Thursday, August 21, 2014

On My Nightstand: August

{“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably." -C.S Lewis}
Hello! It's been a little while, but I am here this week to share what I am currently reading, interested in, and working on this August.
Currently Reading
I am currently reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell as part of my AP English summer reading requirement for the upcoming year. The nonfiction story of success has spent 166 weeks so far on the NY Times Best Sellers List.
In Outliers, Gladwell argues that it has become no longer enough to look at what a successful person is like, but rather, in order to understand their rise to the top fully, we must look at where these people are from: their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Throughout the book, the author reveals why no star hockey players are born in the fall, why Asians are good at math, and that Bill Gates and the Beatles are more alike than we realize.
Interested In
As a blogger, I've learned that it's important to be active within the blogging community. Therefore, not only do I write my own posts, but I read lots of others as well. Sites like Feedly, Bloglovin', and Blogher allow readers to follow numerous Internet blogs, and store them all in one organized location. (You can find and follow Off The Shelf on all of these sites!) 
Most of the blogs I read daily deal with books of course, but I also follow a large collection of food blogs. As you already know, I really love to bake. Cookies, bars, brownies, muffins, breads - you name it! I was drawn to all of these sites because of their fabulous photography, quirky and fun writing, and easy to follow recipes.
Here are some of my favorites:
Working On
Although NaNoWriMo is not until November, I've been working on a story of my own since the spring. I honestly haven't written much past the exposition, but I've got most of it planned out in my head. I've written other novel-sized work before, but this time has been different, as I've realized my writing has become stronger. Here are some other things I've noticed:
1. I am the type of writer who writes novels and stories out of order instead of chronologically. If I am stumped as to what comes next after a scene I have just written, I don't sit around and wait for the inspiration to pop, instead, I'll write a scene that I know might happen chapters away. When I attended the writing program at Alfred University this summer, I learned that I am not the only one who writes this way. In fact, I met people who write their stories backwards even, starting with the end, and working towards the beginning!

2. Research is so completely necessary! This story is my first attempt at historical fiction, so I'm learning how to write in this genre as I go. It's been difficult, as I've realized that even the little details have to fit historical context if the characters, setting and plot are going to be believable to the reader. And then, because the Internet is just so damn distracting, I have found myself doing more searching and clicking than actually writing!

3. A good pen seriously makes all the difference. It sounds silly, but a really nice pen makes me really happy. Being left-handed, I always tend to shy away from pen when possible, as blotchy ink always gets smeared by my hand when I write. Finding a pen with ink that doesn't blotch or stay wet too long is very hard, but when I do find one, remembering where I put it is even harder :)

On My Nightstand: March, June