Friday, January 22, 2010

Magazine Writing from the Boonies

by Mark Zuehlke and Louise Donnelly
Carleton University Press, 1992

Although the intended audience is writers who live in the "boonies," I figured there'd be information of use to those who are more urbanly situated. I was right. The book covers the quest for ideas and how to sell them, the fine art of negotiating with publishers/editors, how to conduct research and interviews, how to organize your thoughts to produce interesting articles, etc. The writing style is informal and easy to read, which is as it should be given the subject matter.

While the book is somewhat outdated in terms of the technology aspects discussed, in expected payment amounts, and a changed market, the aspiring author can still glean much.

I encourage the authors to create a revised and updated version, but in the meantime will keep my eyes open for this one wherever used books are sold.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There's a Cow Under My Bed! / There's a Goldfish in my Shoe!

by Valerie Sherrard, illus by David Jardine
Tuckamore Books, 2008 / 2009

These fun, rhyming picture books star Oscar Ollie Brown, a boy who can't understand his mother. She says the strangest things: "You must have ants inside your pants," "A frog is in your throat," "Can't you hold your tongue?" "Be a lamb." Oscar Ollie Brown takes all her statements literally, which makes for some humorous interpretations and outcomes. These stories are very reminiscent of Tedd Arnold's Parts and More Parts, which are equally wonderful books. Rhyming is never easy - Valerie and Tedd just make it look so. In terms of text There's A COW Under My Bed! was justifiably nominated for a 2010 Blue Spruce Award.

I'm not so fond of the illustrations by David Jardine, however. While their cartoonish nature is appropriate, the colours are dark, morbid, and macabre, and the representations of characters and situations can only be described as creepy.

I believe there are more Oscar Ollie Brown books to come, and I will look forward to reading them while averting my gaze from the pictures. I can only hope that an alternate illustrator will be selected for the remaining texts, but I fear it's a faint hope indeed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reading List 2010

Looking back on last year's list, I see that I read (or attempted to read) 75% of the titles. Same as the year before, and with a new plan, too. Sheesh. Oh, well. I am not a quitter. This year I'll build some flexibility into the plan. I also want to read more books that I own. I'll still be a loyal library customer, but I have books on my shelf that have yet to be cracked open and that doesn't make sense.

So here's the list for 2010, in author order:

Guide to Spiritual Warfare by E.M. Bounds

A Tangled Tale by Lewis Carroll

Who Speaks for God? Confronting the World with Real Christianity by Charles Colson

Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz

There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew

How to Be Good without Really Trying: Letting Jesus Live His Life in You by Mike Flynn

Reverend Mother's Daughter: a Real Life Story by Mary Haskett

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

One Smooth Stone by Marcia Lee Laycock

Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions: You Can Learn to Control Your Thought life by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Heaven is Real: Lessons on Earthly Joy from the Man who Spent 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

The Knifeman by William Rayner

Visioneering: God's Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision by Andy Stanley.

Magazine Writing from the Boonies: How to Write for a Living While Buried in the Backwoods by Mark Zuelhke and Louise Donnelly

Just for fun, can anyone guess which titles I own (there are 7)? I'll come up with a prize for the person who comes closest!