December 30, 2010

Recents (A Summing Up of a Year of Reading)

Recent Reads

I did it!  Got the last 3 reads in this year.  Total number of books read in 2010 = 73. Many much more than last year. I can’t thank my family enough for all the time they endure of me reading.  Might I suggest for my birthday, a speed-reading course.  I started the year with Maggie Stiefvater’s, Ballad, and ended with Suzanne Collin’s, Mockingjay.  That sums up the awesomeness of the year right there. Were they are all as beautifully written as Ballad or as heart pounding as Mockingjay? No, of course not.  There were even a couple books I didn’t bother counting because, they weren’t worth it.  But most of them were enjoyable, or entertaining, or emotional or thought provoking.  They transported me to their world. They forced to peer at common situations from a new knot whole in the fence or to experience uncommon adventures that I wouldn’t ordinarily be part of.  Reading is the BOMB!  Thank you authors, for your hard work, dedication and perseverance so that I may spend so much time…um…researching my craft.

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder– humble rating: Golf Clap – Trip down memory lane. I read this when I was young and fell madly in love with the idea of Nefertiti – though the fact that I already wanted to be Isis probably helped.  Completely forgot about the murder sub-plot.  Hope my resident middle grader picks it up now that I’m finished.








Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia– humble rating: Golf Clap – Original take on the crossing over angle. The Kindle edition that I read was ill-formatted and made it a bit difficult to work through the story. The author assures me the publisher is working on this, but for now, invest in the print edition. Worth it.







Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - humble rating: Rock Concert – Wow, wow, wow.  I’m still in shock and awe this morning.  I’m sad to see it end, yet I’m physically and mentally spent from the journey and kind of glad it’s over at the same time.  I’m not sure how I feel about the ending.  I don’t want to give any spoilers.  I just feel the wrong person ended up alone in the end. Kinda, sorta.  Oh, I don’t know.  I think my opinion will change a lot over the next few days and I’m certain it will take at least that long to work through this story (the series, really) in my mind.  A fantastic way to end the reading year.  A toast to Suzanne Collins. May she write many, many more adventures.

My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

December 28, 2010

I'm Somebody Now

Overcast, spitting rain and cold enough to harden the drops so they sting when the wind whips them into your face. What a beautiful day.  Because I got these:



Yippee! Squee!

I’ve never been so glad to still be able to turn a cartwheel as I am today.

Why do I feel vain staring at my book? It is more beautiful than I had expected.  Even my book’s spine is attractive; straight and colorful and with the title and my name.  I petted it. 

I hadn’t expected to be so overwhelmed when I held my book in my hands.  But when I flipped through and saw chapter titles that I had come up with and the little anecdotes at the beginning of each chapter and the stories within the story, I grinned like a loon. My elevensie daughter paged through one of the paperback additions and quirked her own grin and said, “This is cool.” My eighteen-year-old daughter, off at college, facebooked me to ask where she can get one. My husband is dropping my name like I’m somebody. Do you GET how special that is?

Right now I feel connected to every other writer who has experienced this unfathomable joy.  I want authors who think it will never happen for them to be able to tap into this feeling and take enough hope to get them through the next bought of desperation.  And I want to be able to bottle some so that the next time I’m trudging through the submission trenches, dodging rejection bullets, I can open the bottle and take a whiff of this joy and know it is SO worth it!

December 27, 2010

Recents

I’m hoping this won’t be my last RECENTS post of the year.  I have three more books I’d like to finish this year, but I seem to be reading slower than molasses on a winter day.  Here’s to a week curled up on the couch, covered in a fuzzy throw with a book or my Kindle in my hand!

Recent Reads

Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne– humble rating: Golf Clap+ – It was like visiting my shy, insecure middle school self all over again, but this time liking myself. I don’t understand why my public library has this shelved in the teen section. I’d recommend to middle graders.









A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn– humble rating: Golf Clap+ – I’ve got a bit of an attitude about fairytale retellings (though I’ve written a short retelling of Goldilocks). I always think they are a bit of a cop out because you are already starting with an idea someone else formed.  Yet a well-told retelling is so enjoyable, especially Alex Flinn’s retellings.








The Golden Pathway by Donna D McDine - humble rating: Golf Clap+ – This story does a great job showing why slavery was so wrong as well as how a person can reach way deep down to find the strength they need to overcome fear. It is so important for these stories to be told and retold. Brava Ms. McDine!

Recent Rents

Jingle All The Way
The Young Victoria
Igor



My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

December 26, 2010

Are You A Stuttering Blogger?

Way back when I created my blog, Strands of Thought, I researched and researched the different blog host sites.  I read numerous blogger opinions on why they chose the host they chose. I read many reviews about what was right and what was wrong about different hosts.  Then I chose Livejournal as my host site.

But now I’m not so sure it is the best option out there.  It seems to me that bloggers tend to get more followers on Blogger because of the ease of following.  I also like the look of Blogger better.  I don’t know how to write HTML code or change it to suit my needs and I’ve never figured out how to customize LJ because of it.  I think Blogger is more user friendly in that regard. 

Well, time will tell.  I’ve taken the plunge and I’ve created a mirror blog on Blogger.  It will be the same as my LJ blog, so if you are a friend on Livejournal, I’ll still appear on your friends page.  I know you couldn’t live without my witty and insightful posts…um…er, well, I wouldn’t want them to simply go missing on you without your even noticing.

However, if your blog reader of choice is Blogger, please follow me over there.  As of my very first mirror posting, I have NO followers and I’d love to ring in the New Year with a few at least.  Hop on over to www.kaistrand.blogspot.com to visit my old blog, Strands of Thought, wrapped in a new package.

I’d LOVE to hear the current dish on what you prefer about the different host sites and what quirks annoy you about them.  This is an experiment for me and if you have any input, tips, or advice, leave a comment for me, please.