Tag Archives: On Writing

Elizabeth Smart, Scientology, Big Magic, Tearling

I have 18-20 books in my TBR pile right now and I want to read them all. Please remember me in your prayers, that my children would leave me alone so that I can READ! I have so much respect for Elizabeth Smart after reading My Story, her memoir of captivity and escape. Her faith in the midst of suffering is inspiring to me, and her commentary on the toxicity of purity culture eye-opening and brave. Leah Remini’s memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology wasn’t…

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Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis: The interlocking stories of Darcy, an 18-year-old who has just gotten a contract for her first novel, and Lizzie, the protagonist of Darcy’s novel who is having a love affair with a Hindu death god. Review: Afterworlds had great promise but Scott Westerfeld loved Darcy too much, and didn’t make her suffer enough. I got tired of hearing the characters talk about how they were all wonderful writers. Even if they are wonderful writers (and Darcy’s novel does have “the juice”), it grates. But…

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The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Synopsis: Given the shot at producing her very own TV series, a young woman scarred in a childhood accident tries to remain to true to herself while succeeding at the Hollywood game. Review: I haven’t actually read any of Jennifer Weiner’s other books but I had a good idea what I was getting into when I started The Next Best Thing. I have a soft spot for frothy chick lit with dishy Hollywood atmosphere, and because some of her books have been made into movies…

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The Dark Half by Stephen King

Synopsis: A literary author kills his crime fiction scribe alter ego, only to have him come to life and menace his family. Review: The Dark Half is classic King and a book I’ve ready maybe 4 times now. It felt thin to me this time, probably because I am so familiar with the plot. I still love the way it talks about the process of writing–I don’t think anybody really does that better than King. Share on Facebook

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

Synopsis: Tina Fey’s memoir of her rise from nerdy little Philly girl to comedy superstar and member of the showbiz power elite. Review: Naturally, I opted for the audiobook version of Bossypants since Tina Fey was doing the reading herself. Yay! Bonus: it included the full version of the Katie Couric/Sarah Palin interview sketch that she and Amy Poehler did for SNL. Unbonus: it does not include the worldbeatingly awesome rap that Amy Poehler did when Sarah Palin actually visited SNL (what Fey labels a…

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The Big Ten of Grammar by William B. Bradshaw, PhD

Synopsis: Subtitled “Identifying and Fixing the Ten Most Frequent Grammatical Errors.” Review: Is it just me, or is grammar trendy these days? The Big Ten of Grammar doesn’t have a sexy title but it does aim to up grammar’s profile by educating readers on the most common mistakes people make. You’ve got I/me, that vs. which, commas/semicolons, and the rest of the usual suspect’s (LOL). Plus there is a bonus appendix that offers even more grammar tutelage. I think that this is a great book…

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How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller by Julia DeVillers

Synopsis: When Jamie Bartlett accidentally turns her journal in instead of her homework, she becomes an overnight bestselling author and her life turns upside down. Review: How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller has a supercute, bubbly tone that I found exceptionally charming. Author Julia DeVillers absolutely nails her 14-year-old protagonist’s voice. Jamie is naive, exuberant, silly, bold, timid, smart, and goodhearted (despite several lapses in judgment). The plot moves quickly, though a bit predictable, which I think is more a genre issue than…

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The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax

Synopsis: When novelist Kendall Ames is dropped by her publisher and her husband, she faces a case of writer’s block so severe that her best friends–also novelists–decide to help her writer her next novel and let her take all the credit. Review: I’m a sucker for novels about writers, because they always get me off my butt and working on my own stuff. And of course I like good chick lit, so I was primed to enjoy The Accidental Bestseller. The plot was a strange…

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The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith

Synopsis: While working on a novel in Tunisia, a writer encounters his own heart of darkness. Review: I had written a truly brilliant review of Patricia Highsmith’s The Tremor of Forgery, but it got eaten. Fie! The salient points were: Patricia Highsmith plays cat and mouse with the reader just like her most famous creation Tom Ripley played cat and mouse with anyone he encountered She is a master of nuance characterization The final third of the novel is a tour-de-force of subtle character dynamics…

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