Review of Little Women

Little WomenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was about sixteen years old, my mother gave me this book. She’d enjoyed it at that age and hoped that I would as well. Unfortunately, tenth grade was really busy and heavy with required reading, so I did very little pleasure reading.

Flash forward too many years for me to admit… I finally have enough time for pleasure reading, so I’m reading all the books that I wish I’d read years ago. I started with the Wrinkle in Time books and then moved on to this one.

I’m so glad that I read this book! It’s absolutely wonderful! I think part of the reason I put it off for so long was that it’s a very long book. However, reading it made me realize… it’s long because it was, originally, two books. This copy is filled with footnotes and endnotes, so I knew more about some of the things that might otherwise have been lost in translation, so to speak.

I liked all four sister, but Jo was my favorite! As a writer myself, I found her very easy to relate to. Amy… honestly, she annoyed me at first. She was quite the spoiled little brat, right up until Beth got sick. At that point, she got noticeably better. Meg was the perfect little lady and it was quite fitting that she ended up with… well, who she ended up with. Beth would have been my favorite character – except that I made the effort not to get attached to her (never get attached to a character that the blurb describes as “tragic” and “frail”). She was so sweet and I could relate to her on other levels (her love of cats and her headaches).

I’ve added tag for romance because… when nearly all the characters get married, that’s a romance (even if it’s not the scintillating romances we read nowadays). The tag for religious was added because of the constant references to the Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress.

I’ll close by adding this: This book does have some things that show the era during which it was written. The author has a prejudice against Irish people and she’s not ashamed to show it. If you can get past those things (which are really in the background and definitely not huge plot points), you may also enjoy this book.

Read the full review on Goodreads to see the spoilers.

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A Review of Guidelines: Trustees

Guidelines Trustees: Manage the Resources of the CongregationGuidelines Trustees: Manage the Resources of the Congregation by General Council On Fin & Admn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found this book helpful to read, as I begin my new position as a member of my church’s Board of Trustees. There are already things that I want to bring up at the next meeting (March), so that’s a benefit.

It’s not what anyone would call “leisure reading” and some of the language is a bit heavy on the legalize, but it wasn’t at the level of being incomprehensible.

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A Review of Kirsten’s Promise

Kirsten's Promise (American Girls Short Stories)Kirsten’s Promise by Janet Beeler Shaw

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one of the books that my sister picked up second-hand. Kirsten was one of our favorite American Girls. I have the mini doll for her, in fact. One of the kids we sat for had the entire series and we read them to her as bedtime stories.

Anyway, this story is about Kirsten encountering a little boy named Ezra. She learns the valuable lesson of… sometimes there are promises that you can’t and shouldn’t keep. It’s an important lesson for kids that age to learn, so… yeah, great book and great lesson. The step into the past part… I rather skimmed it. I don’t think I could see kids of the target age reading it, but they might sit for someone to read it to them.

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A Review of A Swiftly Tilting Planet

A Swiftly Tilting Planet (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #3)A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll start by saying that there is a big time jump between the previous book and this one. Charles Wallace is now a fifteen year old and Meg is grown up, married to Calvin and expecting their first child. Normally, time jumps like this bother me, but I can see why the writer chose to do it in this case: it let Charles Wallace be the main character, rather than Meg. (Because, no matter how smart he is, it would be difficult to have a small child be the protagonist.)

I like how time and time travel was handled in this book. It falls in line with my own feelings about time travel really well. Also… my ideas about foreknowledge/precognition and how that works. I hate those stories where, no matter what the protagonist does to change a future event, things just get worse. Why see the future if it’s set in stone?

The going Within thing was, at times, a bit confusing. Part of that was because it was like you’d meet entirely new characters whenever Charles Wallace went Within someone. Add to that the repeated names (Zillah, Zillie, Zill… I don’t even remember) and there were times when I had to stop and think, “Now, who was that again?”

However, overall, I really liked the book and I’m glad that I read it. It’s a book that I think could appeal to young adults/teens on one level and older adults (like me) on a completely different level.

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A Review of “A Wind in the Door”

A Wind in the Door (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #2)A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is set just a little after the previous one. Charles Wallace has now entered school and is having a rough time fitting in. Part of that is because he’s so intelligent that it’s jarring for people (they don’t know how to talk to him and he doesn’t really know how to talk to them). Another part of the problem is… I think that everyone got it into their heads that he wasn’t intelligent, so the teacher and other adults (less so his classmates) are caught completely flat-footed by just how intelligent he is.

