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Evolution of the Reading Habit

The types of books I read have evolved from year to year, generally reflecting the period of life I’m in. I tend to go through phases where I read a certain type of story for a period of time, until I find my series or genre to obsess over. People who were born readers probably all go through this same thing. Children in grade school needing to read a certain amount of books in a week to score a certain amount of points to be graded on but who also loved to read, probably stuck with the same types of books or series for the sake of enjoying it.

In elementary school, I read the “Hank the Cowdog” books for several months every week until the school library ran out of new ones for me to read. I went through the same process with “The Series of Unfortunate Events”, “The Hardy Boys”, “Goosebumps” and many Meg Cabot books.

I remember the librarian of my sixth grade class telling me that I needed to stray further than my basic mystery novels (the name of these novels escape me), written by the same author, within the same series. Of course, I didn’t listen, what did she know anyway? I thought it was funny that a school librarian would even bother mentioning this to a young student when really they were lucky that any kid likes to read anyway; but as an adult and as a more exploratory reader, I get it.

When I was in high school, I discovered Ellen Hopkins’ “Crank” series novels, and still read them religiously when a new one is written. Also, of course, I discovered all of the Nicholas Sparks novels once “The Lucky One” starring Zac Efron came to theaters. Young Adult literature a long with Romance Novels seems like a common fit for the liking of a 16-year-old high school girl.

My Fiancé, who is not a reader, has yet to let me forget that I haven’t really lived the childhood bookish world since I haven’t read a single “Harry Potter” novel, nor have I seen all of the movies. They are on my booklist to get started this year. He may be right, but just this once. Although, I can’t help but think about how a large portion of the general public (readers and non-readers) said the same thing about the “The Hunger Games” series and the “Twilight” series. Do you think these series’, my fellow readers, were worth all the hype and the money they made? -This is a topic for a later post.

I’ve also read all of the books by John Green, and I always will as he continues to write more. His novels seem to get better and better! I still indulge in Young Adult literature from time to time, especially the John Green and Ellen Hopkins books. I tend to find a lot of interesting prospects in the Young Adult Literature section of Barnes and Noble.

Currently, I’m not stuck on any author or specific series. However, I have found a particular plot sequence that is really entertaining.

Books about deceitful husbands and wives that get their payback have peaked my interest for a few months now. I pick up any novel that I learn has a storyline like this. It’s the creativity in the character of the wife that engages my attention. The secret plans the wife has for her husband are conceived from his behavior, and the deception both he and the reader are given before she is ready to light her fires are imploding means from the writer.

I think it’s respectable to enjoy the character building techniques and the creativity in the secrets both the wife and the husband keep, and of course when the wife wins, it’s all the better.

To anyone who also reads books like these, do you ever get told it’s because you’re crazy like the women in the novels?

Do you think this is a feminist point-of-view or just the female in all of us?

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Carrie Bradshaw

I discovered the TV form of Sex and the City when I was in college. I remember being a child when the show first aired, and how it was known for being one the most vulgar and inappropriate show on television.

Of course, fast forward more than 20 years, this is definitely no longer the case.

I have watched this show with every chance I have been given, while not having cable or an HBO subscription. Over the years, I have seen bits and pieces of the lives of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.

My Fiancé and I recently renewed our HBO subscription to watch the last season of Game of Thrones (more on this later, I have lots of opinions on this just as everyone else, stay tuned). I scrolled through the list of series and there I found Sex and the City once again.

As a female in the dating world (now as one who is about to get married WOOHOO), I find the plot intriguing, but also very Hollywood and non-relatable. This is probably why it was so popular.

I have not read the published collection of essays that gave this show the female sex drive so much power.

I bring this show up not as a book review for my fellow readers, but as an influence for my fellow writers. The content compels me as a blogger, go figure.

Although it is still referenced today, I missed out on all they hype and pop culture innuendos from when it was still running. Nevertheless, I have named myself as one of the characters as women everywhere did nearly 20 years ago- I am SO Carrie.

Small disclaimer: I am not submerging into the cliche that as a blogger, I got my inspiration through Carrie Bradshaw. Well, I hope not anyway.

But it could be the idea that the content the show brings is so intriguing to me because it is all content for a writer’s column. She constantly has people coming up to her in the street raving about her column and the publicity she gets in Manhattan is every writer’s dream, isn’t it?

