Posted by Erin on 04.12.2012 at 8:44 am
Guest post by blogger and avid reader, Michele Arnett, http://politeravings.blogspot.com
As a stay-at-home mother who is organizationally-challenged, piles and stacks are the banes of my existence. My house is littered with piles of laundry and stacks of paperwork. I tend to tackle piles by separating them into smaller piles that then go into circulation in several different places instead of one messy pile in a central location. Some days I just sit at the kitchen table, staring at a pile of bills, hoping that my focused dislike and frustration can cause the pile to spontaneously combust.
Unfortunately, staring just makes the pile grow larger. Likewise, staring at a pile of laundry does not motivate a shirt to fold itself. Piles are lifeless, helpless entities that represent work, monotony and futility in the life of a housewife.
However, my many piles of books are the exception to this complaint. I have specific types of books piled in several different locations around the house. Like most readers, I have a stack next to my favorite chair in the family room. This the diverse group of books I’m currently reading. This stack will usually include at least one classic novel, my book club’s current selection, one or two histories on whatever time period I’m interested in at the moment, a cooking or gardening reference book, and some magazines.
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Posted by Erin on 04.11.2012 at 8:29 am
I’m deep into a manuscript that’s due this summer, and in some ways my writing routine is the same as ever, but in other ways, this time around I’m learning some new tricks to get me through. Here are a few thoughts that are helping me get the writing done these days.
1. Read great writing, as much as you can, in as many genres as you can. I skip around a lot, but my current booklist is inspiring to me in all sorts of ways:
Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required
Brene Brown’s I Thought It was Just Me
Stephen King’s 11/22/63
Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor
Lauren Winner’s Still: Notes on A Mid-Faith Crisis
Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
2. Listen to something you know well enough to sing along to without stopping your brain or fingers—for me, this always means a complete album, as opposed to a playlist. When I’m running, the “surprise” of a new artist is great, and the variety keeps me moving, but when I’m writing, I need a consistent set of sounds, and I want it to feel analog, like it was made by someone’s hands, as opposed to by a machine—earnest, handmade, human.
My current rotation:
Mumford & Sons/The Cave
Civil Wars/Barton Hollow
Brandi Carlile/The Story
3. Trick yourself into just playing around with an idea, in advance of really and officially writing it. Say I have half an hour before the baby needs to eat. That doesn’t strike me as enough time to really dig into something, so I’m always tempted to just fold laundry or return emails. But on my way to the inbox these days, sometimes I just very causally stop by a Word document and begin typing, again, ever so casually. The stakes are low, and the inner-editor hasn’t caught on to the fact that I’m writing, so she leaves me alone for a minute.
Those little bits and stolen moments sometimes yield the freshest writing, because you haven’t yet had a chance to take yourself too seriously, and to lay all that terrible pressure down on your shoulders, making you hunch over and stare blankly at the screen. I have a five year old, and the only way we really get anything done is by making a game of it, and I’m finding that my writing self responds well to the same tactic. Perhaps my writing self is five years old. I’m fine with that.
Shauna Niequist is the author of “Cold Tangerines” and “Bittersweet“, and is working on her third book, Bread & Wine, a collection of essays about the sacred moments we share when we gather around the table. (www.shaunaniequist.com)
*Note* The above guest post is from one of my personal favorite authors, Shauna Niequist. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email email@example.com if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Shauna, we feel honored to have your thoughts on our blog and can’t wait to read Bread & Wine!
What do you do to overcome writers block? We’d love for you to share your ideas below.
3 Comments » | Tagged Book & Author News, From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.10.2012 at 10:54 am
With the Ides of March now behind us, we look back on the best-selling books from betterworldbooks.com. Dr. Seuss made it on here twice – perhaps because everyone wanted to celebrate his March birthday.
25. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
24. Alcoholics Anonymous by Anonymous
23. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
22. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
21. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
3 Comments » | Tagged Book Lists
Posted by Erin on 04.09.2012 at 8:42 am
As most of you wonderful, regular, BWB blog readers know – I went to the University of Virginia and loved it. One of the things I loved most was the fact that student activists could use the beautiful Lawn that Thomas Jefferson designed to share our passion and ideas with fellow students.
