Writing and Reading log – May 2017

20160412_130827

 

I cannot say loud I’ve done a darn good job, but at least I can admit that I’ve done better than last month.

As I did in my previous months, I’ll update you on my situation, writing and reading wise!

Hopefully you won’t get too bored by the account. For sure, it’s useful for my own records and to give me a pat on the back for the small progresses.

Considering the amount of time I have at my disposal, I guess every step forward is a win!

Writing is still hard. I have written and published this post in between my coffee breaks and the commuting time.

I haven’t written daily my 300 words in the past few weeks, simply because I had to admit that the breaks and spare niches of time aren’t enough for blogging, writing the WIP and my fairy tales!

It took me a huge deal of convincing myself that writing is writing anyway, but I’ll still try to organize better!

There is always room for improvement, right?

And here we go with the numbers:

Word written for the WIP: 25567 words but there is a big chunk copied from the notebook. In order to see progresses I’ll have to finish that task!

Fairy tales written: 4 + I started number 5.

Blog post written this month: 4 on 4, well 5 if we count this too!

Researching: N/A

Plotting: N/A

As for the reading, I’m still concentrating to narrow down the number of the books I’ve started a while ago.

Mea culpa, I’ve started again a new one but I couldn’t resist. To the short list of books, well the one that was supposed to be the short list of books, I’m bringing on right now, I added American Gods by Neil Gaiman

So just to summarize:

There is no news for Irish ghost stories,

Wizards first rule, Memorie del sottosuolo, The wisdom of the dead man, A Song of Ice and Fire, Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1, Irish Ghost Stories and Madame Bovary.

However, there is bit of improvement for the other titles:

Delitto e castigo – I’m at page 234 on 677.

The book thief – I’m at page 448 on 554.

Outlander – I’m at page 408 on 684.

Hunger – I’m at page 246 on 684.

Diary of Anne Frank – I’m at page 65 on 351

American Gods – I’m at page 123 on 640 (plus extras)

So, this is it for this month.

I always try to improve and increase the numbers. I suspect that I’ll have an easier life when I’ll give up to the fact that I have my limits.

Everybody can go over his own limits, of course, but it’s not an easy task.

As usual, my dear readers, I ask you to help me, in case you have some wise tips to give me!

Have a lovely weekend and bank holiday and I’ll see you soon on these pages!!!

Writing and Reading log – April 2017

notebooks-blog

From my recent not existing posts, it seems that I’ve taken an expected month of holiday.

April flew by and, without realizing it, I was swallowed whole by the routine and the fatigue.

I want to assure you that I’m doing another attempt to organize my whole life and writing habit and space. If I’m lucky, I’m at least on the right path to get there.

I thought then, that my first and last post of the month would be an update regarding my reading and writing, mostly because there are some changes.

As for my WIP, the good news is that I keep going on writing every day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but at least it stays as a habit.

The biggest change I was talking about happened exactly about writing. Thinking about on what could optimize my time and my writing, I asked myself what was the one thing I always have with me. The reply was pretty obvious: my phone. As usual, you never notice the little things next to you and you bang your head senseless trying to find the solution that had been there from the very beginning.

Following there is the phase in which you feel the biggest idiot on Earth and then you move on!

All these words to say that I’ve started to use google drive on my phone.

I shared with my work pc the files containing my WIP, my blog posts, and the project in Italian that now took a final direction: fairytales (they’re set in my fantasy world but they’re just, well, fairytales!). I shared as well a couple of other files that will help me with the writing; wherever I’ll go, my babies will be with me.

I just got two big problems:

One – I don’t know yet where to place my plotting and my researching. This means that the Hunter Journal’s project is on hold, although I’m taking notes of everything I notice in the streets.

Also, the plotting for both the WIP (final touches) and the urban fantasy are on hold.

Two – I’ll have to copy all the words that had been already written on the notebooks. Form a very free calculation there must be around 32K words in there.

Hopefully, I’ll manage to sort the both of them.

From now on then, I’ll try to simplify the writeometer, let’s call it this way, values along with the book pages.

This way will let me have a tidier post and a reference for me, in case I want to track my progresses.

