How to Read 52 Books In One Year (Without Going Insane)

I just finished reading my first book of 2014 – Barney’s Version by Mordechai Richler.

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It was excellent. Romantic, captivating, hilarious, and uniquely Canadian, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.

(Or, you could always just watch the film. I won’t tell.)

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Anyway, as I delve into book #2 of the year (A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man… which I’m reading solely so I can use the term “Joycean”), I’m considering making a similar reading goal to last year.

As you may already know (because I can’t get enough of saying it), I read 52 books in 2013. Insane? Maybe; but it also was really great for me. Not only did having a goal keep me reading regularly, it also helped my writing, as well as my general conversation skills.

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I’m not going to say it was easy, because honesty there were times I thought I’d rather glue my eyelids open and watch a marathon of Hollywood Game Night than keep reading.

But like Tom Arnold with a particularly tough charade, I persevered! And if you’re feeling masochistic ambitious, here are some ways you can do it too!

1. Find The Time

I know that you’re thinking: This bitch cray! 52 books in one year?

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And I get that. You’re busy. I was too. (Mostly watching TV and Youtube videos on how to perfectly apply liquid eyeliner). But regardless, here are a few ways I squeezed in some extra reading time:

  • Always Keep a Book With You. Treat that baby like it’s your American Express Card (or- in my case, 17 different lipglosses) – never leave home without it!  You’d be surprised by the amount of reading you can get done waiting at the doctor’s office, in line for the DMV, or just generally avoiding human contact. It’s a lot more productive (though not necessarily as much fun) than playing candy crush on your iPhone.
  • Make the most of your commute. Read on the bus, train or subway on your way to and from work. Unless you get carsick.. because….

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Aaah Sweet Brown. I can never get enough.

  • Read on your lunch break. This was my specialty. Every day at lunch, I’d take my book to the food court and read for 30 minutes.

goal8I kept waiting for someone to write me a Craigslist Missed Connection but… no dice.

2. Always Have Your Next Book Lined Up

Making a list of books I wanted to read in advance helped keep me on track. It also motivated me to read faster, as I was always excited to get to the next book on my list.

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I found Goodreads to be an excellent resource for this, as well as suggestions from friends and blog readers.

Another tip is to check out the  “people who bought this author also bought….”. and “suggestions for you” tabs on Amazon.

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…….Or you could just read the entire Baby Sitters Club series (again). No one blames you.

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3. Don’t Torture Yourself

As the saying goes, “If you hate a book set it free”…..Or something like that. In other words- if you start a book that you really don’t like or just can’t get into, move onto the next. Otherwise, you’ll just get discouraged and lose excitement and momentum.goal12

I struggled with Infinite Jest for about 50 pages before eventually realizing that a David Foster Wallace dissertation about a missing VHS tape was not the hill I wanted to die on.

There’s 75 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

4. Mix It Up

Although I was seriously tempted to read nothing but 52 emo romance novels in 2013, I knew that, like all great pop stars, I had to get a lot of plastic surgery and a white cane mix things up in order to keep it fresh and exciting.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Accordingly, my 2013 reading list was a serious hodge-podge of short stories, novels, memoirs & non-fiction. I also alternated between bestsellers like Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (wait for the movie) to contemporary classics, like On The Road by Jack Kerouac (must read), and the occasional Penguin classic, like Howard’s End by E.M Forster (there’s a reason I didn’t major in English Lit).

5. Break It Down

Let’s face it- the number 52 just sounds horrifying. (Unless it’s being used to describe chocolate bars, glasses of wine, or issues of US Weekly).

mmm... chocolate.

mmm… chocolate.

The point i’m trying to make here, is that the idea of reading 52 books in one year can seem a bit daunting at first- so break it up into smaller goals. 52 books in one year works out to toughly 4 books a month, or one a week. You can even set a number of pages you’d like to read each day.

You know that acronym about goal setting? SMART?

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Yeah- Use that!. But don’t tell anyone you’re doing that, because, well… it’s kinda lame.

So those are my tips! And remember kids, above all else- do it for yourself, and your love of literature!

