Book Club Christmas Party

Book Club Christmas Party

You may not know this but I host a book club in my neighborhood.  We had an awesome Christmas book exchange on December 2. I wanted to blog about it in case anyone wants some fun ideas for their book club.

There was tons of food. Thank you Brit for modeling the food for us :)

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There was:

  • Pistachio Pudding
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Bread
  • Heath Bar Fruit Dip
  • Christmas Crack
  • Baked Taquitos
  • Cheese Ball and Crackers
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Bruschetta
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Club Squares
  • Soy Soaked Cream Cheese with Crackers

And it was so yummy. I’m really glad I didn’t eat dinner because I had seconds of everything.

Everyone brought their favorite book and we had a book exchange.

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Here’s everyone before the gift exchange begins! (Sorry some of them are blurry!!)

We passed around presents using this rhyme.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Give your gift to someone to whom you’ve talked today.

Sleigh bells ring, ring, ring and ring into the night,Give your gift to the person who’s directly on your right.

Hark the herald angels singing from above, Give your gift to someone whose shirt or shoes you love.

The little drummer boy is drumming a song for two, Your gift will now go to the person furthest from you.

Rudolph the reindeer’s nose was very very red, To your left the present now goes, Santa’s elves said.

Santa Claus is coming faster than you know, Give it to anyone you want because now you’re a pro!

Joy to the world and all that good cheer, Give the gift to someone who’s wearing earrings in their ear.

Deck the halls with boughs, of holly red and green, Share your gift with someone whom you sit between.

Silent nights aren’t so silent when you have a kid, Pass your gift to someone to whom you already did.

Go tell it on a mountain that the game is so nearly done!, Toss your present to someone who looks like they’re having fun.

We wish you a merry christmas and want you to know this is the last, Give your final gift to someone you haven’t in the past.

Sometimes someone would end up with more than one gift from a line in the poem and then they would just give out more on the next line.  Dayna ended up with a bunch once!

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Each person opened the present they ended up with one at a time so we could hear why it was the favorite of the person who brought it.  Here’s the stack of books opened.

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I got a reading journal for everyone.  I tried to make it look like a tree when they were all stacked.

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Merry Christmas everyone!!

What are some things you love doing for you book club at Christmas time?

Book vs Movie: Sherlock – A Study In Scarlet

Book vs Movie: Sherlock – A Study In Scarlet

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I hate crime shows but I LOVE Sherlock. The character of Sherlock never reacts the way you think he will.  His character is what makes this show amazing.  I loved the battle of wits with the killer.  It was epic and I totally think Sherlock would have taken that pill! (If you’ve seen A Study in Pink then you know what I’m talking about). The cinematography is creative with text on the screen for what Sherlock is thinking, text messages, traffic signs while chasing down murderers etc.

The story line feels so completely modern that I was curious about how much inspiration they use from the original story.  I read A Study in Scarlet before watching episode 1 of the first season of Sherlock which is called A Study in Pink.  When I saw how much was actually in common between the two, I was blown away by what an amazing job they did of taking the story line and elements from the book and making them modern.

After watching A Study in Pink I was surprised at how many details are straight from the book or as close as they could get it considering the modern time period.

  • Watson fought in Afghanistan, just hundreds of years apart between the setting of the movie and the book.  That still kind of blows my mind.
  • Watson tells his friend that he is looking for a place to live.  In the book his friend says that Sherlock is eccentric.  In the movie the friend simply says, “Yep, he’s always like that.”
  • Sherlock and Watson meet in a lab/morturary for the first time where Sherlock is doing experiments
  • Sherlock and Watson’s first interaction is Sherlock asking about Afghanistan.  However, in the book he politely says “I perceive” while in the movie he just bluntly asks “Afghanistan or Iraq?”
  • Sherlock has a passion for definite and exact knowledge
  • They live at 221B Baker Street
  • Sherlock has a homeless network do spying for him.  This shows up in the book A Study in Scarlet but isn’t in the show until later in the season.
  • Two pills – one poison and one harmless
  • The suicide happens in an old house in Brixton
  • Sherlock says that he is a “consulting detective” which is a job he made up.
  • Watson compliments Sherlock and you can tell that Sherlock revels in it.
  • The cabbie breifly mentions that he’s survived because God just loves him – an allusion to the theme of religion in the original story where he asked them to pick a pill as revenge and let God decide their fate.
  • The murderer was a cabbie.  In the book it was a disguise and in the movie it was his real job.
  • The murderer is dying of aneurism.  In the movie it’s in his brain instead of his heart.
  • Sherlock has the idea that a man’s brain is like a house and you stock it with things you choose – like a mind palace!! – which comes up later in the season. (page 12)
  • Watson has a blog to document their crime solving which is an updated version of Watson documenting Sherlock in the books. As part of the marketing for the show, they have a real blog that looks like it’s written by John Watson!  There are comments and everything and it’s hilarious.

