Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Non-Fiction’

No Plot No Problem

No Plot? No Problem!
A Low Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.
By Chris Baty
ISBN: 9780811845052
Published by Chronicle Books
Date of Publication: 2004

Reader’s Annotation:
A how-to guide for aspiring writers wanting to participate in the annual National Novel Writing Month event.

Summary:
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual event that happens every November. For 30 days, aspiring writers plot their way through themes, characterizations, and punctuation to create a novel at least 50,000 words long.

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 when 21 haphazard young souls decided to binge on ambition. Some participants quit halfway through while some stuck it out to finish a first draft. The end result wasn’t great literature but a sense of accomplishment. Chris Baty, the founder, decided to try it again but this time push for an online prescience instead of with just friends. 140 people participated with 21 finishing. Guidelines were created and a movement was born. The third year grew to 5,000 participants, with each year growing bigger and bigger.

Now NaNoWriMo is an annual event with a second event devoted to writing screenplays called Script Frenzy. The 2012 NaNoWriMo event saw a word count of over three billion. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern were a result of NaNoWriMo. The event continues to be a source of inspiration for aspiring authors with local writing programs created to support the event and the inevitable editing process.

Commentary_nanowrimo

Critical Evaluation:
Using his experience as the founder of NaNoWriMo, author Chris Baty has created a helpful mini-guide for those would-be participants.

Baty provides a simple breakdown for the event with a week-by-week analysis of what writers should expect for the event. He also provides some background knowledge on how to plan for the event and motivionational tatics to help writers stay on track. Baty’s goal isn’t for you to become a great author over night. Baty’s goal is to help you actually to start writing and to finish. Rewrites and editing naturally will come later but finishing the first draft is the more important focus.

Baty is honest in the results. About seventeen percent of participates reach the 50,000 goal but that’s more than nothing. Even those authors who might fail one year have come back to finish the next year. The book is meant to motivate and to give tips for success. Young writers looking to participate in the event will gain sound advice from Baty’s experience.

Information about the Author:
From Chris Baty’s Webpage, Baty founded NaNoWriMo after 21 of his friends decided to take a challenge of writing a novel in a month. The movement has grown since its inception in 1999. Baty expanded the event to create the Young Writer’s Program which assists creative writing programs for students from elementary school to high school.

He now is a freelance writer, having been published in the Believer and Lonely Planet guidebooks.

Chris Baty on Twitter

Genre:
Non-Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Creative Writing

Booktalking Ideas:
What kind of stories do you like to read? To Write?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
14 and up

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
The teenage daughter of a friend of mine participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo event. She finished her first draft and has been recently been accepted to a creative writing program on the East Coast. Any fan of reading will always wonder if they should become a writer, even at an early age. The event is a great motivator for those aspiring authors. The guidebook is a wonderful tool to help those writers find success.

Reference:
Baty, C. (n.d.) Home Page. Retrieved from http://www.chrisbaty.com

NaNoWriMo. (n.d.) History. Retrieved from http://www.nanowrimo.org/about/history

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

record collecting for girls

Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time
By Courtney E. Smith
ISBN: 9780547502236
Publisher: Mariner
Date of Publication: 2011

Reader’s Annotation:
Gathering over ten years of experience in the music industry, Courtney E. Smith looks back at how music has changed her life

Plot Summary:
Courtney E. Smith has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the major musical bands in the last ten years. Building upon her love of music and her experience as a programming for MTV, Smith has created a memoir that is equal parts love letter to music and equal parts history of the medium. From essential lists to the confessions of guilty pleasure listening, Record Collecting for Girls provides a means for girls to further explore their love of music and to discover hidden gems along the way.

Critical Evaluation:
Smith’s memoir is a fun read. Yet, at times it seems that Smith delves more into the memoir aspect of her book instead of discussing music. Smith usually does bring the conversation back to music, tying her stories with music lists and recommendations.

Smith supports the idea that there are music snobs in everywhere. The chapter on guilty pleasures is an example of this in that Smith can not justify exactly why she loves the group Pussycat Dolls and not other mainstream girl groups. The reality is that it’s fine to like what you like. There’s no real reason for why we love the music we do, we just do.

