Saturday, November 29, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update -- I Won!!!

A couple of days ago I put the finishing touches on my novel and went over the 50,000 word mark. This is my second year as a winner and I have to say, as hard as it is, it is a blast to write these things! Now, to catch up on my reading ...

The Sorrow Of War by Bao Ninh

The Sorrow Of War is a heart breaking tale of a North Vietnamese veteran of the Vietnam War with the U.S. It is filled with death, ghosts, and tragedy. It was so unflinching that I found it an extremely uncomfortable read. The narrative is composed of vignettes about the life of the narrator and his sweetheart right before, during, and after the war. These vignettes are narrated in no apparent temporal order, making it a little harder to follow the story, but this does not take away from the emotional impact of the work.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

1. Still writing words for National Novel Writing Month.

2. When I need a break from that, I am in Hanoi (The Sorrow Of War by B. Ninh).

3. Later I will be joining millions of other travelers and taking to the skies. It should be a fun time ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

When I am not in front of my computer trying to catch up to my word count for NaNoWriMo, I am in the Jungle of Screaming Souls in North Vietnam. (The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

War Trash by Ha Jin

The Korean War is often called the Forgotten War. It is, I think, an accurate name for the Korean War. It seems to me that there is too much US history to cover in a single school year. Every US History class I took, in high school and in college, always seemed to run out of time before being able to cover the Korean War. Being born in 1970, I cannot remember the Vietnam War in any real way, but my father and my wife's father are Vietnam War veterans, so I that war is certainly had an effect on my life.

This forgotten status of the Korean War led me to be excited to read War Trash. I have, since my formal education ended, gone back and read a couple of books on the Korean War. However, War Trash is narrated by a Chinese POW, so it is told from the view point of the other side. This is an interesting parallel to the book I am going to read next, The Sorrow of War. Another book I am reading for the BangBang Challenge, The Sorrow of War is about the Vietnam War and is narrated by a North Vietnamese soldier.

Despite the novelty of the narrator and subject, I only found this book mildly entertaining. Though well written, I found the narrative arc to be somewhat lacking. Perhaps this was intended in order to communicate how if feels to be a POW stuck in a limbo of sorts, waiting for both sides to negotiate a prisoner exchange agreement. But, due to what I felt was a weak plot, I would rate this book as average.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

In front of my computer, trying to churn out more words ....

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Booking Through Thursday.

So, it’s my birthday today. (Please, no applause.) But it’s inspiring today’s question–
What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?”

First off, let's hear it for November birthdays. Mine is in three days. Happy Birthday to you, me, and everyone else whose birthday is in November.

I have two books that were given to me as gifts for which I have a particular fondness. First, early in my fourth grade year of school my family moved from Woodbridge, Virginia to Herndon, Virginia. My fourth grade teacher gave me a copy of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I still have the very same copy. However, I have, much to my embarrassment, never read it. But, I plan to remedy this by reading this very copy for the Decades Challenge.

Second, for Christmas in 1981, my great grandmother gave me the sci-fi book The Hydronaut Adventures by Carl L. Biemiller. I remember being fascinated by it as a child. The cover shows two men in some kind of bubble beneath the ocean. Two mean looking sharks prowl the waters above them. I remember looking at that cover and feeling that the future could bring anything, that the possibilities were endless. That, perhaps, when I was an adult, I too might live beneath the ocean.

Both of these books have been with me for most of my life. They are, in fact, the two books I have owned for the longest time. They moved with me from Virginia to Hawaii and back. They moved with me New Orleans and survived hurricane Katrina. And they are here with me now in Texas, where they hold a special place in my library.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New America

My fellow Americans, this morning, we wake up in a new America. We wake up in the America of which Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed. An America where a man, a presidential candidate, is judged by the content of his character and not by color of his skin. Congratulations to us all, for choosing hope over fear. Now, let's all roll up our sleeves, join together, and work hard to solve our problems and make our nation an even better place.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update

It is the beginning of day four of the National Novel Writing Month. I am writing a fantasy novel with my six year old son. It is based on the screenplay we wrote together for Script Frenzy (which is like NaNoWriMo, only for screenplays). This year I am finding it slow going. I fell behind right from the start. I currently stand at 4011, which was 990 short of yesterday's target and 2657 words behind today's target. I still have plenty of time to catch up, but this isn't the start I wanted.

It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

I am in Compound 72 on Koje Island in South Korea. I am a Chinese POW during the Korean War.

War Trash by Ha Jin

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Yeah -- National Novel Writing Month Is Here!!!

Today is the first day of the 2008 National Novel Writing Month. I participated in NaNoWriMo last year and had a blast. I would recommend everyone give it a shot. A 50,000 word novel in thirty days; a piece of cake! Anyway, I have to get back to writing. I have 1667 words to write today ...