Category Archives: Reading

The now and then of books

file0002103651804Master Eight is fascinated with hearing about “the olden days” at the moment. Sadly, the days he means when he uses that phrase are the days of my own childhood. I keep trying to tell him that, no, it’s my parents who grew up in the olden days, but to no avail. As far as he’s concerned, my childhood is closer to the age of the dinosaurs than to the present reality of his every day life.

A few months ago, I told him the story of the day I was born.

“My mum, Nana, started feeling funny,” I said, “and had pains in her back. My dad was worried about her, and decided to call the doctor to check if he should be doing anything. But they didn’t have a phone at their house, so he had to run down the street — in his pyjamas (this elicited the laugh I expected) — to the pay phone and call the doctor. The doctor said: ‘Son, your wife’s having a baby. Take her to the hospital!’ And a little while later, I was born.”

Master Eight listened in rapt attention, giggled in the right places, and nodded along. When I finished telling the story, he looked confused for a minute and asked, “Why didn’t they have a phone in their house?”

I explained that, back in those days, not everyone had a phone in their house, so they had to use pay phones. He still looked confused, and then his face filled with understanding. “Oh!” he said. “And his mobile was out of battery!”

I think that moment, more than any other, made me realise exactly how removed his childhood is from mine — he lives in a world where not having a landline is fine, but not having a mobile phone is inconceivable. A world where not being able to look up information immediately from the comfort of your phone or laptop is an alien concept. A world where communication takes place instantly or never — there is no in between.

Since then, I’ve noticed it more and more in the books we read together. Sometimes when I’m reading him Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton or Norton Juster, he looks at me and asks why people didn’t just use their phones. Or why they didn’t just google in the information.

I’ve spoken to people who feel this disconnect makes those older stories incomprehensible to children of today, or who avoid reading stories that will confuse young readers. Me? I take a different view.

Every gap in understanding that results in a question about technology is a window into a conversation about the way the world has changed, and a brainstorming session on how the world of the future will look. And, let me tell you this. If it turns out half as wonderous as my son imagines, it’s going to be a bright and shiny future.

I hope I’m here to see it.

(This post was inspired by Owen Duffy’s The books I loved as a child have lasted — but the world has changed.)

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Filed under Life With Kids, Reading

Top Twelve Books I Read in 2012

“I know what I’ll do,” I said to myself a few days ago. “I’ll write a post sharing the best books I read in 2012. That should be fun and easy, and it lets me do my favourite thing and recommend good books to people who may not have come across them.

Yeah. Great idea, Jo.

Over the last few days, I’ve been desperately trying to whittle my list of 69 books down to the top 10 must-reads. But I just couldn’t do it.

“I know,” I said to myself, never afraid to keep up a conversation in my own head. “Just treat a series as a single entity. I read lots of books that were part of a series last year.”

Yeah, didn’t help much. I managed to get my list down to 6 stand-alone novels and 10 series.

When I vented my frustration on Facebook and Twitter, Richard Lake suggested I make it a Top 12 list. You know, since it was 2012. That’s not cheating, right? Right?

So here you have it. I’ve divided my list into 6 stand-alone books and 6 series, and written a super-short description of why you should read them. (Note: I’ve listed them in alphabetical order by author. Because that’s just how I roll. And that way I didn’t have to find a way to rate them in comparison to each other.)

Stand-Alone Novels

Tiger Lily — Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger LilyA retelling of the Peter Pan story from the perspective of Tiger Lily. It’s a beautiful, tragic love story that had me laughing out loud, feeling awe and wonder at the beauty and casual cruelty of Neverland, and crying pitifully for the last few chapters. It’s rare that I’m so moved by a story. When I finished I clutched the book to my heart and carried it around with me, because I wasn’t ready to let it go.

City of the Lost — Stephen Blackmore

City of the LostJoe Sunday is not a nice guy. He’s a thug, a leg-breaker, and a sometime killer. And that’s before he’s murdered and turned into a zombie by a maniacal old man intent on achieving immortality.This bloody, visceral, gore-filled horror novel is amazing. Joe Sunday’s voice is what really makes it work. Despite his thuggish ways, he’s honourable, courageous, and the consummate hero — even when his deeds are less than heroic. I couldn’t get enough of him.