Carrie’s attention, however, is not the appealing element in her writer’s world. She took advantage of her surroundings and created a career out of it. As bloggers, this is our destination. Sex in Manhattan, who could imagine? Well, everyone can.

The writer’s of this show and author Candance Brushell found the prefect way to exemplify this topic, by putting it in the hands of columnist. The show would not have caught my eye otherwise, I admit. Carrie is an inspiration, after all.

So, I conclude it’s the Hollywood version of a writer that intrigues me, and not the Hollywood version of the female libido.

Let me ask you, how often do you get inspired from Television, writers?

Readers, I haven’t forgotten, books still have the best content, of course, but let’s not leave out this useful resource.

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Books and Their Movies (Part 1)

I recently had a conversation with my Fiancé’s mom, that triggered this conclusion- books are NOT always better than their movies.

Bear with me, fellow readers, I promise I haven’t turned to the dark-er side.

Bobby and I have been engaged for a few weeks and I have met his mom about four times throughout our relationship. When it came down to me marrying her son, her and my relationship, of course, has become more of an investment than it was before.

I have never spent so much energy trying to seem perfect to someone like I do to his mom. I balance that with worrying that I seem too uptight in front of her.

But the other day at dinner, she brought up “The Notebook” written by Nicholas Sparks and how she actually enjoyed the movie more than she did the read. When she said this, I felt the curtain drop.

Do you ever see tweets or memes on social media about bookish people stumbling on another reader and how it turns into a mini freakout moment? If you don’t follow any pages that post these, I encourage you to do so, readers.

These Ryan Gosling memes-worth following as well.

This was me in front of my soon-to-be-mother-inlaw last Friday.

I was shocked to find someone who held the same opinion as I do about this book. Most people I have brought the subject up to absolutely love the movie and have never read the book. Which, by now, readers should be used to it. I have only met two people who have read the novel, one having no useful opinion at all.

Bobby’s mom was a real source of information for this discussion. We conversed on how we both felt the movie was more emotional than the book, that the love story was more believable and heart-wrenching in the movie. I brought up to her that Allie was portrayed as an innocent virgin in the novel, but had a more spirited attitude in her relationship with Noah in the movie, and she agreed.

More on books and their movies later, take notice, this is only part one.

What is your take “The Notebook” the novel and its movie?

If you haven’t read it yet, find your copy here.

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“The Wife Between Us” by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Review

A shocking and unpredictable story, The Wife Between Us brings us characters who are deceitful, sneaky and withhold several hidden agendas, making for a captivating yet unsettling plot. Much of the reading of this novel is spent guessing what is going to happen next, only to find out what I thought made sense definitely doesn’t when the next twist heads your way. You will spend a lot of time thinking you know what will happen next, but you are proved wrong each time.

Readers are also lead to believe that a few characters are harmless and understandable, but others are untrustworthy and malicious. We are proved wrong again. I may also mention that this is not your typical “wife gets revenge on cheating husband” story (which are totally my favorite books)- you will be surprised. The 3 parts in this novel all bear a new lead to wrongs that you thought were right and lead you craving more information as the author finds it playful to convince us we understand the story and then prove us otherwise. I found myself writing notes in the margins (as I always do), and my notes from the beginning are contradicting to my notes in the end, which, as we accelerated readers know, is hardly ever the case.

By the time you finish the novel, the story isn’t over yet. DO NOT FORGET TO READ THE EPILOGUE. This is where we grasp the title of the novel completely, and the whole story comes full-circle.

Later, I plan to blog a more in-depth review of this novel, as I, and I’m sure a lot of us do, have many more specific opinions on how the story turned out. I write this as a way to not spoil the story and to draw those of you who haven’t had the chance to pick this book up to do so. Tune into that later if you have already read it. If you haven’t, read it. Join in on the hype and tell me what you really think of it. If we as readers know how to do one thing, it’s read-so read!

Side Note: I hope you have never been one to skip an epilogue, but we are all sinners, so I get it.

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Jojo Moyes “Me Before You”

About a year ago I had read Jojo Moyes’ novel “Me Before You”, a love story between an under-privileged girl and a rich handicapped man who meet as Will (the leading male character) needs a caretaker and Lou (the leading female character) needs a job. These characters who come from two totally different worlds find love in the midst of their differences. The novel is strong, exciting, beautiful and devastating.

