Ultimate Book Tag

I took these questions from a post on Kitty Marie’s Reading Corner and had a lot of fun answering them. It seemed fitting after getting back into reading as heavily as I have.

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
Unfortunately, yes, reading, looking at a phone or tablet, etc. can give me a headache and make me queasy. It didn’t used to; I don’t know what changed.

2. The Harry Potter Series or The Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer
Well…I haven’t read either, or watched movies from either. But I have put the first Harry Potter on my TBR list, while I still have no particular desire to read Twilight, so…I guess there’s your answer.

3. Do you carry a book bag? If so what is in it?
I don’t, but in the right situation, I do put a few books into my Handbag of Holding, usually whatever I’m currently reading (if it fits), and at least one notebook.

4. Do you smell your books?
All the time. Though even more than that, I smell my notebooks a lot, especially now that I’ve organized them in a location closer to my computer, and especially those that have leather or wood covers or cotton pages.

5. Books with or without illustrations?
I haven’t read a lot of books with illustrations, but I wouldn’t be adverse to them. I often have a difficult time understanding descriptions, so images can’t hurt.

6. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
I really hate to say this, because this series was a big deal to me growing up, and I’ve collected some of them as an adult, in the hopes of getting my daughter to love them too, but I have realized that the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard have a lot of issues, both in the plots and characters, and in the writing itself.

7. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
I remember writing school subject names on the front of some of my books and pretending to teach school with them. I still have a few, one with “Spelling” written on it, for example.

8. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?
It’s technically my own novelette, The Triangle. Not including my own though, it’s Tilly by Frank E. Peretti.

9. What is the thickest book on your shelf?
These 2 questions are difficult to answer, because my books are spread across several bookshelves (not because I have so many, but because our books take up a shelf or two on a bookshelf with movies, on a bookshelf with my daughter’s books, on a bookshelf with my writing stuff, etc. But as far as I can tell, excluding multi-book volumes (because that’s just not fair), I think it’s The Visitation, also by Frank E. Peretti.

10. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future becoming an author?
I do write, to which this blog is a testament. I have published a novelette and am working on a series of speculative fiction books.

11. When did you get into reading?
I was ready as early as I can remember. In first grade, I went to a second grade class for reading. Though I stopped for a while, getting back into it has been like coming home again.

12. What is Your Favorite Classic Book?
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (just fyi though, I have not ready many classics).

13. In school was your best subject English or another Language Arts subject?
It was one of my best. That and math subjects. I did well in English, though to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it that much. Especially the part about picking apart everything we read for theme, symbolism, figurative language, etc.

14. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
If it had been a while since I read it, I’d probably keep it to re-read it and see if my feelings had changed. If I’d read it recently…I’d probably keep it for a while and eventually decide to donate it or give it away.

15. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?
The Summoner trilogy, of which I’ve recently finished book 2, reminds me of Harry Potter, though as mentioned above, I’ve not read Harry Potter yet.

16. What is your favorite word?
Surreptitious

17. Are you a Nerd, Dork, or Dweeb? Or all of the above?
I don’t really know…maybe more of a dork than the other 2?

18. Vampires or Faeries?
I’d say neither, but I’m a Buffy/Angel fan. I’m not a vampire fan in general though.

19. Bookmark or Random Piece of Paper?
Bookmark if at all possible, and so far, I’ve managed to keep 2 of the 3 bookmarks I bought over a month ago. If the other 2 disappear though, it’ll be back to random pieces of paper again for a while.

20. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
Forbidden love. Love triangles just make me sad, especially if I care at all about the characters involved.

21. One book at a time or several books at once?
Usually one at a time. If a book is uninteresting enough for me to not want to keep coming back to it as much as I can, I might start another one along the way, but most of the time, I stick it out with one.

22. Can you stop reading at any part of the book or does it have to be the end of the chapter?
Any part is usually fine. In fact, stopping at the end of a chapter brings the potential of being at a cliffhanger, which isn’t an easy plate to stop either!

