Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Sacrifice!!

Well yesterday when I was frantically searching through my books to find everything on the list, I got reacquainted with some of the books that I own and really REALLY hate. I have this problem where I never get rid of any books even if I dislike them. It just feels wrong to me, but now that I have lots of books and a serious lack of space I think I might cull the herd. As I was writing down and taking pictures of the books for the scavenger hunt, I also did the same for those books that made me want to gag.

I planned on doing a post of the list of books I would burn if it were a tundra climate and I needed to survive. Then I found something called The Book Sacrifice Tag on Youtube and it's the same concept that I originally had, only more creative. I'll give credit where credit is due and the creator of this tag can be found here:

The point of this tag is there are a bunch of hypothetical situations that all require you to sacrifice a book. I decided to mix it up and add a few scenarios of my own. For a few of these, I obviously couldn't resist using more than one book. I also don't own all of the books I will mention, which I consider quite lucky because they sucked hardcore.*Note I will probably spoil plotlines of these books. You have been warned.* So let the hilarity and hatred ENSUE!!

1) Zombie Apocalypse! Let's say you're in a book store, just browsing, when BAM! ZOMBIE ATTACK. An announcement comes over the PA System saying that the military has discovered that the zombies' only weakness is over-hyped books. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you really hated do you start chucking at the zombies knowing that it will count as an over-hyped book and successfully wipe them out?!

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger!!!!

So yeah. It turned out I rather hated this really REALLY hated it. It all just went downhill after the passage I ranted about in my Miming Intelligence Factor post. I also hated on it when I reviewed it at Goodreads: What this book boils down to is a lot of misplaced hype, descriptions that should have been edited out, and characters that just aren't dynamic enough to carry the overused romantic plotline hidden under the guise of a sci-fi time traveler story. It deserves to be covered in decaying zombie flesh.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Another book that can go to the Zombies. So many people raved about it and I just had to see what everybody was talking about. Apparently, they have never read a great book before. I find it hard to classify this as literature because it's just a crappy self help book disguised as almost a novella.
Now don't get me wrong I love stories that have an inner moral message and protagonists that go on life changing stories. I love learning something new and important from their adventures. I just don't like stories that slap you in the face every two pages with another moral or another piece of advice on your personal life journey or "personal legend" as this "book" likes to call it.

2)  Let's say you've just left the salon with a SMASHING new haircut and BOOM: Torrential downpour. What standalone are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE this book!!! GAAAAAHHHHH!!!! I saw a friend of mine reading this and I was all like "Is that a good book?" and they were all like "It's pretty awesome." 15 bucks and a night of reading later that friendship was never ever the same. It had so much potential. The premise of the "fat," sarcastic, intelligent main character Bianca rejecting the douche-bag popular boy Wesley was amazing and then it was ruined. Instead, she gets involved with Wesley who insults her and she basically has hate sex with him to escape her abusive alcoholic father. WHAT WHAT!!!!  Then it gets revealed that he has a troubled past and then it supposedly makes everything okay and she can love him!! Not to mention nothing gets done about the fact that her father hits her. I can't even...this book is so terrible in so many ways and must be sacrificed now!

3) Let's say you're in a lecture and your English teacher is going on and on about how this classic changed the world, how it revolutionized literature and you get so sick of it that you chuck the classic right at their face because you know what? This classic is stupid and it's worth detention just to show everyone how you feel! What Classic did you chuck?
Well I've had a ton of English classes and I think that gives me permission to throw three different classics that I detest.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

This particular classic will be thrown at my 9th grade teacher. I have nothing against good old Billy Shakespeare. I love a lot of his plays and immensely enjoy studying them, except for this one. It is unfortunate that this play is usually every high schooler's introduction to his work. I'd like to think what happened was Billy sat down to write a great play and then BAM!! Invasion of the Brain Snatchers. Aliens took his brain and mindlessly he penned this romantic crap. After an intense study, they promptly returned it and he continued to write. I thought of this play first because this morning I found out that West Side Story was on and being a classic movie lover I sat down to see what the hype was about, despite the fact that it is based on this play. 2 AND A HALF HOURS LATER and some illogical dancing, singing gang members, I lost all faith in humanity.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

