Years ago, I participated in Career Day at our kids’ elementary school several times. I tried to change things up a bit each time since I would visit several classes and usually talk to some students who had heard me another time.
One year I wrote a poem to highlight the different things I would do as a writer – write content, edit or copy edit something another person wrote, or help someone with public relations or publicity.
And, even though I’ve never claimed to be a poet, here’s my tribute to word nerdiness.
I Love Words
By Leigh DeLozier
I love words.
Long or short, big or small –
Just give me words ’cause I love them all.
They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry
They can paint pictures vivid as the sky.
I pull them together like beads on a string
Just give me a chance and you’ll learn something.
Because – I love words.
I love words.
I love what you wrote – really, I do
Now let’s make it shine with a change or two.
Why say ‘sit’ when you can use ‘slouch’?
And don’t settle for ‘chair’ when you really mean ‘couch.’
Cut a word here, change a phrase there
I make you look better, so please don’t despair.
Because – I love words.
I love words.
Typos and glitches fill me with fright
Dreams of misspellings haunt me by night.
Misusing ‘its’ or ‘their’ or ‘too’ –
It happens more often than you might think is true.
Some people believe I’m just fussy or picky
I promise I’m not – I just don’t want things to look icky.
Because – I love words.
I love words.
Radio, newspapers, Web or TV –
When there’s news to share, they’re all targets for me.
I read a pretty wide variety of things but am always telling myself I should branch out more. 2021 will be my year to start, with a Read Something New book challenge. I would love for others to join!
Here’s how it will work.
A different genre or topic is assigned to each month of 2021. Toward the end of each month, I’ll post something here and on my social media pages reminding what the next month’s category is (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). If you want to participate, read something in the category that month. It’s as easy as that!
The schedule is:
January: Historical fiction
February: Science fiction or fantasy
March: Fiction or nonfiction centered on a specific event or time period
April: Young adult
May: Reread a favorite from middle or high school
June: Contemporary fiction
July: A classic you’ve never read
August: Fiction or nonfiction that takes place in your state
October: Mystery or suspense
November: Fiction or nonfiction written by a local author
December: Something for personal growth
I’ll post reviews of whatever I read and invite you to share about yours in the comments. Join in whenever you want – you don’t have to commit to participating every month.
Plus:Anyone who shares about what they’ve read will be entered in some bookish prize drawings along the way.
So, let’s get ready for historical fiction in January. Plenty of amazing options there! I’m leaning toward Colors of Truth, which is the newest from Tamera Alexander. What are you thinking about?
YA books have come a long way in the last 10 or so years. Yes, you’ll find some cheesy or cookie-cutter stories that don’t seem connected with today’s world (those still surface in every genre). But the young adult book market has become really competitive – which means higher expectations from publishers and better books for us as readers.
The YA titles on today’s shelves cover any genre you might want. And although a glance at their covers in the local bookstore might make it seem like they all tie in with dark topics, there are plenty that can entertain and challenge you without being something you would have hidden from your mom when you were 15.
Here are three I’ve read lately that are clean reads for teens – or anyone else – who want a great story that pulls you in and keeps you guessing on every page.
Back cover copy:Some secrets can’t stay hidden. Zoe Johnson has spent most of her life living in the shadows, never drawing attention to herself, never investing in people or places. But when a wide-eyed, bedraggled teenager with no memory walks into the diner where Zoe works, everything changes.
Against her better judgment, Zoe, who has been trying to outrun her own painful memories of the past, finds herself attempting to help a girl who doesn’t seem to have any past at all. With little warning, they must follow the only sure thing they know: a woman hundreds of miles away will either save them … or be the last person to see them alive.
This book grabbed me within the first few pages, when the mother figure in Lucy’s life helps her escape from people who have been controlling her from birth. She sends Lucy to find another woman who can help; Lucy meets Zoe along the way and they both know nothing will be the same. The people who have controlled Lucy are hot on her trail and determined to do whatever it takes to keep her from exposing their work. Lucy and Zoe don’t even know each other, but still realize they can trust each other more than anyone else.
Everything about the story is believable and kept me guessing until the end. Even though I expected twists along the way, the story surprised me several times. And kept me up reading way past my bedtime more than one night.
I already have two more of her books on my to-be-read stack, if that tells you anything about how much I enjoyed Nine.
Back cover copy:The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale. Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real — since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London … and a boy who shouldn’t exist.
Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.
The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan — and herself.
I’ve read quite a few fairytale retellings over the years and must say it’s hard to keep them from being predictable. Dust is different because it isn’t a new take on the all-too-familiar story of Peter Pan. Instead, it’s a modern-day tale of Peter doing whatever he can to get back to Neverland – and he’s not always the sunny, charming Peter you might expect. The book is written from both Claire’s and Peter’s points of view, so it’s fun to get inside both their heads.
Having a cover this gorgeous sets a high bar for the story – you don’t want to open something that striking and read junk! Fortunately, Dust definitely met the mark for me and I’ll be reading the sequel, Shadow, when it’s published in July 2021.
Back cover copy:A waterborne disease has sprung up in every corner of the globe, decimating the human race. Seventeen-year-old Eli McShane and his friends flee the chaos and violence in Phoenix and journey north toward the rumored location of a safe water source. They add several to their number, including a mysterious girl named Hannah, who, unknown to Eli, is being hunted by a dangerous man. Desperation brings out the worst in many of the travelers, infecting even those closest to Eli. When division comes, will he be able to hold his group together or will each fall victim to their own thirst for survival?
I read a couple other books by Jill Williamson several years ago but missed this one when it came out in 2019. I’m glad I came across it a few weeks ago. It’s a good story with believable teenage characters and good lessons about friendship, leadership and growing in your faith. Not in a preachy way, but woven naturally into the story so that the points are made if you take time to stop and think.
Some people might not want to read Thirst right now since it centers on a pandemic, but that didn’t bother me. The follow-up book Hunger will be published next year and I’ll definitely want to read it to learn what happens to Eli and his friends.
There are lots of other great YA books I’ve enjoyed and recommend, but they’ll have to wait for another post. Nine, Dust and Thirst are from different categories of YA fiction, but trust me when I say any middle- or high school reader would probably like all three. And any adult, too – because even though they’re labeled as YA fiction, they’re so well written that they prove YA often is not just for kids anymore.
I saw an interesting infographic from Global English Editing about reading habits in 2020, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The best thing about it was that many people worldwide have been able to read more and learn new things during this crazy time.
According to their research, 35% of the world has read more because of lockdowns and social distancing; 14% of people said they read significantly more.
Here are a few other highlights:
People in the millennial (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) generations have read the most.
The U.S. ranks second in publishing the most books each year, with almost 305,000. China is first with 440,000.
People in India read the most, saying they spend almost 11 hours reading each week. The U.S. is at #22 with just under 6 hours per week, which makes me a little sad but isn’t necessarily surprising. My reading time obviously isn’t factored into that!
And one of my favorite stats: There were 1.51 billion visits to book and literature ecommerce sites across the world in March (yes, billion with a “b” and only in March!). According to their data, this was an increase of 8.5% from February (before countries began lockdowns).
I’m always reading something but have read even more during the last nine months. Not spending two (or more) hours on a commute has definitely helped that cause!