Carol Callicotte

Author

Leaving a Book Unfinished June 26, 2009

Filed under: Books,fantasy,Reading — A French American Life @ 3:08 pm
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It’s been a good week. It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I cut myself off from the internet. But here’s what I want to talk about: putting books down. Do you do it? Up until now, I haven’t been able to. Once I start a book, I can’t not finish it. It’s a compulsive habit, I know. And more than once I’ve dragged my feet through a novel just in order to finish it. I don’t know why – part of me wonders what I might miss out on, I suppose, and part of me doesn’t want to leave something unfinished, loose threads and all. But I’ve come to the enlightened conclusion that there are far too many great books out there for me to waste my precious time with the ones that just aren’t speaking to me.

So I have a new rule. It’s a 100 page rule – which is still quite generous, I think. If, after 100 pages, I still don’t care about the characters, or the writing grates on me, or (choose your demon), I will put that book down and leave it unfinished.

I’ve tried it once already, and wow, was it liberating!

How about you? What do you do when you don’t like a book? Finish it anyway? Throw it across the room? Use it for kindling? Toilet paper?

GoodOmens-Hard-2006 Currently Reading: I’ve actually nearly finished GOOD OMENS, which is absolutely not a book I would throw across the room or sacrifice to any vile purpose. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett together, writing about the apocalypse – what more could a girl ask for?

 

Five Questions You Must Ask Yourself May 2, 2009

Filed under: Books,For Writers,Reading,Writing — A French American Life @ 10:46 am
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Writer’s Digest puts out an online magazine that I get via email. A recent magazine had an article that listed five questions you, as a writer, must answer in order to succeed:

1. Who are your favorite authors and why?

2. What do they do that grabs your attention and keeps you turning pages?

3. What keeps you coming back to your favorite genres?

4. What compels you to write fiction/ memoir/ poetry?

5. How will you make sure that your own work grabs and keeps your readers’ attention every bit as well as your own favorites capture you?

At first glance, it seems easy enough. Any time reading or writing comes up in conversation, I light up and babble away. Storytelling and stories are easily my favorite subjects. But now I’ve found myself really pondering these questions; trying to dig deeper. The article emphasizes that we writers should answer these questions with relish and in great detail. So, writers, have at it.

 

Best Books I’ve Read This Year – So Far November 21, 2008

Filed under: Books,Reading — A French American Life @ 4:12 pm
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I may have a huge stack of books in my to-read pile, but it’s not because I haven’t been reading.  Oh, wow, do I love to read – typically a book or two a week. It’s amazing what one can accomplish without cable.  I’ve picked three favorites. They are quite different in genre and tone, but all of them kept me up late at night, made me ignore the phone, and had me walking around the house while reading, addicted to the pages and dying to know what would happen next. I’m not going to do a book review on each of them because, well, it’s Friday. But here they are, in no particular order. I highly recommend each of them, and if you do read them, come back and let me know what you think!

book-thief-photo1

I loved this book.  An original twist on WWII – narrated from the perspective of Death.  The characters are strongly drawn, their relationships and interactions rang true, and the setting was intense and believable. I was immediately swept up by the story.  It’s a book I hated to finish.

rachels-holiday-photo

I don’t read much chick lit, but I will definitely read more from Marian Keyes.  She handles the obviously touchy subject of addiction with humor and poignancy, allowing us to see the world through an addict’s eyes.  It was a tad long – too many scenes that seemed to cover the same basics, but I still could not put the book down.

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LOVED this book. Fat Charlie, Spider, and Mr. Nancy take us on a wild ride through a world where gods walk among us, and may very well be singing on a karyoke stage somewhere nearby. The story works on themes similar to those in AMERICAN GODS, but with a more playful tone. Neil Gaiman has quickly become one of my favorites. He’s absolutely brilliant.

 

My To Read Stacks November 19, 2008

Filed under: Reading — A French American Life @ 11:05 am
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Whenever someone finds out that I’m a writer and an avid reader, they inevitably recommend a book that I “must” read, or start loaning me books they’ve enjoyed. Add to that my own tendency to go on book buying binges, and you get this:

to-read-pile

There are about thirty books piled on my dresser, and another thirty at least on the bookshelves in our house, all waiting patiently for me to cozy up with them. I’m not complaining, really. I’m just hoping to make a dent in the pile before Christmas, if only so I can actually dust my dresser one of these days.

Here’s a brief sampling of what awaits me:

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield This one looked so cool.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Yeah, I still haven’t read it.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon I bought this two years ago and still haven’t read it, even though I have a feeling I’m going to love it.

Harry Potter et la Chambre des Secrets by J.K. Rowling Working my way through the french version of this one – it’s helping my french, but I really get thrown off by the French translations for “wand”, “spell”, etc. As an aside, Hogwarts is “Poudlard.”

AA Gill is Away by AA Gill I’ve read the intro to this and am very excited about it – this guy’s writing is sharp. This one is on loan – so it’s been pushed to the top of the pile.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Another one that looked like a good read.

Truman by David McCullough So I can appear more intelligent.