Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bookspotting and Winning

This week, I spotted a Chinese woman on the MTR reading the third book in the Fifty Shades series. Meanwhile, a pair of young women in the same train car were carrying on a loud, derogatory conversation about the books and 'mommy porn'. Clearly, the reader knew English well enough to understand them, so I'm not sure whether they didn't see her or they thought she would be too engrossed in the story to pay attention to their vitriolic conversation. In other bookspotting news, I saw a Western woman in a coffee shop reading on a Kindle and a Western man sitting outside a hookah bar reading on an iPad. On the MTR, I spotted an English book with a swirly cursive title and a Chinese book in the hands of a man wearing some rather elegant saddle shoes. My new Kindle still hasn't arrived yet, and I've dealt with the impatience by purchasing ten e-books in the last ten days (CyberMonday was a factor as well).

In other news, I officially won National Novel Writing Month! I reached 50,000 words yesterday and pushed ahead to 53,000 at writers' group last night. I'm estimating that the story will be finished at 60k, but I have a feeling I'll be adding a lot to it on my next rewrite. In case you're curious, it's an adventure novel about a risk-taking mechanic on a post-apocalyptic cruise ship. I've been having fun writing something that has nothing to do with Hong Kong or Asia for a change.

Have you spotted any books lately? How's your Nanowrimo project going if you are participating?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bookspotting and Nano-ing

This week I spotted a boy reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets near my work. I'm not positive, but I think it was a Chinese edition. The cover image was the same as the British version. Anyone know if the Chinese HP books have their own cover art? Speaking of cover art, I was sitting in a second floor window working on my Nanowrimo project this weekend when I saw a woman carrying The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I recognized the vibrant colors of the cover from my overhead perch. I also spotted two other Chinese books, one English book with a mystery cover and a 2nd generation Kindle around town this week.

I just reached 40,000 words on my Nanowrimo manuscript. There's no way the story will be finished at 50k, so it's full steam ahead into December. You may have noticed there haven't been any book reviews on the blog this month. This is why. Here's what I've read, but haven't had a chance to review yet:

-The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (I'm seeing the movie tomorrow)
-Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
-The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
-7 Days and Counting by Suvi Lampila
-A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

I'm halfway through Hope Solo's memoir and The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters by Bruce Parker. How's that for an eclectic list!

What are you reading this week? What books have you spotted around your town lately?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bookspotting and Kindle-breaking

Well, folks. It's the end of an era. This weekend my beloved 2nd generation Kindle got crushed. I went to the UFC fight in Macau with my fiance and a few friends, and my purse ended up getting stuck between two seats. When I turned it on the next morning, this was the result:

I've had it for 2 1/2 years and it has served me well. I've already ordered a new one, but in the mean time I'll be catching up on my stack of paperbacks.

This week I spotted a schoolgirl reading a middle grade novel with a bright purple cover. Another teenager was reading a dog-eared copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society. This book happens to be one of the best gifts I've ever received. On the last day of my first year of teaching (in the US), I turned up to my 6th grade classroom to find this book on my desk. Inside, a note inscribed on the first page said, "To my favorite teacher I give my favorite book." I can't even write that without tearing up.

I spotted a man in Starbucks at the Venetian Macau reading what appeared to be Norwegian Wood. A girl on the train this morning had three Chinese books in her arms and a man had a thick red paperback. I also spotted a total of ten novels-in-progress at a meet-up for National Novel Writing Month. I just passed the halfway mark on my own novel!

What are people reading in your town this week?

This is my favorite shot from the fight night

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bookspotting and Nanowrimo

This week, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month for the second time. Last November, I wrote about 22,000 words that eventually became The Olympics Beat, my mini travel memoir. It was only ever meant to be a short piece, but after finishing I didn't write another 28,000 words to win the challenge. This time around, I'm starting a new novel from scratch, and I'm in it to win. My creative non-fiction comfort zone has been left behind and I'm experimenting with a totally new genre. So far, I've written nearly 14,000 words and met up with six other Hong Kong writers for a write-in. We are having another one tonight, Tuesday, at Holly Brown in Central, so please come along if you're in town!

In the bookspotting department, I saw two women perusing the Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong, whose author, Pete Spurrier, I happen to have met. Another woman had a Lonely Planet Hong Kong guidebook on Queen's Road. I spotted one Kindle near my house and three Chinese books on the train. I was just feeling disappointed with my bookspotting tally yesterday (especially considering how many hours I spent in coffee shops this weekend) when I spotted a woman on the MTR reading The Eunuchs of the Ming Dynasty. What are people reading in your town this week?

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