reading

Is it worth admitting you made a mistake and trying to fix it?

Marilyn

Have you ever noticed most people are far quicker to criticize than to praise? I know it’s probably human nature, I even do it myself sometimes without wanting to, but since I was subjected to this treatment more than the average person, I learned not to be so quick to judge.

I became a writer six years ago, and like in any other job, I learned along the way. Even Nora Roberts and Stephen King have bad books. Nicholas Sparks admitted he will never publish his first two novels, because they were not as good as his later work. Unlike him, I published nearly everything I wrote. I don’t know if that’s unfortunate or not, because I learned everything I know about writing from actually making all the mistakes in the business. Sometimes I made them more than once, just to be sure I learned my lesson.  😒 But some readers don’t understand that one can become a better writer only with time and practice. Writers are human, like any other people, and no book is perfect. I’ve managed to revise most of mine, and among them is Unabridged, a romantic comedy that was a bestseller at the time of its release in 2015. Back then, the first edition received mixed reviews, and while it got a lot of five-stars, there were plenty of one-star ratings and comments from readers. Some of them were mean for the sake of meanness, but others raised valid points, which in the end helped me make Unabridged a better book.

This year I have finally managed to rewrite it with the help of my great editor, Susanne Matthews, and republished the new edition with a new cover to match.

I was happy about my accomplishment, and naïve enough to talk about it in one of the author groups I am part of. To my surprise, one of the members asked me in a somewhat harsh tone why I had published Unabridged in the first place if I thought it wasn’t that good. Her question took me by surprise, especially since this is an author of average romance with terrible cheap-looking covers (see, I have a mean streak too, but I try to keep it tamed! 😜 ). Anyway, I answered frankly, the way I always do, and told her I published the book because at the time I was proud of my accomplishment, I wanted to share it with the world, and yes, I needed to make money from my writing—because the damn bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how much I sweet talk them. What shocked me the most though was that no one in that group thought of saying a nice word about the fact that I admitted my mistakes, and that I cared so much about what readers thought I decided to rewrite my book.

Some of the reviewers said Unabridged was mean and judgmental, yet here I was, in the real world, among real people, on trial for admitting and fixing a mistake I made. WTH? I certainly did not expect any medals, but I hardly expected to be judged for being less than perfect.

In the end, this was a good lesson regarding the way people think. And although I have read several terrible books lately, some of them from my favorite authors, I decided not to leave any bad reviews. Because I know that writing a book, even a bad one, is a tremendous effort, and I’m in no position to cut off wings I haven’t built. Life is too full of drama as it is, and I agree with Marilyn Monroe: imperfection is beauty. Who wants to be perfect? It must be boring as hell.

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Review: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden

929As most of you probably know by now, I’m a voracious reader and a total book addict. Which is why I’ve decided to make a special section on my blog to post reviews of my favorite books. Since I have thousands of books I like – literally – probably I won’t be able to write about all of them. Not in this lifetime anyway. But speaking of that, Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha is one of those books you must read at least once in your life.

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

I’ve read this book for the first time about ten years ago, and I confess I was lost in the storytelling more than in the depth of the characters. However, when I’ve reread it again recently, I discovered how much feeling the author has poured into it. As a longtime fan of Japanese literature, I sensed the difference in the writing style of American author Arthur Golden, who sometimes exaggerates in his efforts to showcase the solid research he’s done about the Japanese culture. However, even if not perfectly accurate, Golden paints a vivid picture of the Geishas and creates a compelling plot that’s definitely worth reading. The story is powerful not just because of the controversial and emotional subject, but also because it’s exotic and gives the reader a good insight into a mysterious, almost forbidden world – the life of a Geisha. That alone makes this book worth reading, not only for entertainment, but also because it’s an interesting piece of history cleverly disguised as bestselling fiction. Five stars!

I also recommend the following books, written in a similar style and guaranteed to draw you in:

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And a selection of movies you should see at least once in a lifetime, from one movie aficionado to another:

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Three reasons why you should read

I’ve always heard that, ironically, writers read very little because of the lack of time. Well, I’m proud to be the exception to this rule. While it’s true I don’t have much time to read, I listen to audio books most of the day, and my Mp3 Player is always handy. Thanks to my husband and the wonderful technology that makes this possible, I can turn every e-Book in audio format with a program called Text Aloud. Listening to books makes my life better, it makes it easier to cook and clean 12507589_10153080083915834_2906003444876111692_nthe house—which I hate, makes loneliness less painful during the long hours my husband is at work. Books can put a smile on my face and help me relax as nothing else does.

I’ve loved reading ever since I was four and my mother taught me how to read. I suppose it was both an acquired as well as an innate taste, since my father is not only an avid reader, but a writer as well. Our home has always been filled with books of all kinds, and that makes the memories of my childhood pricelessly wonderful. I’m sad to see the generations that come after me read less and less. Maybe that’s why I’m so happy when I receive messages from teenagers who say they love, or at least like my books. That means they read, so there is still hope.

Why read? others ask me. Why read when you can play a game on your Play Station or watch a movie bursting with sex and violence? Well, I’ll give you 3 good reasons why books will make your life better:

  1. Reading makes you SMARTER.

It’s been scientifically proven over and over again that reading has tremendous influence in developing your intellect, improving your memory and imagination. It doesn’t matter if you prefer fiction or non-fiction, there’s always something to learn from a book. Your entire vision of the world changes, your vocabulary improves, and you become able to carry conversations regarding a number of subjects you’ll have to tackle one day for a job interview, or to impress a potential lover. You’ll never sit awkwardly again in a room full of smart people, embarrassed that you have no notion of ridiculously simple things, like on which continent Egypt is located, or who invented the light bulb. Shame on you! 😛

  1. Reading helps you RELAX.

Personally I prefer reading fiction, anything that contains a love story, to be more specific. Why? Because reading helps me escape the trivial or sometimes tragic problems of daily life. It gives me a state of optimism, a mental break from my inner turmoil, and sometimes even helps me find the most unexpected solutions to the problems I was trying to get away from. There’s nothing more stress-releasing than lying in bed or in a tub full of foamy hot water, reading a good book. I mean, what’s not to love about indirectly living the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from the comfort of your own bedroom?

  1. Reading makes you SEXIER.

FB_IMG_1455585468715You might think I’m crazy by this time, but I’ll prove to you in a minute that I’m not. It’s a known fact that women read more than men. Consequently, women find men who read immensely more attractive than those who don’t. After all, unless the woman you like is a sports fanatic, what the hell do you have to talk about together? This might shock you, gentlemen, but while you’re watching your favorite ball game, be aware that your girlfriend/wife is getting on with her current book boyfriend. Because you know what? Women who read are not only smarter, but those who love romance novels especially are also hornier and much more creative in bed.

So, guys, you’d better put down the remote and grab a book from time to time if you don’t want to be replaced by a fictional character. Better yet, buy your lover a pile of romance books and a negligee, and I can guarantee neither of them will collect dust! 😉