Word written for the WIP: 18,522 words

Fairy tales written: 3

Blog post written this month: 0 on 4 …oh what a shame!

Researching: N/A

Plotting: N/A

As for the reading, I’m still concentrating to narrow down the number of the books I’ve started a while ago.

I’m still reading some of them together, of course. Also, I’ve started and finished a new one and started a further new one.

So just to summarize:

There is no news for Irish ghost stories,

Wizards first rule, Memorie del sottosuolo, The wisdom of the dead man, A Song of Ice and Fire, Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1, Irish Ghost Stories and Madame Bovary.

However, there is bit of improvement for the other titles:

Delitto e castigo – I’m at page 222 on 677.

City of bones – It’s finally finished.

The book thief – I’m at page 354 on 554.

Outlander – I’m at page 408 on 684.

Hunger – I’m at page 246 on 684.

I’ve read and finished The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and I’ve started the Diary of Anne Frank.

And that’s it for the moment.

As usual, I’ll be very grateful for any advice you might want to share with me.

I wish you a nice bank holiday on the 1st of May and I hope I’ll be back posting once a week as intended.

At least I can promise you I’ll do my best to manage.

Oisín the great! – Review of Mad Grandad series  

wp-1490560652857.jpg

As you know from my previous posts, one of my favorite writers ever is Oisín McGann.

I followed two of his writing workshops and I appreciate him not only as writer but also as teacher.

I loved his young adult books I’ve read and I’m looking forward to read the rest, although I’m a very slow kind of reader.

A part from those books, what I was aiming to find were the ones for kids.

Now that Maya is in Junior Infant I had the excuse to buy them. She still cannot read, but she’s old enough to follow stories more complex than a fairy tale.

My only problem was that it’s not very easy to find them in book stores.

The first two I found were Mad Grandad and the flying saucer and Mad Grandad and the robot garden.

Maya absolutely loved them. And to be brutally honest with you, I loved them too, I was bent in two for the laughter.

Oisín is an honest writer. In his books, there is everything he teaches about writing: while you turn the pages, it seems you’re hearing his advices.

We should write simple things, something easy to be identified with, of course adding a twist that makes them even more interesting.

Simple elements are easily recognized. Readers would emphasize better with the characters and the story.

Take for example these first books, what’s more normal than going to spend the day with your grandpa? Everybody can relate to that!

But then, if you make the cool grandad bring his grandson to buy a flying saucer or to assemble a gardener robot that has been in the cellar for ages folded into a box, you add a simple twist that is hilarious!

However, after I spent almost two months reading in loop these two volumes as Maya forgot completely the other hundreds she has at her disposal, I thought it was the time to buy the rest.  

I ordered then online Mad Grandad’s wicked pictures, Mad Grandad’s doppelganger, Mad Grandad and the mutant river, Mad Grandad and the Kleptoes.

Let me tell you, my dear readers, if I laughed my ass off with the first two books, I did even more with the rest.

These books aren’t just funny, they’re clever, creative, brilliant and enormously real story-wise. You have the sensation, and you really wish, that these adventures might happen to you one day.

Oisín is genius and these books don’t disappoint even the adult readers, who are used to Oisín’s other novels.

In these last books I bought, grandad and Lenny have to deal with some paint from the 70s that come to life, with a couple of doppelgangers who wants to find friends, with a mer-model fished in a river and with some weird beings living in grandad’s couch.

I have to be honest with you, I was so sorry when I finished them, I wanted more.

But I wasn’t the only one! This is the dialogue with Maya following the last page of the last book:

“Mummy are we buying more?”

“Maya, I’m sorry, but this was the last Mad Grandad adventure in the series… Oisín wrote a couple of other books for kids and…”

“It’s Ok mummy, we can ask Oisín to write more!”

“Yes…”

I don’t know if we can ask, but we hope he will!

Meanwhile I’ll order the other three books I spotted, I’m sure that Maya and me will love them too.

Well done Oisín, keep up the good work!

Writing and Reading log – February 2017

blog-first-march

I meant to write this post two days ago, my dear readers, but I didn’t really manage!

