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Re: Whatcha reading?

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Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell.

Have read Writing & Selling the YA Novel by K. L. Going.
Writing Picture Books  by Ann Whitford Paul.
Illustrating Children's Books by Martin Salisbury. Although I have no interest in illustrating children's books, it did show what was involve.
#1021 - January 09, 2016, 08:59 PM

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I'm reading Kristi Holl's Writer's First Aid, Book Two. I want to develop better writing habits in this new year.
I'm, also, reading Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul.
I finished reading The House of Djinn, excellent book in the series that includes Shabanu and Haveli.  The author is Suzanne Fisher Staples. She depicts life in Pakistan. Shabanu was a Newbury Honor Book. Love her books.
#1022 - January 10, 2016, 11:44 AM

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I read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman, a great YA novel about a boy with mental illness. I can see why it won the Printz Award last year.
#1023 - January 11, 2016, 08:31 AM
Author of SILVER PONY RANCH and ZEKE MEEKS series

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I'm reading Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan :)
#1024 - February 10, 2016, 03:13 AM

Just finished "Wildflower" by Mark Seal, and thought it was a very good biography of Joan Root a documentary film maker who lived in Kenya.

Also, our book group just read the book "Blue Thunder"
#1025 - February 10, 2016, 06:40 PM

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I'm reading Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato. It's the story of the two characters from Shakespeare's  Much Ado About Nothing. Love Shakespeare and it's one of my favorites. This is how they met and a continuation of the story. It's an actual print book, which I rarely buy, so it's special. Now to just find some uninterrupted time.
#1026 - March 11, 2016, 12:15 PM
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SPINNING THORNS, by Anna Sheehan. Ahhh. I've liked all her books, but this one is my favorite. It's primarily a story about pain and revenge and love and redemption, with elements of a couple of fairy tales lodged in the story. I thought the author did a fantastic job with the dual narrative--you, the reader, end up knowing more than the characters, and so you get this lovely tension building without the characters realizing what is about to happen. (Meanwhile they are moving along quite logically and intelligently--just on incomplete information.) It was a breath of fresh air after too many dystopians*, and really well written. I read a LOT of books, but not all of them make me feeeeeeel. This one did.

*Ie it was driven by hope and not desperation, plus set in a place you want to be in and fight for, rather than get the heck out of and fight against.
#1027 - March 15, 2016, 06:33 AM

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Just finished THE BOUNDLESS by Kenneth Oppel. MG novel. Best part for me was the setting - fascinating, as the world building is almost 100% a journey through the cars on this miles and miles long train, with some fantastical elements and extraordinary detail.
#1028 - March 15, 2016, 06:53 AM
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Like olmue, I read A LOT of books. Usually a few nonfiction and one or two fiction at any one time. I loved Lauren Oliver's first book BEFORE I FALL, so I started her trilogy DELIRIUM. For me, it just isn't as good. I thought the first book of the trilogy, in particular, was filled with plot holes.

How come second books by the same author seldom measure up to the first book? Is it that, if the author produces a bestseller, the editor goes easy on the second book? Or what? Just curious what you guys think. Has anyone here read DELIRIUM and what did you think of it?
#1029 - March 15, 2016, 11:40 AM
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How come second books by the same author seldom measure up to the first book?

My guess is that being on deadline the second time is a factor.

Also, I'm wondering if putting standalone and series books side by side is a good comparison. Any book can have plot holes, of course, but in series books only the final volume has to finish everything. Sure, each volume should satisfy on its own and have its own arc, but it's just not always as clean. 

Another factor might be the author's mindset. You're scared to death you're a fluke and you know how brutally hard it was the first time and can't believe everything will come together a second time.

I'm thinking, too, there's pressure of a sort to debut with something really strong. It can be hard to top that. And we've heard it said often enough that once you're popular/established, whatever those things actually mean, that you have a little more leeway to do what you want.
#1030 - March 15, 2016, 01:35 PM
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I also read a LOT of books, and I'm often let down by the second book. Sometimes, though, the 2nd book manages to be even better than the first (like with THE TESTING and INDEPENDENT STUDY or THE CONSPIRACY OF US and MAP OF FATES). In the first case, I actually like the final book in the trilogy the least (the third book of the CoU hasn't come out yet). I think it can be pretty challenging to keep the stakes high in a middle book, and all too often, it ends up meandering along (like with Condie's second in THE MATCHED trilogy).
#1031 - March 15, 2016, 01:41 PM
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I wonder how many trilogy books start as a standalone and then get turned into a trilogy? Because you're not supposed to write a series because what if the first doesn't sell and you waste that effort, yadda yadda? But then if you write a standalone and they say, great! Let's make it a trilogy! but you really didn't have that much plot, how do you fill it out without it feeling disjointed? I can think of some high-flying books that were conceived as standalones and were stretched with a lot of editorial enthusiasm, but the plot just wasn't there.

I've only read The Conspiracy of Us, but I'm glad to hear the sequel is even better. I LIKE when that happens. The Colors of Madeleine series (A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty, is the first) is like that--I really enjoyed the first book, but the second one just got better and better. Hopefully the final one (which comes out this month) keeps on that same trajectory.
#1032 - March 15, 2016, 02:50 PM

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Just finished the Bird Box. UBER creepy. Like more than a creepy UBER driver. (God help me...it hurts being so clever).

Just started Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Yes, I know, I'm way behind the crowd on this one. Easy, cool kids. Easy.
#1033 - March 15, 2016, 03:01 PM

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Just read Jen Maschari's THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE. It's a MG about a boy dealing with grief after his mother's death. It's a lovely book--sad, and sometimes a little creepy, but ultimately hopeful. It should appeal to fans of CORALINE.