Ready Player One — Ernest Cline

Ready Player OneIf you know there’s a difference between an African and a European swallow, you’ve ever written “Don’t Panic” on the front of a notebook, or you know how many lions it takes to form Voltron, this book is for you. The plot revolves around Wade Watts, a VR computer game known as OASIS, and a search for hidden clues and treasures. But more than that, this book is an homage to the ’80s and geek culture. I loved every moment of it. Oh, and Hello, Firefly-class spaceship!

Addition — Toni Jordan

AdditionThis is a romantic drama about a woman living with extreme OCD, while searching for love and meaning in her life. It’s an authentic look at the mindset of someone whose own mental faculties seem to be working against them. Grace is unable to hold down a job, and struggles with the day-to-day necessities of choosing what to wear and doing the shopping (ten bananas, ten toothbrushes, ten eggs…). While I didn’t like the ending, I appreciated the story and think it would appeal to readers who enjoy Jodi Picoult and similar authors.

Goodnight Nobody — Jennifer Weiner

Goodnight NobodyWhen a free-spirited fashion journalist and ex-singer goes from being a single girl-about-town in New York to the suburban mother of three kids under 4, she’s pretty sure her life is over. And then one of the ‘Perfect Mommy Brigade’ is murdered, and she can’t help but investigate. Especially when she finds out her ex-boyfriend is somehow involved. This romantic crime novel is easy to read, relatable and engaging.

Giants of the Frost — Kim Wilkins

Giants of the FrostA romantic thriller involving supernatural elements by way of Norse Gods. An english scientist takes a posting to a remote Scandinavian island when her engagement goes horribly wrong, and finds herself embroiled in a love story a thousand years in the making. She’s the reborn soul of the God Vidar’s true love, and now that she’s back in the world Vidar is prepared to sacrifice anything, including his divinity, to be with her. It’s scary and exciting and romantic and tinged with enough tragedy to make it a truly authentic love story.

Series

The Morganville Vampires — Rachel Caine

Glass HousesI read all 13 Morganville Books in 2012. This is a Young Adult series set in a small town in Texas where vampires run the city and attempt to live amicably and openly with humans. Claire is 16, super-smart, and completely unprepared for what she finds when she starts college in Morganville. Packed with interesting secondary characters, an engaging plot, and more twists and turns than I can count, this series is a great example of YA writing at its best. I look forward to more Morganville in the future.

Revivalist — Rachel Caine

9780451464132_WorkingStiff_CV.inddI read the first two books in 2012, and am looking forward to the next book in the series coming out in 2013. First, let me say that this is the same Rachel Caine who wrote the above Morganville Vampires series. But if you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t know it. The tone, theme, and writing style are completely different. Bryn is a hard-working, no-nonsense, ex-soldier who decides to start a new career as funeral director. All is going well until she’s turned into a zombie. Not a slobbering, brain-eating, apocalypse-causing zombie. Oh no, something much better. A zombie created by… (wait for it!) Science! The series has it all — action, horror, romance, secret conspiracies, evil corporations, and enough double- and triple-crosses to keep me guessing from start to finish.

The Athenian Mysteries — Gary Corby

The Pericles CommissionI only read the first book in 2012, but will be reading more. The Pericles Commission is an historical crime novel set in Ancient Greece. When the older brother of Socrates has a corpse almost dropped on his head, he sets out to solve the crime. There’s plenty of real historical information and people, and an amazing crime story. I loved the cleverness and wit in the writing, and it’s a really easy read, even with the names (which were all Greek to me…).

The Disillusionists Trilogy — Carolyn Crane

Mind GamesUnlike many Urban Fantasy series out there, this one is a set trilogy of books. I read the whole series in 2012. The series centers on Justine Jones, a neurotic hypochondriac, and her role amongst the Disillusionists — a group of vigilantes set on finding the wicked and disillusioning them of their selfish behaviours. For a fee, of course. It’s a dark, gritty series set in a world of psychic powers, super-villains, and treachery, where no one can be trusted — least of all your allies — and reads like a dark superhero story.