 I read this piece of crap in my 11th grade English class and my teacher was convinced it was a deep philosophical novel that had to be read 10 pages at a time, which dragged out this less than 200 page book for almost a month...A MONTH!!! What I find so strange is that I thoroughly enjoy Hemingway's short stories. Snows of Kilimanjaro, Hills Like White Elephants AMAZING. This is just a sparse novella with no character development that is a giant tease. Over 100 pages of him trying to catch this marlin and at the end IT'S ALL FOR NOTHING. Never again.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
 That's right I went there Mark Twain. I read this book in my freshman writing course at college and couldn't not stand it. I enjoyed The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but this one ugh!! Dear old Twain insulted one of my favorite books and my beloved Austen in general when he actually said "Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone." Well every time I read this book or hear all of the praise about it I want to dig you up and beat you over the head with your shin bone! I will let part of my Goodreads review round out this part of the sacrifice: The problem was there was little to no plotline. Any semblance of an interesting story was muddled by the ridiculously stupid episodes that had little to do with Jim's freedom. Chapter 16...yeah a complete waste of ten minutes of my life I will never get back. This book is supposed to be a serious commentary on race that is meant to spark interesting discussions. It did not in fact do this so SACRIFICE!! 

4) Your mortal enemy is chasing after you and in order to escape them you run up to the top of the tallest building in your area. You look down to see your enemy on the sidewalk below. If you time it right you can throw a book down and stop them right in their tracks. Which book, that you had high expectations for, but ultimately let you down, do you throw?

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

I had so many expectations for this book before reading it because I am a huge fan of Jane Eyre. I was always curious about the point of view of Bertha because Charlotte Bronte never really explored her as a character. She was just a way to complicate Jane and Rochester's relationship and I wanted to know what drove her to madness and what she was thinking about as Jane and Rochester got closer. So I picked this up and was promptly disappointed.The part that most interested me (Her time spent at Thornfield) was barely even addressed. It was like an afterthought that the author decided to include. By the time I finished this book, I was completely convinced Jean Rhys just needed an excuse to set a story in the Caribbean and thought Bertha would be it. She spends more time talking about the politics and flora and fauna of the time period than she does on character development. I still cannot get over how awful this book is and that it does not deserve the attention it has garnered.

5) One random boring day a time travel machine suddenly appears with a note that says "It is imperative that you travel back in time to save all of the wonderful intellectual books burned throughout history. The only catch is that you have to chose one modern day series to take their place" Which series do you doom to repeated burnings?

Fifty Shades of Grey Series by E.L. James

This series is the bane of my entire existence. Every time I see someone post on facebook about how amazing this series is or how Christian Grey *cough Edward Cullen cough cough* is the perfect man, I want hurt people. I seriously can't believe this shitty Twilight fan-fic is a bestseller. The world would be a better place if these were all burned and everybody forgot about them. I won't even attempt to list the millions of reasons why this book is so TERRIBLE. I will instead direct you to one of my favorite bloggers who breaks down chapter by chapter why Fifty Shades is awful from a writing stand point and because of the whole abusive relationship running throughout. 

You didn't click the link did you? I'm sending waves of guilt and peer pressure your way. You know you need to check it out.

6) Let's say that you're hanging out at the library when BAM climate change happens and the world outside becomes a frozen wasteland. You're trapped and your only chance for survival is to burn a book. What sequel in a book series do you first run to and not fully regret setting aflame?

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
The first time I tried taking the picture, this happened. It was like the book knew that I wanted to set it ablaze and the universe conspired to make it look so...or maybe my camera flash freaked out. I tend to believe the first explanation. Here is a plain, easier to see, but less exciting picture of the book.

If it were not for the lure of greed and cashing in on us poor defenseless readers, you wouldn't exist. AAAARRRRGGGHHH!!! Imagine this: An avid reader in high school is in the midst of some YA slumming and ignorant of all the plagiarism allegations picks up City of Bones. A little bummed that it's part of yet ANOTHER series, she puts it back. Later on this reader finds out the series has long been finished and excitedly goes to the library, checks the series out, reads all three books one after another, then promptly moves on to another book, only to realize a year or so later the series is continued!!! Yeah that sad, angry reader is me obviously. Maybe I would have been forgiving if this sequel were worth the continuation of the whole series, but it wasn't. I'm just going to pretend the series is still completed, mentally burn this book, and probably not see the movie adaption because I have this sinking feeling it might turn out to be a twilight-like craze of epically sad, estrogen filled codependent female proportions.