ETA: I think the issue with second books is sometimes that the first book's characters have lived in your head for years. And then suddenly you need to write something from scratch in four or five months, to give everyone time to read. So it's partly speed of writing, and partly casting wildly about for an idea.
#1034 - March 15, 2016, 11:08 PM
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 11:13 PM by dewsanddamps »
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
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Just started Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Yes, I know, I'm way behind the crowd on this one. Easy, cool kids. Easy.

I've not read this (so not a cool kid, ha), but do you know there's a movie coming out (Sept, I think)? Tim Burton's handling it...but I will say the trailer looked quirky rather than creepy (and the cover of the book certainly made me think creepy...which is why I didn't read it. :grin3

Katie, I think I'd have trouble writing a second book for the basic reason you list -- they've lived in your head for so long, and honestly, I'd be ready to just give them a break and resolve some tension, already.
#1035 - March 16, 2016, 10:49 AM
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Someone in our writers group is reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and she is enjoying the book.

I just picked up the book Ahab's Wife a story about Moby Dick from Ahab Wife's it's quite interesting.
#1036 - March 16, 2016, 07:05 PM

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DebraG, I just finished THE BOUNDLESS, too. (Historical MG about a train in Canada in the 1880s.) I liked the setting and the characters.

I'm reading FIFTEEN DOGS by Andre Alexi, an adult contemporary fantasy which won the Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust of Canada Award.  So far, I'm enjoying it.
#1037 - March 24, 2016, 01:27 PM
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Is FIFTEEN DOGS depressing? Some reviews say it is.
#1038 - March 24, 2016, 04:55 PM
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Reading Jenny Downham's UNBECOMING and am fascinated by the use of both a teenager and her elderly grandmother's perspectives; I don't remember adults getting to speak in other YA novels. Of course, the adult in question has dementia and is often remember her own teen years.
#1039 - March 24, 2016, 07:13 PM

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I just finished the ARC of Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes,  a MG about a girl who never heard of 9-11, though her father was a first responder.
#1040 - March 25, 2016, 08:43 AM

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I just (finally--I had to take breaks in between) finished MT Anderson's Symphony for the City of the Dead. So good! Man, the Russians have sure gone through a LOT in the past 100 years. The book is sort of a bio of Dmitri Shostakovich, famous Russian composer of the 20th century, and told with a lot of compassion. (He was constantly under the scrutiny of the government, and sometimes appeared to support them ideologically, to protect his family.) The chapter where they played his symphony in Leningrad made me cry. To do that in a NF book is well, saying something.
#1041 - March 31, 2016, 06:19 PM

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I have been reading a ton of books this year. The last two I read in March were really great MGs by the same author that were companion novels (in the same world, but not a continuation of the same story):

SHOOTING KABUL by N.H. Senzai

SAVING KABUL CORNER by N.H. Senzai

I am so glad I read these books (they'd been on my To Read list for a while, but I hadn't read them yet). Hope they have had and continue to have a wide readership.

Today I read THE GHOST CHILDREN by Eve Bunting - so CREEPY! But in a good way. It's an older book, but still worth putting on your list if you like weird and creepy stories.

I also blogged today about my reading statistics for January - March, and my 10 favorite picture books for 2016 (so far) too - http://sruble.blogspot.com/2016/04/reading-in-2016-book-stats-and.html
#1042 - April 01, 2016, 03:01 PM
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I read an ARC of Evelyn Skye's debut, THE CROWN'S GAME, which comes out at the beginning of May. I really enjoyed it. It's like a Hunger Games set in imperial Russia, with magic. I think it will have wide appeal, and I hope they make a movie out of it--it's very cinematic and has some scenes that would be gorgeous.
#1043 - April 01, 2016, 05:33 PM
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I've got The Crown's Game on my list--Russia plus magic sounds cool. :)

I also just finished A Tangle of Gold, Jaclyn Moriarty's final book in her Colors of Madeleine series. Ahh. So good! And so strange! :) Seriously, it was quite a satisfying ending to the series.
#1044 - April 01, 2016, 06:56 PM

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I've just finished ONE by Sarah Crossan, a YA novel about conjoined twins written in free verse and absolutely beautiful.
#1045 - June 09, 2016, 05:43 PM

Just finished The Red Leather Diary an interesting story from a journalist, Lily Kopel who found a diary in a garbage dumpster, met the person, and rewrote the person's diary.
#1046 - June 09, 2016, 06:17 PM

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Is anyone else looking forward to the release tomorrow of Daniel O'Malley's STILETTO, the follow-up to THE ROOK (which was just wonderfully silly and creative?)
#1047 - June 13, 2016, 05:49 PM
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I'm reading Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina, a YA novel by a Cuban-American writer. She portrays the latin culture so well. I'm really enjoying it.

I'm, also, reading The Writer's Guide to Fantasy Literature: From Dragon's Lair to Hero's Quest edited by Philip Martin. It's a wonderful book if you want to understand the fantasy genre. It has interviews and gives many examples of what it explains. It's the book I needed to get an overview of this genre I love.
#1048 - June 14, 2016, 08:26 AM

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I'm trying something different. Instead of reading a book straight through, I'm reading 4 books (2 fiction including a YA and 2 nonfiction) at once, sort of like watching episodic weekly TV series if you don't binge-watch one straight through. I read one book for a while, break at a chapter end or other convenient place, then continue where I left off on the next book. Round and round it goes.

I think it helps with my memory.
#1049 - June 14, 2016, 03:01 PM
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 03:04 PM by Spence »

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Spence, I read various books at once. I read non-fiction and fiction. Now I'm reading two non-fiction books about writing and one about spirituality. I'm, also, reading a  novel and a book of folktales!  I like it this way. Whenever I  have a few minutes, I read a few pages.  Good reading to you and all who read this.
#1050 - June 16, 2016, 09:01 PM

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