Stuff I Had Published in 2017

Though 2017 in general was something of a garbage fire, publishing-wise, 2017 has been my most prolific year. Here are some of the things I’ve gotten published:

Fiction

  • The Bottomless Hole on Crooked Palm Boulevard” was a runner up for Crab Orchard Review’s Charles Johnson Fiction Award 2017. ~ Considering that I write about one short story a year, I’m pretty proud of that one. Now to work on this year’s short story.

Essays

Articles

Book Reviews

Ploughshares

Over all, I feel like I’m just getting my stride. I’m excited for next year!

My Favorite Books of 2017

I read 130 books in 2017, more books than I’ve read in any year before this.

book statistics graph rebecca renner 2017Maybe it’s because I was stressed out. I had a bad breakup with someone who did a lot of lying, but in an unexpected way, he changed my life. After he’d crumpled me up and thrown me away, I said, “Fuck this” to feeling hopeless, and I decided I deserve better – in everything. I discovered that my words mattered. I got a bunch of essays published, and I found a new job as a staff writer for a magazine. I left my stressful, negative job, and I feel – physically, mentally, spiritually – like a weight has been lifted – no, that I have lifted off the weight that had been sinking my passionate heart ever since my father’s death.

True, I dove into books to save myself, but I also swam through books with full force, because I was finally allowing myself to be me. Yes, that means that I can love books about science and statistics while still going outside and having fun.

In all, at least according to Goodreads, I have read 34,321 pages this year (and counting!).

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There have been some good ones and some bad ones. I tried not to give negative reviews if I could help it. After reading a writer friend’s facebook status about the effect a negative review can have on sales – plus everybody knows everybody in the literary community: what you say can and will get back to the writer – I decided it would be better to leave either a five star review or no review at all.

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There were a few notable exceptions. I hated My Absolute Darling, and I don’t care who knows it. If I ever meet the author, which is not as unlikely as it sounds (re: everybody knows everybody), I might ask him what he was thinking in writing something like that.

My Top 5 Favorite Books Published in 2017 –

9780393249316Nomadland by Jessica Bruder – I wrote a review of this book for Ploughshares, but that was honestly not enough room to gush about it. I really hope that I can write a book this good someday. This is my favorite book I read this year. Go buy it/read it/devour it!

From my review: “Wide open highways, the weary kitsch of desert campgrounds, unstable jobs with long hours to make ends meet, the spiritual freedom of losing bonds with material goods and fulfilling a lifetime’s worth of wanderlust—these are the ideas that fill the lives of the itinerant ‘vandwellers’ profiled in Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland, the nonfiction account of life on the road after the Recession.”

My other favorite books have been The Hate U Give, From Here to Eternity, The Living Infinite, and Theft By Finding.

best books of 2017

For a full list of the other books I read this year, check out my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge page.


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Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge: October Update

I’ve been plugging away at Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge, and it looks like I’m almost done! I only have a third of the books left to go. I think I can do it!

Bold sections are the parts of the challenge I haven’t accomplished yet.

  1. Read a book about sports. – Lord of Misrule by Jaime Gordon
  2. Read a debut novel. – Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  3. Read a book about books. – The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass (This totally counts imo!)
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. –  The Story of My Teeth. I’m in the middle of reading this, but I haven’t finished it yet.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative. – In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
  6. Read an all-ages comic. – El Deafo by Cece Bell
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950. – I want to read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
  8. Read a travel memoir. – Eat Pray Love maybe?
  9. Read a book you’ve read before. – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. – Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  12. Read a fantasy novel. – Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology. – From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
  14. Read a book about war. Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading A Very Long Engagement.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+. Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farzian
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country. The Color Purple – I think there was a local court case about this one a few years ago. 
  17. Read a classic by an author of color. – Native Son by Richard Wright
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead. – Wonder Woman, Volume 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello (Writer)Cliff Chiang (Artist)Tony Akins (Artist)Dan Green (Inker)Matthew Wilson (Colourist)Jared K. Fletcher (Letterer) (A BUNCH OF DUDES D:)
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey. – Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko 
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel – The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
  21. Read a book published by a micropress. – This weird thing.
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. – Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. – I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, translated by…
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. – The Sellout by Paul Beatty

 

Follow me on Goodreads for more book recs and to keep up with my reading challenge progress!

 

Oops! Pardon my dust… September 2017 Update

If you got an email about a post talking about grades, sorry! That was supposed to post on my class website. But while you’re here, I can give you an update on all my recent publications!

