Saturday, December 31, 2011

Books Read 2011

Last year I posted a list of all the books I read in 2010 (after reading and enjoying lots of other people's lists) and thought I'd keep up the tradition for 2011.

The following are all the books I read in the past year, except for the picture books—I read a lot of picture books and don't usually remember to add them to my Goodreads list, which is how I keep track of my reading these days. The notation "A" following an item means I listened to the audiobook, and "R" means it was a reread.

I read a lot fewer books this year than last year, partially because I no longer had my MFA program driving me to get a certain number of books read each month and partially because a number of 2011's events left me less time than usual for reading (especially: moving to a new apartment, teaching several writing classes and critiquing student manuscripts, and taking on a new day job). I also probably didn't really *need* to re-listen (again) to so many Bujold books, but they make me so happy that I can't really regret the time spent on those too much. But I do wish I'd gotten to more new books over the year (both newly published and old-but-new-to-me), and will definitely try to get more reading accomplished in 2012.

  1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (A)
  2. Scrawl by Mark Shulman
  3. Podkayne of Mars by Robert A Heinlein (A, R)
  4. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  5. Sense And Sensibility by Jane Austen (A)
  6. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  7. The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
  8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (A)
  9. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  10. Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg (A)
  11. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  12. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold (A)
  13. Bellwether by Connie Willis (A)
  14. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (A)
  15. Thirsty by M. T. Anderson
  16. The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (A)
  17. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  18. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (A)
  19. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  20. The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami
  21. Bossypants by Tina Fey (A)
  22. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
  23. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
  24. Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, partial R)
  25. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (R)
  26. Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  27. Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles
  28. Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  29. Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff
  30. Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight
  31. Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
  32. Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  33. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
  34. Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  35. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  36. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  37. Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  38. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
  39. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  40. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (A, R)
  41. Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal
  42. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
  43. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (A)
  44. Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
  45. Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith
  46. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (A)
  47. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
There were also a couple of audiobooks I started but didn't finish, which I didn't list here.

Reading now (started in 2011, but not yet finished): Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and American Gods by Neil Gaiman (A).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

WORD 3rd Annual Holiday Open House - This Weekend!

Come to WORD in Greenpoint, Brooklyn this weekend for their fabulous holiday open house! Authors will be on hand to make book recommendations (their own and their favorites written by other people) and to gift wrap your purchases for you. Oh and of course, signing books, too! :)

I'll be there tomorrow 12/11 at 3pm, but the fun starts today with Sarah MacLean (The Love By the Numbers series), Michael Showalter (Mr. Funny Pants), and Emma Straub (Other People We Married), Michael Buckley (NERDSThe Sisters Grimm), and Fiona Robinson. You can see the full schedule and author lineup here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Picture Books Are Important

My post is up today at!

You can read why I think picture books are important here. And if you haven't already, go back and read earlier posts by the other authors and illustrators who have been singing the praises of picture books all month long!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Make November Picture Book Month!

Celebrate picture books every day this month at!

Picture Book Month is an international initiative to designate November as Picture Book Month, encouraging everyone to celebrate literacy with picture books. Founder, Dianne de Las Casas (author & storyteller), and Co-Founders, Katie Davis (author/illustrator), Elizabeth O. Dulemba (author/illustrator) , Tara Lazar (author), and Wendy Martin (author/illustrator), are putting together their worldwide connections to make this happen.

Each day, you can see a new post by an author, illustrator, or editor about why picture books are important. Mine will be up on November 23! The site also includes great information and resources about picture books, authors and illustrators, literacy, industry news, kidlit bloggers, and more.

Click here to learn how you can help celebrate picture book month!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday afternoon audiobook musings

I love audiobooks. I listen to them on long walks and short ones, on bus rides, while doing the dishes. A good audiobook is a gift, a treasure, a tiny miracle of story unfolding in your head, courtesy of your own private narrator, reading it just for you. Good audiobooks make boring tasks tolerable and add an extra layer of pleasure to already-pleasant rides and walks and wanderings. Great audiobooks make me go for extra walks and do extra housework so I will have the excuse to keep on listening for a little bit longer. And the best ones, the ones I love like crazy, can sometimes make me just stand there in the middle of my apartment, out of convenient excuses to keep listening but unable to bring myself to remove my headphones.

