Rethinking the Blog

So, the blog posts I like to write are the ones that don't have anything to do with news. They're the posts about random thoughts, the poetry or poll posts, the posts in which I answer FAQs or talk about writing and life. They are NOT the posts in which I say, guys, here's what's happening to my books in the world. And recently I've felt overwhelmed by news in my own posts.... and that's why I've decided to make a link on the left for news, and put all news there. If anything spectacular happens, of course I'll mention it in a blog post (I'll let you know if I win the Nobel Prize in physics, make the Olympic figure skating team, or sprout an extra head, all of which are equally likely), but from now on, any news will be recorded behind my News link, and not here. Make sense? We'll see how it works.

This leaves me free to talk about the three most recent books I've read and loved!

So, I'm really terrible at writing book reviews, and I also happen to find it torturous, so instead I'm just going to blather.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (YA fantasy)
Crown Duel takes place in a medieval fantasy world of relative gender equality! *flops* It's a damn good read and it did the thing I love fantasy novels to do most, which is to help me rethink, and get re-excited about, the book I'm writing. My copy of Crown Duel is now packed with post-it flags and notes to myself about things to think about regarding Bitterblue -- things like how castles and governments work, how to convey emotion, and how to write a beautiful sentence.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (YA realism)
At the beginning of this book, I wanted one thing for Marcelo, but by the end, what I wanted for him had changed completely -- because Marcelo grew SO MUCH. What a beautiful coming of age story this is, and how I came to love Marcelo. I also felt like he was teaching me how to process my own stuff in my own life; this book was therapeutic for me ^_^. And beautifully written, and gentle, and the title and the cover are also perfect. One of my favorite 2009 books so far, if not my favorite.

Black Stars in a White Night Sky by JonArno Lawson (poetry)
Some of these poems are silly, some are just plain beautiful, and all of them play games with language. Why don't I just share a couple to give you an idea?

Bigger and Better

I'm going to do something bigger and better,
bigger and better
and bolder, but first,
I'm going to do something
smaller and worse.

Are You Worried?

Are you worried you're not
like everyone else?
Your worries will only worsen
when you find
that the path to conformity
is different for each person.

What are you reading these days?


Kristen said…
I've been meaning to read Crown Duel! I'm glad you liked it.

I'm currently reading three books (I know.. I'm nuts!): Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (YA Paranormal), Anastasia's Secret by Suzanne Dunlap (YA Historical Fiction), and On the JEllicoe Road (YA realistic fiction). I'm loving the audio of On the Jellicoe Road. Makes me want to take my long trek to work more than usual.
Lindsie said…
yay for Crown Duel. I got it from the library in middle school, read it, loved it, forgot about it, then dug it up in a bookstore around 10th grade. That was a fun find- I'd forgotten so much of it over time it was like reading it for the first time :) Thanks for the poems, love new sources, no matter how silly.

I'm reading Unwind currently (Neal Shustermen)- dark, futuristic, I'm hoping it's going to end well btu fear it's goin gin a direction I may not like...
Artemis Grey said…
Well for recent great reads:

Fire ;D

Catching Fire - Couldn't put it down

For recent, interesting, shall we say, reads:

Into the Forest - A strange, sometimes disturbing book that at some moments I loved and at others I hated. It left me convinced that I could survive the apocalypse more efficiently - not that I want to find out!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - This book got great reviews but I never felt attached to any of the characters and I was never convinced that they were attached to each other. It was, interesting, in its own way. It is written well written and I'll look for more from the author but if you're going to read it, don't look at the reviews first.

I think separating your 'thought' blog and your news is a great idea Kristin. It'll probably end up being less stressful too, since you won't have to worry about 'did I mention that this is happening? or 'have I bored folks with business?' etc.
Unknown said…
That Marcelo cover is one of my favorites this year - it's stunning.

My favorite right now is a March 2010 book (oh, to be in publishing now) called Before I Fall. Weeks later, I'm still mulling and thinking and processing.

I like separating out the news since my favorite blog posts of yours are the non-newsy ones.

