wayfaringwordhack: (art: the reader - fragonard)
I read books in French.

You like to suggest other books I might like to read.

However, it is not helpful when the books you suggest are in German.

To the best of my knowledge, a French speaker does not a German reader make.

While I find it flattering you think that if I can read one "foreign" language I can read them all, 'tis not the case.

Please work on your algorithm.  S'il vous plaît, travaillez votre algorithme. Bitte an Ihrem Algorithmus arbeiten.

A Reader
wayfaringwordhack: (art: woman reading)
Has anyone on my flist read anything by Wendell Berry?  I want to order a book or two of his but don't really know where to start... I'll probably get a book of poems, but I'm unsure whether or not I want to get a novel, too, or an essay anthology.

And while we're talking books, anyone have a good read they feel like recommending?  I'm open to anything. 
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Tonight, I was reading some books with Sprout that we picked up at the library. One of them was a Baby Einstein book entitled, Van Gogh's World of Color.

On the first page, she listened to and answered the questions, but on the second page, she pointed to the goat (Vincent Van Goat) and asked, "Why does that goat have a bandage on its ear?"

What do you tell your 3-year-old in response to that? I know why. Is she too young to know or understand why?  Maybe, but a) I want model honesty and helpfulness to my children; b) I don't believe in fielding a child's "why" questions with variations of "just because." "I don't know" is a valid answer, but as I said, in this case, I did know why.

So I gave a very general answer about the painter being a person who wasn't always happy and how he hurt his ear during the one of his very sad times. And she kept asking, "Why does he have a bandage; why was he sad?"

We ended up talking about how some people need to have help when they feel very bad, about how it is important to try to understand and help those who seem to be going through a rough time, about the existence of mental illness, about how her father and I will always be there for her to help her when she needs us. Still she asked about the bandage. I finally pointed out that yes, he has a bandage, but he seems to have found his smile again and is apparently happy now. That satisfied her. She needed it articulated that there could be a happy outcome.

And she was thrilled to discuss doing her birthday painting on Tuesday after looking at the artwork in the book. :D

2nd yr painting
Last year's fun
wayfaringwordhack: (art: the reader - fragonard)
I usually state the title and author/illustrator names of the books I read to S.

Yesterday, we settled down with one of the books she got for Christmas.

Me:  Puppy Too Small by--
S: Cinderella!
Me: Huh?
S: By Cinderella.
Me: um...
S: Puppy Too Mall by Cinderella.
Me, eyeing the cover: OH! Not Cinderella, my love; Cyndy Szekeres.

wayfaringwordhack: (art: the reader - fragonard)
Interested in donating books to a worthy cause? Check out this post by [livejournal.com profile] sartorias.
wayfaringwordhack: (Brio)
First, brekkie by the sea.  Then J lovingly and obliging took S to run some errands so I could stay and write.  Got lots of scene cards written before someone mistakenly told me the wrong time and sent me home in a rush, fearing J was stuck at home with a starving baby.

Second, a delicious lunch of fresh mackerel, common whelks, homemade mayo, sauteed aubergines (eggplant), and mashed sweet potatoes, most of it prepared by the aforementioned loving, obliging man.

I then read a charming little book called Oracle Gretel,* sent to me by the generous [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume.**

After which, I did a couple of sketches. I've now sketched consistently for a week. Don't want to jinx myself, but the habit feels like it is back. :)

When S woke up from her nap, we went for a walk in Saint Jean de Luz and had supper together before J had to catch his train back to Bordeaux.

S went to sleep of-so-easily, and I shall now do the same. Who knows, I might actually make it to bed before 11 if I hurry off now. 

Bonne nuit, LJ!

* by Julia Rios, aka [livejournal.com profile] skogkatt, illustrated by Erik Amundsen, aka [livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed.

** Thank you, thank you, thank you for sending this little gem to me. J and S haven't read it, one being busy with Egypt stuff and the other too young, but they both greatly appreciated the pictures. :D
wayfaringwordhack: (art: woman reading)
...had I been born in France in a past century.  From The Prospect Before Her:  A History of Women in Western Europe 1500-1800, which I'm currently reading:

French policemen, for example, were notoriously underpaid, so their wives topped up their income by running taverns. Ironically, the tavern, if perhaps not the one run by a policeman's wife, was usually the place where thieves disposed of the loot and the products of poaching. The  police were supposed to see that licensing laws were respected, and they could protect their wives' businesses by harsher regulation of any competitors.

I'm having a tough time imagining J putting the squeeze on my competition, but times were hard, so who knows. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (art: the reader - fragonard)
I'm treating myself to a book for Christmas because my favorite book-buying site,* BetterWorldBooks, is having a Black Friday sale (going on now through this weekend) where the purchase of three or more books gets a reduction of 15% (with the code BLACKFRIDAY).

