Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Sunshine: Happy December Edition!

Well, we've made it through November.  I love December--we should start getting some real snow (and in Buffalo, that really means something.)  End-of-year lists start coming out.  And, of course...CHRISTMAS.  I'm a big Christmasser--my mom always goes all-out decorating and baking and picking out the best, most thoughtful, goofiest, most specific gifts.  If you say something to her in passing in June that gives her an idea, the gift will be under the tree in December.  She is the queen of gift-giving.

And this year is the first time we've had enough space to really decorate!  I will post pictures when there is a tree--our very first Christmas tree!  So that's what I'm looking forward to this week.

As I scrambled to get to the 50K mark for NaNo, I slowed down a little bit as a reader.  I only have one book this week.  But, there are a few other things I want to share first:

1) Ghenet Myrthil has issued herself a 12/12/12 challenge: read twelve books in December 2012.  I'm going to challenge myself to do the same.  If you want to see her awesome December TBR, check her out here.

2) For those of you who are in the middle of writing, NaNo or otherwise--you need to see Kristin Cashore's post about how Bitterblue came to be.  You may be familiar with the general story--after she spent three years writing an 800-page draft, her editor suggested that she start revisions by re-writing the story from scratch--but she has given the internet this marvelous gift of pictures.  Pictures of pages entirely scribbled out.  Notes to herself in the margins: "Don't freak out.  You can fix it later."  And the most stunning of all, a picture of the heaps and heaps of paper that made up her many, many drafts before she got to the wonderful finished product.

3) Jaime Morrow and I have been talking about both reading Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird in January, book-club style.  We're hoping we're not the last two writers in the universe to read it, so if you're interested in reading along, let us know in the comments.  I'll post more info closer to January, but I thought I'd test the waters now (and give people time to put the book on their Christmas lists!)

What I Read This Week: 

 JaneJane by April Lindner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aaaahhhh I couldn't stop reading this one. I don't totally understand why I found it so engrossing--after all, I've read and loved Jane Eyre so I knew what was going to happen! The adaptation was pretty faithful, to the best of my memory, which meant that occasionally there was a moment of, "Wait, why is this an obstacle?" Jane Eyre, while definitely a strong individual with her own quirks and oddities, was also still a product of her time. Jane Moore's quirks sometimes felt a bit too anachronistic. But I was totally willing to forgive that because this retelling was so compulsively readable. And who can resist the good-girl nanny and the bad-boy rockstar?

I would also note that this seems to fall squarely in the "new adult" category, rather than the "young adult" category. I think that's because a) it's a contemporary book where the heroine at least contemplates marriage--ok for YA fantasy/historical but weird in contemporary--and b) the love interest is definitely a grown-up and no one is really freaked out by that. Jane does experience a lot of "firsts" in this book, but they're framed much more as adult firsts than teenage firsts. It definitely felt different than the YA Contemporary I've been reading, so know that going into it. But it's a really fun read, and quick despite its length. Definitely recommended for fans of Jane Eyre (and if you haven't read that yet, do it, and then compare with this version!)

View all my reviews


  1. Have fun decorating your very first Christmas tree! Wish I'd been a little more excited about decorating mine the other day, but the stupid garland just wouldn't cooperate. There might have been a few Bah Humbugs during the process :)

    I might be interested in reading Bird by Bird with you guys, but I'll have to see how busy things are a little closer to January if that's all right.

    1. Of course! Hope you can join us! Sorry about the garland--but now you have a tree to enjoy for the whole rest of the month!

  2. I haven't read Bird by Bird yet either, and I've been meaning to. I would love to read it with you guys in January!

  3. Guess I should get my hands on BIRD BY BIRD, shouldn't I? Looking forward to reading another craft book. :)

    I'm excited that this is your first Christmas tree! How fun is that? It's great that you guys have so much more room for that kind of thing this year too. We have the opposite problem all thanks to a somewhat recently acquired piano. Love the piano, but man, did it create some space issues for the tree.

    I really enjoyed JANE too. I read it some time back in e-book form, but found it for really cheap at Chapters not too long ago. I like when a story is a pretty faithful retelling of the original, but it's done in a unique way. I sure hope ONLY ANNIE comes off that way. :)

    1. Totally envious of your piano problem :) That's an awesome problem to have, as problems go.

      Re-tellings are a lot of fun. Someday in the distant, murky future, if the current WiP ever feels "done", I think I may look to either my beloved copies of the Andrew Lang books of fairytales or A LITTLE PRINCESS and see if I can use them as inspirations for anything new. And of course my current one is inspired by a Browning poem...but I'm lightyears away from the source material at this point :) From the little bit I've seen of ONLY ANNIE, it's well on its way to being a really fresh retelling. Can't wait!

  4. Enjoy BIRD BY BIRD! I love that book, and it always encourages me.
    My husband and I hope to be moving soon, and we've really outgrown our tiny apartment, so I'm not planning on decorating much this year. Sad face. I suppose I could make up for that my baking more Xmas treats!

    1. Yeah, baking is the way to celebrate in a tiny NYC apartment. My trick was HUGE batches of things--do it all once, then either bake and freeze or refrigerate the dough and bake in batches. (I had a signature molasses cookie that we gave to everyone--our super, the manager and staff of our favorite restaurant, my colleagues, etc.--I don't think I ever made fewer than 200 of them in a season.) It's simpler than the big extravaganza my mom always does with like a dozen types of cookies. Now, with a kitchen I actually like to spend time in...extravaganza here I come!

  5. Thanks for the shout-out! So excited you're going to do the challenge too! If I was talented like that, I'd create a button for us. But I'm not, so...

    I love Bird by Bird, it's one of my favorite books on writing. You'll enjoy it!

    1. Thanks for the motivation :) And we don't need buttons--we've got BOOKS!


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