Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everybody! I’m spending some time in an old project today, and trying not to melt in the heat because Boston suddenly realized that spring is almost over so it better hurry up with this warm weather. Let’s get the weekend started with some book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Beautiful take on friendship and first crushes and loss and hope, with Stead’s gorgeous writing.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer
Fun and historically interesting, but for girl-on-a-ship, Charlotte Doyle still gets my vote.

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
More an exploration into people who love octopuses. Not as scientific as I’d hoped for.

Links Galore

Lots of  links I’ve been saving:

Motivation Monday

I’m getting myself back on the blogging train after a couple weeks of off-line activity (marathon, NESCBWI, life with a dog), so today feels like a great time to share this fantastic comic by Debbie Ridpath Ohi:

It’s really easy to focus on all the scary “what ifs” and “you can’ts” and so on, but for today, let’s focus on what we can do. And then do the same tomorrow.

(PS–Debbie regularly posts writing inspiration illustration, so make sure to check out the rest of her work.)

Kidlit for Cancer Research

This time next week, I’ll be running the Boston Marathon with the Dana-Farber team. I ran with Dana-Farner last year, too, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

But for charity team runners like me, fundraising for a great cause is even more important than the race itself. On the Dana-Farber team, we raise money for innovative cancer research at the Claudia Adams Barr Program, where scientists use this seed money to fund creative and dynamic projects that could make major lifesaving changes for patients and families. I know way too many people whose lives have been affected by cancer in some way, and I’m so honored to be part of these efforts to support science and fight cancer.

Right now, you can help support science and fight cancer AND win some awesome writerly items. What more could you want? Check out Kidlit for Cancer Research, in which some fantastic writers and agents have donated signed books and query/first page critiques! There’s some seriously awesome stuff like:

The auction closes tonight, so get your bids in now! 100% of funds raised go to groundbreaking research at the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Going to the Dogs: a Lesson from Olly and the Crufts Dog Show

Recently, a friend and I were talking about the phrase “going to the dogs.” Humans’ relationship with dogs have changed in the last few centuries, and how we think of dogs as great companions. How can something “going to the dogs” still be a bad thing?

And if anyone can teach us about how to deal with the bad things, it’s dogs. Example: Olly the Terrier.

Olly didn’t have a great showing at the recent Crufts dog show–major fail right away, face plant right into the ground.

But Olly didn’t care.

He was “all over the place” after that and ran the wrong way through one of the challenges, but, as the announcer said, he was “having a ball.”

Olly knows a thing or two about how to handle failure.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we don’t have the show we wanted. But that doesn’t mean getting upset or mad at ourselves or quitting. Instead, maybe that means we should find the joy in what we’re doing and go after that. Maybe we’re not going to win the dog show this year, but we’re going to have some fun while we’re there.

Failure is hard. Disappointment is hard. But no one can take that Olly-ish joy away from you when you’re doing something you love.

From now on, if something’s “going to the dogs,” respond like Olly the dog. Find your enthusiasm, find your confidence, and keep at it.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! How is it that this week’s felt so long and so short all at once? Also it snowed today and all I want to do is wrap myself in a comforter and not leave the house until April. Fortunately, in that scenario I could still read, so let’s get the weekend started with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Great collection of essays about race, sexism, education, media, and Scrabble.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Wanted more from Oscar as a character, but Díaz’s writing is stellar.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Wish I had a fifth grade class to share this with. Heart-wrenching and heartwarming.