The Reading Corner is a place where books of all genres are examined and reviewed. Comments, questions and disagreement are welcomed. Grab some coffee and a comfy chair and make yourself at home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Suite101, Marian Keyes and Other Nonsense

I fell through the cracks yesterday and didn't update. I felt funky all day, culminating in a migraine that I was able to kill with lots of coffee and some motrin (I've discovered that if I feel a migraine coming on, mainlining caffeine and inhaling motrin as fast as possible will generally work to beat it back into submission. By which I mean I'll just have a mildly bad headache and feel dizzy the rest of the evening). Worth it, because I went to see Inglourious Basterds with Jonah and I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on it for anything. Awesome, disgusting, disturbing, funny piece of film.

So! Time for the reading corner portion of this blog.

I've begun writing extensively for Suite101, which is awesome. I have 7 articles up right now -almost at my 3 month minimum after barely a week of writing. I think that's pretty cool.
The first three were posted in a previous entry (and are pretty easy to find if you click around on these next few or go to my profile).

The most interesting thing about writing for Suite is that, unlike writing for Examiner, I'm not just limited to literature. Granted, that's my forte. That's what I like -I eat, breathe, drink, dream and exist surrounded by literature, but I've found that I can write about other stuff pretty well too -which is encouraging, since I plan on applying at another writing website where you write to what they want. I'm enjoying stretching my writing boundaries -I hate feeling stagnant, which reviews were starting to do just a little for me.

I still love them, I'd still write them for a living if I could (and hey, maybe I can), but it's nice to also write about

It's still sort of centered around literature and academia, but I'm branching out, little by little. It's proving to be rather fun to see what sorts of things I can dig up doing just a bit of research -the driving/texting article in particular was pretty cool. It was also sad to come across so many websites that show horrible, fatal accidents caused by teens (predominantly girls) who were texting while they were driving. Kind of a good reminder for me.

So that's Suite! I'm loving writing for it already. It's fun to learn how to research and use keywords, format articles and get really concise. Writing 400-800 word articles is actually challenging for me, which is new. I'm not used to having to rein in my verbosity, so it's making a nice change. Of course that just means I'll get all the more wordy on here, but then I'm not really getting paid to be concise on my blog, am I?

S101 is a fantastic website. Not just because I write for it (obviously that helps, ha ha), but because they're very concerned with quality writing. The articles on there are pretty much uniformly good -there's still so much personal style in each one, but they're all informative, interesting and easily read. I've been snooping around on Suite a lot more since I got hired and I'm more and more impressed.

I'm also becoming slowly disillusioned with Examiner. Granted, I love it. I like being able to sit down and crank out a short piece on anything I want (as long as it involves literature) and get paid for it over time...but the way my page views fluctuate smells strongly of fishiness to me. Getting 5oo+ views one day and only 45 the next doesn't make much sense, especially when I update with awesome articles (if I may say so myself) just about every day. Seriously. I'm writing view-whore articles about back-to-school stuff, and it's like a snowstorm of views one day and the friggin' Sahara the next. Something is rotten in the area of my Examiner reviews, methinks, but whatever. I'm still making money (sort of), so it's good.

Yesterday I found a book written by a 16 year old girl that's won a ton of awards and actually looks like something I'd read. So I reviewed it (yes without having read it, so sue me) and I'm hoping eventually I'll pick up a copy.

It's called Legacy. Check it out.

In other book news, I made one last binging library visit. I swore I was just going in to get their sole copy of The Fountainhead on VHS (the first half of which I watched yesterday in a headache-induced half-slumber in the basement), and left with it and four books. For shame, for shame. Whatever. I'm a book whore, I really can't help it. If it has pages and text and inky goodness, I want it.

The first book I grabbed out of my towering stack of four books (no, really. One of them is a SF anthology, and it's about as big as my torso, boobs included) is Marian Keyes' book Under the Duvet. It's about her life as a writer -it's all nonfiction, so finding it in the fiction section sort of bummed me out regarding the library's efficiency, but it's not like I was actively looking for it, so serendipity was working in my favor. Reading this book is sort of like a guideline for a path I don't want to take but could see myself skirting along the edges of. Not her alcoholism or crippling insecurities, but the writing bit.

She makes it sound like fun again, which is refreshing. I've read too many things by writers who bitch and moan about writing like they have to cut off their own leg in order to get 3 words onto the page. Yeah, I know that's how it feels sometimes (I'm in college and still writing academic papers, I absolutely know how that feels), but why can't writers ever expostulate about the times when the words just come running out of the pen or away from the keyboard like they can't wait to plaster themselves all over the page? Why is it always the monumental struggle, the staring at blank paper until your forehead bleeds, the writer's block? All of those things happen, but they make the art of writing look like walking through a room filled with broken glass while drunk and blindfolded. It's not always like that. Sometimes it's awesome.

So that's why I'm liking Keyes. She's not a great writer, I don't think, but she's funny and refreshing and honest. I'd totally recommend checking her out, whether you're a writer or just need some laughs. She writes about pretty much anything -from her alcoholism to buying a house with her husband (who she calls Himself) to getting free samples of makeup. It's a cute book.

That's all for today folks -I think I more than filled the space that would have been taken by yesterday's post and hopefully I've given you a few things to read or think about or argue over (even with me).

Tomorrow we'll have a Twilight-related bit. Fans are interesting people.


  1. I quite enjoy Keyes' books; She's not one of my favourites but I know I can always pick up one of her books when I'm in need of a good read.

    And I have a suggestion! If you enjoy Keyes, you'll also like book called 'Knickles and Dimes'. It has hilarious characters and a really great story. I'd recommend it!

    Thanks for the review : )

  2. Please, inform me as to how you write a review without doing the reading? :P

  3. I'm a soulless, evil person who can bullshit like a minor god. :D