Start a Personal Book Buying Ban

I have more books than I can read. I may have more books than I can read in my lifetime. I’ve done the math: amount of pages I can read in a day divided by the approximate amount of pages I have on my bookshelves. At the time I assumed 100 pages a day. I was 20-something and my life was different then. Now, depending on the book I’m reading and how obligated I feel to finish it or how much I actually like reading it… I may read 20 pages a day.

I’ve been better at limiting the fiction books. I finish them and take them to the secondhand bookstore. There, I can trade several books for one new (unread by me) book. This works well as long as I keep taking books in and don’t buy too many new fiction books at the big, shiny bookstores. Of course, the fresh, unread by anyone, books from the bookstores are tempting. Not only are they newly published but I can give myself the excuse of reading with a latte at the bookstore.

Non-fiction books are another story. I buy more than I need. Always thinking I will read and study them and use what I have learned. Good intentions. But, I end up with a lot of books I’d like to read sitting on my bookshelves. I have to work at not buying more non-fiction.

One thing I have learned is to know what I already have. Including which edition. I really get annoyed with myself when I find I have bought the same book twice.

4. The TBR is your friend. Treat your TBR like a pop up bookstore. Don’t agonize, just pick one. But here’s the trick: if you don’t like it, move on quickly to the next book until you find one that scratches your new book itch. The problem with the TBR is that it can feel like a chore, whereas a new book is thrilling. So don’t force yourself to stick with something if it isn’t working. Keep plowing through until you hit on one that you can’t put down.

3. Review your shelves and donate books you no longer need. This sounds counterintuitive, but it reduces the TBR and provides a visceral reminder of how much privilege is implied by the idea of having to work hard not to buy something that many people consider a luxury, in comparison to medicine, food, or rent.

2. Reorganize your book shelves. Maybe according to date, or color, or some other funky scheme. Or at least dust them. I guarantee you’ll have a new appreciation for what you already own. And it might pique your interest in a forgotten, unread purchase, or send you down several miles of memory lanes with old favorites.

Source: 10 Painless Ways to Stick to Your Book Buying Ban

Unusual or Obsolete Occupations

What a great list. How many of these did you already know? I can pick out a few. Then there are several I can remember hearing or reading but might not have remembered without seeing the explanation from the list.

Something like this gets me wondering how many of these skills could we learn again should technology fail or we some how end up in a backwards/ old fashioned dystopia?