…and maybe also to rub it in people’s faces.

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Just a little :)

Question of the Day: Have you set a reading goal for 2014?

The Top 10 Books I Read in 2013

In case you missed my previous post, I read 52 books in 2013.

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I know, I’ve been trying to repress it too.

In all seriousness- setting a reading goal was actually good for me. I spent way less time watching reality TV and checking Craigslist Missed Connections. It also gave me something to talk about at cocktail parties, instead of just standing in the corner, mindlessly hoovering canapes and white wine spritzers, counting down the minutes until I could go home.

I also had the pleasure of reading a lot of really fantastic books…so many that I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few. 

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But alas- despite being a millennial, I recognize that not everyone can win the prize.. so here they are: 

 The Top 10 Books I

Read in 2013 

1. Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

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I’m not one to make gushy statements, but this multi-generational masterpiece about a Greek-American family in Detroit may be the best book I’ve read not just this year, but EVER. (You can read my initial review here).

I will caveat my glowing recommendation with the fact that it is a bit of a saga. If you’re looking for something a little shorter/less dense, check out Jeffrey Eugenides’ other books, The Marriage Plot and The Virgin Suicides (since adapted into a film by that boyfriend-stealing b*tch Sophia Coppola).

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

by Milan Kundera

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This book made me feel a lot of feelings. 

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………. Which is saying a lot, because I sort of pride myself on feeling as few feelings as possible.

A love story set in Eastern Europe during the infamous Prague Spring of 1968, this book is chock-full of romance, tragedy, metaphors and emo-goodness. It made me want to curl up with a fuzzy blanket, a glass of wine and a big-ass box of Kleenex. 

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3. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

by David Sedaris

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The latest collection of humorous essays by my hero/life model/favourite writer ever David Sedaris did not fail to disappoint. As I mentioned in my initial review,  I was lucky enough to attend a reading of his back in April when the book came out. He responded to fan questions, told funny stories and read from the book aloud.

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What a treat.

Someday I will become his straight, female counterpart…. and no that is not weird.

4. How Should A Person Be?

By Sheila Heti

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If you like artsy shizz and the HBO show Girls, then this book about a young writer struggling trying to find her way in the world is most definitely for you.

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It’s also set in Toronto, which endeared me to it further. Maybe once you read it, you will finally be able to answer the age-old question:

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5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts

By Susan Cain

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Reading this book about how introverts are undervalued in today’s society made me feel empowered and (ironically) less alone in the world.

I even stopped wearing this sweater all the time:

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If you fancy yourself an introvert- even a closet one- do yourself a favour and read this book.  

6. A Hologram For the King 

By Dave Eggers

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This book follows Alan Clay, a middle-aged divorcee who, in a last-ditch effort to turn his luck around ,goes to Saudi Arabia to sell the elusive King Abdullah a new hologram technology.

Think Tupac at Coachella

Think Tupac at Coachella

Although it’s not big on action (most of it takes place in a single room), the raw, effortless writing made it a standout for me.

Aaaand if you’re really lazy, you can always just wait for the film adaptation  starring Tom Hanks. (It’s gotta be better than Saving Mr. Banks.)

7. The Rosie Project  

By Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Project centers around Don Tillman, a 39-year-old genetics professor who is somewhere on the autism spectrum- he just doesn’t know it yet.

Citing scientific evidence that “married men are happier and live longer”, Don sets out to find the “perfect” wife by creating an extensive, detailed questionnaire. Women who do not score 100% are summarily disqualified.

This book has all the makings of a great, offbeat romantic comedy- and in fact it has already been optioned by Sony Pictures. It would make a great book club pick, or to read on the beach for all you lucky b*tches going on tropical vacations this winter.

8. The Last Girlfriend on Earth

By Simon Rich

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You can check out my initial review of Simon Rich’s hilarious short story collection here. Each piece was incredibly clever, witty and well written- like a Saturday Night Live skit playing out right in front of me on the page. Loved it.  

 9. The Sun Also Rises

By Ernest Hemingway

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I feel like sort of a hipster try-hard doofus listing this as one of my top 10, but I swear that was not my intention. In fact, I initially chose this book because it was under 200 pages.

