Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher: Doubleday (2005)
From the back of the book:
“Writer’s Retreat: Abandon your life for three months. Just disappear. Leave behind everything that keeps you from creating your masterpiece. Your job and family and home, all those obligations and distractions – Put them on hold for three months. Live with like-minded people in a setting that supports total immersion in your work. Food and lodging included free fro those who qualify. Gamble a small fraction of your life on the chance to create a new future as a professional poet, novelist, screenwriter. Before it’s too late, live the life you dream about. Spaces very limited.”
Author: Anne Lamott
Publisher: Anchor Books (1994)
Seventeen years ago, Anne Lamott published a book about writing in which she weaved her life experiences (reminiscent of Stephen King’s On Writing but of course, Lamott came first) being published, the aftermath, the reactions to negative and positive reviews, as well as putting pen to paper.
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: HarperPerennial (1994)
“In this darkly comic short story collection, Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d/Alene Indian, brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. These twenty-two interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with passion and affection, myth, and dream. There is Victor, who as a nine-year-old crawled between his unconscious parents hoping that the alcohol seeping through their skins might help him sleep, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who tells his stories long after people stop listening, and Jimmy Many Horses, dying of cancer, who writes letters on stationery that reads, ‘From the Death Bed of James many Horses III,’ even though he actually writes them from his kitchen table. Against a backdrop of alcohol, car accidents, laughter and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, men and women, and most poetically, between modern Indians and the traditions of the past.” – from the back cover of my paperback 1994 edition
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse (2007)
Aya Fuse is obsessed with being famous. When she follows the Sly Girls, she uses her hovercam (everyone has hovercams to broadcast on their live feeds aka blogs) to uncover that they exist. When she discovers steel that may be death-making, she recruits her brother, Hiro Fuse (with a much higher face rank than her) to stop the possible destruction of humanity with help from a Tally Youngblood.
This book, like the rest of the series, starts slowly and introduces more slang and concepts to learn like “kick” meaning cool and “face ranks” which is the equivalent of having “hits” on your blog or site that make you “famous” in the country. The third half was a wicked ride; without ruining anything about the plot, some characters wear sneak suits that allow them to fly through the jungle!
Westerfeld’s social commentary on the obsession with being famous was illustrated vividly and realistically in science fiction fashion. Entertaining and captivating, this last story in the series seals the deal.
Author: Vivian Gornick
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (1987)
From the back cover:
“The story of a lifelong battle for independence, it weaves between the working-class Bronx home where Vivian Gornick grew up and her later, tempestuous walks with her aged mother through the streets of Manhattan. As the two women argue and remember the past, each wins the reader’s admiration: the caustic and clear-thinking daughter, for her tenacity in talking to her mother about the most basic issues of their lives; and the still-powerful and intuitively wise old woman, who again and again provers herself her mother’s daughter.” Continue reading
Author: Wes Moore
Publisher: Spiegler and Rau (2010)
Wes Moore is about two men with different fates. Both grew up without fathers, have mothers who wanted to raise them in better environments, and started out rebellious. One of them landed in jail while the other is a Rhodes Scholar. Continue reading
Confessions of an All-Night Runner
Author: Dean Karnazes
Publisher: Tarcher/Penguin Group (2005)
Dean Karnazes is a maniac – for running! The beginning chapter starts with Dean taking a run for ten miles or more, orders a pizza and coffee, and eats while running!
This book chronicles Dean’s early affair with the sport, his cessation period, and the day he reinvigorates his mundane (and financially comfortable) life with running.
Dean’s life is fascinating from beginning to end. I devoured this book in four days! The chapters are broken up into time periods and seasons which provide the reader a timeline to follow with all the different “ultra” marathons he participated in.
Even for the reader that isn’t a fan of running (this reader is), anyone can enjoy and become inspired by Dean’s tenacity and full force into pushing himself to the limit until he practically kills himself, every time! This was an amazing journey to accompany him on and I look forward to running my first full marathon in the future.
Very much recommended.
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse (2008)
This book is essentially about this world Scott Westerfeld created which includes a nifty Hoverboard manual, a glossary of terms, and in depth walk through his inspirations for names, slang, and anything else you can think of that you ever wanted to know about the Uglies. Additionally, there’s an alternate beginning for Extras in the male’s perspective (I read this before Extras) and lots of other fun things.
This review will be short because I loved reading about Westerfeld’s inner workings and as a writer, this illuminated aspects of his writing process and what could work for me.
A fulfilling read from beginning to end. Check it out!
Author: Jose Saramago
Publisher: Harcourt (2008 in English; 2005 in Portuguese)
death (that’s right, death with a small d), has decided to stop killing people in this unnamed country. The minister doesn’t know what to do. The country is in an uproar with all these people hanging in limbo between death and life. The maphia (yes with a ph and not an f) take matters into their own hands. But that’s not what this story is about. death eventually starts killing people again in which she sends violet colored envelopes to folks telling them they have a week left to live, to give them enough time to get their things in order for their demise. When an envelope is returned to her not once, twice but three times, she visits the cellist who has managed to evade her death letter and things change for her.
Author: Bruce Richards
Publisher: Tor (1994)
This is funny – just for fun, I’m going to include the synopsis on the back of this book.
Alicia has it all: good looks, talent and the start of the football team for a boyfriend. Why then is she hanging around with “weird” Evan, the nerd? Evan is the biggest dweeb in school and Alicia feels sorry for him and for all the cruel jokes her friends play, but sympathy only makes it worse. the nicer she is to Evan the more they beat him up. Then Alicia’s friends begin to disappear. A dead cat with its eyes plucked out is found in the trunk of a car and a terrible accident is about to happen. But will it really be an accident?