Thursday, August 23, 2012

Industry Month In Review: Back To Basics

It's been a great August so far with sun, surf, and the SCBWI LA Conference and with everything that's going on, it's easy to forget about the little things reading a good book on a lazy summer day.  

Wrigley's Little Free Library, Toronto
Wrigley's LFL, Toronto
If you don't know which book to read, good news, the NPR just released their favorite 100 best ever teen novels list.  It's filled with classics like The Catcher In The Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Hobbit, fan favourites like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter as well as contemporary gems like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (whom I'll be interviewing later this fall for a my Book to Screen interview series).  Take a look at the list and see how many you've read to date.

Don't have a library within walking distance to borrow that book you just read about on NPR's website? There may be a little free library in your neighbourhood.  I'm proud to say that in my home city of Toronto we have quite a few.  Cute little wooden boxes (some built to mimic the bricks and mortar libraries nearby) that generous home holders have placed on their front lawns and filled with an abundance of reading material for kids and adults alike. 

The other fun thing to do this summer - write, write, and more writing of course!  What all the novels on the NPR list have in common is that they're all written by writers who've done what F. Scott Fitzgerald told aspiring young author Frances Turnbull to do: they sold their hearts.  

F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
For those of us who aspire to be great writers and are inspired by great writers, this letter is a reminder of what it takes to be just that.  We need to push the boundaries of our writing, dig deep into the characters and bring out emotions, experiences and actions that aren't easy.  Fitzgerald puts it best when he writes "you wouldn't be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave."

The nice thing about enjoying the little things is that we can do them all year round.  Next up: curling up on the sofa beside a warm fire with a good book.

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