Advice

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.” — Alan Wilson Watts

30 Day Challenge Archive

Here you can find links to posts related to the 30 Day Book Challenge.

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Day 1: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Day 2: The Curse of Repetitive Reading

Day 3: Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Day 4: I couldn’t decide! Maybe The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Day 5: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Day 6: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Day 7: Best YA Fiction

Day 8: Can a Book be Overrated?

Day 9: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Day 10: I skipped this one for personal reasons. I hope you understand.

Day 11: The Six Questions of Socrates by Christopher Phillips

Day 12: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Day 13: Favorite Writers

Day 14: Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Unfortunately, I have no post for it.

Day 15: Favorite Characters Vol. 1

Day 16: Favorite Characters Vol. 2

Day 17: Great Quotes Vol. 1: One Liners

Day 18: How Disappointing

Day 19: To the Silver Screen Vol. 1

Day 20: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Day 21: I read Junie B. Jones and Goosebumps. After that I remember a book called Bud, Not Buddy and then I read Twilight.

Day 22: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I touch on this is a post written before i started the challenge: The Fault in Our Stars in not about Teen Cancer

Day 23: I Should Read That

Day 24: I seem to have completely missed this one. I cover it in Day 23.

Day 25: Connecting with Characters

Day 26: Hasn’t really happened. The closest might be Ishmael: A Journey of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn

Day 27: One of the twists in the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the only twist in the history of ever that’s ever gotten me (save for some events in American Horror Story). I didn’t write the post because I think everyone should read this book and I didn’t want to ruin it.

Day 28: The best Titles

Day 29: Coming soon!

Day 30: Coming soon!

Connecting with Characters

For me, a character is basically worthless if I don’t understand or connect with them on some level. I feel like this is a very nice post to write, because someone who may stumble upon this may feel they connect with the same type of stuff, and may then find that a) they are not alone and b) there are some characters out there they might really love.

Now, for me, the characters I connect with are people. People as in fully fleshed out beings, where I want to get to know them, I feel like I could have a conversation with them, reading about them is like I’m getting to know them and starting a sort of friendship. I am the type of person that is generally hard to get on with. At least in real life. I’m told online I’m an absolute treat. Generally speaking though, I’m the creepy kind of introverted, this weird mixture of ‘warm’ and ‘cold’, blunt, cynical, and almost incapable of empathizing with other human beings, which leads to logic based opinions. I’m a glass-is-always-full type of person. A sentient robot, if you will. (Take note: the logical route pretty much always corresponds with the ‘good’ route – I can’t take people out of logic because that would be selfish and selfishness is, typically, illogical – more on that later, I suppose).

And I really, really, really dislike talking about myself. So I’m going to stop. Have a figurative smiley face.

Let’s get into it, then.

Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars

This book is absolutely NOT about teen cancer. It’s about life, and what’s the point if we’re all going to die, and all that good stuff. And because I’m depressing and I like philosophy, I think about that a lot. Most of Hazel’s thoughts were so spot on to my own thoughts that sharing them with you would feel too personal. She has a personality, and it’s wonderful. I will say that one of my favorite bits was that she watched America’s Next Top Model. A lot of people started going on an on about that being a stereotype – but she was very much not the type of girl to watch a show like that. It was a quirk. Like how me and my brother both like Ouran Highschool Host Club (the anime) even though it’s a fluffy rom-com. Other than the fact that it’s hilarious, it seems unlikely. Even more unlikely, we both found enjoyment in Fruits Basket. So, outside of personal stuff which would just be way too much (I felt for this chick so hard I actually cried – this is rare) she’s got weird quirks, I’ve got weird quirks, she get’s existential, I get existential. We’re a match made in heaven.

Julian Carax from The Shadow of the Wind

You may know that TSoW is my favorite book (followed by TFiOS, of course). This is getting tricky again because I am so in love with this book, I need everyone to read it and, as such, I cannot divulge the main reason why I connect with this man. Just know that he is damaged to the point of near-insanity and, if that wasn’t clear from the previous statement, he’s a writer. He loved, he lost. He very much lost himself, and it took love – of the friendship variety – to bring him back. I think we all could do from a bit of love. It’s so easy to be disconnected from everything, and then you meet one crazy person who won’t leave you alone and you find friendship and become a person again. I am in love with this concept. I connect with this concept. Julian Carax is the be all end all of this concept. He’s a very extreme form of myself, I feel, where he’s let everything that happened bring him down so much he just stop giving a shit about what happens to him. If I keep talking about him I’m going to end up revealing spoilers, and I don’t want to do that because do you really think I would trust you not to read the spoilers? Read the book. Google the spoilers, if you suck. But I shan’t be the one to ruin it.

Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Damaged? Check. Filled with a sense of isolation? Check. In need of friends to put him back together and make him feel like a person again? Check. Love of books and writing? Check, check. Charlie and I have different responses to different childhood issues, but the base needs and the core of what we want life to be are, essentially, the same. In many ways, I am Charlie. In many ways, I am not. What’s weird is, it’s this difference I connect with more than anything else. I am a fan of contrast. In biology, in psychology, in philosophy, contrast is my friend. This is the one character I feel I could actually be friends with. That we could actually talk to each other without everything seeming slightly meaningless.  He is the character that could be my friend, and as I was reading, I felt this friendship brewing. Based on the ideas that I have only now just considered, I might say that Charlie is my character; I connected with him in a way I don’t think I’ll be able to connect to anything else – real or fictional – again. Genuine in that, for me, a true connection cannot be repeated. Goodness I love Charlie. Another figurative smiley face.

This seems like a fine place to end it – have a nice day.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre (pronounced like ‘air’ for those of you who are confused as I usually am) by Charlotte Bronte, my favorite of the Bronte sisters is one of my favorite books, and easily my favorite of the romantic persuasion.  

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When I was first assigned this book for an independent novel assignment in school, I had mixed feelings. I had heard it described as ‘romantic’, ‘boring’, ‘amazing’, and again, ‘romantic’. So I didn’t quite know what to think. Then, of course, there was the synopsis.

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

I like very dark stories, typically. So this book didn’t exactly pique my interest. However, when I actually read it, I changed my mind very quickly.

While this isn’t exactly promoted, the story of Jane Eyre is quite dark. When the story opens, your thrown into Jane’s torment straight away. The tragedy of Jane’s childhood was that she remembered a time when she was loved and had someone to love, and each time to finds this love it is torn away from her. Her parents, her Uncle Reed, her dearest (and only) childhood friend. These events build her up into the type of women the rich folk look for in a governess (a stay-at-home private tutor/babysitter). Her passion is treated as a sort of undertone. It does not control her, but it gives her a sort of outward spunk (for lack of a better word) uncommon in women of the time. Making Jane one of these most interesting characters I have ever read.

Then, of course, there is the love story. I am a closet-case sap, you see. And while I am very tired of stories where it feels like they quite literally fall into a sort of love like state with a person they’ve talked to once, their relationship was not as simple as the synopsis makes it seem. Jane insists on being his equal, his partner. Not his servant or what have you (even though she’ll only call him Mr. Rochester). She is not a character looking for love, and when she starts to have a crush she fights it. The whole thing happens as it should: gradually, then all at once. And since Charlotte Bronte is such a brilliant writer, we get to experience her pure joy, as it is the first time since she was a very young child that she had been happy. And, really, it’s not that dramatic. Everything that happens is set up in a way where, when it happens, you’re just thinking ‘Of course‘.

Also, this is a Gothic novel. It is dreary. The main characters are damaged (in fact, I believe they discuss this at some point) and there are ghosts and crazy people and fire. Monsters hiding in the shadows, even. Not like the boogieman, of course, but in the way where earlier in the book we are told a ghost story and we watch as it seems to play out (until logic takes hold, of course). But there are moments when the whole thing feels like a madhouse, when you think for a moment someone is going to die. And, perhaps, someone does.

There are maybe two sunshine happiness moments in the whole story. The first, the sequences in which Jane and Rochester declare their love for one another and run off to get married. The second is the ending. I mean, this book has one of the happiest ending in the history of ever. Especially taking into consideration the pasts of the characters and the whole rest of the book. When you get to the ending, it is very satisfying and slightly giggly.

I would recommend this book to people who are fans of classic literature with feminist views, strong female protagonists, romance, and gothic fiction.

If you enjoyed basically anything by Jane Austen, Lady Windemere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, or Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, you will probably enjoy Jane Eyre

If you have read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and have yet to read Jane Eyre, I’ll have to kindly ask you what you’re doing with your life, because clearly you have done something incorrectly.

Basically, I love this book. Give it look. And if you didn’t love it, please tell me why below.

Have a nice day.

