CLOSE
ThinkStock
ThinkStock

14 NaNoWriMo Books That Have Been Published

ThinkStock
ThinkStock

While November means turkey, football and marathon shopping for some, it’s a month of being hunched over at a laptop slurping cup after cup of caffeine for others.

Yep—it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. People who are crazy ambitious enough to accept the challenge aim to write 50,000 words in November, which is about 1667 words every day. While no one expects masterpieces in such a short time span—the goal is to force writers to get some words down on paper without overthinking it—sometimes it happens. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is a particularly successful example. But she’s not the only author to see buckling down and hammering out 50,000 words in a month pay off. Here are 14 other NaNo books that can be found on the shelves at a bookstore near you.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

She wrote it during two NaNos, but we’re not holding it against her. The Night Circus spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and won an Alex Award from the American Library Association in 2012.

2. The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill

From Amazon: “The Beautiful Land is part science fiction, part horror—and, at its core, a love story between a brilliant young computer genius and the fragile woman he has loved since high school. Now, he must bend time and space to save her life as the world around them descends into apocalyptic madness.”

3. Wool by Hugh Howey

From Barnes and Noble: “In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.” Ridley Scott has expressed interest in directing the Wool movie, the rights to which have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.

4. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Another NYT bestseller, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a young adult novel that takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States that is overrun with zombies. This is the first of a trilogy, and the film rights have been optioned by Seven Star Pictures.

5. Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trimble

From Publisher’s Weekly: "Nate and Adam are smalltown adolescents whose relationship is threatened when Adam moves to New York. Nate recalls the first moments of their romance and its development even as it’s threatened by the arrival of Luke, a closeted younger teen who’s attracted to Nate. Told frankly and honestly from Nate’s point of view, the novel explores issues like coming out, parental acceptance (and its lack), antigay violence, and the attitudes of faculty and fellow students, whose ranks provide both antagonists and allies. Layered with the gritty everyday details of teen existence, the book provides a convincingly clear window into the many perils and sometimes scant pleasures of life in high school while never feeling overly grim; it will be appreciated by adults and teens alike.”

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The New York Times Book Review says that Rowell “specializes in young misfits charting their way in the world,” which must certainly be true in this young adult book about a fan fiction writer named Cath who is going away to college and is stunned when her twin sister refuses to be her roommate.

7. Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Published a couple years ago, this YA effort is about a teen who suffers from an alter ego. That alter ego might actually be a vampire who is thousands of years old.

8. Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart

This was actually the first book in what has become a very successful pre-teen series for Burkhart. The Canterwood Crest novels began with a draft of Take the Reins in 2006’s NaNo.

9. Livvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley 

A story from the point of view of an autistic 14-year-old.

10. Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

When her sister (Faith, of course) dies from injuries sustained in a fall off a cliff, a girl named Brie finds that a religious cult may have been behind Faith's death.

11. The Compound by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

A tale of a family locked away in an underground bunker, The Compound received a 2009 Bank Street Award for Best Children’s Book of the Year.

12. The Hungry Season by T. Greenwood

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Renowned novelist Sam Mason cannot conjure the words that used to come so easily to him before the death of his daughter: 'the words are too thin, as fragile and brittle as bones.' Sam can no longer connect, especially not with his wife, Mena, and begins to waste away. Hunger proves to be a powerful metaphor for the family’s loss and desires although means of emotional escape are predictable.”

13. Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart

Olivia Bean heads to Hollywood to be on Jeopardy! Sounds like our kind of girl.

14. The God Patent by Ransom Stephens

When a war erupts over two patents created by a pair of electrical engineers, they find themselves in the middle of a battle of science vs. religion.