But as I started to read it, I was captivated by the beauty in Hemingway’s prose as he described a group of artistic expats attending the Running of the Bulls in Spain.

I even found myself quoting lines to friends- before realizing how much of a pretentious dink this made me sound. So instead, I just wrote them down in my journal of lame, private thoughts that are way too embarrassing to post on my blog. You know you want to read that, don’t you? Well you can’t! So go read this book!

 10. The Interestings

By Meg Wolitzer 

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The Interestings centres around a group of 6 friends who first meet as teenagers at a camp for the arts in the 1970′s, and follows them  throughout their decades-long friendship. Lives become complicated, relationships become strained, issues of class, money and power ensue, and in the end everyone is richer for the experience. You should read this book IF:

a) You have ever dreamed of a career in writing/the arts

b) You find New York City impossibly romantic.

Question of the Day:

What was the best book you read in 2013?  

52 Books in 52 Weeks: A Quick Recap

Happy New Year friends!

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Is it? It’s -34 degrees here in Toronto. I looked around the subway this morning, all I saw was misery.

Shut up inner BreezyK voice!! IT’S NOT YOUR TIME

Annnyway, I know I’ve fallen off the face of the earth for the past couple of months, and while I’d like to say I spent this time cavorting around town, attending fancy parties and you know, engaging with real-life humans, the truth is, I spent most of it with my nose buried in a book.

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Remember when I said I was going to read 52 Books in 52 Weeks?

Yeah… whoever thought that was a good idea?

Somehow, I managed to stay pretty much on track for the first half of the year, but after slacking off considerably during the summer and fall, I left myself with a serious mountain to climb at the end of the year.

With extreme hesitation, I was forced to say goodbye to my online shopping (ok, browsing) addiction and nightly wine-infused reality TV marathons and get my head in the game.

Between November 15 and December 31, I read 11 books. ELEVEN. There were times when I thought I was going completely insane, and craved the warmth of human contact.

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By the time I got to the last book on my list, I was like:

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But alas- I did it! Read em’ and weep kids, here in random order (did that make anyone else just think of America’s Funniest Home Videos?) are the 52 books I read in 2013:

  1. The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
  2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  3. My Boyfriend Wrote A Book About Me by Hilary Winston
  4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  5. Bridget Jones- Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
  6. Iris Has Free Time by Iris Smyles
  7. A Hologram For the King by Dave Eggers
  8. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
  9. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  10. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  11. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
  12. Quiet- The power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  13. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  14. The Love Song Of Johnny Valentine by Teddy Wayne
  15. So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coontz
  16. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  17. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
  18. The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich
  19. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
  20. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
  21. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  22. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  23. 10th of December by George Saunders
  24. Everything Is Perfect When You’re A Liar by Kelly Oxford
  25. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thomson
  26. Candide- Voltaire
  27. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  28. I Found This Funny by Judd Apatow
  29. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  30. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  31. Contagious by Jonah Berger
  32. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  33. The Fall by Albert Camus
  34. The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
  35. The Lowland by Jumpha Lahiri
  36. I Feel Bad About My Neck (and other thoughts on being a woman) by Norah Ephron
  37. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  38. Night Terrors: Sex, Puberty and Other Alarming Things by Ashley Cardiff
  39. Howard’s End by E.M. Forrester
  40. Dear Life by Alice Munro
  41. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  42. Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
  43. Revenge Wears Prada- Lauren
  44. Stories From the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean
  45. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  46. How Should A person Be? by Sheila Heti
  47. No plot? No problem  by Chris Baty
  48. Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell
  49. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
  50. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman
  51. An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield
  52. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

Woot Woot! Can I get a little 80′s Paul Rudd dancing up in here?

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Thaaat’s right.

Lest you worry I am becoming too cultured and civilized, I should assure you that upon finishing the last page of book #52, I immediately parked my a$$ in front of the TV, where I have remained in a state of vegetative bliss  for the past 7 days.

