• Reading Nourishes Writing

    Books I’m Looking Forward To Devouring: My Spring TBR

    Does anyone else feel like 2018 is lasting both a thousand years and yet passing by in the blink of an eye? March has been slipping through my fingers and the consistency of my blogging has been a little lax. I have been working diligently on my GoodReads goal, though! So far this month, my favorite book that I’ve read has easily been Obsidiothe final book of the Illuminae trilogy. UGH. Those books are heart-pounding, I highly recommend them, especially now that the trilogy is done and you can binge them all in one sitting!

    For my Spring TBR (and for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday), I’m trying to think of some of the books I’m looking forward most to read — both those coming out in the second half of this year, and books I’ve had on my shelves for ages that I’m eager to finally crack open.

  • Reading Nourishes Writing

    January Reading Wrap Up (+ Mini-Reviews!)

    Hello, happy writers! I have to admit, as we crash into a rather dreary and windy February, I’m torn between two states of mind: January lasted literally 800 years and How in the world is January already over???

    January felt like a bit of a dud month to me. I didn’t get nearly the amount of writing and editing accomplished that I wanted to, and I had a hard time concentrate on writing in general. But! I did get a few things done! Sort of!

    One of the achievements I managed in January was to read 8 books! There are a lot of bloggers for which 8 books in a month is standard, if even a low number for them, but for me, it was a pretty big deal! I averaged finishing about two books a week, which made me feel really good. I found that I was generally in a more creative place and attitude the more consistently I read, so I’m hoping to keep up with this pace throughout the year. Fingers crossed!

    Now, onto the reviews!

  • Reading Nourishes Writing

    Yes, I’ve Read That Book … And, No, I Couldn’t Tell You A Thing About It

    I have a question to pose this week, and it’s kind of a strange one: How important is it for us to remember the books that we read? Or, more specifically, how much of a book is it important for us to remember?

    The main message, surely, is an important nugget to wedge into your gray matter after completing a novel. Once you close the covers of the Harry Potter novels, you should probably remember, if asked, that a main lesson was to defeat evil with love and not the other way around.

    The main characters, too, should probably at least ring a bell. You might not remember their names, but hopefully you can recall something of what they wanted. Maybe you don’t remember that the main character of 1984 was named Winston (who could blame you, really), but you could probably, if pressed, recall that he was trying to rebel against an oppressive government, to escape the watchful eye of Big Brother.

    The general idea of the setting is another aspect of a novel that you probably don’t want to blank on. If someone holds up a copy of Game of Thrones and asks you where it takes place, and you can’t remember if the story happens in an underwater submarine or in the magma-spitting center of a rumbling volcano in dire need of a lozenge*, that’s probably going to be embarrassing.

    * it’s one of those two, right?

    But, is it that big of a deal if you can’t recall the actual events of the book? If a year passes and you can’t really remember much about a book’s plot, does that mean you’ve failed as a reader — or that the book has failed as a written work? How detailed does the footprint have to be to count as an impression left on the reader? Are we talking bruise marks in the exact grooves of the tread, or can it just be a marking vaguely heel-shaped? Can you still count a book as one of your favorites if you can’t actually remember anything that happened in it?

    I think so.

  • Reading Nourishes Writing

    24 Readathon Hour 11 Mini Challenge: Plan A Bookish Party

    It’s October 22nd. The air is full of the smells of roasting coffee and possibly unshowered readers. Your ears prickle at the scratchy sound of pages turning and the crinkle of snack food wrappers. Twitter feeds are being scrolled through fervently; instagram pictures snapped every new hour; and book after book cries as it’s mercilessly devoured by a hungry Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon participant voraciously gobbling their TBR stack.

    That’s right, it’s October 22nd, and that means it’s time for another Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! I’m running a mini-challenge for this hour: Plan A Bookish Party. I ran this mini-challenge in 2015 on my old blog, and it was a great success. So, let’s get started!

  • Reading Nourishes Writing

    10 Books I Read Because of Bookstagram

    This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is Books You Read Because of Recommendations. I’ll be the first to tell you: I’m kind of really bad about reading books people specifically tell me to read? As soon as there’s any kind of expectation, as soon as I feel like they’re waiting for me to read the book, I panic and can’t handle the responsibility. So, flat-out recommendations don’t always work on me. I think I need to discover books for myself, and follow my random reader-ly whims?

    Let me tell you what does work on me, hook, line, and sinker: pretty pictures on the internet. I am really, really, really bad about bouncing from my Instagram app to my Amazon app and nabbing a new book based on a pretty cover artfully posed next to a coffee cup. I don’t know what consumer itch that scratches, but it definitely works on me.

    So, here are a few of my favorite books that I read because of a superficial attraction to pretty pictures on the internet because of Bookstagram.

  • For Writers,  Reading Nourishes Writing

    Required Reading: 10 Books Every Writer Should Read To Boost Creativity and Feel Totally Awesome

    Consider the following scenario: You’re grappling for a description your brain flatly doesn’t want to visualize. Your characters are standing on a dock overlooking a lake, and for some reason your pesky gray matter is acting like you’ve never even seen a lake before. What does a lake look like?? you ask yourself in a state of panic. … Wet?

