Monday, September 23, 2019

September Notes and Short Reading Review

September has come and started to go rather quickly for me.

I've had wonderful days.

I've had challenging days.


We had a visit from Norwegian cousins while our oldest daughter visited the next generation of cousins in Norway (on the same exact days).

My youngest made the WSU Novice Women's Crew Team.

I took over a property management position for my parents. (Not my ideal job, but one I can do.)

I wrote.

I dreamed a big idea dream - one that I've had before. This time, I went out and told others about it and gained insights into how to actually make it happen. I am considering opening a Storytelling Studio (or Storytelling Studio classes) for children ages 10-13, teens, and adults. I have thought and thought about this idea. I would like to encourage a community of storytellers - written, oral, visual, audio, maybe film (that's looking like a 5 year castle-in-the-sky type goal) and I would like to encourage storytellers to speak life into the community. It's in the pen and paper state now, but I have had encouragement to make it a reality. So ... I'm making checklists and spreadsheets, creating lists and ideas.

Best of all, I submitted seven poems and three stories to various publishers.

I admit I forgot to do a reading review for August. So, now I am just doing reviews for significant books in August and September.

Hmm. How to describe this book cycle? I read some books I liked, I read some books that made me uncomfortable. Sometimes a book made me think. A few I didn't like as much and I won't mention them here. A few have actually ... well, purposefully been forgotten. I did read a few graphic novels, but didn't like them. I started reading some non-fiction, but I'm not ready to review those yet.

Most of these books are not suitable for younger readers! (I know they never comment, but I have had some of my former students and students read this blog. If that's you, and you are under 18, I'm only recommending the first book to you. Ignore the others.)

So, here are the notables:

The Miraculous by Jess Redman, a MG urban fantasy/magical realism. I didn't love, love this book, like over the top love it, but it stuck with me well after I finished it and I found myself recommending it to a young reader later. So, it is a 4.5 out of 5 for me.
(The only clean book in this grouping for young readers!)
Description from Amazon:
 In the tradition of heartwrenching and hopeful middle grade novels such as Bridge to Terabithia comes Jess Redman's stunning debut about a young boy who must regain his faith in miracles after a tragedy changes his world.
Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis collects miracles. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can't exist. So 
Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops believing.
Then he meets Faye―a cape-wearing, outspoken girl with losses of her own. 

Eleanor Oliphaunt is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, women's fiction/chick lit/kind of romance? I heard of this book, checked it out from the library, then purchased it. It's not a comfortable read. The main character isn't always likeable - in fact, she's downright awful at the beginning. However, this story really stuck with me, sucked me in, and made me think about the power of human connections. Recommended. 5/5 (with a small caveat for uncomfortable, intense stuff - not for young readers)

Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep, a NA Fantasy (found in the YA section) with a steamy romance scene. I loved the first of this trilogy. This second book I mostly loved. I could have lived without the two page steamy sex scene with details I didn't need to know. "Dueling tongues" is not a phrase I like in books. The rest of the book - the action, the intrigue, the character development, the actual love-romance, I really liked. So ... 4/5, not for young readers. I would actually call this series NA, not YA, because the main character is 27.

One Day in December by Josie Silver, Romance and Women's Fiction with a few short steamy scenes. I really loved the way the character arcs worked throughout this story. I loved all three awesome friends in this book and I was impressed by Silver's writing. I read this in my quest to discover how to write romance, and I felt like I was sitting at the feet of a master of the craft while I was reading. The steam scenes make this book not for young readers, but it was a really good read for adult romance readers. 5/5 (not for young readers)
Short description from Amazon:
Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away.


Elizabeth Seckman said...

I haven't been reading like I would like to. Life needs to slow down so I can read a little.

A reading studio sounds like a lot of fun. When I was young, my English teacher started a writing group. We were all too immature and we wrecked it in one meeting by spitting kool aid in the library. Hopefully, your kids are better behaved.

Sarah Foster said...

The storytelling studio sounds like an awesome idea! Hopefully you can make that dream a reality.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I agree with Sarah on the storytelling studio.

I love that you read such a variety of books. I'm trying to as well.

CWMartin said...

I hope the storytelling studio is a big success. If talent and heart will tell, it will be!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I love when people are exited about a project. Wishing you good luck! :)

I recently read The Institute by Stephen King and enjoyed it. It was a very long book but it never felt long, if you know what I mean.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I want to go to Norway! Some great prog bands there.
Storytelling Studio sounds like a fantastic idea. Keep after it.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Sarah!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sometimes, it takes more than one try.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Natalie!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, CW!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Madeline - Thanks-for the book recommendation and for the encouragement!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - I want to go, too. Maybe next time.
And thank you for the encouragement! said...

An interesting post as always, Tyrean, and I am fascinated by the idea of a Storytelling Studio 🌹

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a wonderful idea. I know a group that is similar in the Virginia Beach area. (I was there last weekend speaking at a writer's conference.) I believe it was called the Muse Writing Center. Look it up - might give you some ideas of what you want to do with your studio.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - glad you've made that connection with your Norwegian family ... sounds fun. Like Carole - the idea of a storytelling studio sounds fun - all the best - Hilary

krystal jane said...

I would love to open a storytelling studio!! Even having it in the early stages is great. My idea is still in my head.

Heather R. Holden said...

A Storytelling Studio sounds like such a fantastic idea! The world definitely needs more places that nurture creativity like that. Best of luck finding a way to bring this dream to life!

And how exciting about all the submissions you have sent out right now, too. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Patricia Josephine said...

September has gone by fast for me, too, but it has been a good month.