THE BOOK SACRIFICE IS NOW COMPLETE!!! Shockingly my caps button is not quite broken yet. Hopefully you enjoyed this and I challenge you to decide what books you would sacrifice in every given scenario.   

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

I've watched this rather entertaining concept on many YouTube videos of book vloggers and I had the hugest desire to do it myself. I figured I may not be great in videos, but I have a wonderful blog and a camera so why not.

This is technically not a "bookshelf" hunt because I recently moved to a smaller home without any bookshelves :( I did at one time have a wonderful bookcase, but it was old and wouldn't have survived the move.

Now my most prized possessions are in a bunch of boxes, which I think made this challenge ten times more difficult. Now for the one person who doesn't know what a bookshelf scavenger hunt is you just have a specific list of books to find on your bookshelves or in my case the six large boxes currently taking up almost an entire closet. Now onto the hunt!!!


  • Book where the title or author's name has a Z in it
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - Awesome book, awesome author and would totally recommend it!

  • A Classic
Of course my chosen classic would be my well loved and marked up copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

  • Book with a key on it

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe - It took me forever to find a book with a key and I was completely shocked this even had one on it...and of course the minute I found it like two seconds later I found three other books with keys on them sigh.

  • Something on your shelf that isn't a book
I did have this model car on my bookshelf along with a bunch of knick knacks. I got it for my 16th birthday from my parents who jokingly remarked that even though I couldn't get a real car I still deserved to own one.

  • Oldest book or books in my case

I decided to go by the publishing date of the editions that I own versus the book I've owned the longest or when the book was first published. The first is an Agatha Christie omnibus containing So Many Steps to Death, Death Comes as the End, and Evil Under the Sun. This was published in 1965. The other book is Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. If you have seen the movie My Fair Lady, you really should read the play it was adapted from because it was enjoyable and ended differently than the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, you should RIGHT NOW...or after you're done reading my post :) The publishing date on this was rather confusing and it was published either in the 50s or 60s.

  • Book(s) with a girl on the cover

It seems every YA book published nowadays has a cover with a girl wearing a glamorous gown that has nothing to do with the plotline, so this part of the hunt was incredibly easy...and I couldn't pick just one. The first picture is of A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. I absolutely love Ibbotson and as a child I read a bunch of her fantasy novels. When I found out she wrote some YA I bought up all of them and this was one of my favorites. The second book is Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead. This is the last book in her Vampire Academy Series, which is incredible and probably one of the only good series to come out of the vampire craze. The first book is being made into a movie that I'm so excited to watch.

  • Book with an animal in it

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George was a favorite book from my childhood and has a peregrine falcon named Frightful in it, which is waaaaayyyyy cooler than any old dog or cat.

  • Book with a male protagonist

Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney has a male protagonist with the strange name: Mitty Blake.

  • Book with only words on the cover

Some people who did this hunt had a hard time with this one, but luckily I had the Barnes & Nobles edition of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays Twelfth Night

  • Book with illustrations

I immediately went to my Roald Dahl collection for this and got one of my favorites: George's Marvelous Medicine. The awesome and hilarious illustrations for this book and every other Dahl book are due to the talents of Quentin Blake.
  • Book with gold lettering
BEHOLD!! My fancy and well-loved copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Yes, be slightly jealous.

  • Diary (true or fictional)
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl - An incredibly sad and touching true diary of Anne Frank during the Holocaust. Everyone really should read it.

  • Book written by an author with a common last name
Night World No.1 by L.J. Smith, which is the first of three omnibuses of her Night World series

  • Book with a close-up of something on it

Many people used The Host by Stephenie Meyer, which I do own, but I wanted to be different...well it isn't that different considering the cover shots are basically identical. I chose Until the End by Christopher Pike. This is an omnibus of the Final Friends trilogy he published earlier.

  • Book that takes place in the earliest time period

Ahh the two books I've studied the most so far in college and will continue to next term. I should basically just permanently attach them to myself for convenience purposes.  They are both editions of Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory and are about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The difference is that the book on the left is the original material untranslated that I lovingly refer to as Vinaver (who is the editor). The one on the right is the translated and condensed version edited by Baines. To get an idea of the difference between the two take a look at some of Vinaver.
Pretty serious stuff huh. Not to brag or anything, but I did write a pretty awesome term paper on this material and presented it with quotes spoken in the medieval dialect at a Medieval and Renaissance forum. INTELLIGENCE! Anyway, Malory completed this in 1470, but his source material and the Arthurian stories in general take place earlier than that. So this is rather old to say the least.