One word, guys: JUAN-uary

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I have much more to say about my ambitious/extremely misguided goal of reading 52 books in one year,  including some of the best (hits) and worst (misses) of the year. I’ll also be providing some tips as to how you can achieve this goal yourself- so stay tuned if you’re a masochistic freak like I am!

Question of the Day: Did you make a reading goal last year? Did you hit it?

A Fun-Sized Thank You

Today is a great day.

Not only is it Halloween, my favourite holiday of the year, it also marks the end of my daily blogging challenge.

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Oh, and did I mention it’s also my birthday??

Me, on my birthday in 2012, running outside in a tutu. That's right.

Me, on my birthday in 2012, running outside in a tutu…. And smiling really f*&king awkwardly.

Gotta keep this quick so I can continue soaking up as much attention as humanly possible, but I just wanted to give a fun-size (just kidding- BIG) thank you to all those who read, liked, commented and in some cases- suffered through- an entire month of daily posts. I’m going to try to keep up with the regular posting now that October is over, but I can’t make any promises. Sometimes, Wine life gets in the way.

Anyway, I’m off to get my champagne on, so get out there in your slutty/inappropriate costumes and have a safe and happy Halloween! Oh and don’t forget to save me all your Reese Peanut Butter Cups*

Question of the Day: Any plans for Halloween?

*Will also accept Twix, Snickers, Peanut M&M’s (NOT plain, what am I a savage?), Nibs and Hersheys Cookies n’ Creme.

Premature E-Publication

I accidentally hit “publish” on a blog post before it was ready this morning.

The whole experience was shocking, terrifying, embarrassing, and all sorts of other negative emotions ending in “ing”. Sort of like when you inadvertently hit “reply all” on an e-mail.

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A few years back, my roommate, who was also my coworker at the time, accidentally sent an e-mail intended for me to our entire company. That’s over 2,000 people in multiple offices around North America. Although the e-mail itself was relatively innocuous, I still came home to find her in bed, curled up in a ball of shame and self-loathing, wailing “I’ll never work in this town again!” into a pint of Haagen Dazs.

That’s sort of how I felt this morning. How could I possibly have sent this piece of nonsensical drivel to 1,592 inboxes? With one fell swoop, my carefully constructed curtain of thesaurus words, platitudes and strategically placed GIFs had been lifted – exposing me for the fraud I am deep down inside.

I was certain my short-lived career as a mediocre blogger was over.

The funny thing is, though, that before I even had a chance to mark the post “private” (which took me like 10 minutes, since I’m kind of a Luddite) I actually received a few “likes” and comments on it.

My first thought was that these benevolent commenters felt so sorry for my epic fail that they simply wanted to ensure I didn’t impale myself over any sharp objects in my apartment. However, it occurred to me later that perhaps they just hadn’t been reading that critically. Maybe they just identified with the overall subject matter of the post (which was about invasion of personal space), and didn’t care that much about my sloppy sentences or lack of hilarious GIFs.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here, is that we bloggers shouldn’t really be so hard on ourselves. While quality is important, it’s not the be all and end all. 99% of your readers don’t care about consistency of tenses and appropriate use of semi-colons; they just want material they can relate to.

……and maybe the occasional Paul Rudd dancing GIF:

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Question of the Day: Have you ever had a premature e-publication? How did you feel?

B*tch Stole My Look

So I know this blog has been limping along like Lohan’s career, but I am finally here to break my prolonged silence with  a very important announcement:

You guys…..

DRAKE JACKED MY OUTFIT

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That’s right. DrizzyDrake pilfered my swag.

Let me explain.

I took this selfie of my amazing (and expertly styled) Wu-Tang Clan t-shirt on my way to a fashion show/design competition here in Toronto called The Art of Fashion.

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….Because I do cool things like go to fashion shows all the time. See, look, here’s me at Paris fashion week with Kim and Kanye (and Ciara? WTF?).

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Just kidding. I’ve never actually been to a fashion show. (Sorry, Lily Collins for superimposing my head over your spectacular eyebrows). But my friend’s sister was organizing this one, and there was an open bar, so… you know…..

Anyhoo, shortly after posting the aforementioned selfie, I noticed that Drake instagrammed a pic of himself wearing suspiciously similar threads.

