Friday, January 24, 2014

What's Up for January?

The pressure is on! Since my editor at Library Journal chose to honor me as her reviewer of the year for literary fiction I've been swimming in accolades from friends and colleagues. But how on earth do I follow up? My blog address was prominently displayed in the article so I'm hoping to garner new readers. I'll need to be vigilant in updating the blog more often yet I find myself slipping back to the once a week format. Why, you might ask, don't I have time to read as much?

Well, here's what I've been up to. Auditing a class in Florida Gulf Coast University's journalism department has only reinforced all that I don't know! I've written for publication for twenty years now so I smugly took the first quiz on AP style usage expecting to ace it. Ha! Who knew that "native American" is no longer preferred over "American Indian?"

We are learning about branding, how to make a good first impression through our use of social media. This involves our webpage (I did manage to buy my domain name for future use), Facebook and Twitter accounts. In fact yesterday I spent hours trying to organize my twitter feeds on TweetDeck. Have you ever heard of this?

 I've been reading the textbooks recommended by our teacher, Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark and On Writing Well by William Zinsser, in hopes of improving my technique without losing my voice. As each day now flies by with what seems like little or no accomplishment, I ask myself how on earth I ever worked full time while attending graduate school.

I've been working on two novels for Library Journal but am unable to share my impressions until after the reviews are published. I'm listening to author Paul Auster's rambling, melodic memoir Winter Journal in my car but of course this takes time as I don't drive very far these days. John Grisham's Sycamore Row is keeping me company on my morning walks but I've yet to see what all the fuss is about. I'm six discs in, and though it's certainly entertaining, it doesn't veer far from the typical David vs. Goliath formula of Mr. Grisham's other legal thrillers.

I tried the much-touted Longbourn, the downstairs look at Jane Austen's upstairs world, and had to cut it loose. I'm part of the way through Oprah's pick, The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd who will be speaking at the incredibly successful, long-running Southwest Florida Reading Festival in March.

Any suggestions for a knockout novel that you've read and enjoyed would be greatly appreciated. I'm feeling the need to sink into one of those lovely big fat historicals that captures the imagination and won't let go.


Linda said...

Although not a novel, Sally, you must read Ann Patchett's essay collection, "This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage." She speaks to you! The first few essays contain some of the best advice to writers I've ever read. The essay called "Sacrament to Divorce" is a gem. I think the best "lovely big fat historical" I've read this year is "Signature of All Things," which I know you read. Such gorgeous plot-driven writing!

Sallyb said...

Oh Linda, No question. I am on the wait list for Patchett's book and, after hearing her interview this week with Terri Gross, I'm more excited than ever. Did you listen? She's such an exceptionally clear-eyed woman.

Have you tried Donna Tartt's new one?