  • Hardcover without a jacket

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling - I lent this copy to my brother and he managed to completely destroy the dust jacket...oh brothers.

  • Teal/Turquoise colored book(s)
I couldn't choose just one so first I grabbed The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. This book is really a thinking book. You can't just pick it up for a quick afternoon read and why would you want to since it's so great. Plath's poetry is something you should also check out. Whenever I need to write a poetry analysis paper I always browse through hers first because you can get so much meaningful stuff out of them. *Girl in random dress alert* This YA book, Unearthly, is the first book in an enjoyable series by Cynthia Hand that you should check out as well.

  • Book with stars on it

I had a pretty big Sabrina the Teenage Witch phase when I was younger and own about 15 or so of these books all with this fancy star border.

  • Non-YA book
I own a ton of non-YA books, but Inferno by Dan Brown was the book that immediately popped into my head when I thought about this hunt. Awesome read that you should consider.

ANNNNDDDDD with that my bookshelf scavenger hunt is finally over. It was a lot of work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to mention it was a great way to show off only a few of the numerous books in my personal collection. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Birth of a Book Lover

Well it has been quite a while since my last post and that fault is due to visiting wonderful relatives and reading the giant stockpile of books I have accumulated over the course of the year. Maybe I will finish my yearly goal early...wouldn't that be nice. Luckily I escaped the powerful influence of Etsy and made my way over to my blog. I really need to learn not to look up anything unless I have at least an hour to waste looking at all the homemade goodies I can't have until Christmas. (I have willpower and the extreme intelligence of keeping my wallet as far away as possible on my browsing excursions).

Well back to the topic at hand, which involves my ruminations on how exactly a book lover is created and why some people just seem to miss the boat. I have to wonder whether it is something that just blossoms as a child or do you need a specific book, a specific series, or the right circumstances to find yourself in love with the written word.

Take for instance my family. Both of my brothers did not start out with a love of books, in fact they actually hated them, which I think is due to school and the mandatory RAH or Read At Home every night. Books became a chore. Something to agonize over before getting to play. Thankfully one of them changed their tune the minute they found the Harry Potter series. That series opened up a whole new world of enjoyment and a love for fantasy books in general for him. Harry Potter was so appealing that he kept rereading it over and over again to the point where his teacher made a rule that you can't reread books for credit, which I think is a rather stupid rule. You get something new out of a book every time you read it. I'm still waiting for the other one to stop hating on books.

For me, my love of books can be traced back to one moment in time, not tied to any particular book or series. In fact I can't for the life of me remember the book I was reading when the moment occurred to me. It was second grade and I was sitting at my grandma's dining table doing my required reading. I was completely captivated by the story and instead of stopping after a couple of pages, I read the entire book in one sitting. When I packed up all of my stuff and looked around the weirdest feeling came over me. I can't put a name to it and can only liken it to the feeling you get when somebody wakes you up during the wrong part of your sleep cycle in the middle of a dream. When everything around you seems foreign because just seconds before you were somewhere else in the dream.

I felt like I had been somewhere else entirely for the past hour and couldn't figure out why. Then it dawned on me. I had in fact imagined myself completely in the story where I followed around the brother and his sister with the photographic memory on their investigative adventure.

I don't know if it was just my teachers that said this, but right before read aloud or independent reading they always insisted that we try to imagine the stories in our minds using the descriptions the author gives you. My ability to do this without ever having to try was something that has made me love books to this day. I love how a great book can transport you to a new world entirely and great character description and development can make it feel like you have discovered a new friend or enemy in the case of well written villains. That is why some of my favorite books always have dynamic characters with strong detailed settings to back them up. It is only when a book fails in this respect, that reading becomes a chore.         

So can't say for certain what makes a person love books so much, but I can bet that each story of the creation of that love is interesting and incredibly diverse.