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ummmm can you say BITCH STOLE MY LOOK??

Not cool, Drizzy, Not cool.  I’ve decided the only possible explanation for this is that Drake is in love with/obsessed with me and has been monitoring my Instagram feed (@breezyk1 holllaaaa) for all of the latest trends.

Who knew Wheelchair Jimmy was such a biter?

JUST KIDDING DRAKE I LOVE YOU AND YOUR NEW ALBUM!!! NWTS4LIFE!

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Sorry for all the caps lock. I’ve clearly been spending too much time on Kanye West’s twitter feed.

Anyway, since all of you need more gems like this one in your life (and I clearly need more practice writing coherent sentences), I’ve decided to do a blog post a day for the entire month of October!*

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*Monday to Friday. Ain’t nobody got time for that on weekends.

Don’t expect much. 95% of my posts are probably going to be about pumpkin spice lattes.

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There’s a reason they call them clichés.

Question of the Day:

Has a b*tch ever stolen your look? What did you do about it?

Also: How often do you post on your blog? What do you think is the optimal amount?

My Life Through Instagram Vol. 2

What up, homies? I know my blog has been about as active as a Giant Panda on Valium lately, and for that I apologize.

Side note: did you know Giant Pandas spend approximately 16 hours a day eating?? 

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We have so much in common.

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Anyway, it’s been a busy few weeks for your girl BreezyK here: weddings, parties, cottage weekends, and most importantly- a new job!

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(Do I get points for the timely Shoppers Drug Mart gif? No? Ok.)

It’s still in law, but no longer in private practice… so I expect the quality of my life to improve drastically to have more regular hours and thus more free time for blogging. (When my busy schedule of grooming and beauty related appointments permits, of course.)

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Those pictures were completely gratuitous.

Anyway, I know I owe you guys a real post (and to read and comment on some of the great stuff you’ve been writing), but as mentioned above, I’m in panda-mode. So in the meantime, I thought I’d give a little update on my life through my favourite fleetingly popular social media platform: instagram.

(You can see my first installment of My Life Through Instagram here.)

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then you definitely should: @BreezyK1. I am extremely self-absorbed and post a lot of pictures of my manicures. Who doesn’t like that in their newsfeed??

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1.    Someone’s been making mixtapes!

2.    See, I told you. (Hey, when it takes as long as this did, it deserves to be instagrammed) 

3.    Summer BBQs. If you can believe it, there was actually way more food unpictured.

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4.    We clean up aiight 

5.    Sunset over Sugar Lake

6.    Wine and Cheese with a view.. oh you fancy huh  

7.    This album has been getting me through a lot of tough runs lately. Kanye- you may be a crazed egomaniac with questionable child-naming skills, but your beats are solid and your lyrics genius. So thank you for that.  

8.    Champagne celebrations

9.    I challenge you to name me a treat more delicious than s’mores

You just peed in your pants a little, didn't you?

You just peed in your pants a little, didn’t you?

10.  So I joined a softball league this summer- considering the ability to play softball entirely irrelevant. The only thing worse than my batting average is my attendance- but I do contribute to the team by taking glorious, sunset candid shots like this one.. so I think I’m pulling my weight.

11.  My lovely friend Danielle looking fierce at her wedding

12.  Cottage Adventures

13.  Do you… canoe? (Ok that was lame. Forgive me guys, I’ve been out of the game for a while) 

14.  Little father’s day tribute to my pops.. (and some inadvertent product placement. Mmm. Veggie Thins) 

15.  Delicious Sangria by the pool… I am just noticing now how many of these pics involve alcohol.

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16.  A lifesize “The Claw” arcade game set up in the financial district as part of Toronto’s Luminato festival for the arts and creativity. There was actually a dude inside who, when you put money into the machine, tried to retrieve a toy for you with oversize claw-like implements. Everyone cheered when he got one, and when he missed they played the sad fail music from the Price is Right. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

Umm this Youtube video has had over 3 million views. I don’t know why, but that’s awesome.

Question of the Day: What has been the highlight of your summer thus far?

