Here To Stay, Epistolary Novels and Paper Dolls

in , by Stephanie, December 11, 2020

It’s Friday! 

How was your literate life this week? Here’s what I’ve been reading, writing, learning and exploring this week:


What I’m Reading:


After a streak of reading adult fiction, I went back to my happy place: children’s literature. I’ve had
Here to Stay by Sara Farizan on my TBR stack for quite some time, a gift for my youngest son who adores basketball just as much as Bijan, the main character does. Farizan artfully weaves in Bijan’s inner commentary akin to a sports announcer into this teenage saga of sports, teamwork, friendship and standing up for what’s right. All readers will find themselves squarely in the pages of this book and get an inside look into what it’s like to be someone who stands out, for better or worse. While I’m not a teenage boy, I gained insight into a perspective I’m privileged not to intimately understand and am a better person for having read this book. 


I’ve got MANY other books on my radar, too! I joined a book exchange and was blown away by the beautiful titles I received. The only rule? To pay the exchange forward by sending someone your favorite book. Here are some of the favorites I was gifted!


Thank you, Omu! By Oge Mora

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kylie Schwartz

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

A Widow for One Year by John Irving

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon


What I’m Writing:


Do you know what an epistolary novel is? I didn’t. Until this week, that is. An epistolary novel consists of correspondence between characters. Recently, I read Dear Sister by Alison McGhee and now, I realize this was actually an epistolary novel, along with Dear Mr. Henshaw. You’ll find a curated Wikipedia list of other epistolary novels here, if you’re interested. So, since my reading life often inspires my writing life, I decided to once again, try some letter writing in my notebook. But rather than write to my younger or future self or write letters to my children, as I usually do, I tried writing epistolary-novel style and wrote brief notes and letters back and forth to myself instead. It was a fun way to continue my earlier letter-writing and keep it going! 


What I’m Learning:


How to make paper dolls! Angela Stockman shared this link last week and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I LOVED paper dolls when I was younger and spent hours playing with the wooden versions with my own children, so it sparked my interest right away. What if we created our own adult versions of paper dolls? How could we use them in visioning? How might they spark new habits and versions of ourselves? I’ll be thinking about this for a while and would love to know what you think of this crazy idea.


What I’m Exploring:


Do you ever judge a book by it’s cover? I know I do because I am fascinated by the thinking that goes into book cover design. And since I’ve been sifting through my new books this week, I’ve been thinking even more about what makes me want to pick up a book first. And the cover design certainly impacts my choices. But I’m not alone. In fact, there is an entire website devoted to celebrating book covers


By the way, on my exploration, I realized there is such a thing as a personal book curator. Sign me up!


There you have it! I hope this inspires you to make space for more reading and writing in your own life. What are the highlights from your literate life this week?


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