The Book Club Swaps: Amber and Addey

Some time ago I chose the book Sabriel by Garth Nix for Addey to read. When I was younger my first sense of world building came from this novel. The first taste of the vast scale of an area traversed, the first sense of wonder. I received all of that from this experience.

It also exposed me to a character who has stayed with me for years. The sassy and ever entertaining Mogget. While I appreciate all the characters in Sabriel, and their progression through the novel, this small fluff ball is by far my favorite. I suggested this book for Addey specifically because of the world building and the how deeply it delves into its own fictional history and to see what she thinks of it.

Now that Addey’s finished reading the book, here are her thoughts…

We’ve mentioned it before, but I have a drastically different taste in books that both Amber and Nicole.  That’s why we decided to do book swaps—we thought it would make things exciting and fun.  But, it also makes for a bit of an intimidating proposition.  It is a little stressful to take on a book that is one of your friend’s favorites but that you also know is not your typical cup of tea.

So, with all this in mind, I dove into Sabriel with trepidation.  I decided to read it first because out of the two books I got from Amber and Nicole, this seemed like the book I would like the least and I wanted to get it out of the way.  That doesn’t sound promising, does it?

Well, once I started reading I was worried that my initial thoughts were right.  The book didn’t draw me in at first and it took me quite a while to get through the first half of the book.  I think that this is due to the fact that I am not used to the world building that has to take place in fantasy.  There was a lot of confusion for me when I first started reading.  I simply didn’t understand the world Sabriel and her companions lived in, which is kid of the point of a fantasy novel that takes place in an imaginary world, but I’m not used to that.

But I plowed on anyway and noticed that I did get more involved in the story and with the characters as I read on.  Mogget confused me a bit, but was quite an interesting character, and once he came onto the scene I had a much easier time following along.  Then, once the third central character, Touchstone, showed up, I had a much easier time following.  That’s where the action really picked up and where the story became interesting to me.

In the first half of the book, I struggled to read a chapter a day, which was the goal I was striving for, and once the action picked up in the latter part of the book, I think I finished it in just a couple days.

To sum up my thoughts on Sabriel, while it wasn’t may favorite book I’ve read or anything like that, it was very good and was a nice little venture outside of my comfort zone.  I had fun reading it, and am even interested in reading the next books in the series in the future (once I can get to the library and snag them after this whole quarantine thing is over.)

If you are like me and read primarily in one genre, I think I would recommend reaching outside of your comfort zone and reading something new—especially if that something new is a recommendation from a friend who you know has good taste!

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Stay tuned for more from the book club as we all read books picked for each other and write our reviews here.  And if you want to join the club and recommend books for us to read, or take a stab at our recommendations, leave your comments and suggestions below!

Just Breathe

Sorry I have no inspirational insight for this week. Or funny tidbits to help you all on your literary journeys.

This week has been too long and yet a whirlwind that I’m still trying to catch up to. Right now I’m just trying to remind myself to breathe. Breathe, because it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Breathe, because it’s okay to feel anxious. Breathe, because it’s okay to breakdown a little. Your emotions are not a burden, they are not for anyone to judge.

Just breathe…because you can only go up from here.

Because not all who wander are lost. Sometimes that is where the best inspiration can come from.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to simply breathe. You are not alone. Take this post as a gentle reminder that you are fine wherever you are at, and everything will fall in place soon.

Writerly Inspirations: July Nineteenth

This week on the blog we have another collaborative piece–this time written by our fiction and poetry editors. It’s not an exquisite corpse, per se, but was written in a similar style.

To concoct this poem, Amber and Addey texted lines back and forth. It’s a fun way to get some inspiration if you’re feeling a little bit stuck–you never know where a poem or story is going to go when using this method, and usually it’s not where you would expect!

Try collaborating with a writer friend and see how your separate inspirations combine into one creative work, and check out Amber and Addey’s poem below!

Night Rider

by Amber Porter and Addey Vaters

A glimmer, a splash of steel in the night.

Stars twinkle in shimmering red metallic pigment,

copper stringlets woven between fingers.

Frustration escaped her lips in a loud sigh.

Ignorance is bliss they say,

but his ignoring her was far from blissful.

Clouds moved across the sky, shrouding the moon—

the stars now ignoring her, too.

Fate seemed determined to make her feel less than.

No—enough.  It was her turn to do the ignoring.

Turning her back on the moon,

she yanked the car door open.  Plucking keys

from their hiding place, she revved the car and sped away—

leaving him to his Apple illuminated face.

A Writing Prompt

This week I have a writing prompt for you. It’s nothing too outlandish and should, hopefully, be a fun challenge.

Write a short story—or flash fiction piece—that has seamlessly integrated the first ten titles of your current song playlist or watch list.

Remember that you shouldn’t be afraid of wherever your writing takes you!

I hope you all have a good week, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some results of this prompt in our spring journal submissions!