Summer Reading List

Summer Reads besotted blog

Ah summer, it’s finally here! Time to play outside, eat piles of fresh berries, make some sun tea, and devour a few interesting books. My preference is for fiction with a plot that covers some ground and isn’t too bogged down by flowery language. Dense descriptions make me nod off, which is useful for a natural sedative, but not a good recipe for finishing a book. Here are a few recent reads I’ve enjoyed, in case you have the same criteria:

Currently reading: I Love You More, by Jennifer Murphy.

It’s unlikely you’ve heard of this one, because it’s a freshly released debut novel. It only came to my attention because it was quietly penned by one of my neighbors! I had no idea she was a writer, I barely know her, but I am thrilled for her. You don’t get a book deal with Double Day without some serious chops. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already charmed by the central character (a 12 year old girl cleverly named Picasso).

What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Two stories intertwined: a modern day teenager recovering from a family trauma & a woman who is committed to an asylum in the late 1920’s (even though she is perfectly sane). It’s a story about appalling injustices, and how people react to them. I was not expecting my heart to be in my throat for so many chapters! One night, my eyes were still wide open at 3 am, (but it was worth it).

Note: If you are familiar with the second season of American Horror Story, you may find yourself waiting for Jessica Lange to pop up somewhere in the asylum. Yikes!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

A professor with Aspergers devises a plan to find a mate, and is led through unexpected adventures with squirrely people who don’t adhere to his plan. The story is told from the professor’s perspective as he processes all of these unexpected events, which I found delightful and insightful.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

Coney Island curiosities, a murder mystery, two people in love with the deck stacked against them, and ok, I admit it – one of the main characters is a photographer. I was fascinated by the descriptions of a not yet fully developed Manhattan, woods teeming with deer and other animals living along the Hudson River are so hard to imagine now!

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Even though this is a work of fiction, I felt like I came away with a real impression of what life could feel like for the citizens of North Korea. This Pulitzer Prize winner lingers with you for awhile. I may have been so intrigued that I made my husband watch a number of documentaries with me, then I talked his ear off about North Korea for a few more weeks. I’m pretty sure he loved it.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Tristan has already mentioned these, but they are worth mentioning again. Such imagination! There are heros and villians, it’s very cleverly written, and of course I love that Ransom Riggs collected the photos first, then built the story around them. I can hardly wait for the third book in this series to come out.

Finally, I don’t think it’s possible to write a reading list right now without including The Goldfinch and The Fault in Our Stars. You can’t lose really, both of these deserve every bit of attention they’ve received.
Have you read any good fiction lately? I’ll need to line up another book soon!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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Elements of Style Besotted Blog

One of the goals I have this year is to work on my poor grammar.  I am very insecure about it and it’s a wonder I ever get a blog post up.  Putting my foibles out there is not my usual modus operandi. The problem I most run into with learning grammar is that it is a bore; granted I often find I get bored when I am having difficulty learning a subject. On the flipside of that coin, I believe with the right teacher or materials you can learn anything. Since I have decided to work on my grammar I thought I should just really bone up on my writing skills in general. I have some resources for you if you wanted to do so too. The above book, The Elements of Style is a classic, with the addition of Maira Kalman’s charming illustrations you will want to keep it on your desk, which I highly suggest for both aesthetics and reference ease. Roy Peter Clark a professor at The Poytner School of Journalism wrote a book aptly named-Writing Tools that looked interesting . I considered it for my Kindle, then I found out that it was available as a free podcast, read by Mr. Clark, each lesson is broken up into bite-sized pieces (think 1-2 minutes) and goes over 50 writing strategies. I had a lot of ‘aha’ moments during the listen and can’t recommend it enough. There’s Grammar girl which I wish I enjoyed more, but I don’t, a lot of people do so I thought she would be worth a mention. If you prefer a little more structure Media Bistro (a community for media professionals) offers on-line writing classes (and a grammar too). I have always wanted to take a class there, but it is a little spendy for me.  And for those that mentioned they would want to write a book if they knew they would not fail, I thought I would share this nugget-If you write one page a day, every day from today for the rest of the year you will have nearly 300 pages completed at the end of the year, that’s plenty for a book!

If you have any other suggestions for me–classes, books, tips + tricks please feel free to leave them in the comments. If there are grammatical errors on this site that are making you want to gouge your eyeballs out, please email me and I will try to rectify immediately (I do know there are plenty) and I wouldn’t want you to cause bodily harm to yourself on my account.

And…speaking of resources I spent an awful lot of time over the weekend updating The Directory, take a peek and let me know if you have anything to add, a subject you want covered or if you think your company/business should be included. Please keep in mind the directory is a creative resource so please keep your suggestions relevant.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.

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