March Reading Wrap-Up

Books Bought:

  • The Comet Seekers, Helen Sedgwick (ARC)
  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, Hannah Tinti (ARC)
  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave
  • Avenue of Mysteries, John Irving
  • The End of Our Story, Meg Haston (ARC)
  • Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Read World, Ed. Kelly Jensen
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Women, Lindy West (ARC)
  • An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back, Elisabeth Rosenthal (ARC)
  • The Light Between Oceans, M. L. Steadman
  • The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy
  • The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tut
  • Gizelle’s Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog, Lauren Fern Watt (ARC)

Books Read:

  • Ten Years in the Tub, Nick Hornby
  • Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson
  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
  • Toradora! Vol. 1, Yuyuko Takemiya
  • Gizelle’s Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog, Lauren Fern Watt (ARC)
  • Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shutterly (unfinished)
  • Brian’s Winter, Gary Paulsen (unfinished)
  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, Ed. Kelly Jensen (unfinished)

I read a whopping five books this month! A much bigger improvement from my one and three books the months before. I can feel myself moving up in the world. (Just don’t ask me how I managed to start and finish four books before finishing the two I started reading in February. I don’t know.)

I credit the success of this month to a solo challenge I made up and attempted in the span of about three hours. The goal was to read seven books in seven days (or #7books7days which I tagged my tweets with). Although I did not read seven books (clearly) I won’t right it off as a mega failure because I did manage to finish three books that week! Three! In a week! That’s the total of what I read in February!

Read More »

Reading Wrap-Up: February 2017

Books Bought:

  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  • The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
  • Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  • We Are Called to Rise, Laura McBride
  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
  • Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Maximum Ride: The Manga #9, James Patterson and NaRae Lee
  • The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
  • Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff

Books Read:

  • Hatchet, Gary Paulsen
  • Maximum Ride: The Manga #9, James Patterson and NaRae Lee
  • We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books, Nick Hornby (unfinished)
  • Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly (unfinished)
  • Brian’s Winter, Gary Paulsen (unfinished)

[In the process of writing my March wrap-up I realized I never posted February, so alas here it is.]

How did I manage to buy twelve different books in the span of 28 days? February is supposed to be the shortest month and I managed to drop an ungodly amount of money on just chunks of paper. I hate myself.Read More »

Life of a Bookseller

Back in October, I started working at Barnes and Noble.

During my interview, my now-manager asked me the usual initial interview question: “Why do you want to work here?” and my eyes lit up and the corners of my mouth involuntarily curled and I answered: “This has literally been my dream since high school, even before I could drive.”

Honestly, sixteen year old Cecelia is just about dying. I think I’ve applied to work at Barnes and Noble about twice a year since I got my license.

Working at Barnes and Noble is only a part-time job for me, a way to make some extra money as I save up to move out. It’s basic retail; dealing with unhappy customers, standing on your feet all day, cleaning up the weirdest messes. But there’s the added bonus of being surrounded by books.

During a typical shift, I’m usually reshelving misplaced or abandoned books, reorganizing out of place books, helping customers find the exact books they want, or doling out recommendations to customers who don’t know what they’re looking for (yet).

Yesterday I answered the phone. It was an upbeat customer, speaking quickly but clearly out of breath. She was running late for a meeting but was needed a book, The Unquiet Mind, and was wondering if we could put it aside for her. (We place customer orders on hold literally all the time and running around the store pulling books for customers is one of my favorite things to do.) I looked it up on the computer and we had very limited quantities; I asked if I could put her on hold while I double-checked to make sure it was on the shelf.Read More »

Heartbreak Hotel: On Embarrassing Writing

On Embarrassing Writing

The other day I came across a blogging prompt, “what is something you’re embarrassed you’ve written?” and I was all over that like mustard on a hot dog.

I think the easiest thing for me to claim to be embarrassed over would be my fan fiction I wrote back in high school, but like honestly I may have a lot to say about fan fiction and not much of it is embarrassing. More on that subject another time.

Generally speaking, much of what I write is embarrassing, especially if I’m reading it over after a long break. However when I was brainstorming what to write about for this prompt, I decided what would typically be labeled “embarrassing” isn’t really embarrassing to me, but what I initially started writing seriously and was really proud of and excited about turned out to be embarrassing once I reread it and it wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular as I thought it was.Read More »

Reading Wrap-Up: January 2017

Books Bought:

  • Daring Greatly, Brené Brown
  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More, Janet Mock
  • We are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama, ed. E.J. Dionne Jr and Joy-Ann Reid
  • Camp Rolling Hills, Stacy Davidowitz
  • The Freedom Writers Diary, The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell
  • A Dog’s Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron
  • Funny Girl, Nick Hornby
  • Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok

Books Read:

  • Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
  • Hatchet, Gary Paulsen (unfinished)
  • Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books, Nick Hornby (unfinished)

Reading Wrap Up January 2017

In October I made a bookstagram account and was thrust into the realm of reading once again. I read a disgraceful twelve books in 2016, so I was feeling motivated (and a little envious honestly) of all these other people who could easily knock out a book in three days. Who has time to do that? Did these people not have friends or work or Facebook profiles or 2048?

