Into the Book

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    1. You don’t write because you don’t want to. There’s something more important to you than sitting down to a blank page with a story to tell. It would be nice to write a story, but there are dishes to be done, and that check never made it to the bank, and before you know it Monday has come around and nobody has time to write during the week.

      I don’t blame you. It’s hard to harness ideas and produce a piece that you’re satisfied with — let alone produce a piece that you’re satisfied with. There’s a million ideas in my head but it takes more than just ideas to get words on a page. Plenty of ideas wither away and are forgotten. Some ideas are never worth writing in the first place. So how do we get from good ideas to good writing, on the page, consistently? Continue reading »

    2. The Hopper-Hill Family

      Piper Hill is an only child. While she does love her little family with their quiet routines, she has always wondered what it would be like to have siblings. One day, her dream comes true, through a rather unfortunate turn of events. When her family expands to include her three cousins and their rowdy dog, Piper begins to learn that family bonds are very complex things. Throughout her first year of being in a blended family, Piper has a lot of growing up to do. But through it all, she learns some very valuable lessons. The Hopper Hill Family is a glimpse into the life of a young girl learning to see, and a family learning to love one another. Continue reading »

    3. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo. The spiel: (1) write 50,000 words in the month of November. Real authors always hit that magical 1,667 word count, every day for thirty days straight. It’s a great idea in practice. Just like many other writers, I have a bunch of story ideas in my head at various stages of completion. But while many swear by the program (the website claims over 310,000 participants in 2013), I’ve found that NaNoWriMo doesn’t do it for me.

      I’ve tried the program once or twice, and always make it around 15,000 words into the process before the word count becomes arbitrary, I hit a mental block, or just miss a day and fall badly behind. Here’s why NaNoWriMo doesn’t work for me:

      1. Focused on one project only (rather than useful writing in general), prone to writer’s block
      2. Over-focused on word count and production
      3. Harsh penalty for missing the odd day
      4. Focused on word quantity over other measures of writing progress.

      I propose MacroWriMo as a solution.
      MacroWriMo is the practice of writing at a specific time, every day, forever. Call it whatever you want: the habit building is what we’re really after. The daily routine of writing keeps you creative and engaged: like a pianist’s scales keep his fingers loose and limber. I like that NaNo forces writers to, well, write, but I want to adapt that feature to a bigger context. More than I want a specific project done, I want to build habits that will shape me as a writer for longer than just thirty days. Rather than a sprint, I want a daily three-mile run.

      Here’s how writing every day solves all of the issues above: Continue reading »

    4. ringworld-larry-niven-intothebook

      A mysterious stranger from an alien race that’s not been seen for hundreds of years offers Louis Wu an assignment. His prize is a new propulsion technology that will allow the human race to escape from the galactic core explosion. His mission: explore the strange and unknown Ringworld. Accompanied by a human female and a kzin, Louis Wu accepts the puppeteer’s mission, and the four of them venture out of known space. Continue reading »

    5. story-of-english-in-100-words-david-crystal

      I am a language nerd. The way that we use language to communicate fascinates me. Every great story ever written, every love letter, every declaration of war — all of it uses language. I’m fascinated by how languages evolve, interacting with one another to overlap and produce new words and meanings. David Crystal’s book, The Story of English in 100 Words, looks at one hundred influential words that exhibit some of the major changes and evolutions that English has undergone over the past five hundred years. Continue reading »

    6. I’m an unlikely convert to the whole notebook craze. I love my computers, and I love all my tools to keep my writing organized on the computer. Notebooks are messy. Notebooks fill up. You can lose a notebook. I have around eight or nine full notebooks already, and nowhere to put them. Why bother writing on paper when you have all your writing, indexed, searchable, on the computer? Why do I use notebooks for my writing? Continue reading »

    7. printer-preacher-randy-petersen-itb

      Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the surprising friendship that invented America.

      Randy Petersen’s latest book, The Printer and the Preacher, is a medium-length biography on Ben Franklin and George Whitefield, telling how together they were broadly influential over the fledgling United States. It’s a fascinating book, despite a few flaws, and serves as a great introduction to both men and how they related. Read on for more: Continue reading »

    8. The Enchanted April

      Ever had one of those days? One of those days where life in England is just rainy and gloomy and the summer can’t come fast enough? A day where, if given the chance, your nest egg would be given up just for some vacation time? A day where traveling to Italy to share a castle with people you don’t even know doesn’t seem like such a bad proposition? Yeah, Rose Arbuthnot and Lottie Wilkins are having one of those days.
      Continue reading »

    9. championship-fathering-carey-casey-into-the-book

      Championship Fathering. How to win at being a dad. Carey Casey’s latest book is a light-weight, heavy-hitting book that teaches the values behind excellent fathering, exhorting readers to leave behind a god-honoring legacy. Carey Casey is a practical, no-frills writer and speaker who has a simple mission: revitalize the family in America. He describes his book as a simple conversation between father and son, “Son, here’s what I want you to remember.” Throughout its one hundred and fifty pages, Casey outlines his vision of godly parenting and challenges fathers to step up into championship fathering. Continue reading »

    10. ender-in-exile

      Ender in Exile is a newer book from Orson Scott Card, author of the sci-fi classic Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game is some of the best sci-fi from the past thirty years: its masterful psychology and unexpected action are original and, in my opinion, enduring. I’ve reviewed the book twice before, and it still stands very near the top of my favorite sci-fi. I couldn’t resist a boxed set of Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, and Ender in Exile — a new book. For the most part, though Exile has an interesting story, it lacks the enduring qualities of its older brother. Continue reading »

    ABOUT ItB REVIEWS

    Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.