If all goes well my next post should be fluffy, fun, and full of pictures:)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Adult Genre Skepticism

I was scrolling through some Goodreads giveaways today (because who doesn't love a free book now and then) and in what has now become the norm I had to scroll through a bunch of crappy books to find the gems. It seems every other book is a cheap vampire novel, a typical YA paranormal romance, or a sad Fifty Shades knockoff erotica (which is doubly depressing because Fifty Shades was HORRIFIC to begin with). Now it seems that the novels that populate the giveaway section fall under the brand new genre New Adult.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this new genre, which is understandable because not all publishing houses have adopted it yet, I will give a quick description. New Adult is marketed as a genre that is meant to bridge the gap between Young Adult fiction and Adult fiction. It is generally geared towards audiences anywhere from ages 17 up until 30, which is quite old in my opinion. I think by the time you are 25 your tastes in literature should not be stuck in a YA like genre. Anyway, New Adult is "different" from YA fiction because it deals with protagonists that are out of high school and face new personal challenges like college or getting a job. They are also more adult in that the sex scenes are much more explicit.

When I heard about the genre, well I had some reservations and some skepticism as you can obviously tell from the title of this post. Currently I am part of that audience that the New Adult genre is marketing to and I have to question why there is any need for a new genre. When purchasing books say from a Barnes and Nobles, I never found that there was a prominent gap between genres. While I have recently found that a lot of the YA fiction doesn't appeal to me it has to do with the repetitive plotlines rather than the genre itself. There are only so many books you can read about a girl just discovering she has new powers who falls in love with the mysterious boy and goes on a bunch of pointless adventures because the book/ series always ends with her ending up with the mysterious boy.  I generally pull from the YA section, the adult section, the mystery section, and even the childrens section sometimes. Not every age needs a corresponding genre especially one as terrible as the New Adult is shaping up to be.

Many people in support of the New Adult genre say that it's not YA with a few racy sex scenes thrown in, but based on the numerous NA book blurbs I beg to differ. One example of this "groundbreaking" genre is the story of a college girl that just has to loose her virginity because it is sooooo embarrassing to be a virgin for so long...yeah that is totally the book that I would want to read. Another had the typical blurb of a YA paranormal romance with a little disclaimer that it should only be read by those 17+ because of the sexual content. All I know is that I am a target audience and I am not amused. Maybe if NA actually dealt with adult content that didn't just involve sex or romance I might be drawn in, but until then if I want a cheesy romance I will read YA. If I want dynamic adult characters I will read adult fiction. If all you want is a flimsy romantic story with some graphic sex scenes thrown in let me introduce you to the millions of Harlequin romances populating every used book sale.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Used Book Haul

A couple of days ago the library near my house was having a used book sale, so of course I had to go and check out the selection. Buying and reading used books make up the majority of my summer vacation. I'd like to think that there is no better feeling for a reader than finding a bunch of really great books at a very cheap price.

Before I get to my haul, I would love to give you readers some advice on finding great places to get used books. Now the first place I would recommend would be to do a little exploring and see if there are any used bookstores in your area. If you don't have any in your area, please join the club. I have no used bookstores in my area and the nearest Barnes and Nobles is a 45 minute drive, so I was forced to find more creative ways of getting books. I am a book lover on a budget who spends most of my saved up money on college books and I only splurge on new hardcovers maybe once or twice a month if there is a new book that I desperately have to have.

My advice would be to find a library and keep an eye out for any library news in the paper and get a library card because libraries are awesome! Rather frequently libraries have used book sales either to make a little money to offset their sadly lacking budget or to get rid of some titles to make room for more. This particular haul was the result of one of those library sales and it was a $1 a bag and you really can't beat that deal.

The next source of my used book hauls come from a very underrated and sometimes stigmatized place...the salvation army or a thrift store (whatever it is you happen to call it). So many people look down on them and insist that only poor people shop there. I love the salvo and I happen to not give a crap about judgmental people. Not to mention the fact that the money you spend there helps out those genuinely in need, so it's a win win I'd like to think. The salvation army in my area has a wonderful book selection that rotates regularly, which means the books are always different every time you shop there. The only downside is that you need to have the patience and determination to weed through the millions of harlequin romances to get to the good books.

Now on to my haul which is a little small this time, but does have some potentially good books.

Now I am not being mean to the books on the right. Quite the contrary. I've read the two of them previously and loved them enough to actually buy copies.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett: I read this book well before the release of the movie and after hearing all of the positive press about it, I picked it up at my local library and enjoyed every minute of it. The story was captivating, the writing was great, and Skeeter was a likeable narrator. It wasn't until after finishing it that I heard about all of the controversy surrounding it. Not many people liked the idea of another white person telling the tale of abused and underappreciated black maids. Many argued that the maids should have told their own stories and I can see the validity in their concerns. There was also the court case in which her brother's maid, Abilene Cooper, accused Stockett of stealing her life story. If this turns out to be true, I will be rather sad. Despite all this, it is a book that I would highly recommend.

