1. Boys are hard to shop for. Fortunately (?), I don’t have too many boys in my life that need Christmas presents–just my dad and brother–but I have no idea what to get them. My mom and sister were super easy. I just hopped on Etsy, browsed around for an hour or two (twist my arm. SUCH a burden 😉 ), and that was that. I don’t think my brother and dad would appreciate handmade jewelry and home decor quite like my mom and sister, though. I’d like to hit up Christkindlmarket sometime to see what I see, because I think I might be able to find some inspiration there. Now I just need to find a time to actually get to Christkindlmarket when it’s not likely to be a touristy mess…aka not Saturdays, which just so happens to be the only convenient time for me to get to Christkindlmarket. Hm.
2. This happened last week, but I finished my NaNoWriMo novel!
Though this was the first time I did NaNoWriMo, it was the second time that I finished a novel. I finished my first novel during the summer of 2009 and honestly have maybe opened the document once or twice since then, but I really want to put a lot of effort into this one. I need to let it sit for awhile and give my brain a creative break–and decide if where I ended it is okay or if I want to add some more–but I absolutely have every intention of revising this and *hopefully* querying it sometime within the next year. I think my first novel has a publishable idea, but I’m more passionate about the story in this one and think it might stand a better chance of getting picked up by an agent, especially if I do my research ahead of time (and revise. Revise revise revise). We shall see!
3. Speaking of books, I’ve been reading Matched by Allie Condie for the past week or so, and I’m really enjoying it.
Matched is a dystopian novel where all major life choices are determined for a person by the Society. The book begins with the Matching Banquet for Cassia, the main character of the book. At her Matching Banquet, she is matched with her best friend, Xander. Ultimately, this means the two of them will share a marriage contract and have a family together. Cassia is happy about this until she returns home and takes out her microcard that’s supposed to contain more information on Xander and sees the face of another boy from her Borough: Ky. As she wrestles with her unexpected feelings for Ky after seeing him on her microcard, she begins to discover that the Society is not at all as perfect as she originally believed.
I was a little hesitant heading into Matched. I like dystopias (and I have a thorough, unhealthy obsession with The Hunger Games), but after the HUGE letdown that was Divergent, I didn’t have too high of hopes for Matched. Honestly, though, I think Condie is a much better overall writer than Veronica Roth. There is, admittedly, a lot less action in Matched than in Divergent or The Hunger Games–honestly, a summary of Matched could easily say, “Cassia and Ky go hiking, then she goes to school and feels bad, then they go hiking again, then she goes to school again, then they go hiking again…”–and while that does make things a bit boring from an action-summary standpoint, Condie does a good job of incorporating important information into these repetitive events so you don’t notice that the same thing is happening over and over again unless you make a point of noticing it. I’m still a little unsure of what led to the creation of the Society, but I’ve gotten enough information that it doesn’t bother me like it did in Divergent. Condie also seems to own a functioning thesaurus, which was one of my biggest criticisms with Divergent. She doesn’t overdo it on the drama (and use the same words over and over and over again) like Roth, which has made the book that much more enjoyable for me.
What kind of gifts do you get for someone when you have no idea what to get them?
What’s the best book you read recently?