What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf and I really enjoyed it. It’s different from the contemporary YA I usually read (it’s not romance-heavy), but the humor is so spot-on, I didn’t even miss the swoon. Also, I found myself relating to main character Izzy’s worries and anxieties more than I’d like to admit. Not her issues with wanting to be sick, but to her almost overwhelming insecurities and strong desire to please everyone around her. Now, I’m reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, one of my Thirty Before 35 goals. I can already see why it and its author are considered YA royalty.

What I’m Writing: Nothing, at the moment, but I am doing lots of beta reading. Over the last two weeks, I’ve read a really lovely contemporary YA manuscript by Kate Scott (I love how she portrays characters with learning/social differences) and a super intense (and gorgeously written) futuristic YA crime thriller for Tracey Neithercott. Lucky, lucky me!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I watched the movie adaptation of the YA novel How I Live Now (it’s streaming instantly on Netflix, if you’re interested) and I’ve gotta say… I thought it was pretty amazing. I listened to the How I Live Now audiobook a few months ago, and I was torn about it. There were aspects of the story that I found so moving, and aspects that made me rather uncomfortable. Having now watched the film, I think I like the book more. Seeing what Daisy and her cousins went through… It was traumatizing, yet I couldn’t look away. And Saoirse Ronan is spectacular as Daisy.

  
In other news, I joined my daughter and her first grade class on a field trip to the zoo. It was really fun! I got to supervise my girl and two of her friends while they visited with all of the animals. Considering this is a small-town zoo, there was a lot to see: giraffes, tortoises, gorillas, and hippos, to name a few.

  
We also went strawberry picking at a local u-pick farm, and then made Strawberry Shortcake and homemade jam with the fresh berries. So yummy!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: A Pub(lishing) Crawl post by Janice Hardy called How to Turn That Shiny New Idea Into a Novel, full of questions for preliminary story planning. I’ll definitely be revisiting this one over the next few weeks. And, a post from Kate Brauning at Pub Hub called Editor’s Eyes: 3 Golden Rules for Revising, which applies to the drafting stage as well. And, What A Difference A Year Makes from my friend Jessica Love, who says: Life is weird, you guys. Things can and will happen that you never, ever expect for yourself. Try not to let the bummer times get you down, and leave yourself open to new opportunities, because you never, ever know what they can turn into. Do check out the rest of her super inspiring post. Finally, my friend Elodie Nowodazkij revealed the cover of her June, 2014 debut One, Two, Three and it’s beautiful. She’s hosting a giveaway, too, so do stop by to congratulate her.

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

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44 responses to “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. I had mixed feelings about HOW I LIVE NOW (the book) for the same reason you did. Overall it was interesting though, and I got used to the unusual writing style after a bit. I checked Canadian Netflix and the movie isn’t showing, which is all kinds of annoying because I wanted to see it. Ah well.

    That strawberry shortcake looks so summery! Strawberry season for us isn’t until July here. We’ve picked at a local farm here before, but not for a few years. Maybe this summer we’ll go again..

    Enjoy all that beta reading! I’m so intrigued about Tracey’s novel!

    • Tracey’s novel is amazing, Erin. I have super high hopes for it — I think it’ll be a big hit! And I hope you get to watch HOW I LIVE NOW soon. I’ll be interested to see if it changes your perception of the book. I still wish Daisy and her cousins could’ve just been family friends instead of actual family. I would have been able to buy into the romance MUCH easier that way. Anyway, the movie was totally haunting. Have a great week, lady!

  2. Yep, joining the HOW I LIVE NOW mixed feeling club. There were definitely parts I really loved, and the writing was gorgeous, but, like you, the romance kind of squicked me, and I also didn’t feel that the eating disorder was handled well. It felt pretty unrealistic to me.

    The zoo and strawberry picking trips look like so much fun! Your girlie is just adorable! 🙂

    • The eating disorder wasn’t as big an issue in the movie as it was in the book (and I agree that it was oddly handled in the book). In the movie, Daisy had major control issues that impacted her eating habits, but if I was forced to diagnose her, I’d say that in the movie she had OCD tendencies, and not an eating disorder. Now I want you to watch so you can tell me what you think! Anyway, have a great week, Meredith!

  3. Rachelwrites007

    Your strawberry shortcake looks beautiful. I might have to invite myself over for a taste. 😉 I also agree with the mixed club of HOW I LIVE NOW. The writing was stunning and I loved Daisy’s voice but I had a hard time with the romance. (It’s been so long I don’t even remember the eating disorder Meredith above me mentions!)
    I am also so surprised that you haven’t read SPEAK. I remember being 11 (yes, ELEVEN!) at sleepaway camp; our bunk passed around the book like it was the Holy Grail. 🙂 I was probably too young for the novel but it definitely got me into YA. I also had the pleasure of meeting LHA this year and she is the nicest, most down to earth woman ever, and she made me laugh a lot. I highly recommend her underrated CATALYST about a girl who has her plans set on MIT and her boyfriend always being with her, but things and life change when her neighbors’ house burns down and they move in with them, including a sworn girl enemy of the main character’s. It’s really beautiful and I am sooo not explaining it well.