23. Do you write in your books?
I don’t think I ever have before. I even have a hard time underlining or writing notes in my Bible.

24. Can you read while listening to music or watching TV?
Maybe lyric-less music, but even that can distract me, so usually, I prefer quiet. Though I may soon try out using coffitivity.com with my reading like I do with my writing. It may help me block out sounds of people going about their lives around me, though to be honest, as long as I’m not being directly addressed, or the sound is not loud or persistent (or strange), I can usually ignore it.

25. Do you read out loud or silently in your head?
In my head. When I read out loud, I actually have a very difficult time understanding what I’m reading.

BONUS QUESTION: Physical book, e-book or audio book?
By and large I prefer physical books, both for the feel, the look, the sense of tradition, and the smell. I’ve recently realized the benefits of reading on my Kindle, because of the potential for hands-free reading, so that’s a good alternative. I avoid audio books as much as possible, because I have a difficult time focusing on the words, and then end up lost. There’s also the fact that when I’m reading, I often go back in the book to remember a character, or a scene that is referenced later but didn’t stick out in my head at the time, or even in some cases, to go back to a scene that I find out later had a lot more going on in it than I realized at the time, and I want to re-read it with a new understanding. (I did this so much with one particular time-travel book that I ended up bookmarking the earlier section so I could find it again easier.) Anyway, with audio books…well, all of that is a lot harder to do.

Moar Notebooks!

To make a long story short, I have a bit of a notebook collection. A current count shows 15 empty notebooks, and probably close to that many either filled or currently being filled. I just can’t help myself when I’m out, whether at a mall, a gift shop, or just about any store that has any selection of notebooks or stationery. In the last couple of years, I have tried to cut down on buying any, but I’ve still made some purchases.

I’ve shared my collection on my blog twice now, and I realized a few weeks ago that I have bought 6 more since the 2nd post. So rather than wait until I have 10 to post about, since I like to share the story behind each notebook and don’t want the post to be as long as last time, I decided now is a good time for a post.

(Follow these links to see the first and second posts about my collection)

notebook 1

This is my first official Moleskine notebook (and only so far). My husband and I were at Barnes and Noble and I saw their display of them and told my husband how they were a famous brand of notebooks. As often happens when I show interest in something in front of my husband, he insisted I get one. I haven’t started using it yet, but have plans for it to replace my NaNoWriMo notebook that is more than half full now, because it’s the same shape and size (that’s a compulsion with me).


notebook 2

I don’t actually have much to say about this one. I’m pretty sure my husband bought it for me when I wasn’t with him and surprised me with it. He introduced me to Pokemon when we got married (in fact, he basically introduced me to the whole world of geek), so it’s quite fitting, really. It’s empty, and probably will be for a while.


notebook 3

I can’t try to shame anyone who hasn’t seen Stranger Things, because when the first season was out, it took me about a year to get around to watching it, even though my husband and many others I knew said how great it was. My husband found this notebook (at Walmart, of all places) a week or so before season 3 came out last month. The cover is actually from season 1 though, which I was glad for, because I didn’t like season 2 quite as much, and didn’t know yet what I’d think about season 3.


notebook 4anotebook 4b

The next 3 notebooks were all bought on the same weekend anniversary trip my husband and I took last month. As soon as I saw this notebook, I knew I had to have it…there was really no question. The book can be closed with the leather lace, wrapping it around the book, and then around/under the leaf on the front. The green is a soft material, and the right picture shows the quote that is on the inside cover. It wasn’t even until after I bought it and looked at it more that I realized that what you see here is actually a book cover, inside which is a plain notebook with a cardboard front and back cover that can be removed when it’s filled, so the outer LoTR-themed cover can be re-used. So it was even better than I thought when I first found it! I’m pretty much in love with it. I have no idea what I’m going to use it for, but I think I have to start using it very soon.


