The Top 3 Books I've Read in 2011:
- Divergent by Veronica Roth: This book is numero uno for a reason, namely It Rocked. Strong heroine (like real life strong, not stereotypical strong)? Check. Fast paced plot? Check. High stakes? Check. Artfully drawn world with real characters who surprise you in the best and worst ways possible? Double freakin' check. A gorgeous dystopian that pulls no punches. This is a YA book, but really, if you haven't read YA lately (and by lately, I mean the past six or seven years), you don't know what you're missing. Fantastic.
- Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey: Okay, here's the deal. I like all genres of fiction, from romance to literary to horror, but my preferred stomping grounds are fantasy and urban fantasy, pulp/noir, horror, and light sci-fi. Any authors who can whip a little black comedy on the aforementioned genres shoot straight to the top of my list, which is how Mr. Slim arrives at numero dos. This violently funny noir urban fantasy mashup is one of the most fun reads I've had in a good long while, and sequels have not disappointed. Highly recommended.
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King: Another recent read. I'm a huge King fan, so to those who know me, this is no surprise. What may be a surprise is that this isn't a typical King horror novel. Horrifying things happen, to be sure, particularly when King takes his readers back to Derry. However, the novel is more of a meaty exploration of greater and lesser evils and the lengths to which we'd go to uphold our ideals. A tremendously thoughtful novel.
My Top 3 Favorite Blogs for Writers:
- Nathan Bransford's Blog: Former agent, current writer, all around font of literary knowledge. Really, if you can't find it here, you can't find it anywhere.
- Miss Snark's First Victim: An excellent site where Authoress (our hostess) single-handedly provides a multitude of opportunities for critique, as well as monthly agent contests. A great resource and fantastic community.
- Query Shark: Because you need to learn how to query properly somewhere, why not in the deepest waters around?
- Runners up: Writer Beware, Terribleminds, Pub Rants, Bookends, LLC, and, though it's not a blog, if you're a writer and you're not a member of the Absolute Write Water Cooler, what are you waiting for?
My Tippy Top, Most Favorite Writing Thing of 2011:
- Scrivener for Windows: Scrivener writing software has been out for the Mac OS for years, and for years, I have been jealous of Mac users. (And not just because I can't afford one.) No longer. Scrivener arrived on my Windows laptop in fully operational capacity this fall, and I am in Love. Love, I tell you. I cannot adequately describe the ways in which I love this software, nor the reasons for that love, without making this one of the Top 3 Longest Blog Posts Ever, so follow the link if you're curious. Just know that, if used to its fullest capacity, it will make your writing more organized than ever it has been before. It. Is. Awesome. Also, I got it half-price with my NaNoWriMo winner's code from 2010 even though the code had technically expired. (They were still beta-testing when expiration time came 'round.) If you've won NaNo recently, you may want to check and see if there's a code you can use.
Some brief housekeeping to round out 2011. I put purple in my hair. You can barely see it. I am appropriately bummed. However, my fingernails are an energetic shade of reddish pink that goes surprisingly well with my skin tone and warns others of my biting chihuahua, so I've got that going for me. Tuesday: Resolutions!
See you all in 2012. Happy New Year, everyone!