    • I can’t believe you read SPEAK at eleven! I’m halfway through and I think it’s excellent so far. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Melinda’s story plays out. I’ve read LHA’s WINTERGIRLS (wow), but I’ve never heard of CATALYST. I’ll definitely look it up. And you’re welcome for dessert anytime. 🙂 Have a great week, Rachel!

  4. I can’t believe you have strawberries already! There’s still six inches of snow in my yard. *sobs*

    Jealousy aside, I’m so glad you’re reading SPEAK. I read it way back when I was still a teen (right when it first came out, maybe in 8th or 9th grade). It remains one of my very favorite YA books to this day. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

    • Oh, man. I don’t know how you Northeasterners do it. I think I’d be going a little crazy if I was dealing with snow in April. Of course, when August rolls around and it’s 90 and humid here, I’ll be envious of your more mild weather. 🙂 I’m halfway through SPEAK and loving it. LHA is all kinds of talented. Have a great week, lady!

  5. Hmmmmm that Strawberry Shortcake looks SO YUMMY 🙂 and it looks like you’re having a great time with your girlie 🙂
    (psss I also still need to read SPEAK :P) Thanks again so much for helping with my cover reveal (not only yesterday but behind the scenes too)…I am very grateful for the internet that just makes people like you so much closer ❤

    • It’s been a priviledge to follow along with your publication journey, Elodie. Thank you for letting me be so involved. I cannot wait to have my very own copy of ONE, TWO, THREE! Congrats on a beautiful cover, lady!

  6. I think I enjoyed How I live Now, though it’s been a while since I read it and I haven’t seen the adaptation.

    Enjoy the beta reading! Kate’s book sounds really interesting.

  7. I have HOW I LIVE NOW in my Netflix queue waiting for me to watch it. I seem to be the only person not weirded out by the romance – what does that say about me? LOL.

    Have you watched the SPEAK movie yet? Really great adaptation. Although I was lucky enough to see it before Kristen Stewart became Bella. Now I can’t look at her without thinking of sparkly vampires.

    • Well, you can’t be the only one not weirded out by the romance in HILN. I know that book has a huge following, and it really is an incredible story. I only wish Daisy and her cousins could’ve just been family friends. Why did they have to be related? I’m not sure what that did for the story, you know? Anyway, I haven’t watched the SPEAK movie yet because I’m waiting until I’ve finished the book. I’ve heard it’s very well done. Looking forward to checking it out! Have a wonderful week, Jennifer!

  8. I haven’t read HOW I LIVE NOW but I’m curious, so maybe I’ll check it out before seeing the movie. Enjoy SPEAK! It’s such a great book.

    Your strawberry photos are making me excited for when berry season hits CT! We have a u-pick farm not too far away, and it looks like we can pick strawberries starting in June. I’ve never done it before so I’m excited. 🙂

    I was also inspired by Jessica’s recent post and Elodie’s cover reveal. It’s so great to celebrate other writer friends’ successes.

    • I love celebrating my friends’ success. It makes my own so-so days much brighter. 🙂 You’ll have to let me know what you think of HOW I LIVE NOW if you decide to read it. It’s definitely the type of book that sticks with you. Have an awesome week, Ghenet!

  9. OH MY GOSH! HOW I LIVE NOW IS MY FAVORITE MOVIE EVER!!!!!!
    I actually posted a movie review of this a few weeks ago on my blog.
    I just loved it so much. The romance between Eddie and Daisy does not weird me out. The fact that they’re family is what pushes all of them to survive for each other and stick together. Despite the war, Daisy is saved. She is saved by Eddie, the cousin who should have been there all along for her, so OBVIOUSLY they fall in love! They’re just perfect for each other.
    I cried, the ending was so beautiful.
    And I must admit, I liked the movie much more than the book. That rarely happens.

    I am going to follow you via… everything! Haha. I like your blog 🙂

    http://theveggiepolyglotographer.blogspot.fr/

    • I loved reading your movie review! And you’re right about the end… Totally made my heart hurt, but it was definitely beautiful. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. 🙂

  10. I love strawberry-picking. One of my hiatused WIPs, which is third in line in the queue to get back to, is set on a strawberry farm in Béziers, France for about the second half of the book.

    As far as I can remember, the last time I went to a real zoo (not just a petting zoo) was in the summer of ’93, when I was thirteen and went to the Pittsburgh Zoo with my maternal grandparents and favorite aunt. I’m glad zoos, at least in the U.S., have come so far and no longer have animals behind bars in cages.