One week each year dozens of students would spend hours each day riding sedentary exercise bikes on the green grass surrounded by red brick and white columned buildings. They rode these bikes enough miles to figuratively reach all the way to Uganda, where the pledge money raised was helping fund schools through a non-profit called Building Tomorrow.
Now, as the Community Manager at Better World Books, I have the honor of chatting with amazing people on Twitter – such as the Founder and Director of Building Tomorrow, George Srour. The following is a guest blog from George…
A couple times each week, I field a phone call from our Country Director in Uganda, Joseph Kaliisa. He updates the construction progress at a number of our sites and fills us in on what’s taking place at our Building Tomorrow academies. During our last call, he was beaming.
“The parents and the students have started a pay-it-forward fund. This must be a first here.”
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.05.2012 at 8:33 am
Guest post by Earl Martin Phalen, CEO, Reach Out and Read www.reachoutandread.org
Since 1989, Reach Out and Read pediatricians nationwide have been doling out new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.
Twenty-three years later, the emphasis on early literacy remains important as ever. However, the book is changing.
For the first time in Reach Out and Read’s history, we find ourselves faced with a new kind of children’s book, one that is displayed on the screen of a tablet. Devices such as the NOOK, the Kindle, the iPad, and the Fable are leading us to a new frontier of literacy — whether we like it or not.
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.04.2012 at 7:36 am
A new book, “On The Up” is being sold exclusively through Better World Books and we have a feeling you are going to love it! The following is a guest post from the authors…
With financial support from Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and in-kind support from Vodafone Foundation, we embarked on a journey from Cape Town to Cairo. We made it our personal mission to find exceptional changemakers who exemplify the truth that, despite its challenges, Africa is on the up. Across eight countries, we uncovered incredible individuals who are using entrepreneurial solutions to drive social and environmental change.
This collection of short stories brings to life the journey of each ‘social entrepreneur’, plotting out their achievements, challenges and talents. From a Zen Buddhist who is training rats to sniff out landmines, to an ex-playboy millionaire who is using his fortune to tackle multinational mining firms, the people profiled are not your archetypal charity workers. Their bottom-up approaches to development issues are thought provoking, inspiring and often quite hilarious!
This book will fire you up about Africa and make you think differently about the role of social entrepreneurs in Africa. It will encourage you to think about how content you are with your own career choices and encourage you to see that anything is possible.
To learn more about the book and the adventures of the Wilson’s check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ontheupcapetocairo
Buy On The Up today!
Have you ever been to Africa? What are your stories of hope from the great continent?
Posted by Erin on 04.03.2012 at 9:30 am
It’s not every day that one of your best friends has her life work published. But today that happened for me – and for my dear friend Haley Kilpatrick. Her first book The Drama Years releases today and if you are a woman, a parent, an educator, a pediatrician or OBGYN, or engage in any way with tweens, this is a must read for you.
In between hits on the Today Show, her whirlwind book tour and running a successful non-profit dedicated to these young women, Haley found the time to answer a few questions for you, our Better World Books fans and customers.
Answer: I started Girl Talk in 2003, when I was 15, after my sister came home from middle school in tears because of the anxiety and stress of feeling bullied by the popular girls in her grade. I’d dealt with that constantly as a middle schooler — even eating lunch in the bathroom to avoid girls making fun of me! — and I just had a moment like, “This has to stop.”
I wanted to create a place where high school girls could support middle school girls from a “just-been-there” perspective. It started as one chapter in my high school, and it kept growing. Now there are over 40,000 members in chapters all over the world!
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Posted by Better World Books on 04.01.2012 at 6:00 am
No doubt about it: the life of the 21st century working person is a busy one, and finding equilibrium between one’s career and life can be a real balancing act. Even today’s young people are feeling the pressure of a tight schedule. (Recent studies show that top Outlook calendar entries among 6-year-olds read, for example, “Grab some face-time with Billy” and “Conf. call @ monkeybars.”)
Thus we face the question: Living life at a pace like this, when can we find time to read?
The Better World Books R&D team, working out of our vast underground laboratories and testing facilities in northern Indiana and doing a mess of science down there, has finally come up with a viable answer: Hands-Free Books. Read more…
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