This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared in 2012.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Photo illustration by Mental Floss. Bronte: Hulton Archive, Getty Images. Background: iStock
arrow
literature
10 Facts About Charlotte Brontë
Photo illustration by Mental Floss. Bronte: Hulton Archive, Getty Images. Background: iStock
Photo illustration by Mental Floss. Bronte: Hulton Archive, Getty Images. Background: iStock

Charlotte Brontë was born in England to an Irish father and Cornish mother on April 21, 1816. And though much of her life was marked by tragedy, she wrote novels and poems that found great success in her lifetime and are still popular nearly 200 years later. But there’s a lot more to Brontë than Jane Eyre.

1. BRONTË WAS JUST 5 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE LOST HER MOTHER.

Maria Branwell Brontë was 38 when she died in 1821 of ovarian cancer (or, it's been suggested, of a post-natal infection), leaving her husband, Patrick Brontë, and their six young children behind. In the years after Maria died, Patrick sent four of his daughters, including Charlotte, to a boarding school for the daughters of clergy members. Brontë later used her bad experiences at this school—it was a harsh, abusive environment—as inspiration for Lowood Institution in Jane Eyre. As an adult, Bronte mentioned her mother (who was also fond of writing) in a letter, saying: "I wish she had lived and that I had known her."

2. BRONTË HAD BEEN WRITING POETRY AND STORIES SINCE HER YOUTH.

Though one of her boarding school report cards described her abilities as "altogether clever for her age, but knows nothing systematically," Brontë was a voracious reader during her childhood and teen years, and she wrote stories and staged plays at home with her siblings. With her brother Branwell, especially, she wrote manuscripts, plays, and stories, drawing on literature, magazines, and the Bible for inspiration. For fun, they created magazines that contained everything a real magazine would have—from the essays, letters, and poems to the ads and notes from the editor.

3. SHE WORKED AS A TEACHER AND GOVERNESS BUT DISLIKED IT.

portrait of Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Bronte circa 1840.
Portrait by Thompson. Photo by Rischgitz, Getty Images.

In her late teens and early twenties, Brontë worked on and off as a teacher and governess. In between writing, she taught at a schoolhouse but didn't like the long hours. She also didn't love working as a governess in a family home. Once, in a letter to a friend, she wrote, "I will only ask you to imagine the miseries of a reserved wretch like me, thrown at once into the midst of a large family … having the charge given me of a set of pampered, spoilt, and turbulent children, whom I was expected constantly to amuse as well as instruct." She quickly realized she wasn't a good fit for these caretaking jobs, but she later used her early work experiences as inspiration for passages in Jane Eyre.

4. BRONTË DEALT WITH A LOT OF LITERARY REJECTION.

When she was 20 years old, Brontë sent the English Poet Laureate Robert Southey some of her best poems. He wrote back in 1837, telling her that she obviously had a good deal of talent and a gift with words but that she should give up writing. "Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it, even as an accomplishment and a recreation. To those duties you have not yet been called, and when you are you will be less eager for celebrity. You will not seek in imagination for excitement," Southey responded to her. The Professor, Brontë’s first novel, was rejected nine times before it was finally published after her death.

5. SHE USED THE MALE PSEUDONYM CURRER BELL.

English writers Anne, Emily and Charlotte Bronte.
English writers Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Bronte circa 1834, as painted by their brother.
Painting by Patrick Branwell Bronte. Photo by Rischgitz, Getty Images.

In 1846, Brontë paid to publish a book of poetry containing poems she and her sisters Emily and Anne had written. The three sisters used male pseudonyms—Charlotte was Currer Bell, Emily was Ellis Bell, and Anne was Acton Bell. (The book sold two copies.) Brontë also used the Currer Bell pseudonym when she published Jane Eyre—her publishers didn't know Bell was really a woman until 1848, a year after the book was published!

6. JANE EYRE WAS AN INSTANT SUCCESS.

The first page of the manuscript 'Jane Eyre.'
The first page of the manuscript 'Jane Eyre.'
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

In 1847, British publishing firm Smith, Elder & Co published Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. From the start, the book was a success—one critic called it "the best novel of the season"—and people began to speculate about who Currer Bell was. But some reviewers were less impressed, criticizing it for being coarse in content, including one who called it "anti-Christian." Brontë was writing in the Victorian period, after all.