H&W Investigations — Jess Haines

Hunted by the OthersI read the first two books in 2012, and am looking forward to reading more. This series is everything an Urban Fantasy series should be. It’s full of vampires, werewolves, and mages — but the protagonist is PI Shiarra Waynest. Human. With a major grudge against Others — the name given to supernatural creatures as a whole. The vampires are seductive and dangerous and the werewolves are honourable and prone to bursts of aggression. The series reminds me of a World of Darkness RPG. Only better. Much, much better.

Downside Ghosts — Stacia Kane

Unholy GhostsI read the first three books in 2012, and the next two are first off the rank in 2013. This is a dark Urban Fantasy series set in a near-future world where ghosts killed most of the population and magic is part of every day life — as long as it’s Church-sanctified magic. Let me say again, this series is dark. There’s ritual sacrifice, murder, drugs, disease, and betrayal. Chess, the main character, is as screwed up as it’s possible to get, and the mysteries she solves are intertwined with her own traumas and drug addiction. It’s an amazing series, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who prefers their fantasy to be full of rainbows and unicorns.

Honourable mentions also need to go to:

  •  The Black Sun’s Daughter series by M.L.N. Hanover
  • Croak by Gina Damico
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

Have you read any of these books/series? Do you want to? What were your top reads of 2012?

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The Hobbit: My Secret Shame

The Hobbit

Ask any fan of speculative fiction, and they’ll doubtless list The Hobbit  as one the must-read books of the fantasy genre. It’s the book that precedes The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and sets the stage for one of the most dramatic and epic stories of all time; one that spawned the ideas for thousands of other novels, movies, songs, and artworks and forever changed the world.

Am I over-selling Tolkien’s work? I don’t think so.

In a few days, The Hobbit will be the name on everyone’s lips. The first installment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy based on the book will hit cinemas around the world, and people of all stripes will be engrossed in the story of Bilbo Baggins as he ventures forth from Hobbiton in search of treasure and adventure. It’s an exciting time.

Several years ago, my sister expressed her enjoyment of the Lord of the Rings movies. She’s never been much of a reader, but she mentioned that she’d quite like to read the books. So I picked her up a lovely boxed set that included all three LotR books as well as a copy of The Hobbit. Being the type of person who likes to work through things systematically, she decided to read the first book first. (Makes sense, right?)

A few months later I was talking to her on the phone and asked her how she was going, and if she’d finished reading The Hobbit.

“Yes,” she said. “Well, no. Well… Yes.”

“What does that even mean?” I asked.

“I was almost at the end, and I was really tired. So I stopped reading on the second last page. But that’s really the end. The story’s really over.”

And that was that. She never did read the last page of the book. I mean, sure, there’s no likely to be any grand surprises, but really? It just seems crazy to me.

So my husband and I were chatting last week about seeing The Hobbit in the cinema, and he reminded me of my sister’s unfinished book. I nodded and smiled and agreed that it was funny and then tried to change the subject. But it didn’t work. He talked about his favourite parts in the book, and told me about the first time he’d read it, and got all excited about seeing the movie, and then turned his attention to me.

How old was I when I read it? How many times have I read it? What were my favourites parts?

And that’s when I had to admit my secret shame.

I haven’t read The Hobbit.

Look, it’s not my fault. No, really, hear me out. See, when I was a teenager I was largely introduced to the sci-fi/fantasy world by a guy named Adam. He also introduced me to role-playing and war-gaming and the joys of Iron Maiden. (I had a crush on him, okay? He had a fair chance of introducing me to just about anything.) So he was reading The Lord of the Rings and I showed an interest in it because, you know, then we’d have something else in common, and so he loaned me his books one after the other so I could read them, and I read them all and LOVED them and thought they were the best things ever and then we started roleplaying MERP — which is the original Lord of the Rings roleplaying game — and I got to play a half-elf and go on adventures, and that only made me love LotR more, and…. okay, I’m getting off topic.

The point is, I read Lord of the Rings without any idea that The Hobbit existed. And when I learned about The Hobbit years later, it seemed silly to go back and read it. I was 16, and at that age where reading “kids’ books” was super uncool, and besides — I already knew basically what happened. Why read the beginning of the story after you’ve already read the middle and the end? Right? Right?

