Category Archives: Books

READING: Best Books of 2014

Best books lists are a deeply flawed concept in a lot of ways. Reading’s not the priciest hobby, but buying a great number of new books, particularly the ones with buzz you inevitably hear about and must consider, takes a good deal of expenditure. Even if you buy tons of books, you need the time to read them — and there are always many you don’t get to. Comparing this book and that book is a fallacy anyway, because every person’s POV is different – and is effected by the person’s age, identity, situation and the circumstances around that particular read. It’s a fool’s game.

However, it’s also – and to me, this is the important bit – fun.

For me, these lists are really a starting place. A chance to open the conversation. And all the above, all the holes in the endeavour, perform a critical function: piercing the seriousness of it. After all, if there are so many things keeping these lists from meaning anything, they can mean whatever you like!

And I like it that way.

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WRITING Quick Tip: The War of Art

Every writer, particularly any writer who struggles with procrastination, needs to read the first 100 pages of Steven Pressfield‘s The War of Art. Part 2 is skippable, and Part 3… really wasn’t my thing. But Part 1, those first 100 pages, are absolutely essential.

My Best of 2014

A quick round up of My Best of 2014s to ring in the new year…

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PERSONAL: Reading Update June 2014

I gave a reading update last month. Since then… I’ve been reading quite a bit.

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PERSONAL: Reading Update April 2014

I gave a brief reading update early last month, where I upped my Reading Challenge for the year to 30. Since then, I’m right on track, making some pretty strong progress.

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READING: How My Tastes Evolved

When I was a child, I would debate my reading habits with my grandmother with startling regularity.

“You won’t be an interesting writer unless you read nonfiction!” – My Grandmother.

“Nonfiction is boring and I hate it!” – Myself

At the time, I knew she was right, but I resented her for that. Reading was playtime for me, and trying to make it useful or important, all adult things, would get in the way of that. I found nonfiction boring. And I stand by my decision not to read it, because I might have ruined it for myself later.

Because, as they do for most of us, my tastes changed. Below, I explore that in some detail, including as many landmark books as I can remember from over the years…

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WRITING: Something New

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by feature screenplays. They’re both far longer than most things I’ve written (90-110 pages, compared to 50-something for a dramatic pilot), and yet somehow, also unbearably short. After all, a great television show will run for five-plus years; a movie ends after a couple of hours. Even if you have a sequel, it’s just not quite the same story. It’s a new story in the same universe.

Anyhow. After spending six, almost seven years writing television and webseries scripts, I’ve started work on what I think will be my first completed screenplay.

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READING: Everything is Relevant

I read a lot of nonfiction, from relatively disparate sources. Books and blogs. I read about Hollywood news, of course. But I also regularly read about intersectional feminism, tech startups, venture capitalism, healthcare, probability and consumers’ rights, among other topics. I try to read a bit of everything. Why? To a writer, and to a person who wants to know the world, everything is relevant.

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Diversions in Literature IV: “The Hour I First Believed” by Wally Lamb

It took me a long time to finish Wally Lamb’s latest thick tome, this time a novel exploring grief, loss and trauma from the perspective of a fictional teacher whose wife survived the Columbine school shootings. Note that this is not a formal review, but a bundle of reactions upon finishing the book…

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READING: Recommendations?

Now I have a little disposable income, I’m looking for a few good books to dig through. What I want: engaging fiction, interesting non-fiction. That’s it. Have at it! Offer me any suggestions you’ve got in the comments, if you would be so kind.

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