I have to say that, a part from a recent setback, I’m proceeding both with my reading and my writing, slowly but constantly.

As for my WIP, I keep going on with my writing 3 pages a day. I finished the first notebook and the second one is starting to get that shape of lived paper I love. I’m confident enough that I’ll be soon tackling the notebook number three.

On the back of my head I still have that angry voice telling me that I’ll regret this hand-writing thing when I’ll have to type my book into a Word file.

However, I manage to keep this voice at bay telling her that, at least, now my novel is going on steadily.

I’m optimistic today! If I keep going like this, I’ll manage to finish, not only this novel, but all the ones I’ve planned…sooner or later!

True that I’m behind of a few pages lately, but this might always happen.

I’m just happy that, otherwise, this has become a habit, this was my goal.

Next goal is to become able to post a blog every week.

I didn’t manage last week, for example, but I’ll try my best.

Maybe introducing one small goal per time I’ll manage. True is that my spare time is still the same, but It’s a good challenge and I’m on it!

 

As for the reading, I’m still trying to narrow down the number of the books I’ve started a while ago.

However, since old habits are hard to die, I’ve brought on three of them together and I’ve started again the audiobook Shadow magic, as I didn’t remember the beginning.

So just to summarize.

There is no news for Outlander, Hunger, Irish ghost stories,

Wizards first rule, Memorie del sottosuolo, The wisdom of the dead man, A Song of Ice and Fire, Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1 and Madame Bovary.

However, there is big improvement for the said three titles:

Delitto e castigo – I’m at page 202 on 684.

City of bones – I’m at page 348 on 506.

 The book thief – I’m at page 120 on 554.

 And that’s it for the month of February.

I’m sorry because this month you’ll see two post on the same topic!

As mentioned, I’m trying to get more persistent on this and I’m confident that I’ll reach the point where I’ll blog constantly with no problem.

As usual the problem is I’m not very organized, but still open to advice.

So, in case you have any good one, please write to me in the comment.

Have a lovely day!

I’m a mixed type – a bit bookmarks user and a bit monster!

One of the meme I happen to see more often lately on social networks is the one related to bookmarks.

The genius who decided to draw the picture made it in the way to separate the reader’s world into two categories: those who use the bookmarks and monsters…I know you might have seen it at least once.

Now, I have to tell you that this meme rubs me in the wrong way every single time I see it, but I refrain to write my point of view in order to avoid long discussions on social networks threads, but this is my blog so I can freely speak!

You know what? Sometimes I’m a monster…boo! I do dog ears to books! So what? Sue me!

If it’s true that you have to live a book and that books have souls, I believe it’s also true that books are ready to tell your history, the way you’ve read them and also the pattern you followed, the idea you had and also what you ate in that particular moment.

Yes, you heard me well!

If I wanted to buy books, reading them staying straight and opening just that tad that would avoid any sign of usage for the collection’s sake, I’d have rather preferred to become a Ming vase collector!

You sit, walk, eat, sleep with you books! Live with them! And if they show the sign of it, so be it!

I understand that not all of you might agree, but this is my opinion!

Sometimes I decide to be less “monster” and use whatever I have around me in a short radius as bookmark!

I’ve made you a collage of some bookmarks I’m currently using. You know that I read several books at the same time right?

bookmarks-collage

Aren’t they gorgeous?

As you might see I use basically everything that I come across as bookmark. Yes, even a clean bit of toilet paper.

Then you can see some regular bookmarks and even the clothes tag when they’re cute, like the Sons of Anarchy or Alice in wonderland’s one.

The thing is that I read many books and sometimes I start to read them or I finish to read them in different places and, in order to keep track of the progress, I’ll put whatever I have around me as bookmark.

However, when I really don’t have anything else or, when I’m sick and tired to lose the bookmark I picked for that particular book, then I’d dog ear the page.

How about you? Are you a bookmark user or a monster or a mixed type as myself?

Let me know in the comments below!

Reading log- September

Google search!

Google search!

I haven’t updated this log for a while…again.

It seems that lately, however, I’ve managed to find a slightly better balance and I’m managing to read a bit more. A bit on the train and a bit during the lunch break.