The book? Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, singer for The Decembrists. Review here on the NYTimes to give you an idea what it is about and what a critic thought. (Disclaimer: I didn't read the review. I hardly ever do. :P )

I follow a blog called Design*Sponge (full of nifty posts on diverse topics), and that is where I first heard of Wildwood. I clicked through on the links not so much because of the blurb but because of the illustrations done by Meloy's wife, Carson Ellis.  The images tickled my sense of whimsy and I'm in the mood for a book with illustrations. I still remember being told that I was "too old for books with pictures" and the hurt I felt at that. It took me years to want to read again as voraciously as before. Oddly, I was not drawn to comics, then or now, but I do love illustrated stories.

I don't know if it will arrive before I leave for Albania, but here's hoping!

* "free shipping" to France?  Oh, yeah, I'm there. Yes, I know the higher prices cover the shipping, but BWB is a site with a literacy-funding mission I can get behind. And they don't have a minimum amount to qualify for free shipping.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
We went to Bayonne today, where I am happy to report, there are a plethora of bookstores.  And in the window of one, I saw a leather-bound tome with three little skulls poking out from the cover.  A convex book, no???
wayfaringwordhack: (art: the reader - fragonard)
I want to give my family ideas for Christmas* gifts (actually, I'm carefully planting the seed in Julien's ear), and BOOKS are in position number one.  Does anyone have a Must Read to recommend?  I am usually a genre reader--fantasy, especially epic--but I'm willing--nay, wanting--to read other things.

So, can anyone help a reader out in time for the holidays?

* Before you pelt me with Halloween candy and declare it is too early to think about Christmas, remember that I'm in France and since any books for me will need to be ordered online from English speaking sellers, my in-laws need more time.
wayfaringwordhack: (!!!)

 From the book I'm currently reading, Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia:

Many other genres and uses of magico-religious rituals were available to the ancient Mesopotamians, such as the generic incantation for "reconciling a man's god or goddess with him" or incantations for calming a baby (emphasis mine)--"Let Mother Get Her Chores Done." The baby incantations revealed the themes and style of earlier lullabies.  pg. 211

But then they don't share the incantation.  I need it, especially if I want to get my outfit finished in time for the wedding! :P
wayfaringwordhack: (woman reading)
 If you are considering pursuing the indie e-publishing route, Lindsay Buroker has a very informative blog where she details her foray into to the world of e-books. And I do mean details. She shares great, in-depth info on the business/marketing side of indie publishing.  Check it out.

She has made a couple of her books available already, and I have had the privilege of reading Encrypted.  I typically fall into the reader-of-doorstop-fantasy-tomes category, but Lindsay never fails to entice me with her fun, fast reads.  She knows how to write pacey spec fiction that still hits the sweet spot with character and world-building.  And humor.  Can't forget the humor.


5 Mar 2010 05:09 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (sunflower - closed)
 I'm so depressed.

For one moment, I was on top of the world, thinking that in Singapore, when we pass back through in a couple of days, I'd be able to get my hands on some books.

Knowing that Borders might not have them in stock, a few days ago, I contacted them and asked them to get The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin, Hammer of God by Karen Miller, and Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb for me.

They wrote back. Bad news.  It will take 6-8 weeks!  Not fair!

Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope; there are other bookstores in Singapore.

*Gets set to Google*

ETA:  I seem to have found all three on Books Kinokuniya. I'm asking to reserve them now. *crosses fingers*
wayfaringwordhack: (the reader - fragonard)
How forgiving are you when you come across a continuity error in a published book/series of books? I'm not talking about changing eye/hair color, a forgotten knife suddenly in the hero's hands. Those things are annoying, yes, but I'm talking about plotty things. Like X doesn't know who did harmful Y but intends to find out, then in book 2, suddenly it is X who did Y to serve his own purposes. o.O (And no, there was no explanation. It is apparent that the author forgot what she had said in book 1 because a) X doing so makes no sense despite the author's reasoning, b) there is NO explanation, c) harmful Y was too full of plotty goodness as it was presented in bk 1. X doing Y takes out alllllllll of the tension.)

How about when an author, again in bk 2, seemingly decides they no longer like the way they set up a certain aspect in book 1 and continues to repeat the "new" fact over and over again, either trying to convince you or themselves that that's really the way things happened in the first volume? Yeah, annoys me, too.

As an aspiring author, I've written my share of slips, but why doesn't someone catch these things? Beta readers, an agent, an editor, a copy editor?

Are these mistakes enough to keep you from reading an author, or do you forgive them as well?
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
1) A few days ago, I followed a link trail to this post. Since POV and characterization are not among my strong points as a writer, I decided to fill out the little chart at the bottom and try my hand at transforming telling sentences into "involuntary character reactions." When I got to the fourth one, I realized that a whopping three of my examples had semicolons. I forced myself to edit at least one of them, but when I got to the fifth, my natural impulse was to divide my sentences with a semicolon. Yes, I am a fan of this punctuation mark.

