Books I Read in 2013

Besides Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Nutcracker, and the hundreds of other books that I read to my kids this year, below is a list of grown up books that I read in 2013.

  1. Baghdad without a Map - Love you Tony. Great Read.
    Baghdad without a Map – Love you Tony. Great Read.

    The Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemingway

  2. The Fire Chronicle – John Stevens
  3. The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton
  4. Baghdad Without A Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia – Tony Horwitz
  5. The Graveyard Book – Neal Gaiman
  6. The Last Apprentice – Joseph Delaney
  7. The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. Leave No Doubt A Credo for Chasing Your Dreams – Mike Babcock
  9. Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
  10. Artemis Fowl The Arctic Incident – Eoin Colfer
  11. Artemis Fowl The Eternity Code – Eoin Colfer
  12. Artemis Fowl The Opal Deception – Eoin Colfer
  13. Artemis Fowl The Lost Colony – Eoin Colfer
  14. Artemis Fowl The Time Paradox – Eoin Colfer
  15. Harold and the Purple Crayon
    Harold and the Purple Crayon

    Artemis Fowl The Atlantis Complex – Eoin Colfer

  16. Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian – Eoin Colfer
  17. Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury
  18. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  19. Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan
  20. The Magician’s Elephant – Kate Dicamillo
  21. Big Fish – Daniel Wallace
  22. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  23. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neal Gaiman
  24. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K Rowling
  25. Quitter – Jon Acuff
  26. All Quiet on the Western Front
    All Quiet on the Western Front

    Wintersmith – Terry Pratchett

  27. The Wee Free Men – Terry Pratchett
  28. The Children of Hurin – J.R.R. Tolkien
  29. The Last Battle – C.S. Lewis
  30. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  31. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  32. Start – Jon Acuff
  33. Finding Atlantis – David King
  34. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



Adventures with (and lessons from) Ernest Hemingway

Think back to the first time you read a novel and it opened a new world. You finished the last page, sat back, and soaked it all in, knowing you read something grand.

Now imagine you jump on a train and travel across a continent to meet this literary giant and end up being their apprentice on a sailing vessel for a year. You have great discussions late into the night, have writing time (after all there is no place to go!), and you get a really really great tan.

Sounds like something from a movie, right? Well this happened to a man named Arnold SailingSamuelson in the spring of 1934. He met and was an apprentice to none other than Ernest Hemingway.

It might shock some of you, though not all, that I never liked Hemingway. His stripped down brilliance and clarity of prose is obvious to anyone trained in literature but, I think most of his stories are depressive like Burmese Days by George Orwell. However, I have begun to enjoy his stories more and more. Okay, let’s be honest. I was finally won over by Corey Stoll’s brilliant rendition of him in Midnight in Paris.

I wanted to share this article with my writer friends and thought a post was the best way to do that.

There were two things I took away from this article that I believe any writer should consider. I implore you to read the whole article by clicking HERE and post your thoughts below.

Lesson’s from Hemingway

  1. Never write too much in one sitting. Essentially, never empty yourself of everything you have. This way you will always be fresh and so will your book.
  2. Read good writers that are dead. Why? Because though they are dust their books have withstood the crashing waves of contemporary literature. Hemingway compiled a list of these books, which I have included below.
    •  “The Blue Hotel” by Stephen Crane
    • “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane
    • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    • Dubliners by James Joyce
    • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
    • Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
    • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    • Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
    • Hail and Farewell by George Moore
    • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • The Oxford Book of English Verse
    • The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
    • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    • Far Away and Long Ago by W.H. Hudson
    • The American by Henry James

Find some time to write today.



The 47 Endings of Hemingway

It is a myth that writing comes out perfectly the first time. I don’t think I have ever heard of a writer penning a novel, posting it, and mailing or emailing it off to be printed. I discard and rework almost every part of my writing. Most of the time if I do not like a chapter I rewrite it entirely. I have several drafts of all of the chapters in my book. If I were to go as far as forty seven drafts of a single chapter, I might just have to give up. However, that is exactly what Hemingway did, on ONE novel.

A Farewell to Arms is not my favorite novel. In fact, I am not a huge Hemingway fan at all. His writing is brilliant, but his stories are far to bleak for me. Not that I despise bleakness, my novel ends quite awfully, but its hard to take at times when real life is just as dark.

I wanted to link a post to the article about the forty seven endings to remind the writer how much we have to give to finish well. How much the writer must persevere. How much the writer must refine and how much writing is not just about getting the grammar right.

Find sometime to write today.



How to NOT Write a Novel

There are How To’s for just about anything!

Who doesn’t like a nice, “How To” post, book, or blog?

Me. That’s who.

No matter if it’s How to Make a Cake or How to Make a Fool Proof Thingamajig, I always tend to miss a step or two. I am not a detailed person by any means, though I do try with everything that is in me to follow directions before failing. I am being a bit dramatic, for some things work out wonderfully. However, when I hear about the next surefire way to write a novel, I hang my head at the many that will attempt said method and fail.

There are thousands of ways to write a novel. There are thousands of helpful writing tools. Many writers promote a certain type of writing or editing style and swear that it worked for them so it must work for you. So you, writer, like I, mimic these methods and reap none of the results. Sort of like trying to cram a square peg in a round hole, if you will.

The only sure way to write a novel is to write it, that is all. How do I know this? Because that is what the Greats say.

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. – W. Somerset Maugham

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. – Ernest Hemingway

These are only two quotes, however I have shared them with a few writers recently who found them helpful.

So if you are in the middle of using some other writers’ notes or methods and are getting nowhere, just stop. Stop spinning your wheels, consider it your first draft, and begin anew, taking from it the most valuable experience of all: the writing part.