20,000 Characters Under the Sea


I was on a business trip, stuck on the runway because my destination airport (aka home) was temporarily closed for weather. While we waited, I pulled out my work-issued tablet, hoping it would have some preloaded book on it. Success! There was a selection of free (aka copyright free) books. I started Sun Tzu’s The Art of War but didn’t get past the intro. I was stuck in a metal tube with no way out: I was too fidgety for strategy. Next on the list was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a book about some guys stuck in metal tube with no way out. Perfect.

Except it wasn’t. 20,000 Leagues is a classic. I respect that. Great imagination, Jules Verne had. Character development, he did not.

I thought it would be fun to live tweet my reading. Because what goes better with classic literature than modern 140 character critiques?

They weren’t critweets so much as they were questions that I usually yell at books when they annoy me.

I started with #livetweetbooks and then moved to #livetweetclassics.

Here are some of my, uh, astute, tweets:

Reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. There's hella lot of telling so far and the narrator's a pretentious ass. #livetweetbooks

Conseil is the most interesting character so far (and I just met Nemo). You're smart, why are you this guy's man-servant? #livetweetbooks

Conseil is just biding his time, right? He's totally going to mutiny the Nautilus. #livetweetbooks

"Slimy mud which the Americans call 'ooze'" oddly proud to know we coined the term ooze. #livetweetbooks #livetweetclassics

"And could you tell me what everyone knows about it?" [Nemo] inquired, ironically -- Nemo is a hipster! #livetweetclassics20,000 Leagues mentions corvettes (sadly not little nor red) ... Had no idea they were originally ships. #livetweetclassics

Oh Conseil, I had hopes for you but you're turning into an idiot. #livetweetclassicsI fat thumbed #livetweetclassics as #licetweetclassics  I suppose that would be era appropriate.

Wait, wait, wait. I could buy that the harpoonist and sailor loved dry land more than anyone else #livetweetclassics 1/3

I looked the other way when he didn't want to see the wonders of the ocean #livetweetclassics 2/3

But you expect me to believe that a sailor doesn't know what a pearl is? I call bullshit #livetweetclassics 3/3

Much of the characters' actions (or inactions) can only be explained by a class system, not their personalities #livetweetclassics

For a supposedly curious person, Aronax is surprisingly incurious about why Nemo did all this #livetweetclassics

Also annoyed Aronax talks about crew's strange language and wonders where they're from BUT NEVER BOTHERS TO ASK #livetweetclassics

I'm back with more #livetweetclassics  75% thru 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Sperm whales are regular whales are battling it out.


That was supposed to read “Sperm whales AND regular whales are battling it out.”

Apparently sperm whales hiss and snort #livetweetclassics

So the guy who just massacred a bunch of whales wo blinking is upset at whalers for "rage of destruction" toward seals #livetweetclassics

#spoiler Ctpn Nemo swore he'd never walk on land again but is still keen to be the first man to walk on the South Pole?#livetweetclasics

I really want a clue as to Nemo's motivation. I'm with Ned at this point: this us bullshit #livetweetclassics

Nemo keeps you prisoner and always disappears, and you, M. narrator, never get upset or worried? #livetweetclassics

Hunting a sea animal to almost extinction as the cause for yellow fever. Surprising conservation messag #livetweetclassics

Perhaps this is only fascinating to me.

I’ve seen a lot of people live tweet movies or tv shows, but never a book. Good idea? Bad?

Reading List



I read a few YA (Endlessly, Seraphina), decided to try out something that was blipping on the pop culture radar (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), and then I felt the need to try something a little heavier on the lit culture radar (Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde). The version I’m reading has been updated to modern language, but it is still taking me a while. I have trouble reading poetry no matter what century vocabulary it’s in.

I love that the books I read range so wildly. I appreciate each of those book for something. As long as the story captures me, I want to read it.

The only downside (other than getting those weird looks when I admit to reading Chaucer for fun) is that I don’t amass a large reading list in the genre I’m writing in. It makes it harder for me to give examples of similar work in my query letter.

Thanks the to Pitch Polish, I think I have a much stronger query letter…at least when it comes to the pitch of Julia’s story. As far as the rest that you’re “supposed” to add — the audience, the comparison novels, the amazing author credentials — well, that could still use some help.

Do you find that you read in the same genre all the time? Or are you more sporadic?

The Bennet Sisters Enter the 2000s


I get really excited on Mondays. Weird, I know, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries post a new vlog every Monday (and Thursday). If you’re a fan of web series, of fresh takes on classics, or of Pride and Prejudice, you should take a look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Now.

They’ve done a fantastic job. I almost wish I hadn’t heard of it until it was over…that way I could watch them all at once rather than a day at a time. But that shouldn’t stop you. Go now and join me in my new love of Mondays!

Masthead for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries YouTube channel with large-eyed cartoon portraits of Lizzie, Jane, Lydia and Charlotte

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, artwork by Naomi Gunadie