Stereotypes that I Fit

December 24, 2009 at 6:38 am (To Do) ()

Thanks to for this list that Stereotyping People by Their Favorite Author

  • J.K. Rowling – Smart geeks.
  • Ayn Rand – Workaholics seeking validation.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – People who drink scotch.

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Book Review: The Handmaiden and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg

December 21, 2009 at 6:42 am (To Do) (, , , , )

Book Details
Title: The Handmaiden and the Carpenter
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Historic Fiction, Religious
Length: 153
Copy: Courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics

  • A 13 year old girl meets her future husband, the charming 17 year old that is the catch of the town.
  • The girl is visited by an angel.
  • Before they are married, the girl is pregnant, yet a virgin.
  • Joseph must decide if he will or will not marry Mary.

What makes it different

  • The focus is on both Mary and Joseph, completely leaving out Jesus except where he is essential to the story line.
  • Mary is accepting based on the experiences of her mother as well as her cousin Elizabeth.  Yes, Elizabeth the mother of John.
  • Joseph is not the strong believer that Mary is.
  • Joseph believes in the traditions of his people, but not necessarily that Mary’s son is also the son of God.

Why you should read it

  • While the Bible tells quite a bit about Mary’s confusion and acceptance, little is said about Joseph.
  • It is very cool to see one author’s view of how Mary and Joseph adjusted to their life with Jesus.
  • The bit about the Wise Men visiting really cemented in my mind how that may have taken place.

Why you shouldn’t read it

  • It challenges what the Bible says about Mary and Joseph’s acceptance of their situation.
  • It’s speculation, which may or may not sit well with certain personalities or religions.
  • It isn’t your traditional Christmas Story.

Final Word

I really liked this book, but I’m fairly opened minded about Christianity.  It doesn’t bother me not knowing whether or not it is true; it possible that Mary and Joseph had the very reactions that Berg outlines.  I really enjoyed that side of the story.  It puts flesh on a great story outline, the same way that the Red Tent by Anita Diamant.

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Book Talk: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

December 15, 2009 at 6:39 am (To Do) (, )

Book Details

  • Title: Leviathan
  • Author: Scott Westerfeld
  • Genre: Steampunk
  • Length: 434 pages
  • Copy: Courtesy of Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics

  • Aleksandar Ferdinand escapes a plot to murder him.
  • Deryn Sharp, a girl, has tricked the British Air Service into enlisting her.
  • The Great War is about to begin.

What makes it different

  • Clankers or giant machines owned by Austro-Hungarians and German.
  • British Darmwinsts fabricate animals from life threads for weapons.
  • It’s not quite history, nor is it alternate future, but a great blending of both.

Why you should read it

  • Westerfeld’s previous series, the Uglies, lends credibility to his ability to write on the line between sci-fi and straight out fiction.
  • It’s a fun way to discover history.  There’s just enough there to make you wonder what’s true and what borrowed.
  • You’re tween or teen may be reading it too.  Great conversation starters in here.

Why you shouldn’t read it

  • It’s pretty light weight reading.  Plan for it to take one or two days.
  • The story is split between Deryn and Alek.  The continuous flip flopping inevitably leads to them meeting but it is frustrating to switch.
  • It’s my first steampunk novel.  While I liked it, it could be trite to someone familiar with the genre.

Final Word:

  • I’m going to add book two to the TBR list.  I liked the first one and it’s something my 9yo may like in a year or two.

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Reading List: November

December 8, 2009 at 6:22 am (To Do) (, )

As promised.

  • Vaction Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osbourne
  • The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers
  • Small Favor by Jim Butcher
  • The Brass Bed by Jennifer Stevenson
  • First to Fight by David Sherman
  • Lifelines by C.J. Lyons
  • Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
  • Day of the Dragon King by Mary Pope Osbourne

Total books for November: 8; Year to date: 95.

Total pages for November: 2,510; Year to date: 30, 188.

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Reading List: October

December 7, 2009 at 6:18 am (To Do) (, )

Yes, you read that right, folks, October’s List.  November’s tomorrow.  Promise.

  • White Night by Jim Butcher
  • Lions at Lunch Time by Mary Pope Osbourne
  • Principles of Economics by N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Modern Business Statistics by Anderson Sweeney Williams
  • Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osbourne
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules by Jeff Kinney
  • Diary of a Wimply Kid: Last Straw by Jeff Kinney
  • Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar & Ruuf van der Rol
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Total Books for October: 10; YTD: 87.

Total pages for October: 3,344; YTD: 27, 678.

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Boucher Con: On Rules

October 29, 2009 at 7:51 am (Book World, Writing Life) (, , )

  • Stephen King said, Shit has it’s own integrity.  Write what you love, don’t jump on a trend. — Harlen Coben
  • Forget the rules.  Either it’s right or it’s your way.  — David Levien
  • It’s a craft, respect the rules.  Too many people don’t even understand basic grammar.  David Fulmer
  • Use the rules that work in the world and throw out the ones that don’t work. — Charlaine Harris
  • Be true to your own rules.  — Heather Graham

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Boucher Con: On Writing Process

October 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm (Book World, Writing Life) (, , )

  • I consciously choose to be lazy.  Copying speeds the process.  — Ken Isaacson
  • Writers who seek to be published lack ambition. — Harlen Coben
  • I don’t buy the “write what you know.” How many people have actually murdered someone? — Twist Phelan
  • Start with “What if” then decide what character is least suited to solve the problem.  — Twist Phelan
  • Know when to be vague.  — John Maddox Roberts
  • I’m of the “hum a few bars and fake” school.  Harlen Coben

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Boucher Con: On Research

October 23, 2009 at 6:23 am (Book World, Writing Life) (, , )

  • Society lives on white lies. — Charlaine Harris
  • Know what material is propoganda [in your research] and use what is not. — Kelli Stanley
  • Facts kill you. — David Levien

Check out these too:

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The Plan for Bcon

October 16, 2009 at 6:00 am (Book World, Writing Life) (, )

I’m totally psyched about this schedule.  Except the driving at 4 am on Friday morning.  The rest will make up for it though.


  • 4 am – leave Oshkosh, drive to Indy
  • 11:30 ish – Arrive, find lunch, registration and fellow attendee WordNerd
  • 1:30 – Michael Connelly Key Note interview
  • 3:00 – How I met my Protagonist
  • 4:30 – Telling Women’s Stories – Or – You talking about Me? – Or – Keeping it Fresh (gotta decide still)
  • 7:30 – Rex Stout Banquet (if included.  I didn’t register for anything extra and am not sure how this falls)


  • 9:00 – The Kindle
  • 10:30 – Crime through Time
  • 1:00 – What do you need to know to write a crime novel
  • 2:30 – The Sting goes on
  • 4:15 – Awards and reception
  • 7:00 – Charity Auction


  • 9:00 – On Mystery
  • 10:00 – Would I lie to you?
  • There’s also a book bazaar to hit up between 9 and 11.

Check out the BoucherCon2009 website for more deets.  And, if you are going, I’m @slpenney on Twitter.  Tweet me if you want to meet.  I have a fabulous local guide and I hear drinks are in order.

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Last Minute To Do List for BCon

October 15, 2009 at 6:08 am (Book World, To Do) (, , )

  1. Pack
  2. Grab some cash
  3. Print cheapy business cards with contact information
  4. Finish all homework due before Sunday
  5. Check homework list for what isn’t done
  6. Panic if it’s more than a drawing assignment for Econ

Check out the BoucherCon2009 website for more deets.  And, if you are going, I’m @slpenney on Twitter.  Tweet me if you want to meet.  I have a fabulous local guide and I hear drinks are in order.

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