Monday, November 23, 2009

Books on the Beach

I was in Mexico for a beach vacation last week, and I'd say the number of books rivaled the number of bikinis. To my delight, everyone was reading! Because we all know the publishing industry isn't quite at the top of its game these days, (I do so love the idea of giving books as Christmas presents this year -- help an author out!) it was so refreshing to see books doing their thing: helping people relax and taking them into another world.

At one point when I was walking on the beach, I decided I wanted some stats on how many people were reading. It could've been the strawberry daiquiri-induced haze, but it seemed like all I saw were books. So I started to pay attention to just how many.

There is nothing sweeter really, than a couple reading side by side under a beach umbrella. Well, perhaps it could've been Tommy, who was reading one of the Twilight tomes on the flight home. Tommy, who wears boxers with green shamrocks and carries his wife's purple polka-dot Kate Spade shoulder bag. Tommy, who wore a T-Shirt with parrots on the back that read "Meet the Squawkers." Tommy, who's wife, I assumed, wrote the long, curvy, swirly inscription to him on the inside of his book. I'm going to take a leap of faith and say that wasn't Stephanie Meyer's handwriting.

But back to the beach: me walking along, searching out readers, starting to deduce that at least a third of the people had books on their bellies. Then I wanted to know who they were reading. I could spot some covers in an instant: Picolt, Brown, Meyer, Weiner, Irving. I felt foiled when I saw books in foreign languages. I stared harder at everyone, trying to distinguish the covers I didn't recognize. And suddenly I was staring right at a woman's bare breasts. Sorry lady, I was really looking at your book, I swear. At that point I gave up on data collection and focused on the surf.

Beach: relaxing. Frozen drinks: relaxing. Books: relaxing. By my little survey in the Riviera Maya, the publishing industry is doing just fine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo or Not, How About a Write-A-Thon?

I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I will be working at StoryStudio Chicago’s November Write-A-Thon this Saturday. Need to catch up on your word count for NaNo? Trying to finish up a short story for end of year submission deadlines? Finally ready to start that first novel? Come on out and join a bunch of other writers who are looking for a quiet, distraction-free place to get some words on the page. We're in Chicago at 4043 N. Ravenswood, #222.

And if you do come out on Saturday, please stop by the front desk and say hello. While the studio is usually packed for these events, it gets very, very quiet at times, and I think people are often afraid to talk. So much so that I get afraid to talk, answering the phone in some kind of creepy whisper. We can chat about your current work in progress, brainstorm ways for your antagonist to antagonize, swap lists of our latest must-reads.

The studio’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you can stop by at any time. Stay for as little or as long as you like. I’ll be there from one to five and hope to see some new faces!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

John Irving Video

John Irving was on The Bonnie Hunt Show yesterday and I saw the episode while I was running on the treadmill at the gym. He is my favorite author, and his interview made me stay on the treadmill longer than I intended. I can't find a video of the portion of the interview where he talks about writing just yet, but in my search I came up with this one. It's a few years old, but it's short and sweet, and emphasizes how a story needs to keep moving. He says this gem about his goal with the novel: "To make the story better, more compelling, more unstoppable on page 400 than it was on page 40."

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Lost Girls Book Review

Travel junkies, hop on over to the The Lost Girls to see my book review of The New Age of Adventure: Ten Years of Great Writing, a collection of travel articles from National Geographic Adventure magazine.

FTC, I don't even know what to do about you since all the book review fuss you made has kinda died down. But yes, I got this book for free. It was delicious.