 

Reading this list made me realize how clever of an adaption it really is.  The things they changed were to add modern devices like the mobile phone instead of the ring.

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Book

  1. Sherlock’s character seems cheerful, eccentric, bluntly honest, sarcastic and loves flattery.
  2. Sherlock doesn’t learn things that he sees as irrelevant like the theory of the solar system.
  3. Sherlock asks Watson very politely to share their faults with each other to see if they can live together.
  4. Mr. Lestrade is described as rat faced in the book
  5. The wedding ring was held by the dead person
  6. The word “rache” is spelled in blood on the wall because it means “revenge” in German
  7. The motive for the killer is revenge for the death of the girl he loved who was forced into marriage
  8. I know from a special feature that Sherlock deducts information about Watson from a pocket watch from a short story in the Sherlock series.
  9. The girl’s name was Lucy
  10. Sherlock doesn’t want to help because the cops will get the credit.
  11. The murderer approahes crime scene pretending to be drunk.
  12. Sherlock puts an ad for a found ring and sees who claims it.
  13. Sherlock tests the pills on a dog so they know that one was poison and one was real. But the murderer is still alive and reveals it too. (Sad that they just killed the dog!)
  14. The revenge plot was removed.  In the book a man named Ferrier adopts a girl named Lucy and they “join” the Mormons.  Lucy loves Jefferson (the eventual murderer). Lucy dies from a broken heart after a forced marriage and her father is murdered by the Mormons. Jefferson uses a nose bleed to write on the wall.

Movie

  1. Sherlock has all the same characteristics as the character from the book except for the cheerful one I think. They had him be more of a high functioning sociopath.
  2. Sherlock learns everything and sees everything as relevant.
  3. Sherlock bluntly points out Watson’s faults when Watson says that they don’t know each other and don’t know if they can live together as roommates
  4. Mr. Lestrade looks normal and not like a rat.
  5. The wedding ring was worn by the dead person
  6. The word “rache” is scratched into the floor and was her daughter’s name and password to her phone.  Sherlock says the word “revenge” in the floor is too obvious and lame.  I love how it pokes fun at the original story.
  7. String of suicides is the case they are working on. Loved the question of how can you have serial suicides.  Such an interesting twist on a crime!  Nothing connects them that they know of until they find out later it’s they rode in the wrong cab.
  8.  Sherlock deducts Watson’s family dynamics from looking at his mobile phone.
  9.  The girl’s name is Jennifer Wilson.
  10. Sherlock wants to help because he enjoys the hunt and he’s so smart that he’s bored.
  11. The murderer approaches the cops as a cabbie confidnet that no one will notice him
  12. Sherlock has Watson text the murderer because he still has the phone to see what he’ll do.
  13. The murderer reveals the game to Sherlock but only if he’ll play along.
  14. Watson is  kidnapped to meet Sherlock’s brother who calls himself Sherlock’s arch-enemy.

 

Questions

There were a few elements in the Sherlock series that I’m curious about if they are in the book or not.  I wanted to write them here in case I come across any of these things as I finish reading the Sherlock series.  And if you know the answer to any of them I’d love to know!

1. Watson has a real shoulder injury from the war and a psychosomatic leg injury with a limp and a cane.  Is that in a later story?

2. Is Mrs. Hudson, the land lady in the book?

3. Is Sally Donovan or an equivalent character of a deputy or assistant to Lestrade anywhere in the books?

4. Why was the book called A Study in Scarlet?

5. How does Moriarty show up in the book?  He’s not in A Study in Scarlet.

6. What does Sherlock mean that the killer’s mistake was “pink”?

5 Stars

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#NaNoWriMo Week 1: Writing is a Blend of Genius and Crap

#NaNoWriMo Week 1: Writing is a Blend of Genius and Crap

How is week one of NaNoWriMo going you ask?

My novel is turning out something like this:

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And Lorelai Gilmore would like to add “monkey monkey underpants” to my word count as well. I relate a lot to her in this clip.

