Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.
Here is the latest stack:
Everybody Writes (Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley is my favorite book in the stack and I am reading it cover to cover.
There are so many gems of wisdom on writing in this book, such as this one on sentence structure from page 25:
This is the first sentence of an introductory paragraph of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention style guide: “According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), released in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education, 30 million adults struggle with basic reading tasks.”
The primary idea in that sentence is that millions of people are not fully literate; everything else in it is secondary. The primary idea – the important words – should be placed at the beginning. So:
“Thirty million adults struggle with reading, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy….”
– Ann Hadley, Everybody Writes
What a difference between the original version of the sentence and the rewritten version of the same information by Ann Hadley! Ms. Hadley clearly demonstrates how improved and concise a sentence can be with all the fluff removed at the beginning.
This was a powerful example for me on thinking about sentence structure. I am fascinated by sentence structure and would like to spend more time in the future thoughtfully crafting sentences. Becoming a better writer is important to me. My goal is less cringe worthy moments when people read my blog (smile).
Ann Hadley references one of my other favorite books on writing, Stephen King’s On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft (2001). If you are an aspiring writer I highly recommend Stephen King’s book on writing.
Perhaps after I finish this book the quality of my blog posts will improve. What the heck, I might even begin doing a better job proofreading my posts before publishing them. Maybe. But, don’t get your hopes up…
“Writing is easy, all you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” – Mark Twain
Speaking of writing, on Wednesday evening my friend and I got to see writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon speak at our library’s Author! Author! series.
Now he is a true wordsmith and his sentences are beautifully and masterfully crafted. I recently finished his book Moonglow (2017) and it is one of my favorite memoir type of books (it is the story of his maternal grandfather as told to him by his grandfather as he was in his last stages of his battle with a terminal illness).
Mr. Chabon read a couple chapters from his book still in progress and those chapters were amazing. My friend and I sat in the front row and got to be “Literary Fan Girls”!
No worries, we were well-behaved and did not throw our lace bookmarks at the stage or anything like that…
(In addition to worrying about those in Texas and Florida) Today my thoughts are focused on just how much I love my local public library. This is not just a fleeting infatuation, I am talking about a deep bibliophilic obsessed kind of love!
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have likely figured this out, especially with ongoing series such as TheLibrary Stackfeaturing my latest stack of tomes on loan from my beloved library. However in addition to realizing how deeply in love I am with my local public library, I realize just how much money and space accessing my library has saved me.
Tierney the “Collector”
As my friend Michele has told me, “You are a Collector”. I am actually a reformed “collector”.
Years ago I became interested in Special Edition Barbie dolls. I did not just buy a couple, I bought a ridiculous amount. The same thing happened with collectible stuffed rabbits. I could not just have a couple, I appeared to need them all.
When I tapered down my need to collect Barbies or Bunnies, I transferred my need to collect to craft books and crafting magazines (and occasionally home decorating books and magazines).
As I incorporated Minimalism into my life (see series of posts under MyMinimalism Journey) I began to honestly evaluate the clutter in my life, including whether I needed to own and continue to bring into my home that many crafting books and magazines.
I still love looking at new craft books (I get a little “makers-high” from leafing through a craft book for the first time) and I did not want to give up the pleasure of a new craft book and a pot of tea in my cozy reading spot.
The public library was the solution! I realized I did not need to own every craft book I am attracted to – I could just borrow it, enjoy it and return it. I can even take it out again to look at a couple months later if I like – it will be there waiting for me…AND it will not take up space in my bookshelf or cost money out of my wallet!
More Than Just Books
It began with borrowing books and then I discovered many other wonderful benefits as a library card holder:
Borrowing audiobooks that I can listen to on my smartphone
Magazines for my iPad for free (to include American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and many popular home decorating magazines)
Free music downloads (I can download 5 songs a week…well 10 using my husband’s library card too from a huge selection of music)
Movies for my DVD player – we do not go out to movies very often – we just borrow them from the library (and I have learned secret tricks to be first in line on new releases at the library!)
Online movies – although I do have Netflix so I do not use this feature very often, our library has its own version on Netflix with older movies and TV shows.
