My First Meme – Big Read

Gacked from Ravings of a VA…

I have some quibbles with the list – HP? Pullman??  No Hemingway!!!???  I’ve read other books by authors – do they count?  And finally, what about the ones I read and would love to get the time I wasted back?  Anyway…

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. Well let’s see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Put an asterisk next to the books you’d rather shove hot pokers in your eyes than read
5) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them 😉

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 
2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling *********************************
5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman ************************************
10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller *
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34. Emma – Jane Austen
35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown *********************
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52. Dune – Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses – James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal – Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession – AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom *
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94. Watership Down – Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Writer’s Block Angst

From my journal.  Kind of whiny and angsty and stuff…

So what concerns me is this:  If you say you want to write, but you’re not writing, because you can’t think of anything you want to write, does that mean you really don’t want to write or that you have too high an expectation of yourself and you’re afraid or maybe you’re afraid that this is just another time you’ll start and not finish or is it that you have one big gorram case of writer’s block?


‘Cause that’s where I’m at right now.  Can’t think of a bloody thing I want to write, at least for longer than a few seconds or so.  And I sure don’t have any stories just bursting to get out of me.  It used to be easy.  First there were the post-nuclear war stories with me and a friend.  Then there were the World War III stories with me and all my acquaintances and friends, Then there were the space stories with my acquaintances and friends, and then there were engineer traveling the world stories with, yep, you guessed it, me and my acquaintances and friends.  And what tied them all together was ME getting the hot chick and having some neat adventures and then getting married and stuff.


And then I got married and I stopped writing that kind of thing because, after all, I had MET the girl here at home and married her and started a family.  I also realized that I was most likely not going to get the kind of job where I was often travelling internationally, and really, I didn’t want to be away from my wife and child all the time anyway.  To grow as a writer, I needed to write about somebody that was NOT me.


And so, I decided I wanted to write about my hometown. You’re supposed to write about what you know but literature or mystery or suspense were never the genre I read, only international thrillers and war, but not having been very many places you can’t write about what you don’t know…


And maybe I’m a very good scene writer but kind of weak at characterization and absolutely unskilled at plots, but there’s no one to teach me how to do that, anyway.  The one time I went to a writer’s group it was a disaster.  They informed me that I wasn’t even writing in their genre and besides, my story should have started in the middle, and the story I’d spent three years polishing and having people tell me was good was, in fact, not good.  And that shook my confidence, and besides, nobody makes a living as a writer, not really, and who am I, and I’m 37, and isn’t it time I grew up anyway?


And these and other thoughts are assaulting me because that thing called Resistance is really strong, and that’s where I’m at, because I haven’t come up with the weapons I need to fight it, namely persistence, perseverance, and so on.


And worse is that I’ve read truly good books by masters of the craft, and other people have written badly written books about boy wizards and become runaway successes, and I realize that what I turn out probably won’t be either, and that doesn’t help either.


And that’s when I just write in my journal occasionally, whining about how I’m procrastinating and stuck and vowing that I will start to write, and then a week or two goes by and I’m writing the same thing in my journal, and so I have accomplished nothing, and the cycle starts again, because I vowed, and as soon as I figure out what genre and locale and what POV I’ll use, and then there’s that whole pesky plot thing again, and creating characters but who wants to spend time on the villain when I want to work on the characters I like, such as the main character, the hero guy, and the hot chick that he has a romance with – not too deep, mind you, just your typical James Bond coupling, except wait, I want to reflect Christian values, so maybe I’ll make them married, except that then the whole situation changes, so okay, he’s married and no relations with the hot chick, but what fun is that, so now what do I do?  And besides, he’s getting awfully suspiciously like me, and that’s not how it supposed to be, so let’s go back and create this character, the hero guy, who gets the hot chick, except not if they’re not married, and here we go again…


War was so easy to write.  Just plop my characters into a battle and off I went, and made sure to describe all the really cool hardware while I was at it.  International spy was easy too, because the character just went to exotic locales had had gunfights with the bad guy’s henchmen, and the girl was the one he rescued and fell willingly into his arms (in both types).  Except that real life, of course, is never that easy but who wants to write about real life?


And then I wanted to, and I didn’t know how, because I never read that kind of stuff, and couldn’t think of a plot that didn’t involve a gun battle of some type.  Which is great for potboilers and so-called men’s adventure but not so good for getting published in a magazine.  At least it wasn’t too useful for short stories.  I didn’t want to write potboilers, so writing a book length thing was kind of out, and besides, that took me right back into that whole not writing about what I didn’t know scenario.


And so that’s where I’m at today, at least part of it.



Gen Y vs. Gen X

I like to think of myself as being pretty up to date with technology, but something happened the other day that showed me I’m getting old.

I was in the bathroom at work- a fairly conservative engineering firm – and I was done with my business and washing my hands, when I heard beeping and booping and music from the the stalls.  Then I heard the sound of a laser firing and a hit being made.

Okay, I admit that a lot of guys take newspapers and magazines to the bathroom.  Personally, I don’t get it because I don’t enjoy sitting there with my pants down and smelling the, uh, smells.  But whatever.

I gotta say, though, this is the first time I’ve heard anyone take a videogame into the bathroom instead!

Am I just getting old? Or is this pretty normal?


Beating Procrastination: Thoughts

Recently I discovered this blog by Meg Hyatt, whose father is president of Thomas Nelson publishing.  I ran into her dad’s blog via Getting Things Done, and through twitter I discovered his daughter.

Her post is on running in the heat and humidity and I encourage you to read it.  It was one of the comments that caught my attention, and I’m excerpting it here because I think it’s really good:

 6  Bridget  on June 8, 2008 at 8:01 pm

A Few Observations

* The more we make excuses, the more we buy into them, the easier it is to make additional excuses to support our mind-created beliefs. These beliefs become our story, and our excuses become our reality.
* Delaying is addictive. Even if your intention is to put it off “just this one time”. The act of putting it off sets a chain of reactions that will make it easier to delay this task again. In fact, it becomes more likely that the task will be postponed again.
* What we repeat in our mind actually exaggerates the scale of the task involved. It snowballs larger and larger, until the task becomes so big that you will never get it done.
* Constantly thinking about doing something but avoiding the actual act of doing it takes energy. You end up spending more energy pondering about it and making excuses for it than just getting it done. You’ll actually save time and attention energy by just doing it.
* We can only move on with our lives when we can get past our internal conflict between our story of procrastination and our desire to get it done. You really start to be productive when you can change your attitude.
* When you break the cycle and start, you’ll be surprised at how quick and easy the task actually takes. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t just get it done in the first place.

What are your excuses?  How do you beat procrastination?