Reading

Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students – Mignon Fogarty | A Book Review

Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students - Mignon Fogarty

Title: Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students

Genre: Nonfiction (Writing)

About the book: This guide covers different aspects of writing. It is geared towards high schol and university students.

First impressions: I’ve been a fan of Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl, for many years now. I picked up this book when I was still in school, but I never got around to reading it cover to cover until now when I`m no longer a student.

Content: The book has chapters on parts of speech, sentences, puncutation, grammar rules, and writing style/advice. There’s also a glossary, bibliography, index, as well as other sections. I especially liked the tips and pop quizzes scattered throughout.

Quote:

“Writers—professional writers—get writer’s block at different points in their lives.”

Writing: Even when explanining complicated rules, Fogarty is concise and to the point. She writes in a way that’s clear and easy to understand.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed reading the entire guide from beginning to end. It’s also a useful resource to flip through and skim certain sections. I highly recommend Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students to anyone who wants to learn more about grammar and improve as a writer.


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Reading

Consider This – Chuck Palahniuk | A Book Review

Consider This - Chuck Palahniuk

Title: Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different

Author: Chuck Palahniuk

Genre: Nonfiction

About the book: It’s part memoir and part writing advice.

First impressions: I love reading about writing, so I was excited to delve into this. I like the title, and the cover is clever.

Content: Palahniuk offers good advice, both his own and from other writers as well. He covers topics like tension, authority, plus much more. I expected the book to focus mainly on the writing process, but I loved the insights into things like doing book tours.

Quote:

“What if world events are unfolding in perfect order to deliver us to a distant joy we can’t conceive of at this time?”

Writing: The chapters are short, and the book itself isn’t very long. I wish it was longer. I appreciated the author giving advice without being preachy or condescending. He shares his mistakes and failures. There are funny, light-hearted moments but also more serious ones too.

Final thoughts: If you’re a writer and/or a fan of Palahniuk, I’d recommend Consider This. It’s a fun, fast read about writing.


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Reading

Obviously: Stories From My Timeline – Akilah Hughes | A Book Review

Obviously: Stories From My Timeline - Akilah Hughes

Title: Obviously: Stories From My Timeline

Author: Akilah Hughes

Genre: Nonfiction (personal essays)

About the book: It’s a collection of personal essays from Akilah Hughes’s perspective from being a spelling bee champion, moving to New York, and more.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions:  I don’t read nonfiction often, much less personal essays, but the description intrigued me. The cover is beautiful.

Content: Hughes covers a mix of different subjects, ranging from her childhood to growing up and becoming an adult. I appreciate the author’s humour and perspective, especially in embarrassing or difficult situations. I understand that the book is about Akilah, and so the essays revolve around her, but her family and friends seem like very interesting people as well. I would have loved learning more about them.

Quote:

“I will do everything I want to do the way I want to do it, because that’s all there is.”

Writing: I enjoyed reading all the stories. They’re well-written, not too short or too long either. The book is under 300 pages.

Final thoughts: When I reached the end, I wanted more essays.

I would recommend Obviously: Stories From My Timeline to fans of Akilah Hughes or anyone interested in personal essays. There’s nothing quite like reading people’s stories to get to know them better.


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Reading

A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook – Riche Billing | A Book Review

A Fantasy Writers' Handbook - Riche Billing

Title: A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook

Author: Riche Billing

Genre: Nonfiction (Writing)

About the book: This is a guide on the writing and publishing process, specifically focusing on fantasy. It was independently publishing and came out earlier this year.

I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I don’t write much fantasy, but I love reading about writing, so I was excited.

Content: There’s a little bit of everything from writing to editing to marketing. The author compiles some useful resources such as a list of publications that accept fantasy stories. Billing also quotes other authors and includes comments from readers. I found the sections on weapons and armour especially interesting.

Quote:

“You have something to give to the world.”

Writing: The book isn’t super long at around 300 pages, broke up into chapters. They’re informative, giving a basic overview of topics like fighting and world-building.

Final thoughts: Overall, this is a helpful guide for writers. Even if you aren’t a fantasy author, a lot of the advice applies across all genres. If you’re looking for a useful book that covers different parts of the writing process, check out A Fantasy Writers’ Handbook.


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Reading

Finish First – Scott Hamilton | A Book Review

Finish First - Scott Hamilton

Title: Finish First: Winning Changes Everything

Author: Scott Hamilton

Genre: Nonfiction

About the book: The author, an Olympic gold medal winner in figure skating, talks about winning.

I received a free copy from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I looked at the premise and found it interesting. I don’t follow skating, so I didn’t know who the author was, but I liked the title. It’s also shorter than I expected at less than 200 pages.

Content: Hamilton writes about finishing first. He talks about this own life experiences, bringing up challenges he faced such as cancer and how he overcame them. The author’s likeable. I like his attitude even when the odds were stacked against him. Hamilton offers general advice that could apply to almost anyone in every field. It’s a very inspirational read broken into several chapters. I can imagine some of these passages would make for a great motivational speech. That being said, sometimes there was a little repetition.

Quote:

“Trust isn’t built in one interaction or two or three. It’s built in the day-to-day moments of life.”

Writing: The chapters are short and so are most of the sentences. This book is a good starting point for those looking to make small changes to their life. The author includes some biblical passages and mentions God.

Final thoughts: If you’re a fan of Hamilton, check out Finish First. I would recommend it even if you have no idea who he is, but you’re looking for a story to inspire you.


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Reading

Confessions of a Book Reviewer

  • I don’t always remember to write a review after finishing the book. My memory isn’t what it used to be.
  • I copy the same template for all my reviews. My reviews would be a mess if I didn’t structure them.
  • I forget some details. Sometimes I’ve even looked up the protagonist’s first name.
  • I don’t take notes while I read. Maybe I should.
  • I love reviewing physical books. More often than not, they’re fiction. But hopefully one day, I’ll get around to reading more nonfiction.
  • I finish every book. I feel like it isn’t fair to the author or potential readers if I only read and review half the novel.
  • I use the same phrases in my reviews. There are only so many ways to say I recommend a book.
  • I don’t write in books. I can’t do it. At most, I’ll write on a sticky note to mark a specific passage or page.