Wow, I've certainly taken a long blogging hiatus... but then again, it looks like most of us have been taking a break as well. (Except for the Simple Little Bookworm. She's been managing almost a post every day, which I think is quite commendable. Great job, Amy! Thanks for the follow, btw. ^_~)
Maybe I haven't been posting because I've been getting used to the new year... I don't know.
But I said I'd keep you readers updated, so I'll try my best.
I finished reading The Book Thief yesterday! Gosh, what a reading experience... I don't think I will easily forget it. The story, the characters, the setting... it all felt so real. (Well, I expect that's because it takes place in Germany in the 1940's. Perhaps the characters are fictional, but the events that were written about, I could easily believe actually happened.)
So here's the scoop on this book: It's narrated by Death (yeah, really. And he is quite the story-teller, I can assure you). It takes place in Nazi Germany, when Hitler is gaining power and support, and Jews were hunted. (Gulp. Personal subject, since I'm a Jew myself. I remember going to Israel last summer on my Taglit trip, and going to the Holocaust memorial. Just breaks my heart... !,!)
A 10-year old girl, Liesel, is sent away to live with a foster family, because her poor mother can't take care of her anymore. It takes getting used to, but eventually she adapts to life with her new family. Her foster dad is a wonderful character; you like him right from the start. Her new mom is a more complex kind of person. She acts pretty mean, but as the story goes on, you see that she's really got a big heart. I also love the character of her best friend, Rudy Steiner, the boy next door. During the course of the book, Liesel learns to read, she begins stealing books from the mayor's library, and her family takes in an escaped Jew named Max (for complicated reasons).
It is a wonderful coming of age story. It will no doubt make my list of "Ten Best Books of 2011" at the end of the year. One of the best things about this book is that it teaches you a few interesting words in German, so it's slightly educational. Another special thing I discovered, when I was more than halfway into the book, is that... I am a fictional character! The boy Rudy has a 5-year-old sister named BETTINA! She is mentioned a few times as a very minor, throw-away character... But still!!!
A few days ago, my twin and I got a couple of things we'd ordered from Amazon: a webcam, and a tiny microphone. Now I'm able to have virtual conversations with people. I can see their faces, and hear words coming out of their moving mouth in real time. You know what that means, don't you?
It is now possible for me to meet certain friends, without ever leaving my computer! Yay!
Lately I've been having a bit of trouble making time/ getting inspiration for my writing. I wrote a poem the other day [see here], so now I have 29 more to fulfill my goal. I also started writing a quick short story one morning about how our cockatiels had woken me up. That's okay and all, but I feel like I'm missing something. I think I'm missing... the drive to write.
I need to establish a solid schedule, or a project for myself. Something I know I can do every day. Perhaps a series of writing prompts? Normally I would think these are silly. What would be the point of them? But a writer must write, and I really need the practice. (I read in a writing book that the first million words you write in your career are solely for practice. They don't count. So you shouldn't worry about whether that writing is good or bad. I think that makes me feel slightly better...)
I would be very appreciative if you guys have any suggestions or recommendations for me.