• books,  fiction,  reviews,  writing

    Review: The Help

    The Help by Kathryn Stockett My rating: 3 of 5 stars I feel like I was one of the last people in the world to read this book. That’s what happens when the stack of “to read” books next to your bed barely even fits in your nightstand–which I bought specifically because it had a nice, sizeable book cubby in it. But I digress… I’ve gotta say, Kathryn Stockett has some cojones. It’s not easy to write a book with multiple different voices and to make each voice distinct enough to be realistic and engaging. It’s also not easy to touch on the topic of race relations in Mississippi in…

    Comments Off on Review: The Help
  • blogging,  coffee,  fiction,  style

    Seven Secrets

    Glossing Over It is thrilled to accept the Stylish Blogger Award. Thank you to The Chick Lit Bee for the nomination. I am an unabashed lover of chick lit, as well as many other kinds of fiction, so I enjoy the honest and thoughtful reviews over at The Chick Lit Bee, run by four fabulous writers. Along with the award comes the request to pay the compliment forward as follows:  {1} Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award. {2} Reveal seven things about yourself. {3} Nominate ten great bloggers for the award. So here are seven things about me: (1) I tried on a jumpsuit last…

  • fiction,  reviews,  writing

    Putting Deadlines on Dreams

    November is almost over which, for me, brings the end of a frenzied month of writing. I signed up with several writer friends for NaNoWriMo, which means we each committed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Some of us (like me) started with a work in progress. Some started new novels and some wrote nonfiction. What we have in common, though, is that all of us tapped into the positive peer pressure of making a public commitment–much like people do when they train for a marathon. I don’t run marathons; I write them. Novelist, screenwriter, and memoirist Dave Eggers sent an email today to all NaNoWriMo participants. I found…

  • books,  fiction

    Celebrating Banned Books

    In celebration of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, I offer you the following list of my favorite banned books, and the reasons they were challenged or banned. What are your favorite banned books? The Bell Jar‘s discussions of suicide, mental illness, sexuality, and “questionable” life philosophy landed it a solid place on banned book lists worldwide  from its publication in 1963. Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret? (1970) was banned because of its discussion of menstruation, puberty, masturbation, and treatment of religion. Salinger’s classic (1951) was banned for language, sexual references, and descriptions of drunkenness and mental illness. Ginsberg’s 1956 poems were banned for obscenity. The…

  • books,  fiction,  writing

    12-Step Publishing Program

    “So, how’s it going with your book?” I get this question all the time. If you’re a writer, you probably do, too. So I offer you this primer on the process of getting your book out into the world the traditional way–i.e., finding a literary agent to represent your book and submit it to major publishers. (Self-publishing is a different process altogether.) Why 12 steps? Well, I just finished reading Lit by the brilliant Mary Karr, which is her moving memoir of how she started and stopped drinking, so a 12-step guide seemed appropriate. I’m no expert (I’m only on Step 5), but I hope this little glimpse into the…

  • books,  fiction,  writing

    The Franzen Fight

    For the first time in ten years, Time magazine has a living novelist on its cover.  The last time was in 2000, when Time featured Stephen King.  This time, it’s Jonathan Franzen. Given the hype over Franzen’s new novel, Freedom (out August 31), it is unsurprising that Michiko Kukatani gave it a rave review in the New York Times. (Fun fact: any of you Sex and the City fans will remember that Kakutani was the reviewer who fictitiously slammed Carrie’s book.) I have to admit that I have not yet read Freedom, but I am very much enjoying the internet wars going on over Franzen’s latest. In the interest of…

  • books,  fiction,  local

    Trash Shopping on Hippie Christmas

    August 15 is moving day in Madison, otherwise known as “Hippie Christmas.” Most leases here begin on August 15, so it’s common to see boxes stacked on porches, moving trucks in driveways, and trash piled on lawns. Combined with the August heat, it can be a pretty disgusting sight. If you’re willing to look beyond the stained mattresses and broken desk chairs, though, sometimes you can find a treasure or two. Yesterday, I picked up Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein in hardcover, as well as Henry Roth’s 1934 novel, Call It Sleep from a pile of discarded belongings near the curb. Both will make excellent, no-cost additions to my book…

  • art,  fashion,  fiction,  vintage,  writing

    Busy Gal Barbie

    Ten years ago, a friend gave me a card with this vintage Barbie image on it and I saved it. I know Barbies are less-than-popular these days because of their sexist implications, but I love this print. I played with the plastic Mattel dolls into my early teens (I was not cool if you haven’t already figured that out). I kept up characters and complicated plots that lasted for years… and then went on to immerse myself in feminist theory and gender studies in college. Contradictory? Perhaps. I think it was good practice for fiction writing, though.

  • coffee,  desserts,  fiction,  food,  wine,  writing

    Treats for the Soul and Stomach

    Tonight I have Critique Group. I am lucky to be a part of a group of five fabulous women writers who get together every other week to weigh in on one another’s projects. We are bold: we blog and send our work out into the world for publication. We are brave: we read one another’s manuscripts without the shine of extensive revision (we put the “rough” in rough draft). And we are hungry: hungry for a place in the literary world, yes, but also physically hungry. We show up, exhausted and starving, after our various day job in the worlds of law, motherhood, sales, and office administration. Often one or…

  • books,  fiction

    Casino Movies: Where’s Lady Luck?

    There’s nothing better than a good-looking woman going on a roll at a crowded craps table and knowing what she’s doing. This happened in Vegas on Saturday night when my college roommate walked up to the table in a short black dress and red heels. On her turn, she took the dice and showed the boys how it’s done, placing the right bets at the right times. I heard a guy next to her say, “Wow, you really seem to know the game. How did you learn?” Her reply? “I like math.” I think we can agree that this is a sight everybody loves to see…unless you’re playing the “don’t…