December 19, 2017
Note From Rochelle
Where did the year go? I’m planning my offerings for next year, and I still need your help. What sorts of programs and tools would be most helpful to you? Take the survey, and you’ll be entered to win one of five $10 gift cards to Starbucks.
I’ll be off next week for the holiday. I’m hoping to spend the week reading and watching movies with the family. I’ll be back in the office on January 2.
Today’s tip is my annual holiday reading list.
The Write Now! Coach
Annual Holiday Reading List
I’m taking next week off, and I have my stack of books ready to read! At the top of the pile is the new mystery by Louise Penny, Glass Houses. I’ll be taking a few more trips to the library during the next week, making sure I have something just right to read!
No doubt you’ve set aside time and books as well. But if you haven’t found a book yet—or the right book to give someone you love—then I have a treat for you. Here are a few of the books I read and enjoyed last year. Suggest your favorite books in the comments below!
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart. It’s 1780 and Li Du, an exiled Imperial Librarian, stops in Dayan to see his cousin, the magistrate, before leaving his country for good. In the excitement leading up to a solar eclipse, a man is killed, and Li Du must find out who is responsible before he kills again. This is the start of a promising new mystery series.
The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett. English professor Arthur Prescott is obsessed by the Holy Grail and spends his extra hours in the Barchester Cathedral Library researching it (and writing a guide to the Cathedral). When an American woman arrives to digitize the manuscripts, Prescott is threatened by her presence until he discovers that she shares his love for books. Together they undertake a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. Follow the life of Li-yan, from her beginnings in a remote Yunnan village to her career as a tea merchant. This book has a rich sense of place and fascinating characters. Delicious.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Count Alexander Rostov is accused of being an aristocrat and sentenced to house arrest in a grand Moscow hotel, the Metropol. But in leaving behind his wealth, he discovers the riches of relationships and a sense of purpose. Find a cozy corner—you won’t want to leave the hotel.
The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. Single mother Lilian Girvan gets a job illustrating a boutique vegetable guide, and her boss asks her to take a gardening class as research. She brings along her sister and kids, and in the midst of digging in the dirt discovers community and healing.
Teen and Middle Grade Reads
Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen. Abigail discovers that her boring boarding school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, and her mother is one of their top agents. When her mother goes missing, Abigail is recruited into a spy training course and must help find her. A fun adventure!
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh. Harper Raine and her family move to a new house that’s reported to be haunted. When her brother Michael begins acting odd, Harper is convinced that dangerous spirits are at work, and if she can’t solve the mystery, they might harm him.
Friday Barnes: Girl Detective R. A. Spratt (Friday Barnes #1). Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery and uses the reward money to attend an elite boarding school. But the school is filled with mystery and mayhem—just waiting for Friday to solve. This is the first in a series of fun mystery novels for middle grade readers.
Supermax and the Trouble of Thornwood’s Revenge by Susan Vaught. Twelve-year-old Max is a whiz at electronics and has supercharged her wheelchair. And it’s a good thing—because she needs to investigate! Thornwood Manor, the mansion next door, appears to be haunted and someone has started a cyber campaign against her grandfather. Max needs to figure out how to save both her grandfather and the town.
Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love by Elizabeth Lombardo. Most of the writers I work with struggle with the nasty inner critic! Packed full of exercises and tools, Better than Perfect will help you overcome that negative inner voice and write!
Creative Pep Talk: Inspiration from 50 Artists by Andy J. Miller. Leading creative professionals provide short pep talks—complete with illustrated encouragement. If you have a creative in your life, this might be the perfect holiday gift!
Innovation Nation: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, Happier by David Johnston and Tom Jenkins. This young reader’s edition of Ingenious features 50 kid-friendly inventions including canoes, whoopee cushions, and chocolate bards. Give it to a young inventor in your life as inspiration!
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. Packed with inspiration, ideas, and creative exercises—this book will jumpstart your creative life, no matter what field you work in.