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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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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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“Turtles All The Way Down” Book Review

 

Hello Readers,

I have met my new favorite book.

It’s crazy to say that since I have read hundreds, how could just one be my favorite? That’s what I thought until last night at 4am when I finished this one.

It’s Phenomenal.

John Green- Phenomenal.

It’s a story of a teenage girl, going through normal teenage girl things, and some not so normal. But what part of life is ever normal? And who is to say your life is more normal than mine, or that the grass may be greener on the other side? It never is, so it seems.

Dead family members, stress anxiety, irregular friendships, wondering what life really means- but mostly an adventure. The 2-dimensional view of this book is a few friends get together to find a missing person in order to receive the $100,000 reward. Of course, there is more to it than that, and lives become at stake for the teens who just want their father back.

From the first page of the novel:

“But I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”

“Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to. […] You think you’re the painter, but you’re the canvas.”

Already John Green has you hooked with his reversed personification. What’s more in this book is the close-up view of millennials.

I read somewhere recently where someone said, “The students of the present generation are the first to not take their cultural identity from books.” This book was clearly written for this generation of young adults, and basically is the most relate-able book I have ever encountered. As far as what I take my culture from, I don’t know. But John Green seems to get it.

Aza, the main character, suffers from anxiety, to say the least. Constantly feeling like she is trapped in her own body that will inevitably kill her one day, her mind spirals out of control with the notion that she something is hurting her that she can’t control, and she won’t ever know when the bacteria is killing her because her mind will be taken over by then, by the germ.

Aza says eventually, “Rather it hurts is kind of irrelevant.” Also, “True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”

As I said, this is the part that is not so normal about her teenage life, but obviously, a frequent problem young adults deal with every day. Also, something that isn’t mentioned much, especially in a fiction novel such as this one. Thank you, once again, John Green.

The novel is quite humorous. I found myself laughing in many instances, especially at the narrator’s best friend Daisy. She is strong and a light to be around. Hilarious, and afraid of nothing. A little self-centered, but caring. A great counter-part for Aza, and a real reflection of a millennial.

In chapter 6, she receives a dick-pic as fan mail for her Star Wars fan-fic blog. She states:

“I mean, how am I supposed to react to a semi-erect penis as fan mail? Am I supposed to feel intrigued?”

Aza replies:

“He probably thinks it will end in marriage. You’ll meet IRL and fall in love and someday tell your kids that it all started with a picture of a disembodied penis.”

This is so 2018 because we all know dick pics hardly ever go over very well, especially as an introduction, and is always fun to talk about with your girlfriends at an Applebee’s with a coupon in hand. It would even be more cliche if we found out the perpetrator had taken the pic with a flip phone (haha).

Daisy also compares her new boyfriend’s looks to that of a “giant baby”. And later decides she doesn’t want a relationship with him, as they are difficult, but to instead be “friends with benefits”. Of course, a total 2018 reference as we live in the world of Tinder and such high divorce rates, it seems silly to even be in a traditional relationship anymore. Or so it seems.

When Davis comes in the picture, life hardly changes much for Aza, which we hoped it would. But again, does that happen in real life? Hardly is it ever convenient. Davis is the oldest son of our missing person. His father has become missing to escape a fraud and bribery investigation, leaving his two sons behind with the estate and it’s workers to take care of them. Aza and Davis knew each other as children, and Daisy convinces Aza to reach out to him in order to find the whereabouts of his father to collect the reward. At this point, I found myself thinking this was going to be a book of revelation and closure for the characters, as they may find a valuable lesson that is unclear at this point of time, but I was wrong.

In chapter 7, I made a note saying I thought this might end up being an interesting crime novel. At this point, the book is giving a lot of insight to the trouble Davis’s father is facing, and the peer-investigation between Daisy and Aza is intriguing. After chapter 19 I wrote in the margin, “For a while, I thought this was an adventure novel, not anymore.”

The novel moves forward with the relationship between Aza and Davis, and Aza and herself. She constantly is questioning the meaning of “me”, with her therapist and her peers, but mostly with Davis. Both Aza and Davis have a dead parent, and both constantly feel misunderstood by their remaining parents. It seems as though neither of them has a close relationship with anyone, even Aza and Daisy, who are best friends, seem to not really know much about each other, and the secrets they tell are on the surface.

Once it seems that Davis and Aza are dating (use the word dating loosely), they connect on a level that only the two of them can understand and seems like a once-in-a-lifetime event for the beloved characters. I understood in chapter 13 that John Green has his unstable characters fall in love to prove their presence. That they are relevant, even when they don’t think so.

In reference to Davis, John Green inserts many quotes from inspirational authors in this novel, along with some online-journaling of Davis’s. I thought about how creative this is, to write a story inside of a story, a story that is not the author’s, but also it is. John Green is able to write in words and sentences that flow so well that it seems like it comes easily to him. I couldn’t help but be envious at this point.

Daisy’s motive of the investigation was to earn the money so she could quit he minimum-wage job and live a prosperous life as a high school student. To Aza, although she was doing it for Daisy, she wanted to help Davis and Noah more, and later learned that that was more important than a large sum of money. Our characters to tie up their loose ends by the end of the book, and I am glad for that, but also wanted to read so much more.

Our characters to tie up their loose ends by the end of the book, and I am glad for that, but also wanted to read so much more. On page 260 I thought to myself that I know there are only 20 pages left but so much more than I want to know that it would definitely need to take up more than 20 pages. Heartbreaking and unsettling as it seems, it was incredible. John Green is a master of breaking my heart and putting it back together with scotch tape, which somehow I am okay with, although it is not the same as I felt before, I am okay with it. Bravo.

Read it.

 

 

 

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Motivated Blogging

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Hey Readers!

We all experience the same struggles as writers, and especially as bloggers. Not knowing what we are doing wrong when can’t get followers- it’s hard to get noticed! Especially in the beginning.

I read this book yesterday that is basically the months we have all spent gathering information on how to blog from the internet, all rolled into one book.

Amazing right! Too bad we didn’t all find it earlier.

Although the first half of the book is teaching you how to physically start a blog (picking a domain, a hosting site and figuring out what you want to write about), there are still some amazing tips in here that help out even us who have been blogging for several months (or years)!

For instance,

  • Tips on how to make money (which I think we can all appreciate)
  • Tips on social media- how to take advantage globally!
  • Examples of what great blogs look like
  • What Google looks for with SEO
  • How to stay organized! (thank you for that one)
  • Staying motivated through all the mess we call life
  • And of course, how to get and keep followers

That last one is what we all really want, right? To BE READ. Not all of us are here for the money or to come off as know-it-alls about our subject. We all simply want to be influences on other thinking-minds and to be noticed by our peers. We keep typing away and hope that it makes a difference.

This book told me that it does, usually, make a difference.

There are 250 million blogs online, and a majority of them are abandoned after year 1. The trick is to keep moving forward because it takes time as all things do. What we are passionate about, we are definitely not the only ones, and grouping ourselves with like-minded people and their blogs can really make a difference in your view of your own purpose.

Sitting at the screen and not knowing what to write, or if people even care what you say, is just you in your own head. All the rich bloggers out there KNOW that you care, otherwise, they wouldn’t be such awesome blogs, right? HELLO. EARTH TO BLOGGERS. You are here for a reason. Tell us about it, whatever it is.

And tell me, what do you struggle with the most? Also, read this book.

“Blogging for Writers” by Robin Houghton