    Or maybe you want to name a character or location in your novel something significant, something historical and symbolic that’ll make future academics nod approvingly at your cleverness. Only, the spells in Harry Potter exhibit the breadth of your Latin education…

    Or, after months of labor, you’ve stapled, glued, spackled, spat, and slapped your story together only to step back and find … it looks slightly wobbly, crooked and flimsy, and like a asthmatic’s breathless wheeze could knock it clear over. (As an asthmatic who has before found herself unable to summon the lung capacity to blow out birthday candles, I truly understand the meaning behind that hyperbole.)

    In all of these cases, books are your best friends.

    The books in this list are ones I consider Required Reading for people who love to write. They’re books that’ll fill your brain with juicy words to chew on, books that’ll help you fix problems you’re having with your draft, books that’ll answer creepy questions like “what if I want my protagonist to get shot, but not too shot, if you know what I mean?”

    (I genuinely believe we’ve all Googled that quandary as writers. Does “I don’t want him to die, just have a pretty bad time…” sound at all familiar?)

    Without further ado…

    10 Books Every Writer Should Read To Boost Creativity and Feel Totally Awesome


    1. The Descriptive Thesaurus Series

    I love these books so much. My first foray into the Descriptive Thesaurus series was the Emotion Thesaurus, but I just got the two beauties pictured above last week, and I am getting so much use out of them already. The idea of the Rural and Urban Settings Thesauruses is to help writers visualize the settings of their novels by offering concrete, sensory details to kickstart your creativity.

    For instance, the Urban Settings entry for an Alley lists sights commonly found in alleyways (from “crushed takeout cups” to “broken wood pallets”), associated sounds (“wind scraping trash into the corner”), smells (always incredibly helpful to me, as I don’t have a sense of smell!), tastes, and textures (such as “the squishy, wet give of stepping on trash” and “rough bricks beneath a palm.”)

    These thesauruses aren’t meant to do your writing for you, but rather help you get into the mindset of the scene you’re trying to set. If you haven’t been in an abandoned alleyway any time recently (or a submarine, military helicopter, carnival funhouse, etc.) it can be hard to remember all those little details that make a description so vivid! I love these books.

  • Reading Nourishes Writing

    Reading Nourishes Writing: Upcoming Readathons

    “Reading Nourishes Writing” is a hugely important maxim over here at Happy Writer, one that I remind myself of constantly. (Especially when I’m feeling guilty for setting aside my laptop for a few more minutes of reading time.) As a writer, nothing will boost your creativity more than reading books, than filling your head up with words, and beautiful descriptions, and vivid settings, and characters so real you can see the sunlight glinting off their hair and hear the padding of their feet as they walk across the room.

    Reading books will show you how other authors solved problems, how they structured their story, how they fleshed out their characters. You wouldn’t try to build a car without ever looking at the insides of a real, working car, would you? You can flip through dry manuals, sure, but a real peek under the hood will help you visualize where all those nuts and bolts and tube-y bits really fit. (Tube-y bits. I obviously know tons about cars.) Same principle! Learn by Doing. Write by Reading.

    So, if you’re a writer out there who feels a little guilty whenever you set aside your WIP to read a couple more pages of a book, don’t! You’re filling the well, inking the pen, eating the food that’ll give you energy to keep moving. And, if you’re a person like me, who has mountains of books she never quite finds the time to conquer, here are some upcoming readathons that’ll help motivate you to take that break, refill that well, and read some books!

    Upcoming Readathons: Fall 2016

    The Great Twitter Readathon: Hosted by Sierra Abrams, this readathon will run exclusively on Twitter September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. There is an optional group read as well as group chats, if you’d like to join in!

    The Tackle Your TBR ReadathonEvery year, Wishful Endings hosts the Tackle Your TBR Readathon. Running from September 12th through the 26th, the Tackle Your TBR Readathon is a laidback, no-stress challenge that demands no expectations: just a chance to motivate ourselves to read a little more than we might’ve normally and make a dent in our towering To Be Read stacks!

    Banned Book-A-Thon: This weeklong celebration of Banned Books Week will run from September 25th to October 1st. Here is the video announcement and the Twitter to follow.

    Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: Held twice a year in October and April, the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is my favorite reading event. A full day of challenges, prizes, snacks, and a bajillion pages read. This year’s event will be on Saturday, October 22.

    The FrightFall Readathon: Hosted by SeasonsReadings, this readathon will run from October 3rd through the 7th.

    Epic Reads Open Reading Decathlon: Or, if you can’t fit a formal readathon into your schedule, might I suggest the open-ended Epic Reads Reading Decathlon challenge? All you have to do is read 10 books in 10 days! Easy, right? (heh. sweats)

    Have you ever participated in a readathon? What’s your best number of books you’ve ever read in a single week? If you know of any other readathons happening soon, leave them in a comment below and I’ll add to this post!