notebook 5aI found this book in the clearance section of Barnes & Noble. It might seem strange to many, but it piqued my interest. It’s a guest book, meant to be used for whatever guest books are normally used for. But inside, there are lines like in any notebook, and somehow the unique shape of it, and even the word “GUESTS” on the cover and each page, led me to have all sorts of ideas about the inspiration that could come while writing in it. So it was worth it for a clearance price. (My husband tried to tell me he didn’t think I was weird, but I could tell he did.)


notebook 6anotebook 6b

The final notebook for this post was found in a bargain store. I told myself not to go to the office supplies area, but I just couldn’t help myself (I never can). The wood grain cover was enough to at least draw my attention, but I would have put it back and walked away had I not opened it and seen the inside cover. My estimate is that the map is from around the time of the French & Indian War, though I admit I haven’t looked it up or anything. Either way, I really liked the look of it, so now it’s part of my collection.

I’ve noticed that I’m not the only writer who has a plethora of notebooks, so feel free to show me yours!

Happy Stranger Things Day!

ST notebook

Whether you’ve already watched all of season 3, or are saving it for later (or are somewhere in between), I just wanted to give a shout out to my fellow Stranger Things fans! My husband and I might watch some of it tonight, but we’re saving most of it for our mini vacation this weekend while we celebrate our 19th anniversary (which was Monday).

Also, happy Independence Day to those of you who are in the States!

**The above image is the cover a notebook my husband bought me a few days ago. I’m a bit of a notebook collector, and was just thinking to myself that I haven’t gained any new notebooks since my last post updating my collection. Though now I’ve realized I have added at least 2 before this one. Still not enough for a new post.

Who’s watched it? Who’s planning to? Who hasn’t watched season 1 yet?

The Obsession Grows

When I first started this blog as a place to post my daily writing work, to hold myself accountable, a few months in, I wrote a post about my notebooks. Around that time I had come to realize that I had what could officially be called a collection of notebooks. I had never before been a collector of anything besides dust, junk, and words.

I hadn’t intended to start collecting notebooks, and I understand now that people don’t wake up one day and decide to start collecting something (well, some people may do that; I’m not here to generalize). I decided then to share my notebook collection on my fledgling blog with maybe 3 readers (I’m not just being self-deprecating—I didn’t exactly promote the blog that was only meant to keep myself working on my writing).

Here is that first post, written a little over 3 years ago. In the time since then, my collection has grown. That first post has notebooks going all the way back to my childhood, and in 3 years, I’ve doubled the amount.

I think it has something to do with admitting to myself and to my family that this is a collection. And since then, I’ve upgraded that admission to “obsession.” Now, my head isn’t turned by every brightly colored, spiral-bound notebook sitting on a shelf at the store. But I can’t help but love notebooks that are unique, interesting, related to something I like, or have a story behind them.

So now that I’ve returned to my blog after a year and a half hiatus, it seems like a good time to post about the additions to my collection. At the end, I even mention a few items that aren’t notebooks, but are worth noting. Warning: I plan to tell the story of each of these, and while these are not every single notebook I’ve gained since July of 2014, it’s still going to be a long post. Continue at your own discretion.

NaNo notebookMy parents gave me this NaNoWriMo notebook for Christmas in 2014. It was a new product in their store at the time, and I’d wanted a blank notebook from them for years. I was one (among many, I’m sure) who suggested they create a blank notebook instead of the confusing (to me, at least) notebooks they already had that seemed to have filled pages and maybe blank ones, but who knows without buying them. I’ve started using it for exactly what it says there–NaNoNovel prep notes.

notebook 2In April, 2015, my family went to Canada mainly to attend the farewell concert of a Toronto-based geek band. We went through Niagara Falls on our way home, and there I got this souvenir of the trip. It’s made of recycled paper, the cover is cardboard, and even the pen that it came with is mostly made of cardboard! This notebook is still unused.