Next on my list is to figure out a way to come to the Books of Wonder signing without appearing stalker-ish. It's going to be a madhouse, I'm sure, between you and Suzanne Collins...albeit a fun, enthusiastic madhouse...
Jennifer C. said…
Yay! I've been waiting to get a new book to read and I'll definately have to try some of those out. Great idea abou the news thing! I just now finally got my hands on the 2nd and 3rd books of the Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy by Kate Constable and I have to say that they were absolutely wonderful! Also, I just read a book called The Time of The Eagle, I forgot the author, but it was amazing!
Amy said…
I'm currently reading Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow so I can conduct a book discussion of it at Sirens! In between printing registration databases and finalizing the bus and picking up program books, of course. :)

See some of you guys soon!

Unknown said…
Glad to hear that you loved Crown Duel. I have almost bought it no less than 5 times, but always find a way to talk myself out of it. Maybe I need to stop doing that.

I am currently reading ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor. It is the third and final installment of The Looking Glass Wars series, which is one of my all time favorite series.
Unknown said…
Thanks for posting the poems. I had a good laugh at "Are You Worried?"

Just finished reading everything Catherine Gilbert Murdock has written except the newest one. All of them were good, but I particularly enjoyed Princess Ben, and highly recommend it.
MelissaKeaster said…
Last week, I read and finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins--AWESOME! It was hard having to live a normal life while reading this book. All I wanted to do was find out what happened next. Even now, I can't stop thinking about it. I cannot WAIT for the final book in the trilogy.

Now, I'm reading The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Foster. It is funny and sweet and pokes fun at legalism and small thinking. I like it so far. It sounds like I will have to read Marcelo in the Real World soon. From your description, I gather it would do for my book what Crown Duel did for yours.

I love when my favorite authors recommend books. I'm rarely disappointed. Thanks!
Elyse said…
Actually, I just finished reading Graceling! I adored it so much. Your writing and ideas are very beautiful and I can't wait to read more from you! I picked up Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon on Tuesday and am extremely excited to read it! I love the Outlander series and can't wait to find out more of Claire and Jamie! :) Have you read the Outlander series?
Kathy said…
I just ordered a copy of Black Stars in a White Night Sky based on your review and those two examples. Thanks so much for posting that! I have already read (and LOVED) Marcello in the Real World. What an amazing book.
Kate F. said…
I just finished reading Kate Ross's Julian Kestral mysteries, set in London (and Italy, in one of them) in the 1820s. Great fun. (I strongly suspect that the author was a Dorothy Sayers fan, though!)

Now I've flipped to nonfiction and am laughing hysterically as I speed-read "Don't Try This at Home," which is a series of essays by incredibly famous chefs about their biggest culinary catastrophes. Amazing stuff. Also on the library shelf: "The Little Book," some dog training books, a couple YA titles (Carter Finally Gets It, The Secret Life of Prince Charming) and a lot of books about Gutenberg.
Anonymous said…
Awesome recommendations! I just finished an awesome book: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, a surviving-a-natural-disaster YA novel that is a roller coaster of emotion! Two other recent favourites are Exodus and Zenith by Julie Bertanga which have a similar theme.
Mel said…
I read Crown Duel! Wow, I forgot about hasn't even crossed my mind since I read it... and now I don't even remember what happened! Ah well.
At the moment I'm reading Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's about a slave during the American Revolution, and it's one of my school's "One Book, One School" this year (we actually have three books for that, I think, cause they couldn't decide). I had considered reading it, but I put it off for other, less serious reads (Lament: The Faeirie Queen's Deception), but my history teacher suggested reading it. He thought I was lying when I said I would try it, but he was wrong. :)
Mel said…
Hmm, I just realized my post is really badly written. I hope it's understandable...
Jazz said…
The last book I read was Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. It was enjoyable and surreal, but just a typical love story over all. Though, I think that was the point.

I'm currently reading Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman, which is good so far just because Andromeda is such a strange girl.

Next up is Crown Duel. I'll probably be reading it on the plane to Colorado.
Kimmie said…
I am rereading:

- The Immortals series by one of my favorite authors Tamora Pierce

And reading for the first time:

- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, an interesting mystery

I love both and I highly recommend The Immortals series and everything else by Tamora Pierce.
AndrewsMommom said…
I just finished Catching Fire - and all I can say is - WOW, just WOW.

Someone recommended the Outlander series to me about 3 weeks ago and I've been faithfully reading through them (although most are 700 pages +). I love Jaime and Clare too Weezie_f! My goal is to be finished with all of the Outlander books before October 1st - because that's the day I buy Fire!
Rose said…
You've convinced me I need to read Crown Duel.