2) I recently finished a book chock-full of beautiful prose. Although it was a short book compared to my standard fare, it took me ages to finish it. As gorgeous and lush as the writing was,  as surprising, dark, and fanciful as the writer's imagination and world were, I just couldn't get into it.  Because I didn't care about the characters. I would see the book lying by my bed and think, "Oh, I should read that." Never a, "I must sneak away to read this book!"

Upon finishing it, I turned to one of my favorite reads--a trilogy--in search of that sucked-in feeling I crave from my fiction. And I am finding the prose to be rather mediocre. That, however, has not kept me from staying up until 2 a.m. twice in a row to read about the characters that I've already visited a whopping seven times.

Still, upon occasion, I find myself rewriting sentences, taking out repetitions, thinking about how flashbacks are handled, the balance of telling and showing; I find myself wishing for prose that sings more often. (I still get teary eyes in places, so despite my minor quibbles, the story still has its power over me.)

I'm deeply interested in words--the way they sound, how they look on a page, where they come from, how they can be strung together to express and explore thoughts, emotions, or heretofore unknown-to-me ideas and concepts. Nevertheless, I don't like when a story is just about the words. I like when a tale speaks of people, relationships, challenges, and adventures.

But I have an easier way with words than with people, and too often in my writing, the prose shines modestly while the characters jerk about like puppets.

Is it too much to want to be a writer whose prose is both serviceable and beautiful, whose characters capture a reader's imagination and heartstrings and never let them go? If it is, I fear I shall be a wanting woman for the rest of my life. 
3) Rereading this old favorite has made me itch to start writing again. I have determined to make some time for it, crafts and expos and trips or no.
wayfaringwordhack: (woman reading)

I had planned on getting some writing done today. I very much wanted to as it has been a while since I've allowed myself to even think about my stories.  However, pouring rain and constant thunder dictated the wisdom of shutting down the pc.

My consolation prize?

Lying in the hammock on the balcony, listening to the pounding storm and enjoying the coolness while immersing myself in The Etched City by K. J. Bishop.

I can think of worse ways to spend a slice of my day.

But now that the rain has ended, the blank pages call, hoping I'll at last unleash a little of my imagination on to them.


They may regret it later. >:)

wayfaringwordhack: (book)
With all the net probs we've been having, I completely forgot to share this.  Better World Books is running a Thanksgiving promo (10% off a purchase of $40+ and 15% off $75 or more). To get the 10% reduction, you need to type "stuffing" in the coupon field, and for the 15% it is "turkey."  In the mail I received, it said the offer was good this week. I'm hoping it means today, too. I bought 11 yesty, and I got the discount... But tomorrow...probably not going to fly.

They ship* FOR FREE in the States and $3.97/book internationally.

BUY BOOKS! I want the industry thriving for purely selfish reasons. ;)

* I'd like to support bricks-and-mortar stores--and I do for French books--but for English, I have to buy off the net. That being the case, I'd much rather my money goes toward the causes the BWB supports rather than the monster corporations that I won't name here.  Maybe you feel the same.

wayfaringwordhack: (woman reading)
I'm curious: How many of you have stumbled on a now-favorite author because of word of mouth?  Anyone care to mouth off here about someone they think others should be reading? Conversely, have you ever been let down by a book that your friends raved and gushed about? I say friends because I'm assuming we've all, now and then, vehemently disagreed with the quality, interest, and readability of established bestsellers.
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
I've been meaning to post about my current reading , but I've been busy, uh, reading. Still, I will delay no more!

Herein you will find no reviews, just a summary of what I've been up to; I'll leave reviews to the likes of [livejournal.com profile] tatterpunk  who can do them justice.

First off, I've been concentrating on nonfiction, researching for The Bitter River. I've only begun to scratch the surface of what I'll need to  write this book.  One aspect of the story deals with ancient Mesopotamia, and amidst the narrative--which takes place in what is modern-day Iraq, set in the early 1800's*--there are letters, diary entries, and sundry other texts from 300ish AD (perhaps earlier) to the mid and late 1700's and the story's present day. Naturally, then, I have to read up on the epistolary form for those time periods so that I can master voices and give versimiltude to the correspondence. Among myriad other subjects, I also have to find maps of the area at different times in history to have the correct place names; I have to find out who controlled what and the political situations at the time(s), not to mention find out what daily life was like.

