As April said when she kicked off this series, the topic was inspired by an article in School Library Journal about Scholastic's new website called You Are What You Read--a place where people from all walks of life can share the titles of the five books that have most influenced them. What Scholastic calls our "bookprint." Like Mary Ann, I found it difficult to narrow my list down to five. So many books have influenced me in so many different ways. I was also tempted to select some of the same books as my co-bloggers, including The Artist's Way and Little Women from JoAnn's list, Esther's Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret of the Old Clock, and Jeanne Marie's pick, The Westing Game. But when I pondered my list, here are the covers of the 5 books I came up with. (Note: the arrangement is the best I can do with Google Blogger.)
The first four titles are fiction: Pride and Prejudice, The Hobbit, Tale of Two Cities, and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I'd forgotten that I'd blogged about Pride and Prejudice and the Tolkien series before when discussing favorite books. (I guess I'm fairly consistent.) Pride and Prejudice is the first book I remember reading more than once just for the sheer pleasure of it. One of the things that Pride and Prejudice, The Hobbit, and Tale of Two Cities have in common, at least for me, is the ability to transport me to far-away times/places. On the other hand, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, helped ground me in and accept my everyday world.
My fifth title is a nonfiction book on writing that I read as an adult: Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. L'Engle's book contains inspiration and practical exercises that are especially helpful for those of us who want to write for children. It's a book I return to often. I quoted from it here just last month.
After entering my books on Scholastic's site, I was surprised to find that, at least so far, I'm the only person with my bookprint. In fact, only TWO current members of the You Are What You Read site have more than one of my books in their profiles. I hope more readers will join the site so that I can find more "readers like me." You don't have to have a Facebook or Google account to join--you can get a free account from Scholastic. Just look for the link in the upper right-hand corner that says "sign in with Scholastic" to set up a free Scholastic account. If you do join, stop by and check out my profile.
Today is the deadline for the pseudo-NaNoWriMo project I first wrote about on November 3rd. Unfortunately, I have fallen short of my goal of completing my draft. However, I have added 28,300 words since Oct. 25. I'm estimating I still have about 10,000 words to go. I'll keep chipping away until I get there, but it may not be until after the holidays. I'm glad to be making progress, even if it's not as much progress as I'd hoped for.
- There seemed to be a great deal of NaNoWriMo backlash this year. So I was happy to see that bestselling author James Scott Bell participated, and found it worthwhile. Read his take on the experience here.
- The Highlights foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for the 27th annual Writers Workshop at Chautauqua to be held July 16-23, 2011. I know from the feedback on my post about my Chautauqua experience that many of our readers would like to attend. Well, here's your chance. See this website for the scholarship information.
- Aspiring writers often ask "How do I get published?" For one of the best answers I've ever read to this question, see author Jim Macdonald's post on the Making Light blog.
- Looking for a literacy or book-related charity to contribute to during this holiday season? Check out this amazing list of international charities at the PlayingByTheBook blog.
- If you haven't finished all of your holiday shopping, check out the website BooksAreGreatGifts. If you scroll down on the page, you'll see links to gift-buying guides from a number of publishers. Or visit BookReporter.com's list of What to Give, What to Get for 2010. For additional books/gifts you might want to put on YOUR Christmas list, see this post at the Guide to Literary Agents Blog or this one at C. Hope Clark's blog.
- And if you want to WIN some great writer's tools, enter the Guide to Literary Agents blog's Epic Holiday Book Giveaway.