Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Updates

Happy August, everyone! I know I said I'd write a post about science and YA to follow up on my post on human cloning, and while I did get distracted (for, oh, a few months), I've outlined it and wrote part of a rough draft. So, hopefully that will get done before the Apocalypse hits in December, ha.

But it's probably not going to get done during August, because, guess what, I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again! I don't know why I keep signing up for these things when I always fail, but hope springs eternal, I suppose. And even though I didn't win last year, I still learned some valuable lessons that I will do my best to apply this time around.

This year I'm especially excited about my awesome cabinmates. Our camp counselor will be posting a feature on our cabin, so I'll link you once that's up so you can be envious at the amazing people I get to NaNo with. :)

Update: Find out more about all the members of the Tiger Tea Tent at Camp Counselor Sophia's blog!

Meanwhile, I'm showing them all up by being currently in FIRST PLACE with regard to word count. Eighteen words, baby! And yes, I am totally cheating because August 1st arrived for me 13-15 hours before it did for all my other cabinmates, and it is actually excruciatingly pathetic that I only managed eighteen words in that time. But hey, this is my one opportunity to take the lead, because in a few hours I will be very behind. Unless they all make the very wise decision of sleeping instead of pouncing on their NaNo projects when the clock strikes midnight, in which case I will get to keep my lead as I deviously write while they're all in bed! But somehow I really doubt that's going to happen, especially given our camp counselor's insomniac tendencies. At least that means there'll be someone to keep me company!

And I am definitely exploiting any advantages this time difference thing grants me, because it can be very annoying to deal with the rest of the time. Like that time when we were planning to submit our cabinmate requests at the same time, except the discussion took place from 4 to 8 a.m. in my time zone. Which I obviously missed due to my habit of waking up after 9 a.m. on weekdays. Oops. But I made up for it by waking up at 8:30 a.m. on my usually-reserved-for-sleeping-in Saturday (huge sacrifice, I'm telling you! nevermind that I went straight back to bed afterward...) and it all worked out, so YAY! :D

In other news, it's typhoon season! Typhoon Saola is likely to be passing through northern Taiwan later this evening, so there's a good chance we'll get the day off tomorrow (instead of snow days, we get typhoon days, whee). I've never encountered a typhoon day since I started working in Taiwan, so I'm really hoping we get the day off tomorrow. I mean, who wouldn't rather stay at home under nice warm blankets than have to go to work? Besides, it'd be the perfect time for me to get a good start on my Camp NaNo project. :)

That is, if I don't get sidetracked by this gorgeous stack of MG/YA hardcovers I've checked out from the Taipei Public Library:

I know, right? What was I thinking, checking out all these books when I'm supposed to be spewing words out like crazy? Sigh. Why does the library have so many awesome books?

The good news is that I'm on my fifth book already (I did abandon a couple of them part way through). I had a really hard time deciding which order I was going to read these books in because they all looked so good, so I decided to read them in ascending average GoodReads rating, haha. I was hoping that meant my reading experience would improve as I go, and it did seem to work for the first three books, but the fourth book broke the pattern. Ah, well.

Here are the books and the order in which I'm reading them:

1. The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson | 3.55 stars on GoodReads | DNF and 1 star from me
2. Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma | 3.77 stars on GoodReads | 3 stars from me
3. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville | 3.78 stars on GoodReads | 3.5 stars from me
4. Wake by Lisa McMann | 3.78 stars on GoodReads | DNF and 1 star from me
5. A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman | 3.92 stars on Goodreads | currently reading
6. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly | 3.97 stars on Goodreads
7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland... by Catherynne M. Valente | 4.06 stars on GoodReads
8. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak | 4.08 stars on GoodReads
9. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai | 4.09 stars on GoodReads
10. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier | 4.14 stars on GoodReads

I'm particularly excited to read I Am the Messenger (yup, giving Zusak another chance despite not having loved The Book Thief as much as everyone else did) and Ruby Red (heard soooo many good things about this one!). Recently I've been writing more GoodRead status updates and ratings as I read, so if you're curious about my thoughts on these books, feel free to check out my GoodReads profile.

So yeah, that's what I'll be up to during the month of August — dodging typhoons, procrastinating on my NaNo project by cuddling with a book, and hanging out with my amazing cabinmates. (And, you know, writing. Hopefully.)

Got any exciting plans for August? Have you read any of the books I checked out, and what did you think of it?


  1. At 18 words, you're totally ahead of me. I've managed ONE so far (and it's the chapter title). I console myself by thinking I still have 10.5 hours before midnight. :P

  2. Wait, they have all these books at the Taiwan library? (Dani Noir!) That's better than my local one!

  3. Alas, I am no longer in the lead! Alz wrote a thousand or so words, and then I wrote some more to overtake her, but now I'm behind again, lol. I don't think it's a good idea to compete with her since she'll probably write 50,000 words in the first week or so, but since our word counts aren't too different right now, I'm taking the extra motivation to stay on track! :) Go Emy, you can do it!