If I’m lucky, I even have five to ten minutes before bed.

I have to say I’m quite happy for it and I’ll enjoy until it lasts.

I won’t put here, as I did before, a comment for each book I’m reading as it would be repetitive. Also there won’t be many news, as one of the new books I’ve started absorbed completely my attention, so the other 10 books I was readying are more or less at the same point!

I’m very sorry, now that I think about it, but I haven’t kept the promise I made of not starting new books. It really seems I cannot resist to the charm or obsessive-compulsive feeling more likely!

So following is the listing of the books I’ve finished from last time and also the status of the ones I’m now reading.

Outlander– It’s one of the new entries. I’ve mentioned it in my previous post, so I won’t get lost in the summary of the story. Mostly because TV shows really sticks to the book, although book –of course- is slightly better!

So for this I’m at page 344 on 863.

Hunger– Here no news, I’m at page 234 on 586.

Irish ghost stories– Here no news, I’m at page 42 on 1102.

Wizards first rule– Here no news, I’m at page 114 on 764.

Memorie del sottosuolo– I lost it momentarily, probably it’s in a bag somewhere, but I’ll find it for the October update! I’m a shame, I know!

Delitto e castigo– Here no news, I’m at page 56 on 684.

Ancient appetites –  Finished, I’ve started the second volume:

The wisdom of the dead man –  I’m at page 37 on 469.

A Song of Ice and Fire –  volume three- Here no news, I’m at page 192 on 569.

The maze runner– Finished! Loved it. I’ve started the second volume:

The scorch trials– I’m at page 54 on 359.

City of bones – Another new entry. I’m at page 12 on 506.

 

The book thief – Another new entry. I’m at page 58 on 554.

 

Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1– Another new entry to be considered a reference reading as it’s an encyclopedia on the Second World War. I’m at page 53 on 493.

Madame Bovary– It’s lost in the phone somewhere but haven’t touch it from the last time!  

The ghost pirates– Finished. Loved it!  

Carmilla– Finished as well. Love it so much!

Dracula– Audio book. Finished as well!

Shadowmagic– On going, cannot exactly quantify as it’s an audiobook too!

Actually, writing the whole thing down, I realized I’ve more on my plate than I thought, and it was a lot already. 12 books, one PDF, 1 Audio book…no seriously, I have to stop! It’s getting out of hand!

Question is: how do you stop?
Is there anybody else with this obsessive compulsive push in starting new books?

The funny bit is that I don’t mix them up at all, and my friend keep asking how do I do. I have no clue. Can someone, maybe having the same habit, explain this to me?

I’ll leave out the considerations for a hopefully shorter post in October…who am I trying to convince here?

***

Oh and before you walk the plank, ye scurvy dogs: Happy talk like pirate day!!!!

Yarrrr!

On books and adaption…

Latest obsession! This is a Google search!

 

It’s pretty obvious that I’m a big fan of books, I love to read them, collect them, smell them, reread the ones I loved most.

But you know also, if you’ve followed this blog for a while, that I love films and TV shows. Watching the screen sometimes it’s just relaxing, in particular at the end of the day, when the brain goes on strike…let’s tell the truth.

But how about adaptations?  

Sooner or later, if you’re book and film lover, you’ll cross your path with a book that has been turned into a film or a TV show.

I have to be honest, I’m not a big fan of adaptations but sometimes there are exceptions to the rules.

I could gather here my best moments and experiences.

I think that the very first film adapted from a book I’ve ever seen was “The name of the rose” by Umberto Eco.

In that case, I read the book before and I absolutely loved it. It was a thriller but set in a medieval monastery of friars.

Then I realized that there was a film adaptation made. Actually the actors in this film, Christian Slater and Sean Connery, were giving me a guarantee of a good film. However, form the great expectation the fantastic book gave to me, I was left with just a disappointing feeling of emptiness and disappointment. Useless to say, I read the book a second time.

I think that following that experience, I tried to avoid adaptations for a while. Some of them really not worth to be mentioned.

