Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Fascinating Look at the Library Card Catalog


Those of us of a certain age can recall the joy of flipping through the cards of a library card catalog. A few years back, I walked into a rural library and was ecstatic to find that they still had one! Yes, a card catalog may be “prehistoric Google” as the internet meme states and I certainly wouldn’t want to trade the ease with which I can search for and request a book via my computer. However, card catalogs served a useful purpose for a century.

 The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by the Library of Congress is a delight for anyone who enjoys history, literature, or libraries. It traces the history of how books were organized in libraries (going all the way back to the Library at Alexandria); how the card catalog was ultimately developed; how technology impacted it; and how it has evolved into the computer systems we use today. Anyone reading this book will gain a whole new appreciation for those index cards and the people whose job it was to create them. 

In addition to the narrative, there are many full-color photos and illustrations of classic works of literature and their accompanying card catalog entry in the Library of Congress. Many of the cards have notations on them in addition to the standard information – I wish that there had been more text explaining why and what information had been added.  

Overall, The Card Catalog was enjoyable to both read and look at. It would make a great gift for the library lover in your life.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Write a Novel in 10 Minutes a Day



I had seen the hashtag #10minnovelists on Twitter but never realized it was a book until I Googled the hashtag! I was excited to discover that Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day was written by Katharine Grubb, a fellow homeschooler from my state of Massachusetts (not that I know her) and edited by Barbara Szyszkiewicz, a colleague from the Catholic Writers’ Guild. 

It makes sense that a homeschooler would write this book because, for the most part, homeschooling parents only have little snippets of time in which to get non-essential tasks done. I especially love the subtitle of this book: “Because your dreams are worth 10 minutes.”

Yes, your dreams are worth ten minutes and it is amazing what you can accomplish by simply setting aside a little bit of time each day to pursue something you love. 

If you have always wanted to write that novel, but keep feeling like you are too busy, this might be just the book for you. You can also check out the website at www.10minutenovelists.com.

Part One is dedicated to time management, helping you to carve out the time to work on that writing project you have been putting off. The rest of the book is a how-to guide for writing a novel. There is a huge amount of useful information packed in this book including writing prompts, character archetypes and exploration, story structure, and inspirational quotes from well-known authors. 

Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day will definitely appeal more to planners rather than those who prefer to simply sit down and write, but it is a very thorough guide to writing a novel and may be exactly what you need to start working on that story that has been itching to get out!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Searching for a Reason to Write

I've been tossing around novel ideas in my head. That's always something of a fun process. I have a germ of an idea - could I make something out of it? The whispers of inspiration start coming. Will I listen? Should I listen? Is this what God wants me to be doing with my time right now? Is it really worth it to spend so much time on a project that I know will never recoup the cost in time or money? Is it worth it to write when my stories find such a small audience? Clearly, the literary world gets along just fine without my meager contributions.

One of my friends posted this article today on writing: Who Will Buy Your Book? There are lots of words of wisdom there, but these really spoke to me:

As a writer, you need to approach every project with the understanding that you’re doing this work for yourself, and everything that happens once it’s in the world is out of your control. Whatever project you’re working on now doesn’t derive value from your friends’ approval, but rather from the love and energy you pour into it. You can do the work, and you can keep showing up, and that’s all you’ve got. Most of the time, it’s all you need.