1. ackerman: a plowman or oxherder
2. alewife: a proprietor of a tavern
3. alnager: a wool inspector
4. arkwright: a carpenter specializing in wooden chests
5. bowyer: a bowmaker
6. brazier: a brass worker
7. catchpole: an official who pursues those with delinquent debts
8. caulker: someone who packs seams in ships or around windows
9. chandler: a candlemaker, or a retail supplier of specific equipment
10. chiffonier: a wigmaker
11. cobbler: a shoemaker
12. collier: a coal miner or a maker of charcoal (also, a ship that transports coal)
13. cooper: a maker or repairer of barrels, casks, and tubs
14. cordwainer: a shoemaker
15. costermonger: a fruit seller
16. crocker: a potter
17. currier: a leather tanner, or a horse groom
18. draper: a cloth dealer
19. drayman: a driver of a heavy freight cart
20. drummer: a traveling salesman
21. duffer: a peddler
22. eggler: an egg seller
23. factor: an agent or steward
24. farrier: someone who trims horse hooves and puts on horseshoes
25. fishmonger: a fish seller
26. fletcher: a maker of arrows
27. fuller: someone who shrinks and thickens wool cloth
28. glazier: a glassmaker or window maker
29. haberdasher: an owner of or worker in a store for men’s clothing or small items used for making clothes
30. hawker: a peddler
31. hayward: an official responsible for fences and hedges
32. higgler: a peddler of dairy products and small game (also, a haggler, or someone who negotiates for lower prices)
33. hobbler: a person who tows boats on a canal or river
34. hooper: a maker of hoops for barrels, casks, and tubs
35. hostler or ostler: one who cares for horses or mules, or moves or services locomotives (originally, an innkeeper, who also maintained stables)
36. huckster: a peddler (now refers to a con artist)
37. ice cutter: someone who saws blocks of ice for refrigeration
38. ironmonger: a seller of items made of iron
39. joiner: a carpenter who specializes in furniture and fittings
40. keeler: a crew member on a barge or a keelboat
41. knacker: one who buys animals or animal carcasses to use as animal food or as fertilizer (originally, a harness maker or saddle maker)
42. knocker-up: a professional waker, who literally knocks on doors or windows to rouse people from sleep
43. lamplighter: someone who lights, extinguishes, and refuels gas street lamps
44. lapidary: a jeweler
45. lector: someone who reads to factory workers for entertainment
46. log driver: someone who floats and guides logs downriver for transportation
47. milliner: a designer, maker, or seller of women’s hats
48. muleskinner: a wagon driver
49. peruker: a wigmaker
50. pinsetter: someone who sets bowling pins back up after each bowl
51. plowright: a maker of plows and other farm implements
52. plumber: originally, one who installed lead roofing or set lead frames for windows
53. porter: a doorkeeper or gatekeeper
54. puddler: a worker in wrought iron
55. quarryman: a stonecutter
56. raker: a street cleaner
57. resurrectionist: someone who digs up recently buried corpses for use as cadavers
58. ripper: a fish seller
59. roper: a maker of nets and ropes
60. sawyer: a carpenter
61. slater: a roofer
62. slopseller: a seller of ready-made clothing, as opposed to a tailor
63. stevedore: a dockworker
64. tanner: someone who cures animal hides to make leather
65. teamster: a wagon driver
66. thatcher: someone who makes thatched roofs
67. tinker: a repairer or seller of small metal goods such as pots and pans
68. turner: someone who uses a lathe to turn wood for balustrades and spindles
69. victualer: an innkeeper, or a merchant who provides food for ships or for the military
70. wainwright: a wagon maker
71. webster: a weaver
72. weirkeeper: a fish trapper
73. wharfinger: an owner or operator of a wharf
74. wheelwright: a maker of wheels for carriages and wagons
75. whitesmith: a worker of tin

Source: 75 Names of Unusual or Obsolete Occupations

Complain in the Right Way

14. Complain.But do it the right way. Present your beef with an idea for improvement. “Framing things in terms of solutions lessens the focus on the problem and who might be at fault,” says management professor Russell Johnson, coauthor of a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. “It evokes pleasant emotions instead of negative ones that cause mental fatigue.”

Source: 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Just another form of constructive criticism. We want others to give us that kind of critique… so do others. I especially like not focusing on blame. That puts people in defensive mode and very little gets accomplished once they start putting up a wall and can’t hear you any more.

Horror Writer Selfies

What a fun thing for writers to do. Show your personality and show off your writing genre with a selfie. Other genre writers should get together on this idea.

What would non-fiction writers do?

Horrorselfies.com is your source for all selfies supporting the horror, dark fantasy and occult genre. We welcome new selfies – please read our submission guidelines and submit your selfie. You may share any of the selfies you find on this site, in fact we encourage you to do so!

Source: Horror Selfies: From The Horror Writers Association

Crossing Lines

I wrote a short horror story and submitted it to Tor just now. I feel kind of bold and yet full of doubt at the same time.

The weird thing about writing it was the moment I felt myself cross the line from sanity into horror. There was a point in writing it where I stopped and had to make myself find a way to write the rest of it, crossing the line from what is reality into what is more than reality. Not like fiction and non-fiction but that thing a nice girl wouldn’t write.

Best wishes to me. Tor says it will be at least three months before I hear from them. Likely I will have forgotten about it all by then. In three months it will be the new year, 2015 and I will be 50 years old. A good time to cross lines.

The BookWord Game

From It’s All About Books, The BookWord Game.

The game has been put on hiatus. But, here is the list of all the words created up to now. What can you come up with to add to the list yourself?

A List of Bookwords
(to be added to as we create them)

RecommenDUD: A book you hate that everyone else loves.

CheckBook: A book that you find yourself checking to see how many more pages left, on every single page!

Memoread: A book that reminds you of another book you have already read, not necessarily in plot, but in tone and atmosphere.

Wait-listed: A book that continually gets moved to the ‘next in the pile’, but never gets read.

Marginally Challenged: a book with very little space between lines (likely, it’s a public domain book/classic) giving deceivingly few pages to read

Misunderbook: A book that you LOVE, but everyone else (well, almost everyone) HATES.

