What’s In A Word Count?

How long should a story be? It’s a question that I’ve asked and looked into many times over the years that I’ve been writing. I used to have a post-it note on the board in my office that listed the standard word counts for novels vs. novellas vs. short stories. I would look up the word counts of famous novels, just to get an idea of what I should be aiming for. The first Harry Potter book? Just over 77,000…

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Kat Reads: “The Napoleon of Notting Hill”

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton was published in 1904. Chesterton was about 30 years old at the time and it was his first novel, though he had been working as a professional journalist in London for a few years at that point. The first time I read this book, which was just in the last year or two, I was instantly in love. I grew up on British humor and British authors, and I quickly recognized Chesterton’s…

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What I Read in a Year: 2021

This past year has involved a lot of transitions in my personal world, and even now I am just a few months away from getting married and starting a whole new chapter in life. It’s been a wonderfully blessed time, but also a bit chaotic, and more than ever I have been appreciative of the grounding nature that books have in my life. Books can provide an escape from day-to-day stress, but they can also help to give perspective and…

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Autumn Reflections and Updates

For weeks now, I’ve had ideas and ambitions running through my head; of articles that I want write, thoughts I want to share, and stories I want to tell. This time of year usually does that to me. I can’t say that this is always my most productive time of the year, because this is usually when I am the busiest with volunteering at church, getting ready for the holidays, etc. But I can say that this is always my…

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Bird by Bird – Tips for Life

One of my favorite books on writing is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. This was one of the first books about writing that I ever read, probably in my early teens, and it was only when I re-read it in the last year or so that I realized how much the advice in this book has shaped not only my writing but also how I approach life. Lamott is not just a writer but also teaches writing professionally, and much…

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What I Read: May 2019

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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What I Read: April 2019

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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Breaking up with Social Media: The Aftermath

It’s been about two and a half months since I deleted my Instagram and Snapchat accounts, and I’m coming up on a year since I permanently deleted Facebook. For those who are curious, here are some of my observations from the post-social media world. First, I will admit that it was very hard to let go. I still miss being able to share pictures easily with all of my friends, and I miss seeing the pictures that others share (especially…

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What I read: December 2018

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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Post-Pilgrimage: Being Present to the Rest of Life

it’s been just over a month since my trip to Europe, and already it feels not quite real. I feel like I have already lost so many of the emotions and experiences that were so vibrant and potent in the moment; all those lingering memories getting swallowed up as the return to routine life continues to plod forever forward, moving further and further away from what (at the time) seemed like it would never end. The problem after any big,…

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