  4. I know! I looooove the children's English section at the Taipei Public Library (the main branch at Daan, for anyone interested). One of the basements is basically dedicated to it -- I'm always surrounded by a ton of little kids because that's also where all the English picture books are -- and it's awesome to have access to so many great MG/YA books!

  5. Good luck with Camp NaNo!

    I read I Am the Messenger a few years ago; it's a really interesting book. That's a lot of reading ahead of you! :)

  6. I just saw Alz's wordcount, and yes, totally not competing with her. (I'd get left behind in the dust the first week.) But you're doing awesomely yourself. Good luck! :D

  7.  Ah writing. Why is it so difficult to do? My current WIP is wibbling there with a chapter and a half written. In my defense, I'm fasting. :D I had no idea you had a blog. I shall bookmark it! Also, I haven't read The Book Thief yet but people have scolded me about that ( I also haven't read The Kite Runner and so many other "good" books) but I got it. I'd love to read your work.

  8. Thanks! I know, I'm going to have a tough time focusing on Camp NaNo with all those tantalizing books withing reach. :)

  9. Definitely with you about writing being soooo hard. Good luck with your WIP and the fasting!

    Yeah, I don't blog often enough. :P But now that I'm working on my WIP, I'm starting to get all sorts of ideas for blog posts. Maybe that's my procrastinating self stealthily distracting my writing self from my Camp NaNo Project, haha. 

  10. LOL you were so awesome for doing that!!!!  We're so glad you're in our cabin and yeah, Alz is pretty creepy with the wordcounts.  She basically writes two novels every NaNo, so yes, she'll cover our cabin word count.

  11. Yeah, I am now super behind Alz FOR GOOD since she has >6k words already... but maybe I can try to keep up with Julie. She seems to be going at a more reasonable pace, haha.

  12. Ooh great stack of books! I'm definitely curious to see what you think of them.

    As for hope springing eternal, well, I think the real point is, as you said, the lessons that you learn even if you “fail.” I feel like I'm constantly failing, and learning from that, and that's what makes me a better person and a better writer. It's not always fun to think of it that way, because of course we just want to be awesome and succeed at everything… :P but it's still true.

  13. Never compete with Alz. She is insane. She did, in fact, once finish NaNoWriMo in November in a week. I was like WTF, DO YOU NEVER SLEEP?!

    I shall try to distract her for you, Linda, but I can't promise anything!

  14. I'm so thrilled to be in a cabin with you ladies, and thank you for briefly sacrificing your Saturday morning for us. It's serious business. :)

    Please keep competing with Alz so that she'll be distracted from setting me outrageous goals. I don't have enough sleep or caffeine to have the wordage she's demanding from me!

    As for books, I'm really curious about Ruby Red. I keep seeing it, but I don't  hear too much about it. Looking forward to your review! I have The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland..., and I've heard that the author does wonderful worldbuilding. So I'm excited to get to that. My sister is currently reading The Book Thief; I have yet to get to it.

  15.  So far I've just been doing status updates and a final comment like I usually do. Would it be easier to follow if I put my overall impressions in the review space, or write something like "See Updates"? Not sure if my updates show up in the feed or not, but I know a review might be easier to find. How have you been finding my status updates?

    Haha yeah, so true. I kind of expect to be naturally decent-to-good (for an amateur, at least) at everything I put my hand to, and if I suck, then I just move on to the next thing. It's a terrible habit because then I don't have much of a work ethic or discipline to speak of. So I'm glad Camp NaNo forces me to face my weaknesses and try to actually do something about them. :)

  16.  LOL Alz's word count is wayyyy out of my league now. I think I might have better luck trying to keep up with Julie, but since she's writing at a faster pace I probably won't be able to catch up after a few days. For the distraction, maybe you can give her a pile of new books to read?

    So excited about Ruby Red! I don't think it's super popular, but I did hear quite a bit about it a while back and the reviews were very positive. I was surprised my library had it!

    Sounds like you have lots of books in your TBR pile, too. Careful or you'll be distracted like me! :P

  17. Oh I'm totally gonna go check it out when I'm in Taiwan, thanks!

  18. Uh, I think whatever you're doing now is fine. I only check GoodReads about once a day, so if your status update isn't recent, I probably miss it, until you post a final review/rating (either one) and that comes through in my e-mail digest. Then I will click on a book I'm interested in to see your thoughts, which includes scrolling down to see if you posted any updates while you were reading.