The problem, of course, is that eventually you listen to everything in your library and have to find some new ones. I love and hate this part. As a reader, the anticipation of starting a new book in any form is always exciting, but choosing a new audiobook often seems more daunting than choosing a new paper book to read. The disappointment factor is higher somehow, and there's the additional challenge of not only finding a good book but one with a good narrator, as well. And I haven't yet come up with a very good system for this. I sometimes buy audio versions of books I've read before to re-experience them in a new way, and when there's a good narrator, this is wonderful funLois McMaster Bujold is my favorite author to re-listen to (and her narrators have been great, especially the fabulous Grover Gardner). But I've already listened to all of those, many more than once, and I'm just about done with my current audio selectionanother re-"read"Stephen King's On Writing. So . . . now what? How do I find the next great book to inspire me to longer and longer walks and marathon cleaning sessions?

I'm feeling extra cautious right now because a recent audio download turned out to be such a disappointment that I couldn't make myself finish it. That rarely happens, that I dislike something that much, but sometimes I just can't bear to stick it out until the end. And so I flit around Audible and Goodreads, reading reviews and trying to figure out if the person who loved the book I'm considering is someone who shares similar tastes to mine, and trying to figure out what kind of book I'm in the mood for anyway, and whether a particular narrator's voice is one I'll want to listen to for eight or twelve or nineteen hours of time. I need to go out and run some errands pretty soon, and my current audiobook won't last long enough to carry me through, and instead of biting the bullet and choosing something I'm writing this long blog post instead.

All right. I guess that's not very productive of me. Back I go. But if anyone reading this has some great audiobook titles to recommend, feel free to post suggestions in the comments, to give me some more options to explore in my selection efforts the next time around . . .

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Trelian sequel has, uh, another title!

Choosing a title for the sequel was so much fun, we decided to do it again! Actually, the sales folks had some good thoughts about keeping "Trelian" in the title to help make the connection clear between the two books, so we decided to tweak it a little. The new title is:


Goes quite nicely with The Dragon of Trelian, I think, and one more "of Trelian" title for the third book would make a lovely set all together.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Trelian sequel has a title!

And it is:

The Dragon Princess: A Novel of Trelian

Calen fans: fear not! There is still a lot of Calen in this book. This story, like the first one, is told from both his and Meg's point of view, and a LOT of things happen to both of them throughout the novel. Exciting and significant things. Some of them are VERY VERY exciting and significant. But I am not going to tell you what they are. You will have to read the book.

And when can you do that, you ask? I will tell you: Spring 2012. When we know the exact month, I will post it here. And when the cover is ready, I will post that here, as well. The story itself is written and complete, but I'm still making little changes here and there. This week I'm reviewing the copyedits and trying to decide once and for all on an important character's name that I keep changing from draft to draft.

In other news, I have other news but I am not allowed to tell you about it yet. But it is GREAT news and I am SO EXCITED!!! I will post it here as soon as I can. For now, you will just have to take my word for it. :)

OK - back to work with me. Hope you all have been having a great summer! I know I've been absent from the blogosphere for a while—crazy-busy as usual and also moved to a new apartment in a new neighborhood (hello, Greenpoint!) which left little time for anything else for a while. Insert my usual promise about blogging more often here. I will try! I will at least try to make sure I post the important things in a timely fashion.

Oh and one last thing: I now have an official Facebook page, so please stop by and "like" me to get updates on new books and book signings and other things like that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything!

Author and VCFA faculty member Uma Krishnaswami's wonderful new novel The Grand Plan to Fix Everything was released this week! Please head on over to Through the Tollbooth to read my interview with Uma about her book, breaking with conventions, monkeys, punctuation marks, and more.

You can get the full scoop on Uma's blog tour at her own blog, Writing with a Broken Tusk.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Library Lion reading Library Lion!

Saw this great photo courtesy of Joyabella on Twitter. Are you seeing this? It's a LION reading LIBRARY LION on the steps of the New York Public Library between Lego replicas of Patience and Fortitude. There is so much awesome happening here, I don't even know where to begin. I will just let the photo speak for itself:

The Lego lions were created by Nathan Sawaya as part of the celebration of the NYPL's 100th anniversary.

You can see a larger version of the photo by clicking on it.

You can see an even larger version of the photo here:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Argus review by Violet the Telekinetic Puppy

Violet the Telekinetic Puppy has posted a lovely review of Argus over at Bigfoot Reads. Please go on over and take a look!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bronx Zoo Appearance Rescheduled

Due to the rainy forecast, my Bronx Zoo Animal Tales appearance has been rescheduled to Sunday, May 1, at 1:00pm. I hope some of you can make it! And that we get a nice sunny day next time around...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love your library!

