NaNoWriMo “Winner”!

You’ve probably noticed how quiet my blog has been lately–even quieter than usual. That’s because I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. In the month of November, I wrote more than 50,000 words of a novel. First of all, let me say: WOOOOOO! I’M A WINNER! I’M AWESOME! I set out to write a what seemed like an impossible number of words last month–not to mention maintaining a full-time job, buying a new car, keeping my house clean and in good repair, celebrating []

“Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell

The Bigtrees are the proud, indebted owners of Swamplandia!, a macabre and thrilling theme park devoted to “Seths”—their nickname for alligators. But when their star wrestler Hilola dies and a rival theme park, the World of Darkness, opens nearby, they hemorrhage customers.

Thirteen-year-old Ava is stricken with grief at the loss of her mother, the famous alligator wrestler Hilola Bigtree. Hilola died not from an aggressive gator attack but from cancer, and Ava finds herself adrift. She’s not the only one. Her father, known as the Chief; her seventeen-year-old brother Kiwi; and her sixteen-year-old sister Osceola (Ossie) also break and slide apart.

Poem: Halloween Haunting

I’ve written a prose-poem. That’s not exactly new, since I’ve done that before. But today I’m seized by the impulse to share it. I’ve been toying with the idea of posting some of my more creative/adventurous work on this blog, so I thought I’d go with it. I just wrote the poem today, and I’ll probably hate it tomorrow, but now it will live forever. What do you think? It is Halloween Ghosts and monsters wait Around corners once familiar The here []

Down by the Bay in Dar es Salaam

I’m so excited to be in Tanzania with the International Reporting Project (IRP). Yesterday, I had a few moments to myself. I walked through an overpriced market, but I only had eyes for the coastline. Dar es Salaam sits beside a bay of the same name that links up with the Indian Ocean. The water is gorgeous and calm.

“The Scar” by China Miéville

Bellis Coldwine is unhappily fleeing her home in New Crobuzon for a colony across the world. Bellis, a cold, competent linguist, soon finders herself impressed by pirates and dropped onto the floating city of Armada.

Twelve Nonfiction Books on Tanzania

In just a few weeks, I’m leaving for Tanzania! Naturally, my mind first turns to books about or from Tanzania. Last week, I listed six novels I’d like to read before/after the trip; this week, I’m focusing on nonfiction titles. Guides & Wonky Stuff Bradt Guide to Tanzania by Philip Briggs Hunger and Shame: Child Malnutrition and Poverty on Mount Kilimanjaro by Mary Theresa Howard The Hadza: Hunter-Gatherers of Tanzania by Frank Marlowe Personal accounts The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuściński []

Six Novels on Tanzania

This month, I head out for my next IRP trip: Tanzania! Naturally, my mind first turns to books about or from Tanzania. As I learned on my recent trip to Zambia, there are many fine books that I’m sure I won’t discover until I set foot in the country. But these titles should help me prepare for the trip. Unlike my research for Zambia, I’ve found a ton of interesting books from and about Tanzania. First, I’m looking at six novels that []

September Nonfiction Book Club: “The Violinist’s Thumb” by Sam Kean

It’s been a few months, and the Nonfiction Book Group at One More Page Books & More is going strong! Our selection for September is The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean. Here’s more on the book: In The Violinist’s Thumb, bestselling author Sam Kean explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have []

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

When Cheryl Strayed set off to hike an 11,000-mile portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), she wasn’t just leaving the comforts of home behind. She was attempting to discard a lifetime of emotional baggage as well: grief over her mother’s death, anger over her father’s abandonment, pain over her recent divorce, promiscuity, and a heroin problem.