Sunday, February 14, 2010

Books catch-up

I've had a bit more time to read lately, but not so much to blog about it. The new job is keeping me busy, and why was I ever crazy enough to think I'd have MORE time once my kid was in kindergarten rather than daycare? So, here's a brief catch-up.

Break Into Fiction (Mary Buckham and Dianna Love, 2009) uses worksheets and examples from popular movies to show writers how to apply the Hero's Journey structure to plotting their own work. A timely read for me, since plotting is one of my weak points. My last manuscript went through three full drafts--not rewrites, but full drafts--because it took me so long to figure out what the plot actually was. And I like that it uses the Hero's Journey, which feels more organic and flexible to me that other approaches I've seen, such as Goal-Motivation-Conflict. (Full disclosure: Mary Buckham is a member of my local RWA chapter.)

The House of Hope of Fear (Audrey Young, 2009) chronicles the experience of a young medical resident at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, where I worked in a non-patient care role 2007-09. This should be required reading for anyone opposed to health care reform, since it shows what a mess the current system is. (I try not to be political on this blog, but sometimes I just can't help it.)

In the Bleak Midwinter (Julia Spencer-Fleming, 2002) is the first in a mystery series set in upstate New York and featuring a police chief (Russ) and an Episcopalian priest (Clare) as sleuths. It's very, very good, with strong writing and appealing characters. I'm normally really put off by stories that call upon the reader to root for divorce or adultery (Russ is married, not miserably but not all that happily either), but in this case I had sympathy for everyone involved.

In For a Penny (Rose Lerner, 2010) is the debut book of one of my critique partners. And it is wonderful. If you're tired of wallpaper Regency historical romances and are looking for something grounded in its place and time, this is the book for you. It's very well-written with sympathetic, engaging characters, too.

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