    • The zoo we visited was really cool. There were some enclosures, but there was also a huge “preserve” area where the (non-predatory) animals mingled and roamed. A little train traveled through it, and the conductor gave a little talk about each of the animals. We learned a lot! Have a great week, Carrie-Anne!

  11. The Pub Crawl post has the most perfect timing for me. Thanks, Katy!

  12. That looks like such a fun trip! I wanna feed a giraffe!

    Ooh, those do sound like some exciting beta reading projects. Lucky you 😀

    Have a wonderful week!

  13. Thanks for sharing the link to that Pub Hub post on revising. I think it will be helpful in my own (pain in the neck) revisions. I started reading HOW I LIVE NOW a few years back and really couldn’t get into it. The voice was hard for me to handle. (Though, a lot of people actually love the voice, so it might be just me.) I have been thinking about checking the movie out, though.

    I’m envious of your yummy strawberries. We still have about 3-4 months to go before strawberry season here. Crazy that there’s that much difference geographically on that kind of thing, hey? Your zoo trip with C looks like tons of fun. Hope you’re having a great week, Katy!

    • So, I listened to the HOW I LIVE NOW audiobook, which was probably a good call because I’ve heard that the writing style is rather odd. That said, the narrator’s voice is oddly chipper for such a heartbreaking story. Maybe just watch the movie and call it a day? It was pretty freaking good. Enjoy those strawberries when they’re finally ripe! 🙂

  14. I hadn’t realized there was a movie of HOW IT LIVE NOW. I liked the book okay, but wasn’t thrilled with it, for a lot of the same reasons you said.

    Also, I love that you love how I portray diverse characters. Yay us!

    Have a great week!

    • I’d be curious to see if you like the movie version of HOW I LIVE NOW more than the book, Kate. If you watch, let me know! Hope you have a great week as well. 🙂

  15. LHA is a must-read author. I just read her The Impossible Knife of Memory and thought it was superb. Speak is also so so good.
    I haven’t read How I Live Now, nor did I know there was a movie adaptation. I’ll have to check it out.

    • I’ve read LHA’s WINTERGIRLS and I thought it was excellent. I’m 3/4 through SPEAK and I can totally see why it’s stood the test of time. Let me know what you think of HOW I LIVE NOW if you decide to read/watch. 🙂

  16. I’ve heard so many things about How I Live Now, I really need to watch it and read the book! Glad you’re beta-ing some amazing manuscripts, it always gives me a sense of accomplishment helping other awesome writers out. I’m going to go check out all those inspiring links!

    • Yes! I love offering beta feedback. I hope the notes I give are as helpful to the writer as the experience of reading is for me. Have a great week, Prerna!

  17. Alison Miller

    SO glad you’re reading Tracey’s story! It’s SO GOOD! And yes – also glad you’re reading SPEAK. I’ve read five or six of LHA’s stories and she is just the goddess of prose and storytelling, IMHO.

  18. Dang, girl! You’ve been reading your eyeballs out! Sounds awesome.

  19. Aw, thank you, lady. 🙂 And I also loved HOW I LIVE NOW. It wasn’t as good as the book, but for a movie adaptation it was pretty great. It was quiet but intense, like the book, and I thought the actress did a great job. Oh, and confession: I haven’t read SPEAK yet either! *hangs head in shame*

    • I finished SPEAK last night and I thought it was incredible. I totally understand why it’s remained popular through 15 years (!) of publication. You should read it soon, Trace!

  20. Oooh, Speak is so good! I briefly (and awkwardly) met Laurie Halse Anderson at a reading once and she is absolutely the nicest person ever. Love her!

    • You know, there are a couple of “extras” at the end of SPEAK in which LHA discusses the book and the possibility of a sequel and she seemed like a fantastic person just within those few short pages. I’d love to meet her at a bookish event one of these days! Lucky you!

  21. That’s an unusual thing, where a movie adaptation makes you love the book more–at least IMO. Often I love the book more, or I enjoy the movie, but the movie doesn’t affect my appreciation (or lack thereof) of the book. Cool!

    Sounds like you’ve been doing some great reading. SPEAK needs to be on my TBR, if it isn’t already (hard to remember–it’s way too long!). And lucky you with all that beta reading. Have a wonderful week, Katy! 🙂

    • Oh, you should try to read SPEAK soon, Colin. I can’t believe I put it off for so long. Such a profound book — I totally see why it (and its author) are so incredibly popular. Hope you have a great week as well!

  22. I think giraffes might be one my most favorite animals. They’re just so friendly looking! And isn’t it fun to do those field trips with the kiddo? It’s so fun to see what they are like interacting with their friends that they see every day. SPEAK has been on my TBR list forever. I’ll get there! Have a great weekend, Katy.

    • The giraffes we visited were so sweet. They’re enormous, so it was surprising when they were relatively gentle taking the food. Hope you get to read SPEAK soon, Kitty! I finished last night and thought it was incredible.