Novel Idea – the whole town reads the same book once a year (a community wide book group) and then there are special programs in the Spring with the author coming to town to speak about their book!
In addition to all this there is so much more like the Author! Author! Literary Series where big name authors come to town and speak!
Okay, soon I will stop running on and on about my beloved library. But would you mind, I share some recent reads and listens? (or you can skip to the Postscriptsection if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)
Last week I posted on my current library stack but I have since moved on to a new (and smaller stack). As you can see I was enjoying feeding the flames of my small and tiny house obsession. These three books are a delightful pot-of-tea-drinking, book-flipping, daydreaming experience.
My obsession is not as bad as it used to be (I used to incessantly watch tiny house related TV shows and tiny house tour videos on YouTube) but I am still fascinated by them. I also enjoy “RV porn” and love to watch videos of RV walkthrough tours. I like the idea of small compact and cozy space. It is also a space which is more difficult to clutter with stuff, and I like that idea of space imposed curation!
I recently finished several excellent library borrowed fiction audiobooks:
Michael Chabon’s novel Moonglow. I read a great interview with him in Poets&Writers magazine last year. When I saw he is coming to Central Oregon this fall on the Author!Author! literary tour, I thought it was time to actually read one of his books and see what all the hype was about!
I now understand what all the hype is about this author – his sentences are so beautifully and richly crafted and his ability to tell a story is impressive. Here is my review of the book I posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com:
I was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of this novel which was flawlessly and excellently narrated.
The book is a memoir masterpiece, telling the fascinating story of his maternal grandfather’s life as told by his grandfather to the author as he was terminally ill. The author also weaves in poignant moment from his own life and his mother’s life with his grandfather’s (and grandmother’s story). The first hand accounts of his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during WWII are amazing and powerful. They are not battle scenes but focus on the lives of a small village experiencing WWII. The book covers a span of time from around the 1920s to 1980s.
Mr. Chabon’s writing is spectacular and I see what all the hype is about surrounding this author. I read/listened to the book because he is coming to our town to speak on a literary tour and before hearing him speak I wanted to read one of his book. He is a very gifted writer, his use of language and the crafting of a sentence are amazing. I think he might be one of the great writers of our current generation.
I also recently finished a spectacular science fiction trilogy by Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo award), The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. I was fortunate enough to listen to them all on audiobook. And here is the really cool thing – my library did not have an audiobook copy of the second (The Dark Forest) or the third book (Death’s End) in the trilogy. So I suggested them for purchase using the special online form my library has – and THEY ORDERED THEM!
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Photo credit: Amazon.com
Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese science fiction and the cultural differences are evidence in his books but they only add to the story. The science part of the “science fiction” is amazing and detailed yet accessible. So far it is one of my favorite Science Fiction trilogies of all time, rivaling Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Trilogy and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama trilogy (previously my two favorites).
Let me close out my ramblings about my awesome public library with this quote:
Sending My Heart Out
First before I share what I have been up to crafting-wise lately, let me just say my hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. We lived in Houston for 9 years from 1988 – 1997 and many of the flooded areas shown on the news (Terry the Quilting Husband has been watching The Weather Channel non-stop) are quite familiar to us.
My heart also goes out to those in the tropical islands and to states such as Florida in the path of Hurricane Irma. I cannot imagine the stress and fear going on in Florida right now knowing what Hurricane Harvey did to Texas.
Current Crafting – Little Wallet Obsession
I will have a future post with more details and perhaps a “little wallet photoshoot” on all the different combinations, but I have made 40+ little wallets since starting last week.
I am trying to make a dent in my fabric scrap collection:
Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):
And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):
My next post will feature all the little wallets I have completed, so you can see some of the fun color and pattern combinations. I did make a bit of a dent in my fabric scraps and I’ve made many little functional items with those scraps.
I bought way too many business cards and I have a business card tucked away in each little wallet to demonstrate how the little wallet could be used.
Recently gave one of the little wallets as part of a retirement gift (it held a gift card) and I think the little wallet was more popular with the recipient than the gift card!
I might do a future little wallet blog giveaway to celebrate my 4th year of blogging (and that fellow humans actually keep reading my blog, ha!) – stay tuned!
Feature image photo credit: Deschutes Public Library