One More Day, and Two More Months

As a reminder, there is one more day to submit to the Creepy-Crawly Writing Contest. (Details here.) I would absolutely love to read your creepy-crawly story, even if you don't absolutely love it yourself. If I do not receive enough submissions by tomorrow, however, there may not even be a winner, so please, please send me your submission. First prize gets a 2000 word critique of their manuscript. That's almost ten pages! Can't miss out on an opportunity like that...

And, the A to Z Blogging Challenge is happening again in April this year. (Details here.) I was unable to participate last year, but this year I am planning to partake. I have decided that I will post a review of my favorite books every day, one book a day in April, each book beginning with a letter from the alphabet, as per the blogging challenge rules. Are you planning on participating?

Peace, Aimee

Books I Read Week of 8 January 2012

A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby

Four people from drastically different walks of life meet on New Year’s Eve at the top of a building, one of the most popular suicide spots in North London. Up on the rooftop, they confide in each other and decide to stay in touch over the course of six weeks and meet up there again and make their choice to jump or not. Their journeys are individual and personal, yet they are also intertwined as they share their adventures through crazy parties, family get-togethers, and even witnessing a stranger commit suicide.

What could have easily become an overly sentimental and dreary novel was actually quite fun to read. Nick Hornby turns a desperate situation into a jolly, witty adventure about taking life one day at a time.

Carrie – Stephen King

When the dreadfully unpopular sixteen-year-old Carrie White gets her first period in gym class, a group of girls in the locker room tease her until she explodes in tears. While the girls only get suspension, Carrie must continue suffering, both at school and at home, where her extremist religious mother forces her to pray for forgiveness locked in her closet whenever she makes even the slightest mistake. But when Carrie realizes that she has telekinetic powers, her destructive plan for revenge begins to unfold, and the fateful night of the high school prom will reveal all.

As Stephen King’s first novel, this thriller launched him into fame. While it starts slow, the tension escalates into an explosive ending that reveals the vulnerability of teenagers and the importance of loving family and friends.

Books I Read Week of 1 January 2012

Double Dexter – Jeff Lindsay

In this sixth book of the Dexter series, Dexter Morgan, blood-spatter analyst by day, serial-killer-killing serial killer by night, has a witness catch him dismembering a pedophile. The witness begins threatening Dexter, so he knows he has to find out who he is and get to him first. Meanwhile, the Miami police department is searching for a cop-killer, and Dexter soon becomes a suspect.

This book was written, edited, and published about a year after the last book in the series, and in some aspects of the language, this is speed is evident. The word choice is sometimes sub-par, as was the syntax of the previous novels, and some of the dialogue is so-so, but the pacing and characterization are brilliant. The characters have retained their personalities throughout the so far six book series, and I have to give Jeff Lindsay a thumbs-up for this. The character Rita, though, is quite annoying, as is her speech pattern, but her personality, albeit an irritating one, has remained intact. The suspense is also well done and makes up for the mediocre writing.

The Virgin Suicides
– Jeffrey Eugenides

Over the course of a year and a half, the five teenage Lisbon sisters commit suicide one by one. The neighborhood boys watch them from afar, both intrigued by their eccentric sensuality and disturbed by their melancholy.

Jeffrey Eugenides knows just the right word to say to portray an emotion, whether it be a lazy, resigned EMT coming to take a suicidal girl to the hospital, a curious boy watching a sad girl through her bedroom window, or a thirteen-year-old girl who makes the decision to jump from the roof of her house during a party hosted in her honor. This is a beautiful and touching book about puberty and depression.

How 2011 Fared for Me

My goals at the beginning of this year were thus:

1. Get a part time job.
2. Complete Associate’s Degree.
3. Begin semi-structured exercise routine.
4. Read 100 books.
5. Finish writing my novel.

How did I do?

1. Success! I got a part time job as an intern for a magazine that does indie-published book reviews, which I really enjoy. I have learned a ton about the publishing industry, most significantly the marketing aspects. It has secured my desire to pursue a career as a book editor.
2. Success! I have completed all the necessary credits. Next up? Get a Bachelor’s Degree. Ha. Wish me luck.
3. Success! I have been doing yoga for quite a while, but this year I really started getting a routine going. A routine to improve my health has in fact improved my health. Yoga is wonderful, both physically and mentally. I highly recommend it to anyone who is having trouble fitting exercise into their busy schedule.
4. Success! I read 117 books this year!
5. …not success. But I’m getting there. Still writing, writing, writing. I’ll make finishing my novel my goal for 2012. How about that?

So what were your goals for 2011? Did you reach them?

Peace, Aimee