And then time went on, and people assumed that I’d read The Hobbit because… well, who hasn’t? And I went along with it. I read the wiki on the book so I knew the plot, and I got involved in conversations as though I knew what I was talking about.

Yes, I faked it.

But no more!

I admitted it to my husband and now I’m admitting it to you. Because the time for faking it is gone. Now is the time for reading it.

So if you’ll excuse me, I need to go update my TBR list and put The Hobbit at the top.

Have you ever faked having read a book? What books are you secretly ashamed never to have read?

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Filed under Reading, The Inner Geek

Book Recommendations

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve taken to reviewing all the books I read on Goodreads and linking them from the Reading List tab above rather than reviewing them on my main blog page. But sometimes… Well, when I read a book I really enjoy, there’s nothing I like more than recommending that book to my friends.

So, my friends, allow me to recommend some of the best books I’ve read over the last two months.

(And remember to friend or follow me on Goodreads for all my reviews.)

Addition by Toni Jordan

AdditionAddition was a good read and I really enjoyed it. The plot is simple but entertaining, the writing is amazing, and the characters are so authentic I want to put them on my Christmas Card List.

Addition is touted as being touching and funny, and I agree with that description. However, there are also parts that are incredibly uncomfortable. One of the great strengths of the writing in Addition is that we, as readers, are put right in the hot seat. We’re inside the head of a funny, non-average woman who lives with fairly extreme OCD. …read more

Unholy Ghost by Stacia Kane

Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #1)This is a tricky book to review. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I don’t know where to start.

The world-building in Unholy Ghosts is phenomenal. I won’t go into the details about the world here — you can easily read the blurb on the book — but trust me: you won’t find a world better portrayed than this one. The background is well thought-out, the setting is authentic, and the characters are believable. The effectiveness of the world-building was particularly evident when I reached the last few chapters and I realised I was reading about types of ghosts, herbs, and charms and I knew exactly what was going on and could predict the outcome of what the characters were doing, without needing it explained. The unfamiliar terminology of the world had been explained so well throughout the story that it was now utterly familiar. …read more

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger LilyI want this story to live in my heart forever.

“Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you’ve heard. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn’t win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.”

So begins Tiger Lily, a book I can only describe as ‘hauntingly beautiful’ and ‘captivatingly catastrophic’. Tiger Lily is, in the most simple terms, a retelling of the story of Peter Pan from the point of view of Tiger Lily. But that’s not quite right. It’s actually a love story narrated by Tinkerbell, a mute fairy who reads what’s in the hearts of the people around her but has no ability to influence events. I assure you, those opening words are very true: It is a love story. And it isn’t like anything else I’ve ever heard. …read more

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player OneIn a dark future full of pain and misery, hunger and heartache, and evil corporations running the world, there is only one bright spot: a virtual reality game known as OASIS. Wade Watts (so named by his father because the alliteration makes him sound like the secret identity of a superhero) is just one of many gunters, searching for the Easter Egg hidden inside the OASIS. Finding the Easter Egg is the game within the game — and something that has kept gunters searching for five years. A game that depends on an encyclopedic knowledge of geek-trivia from the 1980s.

Fuelled by a love of roleplaying games, 80s TV shows and movies, and more early video games than you can poke a joystick at, this book is like the 80s on steroids. …read more

Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover

Unclean Spirits (The Black Sun's Daughter, #1)When I picked up this book, I had no idea what I was getting into. The blurb looked interesting — a college student inheriting her uncle’s “business” of fighting supernatural creatures — if a little over-dramatic.

Wow. After reading the book, I can say with all honesty that the blurb is so not over-dramatic.

Jayne Heller is, indeed, a college student. At least, she used to be. Now, she’s a college drop-out with no family, no friends, and a secret desire to get back with her ex-boyfriend. She’s got a world of baggage and backstory. And despite all that, or perhaps because of it, she’s immediately likeable, relatable, and all-round fabulous as the leading lady in an urban fantasy world. And what a world! …read more

Croak by Gina Damico

Croak (Croak, #1)The minute I read the blurb on this book, I was hooked. A teenage girl goes off the rails and is sent to live with her Uncle Mort, only to find out she’s secretly a Reaper? Yes, please! Sign me up! So I went into the book with, let us say, insanely high expectations. And I’m pleased to say that it delivered on almost all of them.