Anyway, that’s all just the set-up. The real plot of the story deals with the Echthroi – the embodiment of hatred – trying to destroy the universe on both a cosmic and microscopic scale. It was amazing to me how the theme of size not really mattering was repeated over and over. The whole “for want of a nail” poem was even quoted at one moment, just to drive the point home. Charles Wallace is still just a little boy, but he’s that nail – somehow – and the Echthroi are trying to take him out.

I loved all the characters in this one – in different ways. Sporos really annoyed me when he was first introduced, but I liked it when he finally came around. It actually made sense when it happened. I wasn’t too sure about Proginoskes when he was first introduced, but he was just so adorable (in a strange sort of way) that I couldn’t keep from loving him by the end. I want so much to think that he is, in the universe of the story, all right.

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The Coming Year

A New Year, a new Blog Circle question:

What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2018? Why did you choose it?   What are your plans for the year? What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I signed up to write only 225K words for the year. My actual goal is a little higher (227K) because I’m not writing the same amount each month. I chose this goal because, as I did last year, I’m trying to go for quality over quantity. I know that I can write huge amounts of words, but I’d like to split my time between writing and other creative endeavors (crocheting, knitting, drawing, color and world building). I’d also like to get some editing done and I’ve always had trouble counting words for stories that I’m editing.

My plans for this year…

I want to finish my stitch book. I have one more square to knit for it. Then, I want to embroider something small and simple on each square and combine them into a book.

I want to keep up my habit of writing every day.

I want to finish my Marauders Series. It’s definitely in the realm of an Alternate Universe and I’m fine with that. However, there were some things that didn’t fit together from one piece to another and I definitely lost momentum on it. I want to pull out the stories, read them over and edit them. Then, I can finish the last two.

I want edit my NaNo story from last November and get my World Bible all hammered out into something that makes sense and will work as a reference going forward in that world. It’s the result of combining three or four different story universes, so those details will trickle down into editing other pieces as well.

I also want to get Keenan’s story out to my sister and mother, so that they can read it. Of all my stories, that is one I would like to publish, but I know there are things that I’ll need to fix in order to get it ready.

What I hope to accomplish in my writing is progress. I want to finish things that I started last year. I want to build more on the world my sister and I are crafting. I want to edit all the things I’ve written, so that I can show them to people comfortably. I also want to explore my own personal writing voice more in the year to come, which may mean stepping outside the cozy box of spec fic where my stories typically fall.
Bonus:
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

I think that, in 2018, I’m most looking forward to just really enjoying the craft of writing without the pressure to write huge amounts each day.

2017 In Review

The last Blog Circle question for 2017 (which I couldn’t get posted at the time):

The year is almost over. So, sum up your year of writing. Did you meet your goals? Are you satisfied with how your year went? Let us know!

So, I started last year with five “resolutions”. Some of them related to writing and others related to other things in my life. On my non-writing resolutions… I did reach my reading goal, at least with regards to quantity of books. I’m not sure whether or not I would consider them to be more complex or not. I also drew quite a bit more.

Now… my writing related goals:

I wanted to plan out my stories more. Although I didn’t manage to get my two Marauder WIPs plotted, I did spend a lot more time plotting my longer pieces. It was definitely a great help in getting those stories completed.

I wanted to stop second-guessing myself when it came to story ideas. I think I did great with that! I went out on a limb during November and wrote in a completely new genre. It was a challenge, but I had a lot of fun. I do still need to work on sharing my stories without fear, but I’m taking it one step at time.

The third writing goal was to blog more. I started off well! I was getting at least four posts on each blog most months. Then, I hit November – and NaNo sucked up a lot of time, so I didn’t blog at all. Starting in December I began having trouble getting to my blog to post anything, so I haven’t posted since the end of October. I’m hoping to figure out what is going on with my blogs and start posting to them again.

Overall, I’m fairly satisfied with how the year went. I made real progress on my goals – even if I didn’t complete them. I finished most of the stories I started. I was able to tie several story universes together into one big universe during July Camp NaNo. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 will bring.