Mine’s probably a tossup between drinking that Sangria and watching the new season of Big Brother.. but I expect that to change when I head to Nova Scotia this weekend!

Started From The Bottom Now We’re Here

So I was perusing my Instagram feed the other day, marveling at Rihanna’s tattoos and wishing I had Jessica Alba’s life:

I mean.. seriousky

I mean.. seriously

when suddenly, this spiffy little WordPress notification popped up on my screen:

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I was like:

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Followed by:

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startedfrom4 - Copy

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When I started this blog back in September, 2011, I never thought I would convince over 1,000 spambots and members of my immediate family   people to subscribe to my nonsense, but somehow, it happened.

….Ok, that’s a complete lie. I totally expected this sh*t to go viral and catapult me into superstardom. I’m talking book deal, my own sitcom, frequent media appearances, plus a line of highly successful licensed merchandise. 

BreezyK bobblehead anyone?

BreezyK bobblehead anyone?

I would of course, also become besties with Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham.

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What can I say? I watch too much TV.  

Anyway, since none of this has happened (YET),  I guess I’ll have to settle for you people.

I could tell you how much all of your likes, clicks and comments have meant to me over the past 18 months, but talk is cheap – so instead, I’mma put my money where my mouth is and say thanks with a

GIVEAWAY!

Since I have been going  through a bit of a “literature phase” lately and subjecting all of you to my unsolicited book reviews and misguided novel-writing attempts, I figured it was only fitting to give away a (wait for it…) book!

Intellectual Dachshund says: Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.

Intellectual Dachshund says: Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.

That’s right folks, one lucky reader will receive a copy of the book I’m currently reading:

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris 

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Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is the newest collection of essays from New York Times bestselling author (and my idol) David Sedaris.

Here is a brief description from his website because, honestly, it’s way too early for me to try to write my own:

From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new book of essays taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler’s experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist’s shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

Basically, I want to be David Sedaris when I grow up. His book Naked was actually the inspiration for my starting a blog in the first place.  

IT ALL COMES FULL CIRCLE, FOLKS!

Anyway, in order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below answering this question of the day:

What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2013?

You can also get an extra entry by either liking the Camel Life on Facebook or following me on Twitter. (I promise I’m only marginally annoying). 

*Contest only open to residents of Canada and the U.S. and Closes Tuesday, May 28th at 12:00pm EST.  

Good luck! 

Love,

BreezyK and Drizzy 

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for me for Funniest Blog in the indie chicks 2013 badass blogging awards!

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So, How You Comin’ On That Novel?

You may recall that back at the beginning of May, I announced that I was planning to write a novel in 30 days.

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Well, since no one asked it’s the official halfway point, I figured I’d give a little update on how it’s been going.

So far, I’ve written approximately 22,500 words. That’s roughly 45% of the 50,000 word target, or, about 1,500 words per day.

Not bad, right? Except that it’s all total and complete garbage. 

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Guys, I’m not kidding. The stench of rotten manuscript wafting from my minimized items right now is almost too much for me to handle. I call it “Eau de Broken Dreams and Misguided Aspirations”

The thing is full of plot holes, it’s totally unbelievable, and I currently have four different characters named Sergei. But that’s OK. The goal of this exercise is simply to get my words on paper- not to fuss with silly things like grammar, sentence structure and plotline.

….Right?

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I won’t lie, it’s been pretty painful so far. I kind of want to kill myself/ throw my computer out the window/ eat 10 lbs of chocolate/ run away and never come back. But like a phoenix from the ash, out of my misery rise a few key lessons to be learned from all of this. Like…..  

 Writing Fiction Is Hard

Sometimes, I feel like the entire right side of my brain has been completely inactive for the past 10 years. Sure, I use it occasionally to write blog posts, but for the most part, it just sits there, dormant, letting its domineering evil stepbrothers logic and rational thought do all the work.

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Writing a novel feels like grabbing the creative side of my brain with both hands, shaking it violently and waking it the hell up. As expected, for the first few days, ol’ righty remained slow, lethargic and low-functioning – sort of like me before I’ve had my coffee in the morning. 