I cried my eyes out when it ended. I truly can’t think of another book I have read that had this effect on me. I generally am not a fan of romance novels as it is, because they always seem to have an ending just like the last and have the same cheesy story-line. If I ever am reading a romance novel, it’s because I occasionally feel like an easy-read, where the plot is simple and predictable, taking very little effort out of me to read it. I was shocked when I read this novel and it didn’t turn out to be this way. I was also equally shocked when I watched the movie last weekend and found out the movie is just as good.

How many movies are just as good as their novels? Hardly any. One to a million- never as good. This is why I am writing to you today, because I know book lovers like me always feel this way, yet we watch the movie in hopes that it will fulfill us the way the book did, and we are always a little disappointed.
Not this time.
The movie was fantastic and fulfilling to me as a reader. Shocking, I know.

There were a few little points in the movie where I wished it had reflected the novel better, but I think the movie did the best it could at reaching all of those important points without making the movie last longer than 2 hours. In the book, there are parts where the story isn’t necessarily progressing, but in those times we are learning more about the emotions of the characters. This, I think, is the biggest downfall of television. When we read, the story can pause and talk about something else, teach readers something about the characters that otherwise wouldn’t have moved along with the story as it was being told before. These are the subjects in books that we as readers miss out on when we watch the movie, and it frustrates us to the core. We learn more about characters and their relationship to the story in these little lapses in time in novels, and there is simply no translation of this concept in the television script.

The movie portrays the characters only in a dim light compared to that of the novel. But of course, this is to be expected as I had mentioned earlier. Lou’s character, although the movie does portray her this way, is an average-looking, unexciting, underprivileged girl. She has a few quirks that she finds unique, but knows they aren’t redeeming to others. The movie doesn’t describe her feelings towards herself quite at all, but the novel lets us know that she feels she is stuck in a rut, has dreams that she doesn’t believe she will ever achieve, and has a real hard time finding her purpose in her world and the world of her peers, especially Will’s. However, the fact that understood any of this through the movie is a win.

In a way, watching the movie brings the characters more to life than they were in the book. I think as readers we feel the presence of the characters through their emotions, but don’t usually understand them to be real people (of course, because the aren’t). And when we watch a movie based on a novel we have read, we end up very disappointed because the movie never reaches the high-point we got in the novel, leaving readers with no way to even compare the novel to the movie because they seem like totally different stories.

My point, readers, is that this movie did just that. It reached a point of comparison, to where now we can feel the presence of the characters through the emotions of the novel, and understand the characters existence through their actions and visibility through the television screen.

Will’s character in the novel is way more off-putting than it is in the movie. He seems very depressed and very angry, specifically to those who pity him and think they are helping, but aren’t. He’s vulgar, rude, and damaged, all qualities that we witnessed in the movie, but are better understood through the novel. The love Will has for Lou becomes evident way earlier in the novel than it does in the movie, and it is more dreadful to the reader that Lou is unaware. She continues her pathetic relationship with her boyfriend of many empty years, a reflection of her low-ambition that is understood by the reader. While watching the movie, this may not be as clear, however, when they spill their love for each other at the climax of the story, the revelation is is quite an event, and in my opinion, better than it was in the novel.

When Will and Lou finally express their love for each other, Will hits her with news that she absolutely didn’t want to hear. We find out about half way through the story Will’s plans at the end of the 6 month contract he made with his parents, and this is when Lou decides she is going to change his mind, to keep him here, and after she spends some time trying to change his mind about life and what he can still receive from it, she falls in love with him, and wants him to stay for her. This is the beginning of the devastating plot twist we all spent time hoping that would become a happy ending. It does not. It continues to be devastating as Lou decides to never speak to Will again, allowing him to do as he pleases without her having any part in it. We as readers (and viewers) have a huge knot in our gut telling her “Just be with him! You only have so much time!”, which is exactly how I felt while reading the novel, and then all over again when I saw the movie.