Currently I'm rereading the Harry Potter Series because I was denied it as a child, so I'm making up for lost time (I'm halfway through book 5 now) and I started reading The Art of War today. I'll be done with it and have the book report for World Civilizations written by tomorrow.

I recently lent a book called Cap'n Hook by J.V. Hart to a friend and I loved it and she likes it. It's a wonderful story of James' childhood, I recommend it to fans of young peoples literature.
Elyse said…
Wow, AndrewsMommom, you must have a lot of time to read because that's a huge undertaking! Which book are you on? Definitely get a hold of the Lord John books too unless you find you don't like him in the Outlander series. lol. Diana Gabaldon says it takes her 3 years to write another installment which is a good thing and a bad thing! I wish she would write them faster but then that would bring the end of the series sooner! Claire and Jamie are getting older and it's heart-wrenching to know that they will die! :( But enjoy them and don't read them too fast so you don't miss anything!
Kristin Cashore said…
Yay for Crown Duel, Catching Fire, and The Immortals! I did read and love Outlander, but haven't read on in the series. Andrewsmom, a heads up -- unless you're going to the Sirens conference, Fire won't be on sale until October 5. And Laura, you are SO NOT stalkerish. Trust me. I know of what I speak. :o)
stephanie said…
marcelo and the real world was amazing. i was loath to return it to the library after finishing it...
but. the book i wanted to share [worthy of sacrificing my lurker anonymity] is the evolution of calpurnia tate i read it for my children's lit class (we were given current books to review) and this one was pure delight. i wish i had half the wit of the 11-year old narrator who, in 1899, would rather be a scientist than a debutante. hysterical social commentary coupled with childish naivete ensues.
Andrea said…
I'm currently reading multiple books (which is what always starts to happen once school starts and I lose track of what I'm reading):

Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Deep Wizardry (again) by Diane Duane
The Naming
Peeled by Joan Bauer (she is way awesome about coming of age stories)
Maisie Dobbs--some sort of philosophical mystery book...

I'm listening to:
Beka Cooper: Bloodhound!!!!! BY TAMORA PIERCE!!! OMG....

anyways, besides all of my "fan screams for tamora pierce", I'm reading a bunch of fantasy, which is surprising... My fire-bellied toad is getting restless and I'm gonna go to sleep soon..why? because I'm tired. :)

Charly said…
I just read a graphic novel called Castle Waiting. It happened to be just what I was looking for and didn't realize that until I picked it up. I loved it. :)
Charly said…
And hey! Fire's going to be released on my birthday! That's so cool!
Jennifer C. said…
Want to talk about reading a lot in a short period of time?

When I first read the Twilight Saga I read each book which are over 700 pages in less than a day. I literally layed on my bed all day reading. ^_^
Lissa said…
My copy of Fire has just arrived.
My personal life no longer exists for the next few days.
What homework?
"I didn't do my essay on Hamlet because I was reading the best book ever" is a valid excuse, right?
So. Excited. EEEEEEE!
RobinPS said…
I am currently, and rather unhappily, in the middle of the House of Night series. In some ways, it's snarky and campy enough to keep my attention, but the Casts felt the need to reiterate previous plot points over, and over, and OVER again. It's really annoying.

I just finished Catching Fire, which was wonderful. I am sad to have to wait a year for installment number three!

I also ordered Fire, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.
Elyse said…
Andrea, you must read all of the Wicked series! They're as amazing as the first one.
RobinPS, yeah I love PC Cast's solo books but couldn't get into the House of Night series. I blame her daughter. lol
KT said…
I love author recommendations.

I recently picked up an anthology entitled "Steampunk" edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. I've yet to really read it, but that won't take long.
Erin said…
Dude!! I loved Crown Duel!! What an awesome book!!
Happy Day said…
I am eageraly awaiting the arivial of Catching Fire at my library, but other than that, I do not have much to read at the moment :(
AndrewsMommom said…
Sorry Kristin! I knew it was October 5th but for some reason wrote the 1st - although the first would be better! LOL

weezie_f - I'm currently on Drums of Autumn - but I'm a fast fast reader. I teach and have a 2 year old so I don't get as much time as I used to - but I sure do get to read aloud a lot to him. He picks some terrific books at the library so it all works out!

