Saturday, June 14, 2008

Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business and More by Entrepreneur Press and George Sheldon

iconiconAlthough I have actually been freelancing for over three years, I decided to review this book for my Reading 4 Writers blog. I get a lot of emails from newbie writers, so I thought some of them might be interested in this book!

The book is also available in ebook formaticon at a less expensive price.

Also be sure to check out a discussion about a related topic here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Truancy by Isamu Fukui

iconiconI first heard about Truancy by Isamu Fukui on NPR a couple of weeks ago. There are two stories about the novel and its teenaged author on NPR: Student Chronicles High School Misery in 'Truancy' and Teenage Author an Inspiration to Peers. I highly recommend listening to both radio spots.

Having been 14 when I wrote my first novel, I have a lot of respect for Fukui's vision — not to mention for the fact that he was able to follow through and get his novel published as a teen (with the help and encouragement of his dad, it sounds like). However, I think it's also pretty obvious in the novel that he is a teen, so don't expect the work of a child prodigy!

Two things I noticed that betrayed Fukui's age and lack of experience as a writer:

* He uses a lot of adverbs. And I mean a lot. Most books on writing fiction advise against using them at all when you can help it, and although I don't tend to agree with that hardline approach, there are parts of Truancy where I had to laugh at the use of adverbs.

* The main pacifist, and really the hero of the book, is Fukui's first name spelled backwards: Usami. It's a clever way of reminding the reader that Fukui is trying to send a message about how futile violence is, but it's also very transparent, and kind of egotistical in a teenaged kind of way.

Those caveats aside, Truancy is an engaging, yet thought-provoking, read. I would highly recommend it to both teens and adults!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss

iconiconNote: The image links to the bargain book at B&N, where you can get the paperback for $2.99.  Because there are limited quantities this price won't be available forever, so get it while you can!

I bought Molly Gloss's The Hearts of Horses on impulse during one of my last trips to the bookstore. The novel is about a young woman during World War I who works as a "broncbuster," someone who breaks and trains horses — except Martha does it using natural horsemanship, rather than the brutal way that horses were typically broken back then.

Although the book is fiction, the descriptions of Martha's training methods are ones that I recognize from real life (as I am a horse owner). For instance, in one scene Martha makes her horse spin in fast, tiny circles as punishment for misbehavior. I've seen my trainer to that to my own horse when he is being rude or not listening.

Another thing I noticed about this book was that it was written in more of a literary style. It wasn't one of those books that you can't put down, nor was it a particularly fast read, but it was still compelling in its own way. I would highly recommend it to any horse lover, particularly one who is interested in natural horsemanship.