My husband and I have been staying in one of our favourite spots, a Solecito casita on beautiful Playa Blanca on the Mexican Pacific coast. (Our casita: the one shown above.)
It’s a totally relaxing time for us, and—surprisingly—one of the pleasures, for me, is that I get quite a bit done:
• I edited the 4th draft of The Game of Hope and began draft 5.
• I read a lot, likely because I’m reading on my little Kindle, and not on the Kindle app on my Net-connected iPad.
• I finished THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS by Michel Faber (my first Sci-Fi), and am close to finishing THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT by Heather O’Neill. (Delightful! I have previously read and very much enjoyed LULLABIES FOR LITTLE CRIMINALS.) I’m still reading and highly recommend Publishing 101 by Jane Friedman as well as various research books.
• I read a pdf of wonderful novel that I gave a rave quote for … I’ll have more to say on this book when it is published in March.
• I listened to a wonderful audible recording of ALL THE LIGHT YOU CANNOT SEE, a novel by Anthony Doerr that was on virtually every “best of 2014” book list.
Coursera.org: How to Learn
I caught up on the video lectures of a Coursera course I’m taking on how to learn. (You can watch them here.)
Why am I following this course? Because I am determined to become more conversant in both French and Spanish. (In fact, as I go for my daily walk on the beach, I listen to French tapes.)
My research method
This course has got me reconsidering my writing research method. I used to write notes out by hand. Now I prefer highlighting passages on Kindle and sending these to Evernote—knowing that I can always find the information should I need it.
Not exactly. Evernote is great, but the trouble is: when I look for something on Evernote, I find the mass of notes overwhelming. It’s not that functional system for me, in truth, and I’ve long had a hunch that writing down notes by hand was more effective. This Coursera course has confirmed the importance of approaching information through different media.
Another problem I have is resistance to organizing my research. I’m content to cruse the Net, buy new books, read and highlight them, but I’m somewhat scattered and slapdash about it, in truth.
This course has reminded me of the value of the Pomodoro approach: setting a timer for 25 minutes of focussed distraction-free (i.e. Net-free) period of time.
It has also reminded me of the key importance of review: and this is where note-taking comes in.
The course also emphasises how important relaxation is to learning. And so … to the hammock.
“Selkie,” a reader of this blog, left a comment on my “best of 2014” blog post about my love of the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice (staring Kiera Knightly). She said she watches an Austen movie once a week. (I can understand!) Very kindly, she gave me a list to share here. As comprehensive as it is, she notes that is only of the films she owns.
Emma (1972), starring Doran Godwin and John Carson.
Emma (1996), starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam.
Emma (1996), starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong.
Mansfield Park (1983), starring Sylvestra Le Touzel and Nicholas Farrell.
Northanger Abby (1986), starring Katherine Svhlesinger and Peter Firth.
Persuasion (1971), starring Firbank and Bryan Marshall.
Pride and Prejudice (1940), starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier.
Pride and Prejudice (1980), starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul.
Pride and Prejudice (2003—an extremely modern version), starring Kim Heskin and Orlando Seale.
Pride and Prejudice (2005), starring Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.
Sense and Sensibility (1981), starring Irene Richard and Tracey Childs.
Sense and Sensibility (2004), starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant.
Becoming Jane (2007), starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy.
Lost in Austen (2008), starring Jemima Rooper and Elliot Cowan.
About this last one, Selkie notes, “I absolutely love this movie!” That’s high praise indeed; I’m going to try to find it!
Thank you so much, Selkie!
I discovered that I had a 6-book credit on Audible.com that had to be used before the end of this month. Needless-to-say, I went on a book-buying spree. Here’s what I bought:
Landline by Rainbow Rowell, because I enjoy YA and I especially enjoy Rowell’s work.
My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. On many “best of 2014” lists.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Ditto.
Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill. This unusual novel was on the very interesting New York Times 10 Best Books of 2014 list and I really liked what the NY Times team had to say about it on their Podcast. (It’s a poetic novel, and I’m not sure how well it will work on audible, however.)
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. This one is on virtually every “best of” list.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron. Because laughing is wonderful, but most of all, because it is narrated by the amazing Meryl Streep.
I listen to “books on tape” (not that they are on tape anymore) when I’m exercising, so this collection should get me in excellent form.