The Witches by Roald Dahl: Oh my love for Dahl! He was my favorite authors in elementary school and he is still a favorite of mine well into my college years. The ridiculousness of his books and the incredible characters he creates are so wonderful. His imagination runs wild and I just love the abandonment. From any other author the story of a little boy who gets turned into a mouse by a witch and the antics he gets into while the witches are holding a grand meeting would be terrible, but from Dahl it is hilarious. I think this is the last Dahl book that I had yet to own. I would recommend this book and all of the others he has written. This book even has a halfway decent movie adaption staring Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch.

Now onto the books I haven't read. As you can tell, I wasn't lying when I said my greatest fault is in having to see whether or not popular books are really as good as people say.

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl: I picked up this book because shockingly it reminded me of Dan Brown's new book Inferno, a book that I just finished and would highly recommend (If you would like to read my review just click the Goodreads widget to the right and it will take you to my profile where you can navigate to all of the reviews I have written). Both plots deal with Dante's Inferno and with an antagonist inspired by Dante. I hope that it will turn out to be an interesting whodunit.

Poirot Loses A Client by Agatha Christie: Another fact that you will quickly learn about me is that I am also in love with Agatha Christie's books. Her mysteries are so ingenious and I'll let the fact that she is the third bestselling author, surpassed only by Shakespeare and the Bible do the praising for me. I fell in love with her mysteries in 6th grade when I read And Then There Were None and I just couldn't figure out who the murderer was. I know this mystery will be a great read.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs: I've seen this book on many recommendations list and I decided to take a chance on it. Maybe it will be as great as people are saying or maybe it will suck. The fun is always in finding out:)

Girl in Blue by Ann Rinaldi: While obviously intended for a younger audience, I never quite leave a genre behind and I have a weakness for stories with a possibly powerful and interesting female protagonist. It will make for a nice afternoon read.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: This book came highly recommended to me by one of my best friends and I had enough faith in her book taste that I decided to buy it the moment I saw it at the sale. Hopefully it turns out to be a good read.

 Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: While the premise sounds a little ridiculous, I wanted to see what all of the hype is about. If it surprises me and turns out to be a great book, I might have to see the movie adaption as well.

Illuminating Angels & Demons by Simon Cox: This book attempts to examine the facts behind Dan Brown's Angels and Demons and I am always open to learning more about the books that I read. I'm a little skeptical about this book though because so many authors make these books basically leeching off of the fame of Brown. Not to mention the fact that I always keep the author's bio in mind when reading the book. I previously read one of these fact checking books about The Da Vinci Code written by a guy that was heavily religious. Needless to say there was a HUGE and annoying bias. I'm hoping that isn't the case in this book.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: The press about this book is legendary and I still hear about it to this day. I finally caved and bought it to see what all the hype is about. This better be as amazing as everybody is saying.

With that my first used book haul is finished. I can assure you that there will be plenty more to come and if you want to see what I thought of these books keep an eye out on my posts or on Goodreads. If you are wondering what the heck is Goodreads and you are a book lover, head on over to their website. Make an account, enter some giveaways, review some books, and if you enjoy these posts be my friend or follow my reviews.

I'm tossing around a few ideas at the moment, but I can promise you my next post will be just as novel as the past two. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Miming Intelligence Factor

This post comes with a trigger warning aka it might be a little bit ranty. As a long time avid reader I have developed my own unique taste of books and along with that an equally unique set of pet peeves. No matter how amazing the plot of a story is, if it hits one of my peeves, it sends me into a bit of a childish fit.

Up until about yesterday, my summer reading was running quite smoothly. I usually average about 3 or 4 books a week and the book that I am currently on, which inspired this post, is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. What you will quickly learn about me is that one of my biggest faults is that I tend to let public opinion sway my reading. If a book is constantly being mentioned in the press and it tops a bestseller list, I have to see what all of the hype is about. This has caused me to read A LOT of really terrible books.

Anyways, that would be the reason why I am currently reading this book, and the fact that I saw the movie a few months earlier, which of course means that I have to see how the book compares. I would like to point out that I have not finished this book and I am reserving my overall opinion of it until I completely finish it. (If you are interested in what kind of books I read on a day to day basis and the reviews I give of them I will be posting a link to my Goodreads page in the near future). The topic of the post is just something I noticed that really annoys me to no end.