notebook-3.jpgMy parents-in-law gave me this journal on my birthday in (I think) 2015. It has a very nice, squishy cover, and has various Bible verses on the bottoms of some of the pages. I started using it near the end of 2015 as a daily gratitude journal which I’ve continued with varying consistency since then.

notebook 4This notebook is one of my favorites. My husband gave it to me for Christmas in 2015. It’s one of my larger notebooks (so many are half the size of a normal, school-use notebook) and has a squishy cover as well. The clasp (shown in insert) is engraved with, “Dream, Plan, Write Every Day…” which is a motto I made up and used as a title to a series of blog posts with writing tips. I’ve used this notebook for some writing practice, and will continue to do so once I get back into the habit.

notebook-5.jpgThe story behind this one isn’t nearly as good as the others, because my husband insisted on getting it for me when we walked by a sale of monogrammed notebooks at JoAnn’s. But it’s interesting to me, because I never used to be the kind of person who cared about my initial on things, but I find I enjoy it now. This one is a half-sized notebook, but it’s lined, and has a cloth cover. It’s unused for now.

notebook 6

It might be hard to tell from the picture, but this is a magnetic notebook. You can take pages out and put them back in, refill the notebook, move a page up so you can write on the bottom better, and even print on the pages and put them back into the notebook. I haven’t started using it yet because I feel like it should be saved for something really special. That’s a problem I’m starting to have with a lot of my notebooks though.

This notebook came from a preview trip to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky in July of 2016. It is handmade with a hand-carved wood cover and cotton paper. (The left is the front cover, the right is an informational insert that is still attached to the back cover.) It is beautiful and oddly square-shaped, which makes it stand out even more amongst my other notebooks. This one may be the hardest one for me to ever bring myself to start writing in.

notebook-7.jpgLast Christmas, my daughter came up with the perfect idea for a gift for me while we were at Barnes & Noble. Based on various clues, I knew she was planning to get me a notebook, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I have too many as it is and really shouldn’t keep getting more. She’s only 7 (was 6 at the time) and loves coming up with gift ideas on her own, so I didn’t want to ruin that for her, and let my husband help her buy this beautiful, soft-covered, hand-embroidered notebook. It is unused so far, and I’m torn between wanting to save it for something special and wanting her to see me using it.

notebook 9Just a few months ago, ThinkGeek opened a store in a mall near us. We went to the grand opening, and my husband insisted we both get something. I was able to resist until I saw this notebook. I didn’t even have to say anything; he grabbed it and didn’t give me a chance to argue (not that I would have much). I watched this movie quite a bit when I was younger, and it even has a golden ticket inside, because…well, how could it not? It’s unused so far, and low on the list of books to start using, which doesn’t bother me.

This is my newest addition, just picked it up last weekend. I went to a living history reenactment, the biggest one in our area. I saw this beauty in Daniel Boone’s tent, and ogled it a bit. It has a leather cover and (I suspect) bark pages, with a metal clasp to hold it shut. I held myself back for reasons I already mentioned (I have too many…), but my husband snuck back later and bought it for me. I’m beginning to see a pattern here…my husband is an enabler. He’s definitely one who shows his love through gift-giving.

Now I’m out of notebooks for this post, but in case anyone has gotten down this far (even just by skimming), I have a couple of other things of note in this vein:

neo.jpg

After desiring a Freewrite for a few years, but knowing that I couldn’t remotely justify spending that much money on something that was just for a hobby, I stumbled across the information that other such items existed. I don’t remember if I went looking for a substitute, or just got lucky, but I read some reviews and found out that the Alphasmart Neo was everything I wanted out of a highly portable, distraction-free writing device. They’re not in production anymore, but you can find cheap used ones online. So I linked it to my husband last fall and hinted about a Christmas gift, and sure enough, he came through! It can save up to 8 different files, transfers to your computer when you’re ready for that (though if you have a long file, that part can take a while), and the battery life has been incredible so far. I am highly anticipating using this in my first NaNoWriMo next month. I may have to sew up a padded sleeve for it so that I can transport it in my massive Handbag of Holding without worrying about hurting it.

