Are you trying to write the next great American novel? Do you find yourself needing motivation to write?
If so then you will be happy to learn that November is National Novel Writing Month. Authors from all around the world are members of the National Novel Writing Month website. On this website, you can track your writing progress, get pep talks, talk to fellow authors on the forums, and meet other authors in your area. According to the website,
“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”
If you want to challenge yourself to write 50,000 words during the month of November, then check out the National Novel Writing Month website:
I read Letters to a Young Poetby Rainer Maria Rilke (inspired by Whoopi Goldberg’s character in Sister Act II: Back in the Habit ) when I was sixteen and wanted to be a writer. Then I read it again a few years later when I still wanted to be a writer, but was faced with the reality of paying bills and making career decisions. It always amazes me how much a book can transform you, but also how much your perception of a book can evolve as you change. I’ve never stopped wanting to write, but I have become much more aware of the things that I’ll probably never say.
“Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.” – Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
So, since it is National Novel Writing Month, I thought I’d make some reading suggestions for my fellow writers-in-waiting out there. There are plenty of style books and how-tos saturating the market, but some of the best manuals for writing come from writers themselves. They’re filled with humor and pragmatism, and may help you learn to find your voice, rather than your marketing plan.
More favorite books from 2009 from our Blogging Librarians.
Lynn: Home Safe was my favorite book of the year because, once again, Elizabeth Berg writes so beautifully about the small moments of daily life. I loved the writing group that the main character teaches and was intrigued with her dilemma – to stay in Oak Park or move to a perfect house in California that her late husband built for her. Lynn blogged about Elizabeth Berg speaking at the Moline Library here.
Tana: My favorite book this year was The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls. I couldn’t put it down – I found it incredible that she not only survived her childhood, but that she was able to become a very successful adult who still obviously loved her parents. I can’t wait to read her new book about her grandmother, Half-Broke Horses.
Ann: My choice is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Narrated by Enzo the dog, it is about a family that is torn apart by tragedy and betrayal, then slowly brought together again by love. It is by turns heartfelt and heartbreaking and it’s a book that I still think about often, months after reading it. It made me cry, but it also made me laugh and it made me hopeful. You can read more about it here.
Now it’s your turn. What was your favorite book that you read in 2009? Don’t be shy – we’re always eager to hear about good books! AND, one lucky commenter will win two tickets to the Figge Art Museum! Leave a comment with your favorite 2009 book and why it was your favorite by midnight January 3. We’ll draw a random number and announce the winner on January 5. (Sorry, Davenport Library employees and their families are not eligible!)
Before we ring in the new year, let’s take a quick look back at 2009 and list some of our favorite books of the year. Our Blogging Librarians talk about the book that stood out to them this past year, although these books weren’t necessarily published in 2009. You’re sure to find some great titles to add to your to-read list. And watch tomorrow’s post for information on a contest – you could win two tickets to the Figge Art Museum!
Rita starts us off with Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, a story of magical realism. In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special kind of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree and the extraordinary people who tend it. Rita says “This book made me feel good. It is magical, southern and romantic without being silly.” Rita wrote more about it here.
Bill considered choosing Methland (which he blogs about here), but it ended up being the runner-up to it’s polar opposite, Drinking with George: a Barstool Professional’s Guide to Beer by Geroge Wendt. “Under one set of covers, Wendt gives you a mini-biography, a slew of interesting beer facts, funny beer anecdotes from his own life, and lighthearted fare regarding the 5.5% ABV antics of his Hollywood friends.” Read Bill’s complete post here.
Amber’s choice: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice tells the story of Penelope, a young woman who feels her life will forever be average when she suddenly gets roped into sharing a cab with a free-spirited socialite named Charlotte. Penelope and Charlotte quickly become close friends over their shared love for American crooner Johnnie Ray, and soon Penelope is wearing Dior, attending posh parties with Charlotte’s cousin Harry, and becoming a confidant for Harry’s mother. Imagine if Pam from the Office suddenly found herself hanging out with Serena from Gossip Girl, a jaded Edward Cullen, and Whoopi Goldberg. Penelope’s setting and circumstances: living in a romantic, rundown English estate with an eccentric single-parent and lots of financial woes, reminds me of my favorite book of all time I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Pure loveliness.
Watch for more Favorite Books – and a contest! – in tomorrow’s post!
Here’s an opportunity to give yourself a little pre-Christmas bonus. November is going to be a huge month for fiction. The biggest names are going to hit the shelf with what I assume is what they intend to be everyone’s stocking stuffers.
Nothing says you can’t get your hold in right now on DPL’s copy. Here’s a taste. Hit the forthcoming fiction page for a full look at what’s to come as things start to chill out outside.