Of course, I’ve had a few Book Riot posts published this month:

I also had an essay published in the Washington Post, and it was syndicated to several smaller newspapers:

I started a writing advice column on Medium, too! Read my first responses:

Want to submit a question to my advice column? Tweet me!

 

I also have a few other essays brewing at some of my dream publications, and I’m working on finishing another round of edits on my novel. I’m going to start submitting it to agents soon!

Oh, and did I mention that my entire state was hit by a hurricane? The world is basically falling apart. But how have you been?

 

Writing Advice Column: Writing Rituals!

I’ve started a writing advice column! Comment with your questions, and I’ll answer them in the column. It’s on Medium, so I get paid (yes, real money!) every time you give a piece “claps.”

I’ll answer questions about reading, writing, marketing, creativity, and the writing life!

You can also comment on my Facebook or Twitter posts to ask your questions.

Here is my first answer: https://medium.com/@thebeckyrenner/hi-jade-5a421b44ad44

 

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 – October Update

I’ve been plugging away at this challenge, and it looks like I’m almost done! I only have a third of the books left to go. I think I can do it!

Bold sections are the parts of the challenge I haven’t accomplished yet.

  1. Read a book about sports. – Lord of Misrule by Jaime Gordon
  2. Read a debut novel. – Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  3. Read a book about books. – The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass (This totally counts imo!)
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. –  The Story of My Teeth. I’m in the middle of reading this, but I haven’t finished it yet.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative. – In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
  6. Read an all-ages comic. – El Deafo by Cece Bell
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950. – I want to read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
  8. Read a travel memoir. – Eat Pray Love maybe?
  9. Read a book you’ve read before. – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. – Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. – Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  12. Read a fantasy novel. – Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology. – From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
  14. Read a book about war. Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading A Very Long Engagement.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+. Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farzian
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country. The Color Purple – I think there was a local court case about this one a few years ago. 
  17. Read a classic by an author of color. – Native Son by Richard Wright
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead. – Wonder Woman, Volume 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello (Writer)Cliff Chiang (Artist)Tony Akins (Artist)Dan Green (Inker)Matthew Wilson (Colourist)Jared K. Fletcher (Letterer) (A BUNCH OF DUDES D:)
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey. – Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko 
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel – The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
  21. Read a book published by a micropress. – This weird thing.
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. – Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. – I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, translated by…
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. – The Sellout by Paul Beatty

 

Follow me on Goodreads for more book recs and to keep up with my reading challenge progress!

 

Book Review Policy Update

Because so many people have been asking, here is an update to my current book review policy. Please read all of these guidelines before contacting me. Review requests that do not follow these guidelines or are sent anywhere other than through my contact page will be cut into tiny pieces, set on fire, and then fed to the unspeakable howling void in my attic. Cheers!

This policy is also available on my book review policy page.

I DON’T ACCEPT:

  • *Books I have to pay for.* (That’s not how book reviewing works.)
  • Self-published books
  • Erotica
  • Middle Grade, Picture Books, Books for Children
  • Comics or Graphic Novels, because I wouldn’t know how to critique that.
  • Audiobooks
  • Dystopias, just because I don’t want to read any more dystopias.
  • Paranormal romance

I HAVE A STRONG PREFERENCE FOR:

  • Hardback books, but paperbacks are also fine.
  • Thrillers, mysteries, literary, science fiction and fantasy, book club and upmarket fiction
  • I really dig cool, reputable small presses like Tin House, Coffee House, and Graywolf. I like university presses, too!

If you have read all of the above and still want a curmudgeon like me to review your book, submit a brief description of your book’s plot and genre, a little bit about you, and your publishing timeline via my contact page.

I reserve the right to decline any book based purely on my own whims and desires. I receive many more book review requests than I could possibly read. I will only respond to an itty-bitty fraction of them, but thank you for sending them nonetheless.

NOTE: MY ACCEPTANCE OF AN ARC COPY OF YOUR BOOK DOES NOT GUARANTEE A REVIEW. I DON’T LIKE WRITING BAD REVIEWS, SO I DON’T REVIEW BOOKS I DON’T LIKE. I’M ALSO VERY BUSY AND SLOW. BUT IF I LOVE YOUR BOOK, I WILL TOTALLY SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!

HOW YOU CAN HELP OUT!

Right now, I’m working on getting more freelance work, and I’m editing my novel. If you’d like to support me while I’m editing, you can:

  1. Follow me on social media: TwitterInstagramFacebook, and Goodreads.
  2. Follow this blog. 🙂
  3. Sign up for my mailing list here.
  4. Support me on Patreon. There is an option on there to purchase a manuscript critique/review from me.
PHOTO BY GLEN NOBLE ON UNSPLASH