31 October 2008

October 2008 Bibliometer

It's the last day of the month, but since Word Nerd's got 300 pages left in Dresden Files book she's currently reading it's safe to post the bibliometer.

October 2008 readings:
6 books
1873 pages
60.4 pages/day

83 books
27,687 total pages

30 October 2008

Book Banter -- Killing Floor

Title: Killing Floor
Author: Lee Child
Length: 407 pages
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Plot Basics: Drifter Jack Reacher has been in the town of Margrave, Georgia for only a short time when he's arrested for a brutal murder. A murder he knows he didn't commit. Jack has to spend a night in the nearby prison where he and another man caught up in the series of events are almost killed. When the victim of the murder is identified, Jack takes the killing personally and vows to figure out what exactly is going on Margrave.
Banter Points: Word Nerd had heard a lot of good things about the Jack Reacher books -- one comment in particular being that despite the violence in the book, women readers tend to really enjoy them. Wandering around her local library, she spotted Killing Floor on the shelf and decided to try it. Turns out, all the hype was worth it. And she gets it, why women readers like Jack, because while he's violent, there's a certain nobility about it.
Bummer Points: Child writes in a lot of sentence fragments. Sort of like this. All the time. Gets annoying. Somewhat. The other bummer is the the local library here only has one copy of "Die Trying," the second Reacher book. Twenty-three people have the book on hold before Word Nerd. If they all keep the book checked out for the full three weeks, it'll be spring 2010 before it comes to be her turn.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like mysteries and haven't read Reacher, you should. Also, anybody have a copy of "Die Trying" that Word Nerd could borrow?

28 October 2008

It's not exactly NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated) begins on Saturday. For the third or fourth year in a row now, I am adamantly not participating.

Writing 50,000 words in a month sounds like complete torture and not helpful at all with where she is in this process.

I am however, adapting this literary "holiday" to suit my own devices. Word Nerd is celebrating NaNoEdMo -- National Novel Editing Month.

She finished writing the WIP sometime last winter (February, perhaps?) And now it's almost November and she's still slogging through revisions. She could rattle off excuses as to why, but none of them are really valid save for the fact that she says she doesn't like editing.

Truth is, when the editing is going well, when the book is getting better, the editing part is just fine too. So, starting the celebration early, Word Nerd's worked on the book four days in a row and has a schedule for keeping on track until she's completed the revisions on this sucker.

Word Nerd wants to throw open her NaNoEdMo celebration to anyone else who needs to revise rather than write. Anyone?

24 October 2008


So --
Word Nerd has a new, real job. For those of you following her AmeriCorps saga, her year of national service is over and now she is back among the gainfully employed.

In celebration of this fact, she bought a book last night. A hardcover book. She also got it signed, but that's a story for another day.

17 October 2008

A little bit Hollywood

Last night Word Nerd took a break from reading books and went to the opening film of the Heartland Film Festival.

The film was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Last night's showing was the North American Premiere of the movie.

This wasn't a happy film, but wow, was it ever impressive.

Word Nerd hasn't read John Boyne's book that the movie was based on, but the film at least on its own was a brilliant piece of storytelling. Poignant and innocent and terrible all at once.

This movie apparently opens across the country in November. It won't be a good afternoon, but take your Kleenex and go see it. Word Nerd wants to talk to people about this film....

16 October 2008

Word Count Fluctuator

The goal is to see more movement on the editing meter and word count fluctuator in the next six weeks.

Word Nerd recently moved to a new apartment and threw a big fundraiser event at her real job, so there wasn't enough space left in her head to think about the book. Now, she's trying to get back on a rigorous work-on-the-book-everyday schedule. So far, she's managed three days in a row.

Her goal was to get the book edited by the end of this year... she's actually bumped up her timetable to the end of November. Since November is National Novel Writing Month, Word Nerd's going to celebrate the occasion in her own fashion as National Novel Editing Month and be done with at least this first pass on revisions.

Then... well, then it's likely time to think about querying agents.

15 October 2008

Book Banter -- Good People

Title: Good People
Author: Marcus Sakey
Length: 326 pages
Genre: Crime/thriller
Plot Basics: Chicagoans Tom and Anna Reed are weighed down by debt from their attempts to have a child through IVF. When they suddenly find almost $400,000 tucked away in their tenant's apartment after he dies, they think their money troubles are over. Only Tom and Anna aren't the only ones who think the money should belong to them and the cash puts them in the path of robbers, drug dealers and a glory-seeking cop.
Banter Points: Sakey just keeps getting better. After bursting into the world of crime fiction a few years ago with "The Blade Itself" and following that up with "At the City's Edge," his latest, "Good People," is another top-notch novel. Sakey deftly takes the premise of regular people coming into questionable money and infuses it with suspense and lyrical prose.
Bummer Points: Word Nerd's read Sakey's other two books in one sitting and was bummed she couldn't do that with this one. She had a hard time putting it down.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Go to the library/bookstore and get this book right now.

