This One’s for the Girls

Parks and Recreation gave us so many great TV moments, and Galentine’s Day (aka February 13, when we celebrate the great women in our lives) is one of the best.

Although I can’t be brunching with my favorite ladies today, it’s a great excuse to share some of my favorite female non-romantic bookish relationships. My criteria: all members of the relationship have to be well-developed characters with their own stories and motivations (ie, no friends who basically be taken out of the story without it affecting the plot to much). In no particular order:

code-name-verityMaddie and Julie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The most powerful story of friendship and sacrifice in YA. Or literature. COME AT ME.

The Penderwicks sisters from The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks girls are smart and thoughtful and supportive. Part of why I love this series is just getting to spend time with all of them.

Hermione and Polly from Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Even in the truly worst of experiences, Hermione and Polly’s supportive friendship shines through. I don’t have the upper body strength to be part of their cheerleading team, but I would totally hang out with them after practice.

Nikki and Maya from This Side of Home by Renée Watson
Genuine and thoughtful look at two twin sisters who are growing up and growing apart, but always have each other’s backs.

Mary, Scarlett, Tansey, and Emer from A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
Touching story about a girl, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother as they deal with life and death.

Elizabeth and Christina from Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
This was one of my favorites as a teen reader. I love how Elizabeth and Christina get to be friends through their schools’ pen pal program. Great story showing how friendships can evolve over time.

Other suggestions for great Galentine’s Day reads? Share them in the comments!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everybody! We’re digging out of a snowstorm here in the Boston area, which means all I want to do this weekend is curl up with a lot of books and baked goods. (Gotta get a run in there, too.) In the meantime, let’s kick things off with a couple of book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
A beautiful story about family and kindness and the power of stories.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Epic and engaging look at the history of cancer. Literally cried at some parts.

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
Whether it’s poetry or books for adults or YA, Woodson more than delivers.

Links Galore

The links I’ve been saving for a snowy day:

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! My week has mostly been sneezing and hacking and staring out the window like a recluse in a Victorian novel. But I’ve also gotten a little reading in, so let’s kick the weekend off with my fifteen-word-max reviews.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
I already loved the show; now I love the book, which features more obstetrics.

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
I love the Penderwicks more and more with each book. Batty is a joy.

2017 Bookish Resolutions

Yesterday I shared my 2016 reading and writing resolution results, but 2016 is over (woohoo!) so today I’m moving onto my 2017 book-related resolutions.

Reading Resolutions

  1. Finish more book series I’ve started: putting this one back on the list, since I’m still in the middle of some great series.
  2. Read more diversely: because We Need Diverse Books applies to all genres and categories, and because we need to hear these voices now more than ever.
  3. Listen to more audiobooks: after Amy Poehler helped me through an unexpectedly epic road trip, I’ve gotten into audiobooks. I always thought I’d been way too distracted to follow a narrative, but I’ve loved getting to listen to books while cooking or commuting or hanging out.
  4. Explore more picture books: I always say that writing a good picture book is like writing a good poem–seemingly easy but so hard to do well. Even though I don’t have any young readers in my house, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good story and some awesome illustration.
  5. Read more poetry: I took poetry classes in college, both writing and literature, and really enjoyed it, but my experience with poetry has seriously dropped off since then. The nice thing about poetry is that it’s easy to work poetry in on a regular basis–you don’t need to read a whole collection at once.

Writing Resolutions

  1. Turn off the internet more: I get a lot done when I go write in coffeeshops without free wi-fi (or at least where I don’t explicitly check for the wifi info).
  2. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: back on the list for 2017, because it’s still true and I still get more done than I think I can.
  3. Revise projects that aren’t finished: I’ve got a couple of complete drafts that still need work. I’d like to get them as far as I can take them.
  4. Stretch my writing muscles: try new genres, new formats, new categories.
  5. Have fun: because this one still matters and is still a challenge. It’s hard to separate the writing itself from all the possible end results, when all the possible end results are out of my control. The writing’s in my control, and it’s the fun part, even when it’s work.

Here’s to a year of expansive reading and joyful writing. Share your 2017 bookish resolutions in the comments!

2016 Book Resolution Recap

Confession: I kinda forgot that I made reading and writing resolutions for 2016, at least in an official way. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t make some progress! Some recaps from 2016 reading and reading

1. Finish book series I’ve started: I did manage to get through a few series that I’d started, including Dairy Queen, the Wolves of Mercy Falls, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I still have some series hanging out there, but at least I didn’t start a bunch more series that I couldn’t finish.

2. Read a few books for grown-ups: I did read outside of the YA sphere, but they were all non-fiction. I think that counts.

3. Add some non-fiction to the list: Totally nailed this one! I ended up reading way more non-fiction that I’ve read in years.

4. Pick from books already on my shelves: Well, I think I did that once…

Audio Book 5. Read more, tech less: Oddly enough, I think getting into audiobooks actually helped me reading more while tech-ing.

6. Finish my current WIP: I did get through a revision of this WIP, but it needs some more work before it goes out and is currently on a break. (Sorry, characters, I still love you.)

7. Complete a new first draft: I ended up completing a new first draft! It’s still way early in the revision process, but I really like this one.

8. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: I definitely could have been better at this. It’s so easy to think that a half hour isn’t enough time, when you can do way more than you think you can.Happy Dog

9. Start outlining new projects: I’m not an outliner, but I did start a spreadsheet of potential projects with notes about what they might include.

How did your 2016 reading and writing go? What were your successes, surprises, and challenges? And what’s on tap for 2017?

Be on the lookout for my 2017 resolutions, hopefully tomorrow!