I can't wait to check out everyone's suggestions - I read some great books because of you Kristin and all the great people here.
Anonymous said…
Muy buenas reseñas, ojalá que podamos tener estos libros por estos lados, besos desde Chile.
Very nice reviews, i hope this book are in ours library's soon. Kisses from Chile. Rebeca Barrios.
Unknown said…
By the way I'm reading "La suma de los días" by Isabel Allende. Rebeca Barrios.
Anonymous said…
Interesting - I assumed you had read Sherwood Smith already. I did enjoy Crown Duel and, I think years ago, Wren to the Rescue.

Right now I am very happy about the reissues of the Betsy-Tacy high school books. You should definitely read them, Kristin, because so many BT fans love your book!

Sue down South
Unknown said…
Saffy's Angel by Hillary McKay - Really loving this one, the language is so fun to read.

I'm still waiting on Crown Duel from the library.

Also lined up is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson.

Thanks for the suggestions and hope you're feeling better :)
Amy S said…
The last book that I read was your very own 'Fire', which I adored. In the last month, I've read 'Graceling', and all of Maria V Snyder's 'Yelena Zaltana' novels, and her 'Opal Cowen' novels. I love fantasy stories. The only problem is, I read books so quickly, and when I'm done, I know that I'm going to have to wait ages to read another by the same author. By nature, I am a realy, really impatient person, so the waiting is hell for me, especially if it is one of my favourite authors. I'm afraid, Kristin, that you have become one of these authors. I finished
'Fire' meer hours ago, and already I'm thirsty for more.
Even though I hate the waiting, I know that if a book makes me feel this way, I have found something truly special. Thankyou Kristin!
tinkandalissa said…
I feel like I've missed out terribly! I had a week vacation and had no internet!
I would love to read Marcelo, and already had that on my list. I will have to bump it up.
Gonna have to agree w/A Grey on The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I just felt disconnected somehow the whole time. I am not sure what it was. The emotions maybe? I just didnt believe some of what they were feeling (or not feeling, for that matter). But it is still a decent book. Nothing to get excited over even if you like zombies, which I do.
I am currently reading Intertwined by Gena Showalter. It's YA, but she typically writes adult paranormal/romancey books. I've read some of her paranormal romance just for a quick, steamy read and to get a break from the YA. Sometimes ya gotta have a little smaction, ya know? :) haha
But, recent reads that I enjoyed included: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey (I have the 2nd installment, Sacred Scars, next up in my TBR stack), and most recently finished Catching Fire by the FABULOUS Suzanne Collins and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Loved those last two. I will definitley be checking out more of Maggie's books in the near future.
I'm super excited for Fire!! I just got a big ole gift card for a local bookstore for my bday and I CANT wait to use it!! Plus, over the past few weeks I've accumulated several other new ones (to the point I had to get a new bookshelf). And I am excited that I just got a library membership for the new library by my house! So much reading to be done, so little time!
Elyse said…
tinkandalissa, the Mortal Instruments trilogy was amazing! I was sad to see it end. I recently picked up Shiver, going to have to read it next!
Charlotte said…
Ooh, Black Stars in a White Night Sky sounds like a book I would enjoy reading... Thank you for sharing your reads ! I'm currently reading the first book of Cate Tiernan's next series, a trilogy entitled Immortal Beloved.
Marcy said…
Yay, Crown Duel! Definitely a good read, and the medieval setting was very well done, I can see why it'd inspire you! Although that sort of thing doesn't always get me excited about my writing -- sometimes it just overwhelms me with how much research I need to do! =)

I recently read The Wolf Hunt by Gillian Bradshaw, and as I've come to expect from her (she's a scholar) the historicity is wonderful. She stays true to the way people of the era actually thought while still respecting their intelligence (as they completely deserve, the medievals were no idiots) and making them completely likeable. The Wolf Hunt has a little fantasy woven in, unlike most of her historical fiction I believe, but I can't say too much about it without giving away spoilers, although some of them are pretty easy to figure out anyway. If you read it, be very very careful to stay away from blurbs or amazon reviews -- for some reason, more so than with any other book I've seen, reviewers felt the need to summarize the entire plot, all the way up to the climax. But anyway. Good book, yes...

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