'll be finished with this one too.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. I'm hoping to finish this one in July as well. I'm really enjoying it, but it's size daunts me. Thankfully, we're going camping in July for a week or so and I am free to spend most of my time reading and writing.

So far my summer reading list is not coming as planned. At all. Other than A.C's Autobiography and To the Lighthouse, I haven't even looked at or started any of the other books on the list. I might make a new one.


Speaking of writing... This month I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo!
My project is a fantasy story I started at the beginning of the year, which I am writing out by hand. It came to a screeching halt roundabout March or April because of some plot and character problems, but I really wanted to finish this story, so I decided to try get it done (at least, most of it) this month for Camp NaNo! I work better on a schedule, where I can see my progress as I go along. The plot and character problems have sorted themselves out, thankfully, and while I'm sure I will have numerous plot holes to deal with in Draft Two (because since I'm not using an outline for the first time in forever, my plot keep changing), I no longer feel debilitated because of a character's not so glorious past. 

(Notebook no. 2, and Trusty Pencil)

Princess Rozella has been waiting twenty years to be rescued from her bubble on the peak of Tallest Mountain. Finally, she is saved by a mysterious duo... The Prisoner and The Hag. They take her back to First Country, where she is supposed to marry King John, whose plans include more than marriage... they include taking over the world! 
The Prisoner, even though he rescued Rozella, like King John wanted, is thrown back into the dungeon where he has spent the last decade and a half, for the simple crime of being different, for being unknown.
And what about those shadows permeating the woods, the rumors penetrating the towns? Are they just shadows, are they just rumors, or are the shadows a darker, more sinister threat, come from over mountains and across deserts, to wreak havoc in the land of humans?

I'm not sure how much of the story I already have... Maybe between 40,000 and 50,000 words. And for Camp NaNoWriMo, I have another 2,000+ to add to that already. My goal is 30,000 words, which puts me at about 1000 words a day - or four notebook pages.
And even with these extra 30,000 words, I'm not sure if I'll actually finish the story! It's turning out to be reeeeeeeeeaaaalllyyy long. Which is actually kind of nice, because I can take time with the story. It's also nice not working with an outline. It gives me more freedom, breathing room. I can let the story travel on its own. I do have a sort-of outline in my head, of course... I know the key moments (what happens in the middle, what happens in the end), but getting to those key moments, and what exactly happens in those key moments, I'm just letting happen. 
If I do manage to finish the story this month, I will most likely read through it in the next three months and write up a detailed outline then, so that when NaNoWriMo comes around in November, I can use it to type up the story. Technically that's not allowed... but I don't think they'd mind. Besides, it'll almost be a whole new novel, because it will need a complete overhaul and rewrite as I type it up.
I'm really excited for this project! Over the next few months and years, I'm hoping to rewrite this book several times to fully develop the plot and characters so they seem real (even if it is a fantasy world). I also hope to fully develop the fantasy world as well. It's an interesting place, and I only know about a small corner of it. That's all my characters know too. The humans daren't pass over the mountains that border their land (not that they have any reason to anyway). Unfortunately, there's nothing stopping other creatures from coming over the mountains into human territory. 
Anyway, by the time I'm finished with it, I'm hoping to have something epic, along the lines of The Faerie Queene or Beowulf or The Lord of the Rings.


To look out for in the next few weeks...

1. Book review of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
2. Book review of To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.
3. The final four days of our Holland trip, and two extra posts on Holland (roads and churches).

So what are you up to this summer? Reading any good books? Writing? Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Are you going camping?

Live long and prosper!


  1. The Penderwicks! I haven't actually read the book all the way through either, but what I read I liked. I was at a friend's house who also happens to be a bookworm and it was sitting on her nightstand. So I picked it up and read the first couple of chapters.

    Agatha Christie is awesome. :) I've also heard that P. G. Wodehouse is really good, but I've never read any of his books yet.

    I like your story idea. It's really neat. I'm sure you'll do great. :)

    1. It's a wonderful book! Believe it or not, that's how I first read it too! My friend had it on her nightstand a long time ago and I started reading it. Of course, she wasn't too happy about it since she wanted to play, not read.

      P.G. Wodehouse is really good. =) Especially if you need a light, fluffy, amazingly written read.

  2. You've got great expectations with a stack this size! Especially with NaNoWriMo going on. I'll be interested to hear how it goes with both the reading and the writing.

    Of these selections, Ivanhoe is the one that seems the most intriguing.

    Thanks for posting this list! Hopefully I'll get mine up next week...