Lex is a tough, troubled teenager. She doesn’t quite have a heart of gold, but it’s probably silver. Or bronze. But it doesn’t really matter. She’s a strong female lead amongst a cast full of strong characters. If I had daughters, they could do worse than to grow up with Lex’s wilfulness and determination. (Although they’d be welcome to skip the whole “reaper of the dead” angle.) …read more

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Share a book you’ve recently read that you’d like to recommend to us all.

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A Little Library Love

Photo by Ben GallagherLibraries seem to be having a bit of a tough time of it these days. With eReaders all the rage, and Google the Oracle of All, and Wikipedia the combined knowledge of the masses, there’s a lot of concern that Libraries are going to go the way of the Dinosaurs. Before you know it, we’ll be crashing giant, flaming meteorites into them and burying them under enough rock and ash that they’ll remain mostly intact for future generations to find and wonder at.

Last week, Ben Trube wrote a Vigorous Defense of Libraries and posed the question: How do you feel about libraries?

I tried to answer. I really did. But my answer was longer than his original post. (This happens more often than you’d imagine.) So I decided I should post my answer here, in my own personal space, rather than taking up all of his.

The short answer: I love my local library.

Love.
It.

The long answer: I go to the library at least once every couple of weeks. Sometimes more. So, why do I love it?

1) Access to lots and lots (and lots) of books for free.

I realise this should go without saying, but it’s really the most important thing. I simply don’t have the money to buy every book I’d like to read.  So far this year I’ve read 42 books, all of which have been borrowed either from friends or from the library. If I’d purchased them all, that would have cost me at least $800.

Then there’s the books my five-year-old reads. He can easily go through 10 books every week. Without access to a library, perhaps he wouldn’t have the great love for books that he has.

2) Access to a wider range of books than you’d expect.

All the libraries in my district work together to ensure library patrons have access to a large quantity of books. Rather than all of them trying to stock every book (which would be impossible considering the cost-cutting going on), they co-ordinate their ordering process. Then they offer a service where you can request a book from another library, and it is transferred to your library within 48 hours for 60 cents.

Plus, you can use this service online from home — I just place my order and head to the library a couple of days later to pick up my books. How convenient is that?

3) Free computer use (for word processing) and cheap internet access.

Yes, I have a computer at home. Yes, that’s more convenient. But, you know what? I’ve done any amount of writing in the library when I’ve needed a different environment to get my brain firing. If I can escape to the library for a couple of hours, I have distraction-free writing time without internet access or a fridge in the next room.

4) School holiday programs.

My local library teaches everything from book-binding to poetry to writing to “make your own comic” in the school holidays. Plus they have a variety of shows and events — X-Box competitions, magic shows, giant board game days. It’s free, it’s fun, and it gives the kids a reason to want to go to the library. (Other than the obvious reason that it’s a room full of books!)

5) The librarians.

These are people who love books, who are paid to hang out in buildings full of books, and answer the same question over and over and over and over, day after day, with a friendly smile. Plus, they know stuff.

And not just stuff like: What’s the name of that book that I read ten years ago with a red cover and a clock on the front where the main character’s name is Jane?

Librarians can recommend books similar to those you’ve read before, tell you where to get information on a variety of topics, show you how to use the photocopier, teach you how to use the online book catalogue, and direct you to the restrooms, all while singing songs about teddy bears to a group of enthralled children and saving a cat from a burning building.

They’re just that good.

When was the last time you went to the library? Do you love your local library as much as I love mine?

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The Casual Vacancy

So, I was browsing the interwebz and came across a blurb for a new book due to be released in September. You may have already heard about it (word on the street is it’s going to be a best seller). Check it out:

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

What do you think? I have to admit, it doesn’t speak to me. In fact, even with the helpful description that it’s ‘darkly humorous’ doesn’t make me eager to read it. I think I’ll put this on me “Don’t Bother Reading” list.

Oh, wait. Maybe this will help:

Does seeing that it’s written by J.K. Rowling make a difference?