This pet peeve is something that I have cleverly labeled the Miming Intelligence Factor. Now you are all wondering what the heck I could possibly mean. Well this factor can usually be found filed under the "Show, Not Tell" advice usually given to new writers. This problem I find always pops up when two characters are interacting together and then a bookshelf is introduced. Now under normal circumstances and with great writing the presence of another work of literature within a book is like a red flag to the reader. It indicates a foreshadowing moment or maybe hints at some of the overarching themes present. Sometimes it even provides a subtle look into the personality of the character. This technique sadly gets abused and quite often indicates poor writing.

What I HATE the most is when the author uses the books on the shelf to make a character instantly intelligent without having to actually put forth the effort to make the character's intelligence come to life with dialogue and though their actions. Take for instance this little gem of a paragraph in The Time Traveler's Wife. Here one of the main characters, Clare, is looking at the bookshelf of her love interest, Henry, and looking at all of the titles:
      While I wait for it to brew, I peruse Henry's bookshelves. Here is the Henry I know. Donne's Elegies and Songs and Sonnets. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Naked Lunch. Anne Bradstreet, Immanuel Kant. Barthes, Foucault, Derrida. Blake's Song of Innocence and Experience. Winnie the Pooh. The Annotated Alice. Heidegger. Rilke. Tristram Shandy. Wisconsin Death Trip. Aristotle. Bishop Berkeley. Andrew Marvell. Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries.

Well...that is quite the bookshelf he has there. Not a single popular bestseller in the lot. He must be an incredible boring, tweed wearing stuffed shirt professor, and a particular brand of hipster that only reads the classics...oh he's not...well then.

This is what I call the Miming Intelligence Factor. Instead of allowing Henry's personality to reflect his intelligence, readers get this gigantic, pretentious, and least lifelike list of all the books Henry likes ON PAGE 19!!! Here I am trying to get a feel for the characters, warming up to their slightly awkward and stilted first person diary style narration and I get this load of crap so early in the book. It's like the author is yelling to the reader "LOOK LOOK!!! My character reads Marlowe and Aristotle. That means he is SOOOOO intelligent and you can't argue with that." No. I want you to show me his intelligence, not tell me with a list of books.

Now it may seem like I am targeting this particular book in the post and I can assure you I'm not. I have found this phenomena in so many other books and now that I have mentioned it I can bet you will start to notice this little trick as well. This factor just irks me so much because I appreciate lifelike characters...characters I can empathize with. I'm not saying that characters like Henry should only have present day award winning literature on their shelves, I love classics as much as the next person. In fact if someone were to plan to steal all of my books, they would have to pry my copy of Jane Eyre out of my cold, dead hands. The above list is just not realistic or welcoming to the reader because no one limits themselves to just the classics...we all do a little book slumming now and again. It happens.

My overall point of this rant seems to be tread lightly with the inclusion of a bookshelf scene in a novel. Sometimes it's better for everyone if you just do some character development because that is how great books are made.

I hope you got a little enjoyment from my mini rant session and stay tuned for my next post which will be a USED BOOK HAUL!!!!!          


Well hello there! Welcome to my wonderful new blog. I have been tossing around the idea of starting my own blog for a long time and I never really got around to it. Everyday I seem to get all of these great ideas about topics to write about and I never had an outlet to release all of my brilliant thoughts (well not all of them will be brilliant, but I'd like to think they are). At first I was convinced I would start a youtube channel and then quickly learned that I am incredibly awkward in front of a camera I am. What better medium to transfer my ideas than the written word. A medium that I am convinced will make a wonderful career for me in the future.

Now let me explain my title. I was tossing around a few ideas and I knew that while I would mostly be talking about books, that I would probably stray to other topics. Thus the inclusion of the word myriad. If you stick around I can promise discussions on books, classic movies (which will probably include movies from the likes of Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and many others), book to movie adaptions, TV shows, and maybe even music. As it says in my bio Novelations is a combination of novel revelations, novel being of course related to books and also meaning new or interesting. My first real post will be coming up very soon and I hope it will be rather entertaining. I will apologize now for the randomness of the formatting of my blog. It's a work in progress that will eventually be as perfect and beautiful as I want it to be. With that I wish you all happy reading.