Then here it is “Harry Potter” series of books. 7 books to read. I lost the count really of how many times I read the lot of them. I love the ideas, I love the feelings they give you, I love the way Queen Rowling unfolded the story and the details.

Then the films were released.

I don’t mind them. I admit that I love the books more, but I don’t mind the adaptations either. My curiosity and wonder are actually stimulated by the special effects, and the way I’m able to see on the screen something I’ve always only imagined.

Also I like the actors, I’m not an expert on the matter, but I think that the quality of acting in these films is pretty high. And of course I love Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman, they are two of my favorites.

Let’s mention too the cameo of David Tennant, whose interpretation was something powerful and fantastic.

This means that I don’t mind to watch them all over again. In this way I’m double satisfied, I can watch the films many times and reread with pleasure the volumes.

True, the film cut a lot from the books, and they decided for an unnecessary 8th film, but still no major disaster was made.

Afterwards I came across “Game of Thrones”. I started with the TV shows. Then, when I had the awful feedback from the editor about my writing, I bought all the books. The reason of this abrupt purchase was that the only advice- no advice that she gave to me was to read in English.

Actually how it went was more or less like: “Can you give me an advice on how to improve my English?” “Well, I’d say you should read in English, but I assume you’re doing it already”

Yes, I was doing it, but I thought that was a nice excuse to buy a book or better many.

Anyway, the point is that for a while I read the books and watched the series at the same time and then I realized that the choice of the actors wasn’t that bad, also the story was pretty much faithfully narrated.

But I cannot be 100% sure, as for some reason I decided to not to spoil myself and not to watch it constantly. I started to follow the series when they decided to change the story and detach from the books.

So I feel I cannot really judge this adaptation, but I assume my feeling is more positive than negative.

After GOT I found “Hunger Games”. To be honest with you, I didn’t really like the first film, as I thought it was like a bad mash of “Contenders” and “Battle Royale”.

However, in one of my visit at Eason’s I found the trilogy sitting on the shelf, the covers very charming. I got closer out of curiosity. I opened the cover and went to the first page. First person, present tense.

My eyes locked to the page and I exited the shop with the three books.

I loved them ever since and I reread them at least three times.

Now, for the sake of this post, in this case I have to record something weird that happened related to this example.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who claimed that reading the books after having watched the films means spoiling your imagination in favor of the way characters are represented on the screen.

This is true but only in part, at least for me. A good example is “Hunger Games”.

Having read the books only after having seen the first film, at the very beginning the faces of the actors were kind of forcing their way into my imagination.

However, going on with the reading, my own imagination took over and characters were represented in a totally different way.

The biggest example is Peeta, who you all know I love very much. I felt almost offended by the choice they made for the cast. Peeta in my head, from the book description, was totally different.

Also all the cuts they made in the story and the ploys they found to direct the story, including a not- necessary- at -all 4th film, made me a bit cross. At the end of the day though, I don’t mind watching them.

Last example I want to make is with “Outlanders”.

I started to watch the TV show and I liked it.

Looking for spoilers, as usual, I realized that there were books at the base of the TV show and I went to look for information.

I found out that there are actually 8 books and the 9th should be on the way. They’re written by Diana Gabaldon.

I immediately bought the first three to have a look at how they were.

I have to admit they’re simply written, nothing much complicated, but the first person narration and the kind of writing, simple without killing the story with description, makes it pleasant.

It won’t be the best book written in the world, but I like it.

Besides, reading the book and having the first episodes of the series fresh in my head I could understand how similar they are.

The narration and the dialogues are exactly the same, sometimes using the same words.

So far, so good.

But I reserve the right of changing idea when I’ll go on with the story. You never know!

Concluding, leaving aside the massacre they made with “Vampire Assistant” (I don’t even want to talk about it or maybe I will in another post, but I might result kind of unpleasant, so much they ruined “Cirque du freak” series of books), I know at least a couple of TV show, cartoons and films more that I found out are based on books.

Sooner or later, very slowly, I think I’ll be able to buy and read.

What do you think about it?

Do you prefer books or films?

If you prefer books, what do you do in case you come across the representation before?

Let me know in the comments below!