Anyway, I picked up Nick Hornby’s Ten Years in the Tub while I was leaving Barnes and Noble. It stuck out on the shelf as I was walking by and the yellow spine was practically glowing like an omen. It’s a literal book brick in every definition; an aesthetically pleasing rectangle with hefty pages and a thick spine. It costs an even $20 (seriously, not even a decimal point was placed). I bought it on a whim, thinking “wow! Probably the first book blogger! He’s been writing about the books he’s read since 2003!” I had to have it. (Of course I have to have literally every book I’ve ever touched so that’s really not saying anything too different.)

Read More »

The Day Before NaNoWriMo

NaNoWrimo officially begins in 24 hours. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably questioning how you can possibly manage to win this thing and mentally beating yourself up for not preparing as much as you should’ve. Even though it’s Halloween, here are some last minute preparations you can complete today.

The Day Before NaNoWriMo

Print off a word count sheet.
I don’t know about you, but I find a ton of motivation in visibly seeing how much I’ve already accomplished (and how much I have left to go). The last time I won NaNoWriMo I drew out a whiteboard on my wall with a word count bar. Every time I hit another 10% of my word count, I would color in the bar. I also would write on the word count the most words I’d written in a day and try and beat my own “high score.” Find out what motivates you and create a sheet or a board you can hang out your wall to hold you accountable.

Read More »

NaNoWriMo Goals & Initial Thoughts

NaNoWriMo Initial Thoughts

So I originally intended for this post to be about final touches to add to my NaNoWriMo prep planning in the upcoming week before November, but let’s be real: I haven’t planned anything.

Here’s a list of things I know about my story:

  1. It’s probably more towards the YA genre on the spectrum.
  2. My main character’s name is Hannah. She’s an angsty teenager and hates life.
  3. It takes place in Cape Cod in the summer.
  4. ……

That’s about it. I’m a top-notch procrastinator so I’m not really surprised.

Last year I attempted NaNoWriMo and massively crashed and burned at a whopping 26 pages. (Fortunately, I just re-read what I wrote for the first time a few days ago and it has a lot of potential. I’m excited to revisit it in the future, so I’m not writing it off as a total fail.)

I had made a long list of goals last year that never came true off the screen. This year, I’m going to be little bit more realistic about my goals.Read More »

“Quiet” Book Review

Quiet Book Review

I picked up “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain a couple of years ago on a whim in the Strand Bookstore. I generally don’t read non-fiction but there was something about this book that drew me to buy it; it was like the Universe knew I needed to read it.

As most books I buy, it casually sat on my bookshelf for months before I set out to read it. What prompted me was watching Susan Cain’s TED Talk on introversion. Within the first few minutes of the video, I had chills crawling up my arm. She was describing me. She starts off the talk thinking back to an experience she had at a summer camp as a little girl. I thought back to my own camp experiences, both as a camper and as staff and every single word she spoke illustrated my own struggle with staying quiet. Read More »

Your NaNoWriMo Prep Checklist

It’s October 10th which means NaNoWriMo season is upon us!

Last year my NaNo novel did not go too well. I wasn’t really as prepared as I should’ve been. (I’m a Plotter, through and through.)

NaNo Prep Checklist

NaNoWriMo is shorthand from National Novel Writing Month which takes place every November. The goal is to write an entire in a month! Winners are declared at the end of November with a word count of 50,000 original words. The official rules can be found here.

You have until November to declare your participation. Then as the clock strikes twelve on November 1st, writers take off around the world to sprint to the finish line. Until then, here are some ways to prepare yourself.Read More »

My Favorite Revising Techniques

In case you haven’t heard, revising is my favorite part of the writing process. I love playing with my words and trying new things. The stress of getting the words is over, and now you can focus on fitting the pieces together like a puzzle.

I’m currently revising a larger project I’m working out, one that’s already over 100 pages on Word but not yet complete. I made it to a point in the story where I got stuck and basically abandoned it. Now I’m rewriting the majority of it to try and move forward in a logical manner.

There’s a lot of different ways I like to revise. The process should be very individualized to every writer and every piece, but here’s my usual code of conduct.

Favorite Revising Techniques

Read More »