Some parts of my novel are coming out great. I really like some of the names I’ve come up with.  Some of the themes in my novel blow my mind at their awesomeness and cleverness. Most of my novel, though, looks like this:

She hears rustling behind her.  Her dog is dumb and doesn’t move.  Someone is following her.

She dries the laptop off as best she can.  She shoves it in her bag along with her other things. She walks back to the square.  The ugly dude is gone.  The stocks sit there, empty.

On the grounds where the ancient cathedral used to be, there is a small house with the light on.  It’s where he lives with his adopted father, Garrett. Maybe Garrett has a title.  Like Hippie Garrett.  But that’s dumb.

My perfectionist brain doesn’t like this. Doesn’t like this at all.  My perfectionist brain should have planned better for NaNoWriMo with an outline or something.

I think this experience has taught me that I like outlines.

I also think I would like the creative process a little more if I could take it slowly.

I’ve felt mostly stressed and overwhelmed through this process.  I thought I could just sit down and have fun and the words would just come! Magic and unicorns!

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I think I will like the editing process a lot better.  I’m also trying as best I can to just have fun and not care whether it’s “good” or not.  Sometimes I’m able to turn of the Doubt-inator inside my head but I haven’t been able to this weekend and I’ve only written 600 words in two days.  That puts me about 2000 words behind.  I spend a lot of time staring at the computer screen.

My novel has turned into a stream of consciousness and pointing out my own plot holes so that I’ll keep moving.  It makes me laugh and have a little more fun when I do that. But it also gives me the sads that my novel isn’t very good.

The thing I’ve learned the most is THAT I MISS BLOGGING!!!!! SO MUCH!!!! I love knowing exactly what I need to write (i.e. a book review) and thinking of a creative way to say it. I love the satisfaction of finishing something and publishing it! I don’t get that with my novel :(

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This has been a good learning experience for me.  I’m learning a lot about myself that I wouldn’t know otherwise.  The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I DO want to write a novel…maybe just not in 30 days next time.  However, I am stubborn determined to finish this since I started it if for no other reason than I want Scrivener half off.  That program delights my obsessive, organized brain.

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No Joey! A dinosaur wouldn’t quit and neither will I!!

Any of you have any writing tips?

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo

So I have this friend Karena who is a writer.  She started a writing group and invited me because I write a little bit and I review books.  I told her about the one and only book idea I had when she asked if I wanted to be a writer.  She thought I should write it. So I did. I brought one scene of my book idea to writing group and everyone thought I should finish the book.  But I couldn’t.

I was scared of writing a novel.

I used to be a piano major in school and it was HARD.  I worked my butt off and eventually decided after two years that piano wasn’t for me.  I had learned enough in college to teach, which is what I loved doing, but I no longer loved piano like I used to.  The hard work had made my beloved hobby a chore.  I haven’t played the piano for fun in over 7 years.  I told myself it was because I didn’t love it anymore but I think the real reason was I let myself believe that I wasn’t good at playing the piano.

I love reading. I love this book review blog.  I love the short stories that I write.  What if my last hobby that I love dearly turns into a dreadful job that I hate, too? What will I have left after that?

It’s a real fear to me, but when I told that to my husband he said, “That’s the weirdest reason for not doing something I’ve ever heard.  How will you know if you like it if you don’t try it?”

Good question.  I thought I wouldn’t like book blogging. My sister talked me into blogging because she loves it.  I didn’t have anything to talk about besides books so I decided I would blog every day for 30 days just about books to see if I liked it.  Turns out I did since I’m still doing it 3 1/2 years later.  I should write every day for 30 days to see if I like it and hey what do you know but that’s what NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is.  You write 1500 words a day and at the end of the month you will have a novel length thing of words.

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Friend me on NaNoWriMo – I’m “booksatruestory”

I have officially signed up for NaNoWriMo.  My goal is to be creative, have fun, try to turn my internal editor off, get to know my brain a little bit, and write every single day.  I know that I could go through the tedious process of editing and revising but the big question mark for me is – will I like the creative side of writing?  I’m going to use everything I learned from Laini Taylor about brainstorming and finding a story cat.  My fingers are crossed that I end up loving this crazy hobby called writing.

I like challenges.  I like little progress bars. I like badges (OMG did you see the badges? I want them all!)  I like online community.  I think NaNoWriMo is going to be a blast since it is all of those things in one.