fidget-pen.jpg
Lastly, this is my fidget pen. The little balls that are attaching that curved piece to the pen are magnetic, as is the very top of the pen, where the larger ball is attached. This thing keeps my hands busy for hours. I had noticed a tendency to take apart pens or mechanical pencils that I used while writing or in meetings, and I knew this pen would be perfect for me. It also came with the desk toy. (Video of pen in action) I don’t know about anyone else, but fidget spinners didn’t enter my field of vision until earlier this year. By the time I’d heard about them, I had already invested in this crowdfunded pen. Now I feel a little dirty, being part of a fad, but this is so much better and more practical than a spinner because it’s a pen.

I won’t make this post any longer by drawing out the conclusion, and instead just say that since I’ve noticed that I’m not the only writer who has a plethora of notebooks, feel free to show me yours!

My Notebook Collection

So a couple of days ago I got to thinking about all of the notebooks I have. This started when my husband bought me a new one and said, “I thought you were saying the other day that you were running out.” I had to laugh, because if anything, I may have said that I had too many that I haven’t gotten to yet. And I definitely have a lot. Some are full, some probably never will be, and others are on deck for when current ones fill up. Spanning over fifteen years, each one of these notebooks is special to me in some way–some of them were even gifts.  They each have their own purpose, and most of is related to writing…well, all of it, probably, but again, some I haven’t even started into yet.

all

And what can make a blog post about notebooks even more interesting? A more detailed description of each notebook? Don’t mind if I do.

1

These notebooks are from when I was somewhere around 13-16 years old. I was writing a story that I never did finish, but boy did I have grand plans for it. I think the blue notebook was the original, but the black notebook seems to be a rewrite. I can’t say it’s the first story I ever wrote (or tried to write…I never did seem to finish any of them back then), because I also recently dug up what remains of a story I started writing when I was 10 (more on that here), but it’s the main one from my childhood. I am so glad I still have have these notebooks after so many years.

2

These two notebooks are also very important. They contain the bulk of the original draft of my fanfiction series that is the basis for “Pithea” (and more on that here). There were five stories originally, and the left notebook starts with line one of the first story, and the second notebook stops during one of the final scenes of the fifth story. They are the first notebooks I filled with writing, and they are old and beat up (especially the left one–the back cardboard cover is completely ripped off). They will definitely always be special to me, even though what is in them is obsolete.

3

This is my current main writing notebook. My husband bought it for me sometime while I was filling the second one from the previous picture. It’s a bulky, 5-subject notebook with plastic front and back covers, numerous plastic pockets inside, most of which are filled with extra papers of some sort, and actual cloth protecting the spiral. It’s the real deal. I used this notebook for NaNo 2007 and 2013, and it has parts of 5 different stories, both long and short, including A Question of Faith. It’s really kind of a mess, with stories intermingled and lines showing a gap in the text, usually because I wrote directly onto the computer for a while before going back to the notebook. It also contains many notes about Pithea and the story world around it, as well as pre-writing and other notes for “Pithea.” All of that, and it’s still only half full. ‘Cause it’s so big.

4

These are my first international notebooks. They are both from South Korea, where two of my sisters have spent some time. The one on the left was first, brought back by my younger sister. She felt bad because there were no lines in it. I’ll admit it doesn’t work as well for actual writing, but it’s still great for notes, sketches, or mind maps. It’ll take a while to fill it, though, because I don’t do that kind of stuff often. The notebook on the right is from my older sister. She says, “I was really excited that I found one with ‘write’ on it instead of ‘draw’ (most of them were for artists and said ‘Draw Your Dreams’).” That one has lines, and is my other main writing notebook. I use it mostly for writing practice, so it’s being filled with one-shot blurbs to try to keep my creative juices flowing. I tend to go in spurts of keeping up with the writing practice for a few weeks, then forgetting about it for months at a time. It’s actually getting close to being filled, though I’ve been writing in it since March of 2011 (I always date my writing practice).