The movie was more heart-breaking (but beautiful) as we watch, literally watch, Lou unfold and expose the life she thought she wanted with him, but possibly knew she never would all along. I believe she learned that, in the end, Will was right about what she needed. He spent the whole story telling her that she could be so much more than a young girl working to pay her family’s bills and retiring in the same town she grew up in. He believed she deserved to see the world, to experience the things she only had dreamt of, but never thought she could, and growing bigger than life with him while he is grounded to his wheelchair. After his death, he gave her the means to go and experience life the way he wish he could have alongside her, but knew his health would keep her from doing so, and that she would allow it. He gave her the life she deserved, and he believed she deserved it without him.

DEVASTATING.

But really, it’s beautiful. It can be much appreciated by the reader and the viewer, and even by those like me who don’t even like romance novels. A love that we all dream of having, taken away so unfortunately, but only could have existed in the circumstances given to them. Truly a work of art, the story is brought to us through emotional elements in the novel and supported with advancement in the movie.

Through the look into the physical love between 2 characters who were unlikely to be lovable by anyone else, it was found in each other’s misfortune and celebrated for several more novels that Moyes continued to write. Please, readers, let’s find out what happens with Lou next, together, and hope that the sequel is just as good as the first.

If you haven’t had a chance to grab a copy for yourself, find one here.

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The Expections of Writers (by writers)

Hello Readers!

I have read blog posts and tweets from other writers where they talk about the writing process- the good and the bad that comes out of writing their ideas. Phrases, lines, sentences, paragraphs- all that come along while trying to figure out what to say to the readers, being great and also not so great.

It’s a funny thing really. As readers, we do expect to read some decent content, don’t we? Why else would be bother opening up our Twitter app or our WordPress reader? Or even a newspaper?

Sometimes we read a post and we laugh because we read it and think ,“Hmm, I have never thought of it like that”. Sometimes we read and think ,“Now that’s interesting, I didn’t know that”. And sometimes we read and think, “That is so creative, what a genius way of putting it”. Of course these are only a few emotions we get out of reading, because as you know, there are a million different emotions in a text (read a novel for goodness sake, and we’ll talk about emotion, right?).

Hardly do I ever read a text and think it was a total waste of my time, or wonder why the writer ever bothered. But as writers, we don’t give ourselves the same credit.

We writers stress a lot about what we are saying in our work way more than we do when reading the work of others. Which makes sense, we care more about our work than how someone else’s turned out. However, we tend to forget we all sit down with our pen to paper and have the same stressors as the next writer, and the writer before us that just made that first book-deal, or reached 1000 followers on their blog.

As readers, we want to read something good. Yes, it is that generic. As writers, we just want to write something good. Again, it is that generic. But we forget that when we write. The word generic when it comes to our writing really makes us cringe because we think every word we write needs to be spectacular. But do we expect the writer of the book we are reading, or blog post we are browsing through, to have been this perfect? No way.

I’m not saying everything we come up with is great content. However, I think all ideas are relevant. I have (many times) started off writing with one topic and ended with a totally different one. Clearly, that doesn’t make for a great content piece, but everything I had said I totally think was meant for the world to read.

Usually when this happens, I break up the story into several different groups and keep the relevant parts for the post I am working on save the others for later. By doing this I end up with several different blog posts summaries that I dig deeper into later, and everything I have to say does make it online.

Since I do this often, generally I work on one project and an idea pops up that references one of the brainstorming-sessions I had before, and therefore that previous idea gets some loose ends tied-up. And sometimes I realize that the old and new project actually relate, and they get mashed together to form a more in-depth content than what I had originally pictured when I started.

Isn’t that just perfect, my fellow writers?

I have seen many quotes on Twitter and other networks from famous writers that talk about the writing process (and oh, it is definitely a process- a hard one).

One of my favorites is one written by Jessica Brody:

“Don’t be afraid to write crap. Crap makes great fertilizer.”.

Yes, it certainly does Jessica Brody. We all needed to hear it. We all experience a similar writing process, with the fails and the wins, but they are all important as we grow our stories into popular blogs and big-seller novels.

I write you this message today (also as a reminder to myself), on a day, like most, that I know you are struggling to say the right thing, to say that everything you have to say can be great with the right organization and context to support it. Yes, it really is that simple. You already know that as a reader since you read “crap” like this all the time, and keep coming back (wink).

I wrote this at 10pm on a day that I decided I needed to spit something out after not having written anything in about two weeks. You can do it too.

You have something to say, so say it, and write it so I can read it. I’ll air-clink my glass of wine with you afterwards.