I can’t help but wonder how popular this 512 page mammoth of a book would be if it wasn’t written by Ms. Harry Potter.

The cynical side of me wants to blow a raspberry at consumerism and complain that people shouldn’t buy a book based solely on having liked the author’s previous work, with no care or regard for the quality of the new book.

The more intelligent side of me says, “Woah! Just chill it on out. When you’re a best-selling author, you’re going to want people to buy your new books based solely on having liked your previous ones. So shut up and like it.”

Hmmm… Put me down for two copies, thanks.

What do you think of Ms Rowling’s first adult book? Do you intend to buy and/or read it?

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Mid-Year: Time to Review Those Goals

Back in January, I set myself a series of goals for 2012. Since the start of July is halfway through the year (and a new financial year in Australia), it seems like a good time to officially review how I’m tracking with my goals, and adjust them as necessary. So, with no real ado at all, let’s get into it.

Writing

Novel A (hereafter referred to as TNT#1)

  • Complete first draft by 30 April.

I’m not even going to go any further. I didn’t succeed in this, and so certainly didn’t/won’t succeed in the other goals based around TNT#1. There are a few reasons for this, the two most notable being that (1) I found myself “stuck” on plot elements back in February and have only just figured them out, and (2) I took a break from all things computer-related back in March — including writing, as it turns out.

I’m not really disappointed in this. I’m just as enthusiastic about my manuscript, and feel in a stronger position to write it now. So I’m officially revising my goals to the following:

  1. Complete the first draft of TNT#1 by 30 September.
  2. Revise and rewrite TNT#1 based on feedback from Round 1 beta readers by 31 December.

Novel B

  • Research and plan Novel B by 30 May.
  • Begin working on first draft of Novel B before end of year.

I haven’t done any real research into this novel, although it’s still bouncing around in my head. It’s gaining strength and momentum in there, which is great. I’m confident that I will begin working on this first draft before the end of the year, so will simply revise the first part of this goal.

  1. Research and plan Novel B by 31 October.
  2. Begin working on first draft of Novel B before 31 December.

Social Media

Obviously I stopped pretty much all social media for 3 months, which wasn’t in the plan. But, all in all, I’m quite happy with this falling into a secondary place in my priorities. In fact, I’m so unconcerned by it that I’m officially removing it from my list of goals.

Short Stories

  • Post 26 flash fiction stories on my blog.
  • Submit 6 short stories to fiction markets.

Well, I’ve so far posted two (yes, two) flash fiction stories this year, and submitted no stories to fiction markets. I’d say that’s a big, fat fail on this front. Still, there’s still six months to go. I’m not actually going to adjust these goal at all — I’m just going to actually start working towards achieving them!

Reading

My goal for this year was simple: Read 50 books.

So, how am I go? Well, when I look at my handy dandy book tracker, it tells me that so far this year I’ve read 38 books.

Thirty-eight!**

Somehow I think I’m got this goal covered.

Other

My other goal was to lose another 8kg (17lb) this year. So far, I’ve lost about 4kg (9lb), which is about perfect. I’ve swapped from using my potentially homicidal Wii-Fit for exercise, to a kids dance game on the Wii that gives me a great cardio workout whilst simultaneously making me look like an ungraceful gallumphing git. So, you know, it’s win-win. Kinda.

Revised 2012 Goals

  1. Complete first draft of TNT#1 by 30 September.
  2. Revise and rewrite TNT#1 based on feedback from Round 1 beta readers by 31 December.
  3. Research and plan Novel B by 31 October.
  4. Begin working on first draft of Novel B before 31 December.
  5. Post another 24 flash fiction stories on my blog by 31 December. (For total of 26.)
  6. Submit 6 short stories to fiction markets by 31 December.
  7. Read another 12 books before 31 December. (For total of 50.)
  8. Lose a further 4kg (9lb) by 31 December. (For total of 8kg.)

How are you tracking with your yearly goals? What changes/revisions/adjustments have you made?

** For a while, I was posting notes on each of the books I read — not so much a “review” as details of the book and my opinion of it. Did anyone actually read them? Did you like them? Or were they a waste of time/space that I could be doing something else — like reading more books?

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