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Literature Like Candy

Unplugged Online | Recent Reads by Anna Colibri * February 2014

It’s all about love — and loving my new website!

I wish I could say that the books I’ve read over the last month were all about love, if only because I love a good theme. The books I’m covering this month are what I would call “sensible” and “adequate.” Faint praise? Let me tell you: I wish that I had a sensible and adequate published book to my credit (don’t worry people, it’s coming!).

Okay, friends, here’s the latest and greatest:

Recent Reads

Business

The Art of Closing the Sale by Brian Tracy.

If you are like me, you loathe the idea of manipulative sales techniques. Yet sell you must if you want to be a freelancer and sell you must if you want to “sell” your ideas within a corporate setting. Because this book outlines all of the best-known and proven closing techniques, I am reading it a second time. Sales is a skill like anything else and it is important to learn classic techniques and then adapt them to your own personality and preferences. In my case, I prefer to think of sales as the process of building relationships, learning what a given individual’s needs are and then exploring whether your knowledge base and skill set are a fit with his or her needs. At the end of the day, though, you must close the deal.

If you would like to have this book for your very own, purchase The Art of Closing the Sale at the Anna Colibri Amazon shop.

Pleasure

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing by Elmore Leonard.

This little book took me under 15 minutes to read. It was a bit like eating a box of Good & Plenty’s. Yummy enough, but the box was gone all too fast. Plus, I didn’t find much that was new, although I have incorporated Tip #3 “Never Use a Verb Other Than ‘Said’ to Carry Dialogue.” I love absolutes! They make things so easy.

If you would like to have this book for your very own, purchase Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing at the Anna Colibri Amazon shop.

Children

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder.

The best thing about The Egypt Game is probably its author, three time Newbery Award winner Zilpha Keatly Snyder. Now well past retirement age, Snyder resolved to be a writer at the age of 8 and has continued to write up to the present. Her website is charmingly out of date and offers welcome advice to aspiring writers. I recommend you check it out!

The book itself, written in 1967, is interesting in part because it incorporates multiculturalism (ground breaking at the time) and contemporary issues such as child abandonment and serial killing. It is well-written and compelling in a low-key way.

I found myself comparing the relatively “tame” writing in this book with the sensationalism of much of today’s children’s literature. Although there was very little actual violence and no lurid description, the serial killing aspect of the plot was particularly scary because of its “garden variety” realism. I was surprised that this issue was addressed in a book aimed towards adolescents (although it occurred to me that the inclusion was cautionary).

I asked my children about whether they found serial killing scarier than, say, Harry Potter, and they said “no.” All of this leaves me wondering what effect, if any, “horror” and fantastical violence has on children.

If you would like to have this book for your very own, purchase The Egypt Game at the Anna Colibri Amazon shop.

What’s your opinion? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below.

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