5

I bought this notebook at the Creation Museum in Kentucky years ago, along with another one that I use for school planning. This is a smaller notebook, so I tend to keep it in my purse and use it when I’m out somewhere. I originally used it like a journal of writing ideas that I didn’t want to forget, but it has turned into a place for any old writing I want to do when I’m somewhere that I didn’t plan to do writing, so don’t have another notebook with me. It’s pretty beat up for how little is in it, but that’s probably because it’s in my purse so much.

6

I almost didn’t include this one, because there are only a few pages of it written on, but it’s unique and has a specific purpose. It’s made of bark and twine, and was obtained years ago at a rendezvous. My dad does a lot of those types of shows as a blacksmith, and I used to go to a lot with him to sell the items he made. During slow times at these shows, my favorite thing to do to keep occupied has usually been to work on writing whatever story I was in the middle of at the time. I couldn’t really bring out a big, modern, spiral-bound notebook, because it wouldn’t be period-correct. I did take parchment paper that I’d printed lines on to write on, but somewhere along the line we ended up with a few of these notebooks (in a trade, I think), so I ended up with this one to write in during the shows. I’ll admit, though, it’s kind of a pain, because I can’t use a pencil, which is my preferred utensil, because it won’t show up on the bark paper. But it’s still kind of fun to write in. I don’t do shows as often anymore though, and when I do, they’re way too busy to give me any down time. So the notebook is lonely lately.

7

This is the first notebook on the list that is completely unused. My older sister bought me this one in South Korea too. I’m really eager to start using it, but the compulsive in me won’t let me until I’ve finished another one. The plan is for this to take the place of the other Korean notebook (partly because they’re both Korean, but also because they’re both a similar size and thickness, so it kind of flows). It’s still in the package it came in for now, because I want to keep it nice and shiny until I use it. If you can see the picture close up enough, you can read the hilarious text. My sister has some t-shirts from Korea with ridiculous and goofy English sayings on them. Apparently they don’t translate stuff well, or they’re being pranked by someone who tells them phrases to use that are just outlandish. In case you can’t read it, it says:
“If your head is wax, don’t walk in the sun
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud It is a great ability to be able to conceal one’s ability
Pride sullies the noblest character
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves The important thing was to love rather than to be loved One cannot love and be wise”

And on the back, it says:
“I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach
Most new books are forgotten within a year, especially by those who borrow them
When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it
I think it is good that books still exist, but they do make me sleepy.”

8

For a boring post about notebooks, this sure is getting long. Okay, two more, and both are blank so hopefully less to say. I designed this notebook on Zazzle. Yes, that’s comic me, and maybe it’s narcissistic to put myself on a notebook, but I love the picture so much, I wanted to use it. It’s also a smaller size notebook with only 60 pages in it. It’ll be for writing or notes or something someday…I don’t know, I just like it. The text on the front was supposed to provide a reminder to write at least for a few minutes every day, but it’s not really working.

9

This final one is the one my husband got me earlier this week. It’s a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Journal. It’s small, but has a lot of pages. And the pages aren’t lined, but they all have a light print of the same TARDIS image from the front on them. It’s going to live on my night stand for now, so I can stop scrounging scrap pieces of paper to write on any time I’m laying in bed and need to write something down I just came up with. I keep smelling it, and I don’t know why. I think because it’s new and so book-like. It doesn’t smell like a book though. It sort of smells like pickles.

Clearly I’ve run out of stuff to say about notebooks, so I should probably end this blog post now. Someday, when I’m a famous author, some of these notebooks might be worth money. Yep.