• Best of 2018

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Writing Resources     Comments No comments
    Dec
    22

    Christmas is in only three days, New Year’s Eve is in only nine days, 2019 is staring us in the face, and many of us are out on the road, or on the tracks, or on the water, or in the sky, or, just as likely, stranded somewhere due to weather.

    And we need reading material! To get us through these dull and lonely hours of lines and waiting.

    I figured I could either write a novella-length post for you this week on a particular topic or offer variety in bite-size chunks.

    We published about fifty posts in this space this year, and if you’ve read all of them, you’re my hero. But between general busyness, life hiccups, and the fact that not every blog post topic will grab your interest, I suspect few of you have done so. Hell, I doubt I’ve read them all!

    So I thought I’d pick some highlights from our blog this year and offer them up this week as extra reading material for your travels. I’ve chosen ten of my favorites. Some I picked because I like the content or have some fond memory of writing it; others I chose not so much because of the post but because of the wonderful discussions you guys sparked in response to it.

     

    I’m going to start with a couple of posts that might come particularly in handy this week:

    Books as Gifts vs. Bookstore Gift Cards

    In which we all debate the merits of choosing a book for someone as a gift–personal but risky–versus allowing them to choose their own books–impersonal but more likely to lead to reading success. For the record, most of us voted for the gift card, but with caveats.

     

    Packing Books For Vacation

    In this silly post I talk about how I almost always pack too many books in my luggage, and then end up buying more books at my destination. Most of us seem to be over-packers.

     

    And here are eight more, in no particular order:

    “Purr” Gold: The Hardy Boys & Childhood Pride in Reading

    The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and other books and book series we grew up with. This one led to a weeks-long discussion in the comments that I thoroughly enjoyed.

     

    The Creative Writing MFA: Yes or No? Maybe.

    After a Yak Babies discussion on the topic, I wrote a bit about my experience enrolling in–and then quickly quitting–an MFA program.

    Oh yeah: If you’re not in a position, or mood, to read, but want some distraction, give the Yak Babies podcast a try. We talk often about books and writing. And just as often, we get off topic and off-color, so if that kind of thing bothers you, steer clear. Or at the very least, skip any episode on the list not prefaced with a number.

     

    I’ve Never Read Philip Roth

    After the death of this famous author–who, it turns out, lived only a few blocks from me–I admitted that I’d never read any of his books, and listed a whole lot of other famous authors I’ve never read either, prompting some of you to do the same in the comments.

    A short time later, I read Goodbye, Columbus. I am in no rush to read more Philip Roth.

     

    What Is Your Desert Island Book?

    Self-explanatory, and always a crowd-pleaser. I chose a particular collection of short stories. See the comments for your fellow WriteByNighters’ top choices.

     

    Music While You Read, Music While You Write

    Not much of a post, but the discussion in the comments was enjoyable and enlightening.

    As it turns out, most of us prefer silence when engaged in both activities. But not all of us!

     

    Words & Phrases You’ll Never Write

    Here was a super-fun discussion about words or phrases that make us cringe as readers and that we swear we’ll never use in our own writing. Care to add your own to the growing list?

     

    Do Book Reviews Influence You?

    After officially hanging up my hat as a book reviewer, partly because I felt like all of the reviews I ever wrote added up to one great big wet fart, I asked if your reading choices are ever swayed by a review, and where you seek reviews. Lots of interesting answers came back.

     

    Reading Retention: Forget the book; remember the experience

    I have trouble retaining what I read. Judging by the responses, a lot of you do, too. But often I manage to retain the experience of reading a particular book, and for me, that’s (sometimes) good enough.

     

    Happy reading, travelers! And thank you for being such loyal readers this year and every year.

    Next week we’ll be doing our annual post where we ask you to go public with your writing resolution(s) for the new year. So be ready!

    If there’s ever a topic you’d like me to cover on the blog, drop me a line at david[at]writebynight[dot]net.

    To get our blog posts delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our weekly message, and get a free writer’s diagnostic in the process.

    Happy holidays, friends. We hope you’ve had a wonderful 2018, both in literature and in general.

     

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