Friday, November 20, 2015

Reading Challenge Update: Help Needed!

It's been a while since I updated my progress on my reading goals.

Here's how I'm doing on the PopSugar Reading Challenge. Books read previously are in shades of green (and mentioned here and here). New reads are in blue (with pictures).

1. A book with more than 500 pages (The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, 512 p.)
2. A classic romance (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)
Does this count as a classic romance? It's certainly classic, and it definitely has elements of a Gothic romance. But I tend to think of it less as "a romance" and more as "a novel about terrible people behaving terribly, on the moors."

3. A book that became a movie (Cold Mountain)
Still haven't seen the movie, but now I can.

4. A book published this year (The Sculptor—Scott McCloud)
5. A book with a number in the title (Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal)
6. A book written by someone under 30 (Relish)
7. A book with nonhuman characters (Bone: The Great Cow Race)
8. A funny book (Hyperbole and a Half—Allie Brosh)
9. A book by a female author (Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal—G. Willow Wilson)
10. A mystery or thriller (The Yiddish Policemen’s Union)
11. A book with a one-word title (Trillium by Jeff Lemire)
12. A book of short stories (Africa39)

13. A book set in a different country (Behind the Beautiful Forevers)
14. A nonfiction book (Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas)
15. A popular author’s first book (Cinder by Marissa Meyer)

16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet (Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang)
17. A book a friend recommended (In the Open)
18. A Pulitzer-Prize winning book
19. A book based on a true story (Gaijin: American Prisoner of War)
20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list (At Home by Bill Bryson)
21. A book your mom loves
22. A book that scares you (Through the Woods)
23. A book more than 100 years old (Wuthering Heights)
First published in 1847.

24. A book based entirely on its cover (Mister Orange)
25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
26. A memoir (Relish)
27. A book you can finish in a day (Return of the Dapper Men)
28. A book with antonyms in the title (Alpha Zulu—Gary Copeland Lilley)
This poetry collection covers, among many other things, some of the author's experiences on a U.S. Navy sub. The title is play on the beginning and end of the military alphabet and a hint at the book's exploration of African-American manhood.

29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
30. A book that came out the year you were born
31. A book with bad reviews (Wuthering Heights)
Wuthering Heights received famously mixed critical reviews when it came out. A pattern which was repeated by my book club.
32. A trilogy
33. A book from your childhood
34. A book with a love triangle (Wuthering Heights)
Why anyone would seek out a book with a love triangle is beyond me. But Wuthering Heights to the rescue again! (Now there's a phrase I never imagined saying.)

35. A book set in the future (Trillium by Jeff Lemire)
Trillum by Jeff Lemire. This is on an earlier list, but I forgot to include it here. Half the book takes place in the year 3797.
36. A book set in high school (Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal)
37. A book with a color in the title (Little White Duck)
38. A book that made you cry
39. A book with magic (How Mirka Met a Meteorite—magic not explicitly mentioned, but a witch turns a meteorite into a person)
40. A graphic novel (Relish)
41. A book by an author you’ve never read before (Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal—G. Willow Wilson)
42. A book you own but have never read (The Yiddish Policemen’s Union)
43. A book that takes place in your hometown
44. A book that was originally written in a different language (Mister Orange—Dutch)
45. A book set during Christmas (Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas)
46. A book written by an author with your same initials
47. A play
48. A banned book
49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
50. A book you started but never finished
 But guys, it's November and I have fourteen things left on this list. Never mind my intention to read
A) books from South Africa and Lesotho, focusing particularly (though not exclusively) on work relating to the Zulu people (Africa39 contained three stories by authors from South Africa, so I haven't decided whether or not that counts towards my South African literature);
B) two Pulitzer-winning books, at least one of them fiction;
C) at least one book by a Nobel-prize-winning writer whose work I'm not well-acquainted with; and
D) seven poetry-related books (I'm currently at six, so this might happen).
I don't want to be a pessimist, but I don't think I'm going to make it. (I have only my ridiculous ambition and Tumblr to blame.) Also, I suspect my cold-heartedness is going to ruin me even if I manage to read everything else, but I want to try. (I hate that the list says, "A book that made you cry," and not just "a tearjerker." I didn't even cry when I read The Fault in Our Stars. Apparently, I am some kind of book-processing robot.)

Here's where I need your help: What's a good book that's become a television show? Where on earth do I find an author with the initials B.F.B.? (If you can think of an author with these initials, please let me know. I'm at a loss.) Any suggestions for other challenges on this list?

(Images from PublicBookshelf [Oxford World Classics cover of Wuthering Heights], GroveAtlantic,, Penguin Book Australia, Bloomsbury Publishing,, and Vertigo.)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fall Update: The Penn Cove Award, Dick Grayson, and Summer's End

The one nice thing about waiting so long between blog posts is that there's so much to catch up on that I appear busy and not just. . .really bad at blogging.

At one point this summer, I even managed to clean off my desk.
"Clean," you'll notice, is not quite the same as "uncluttered."

But what's that on the left? Why look it's. . .
Let's all pretend that's a normal amount of chocolate for a single person to possess.
. . .an Underwood Noiseless 77 "portable" typewriter! (This was my grandfather's, and when my aunts and grandmother visited this summer, they brought it along.)

But what's that next to the Underwood? Why it's only. . .Barton College's Crucible, containing one my poems.

And yes, that does say Fall 2014, but the issue came out this summer. Which means the editors are only 76 months ahead of me.
And under that. . .a copy of Dick Grayson, Boy Wonder: Scholars and Creators on 75 Years of Robin, Nightwing, and Batman (McFarland), containing one of my essays.

"Mother Alfred: The Influence of Dick Grayson's 'Other Parent.'" This is what you turn to when even your closest friends and family members no longer want to hear your theories on family dynamics at Wayne Manor.

In other writing news, I won the September 2015 Penn Cove Award sponsored by the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program. The contest is monthly, and requirements are simply that the submission be no more than one thousand words and "knock the judges' socks off." My piece can be found here.

In non-writing news, last summer my friend Heather and I made a pact that we would enter the county fair this year, and we did. We both won blue and red ribbons, so I think we were pretty successful.

Heather's blue-ribbon-winning Ferris wheel photo.
My Alice's Adventures in Wonderland themed box.

We also attended Key City Public Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park production, A Midsummer Night's Dream. 
Do not ask how many photos I had to take before the two of us and the stage were in frame.

At the end of the summer, we walked down to the beach, where someone else had sent up a farewell to the season.

I realize that it's November and I should be talking about winter's approach instead of summer's end. But I have a hard time letting go of the sunshine. I'm snuggled deep into my denial. Maybe I'll finish a winter-themed post by the end of next spring.