Reading Log: January & February 2016

61VJJDQF15L._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_January/February 2016 Reading Log

It’s been in “interesting” two months, and I can’t remember where the dividing line falls in the stack of books I’ve read since December. So, here it is: A January/February Reading Log.

  • Soulless by Gail Carriger
  • Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: 20 Dynamic Essays by Today’s Top Professionals by the Editors of Analog and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine
  • Who was Edgar Allan Poe? by Jim Gigliotti
  • The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin
  • Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger
  • The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
  • The Sorcerer Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World by Colin Wells
  • Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Reading Reflections

I loved Franklin’s mystery set in 12th century England, and the concluding books of Chima’s Heir Chronicles, were every bit as gripping as those I’d already read.

Lastly, I found Wells’ book fascinating. Between my Greek ancestry and a novel idea I’ve got simmering on a back burner, I find this empire, that lasted more than 1,100 years, mesmerizing. This slim book expanded my knowledge about the western European renaissance, my childhood faith–Greek Orthodoxy, and the world from which generations of my Greek ancestors sprang. I look forward to learning more about it.

What about you?

Have you read any good books lately? Please share authors, titles, and genres so we can all add to our “Books I Want to Read” lists.


It’s a New School Year: What to Expect at Literate Lives

Back to School

School houseHappy New Year!

September always feels like the true new year. Maybe that’s because nearly all my life the school year has determined mine and my children’s schedules.

What You Can Expect at Literate Lives This Year

I have spent some time reflecting over the summer and have determined a number of features I would like to commit to for this upcoming school year.

For the 2015-2016 school year, readers may anticipate a variety of blog posts and the following regular features:

  • “Play with Your Words” writing prompts to inspire you, your students, or your family to write in a variety of genres
  • “Reading Response Exercises” to develop the skill of extending your understanding of and responding to reading, in writing or discussion
  • “Poetry Writing Prompts” to engage in work play, capture memories, develop word choice and writing fluency skills, and just plain have fun
  • Introduction of  Greek and Latin roots to develop vocabulary and new-word “attack” skills
  • Quotes to ponder
  • And my monthly, annotated reading log

Why Might You Want to Follow Literate Lives?

You love to read.

You love to write.

You have children you want to encourage to read and write.

You are a teacher eager to help you students improve their reading and writing skills.

My Hope

My heartfelt desire is to help you nurture a reading and writing lifestyle, be it at school or in the home. Literacy is the key that unlocks the door to bright tomorrows. A committed adult can make a world of difference in a child’s life. I hope to help you make that difference and wish you a wonderful back-to-school experience and a rich and literate life!

Literate Lives Reading Log: July 2015

  • Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir~fascinating historical fiction told from multiple (and I mean multiple) points of view, making the execution as intriguing as the story.
  • Innocent Traitor.Alison WeirTears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander~exotic, exciting historical mystery set in Constantinople!
  • Tears of Pearl.Tasha AlexanderMountain Sanctuary by Lenora Worth~a sweet romance
  • Mountain Sanctuary.Lenora WorthAdam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray~gripping, Newbery-winning medieval tale with an endearing young minstrel-protagonist. Read this one with your kids.510Adam of the Road.E.J.Gray
  • Happy Reading!

Reading Logs for Writers

Aspiring authors are encouraged to “read like a writer.” As a Language Arts teacher, that was one of the concepts I was encouraged to instill in students. However, as a lover of reading, first, and as a teacher who wanted to promote a love of reading in her students, it is a concept I often resisted. When I read, I want to sit down and enjoy a book. It is my most beloved pastime, and I do not want to have to work in the little amount of time I have each day for leisure.

However, since starting my reading log, I have been inspired to use my logging process not just to celebrate my progress through the wonderful world of books, but to log like a writer. And so, I am expanding my logging process, not here in the blog, but in my writing office, to incorporate some of the practices of reading like a writer. My plan is this:

  • Read all acknowledgements, introductory material, and back matter.
  • Record the names of agents who represented any novels similar to mine.
  • Record the names of editors who have worked on novels similar to mine.
  • Update my publisher records with the title, author, and genre of the book.

I am presently in search of an agent to represent my two completed novels, and so making note of agents who have worked on similar projects can help me narrow down the pool of possibilities and submit to someone I know represents my type of writing.

Recording the names of editors and publishing houses will be useful in two ways:

  1. When I want to submit directly to those houses that will look at unsolicited material, I will have a name of someone interested in writing like mine.
  2. When I need to make a list of comparable titles for my queries, or cite a work an agent or editor worked on in crafting my query, I can have instant recall of authors and titles through my records.

As an added bonus, it makes me at least think about my reading like a writer after I have finished the book. As I make my various notations, I need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the novel, pinpoint genre or genres, and determine if the book is truly of a caliber to which I would want my work compared.

So at last, I have graduated to the writing class! Through my logging I will practice reading like a writer, and my querying process will be supported by the foundation of targeted information I will build.

New Page: My Reading Log

You may not have noticed, but I’ve added a new page to my blog. So many times, when I go to write my favorite “read” of the month I have trouble remembering all the books I’ve read that I can choose from.

I have read a lot of books in my life. I’ve been a bookworm from the day I learned how to read. (I am probably best remembered in my family for saying, “Just let me finish this chapter,” whenever anyone asked me to do anything. And—just a little side trip here–doesn’t it seem, just when you come to the climax of any novel, someone asks you to do something for them?

Anyway, one of the things I wish I’d done from the time I started reading books on my own is to record each one I read. I won’t tell you how old I am, but I’ll bet I’d have a really cool total by now if only I had only started recording my reading when I was young.

However, there’s no sense fussing over something you cannot change. And so, although this idea did not come to me on the 31st of 2010, I have decided, beginning this January 2011, to record every book I finish reading, and I’ve created a blog page just for this purpose.

So, if you are wondering what this person whose blog you are reading has been reading, all you have to do click on “My Reading Log.” (I’ve also started to record the books in a blank book because I love the idea of eventually being able to leaf through its pages.)

Why don’t you start your own “Reading Log”? You can keep it digitally, in its own special book, in a spiral notebook, or just on clipped or stapled together pieces of paper. Use whatever you medium you like. I think you will find it a fun keepsake of your mental landscape to look back on in years to come.