Writing less to say more

51lvoalt-2l-_sx323_bo1204203200_A few months ago, I moved into my first home! It’s a 600 square-feet condo, which isn’t considered small for Toronto these days, but certainly, it cannot be called big. So I whittled down my book collection and swore that I’d only buy ebooks going forward.

Those who read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up will recall that she says you should buy books and read them immediately. She tells her readers to throw out books they never got around to reading because they will likely never read them.

But that has been the case for me. In my cleaning, I found a copy of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. And I thought I’d hang onto it because he’s supposed to be a classic and I so rarely read classics.

But I regret not reading Hemingway sooner because his writing confirmed for me, that the best writing is simple. You don’t have spell things out with big words, fancy jargon and flowery descriptions. And when you’re as good a writer as Hemingway, you don’t need any of those things to convey exactly what you want the reader to feel.

fbf7be6f9c3dabeafe5bd13af1023e70I had always heard that Hemingway had a way of writing simple prose. He’s often said to have written the six-word story: “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” As I learned from reading The Moveable Feast, six words from Hemingway can hit you like a bag of bricks. And in today’s 140-character world, brevity is important.

But enough crushing and gushing over Hemingway’s word count — The Moveable Feast is just a great read. I don’t love Paris but I love his Paris. Can there be a theme park where you get to play a broke writer who drinks with other tortured writers of the time?

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E-readers aren’t sexy (but still awesome)

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I recently came back from a brief, two-week trip in East Asia which included stops in Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo. It was loads of fun! But I made the mistake of bringing a book that I didn’t really like and it made all the waiting in airports super painful.

I know, First World Problems, right?

Well, I really felt sorry for myself because I could have brought my Kindle and bought any other, better, book on the fly.

On a side note, I’d like to congratulate my cousin L. on buying his very first Kindle and welcome him to the weird club of e-reader readers. L. bought the Kindle because he had always wanted one and found out that it qualifies for same-day shipping with Amazon Prime. A fan of new and shiny objects with touch screens, he opted for the Kindle Paperwhite with a built-in light.

I was a little surprised L. bought an e-reader because he’s an early adopter and unlike other portable devices, the e-reader never got its sexy back. It’s more or less still a bonified etch and sketch. Newer versions of Kindles and Kobos have added a fancy light and other high(er) tech upgrades like uh, page numbers and less flickering when turning pages.

In fact, e-readers haven’t even been sexy enough to replace books — which some people argue are unsexy in their own right.

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Alas, I’m still a big believer in e-readers and, after all these years, I STILL use my Kindle Keyboard. Yes, it’s got a KEYBOARD and no touchscreen. Isn’t it beautiful?

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I can buy books and read them while in bed – without even getting dressed. Also, I can travel with a dozen Russian novels in my back pocket.

So, welcome to the club L. Feel proud because now you can read Fifty Shades on the subway without getting weird looks. (No really, don’t do it.)

P.S. For all you other Kindle owners, check out Buzzfeed’s article on “21 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Your Kindle.

 

I wish I knew how to quit you

It’s been more than a year since I blogged on Broken Penguins and yet, I’ve had so many moments that made me think, “That’d make a great post!” And then, there were my friends who were always telling me about a great book they read — and then of course, they’d ask “What are you reading?”

The sad part is, I kind of stopped reading. Which in my world, means reading, like, one book every two months. But in the book blogger world, that might as well be a book per century.

But this blog never really left my thoughts. And while I haven’t been buried in a book, I have been reading The Economist and listening to a lot of podcasts. I guess all the U.S. elections has been more entertaining than fiction.

So maybe I wasn’t quite ready to leave Broken Penguin yet. Maybe I’ll stay this time.

MAYBE they’ll make Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train into a movie! I won’t lie, seeing the trailer for that movie was one of the most compelling, “I MUST BLOG THAT” moments. I actually didn’t love the book as much as I wanted but I am such a big fan of Emily Blunt. Has anyone seen it yet?

 

Other moments include buying this shirt from Forever21. Yes, I paid for a shirt with holes in it.

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But what really got me back here? A few months ago, I moved into a condo that is a 15 minute walk away from a huge public library. Yesterday, I finally got my library card and walked all the floors. And it felt great. And this feels great. And I thought, “I have to blog this”.

I found this treasure of a book from 1932 on the shelves and can’t wait to start it:

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Reasons for Going MIA

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA. You know what happened? Life happened. But I haven’t stopped reading! I know, by the looks of this blog it looks like I’ve been in a three month intellectual coma, watching Call the Midwife.

In the last three months, I’ve been:

  • Helping promote enrolment in Seneca College’s Social Media post-grad program (Seneca SoMe)
  • Volunteering for the Pan Am Games 2015 Recruitment Centre
  • Volunteering at Be Good Be Social York Region
  • Watching Blackfish on Netflix and becoming really passionate about saving Killer Whales from captivity (even though they are cruel)
  • Signing up for unlimited yoga classes at Hot Yoga Markham so there’s no excuse to not exercise
  • Living through what felt like the longest winter of my life
  • Being super confused after watching Noah. I still can’t figure out if I liked it
  • Reading about zombie children and the end of men. Reviews to come!

Someone asked me the other day if I was going to make blogging my full time job and I felt a little guilty thinking about how I’ve neglected Broken Penguins for a few months. But no, I have no plans of monetizing this blog — it will remain a hobby just like reading!

So what’s everyone doing now that spring’s finally arrived?

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