14 October 2008

Author Answers with Sean Chercover (again)

Please welcome mystery writer Sean Chercover back for a second Author Answers column here. Chercover's new book Trigger City hits shelves today.

Word Nerd: Set the stage for "Trigger City." What's it about?
Chercover: In TRIGGER CITY, a grieving father hires Chicago PI Ray Dudgeon to bring him the truth about the daughter he never really knew. The woman had been murdered by a mentally-ill coworker, in a clear murder-suicide. But Ray learns that the dead woman had been leading a double life and he soon finds himself square in the sights of one of the world's most powerful military contracting companies. It's the kind of case that you walk away from, fast. But to walk away would be to abandon a young widow and her daughter; two innocent witnesses whose lives are now in danger.

WN: Was it harder or easier to write the second novel? Why?
Chercover: It was both. Easier, because the second book is a sequel to the first, so I already knew my protagonist and many of the supporting characters; I wasn't starting from scratch. But also harder, because of the pressures that come with expectations. Writing the first book, I didn't even know if it was going to be published, so there was no real pressure at all. But writing the second, there was a contract with a publisher ... and I'd gotten a lot of positive feedback on the first, so I felt a good deal of pressure and the critical voices in my head were even louder than usual.

WN: When you first created Ray Dudgeon, were you expecting to write a series or not? What went through your mind as you moved him into a second story?
Chercover: Can't say I was expecting a series, but I definitely had a series in mind from the beginning. Moving into Trigger City was a bit surprising, because I found that Ray had been changed by the events of the first book. I always wanted to write a series where the protagonist grows and changes, rather than a series with a static character having different adventures without being changed by his experiences. So the fact of his change didn't surprise me, but the depth of that change did. He really went through hell in Big City Bad Blood, and I found that those experiences had a lasting impact on him.

WN: "Big City Bad Blood" has been nominated for several awards. What's your reaction to that?
Chercover: I am, as they say, totally gob-smacked. It's hard to believe, and sometimes I wonder when I'm going to wake up and realize I was just dreaming all this. But I'm thrilled that the book has resonated with people, and I'm very grateful.

WN: Last time you were on the Word Nerd blog, you said your favorite word is "egregious." What's your least favorite word?
Chercover: Postmodern. And I try to never use it in conversation.

WN: What have you been reading lately that other readers shouldn't miss?
Chercover: I just got an advance copy of Ken Bruen's upcoming, ONCE WERE COPS. It rocks, and shouldn't be missed. Same with Anthony Neil Smith's YELLOW MEDICINE, which is out now.

Bonus for Indy-area readers: Chercover with be at the Mystery Company in Carmel at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 with fellow crime writer Marcus Sakey.

06 October 2008

Book Banter -- Pinkerton's Secret

Title: Pinkerton's Secret
Author: Eric Lerner
Length: 317 pages
Genre: historical fiction
Plot Basics: Allan Pinkerton formed the first detective agency in the United States in the 1850s. The fictional memoir is the account of his work, and his terrible secret, hiring of the first woman detective and the relationship that develops between the two of them.
Banter Points: This book was great to read. It was Word Nerd's book club pick for October and she was a bit skeptical at first of how this title got chose. Once she started it however, it was hard to put down. Sweeping in historical scale, the "facts" didn't disrupt or overpower the flow of the narrative. Pinkerton was a wonderful character -- judgmental and critical and yet deeply passionate about the things he truly cared about (almost Dr. House like in that regard).
Bummer Points: Word Nerd doesn't really remember much of the Civil War history that would have been pounded into her head in high school so there were some things Pinkerton referred to that were a little lost on her.
Word Nerd Recommendation: A definite two-thumbs up. Civil War buffs and fans of detective novels alike need to read it.

03 October 2008

September 2008 Bibliometer

Another month done, another time for statistics.
September didn't see quite as many books because Word Nerd moved her life to a new apartment and was busy packing, etc. for the latter half of the month.

Still here's the Bibliometer readings:
7 book s
1,949 pages
67 pages/day average

77 books
25,814 pages
Avg. book length: 335 pages

01 October 2008

Book Banter -- City of Pearl

Title: City of Pearl
Author: Karen Traviss
Length: 392 pages
Genre: sci-fi
Plot Basics: Environmental police Superintendent Shan Frankland agrees to go on a long-term mission to Cavanagh's Star, where a human colony was founded years before. She's given secret orders that will only be triggered in her memory once she finds something on the colony. But what Shan and her team of scientists and marines find when they land is an alien race, zealously committed to keeping Cavanagh's Star free from more human influence.
Banter Points: Word Nerd was in the mood to start a new sweeping series, something in the space opera family. While not quite space opera, Traviss' debut novel was an enjoyable read. More fiction and less science made for smooth reading (not a technical sci-fi novel). The plot picks up in the second half of the book
Bummer Points: Every so often, the plot jumped ahead in time without much in the way of transition. Also, some of the minor scientist characters were very 2D.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Peter Hamilton it's not, but that may actually make Traviss' work more accessible.