The book provides great tips on searching for music information, specifically about music blogs. Smith’s knowledge of the music industry is a treat in that she occasionally delves into music history as well as pushing a discourse on the age old argument of who is better: The Rolling Stones or The Beatles.

Overall, Smith is a fun storyteller who has a lot to share about the industry. Young girls looking to expand their musical knowledge should seek this title to read. Not only will they gain an understanding of music history but an understand why it’s important to listen to music in the first place.

Information about the Author:
From Amazon, Courtney E. Smith has worked in the music industry for over a decade. As a music programmer for MTV, she was part of the team to decided on-air programming which set the tone for the music discourse in the last ten years. Her programming has helped increase awareness for bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins, and Vampire Weekend.

Smith continues to blog about music and currently is a music producer for CBS.

Courtney E. Smith on Twitter

Genre:
Non-Fiction, Music

Curriculum Ties:
Music, Relationships

Booktalking Ideas:
How can music influence our memories?
What songs would you use for a personal soundtrack?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
This title is a crossover, written for more adult audiences. I would recommend the book for older teens, beginning at 16 and up.

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
I had picked this book when it first was published last year. As a music fan myself, Smith’s tales of music and life resonated with my own past. As music is a large part of the popular culture, a book describing music as a means of a memoir will connect with teens who use music in their daily lives.

bampw-black-and-white-girl-headphones-music-photography-Favim.com-75270

The local music store

Reference:
Amazon. (n.d.). Record Collecting for Girls: Unleasing your inner music nerd, one album at a time. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Record-Collecting-Girls-Unleashing-Inner/dp/0547502230/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301784494&sr=8-1

Read Full Post »

Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter
By Alison Hansel
ISBN: 9780470067314
Publisher: Wiley Publishing
Date of Publication: 2007

Reader’s Annotation:
From House scarves to elf socks, Harry Potter fans can create knitting projects from the film and books.

Summary:
Using inspiration from both the book series and film series, Charmed Knits is a great treat to any knitter. From items promoting Hogwart Houses, such as scarves, sweaters, and socks, to Weasley family items, such as bags and more sweaters, the crafty Harry Potter fan can now create their own projects for themselves or for gifts.

Critical Evaluation:
Experience knitters will be pleased with some of the projects as there are some complicated patterns scattered throughout the book. Less experienced knitters will find simple patterns towards the middle of the book when the focus is on Hogwarts products. An appendix does provide knitting tips for any level of knitter. Anyone seeking more knowledge on the hows of knitting would best be served looking for additional material, such as Debbie Stoller’s Bitch N’ Stitch book series which gives more in-depth instructions for beginning knitters.

Information about the author:
Allison Hansel has been knitting since 2001 and was inspired to create Harry Potter knitting patterns after seeing the Weasley family sweaters from the film adaptations. Hansel is a resident of Boston with her husband and children.
Genre: Non-Fiction (Crafts/Knitting)

Alison Hansel has a blog in which she posts some great pictures about different patterns she has created or different projects she has completed. Her Ravelry page is filled with fun projects such as a German flag hat and simple, decorative scarves.

Curriculum Ties:
Crafting, Do-It-Yourself, Crafts in Literature

Booktalking Ideas:
What type of crafts do you do?
Plastic needles or Bamboo?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
As there is no listing for an age recommendation, it would depend on the skill level of the knitter in question. Knitters as young as 14 and up will have no problem understanding the material.

knitting-needles

Challenging Issues:


While there are have been constant challenges to the Harry Potter series in the past, a book about the knitted work in the series has not had any challenges. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
As both a knitter and a Harry Potter fan, I was excited to find this book at the library. The knitting patterns are simple to read and provide for a wide range of knitting levels. This is a perfect find for any craft-oriented teen who also loves to read.

Reference:
Hansel, A. (2007). Charmed knits: Projects for fans of Harry Potter. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing.

Read Full Post »