But eventually it came around. Sort of. I’m still dealing with the giant hurdle of coming up with 50,000 words of original material in a ridiculously short period of time.  

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Writing Fiction Is Fun!

(Did I convince you with that exclamation point? No? I didn’t really convince myself, either.)

Once you get past the fact that novel-writing is destroying much of your will to live, there are actually a few good things. Writing can be really fun when you’re not inhibited by pesky little parameters like “truth” and “accuracy”. Plus, it’s sort of cool to live vicariously through your characters. My main character is smart, sassy, and tells people off all the time- something I wish I could do more often.  

Plus, no matter how much it sucked, I still feel like this whenever I get my daily words in:

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You’re Going to Run Out Of Ideas.. and That’s Where the Ninjas Come In

No matter how hard I tried, I still found it tough to come up with the recommended 1,667 words a day. I Googled some suggestions, and discovered something called a “Plot Ninja”.

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plot ninja is something you drop into the plot whenever you are at a loss for ideas. Traditionally, this has taken the form of actual ninjas who come crashing into the scene, disrupting things, but it can really be anything you want. My plot Ninja so far has been my main character going for drinks with her best friend. She’s pretty much an alcoholic at this point, but it’s also resulted in a few interesting scenes that never would have ended up in the plot otherwise.

When In Doubt.. Make it up

Another thing I didn’t anticipate was how much research was involved in novelling. Part of my story takes place in Russia, and the first few days, I spent hours Googling everything from typical Russian surnames to what year the Kremlin was built. Eventually, I decided to either leave what I didn’t know blank, or just make something up and go back and fix it later. Currently, the characters in my story consume only caviar, drink an excessive amount of vodka, and wear fur hats everywhere. That’s accurate, right?

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Be Prepared To Hate Your Life

Not to be a Deborah K. Downer, but I have to admit that it’s extremely mentally and physically draining to write this much every day while working full-time, trying to do blog posts, keep up with my 52 book challenge and actually maintain a social life.

…………..Yes, I realize I did this all to myself, and yes I would like some cheese with that whine.

Dawson knows

Only Dawson understands me

So to recap -  my first 15 days of Novelling: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I don’t know what comes after that.

Question of the Day: Have you ever written a novel?

…..Any tips to keep me from strangling myself with my computer cord?

P.S.  I nominated myself  was nominated for Funniest Blog in the 2013 Badass Blogging Awards! I would love you long time if you’d please take a second and go vote for me!

http://theindiechicks.com/badass-blog-awards-vote-for-your-favorite-bloggers/

badass

 

10 Lessons From TV Moms

A wise woman once said, “It takes a village to raise a child”.

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That, and “You can never have enough pantsuits”

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…but we won’t hold that against her. 

In honor of this maxim (the village, not the pantsuits), this Mother’s Day, I’ll be celebrating not only to my own mom, but also all of the amazing TV moms who helped raise me. Claire Huxtable, Elyse Keaton, Vivian Banks, Kitty Foreman-  where would I be without all of their sage advice, no-non sense attitudes and witty one-liners? (Well, maybe a little more well- read. But that’s beside the point.)

Here, with the help of a few GIFS, are 10 lessons I learned from TV moms: 

1.    Stand Up For Yourself

…. you show those b*tches who’s boss 

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2. You only have one family, so you might as well make the most of it.

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3. Not everything that’s good for you is fun

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4. Don’t worry so much about your appearance

………..You can have a harelip, crunchy bangs, or look like Mama June and someone will still love you.

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5. It’s Important To Always  Be a Lady

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6. Every once in a while, you need to eat a piece of humble pie

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……………….Unless of course you’re Tina Fey

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7. Choose your friends wisely

…….because apparently, everyone is an asshole

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8. Don’t ever forget where you came from

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9. And When it comes to boys….

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But if you really can’t help yourself…

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And when you find that special someone… 

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10. Don’t be afraid to let loose every once in a while:

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… and when all else fails,

Sometimes, you need something a little stronger

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Happy Mother’s Day!!

Question of the Day: Who Is Your Favourite TV Mom?