A Flick Pick: A book you read after you’ve seen the movie

Oblibook: A book you read because you think you should in order to be well-read.

Whoopsabooksy: A book you buy that you forgot you already read/own.

TrueFiction: A non-fiction book which reads like fiction.

Reliascribe: An author you can always count on for a good read.

Throne Tome: A good book to read in the bathroom!

Midnight Special: A book with a plot makes you unable to go to sleep.

Aroma Tome: A book with a very distinctive smell.

Screen Plagued: A book with a character that you can only picture the movie actor who played the role.

A Lullabook: A book that makes you sleepy.

A Wanderlust Novel: A book that makes you want to travel to its setting.

A Crossover Book: A book you start in one year, and finish in the next.

A Mis-covered Book: A book with a bad cover.

A Boomerang Book: A library book that gets returned unread.

Title Block: A book that you can remember its plot, but not its title.

A Book Siren: A book that begs to be read immediately.

A History Mystery: A book where characters from the present are researching characters from the past.

A Firestarter Book: A book that inspires you to do research on the topic.

Anticipage: A book where the anticipation of it is part of the excitement of the book.

A Bookmate: A person who has the same taste in books as you do.

Book Crush: A book you totally fall in love with.

Screen-plagued: A book where you can only picture the actor from the movie as the character in the book.

The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge

I have too many books to make a list. I don’t want to spend that kind of time on making a list, it just leaves me feeling guilty for not reading the books yet. However, this year I have actually started reading some of the books. My unread books are mainly non-fiction. I read the fiction then exchange them for more fiction at the secondhand bookstore. It’s the non-fiction that pile up, full of good intentions and rusty dreams for my own might-have-beens.

I started this challenge for me. It’s a dream of mine to look at my bookshelf and say unequivocally and without exception, “I’ve read all those books.” And some of those books have been sitting on my shelf for a LONG time. Hence the name 🙂 I would love it if you joined me for my challenge! To make it fun, I’m going to have mini-challenges throughout the year (with giveaways!) to keep you motivated to keep reading those books! There’s also a giveaway for everyone who enters this challenge.

via Sign Up for The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge 2012! | Books: A true story.

#TweetYourThesis

Condensing your idea into a few words has a way of giving you focus. So if you #TweetyourThesis on Twitter, with its limit of 140 characters (including spaces), should show you what you really are trying to write your thesis about.

If it works for a thesis, why not any non-fiction you are working on? If you can’t pin down your focus or if you have wandered away from it, get back on track by putting your idea into a Twitter post. Put your idea in a few words, get your focus back and then expand on it again. Develop your points with the focus on your end goal. You can even use your Twitter post as your conclusion to wrap it all up.

Resources:

A Lady in Shining Armour

I like role reversal stories in historical fiction, however impractical and untrue they really are. Why should fiction try to be especially honest, practical or factual? If you can’t spin a few tall tales you may as well be writing non-fiction.

Dream up a character: a woman knight. She might be a secret knight, living among the men as one of them. Or, she could be accepted as one of them even though she is a woman. What is the story behind her? What does she look like? How did she learn her fighting skills? What does the future hold for her? Could she ever retire (before she gets killed off by another knight)?

My woman knight would be raised by dragons, never really knew her human family. She becomes a knight to fight for the dragon cause. She doesn’t wear skimpy stuff the way women are drawn and shown in film. She is a full knight, with a full suit of armour. No horse though. Horses would just be too scared of the dragons.

Writing in Good Faith

For the A – Z Blogging Challenge … W is for Witch.

No, it’s not early for Halloween. There are Witches, Wiccans and Pagans all year round. Could you write about someone who has a different religion or spirituality than you? Probably, with some research to learn about their traditions and beliefs. But, could you write about it in a way which does not seem judgmental in any way? That is harder I think. We tend to have feelings and opinions about everything we write about. But, if you are writing about something personal like religion you really need to be impartial in order to respect the people who believe in that faith.

There may be a case where you show or give your opinion, such as a non-fiction article or debate, something along those lines. If you are writing about a fictional character who happens to be Pagan, Catholic, a Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish or any other religion, spirituality or belief system it is best if you can present their beliefs as an extension of who they are or a reason for their actions without putting down the traditions or beliefs they have.