This week, bloggers around the Internet are participating in the Library Loving Blog Challenge (created by author Jennifer R. Hubbard) to help raise money for libraries. You can help by visiting the blogs of participating folks and leaving a comment—most participants are pledging to donate a certain amount of money per comment they receive. It's that easy!

Last year, I ended up donating $250 to the Brooklyn Public Library, thanks to all the lovely people who commented on my blog. I couldn't do it this year, but wanted to help spread the word and encourage you to visit participating blogger sites and maybe consider donating a book or some moolah to your own local library.

You can see the list of participating bloggers here. Visit now—the challenge ends this Saturday, April 2!

Libraries are important! This is a wonderfully easy way to help keep them going. Spread some library love today!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book signing at BookCourt this Sunday!

Come on over to BookCourt in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, this Sunday, April 3! I'll be reading and signing my new picture book ARGUS at 11am. I'd love to see you there!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Interview at Writer Friendly, Bookshelf Approved!

Author extraordinaire Bethany Hegedus interviewed me on her blog! Stop on over to see what I have to say about Argus, writing, M&Ms, and more:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Upcoming events!

I have a bunch of book signings and other events coming up. Here's a list of what's on the schedule for April and May. If any of these are in your area, I hope you'll come!

April 3 @11am: Reading and signing ARGUS at BookCourt in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

April 9 @12 noon: Educator Reception at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, NY

April 9 @3:30pm: Reading and book signing at Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY

April 23 @1pm: Animal Tales Extravaganza at the Bronx Zoo!

April 27 @4pm: Reading and signing at Mendham Books in Mendham, NJ

April 28: Larchmont School Book Fair in Larchmont, NY

May 3 @11am: Barnes & Noble at 86th & Lexington Ave in NYC

May 7 @10am4pm: Hudson Children's Book Festival

I'll also be at ALA 2011 in New Orleans in June, and at the Warwick and Rochester Book Festivals in the fall. You can always see a frequently updated list of events in the right-hand column of my blog under "Where I'll Be." Please check back often for the latest additions!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Birthday / Argus Book Launch Party

Last night's party at WORD for Argus (and my birthday!) was fabulous fun! Thank you, so much, everyone who came in person and those who were there in spirit! I gave my first public reading of the book to the best audience I could ask for, and we had Q&A and cupcakes and champagne and sold out of Arguses before the night was through!

Here are a few pictures for those of you who couldn't be there:

WORD looking all cozy and inviting. Come on in!

Mmmm....delicious celebratory snacks and beverages!

Yay for Argus!

Beginning my first public reading of Argus for a wonderful group.

(I make a lot of faces when I read, apparently.)

Signing books, with some help from my lovely assistant.

I had so much fun. WORD was wonderful, and it was great to see so many friends from past and present! Thank you for giving Argus such a lovely warm welcome and for making my birthday a night to remember.

* * *

You can buy copies of Argus at your favorite real-life or online bookseller. Click here to see where you can get Argus at an independent bookseller near you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Argus is here!

Hooray! Today is the release date of my new picture book, ARGUS!

It is also my birthday. And it is also the date of my birthday/book launch party at WORD in Brooklyn this evening!

Birthday/Book Launch Party for Michelle and Argus!
WORD in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
126 Franklin Street
TONIGHT! February 22, 2011

I hope you can come! I will be reading and signing and there will be books and cupcakes and other good things. Children and adults are equally welcome!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Argus reviews!

The pub date for ARGUS is fast approaching (are you coming to my birthday/book launch party on February 22?) and some more reviews have come in! Excerpts:

"With clean lines and muted colors, the ink-and-watercolor artwork illustrates the story in a most engaging way, magnifying the humor but keeping the absurdity in check. This pleasing picture book is fun for reading aloud." —Booklist

"Wesson’s lanky, gawky watercolor and ink caricatures capture the fragility of childhood, and the understated telling provides space to grapple with one’s own navigation through episodes of unenlightened authority. Children will relate to the drama while enjoying the humor found in both text and illustration." —School Library Journal

And Roxyanne Young just posted a truly lovely review on

I shared excerpts from the Publishers Weekly and Kirkus reviews in December; you can see them here.

I'm so happy that reviewers and early readers have been liking Argus so far! Can't wait until he's released into the wider world later this month. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Six

1. Update: 2011 has been keeping me pretty busy so far. I've been teaching my class at Gotham Writers' Workshop, working on final revisions of my Trelian sequel, writing new picture book drafts, thinking about my next big project, doing a little freelance editing, and trying to still find some time to see friends and my nice boyfriend and go for walks and other things. I also got to spend a lovely long weekend at Kindling Words, recharging my writerly energy and wearing a fancy dress to a masquerade ball.

