Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Reading: Week Six

I had writing critique group this Sunday (hurray!), so my top priority was to read the excerpts from my fellow writers. It's a different sort of reading than just reading. I'm reading to provide feedback, so I read each piece at least twice, making margin notes as I read about my reading experience: what bumped, what was awesome, what I don't believe, what errors my friends made, etc. It's really useful for my own growth as a writer, and not just on the days that it's my work being critiqued.

I learn a lot from being forced to define as precisely as possible what the problem is in the piece. I learn even more trying to come up with suggestions about how best to fix it. The discussions open my brain in the most exciting ways. My critique group is the best!

I also had a huge writing week. I wrote an average of 2,000 words a day, and, as a result finished the draft of Cold Spring that I was working on. In finishing the draft, I did a lot of nonfiction reading (web articles and books) about various historical details that came up. How did writers write historical fiction before the internet? I'll have a lot of research to do before I can really take on book two in that saga.

So, the only novel reading I did was casual and light. I didn't finish anything at all this week! I continued to read Greatshadow by James Maxey and Mothers by +Michelle Read  but can't really report on those yet as I've not finished. I can tell you that I'm still engaged with both and intend to finish them. That's saying something as I've become, in recent years, more willing to abandon a book that doesn't really pull me in.

My other reading was online: blogs, articles, etc. I followed the Hobby Lobby decision and the opinion articles afterwards. I grew up thinking our society was past the most blatant and rampant sexism of our past, so this and other recent political volleys have been a bit of a shock. Politics is exhausting. It's worse than housework for that Sisiphyusian feeling of futility--you win a fight, and immediately have to fight it again.

NJ's reading was much more fun. After the success of Captain Diaper Baby, we were back at the library looking for everything else we could find in that vein. Captain Underpants was all checked out, so we got Ook and Gluk. An unfortunate side effect has been rampant caveman speak from my normally articulate seven year old, but it comes with lots of laughter, so I can't complain too much.

One of the hard things right now is convincing NJ to give books back to the library. I've had to make a rule that she can't have more library books without giving back an equal number of library books we already checked out. Each trip to the library (and we go at least twice a week during the summer) requires a good twenty minutes moving the books into different piles and deciding which ones she is ready to part with. Sometimes there are tears when I insist that certain books have to go back this time because they are actually due. That girl loves her books!

Our neighborhood also has a Little Library in the community park now, so that's another place to exchange a book we're finished with for a new one. She wants to go every day, worried she'll miss a really good book, but it's even harder to let go of books she owns than it is to rotate library books.

M, the teen, is back home now (another hurray!), so soon I'll be able to update about her summer reading. I'm happy to be able to report that she does read things longer than a text message :-)

I hope you're all finding time for books in your lives this summer, too. What are you reading?

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