Favorite Books of 2012

I’m slow getting this out–but, hey, I’m still not done with my Christmas cards. Don’t judge.

Here are my favorite books out of the 120 (or thereabouts) that I read this year:

My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite

Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Divine Signatures by Gerald N. Lund (I think this is the first time a non-fiction title has made my “Favorite Books of the Year” list. Maybe I’m a grown-up, after all.)

Time Riders by Sierra St. James

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Hope was Here by Joan Bauer

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson (with props to Amy Hackworth, as well. Fantastic.)

Big in Japan by Jennifer Griffith

Erasing Time by CJ Hill

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

Endlessly by Kiersten White

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale


Happy reading!


I Am a Writer

I got back late last night from Arizona and a writing conference I attended there.

I met some lovely people, ate some delicious food, and attended classes about the craft of writing. Much of it I already knew, but some of it I didn’t. I enjoy learning, and loved this opportunity to delve deeper into certain aspects of writing.

My biggest take away (I think I’m going to do a post on annoying buzz words soon) was this:

I am a writer.

I know this. I have known it for a long time. But one thing that the experts stress about writing (and maybe this is an annoying writing buzz word) is having a platform. I, myself, have written a post on having a platform before. The problem was, I could never figure out my platform. I knew someone whose platform was cancer, another person whose platform was PTSD, and another whose platform was helping people with disabilities. Those are all wonderful platforms–but I couldn’t figure out what my platform was.

Does a platform have to be about a disease, or a mental condition? I considered making autism my platform, or maybe osteogenesis imperfecta. I have experience with both of those. Music programs in the public school system? How floral design can have a positive impact on the world around you? Star Wars as a metaphor for life? The importance of motherhood? Laughter as a healing agent? There are infinite platforms out there, but none of them fit what I wanted my platform to be.

I could easily discard things I didn’t want my platform to be, but had a harder time deciding what I did want it to be. Because of that, I wondered if I could really do this writing thing. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for it.

Except that didn’t make sense, because I felt like it was something I could do for a reason. A gift.

That made me doubly grateful for the snippet I heard in one of my classes at the conference. Or maybe I didn’t hear it. Maybe I thought it, and it was just what I needed to know.

The thought was this: You have to have a platform (this is where my insides began to despair), even if your platform is only “I’m a writer.” (Angels singing.)

And my heart lifted and I thought, “I can do that. I am a writer, so I can make that my platform.”


I write.

I am a writer.

The Advent of “Survey Says!”

For Christmas in 2011, I asked my Dad for a newspaper subscription. He and my mom are inveterate newspaper readers (they subscribe to at least four), and I had noticed how enjoyable it was when I was visiting to read their papers. So I’ve been a subscriber to USA Today for over a year. Some days I read the whole thing, and other days–er, weeks–the papers stack up and I go for a quick skim before tossing them into the recycling bin.

One of my favorite parts of the paper are the little surveys they have on the main pages, called “USA Snapshots.” I’ve been saving some of these–the ones I find particularly interesting or funny–in order to have a feature on this blog called “Survey Says!” [Nods to Ray Combs.] Here’s a great one to get us started:

Scan 130410004

Now, nothing against Apple. I myself have an iPhone and a Mac. But A YEAR’S WORTH OF FREE FLIGHTS IN THE US? 43% of you are obviously out of your minds. Sure, it’s nice, but iPhones aren’t that cool. I would also give mine up for a two-week cruise or a $500 shopping spree.

Does that make me disloyal? Cheap? Or smart?

I’m going to ask the same question, but with a twist: what wouldn’t you give up your iPhone for?

(My answer: my old flip phone.)

New Ad Writer Needed

Some words you expect to make you cringe: “murder,” “fornication,” “lewd and lascivious,” or “rectal.”

There are others, though, that don’t hint at such awfulness, and yet saying them still tastes a little awful.

Obviously, the people at SaraLee are unaware that “moist” is the least favorite word for nine out of ten people.

I am one of the nine.

It is followed closely by “moisture,” “boudoir,” and “conglomerate.”

What are your least favorite words?