2. Twitter tells me that today is International Save Libraries Day. (Personally, I think every day should be International Save Libraries Day.) You can participate in the library love by going to your local library, joining if you're not already a member, and checking out a book or three. You can also use the #savelibraries hashtag on Twitter to show your support, and write to your local legislators to let them know libraries matter! I've just added a widget to this page in the column at right (thanks, ALA website!) that will help you identify and contact your local legislators.

(Thanks, Phil Bradley, for the library word art!)

3. I'm teaching a free one-hour children's book writing workshop for Gotham Writers' Workshop tomorrow evening, 6–7pm, at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan. If you don't have Super Bowl party plans, come learn about writing for children, instead!

4. WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint is hosting a birthday/book launch party for my new picture book, Argus! It's February 22 (my birthday!) from 6:30–8:30pm. There will be cupcakes and books and general merriment. Grown-ups and children of all ages are welcome. I hope to see you there! If you're on Facebook, you can RSVP here or here (or both), but no official RSVP required—just come on over!

5. My former teacher (and current all-around person of awesomeness) Cynthia Leitich Smith is on tour for her new novel, Blessed! Check out the full schedule and go get yourself a signed book. NYC events start tomorrow and continue through the week.

6. OK, I think I really only had five things today. So I will use #6 here to remind you that The Dragon of Trelian is out in paperback as of last month, and you should probably go get yourself a copy. Or give it as a Valentine's Day gift to a special young reader (or old reader) in your life. Yay!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Books Read 2010

Since I've been enjoying other people's lists of the books they read in 2010, I decided to post my own list, too.

The following are all the books I read in the past year, except for most of the picture books—I read a lot of picture books and don't always remember to add them to my Goodreads list, which is how I keep track of my reading these days. The notation "A" following an item means I listened to the audiobook, and "R" means it was a reread. Over the past year or so I discovered the joy of re-experiencing well-loved books in their audio versions, which has been an incredible treat. Especially the Lois McMaster Bujold books, and especially the Miles Vorkosigan titles, which are not only all wonderful in their own right but are narrated by the absolutely perfect Grover Gardner. (If you are new to Miles and want to experience the awesomeness for yourself, I recommend starting with Shards of Honor [available individually as an audiobook or packaged with Barrayar in the printed compilation Cordelia's Honor] and reading in internal chronological order, which is different from order of publication.) (Actually, what I really recommend is reading all the books in print first, then waiting a few years and going back and re-experiencing them as audiobooks. But I realize that's probably asking a lot.)

Aaaaaaanyway... here's the list.
  1. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
  2. Stitches by David Small
  3. Night Road by A. M. Jenkins
  4. Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
  5. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  7. Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  8. The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  9. The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts (R)
  10. Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  11. Writing Fantasy Fiction by Sarah Lefanu
  12. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  13. Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy by Gardner R. Dozois
  14. Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
  15. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (A)
  16. Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary (A)
  17. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  18. Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles
  19. Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  20. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (A)
  21. The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
  22. The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
  23. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home (Season 8, Vol. 1) by Joss Whedon (et al)
  24. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Future For You (Season 8, Vol. 2) by Joss Whedon (et al)
  25. Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life by Terry Brooks
  26. Sabriel by Garth Nix (A)
  27. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  28. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (A)
  29. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  30. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (A)
  31. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (R)
  32. The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
  33. The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, #1) by Michael Buckley
  34. Hate That Cat: A Novel by Sharon Creech
  35. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (A)
  36. The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones
  37. Brontorina by James Howe
  38. The Wizard Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #2) by Cinda Williams Chima
  39. Well Wished by Franny Billingsley
  40. Dramarama by E. Lockhart
  41. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (A)
  42. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  43. ttyl by Lauren Myracle
  44. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (R)
  45. Passage (The Sharing Knife, #3) by Lois McMaster Bujold
  46. Under The Dome by Stephen King (A)
  47. Horizon (The Sharing Knife, #4) by Lois McMaster Bujold
  48. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  49. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (A, R)
  50. Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
  51. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (A)
  52. Persuasion by Jane Austen (A)
  53. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (A)
  54. Sacred Scars (A Resurrection of Magic, #2) by Kathleen Duey
  55. CryoBurn by Lois McMaster Bujold (A)
  56. The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
  57. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (A)
  58. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (A, R)
  59. The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King (A)
  60. The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time, #12; A Memory of Light, #1) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Reading now (started in 2010, but not yet finished): Scrawl by Mark Shulman and Northanger Abbey (A) by Jane Austen.