7. BRONTË WAS LUCKY TO AVOID TUBERCULOSIS …

Tuberculosis prematurely killed at least four of Brontë's five siblings, starting with her two oldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth (who weren't even teenagers yet), in 1825. In 1848, Brontë’s only brother, Branwell, died of chronic bronchitis, officially, though tuberculosis has also been a rumored cause, probably aggravated by alcohol and opium. Her sister Emily came down with a severe illness during Branwell's funeral and died of tuberculosis three months later. Then, five months later in May 1849, Charlotte’s final surviving sibling, Anne, also died of tuberculosis after a lengthy battle.

8. … BUT SHE DIED AT 38 YEARS OLD—WHILE PREGNANT.

In June 1854, Brontë married a clergyman named Arthur Bell Nicholls and got pregnant almost immediately. Her pregnancy was far from smooth sailing though—she had acute bouts of nausea and vomiting, leading to her becoming severely dehydrated and malnourished. She and her unborn child died on March 31, 1855. Although we don’t know for sure what killed her, theories include hyperemesis gravidarum, based on her symptoms, or possibly typhus. Her father, Patrick Brontë, survived his wife and all six children.

9. ZEALOUS BRONTË FANS TRAVEL TO HER HOME IN ENGLAND.

Charlotte Brontë's writing desk in Haworth.
Charlotte Brontë's writing desk in Haworth.
Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Emily and Anne Brontë wrote famous books, too—Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, respectively. The Brontë sisters's writing has inspired devoted fans from around the world to visit their home in Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. The Brontë Society’s Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth has a collection of early manuscripts and letters, and the museum invites bookworms to see where the Brontë family lived and wrote, and walk the Yorkshire moors that inspired many of the scenes each sister depicted.

10. SHE HELPED MAKE THE NAME 'SHIRLEY' MORE POPULAR FOR GIRLS.

Thanks to Brontë, the name Shirley is now considered more of a girl's name than a boy's one. In 1849, Brontë's second novel, Shirley, about an independent heiress named Shirley Keeldar, was released. Before then, the name Shirley was unusual, but was most commonly used for boys. (In the novel, the title character was named as such because her parents had wanted a boy.) But after 1849, the name Shirley reportedly started to become popular for women. Decades later in the 1930s, child star Shirley Temple's fame catapulted the name into more popular use.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
The Google Docs Audio Hack You Might Not Know About
iStock
iStock

To the uninitiated, Google Docs may take some warming up to. But although it may seem like any other word processor, Docs offers its fair share of nifty features that can make your life a whole lot easier. The only problem is that few people seem to know about them.

The Voice Typing function is one such example. As Quartz discovered, this tool can be used to drastically cut down on the time it takes to transcribe an interview or audio recording—a feature that professionals from many fields could benefit from. Voice Typing might also be useful to those who prefer to dictate what they want to write, as well as those with impairments that prevent them from typing.

Whatever the case may be, it's extremely easy to use. Just open a blank document, click on "tools" at the top, and then select "voice typing." A microphone icon will pop up, allowing you to choose your language. After you've done that, simply click the icon when you're ready to start speaking!

Unfortunately, it's unable to pick up an audio recording played through speakers, so you'll need to grab a pair of headphones, plug them into your phone or voice recorder, and dictate what's said as you listen along. Still, this eliminates the hassle of having to pause and rewind in order to let your fingers catch up to the audio—unless you're the champion of a speed typing contest, in which case you probably don't need this tutorial.

According to Quartz, the transcription is "shockingly" accurate, even getting the spelling of last names right. For a how-to guide on the Voice Typing tool, check out Quartz's video below.

[h/t Quartz]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios