A Beautiful New Lakeview Bookstore

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On Saturday my dad and I checked out Roscoe Books, a new bookstore in Roscoe Village–and I can say that I successfully spent way more money there than I meant to! (But not more than I should have. It’s good to support local independent bookstores!)

Not only is Roscoe Books gorgeous, but the selection is impressive for the store’s size. There are relatively large YA and middle grade sections, a children’s section in the back, and of course tons of other choices!

Among other awesome things, I found a copy of Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Everybody knows the Miyazaki adaptation–which is beautiful like everything else that man does, obviously–but I’m excited to read the book!

If you’re interested in checking out Roscoe Books, you can like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RoscoeBooks.

And, of course, go check it out in person!

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That creative piece about Okinawa that I promised (with pictures!)

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A word from Okinawa, through the mouth of a small person

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The Yui Rail, Shuri stop

What you must know about me is this. I am a borrower, and also a creator. I am a place of gods and of people who belong to at least two cultures. American soldiers pack the sand of my beaches with their feet. My markets smell like dried fish, and because of this, cats prowl in my alleyways. I have been the site of atrocities, tiny implosions like bombs buried in the earth. My monorail tinkles out music, my tracks lead into the sky. My highways run along the ocean, my wave-breakers protruding like spikes from a shell. My shrines hold traces of many gods, and of the government that tries to force mainland ways upon my people. My people, who laugh and quietly keep their old ways, buried within the new like a beating heart.

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Near Shuri Castle Doorways 2

 

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Zakimi Castle

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A passing shrine

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Outside the zoo

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Seifa Utaki, the religious grounds

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Haebaru

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Near Kudaka Island

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Kudaka Island

Another super cool author’s blog–

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–Maggie Stiefvater’s! And here’s yet another author echo: here I am, just about to read her work (The Scorpio Races specifically, though I want to read Shiver too), when I find her listed as an example of a great blog presence in the writing/reading world.

        

So here’s a link to her website, which is pretty cute and interesting–and if you click on the Blog section, she has some helpful advice for writers, too! Like how to write a good query letter, for example. Which I need. A lot.

http://maggiestiefvater.com/

The Life-Changingness of Books

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It’s so lovely to think, as a writer, that no matter what kind of book you write, you can change someone’s life. Here are some books I’ve read and many I haven’t, but I love the diversity, and I hope I can get someone through a hard time with my work someday.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jenniferschaffer/reading-can-change-your-life

What books have changed your life or gotten you through a difficult period of your life? Feel free to post in the comments!

Jots from a Tiny Notebook

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So I’ve been terrible about posting lately, and I wanted to for once put some of my own writing here. There’s a brief piece about Okinawa (in Japan) that I want to put up, but I’m waiting to import some pictures to go with it.

In the meantime, look at this cute thing!

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It’s one of three Jiji (Kiki’s Delivery Service, anyone?) notebooks I bought while in Okinawa, and I’ve been filling it with mini-thoughts and sentences. I thought I would include a few of them here.

“She had a soft, slow voice, which made people stop speaking and listen closer to hear. It was not a voice that was aware of itself. It did not consciously seek attention; it simply was heard.”

“He had a kind of sheepish, good-natured passion about him, so that you knew he was troubled without him speaking of it. He was the sort of person that wore troubles quietly outside of himself, not drawing attention to them, but making them visible nonetheless.”

“Not every cloud you see is simply a cloud. Sometimes a cloud is a hidden kingdom, only as visible as an iceberg.”

“Imagine: stepping outside, muffled gunshots in the darkness. Only the sound isn’t gunshots. It’s the beating of an enormous heart.”

I promise I’ll put up something more substantial soon! In the meantime, enjoy my tiny pieces of thought.

(Also, something it’s important you know about me: I am obsessed with mini notebooks. I have piles of them. Pockets of them. I dedicate each one to a different brainstorming purpose. They’re my means of exploring my work before it actually becomes a coherent thing on the screen.)

And Speaking of Diverse Books…

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As someone who’s been thinking about this even more lately, I’m grateful for this work from MariNaomi and her contributors.

I feel like our society right now, sometimes my generation especially, has this weird backward mindset that has replaced racism–instead we have this careful guilt, this terror of offending anyone. As a result, we talk about having issues instead of penetrating them. Sometimes we don’t talk at all; our fear of offending has trumped, apparently, the need for a conversation.

It’s the stupidest thing in the world, and I’m also guilty of it.

I hope this guide can help me start to change that. To be more diverse in my thinking and therefore in my character exploration, whatever that means in terms of race or culture. Instead of, say, creating token-this or token-that characters, which are literary forms of this not-conversation we’re all having. Or maybe, in this case, the day we stop talking about these issues is the day we’ll actually see equality in the world, because we’ll have finally raised a generation of people who can openly appreciate other backgrounds without worrying about how to be respectful all the time. We can stop stifling ourselves and each other, and start just being.

A great read.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/marinaomi/an-illustrated-guide-to-writing-people-of-color

Can We Please Stop Worrying about What Our Kids Are Growing Up Reading?

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As usual, here is Neil Gaiman changing our worlds for the better.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

“…and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.”

This calls, too, for an open-mindedness in our reading, an acknowledgment of the utter lack of correlation between genre and quality. (“Literary fiction” is not a genre! I will petition this until I die.)

Yes, being enthusiastic about a book or series of any kind is a wonderful thing. To deprive a child of the opportunity to find that feeling is a crime. (Look at me, I loved Captain Underpants when I was little. I’d probably still love it, and lots of other children’s stories to boot. And some of my favorite books would be considered “literary” by the snobs of the world, so there you go, snobs.)

We want our freedom to think, to imagine, to choose. And yet we’re always censoring the environments of our children, wondering what is “good” for them to read.

For those of us who were fortunate enough to grow up reading books we enjoyed, let’s think about those books for a second. What was a book or series you loved when you were little? You can respond in the comments!

I adored a big book on Greek mythology that my family still has, and is never throwing away, and which I’m definitely reading to my children.

What about you?