jennasday

Health, fitness, communications, and everything in between!


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Writing tips from Jean Craighead George

When I was writing my review for My Side of the Mountain (you’ll see it soon), I came across Jean Craighead George’s website.

The author’s website is still maintained, even since her death in 2012, and contains a tab along the top titled “On Writing.” It’s written more for children, I think, but still was fun to read. She gives some tips on writing (calling them “writing prods,”) and advises not to spend too much time thinking about the ending. The ending, she says, will write itself and often in a way that will be a surprise to you.

I enjoyed reading this page on writing, learning about the process of such an experienced author (she wrote more than 100 books!!) – hope you enjoy it as well.


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Lightening review: P.S. I Love You

When I picked up P.S. I Love You from the TV stand in the bedroom where I was staying, I didn’t know it was set in Ireland. It was kind of cool, though, to read a book in the same country where it happens.

The book, published in 2014, is a sweetly sad story of a young widow, Holly, as she learns to cope with being alone after her husband’s death. But months after he’s gone, still drowning in grief, she receives a package from him. It contains a letter for her to open each month, and as she works through them she begins to grow, to change, and most importantly to heal. He seems to have known exactly what she would need each month, and issues challenges for her.

It’s a unique premise, which was obviously romantic enough to capture people’s hearts and garner a film contract (I still haven’t seen the movie). And it’s an easy read – almost too easy.

On the down side, first-time novelist Cecelia Ahern‘s writing is what one should expect from a first-time novelist. The writing is overly descriptive, especially the characters. They are explained rather than shown, which is frustrating. The characters want to have life, they want to jump off the page, but instead they are described and told. The author is telling the story rather than opening the pages and inviting us into her world. And this is forgivable because the story is an easy one; the story is likeable. But an adult reader can’t help but want something more. I would be interested in reading Ahern’s later novels to learn how her writing style has changed.

Like I said, an easy read. One I don’t regret. But this one also won’t be on my list of most memorable books or novels I have to get back to again sometime. When I eventually watch the movie, I’ll let you know how that is!


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Lightening review: Year of Yes

People, get Shonda Rimes‘ Year of Yes on your library waiting list right now. You might even want to go down to the bookstore and pick up your own copy, because it could become a favourite that you want to read over and over. The woman behind Grey’s Anatamy, Scandal, and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, Shonda Rimes is fantastic.

Confession: this is my second time reading Year of Yes. Last year, in early summer, I read it and enjoyed it so much I binged through the first eleven seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. I figured if someone could write a book like that, her TV show must be fantastic as well. (Although I was startled to realize what a huge commitment the show was – I’d imagined a three- or four-season show.)

Somehow both entertaining and instructive, Rimes’s book details how an offhand comment from her sister made her realize that she was letting life slip by while she worked and went home without really living. In a comfortable, effortless style, she invites you in, and then takes you through the journey she went on through her Year of Yes.

She tells about making Thanksgiving dinner with her sister and having the light bulb moment not long after; she describes being oblivious to flirting attempts in an elevator; she learns how to receive a compliment. But she also talks about the joy and the privilege and the challenge of being a mother and having a job – and how saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else; she talks about how saying ‘yes’ wound up with her losing over a hundred pounds and delves into why she gained all the weight; she talks about how women learn to be invisible rather than awesome badasses. She even defines badassery, after describing her realization that she needs more of it in her life.

Insightful, wise, and snorting-laugh hilarious, this book was a pleasure to read. Don’t waste more time – go out and get it.