Twelve year-old Ella wants to conquer her fear of public speaking by climbing the CN Tower to recite her poem on allergies. She also wants to someday own a dog that won’t make her sneeze or wheeze.
Julie McLaughlin prepared these roughs based on my idea that we showed Ella training for the climb on the Chedoke stairs in Hamilton. I asked everyone in my family which one they preferred and why. Which one do you like better?
Cicadas buzz in the soft evening air of August. Local peaches, and corn and watermelon await our eating pleasure at stands and grocery stores, fresh from the farm yards. It’s still warm enough for a swim at the beach or pool. We are going on a second vacation, from a log cottage to a campsite; we will stretch the vacation vibe as long as possible bringing lots of books to read to take us even further away from real life minutiae. Join us and enjoy your book outside, under a tree.
Here I am hard at work editing my upcoming novel Blue to the Sky, a story about a girl coping with too many allergies and surviving because of poetry. Banjo is here giving me encouragement and making sure I take breaks, especially for walks. I’m reading this story for possibly the hundredth time and still loving and rooting for Ella my main character. Maybe it’s because Ella is a composite of some of my grands. In any case, reading a book more than once is a joy. You see so many nuances you didn’t the first time when you were gobbling up the story. Revisiting work through editing is similar in that you can add layers and not worry about figuring so much about the plot. What I wish for book lovers is that they take the time this summer to reread a novel and enjoy a story even more. It’s what book shelves are really about.
This is the room that attracted me when we bought our house 30 years ago. Mostly I Zoom to classrooms and meetings from here and I’m often asked whether my shelves are real or a faux background. There’s a stupid pail in the foreground that I must put away, so you know this is real.
Recenty I flipped through a home design magazine and admired some built in shelves which seemed to lack something. They had the odd empty vase but otherwise they were so bland and blank. What was missing? Books!
“Find the things you want to keep,” says Marie Kondo. “identify the things that make you happy.” Am I going to read any of these books again? There’s that possibility and I love the possibilities in life. Mostly they give me a sense of peace.
Reviewers used to be paid to write erudite thoughts about books. Now we rely on you, the reader. Much as Shoppers Drug wants to know how they did selling you toothpase–we want to know how much you loved our work. You don’t have to summarize plot; just say what you liked about the story and rate it with stars. Here’s a guide to what the stars mean to us.
1 Star–You’re a mean-spirited 1 cent tipper who is scoring revenge on the publisher who never took your book.Or you got a free net galley read and it’s totally not for you.
2 Stars–Does any one ever give two stars? I don’t think so.
3 Stars–Meh, the book was readable but you didn’t love it. Or you loved it but you’re a hard marker. Nothing gets more than 3 stars.
4 Stars–Most often means the book is brilliant. Nothing is perfect so you can’t deign yourself to give a full 5 stars. Go watch the Barbie movie, imperfection is beautiful.
5 Stars-You are the publisher, or a best friend. Or wow, a true lover of this read. Thanks Marsha!