To the Silver Screen Vol. 1

Perhaps my favorite book to movie adaption (in which I have read the book and seen the movie) is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. In my mind, the movie was a perfect adaptation and that is do, in no small part, to the fact that Chbosky was the writer and the director of the film as well. In that was, he was able to elaborate on some of the events mentioned in the book, making for a great adaptation. Another aspect that made this so darn enjoyable was the casting, which was perfect. I have no other argument than to say that the casting was perfect.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Wallpaper-We Are InfiniteEven though this did not perfectly fit the way I’d imagined them, by the ten minute mark in the movie I couldn’t imagine them any other way. They captured the essence of each character in the same way that Chbosky was able to display the essence of his book on the screen.

In my mind, a book as always been the story of the author, which is why so many adaptations fail. When new writers and directors come in, they often tell the story their own way, giving limited power to the author. I’m okay with this sometimes (as in the cases of Jaws and The Godfather), as the book simply wasn’t cinematic or something of the sort. 

I think this adaptation only worked because Chbosky was at the helm. If he weren’t, many things would have been changed or cut or gone terribly wrong because movie execs just don’t love the story as much as they love the money and their freaking sample-size statistics. Which is understandable, in their position. 

But this whole thing just turned out so perfect, I can’t quite express in words how perfect it was. What’s your opinion on this adaptation? Let me know, and have a nice day. 

And in this moment, I swear we are infinite

 

Great Quotes Vol. 1: One-Liners

This is day 17 of the 30 Day Challenge (look at me go) and this is the start of another series: Quotes. You know when you’re reading something, a book, a poem, anything, and you just have to stop and read and reread the wondrous words on the page because they are just too perfect? I shall be sharing some of these quotes.

The prompt calls for quotes from my actual favorite book(s), but I would spend far too much time geeking out about said books, and we really wouldn’t get anywhere. So we’re just going to look at a few quotes from some books I thoroughly enjoy. Okay? Okay.

We’re going to start off with some of my favorite one-liners.

“Life is a perpetual yesterday for us.” – The Lovely Bones, Alice SeboldThe-Lovely-Bones-305799

“Have all beautiful things sad destinies?” – Wide Sargasso Sea,  Jean Rhys

“Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet.” – Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk

“They love their hair because they’re not smart enough to love something more interesting.” – Looking for Alaska, John Green

“I decapitated dandelions all morning, leaving carnage and death strewn into my path.” – Twisted, Laurie Halse Anderson

“Heart and head are contrary historians.” – Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli

“All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.” The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” – The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Beloved, Toni Morrison570179

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurtson

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” The Perks of Beings a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Maybe I cheated a little bit. Maybe I couldn’t resist adding a couple from my absolute favorite books. What can you do? Any lines you like here? And lines you like I don’t have here? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Have a nice day.

Favorite Characters Vol. 2

Let’s talk about the ladies.

Gilda Joyce

In an earlier blog, I believe I cited Twilight as my discovery of a love of reading. I had never read fantasy before and it lead me into trying to find better fantasies, but there was actually two series that came just before. May Bird, and Gilda Joyce.

Gilda Joyce was a sort of young supernatural detectives series, and I loved every second of it. Gilda was extremely eccentric, the type who wore pink cat eye glasses and blue wigs, disguising herself my looking completely ridiculous. She was around the age of 14, I believe, and an aspiring novelist, with around 5 ‘completed’ manuscripts hiding in her closest. She was basically be before I knew I was me. Outspoken, ridiculous, she’ll always be one of my favorites.

Isobel Lanley

Isobel is the protagonist of the Nevermore series. While I don’t immediately consider her to be one of my favorites, she sort of breaks the stereotype, so I feel like I should mention her. She’s a cheerleader dating a football player at the start of the story. Of, you know where this is going. She falls for the quiet kid and dumps her douche bag boyfriend and realize how much of a bitch she was and everyone lives happily ever after!

No.

She’s actually a genuinely nice person. She doesn’t like to break the boundaries of high school, sticking to her own crowd and all that, but she’s a nice girl. And, I mean, an actual cheerleader who competes and stuff rather than just waving around pom-poms in a skimpy outfit. Her boyfriend is also kind of nice, he’s just the jealous type. So dumps him for being a douche. Only after that does she start to fall for the weird guy, and even that has a natural progression to it. She’s portrayed as a lovely young lady, and I appreciate that.

This list might seem slightly underwhelming, but most of the ladies I want to talk about, I feel deserve their own blog. You know, Hazel, Jane Eyre, Nuria Monfort. Yeah.

Ta-ta for now.