Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breaking Out of a Rut

(I'm moving old posts from my old blog host site so they are all in one place. This one originally launched July 26, 2011)


I’ve been thinking a bit recently about trying to “branch out” from what I normally experience. I was combing the internet looking for information on elementary and young adult literature for my classroom, and I came across a blog that had a simple challenge –Read Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sounds simple enough, right? I generally read science fiction and fantasy novels, occasionally branching out a bit into some realistic or historical fiction. Coincidentally  I had just committed to trying my hand at reading and reviewing some graphic novels for a friend’s site. I’ve never really gotten into that literature format, and I felt like it was a bit of a hole in my “geek cred”. So this challenge seemed like a perfect fit.
I was blessed to snag The Last Dragon, written by Jane Yolen and published by Dark Horse Comics as my first graphic novel to review.  Yolen is a bit of a personal hero of mine. Her writing style is everything I dream of. It’s beautiful, lyrical, and filled with strong young women as her lead characters. I own a slew of her picture books, and was lucky enough to get to hear her speak a few years back at West Chester University. This amazingly prolific author even took the time to comment on how my last name is like the selkies of Irish and Scottish folklore (*swoon*). When she signed one of my books, she reminded me that the best way to improve as a writer is “BIC” – Butt in Chair. It’s funny because it’s true. I’ve ignored that advice for quite a few years now.
The Last Dragon was amazing (you can read my official review here). I highly recommend picking up a copy once it is available. So not only did I jump in and read a graphic novel, I got my B.I.C. and wrote about it. Thanks, Jane Yolen!
I have a few more graphic novels to read and review, but my next Comfort Zone challenge book is an autobiography of a physicist who gave a keynote address at a recent conference – Dr. Ronald L. Mallett. The book is called Time Traveler. Yes, you read that right, he is investigating the physics behind actual time travel. His speech was wonderful, and he showed a clip from aHistory Channel special that explained his ideas. It’s worth the time to watch it!
So I am beginning to stretch outside my daily rut. With books, writing reviews, blogging – heck, maybe I’ll even try a new recipe? Nah, that’s just crazy talk. 

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