For the daily life in Mesopotamia, I have three books, the first of which I'm reading now, titled, surprisingly, Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. It is a collection of articles on subjects such as the origin of the Sumerians; love and sexual mores in ancient Babylon; women's rights (or lack thereof, unless she was in possession of some powerful womanly wiles); how the Assyrians viewed magic and religion; and discussions about three popular myths: the Assyrian flood, the Sumerian tales of Gilgamesh, and the Semitic invention of sin.

I'm three-fourths of the way in, and so far, I find the book interesting in general and maddeningly vague in the specifics I was hoping to discover. This is not a criticism of the book, however, rather an acknowledgement and reinforcement of what I've garnered about certain subjects from Internet sources. It also shows that the field is wide open and I can twist certain legends to my liking. The canon I was hoping to find rooted in Mesopotamian history is actually a Hellenistic invention, so I've either got to abandon that angle, rework it, or pretend that today's historians and Assyriologists are just not in possession of something my characters shall find. This being fiction, I'll likely take option three, but I want to hold off on making a decision because another angle may occur to me. I already have a semi-inkling of what the different angle could be.

Another huge area I have to cover is archaeology in the 1800s. Luckily, at a local library, I found a most interesting and useful book, La Conquête de l'Assyrie, 1840-1860, (The Conquest of Assyria: Excavations in an Antique Land). Nuria checked this book out for me twice last year, but both times I didn't get around to reading it, which is why I never moved it off my "currently reading" list on Goodreads. But it's the reason I got my own library card on Grande Terre. It follows, among others personages, Austen Henry Layard and Paul-Emile Botta in their unearthing of Nineveh and is so interesting and just so right in terms of what I need that I entertained the idea of getting the book for myself in English...until I saw the price on B&N. Ouch.

But all is not nonfiction and research; I'm also reading, Notre-Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo. I've never picked it up in English, nor did I see the Disney version, only glimpses of certain scenes. I'm only a hundred or so pages in, but the Disney Quasimodo? What a joke compared to the picture Hugo paints of him. I've read a dozen or so books in French of late, but Hugo is another level, and for my French, the going is slow. Maybe once I get past the descriptions of Paris-of-the-Past and return to the characters, things will speed up. Having lived in Paris for several years, though, I find those passages fascinating, and I wish I had brought my street map of the city here to Mayotte, so I could trace what he is talking about and compare it to what still exists. It's interesting to see his view of medieval-to-rennaisance Paris contrasted with the Paris he knew in turn contrasted with the Paris I know.

I'm also reading a friend's ms ::waves at [livejournal.com profile] pjthompson ::** and have a short to crit (I received the file with no worries, [livejournal.com profile] footlingagain ), so I'm a busy little worm these days. So much better than being in a book drought. And the reading deluge shall continue for I'm soon due to receive [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow 's Throne trilogy and [livejournal.com profile] frostokovich 's Shadowbridge duo!

And writing about reading has taken up my morning. Alas, there are chores to do...

*I'm still waffling about this date; it all depends on how brilliant and advanced (and lucky)  I want my characters to be.

**I'm over the halfway mark, and I've just passed what I read before. I'm finally going to find out what happens! Woot!

wayfaringwordhack: (woman reading)

OK, this isn’t really a pet peeve, but I like that title. :P

Rather than voicing a complaint, I’m pleading with writers to be a little more kind to their readers. When naming characters, concepts, and places in your world, take into consideration that the reader will never know your fictional dreamscape as well as you do, and they haven’t had the luxury of months or years to get to know your characters. While you may never confuse Ernan and Erwan,* your readers just might. 

I’m finishing up the third book in a trilogy, and the author’s naming tic has got me rolling my eyes every 20 pages or so. Why? Because 98% of the walk-ons have names beginning with the letter A. The MC’s name also begins with an A, as do the names of several important secondary characters.  Here’s a sampling: Aeditus; Aengus;** Ageric; Ailin; Aléa aka Kailiana (not to be confused with Kaidan, Kaitlin, or Kiaran, which also appear); Alembert; Almar; Alvaro; Amine aka Aislinn; Anali; Ashkin; Asley; Avendal, and The Arpenteur (surveyor) ; not to mention last names (Abbac, Al’Daman, Al’Roeg) and the things and places whose names begin with A (Ahriman [a type of dark force]; Alragan [a battle cry]; a town I can’t recall the name of, and a horse). And these are just examples I gleaned casually flipping through the third book of the trilogy. I know there were many other A-something-or-other instances in the first two books.

So pretty, pretty please--with a cherry on top, even--keep an index of your names and spread the wealth between all 26 glorious letters of the alphabet (assuming that’s the number of letters in your world’s alphabet).

*Two names taken from the A-syndrome trilogy. While I would never confuse the characters themselves, the one-letter change in the names is enough to make me pause every time the narrative switches setting/situation and I have to remind myself which is the warrior and which the druid.

**Italics denote that the name/character appeared only once or twice


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