And if it turns out making up stuff isn’t my thing, there’s always book blogging. :)

P.S. I decided to start playing the piano again and guess what? It’s fun and I love it just as much as I ever did.

P.P.S. If you want to friend me on NaNoWriMo I’m “booksatruestory”

 Sponsor Me

As I mentioned above, I love getting badges and one of the badges is to raise money for the charity that runs NaNoWriMo.  If you would like to sponsor even a little bit, it helps run creative writing programs for kids.  You can deduct it from your taxes AND I promise to name a character after you :) (But only if you want to be a character)  Click here to donate or at the button below.

My Word Count Badge

If you want to see my progress of how many words I’ve written, I will have this badge in the sidebar that will update all month long.

My Dream Job

My Dream Job

I finished reading Quiet by Susan Cain and it brought up the point that a lot of introverts (which I consider myself to be) are so used to repressing their natural instincts that when they grow up they often find themselves in professions that they don’t enjoy and that don’t suit their temperaments.  She had a few tips on how to find what you really want to do, but the one that stuck out to me the most was the question, “Who are you jealous of?”  Career-wise anyway.  Jealousy is an ugly emotion but what if you used it to tap into what you really want to do?  I’d never thought of that before.  So I did some thinking and came up with people who’s jobs I’m jealous of.  I’m jealous of authors and book editors and my husband’s job.  I had to sit down and think about the reasons.

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I’m jealous of authors because of the book tours they get to go on.  I love the idea of traveling.  I love going new places.  Let’s be honest though.  I don’t have to be an author to travel.  Plus if I travel for fun I don’t have to give presentations.  The reality of traveling for work is probably more along the lines of this:

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and not this:

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I stand in terror of the idea of giving an author presentations, but if I overcame stage fright for my piano playing I could do it for being an author as well.  I love writing, but I’m not the kind of person that is just bombarded with ideas that I want to turn into books.  I think I could be an author someday if I studied the craft of writing a novel a little more, but I have a feeling that coming up with a story will be a lot of work that might not come naturally to me, which I don’t have the time or motivation to do right now.

I’m jealous of book editors because I love critiquing books.  I think I could do well as a book editor because, after reading a job description, I found that they also do a little financial work to keep projects on task and are involved with the marketing.  That job just sounds so awesome to me.  I majored in finance in college and I feel like I could do a great job with understanding marketing trends with my experience as a book blogger.  There are some problems with this dream job.  I have no experience as an actual editor and most of the jobs are in New York.  Utah does have a few small publishers that I could work for but they don’t always publish the kinds of books that I’m interested in reading.  As cool as the job sounds, it seems like being an editor is less reading and editing books and more group/project work which doesn’t appeal to me quite as much, though I think I could do it and do it well.  The thing that I love the most about the idea of being an editor is reading tons of books and critiquing them.  When I said that to myself, I had to laugh.  Because reading tons of books and critiquing them is exactly what I do now as a book blogger.

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Is it possible that I am doing my dream job right now and I just didn’t see it before? I think the answer is yes.

And when I sat down and really thought about it, I saw other reasons that being a book blogger was my dream job. I get to work on a computer which is what my husband does all day and the reason I’m jealous of his job.  He works on computer databases which I would never want to do, but for some reason I love working on a computer and I always wonder if he knows how lucky he is to work on a computer all day long.  I love that as a book blogger, I don’t have anyone bossing me around or telling me what to do.  I read, write, and say whatever I want with no one to answer to.  It’s flexible.  I can work as much or as little as I’d like.  I’m passionate about this.  When will I ever get tired of talking about books?  Apparently never.  I don’t get paid a dime to do this.  In fact, I actually spend money on this dream job of mine.  Which brings me to my only complaint about being a book blogger.  I don’t actually get paid.  Is it still a job/career if I don’t get paid?  I think it is.  Though it did bring up the idea that maybe someday I could be a professional book reviewer for a site like Kirkus.  They hire free lance book reviewers and I could do essentially what I do now but get paid for it.  The down side to that being that I would then have a boss of sorts and I would lose some freedom.  So considering that getting paid is not an essential requirement for a career, I think it’s safe to say that I have my dream job right now.  And maybe some day, when I’ve got more time and I’m ready to move on from book blogging, I could be a professional reviewer.  After being a professional reviewer for a while, I could take writing classes and become an author.

I’m glad I’ve figured out what I want to be when I grow up since I’m turning 30 next week.

What is your dream job? Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Whose job am I jealous of?”  I’d love to hear your answers!