Friday, October 5, 2007

Book Catalogue

I've been cataloguing books today. Something I usually enjoy, but it's made somewhat less fun by the fact that I had actually entered and sorted over 1000 books on my BookCat program before my computer crashed last summer. But I just got a bunch of books out of storage that I want to incorporate into my library now that I've got enough shelf space and I'm trying to input them as I go, as well as input the books in the category that they're sharing shelf space with.

The BookCat program is pretty cool. I'm sure there are similar programs out there, but I've only used this one so I this is the only one I can speak about. It's very easy to enter the information. Just type in the ISBN number and select which sources you want it to check and voila, you now have the author, title, publisher, etc. already entered into the catalogue. I usually have the program check Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and the Library of Congress. But if you're in the States and most of your books were purchased new, then you probably only need to check Amazon USA.

If the book is too old to have an ISBN number (published before 1970... and even many books published in the early 70's), you might still be able to have the program enter the majority of the information for you if you can find your book in the Library of Congress Online Catalog and it has a Library of Congress catalog number.

Read more...

Sometimes you might need to tweak some of the information, but it's a very user-friendly computer program so that's not a problem. And it's great for slightly OCD people like me. I have 11 different bookshelves in my apartment and some of them are divided into different sections (for example, Biographies and Social Sciences share one shelving unit). I tend to group my books according to the Dewey decimal system, which makes for easy decision making... very helpful when you have this many books. But once they're grouped I just figure out location according to space and how much I need the books to be near my computer. Anyway, the reason I'm putting my anal-retentive habits on display is to mention that you can easily include location information for each book as you enter it. A feature that I particularly like.

So if you are an avid book collector (and maybe a little OCD), I highly recommend a catalogue program like BookCat.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Biography of an Elusive Man

I came across this interesting review of Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad. Considered by some to be major literary figure of the last century and by others to be a one-hit wonder with Invisible Man, Ellison is definitely a controversial figure. I, for one, think this book will be an intriguing read.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Speaking of Book Reviews

I wanted to mention this book review site that I've recently been enjoying. It's called The Symposium. The reviewer, Joana, definitely has a penchant for Horror, SciFi and Fantasy (which I love) but she does reviews of books outside of those genres, as well. Her reviews are thorough and intelligent without giving away too much -- not an easy task when reviewing fiction -- so you definitely won't be disappointed. And don't forget to check out her Recommended Reading List while you're there!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Book Review: Save the Cat

This screenwriting book definitely has some usable information, and its breezy tone makes for easy reading, but it's by no means the last book on screenwriting you'll ever need. Blake Snyder has certainly made money in the industry -- good for him -- and if that's all you're looking to do, then this is the perfect book for you. Not to say that I wouldn't love to make a living in this industry, but -- call me a naive idealist -- I'd rather do it by having a really good movie made out of my screenplay than by selling a formulaic spec script that never even gets made.

Don't get me wrong, I am no elitist who eschews the Hollywood formula; it has its merits and its uses. I've enjoyed many a formulaic movie and have no problem using those formulas when they work for me. However, I'd much rather have a movie like "Memento" to my credit than "Miss Congeniality"... even though, as Snyder points out, "Miss Congeniality" grossed far more at the box office.

The bottom line? Read more...

If you're like me, writing something a little outside the mainstream, I do actually recommend this book (albeit with a little hesitation): his "rules" might inspire some ideas and, among other things, his breakdown of the beat sheet is extremely useful (but be warned that you may find yourself a little annoyed at times). If you're a little more mainstream than me and want to write a Hollywood blockbuster, then I HIGHLY recommend this book for you; in your case, it may well be the last book on screenwriting you'll ever need. HOWEVER, if you have no intention of going the Hollywood route, or if you think that the Hollywood formula is cheesy, tired and/or a total sell out, I suggest that you avoid this book... you'll just end up quoting Dorothy Parker: "This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

If you're looking for a simple book giving you a breakdown of the Hollywood formula, I would actually recommend Viki King's "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days." I know it sounds even more formulaic than "Save the Cat" but I never felt like throwing it out the window. And for a more in-depth screenwriting book, definitely opt for Robert McKee's "Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting." In my opinion, don't waste your time with Syd Field's "Screenplay." He may have been first but everyone else has said the same things a hundred times since then and usually better than he said it in the first place.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Introduction to Weirdgrrl's Words

Welcome to the brand new redesign of the WeiRDgrrl website. Links to the Writing, Editing, Research and Design business are in the navigation menu to the left. The rest of the page is now devoted to Weirdgrrl's Words, my new blog about writing, poetry, language and related topics.

For my inaugural post I'll simply recommend "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. This is one book that should be in every writer's library, regardless of genre. Both inspirational and practical, this book is a must have.

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Film Screenings

Coda in G Minor

July 22, 2009
CSIF presents ImagineNATIVE
The Plaza Theatre
1133 Kensington Rd. NW
7:00 p.m.
Calgary, AB

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Weirdgrrl

Calgary, Canada

1 part shy intellectual, 1 part edgy chick, 1 part sophisticated woman, 1 part mental patient (after all, sanity is a type of conformity)... what's your mix?