Sunday Salon – November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon. Don’t miss other bloggers’ posts – visit the Facebook Page for links.

This morning I woke up to several inches of snow on the ground. I am so not ready for winter. If only it could hold off until after Thanksgiving.

This has been an interesting week for me. As some of you may know, I have been participating in Nanowrimo. I started out way ahead in my word count because the story I am writing has been in my head for a long time. But a funny thing began to happen as I wrote this novel – the characters and their motivations, the purpose for the story, began to coalesce and come together for me and it surprised me. It was not the story I thought it would be – it was something far better, something deeper than I had realized. Because of that, I stopped writing for a few days. I needed to think about where I was going and what I was dong. I wanted to honor this story and these characters. So, I am far behind in word count, but way ahead in terms of story. I don’t know if I’ll hit 50,000 words by November 30th (I’m currently at 22,000)…and it does not matter at this point (I’ve completed Nanowrimo several times and those novels have sat un-edited for years). This is a novel that I want to spend time with and build slowly. This is the novel that I feel I have been waiting to write. So, at the end of the month, I may not have hit that arbitrary number, but I will be well on my way to completing something of which I will be proud.

Last week I finally finished Tides of War by Stella Tillyard. I liked the book, although it was a slow start for me. I think history buffs who like books chock full of characters will appreciate this one (read my review).

I am loving my current read: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I read Middlesex years ago and loved it (read my review). The Marriage Plot is a very different story from that of Middlesex, but it is no less compelling. I love how Eugenides creates character, I love his humor and irony. I can see why bloggers are giving this one high ratings. I hope to finish it in the next couple of days, so watch for my review by mid-week.

Next up in my stacks is the short story collection Men in the Making by Bruce Machart. I can’t wait to sink into these stories because I have grown to really love Machart’s writing.

By the way, do you follow the book award announcements? Greg at The New Dork Review of Books posted about whether readers really care who gets nominated and wins these awards.

It is an interesting question and it caught my attention because I was wildly excited about Jesmyn Ward winning the NBA for her stunning novel Salvage the Bones (read my review). I love the award lists – if only to troll through them drooling over books I want to add to my towering TBR pile. What about you? Do you follow these lists? Are you likely to pick up a book simply because it was nominated or won an award? Greg is asking people to weigh in on his post, and I would love to hear from you as well.

In non book news, I have been quilting like a demon trying to finish up some projects before the end of the year. I want to start 2012 with a clean slate, so to speak!

What are you doing on this Sunday before Thanksgiving? I have some housecleaning and menu planning to do. I will probably carve out some writing time. And then I will be sinking into Jeffrey Eugenides wonderful prose.

Have a wonderful week!

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  1. I’m so glad your writing is going so well! I do look at award lists, but I’m not sure they influence my purchases.

  2. Good for you in finding depth in your Nano novel! When I taught writing workshops, I always encouraged nano as a way to really sit your fanny down and write, but I’ve always thought that no novel is truly finished in a year. And often, it’s the ones that give us a little bit of trouble that turn out to be the most worth it. Good luck with it! I hope you’ll finish it.

    I loved Middlesex. Jeffrey Eugenides is such a fabulous writer. I’ll tune in again to read what you thought of The Marriage Plot.

    • zibilee on November 20, 2011 at 11:06

    I am hoping to listen to The Marriage Plot very soon, and can’t wait to see how it differs from his other books. I should be able to get to it soon! I am also pleased to hear that your writing is going so well, and I hope that it continues to do so. If you have something that is amazing, and is going so wonderfully, I wouldn’t worry about that pesky word count. I would love to one day be perusing the book store shelves, and see your book just waiting there for me to pick it up!

    Today is just a day of relaxing for me. I am hoping to get a whole lot of writing and reading done as well! Have a great day!

    • JannyAn on November 20, 2011 at 11:14

    You’ve been really busy this week, reading, writing, quilting. How do you manage?

    • Teresa on November 20, 2011 at 11:20

    I just finished the audiobook of The Marriage Plot and this, and although I wasn’t a fan of Middlesex, I loved The Marriage Plot. I’ve seen several mixed reviews, so I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying it.

    • Vasilly on November 20, 2011 at 12:39

    Salvage the Bones is still stuck in my tbr stack. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon. I just finished Push has Come to Shove by Steve Perry. I started The Long Goodbye last night and I have two reviews to write. Have a great Sunday.

  3. Oh, now I am even more eager to plunge into The Marriage Plot. It’s sitting on my office coffee table waiting its turn…but I think I must bump it up in the queue. Thanks for the motivation!

    I agree that it’s more important to create the novel you want than to reach an arbitrary goal. Good luck in your creation!


    • Amy on November 20, 2011 at 13:35

    I’m so happy and excited for you about the story you’re writing, Wendy! Personally, the integrity and depth of my story is more important than word count. Good luck with it!

    I am looking forward to reading The Marriage Plot at some point. I read Jeffrey Eugenidea other books and loved them. I think he’s a wonderful and amazing writer.

    I’m interested in what awards authors win especially if I have enjoyed the author’s writing and like them because I think the awards are good for their writing careers to a degree, anyway. But in terms of whether it heightens my interest in reading the book, well. it used but no longer does. I’ve learned that a Book or Pulitzer or some other award doesn’t mean I’m going to like the book, essayor story.

    I’m reading Mozart’s Last Aria to review and enjoying Alan Heathcock’s collection of short stories, Volt.
    Enjoy your day, Wendy!

  4. That is very exciting about your NaNo novel! And I’m glad to hear that The Marriage Plot is being delicious for you, as someone who also loved Middlesex. I hope to read it soon.

    • Alyce on November 20, 2011 at 16:33

    I have mixed reactions sometimes to literary fiction – it’s really hit and miss for me, but I absolutely loved The Marriage Plot! That is so cool that you were able to have your story develop so well in your mind. I think that is one of the hardest parts (especially having the story get better as you work on it – so wonderful). 🙂

  5. I am happy to hear that your writing is going along so well. Have a great week. And a great finish to your challenge.

  6. I do follow the award lists, especially when the Canadian awards are given out (The Governor’s General and The Giller) and when Canadian books are nominated for the Booker prize; there are a few that I sometimes want to read, but more often than not, I don’t. But this year, there are a couple of new Canadian books that I do want to read (The Sisters Brothers and The Cat’s Table are ones that have caught my eye and sound really interesting) at some point. I usually find the awards lists with books that don’t really interest me and usually only to exist to get sales and don’t reward books that are really good, but also popular with the general public, so I don’t usually pay attention.

  7. A big congratulations on the Nanowrimo feat. I’m so happy for you and wish you satisfaction and success with this novel! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying The Marriage Plot. I quite liked it, but I have yet to read Middlesex. Happy reading (and writing!)

    • Sand on November 21, 2011 at 12:27

    Wendy, so glad to hear that the story is coming along well. My NaNovel this year is driving me crazy — keeping me up late and distracting me all day long. Keep up the fantastic work!

    • Laura on November 21, 2011 at 14:23

    I’m delighted to hear your writing is going so well! Kate’s enthusiasm petered out due to schoolwork. Maybe another time!

    I can’t wait to read your thoughts on The Marriage Plot, too.

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