Fantasy isn’t literature.

“People who write fantasy and science fiction, like you [Brandon Sanderson], J. K. Rowling and many others… you aren’t authors; you’re writers. And these books are definitely not literature because they’re not real.”

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion discussing the merits of children’s literature and how reading and a sense of curiosity and wonder should always be nurtured. The wonderful Brandon Sanderson – author of the Mistborn series –  was there, and he spoke about his own experience with books and writing, and how – as a kid – he only became a reader when his teacher introduced him to fantasy. When all was said and done, one crusty critic blatantly told Sanderson that he doesn’t consider him or the likes of J. K. Rowling to be proper authors, just writers, and fantasy, science-fiction… that’s not literature, simply because it isn’t real.

A fantasy writer myself and a huge fan of Rowling and Sanderson’s work, I was seething. How dare he? But then Sanderson gave such a gratifying answer that left everyone clapping and the man looking around in defeat. He questioned this obsession with reality, what’s so wrong about things that aren’t real, what’s so wrong about imagining things? After all, there were many things that we currently have that weren’t real at some point, and would never have been if man hadn’t thought about them and imagined to be real. That power, that sense of wonder, is important to hold on to.

Of course, he didn’t answer in so few words, but that was the gist of it. Continue reading

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The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Zen

Zen A.:

The lovely Britt was kind enough to host me on her blog recently! It was nice to talk about the things that make me tick – namely sweets – and the little Zen inside me that I refuse to ever let go. :)

Originally posted on Britt Skrabanek:

Last month Julie of Les Petits Pas de Juls showed us what it’s like to drop everything, go absorb every ounce of life, and make your own way. In my monthly series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, gorgeous human beings from all over talk about what makes them excited to be alive.

Today I’m so happy to bring you guys this lovely gal I know all the way in Dubai, Zen from Zen Scribbles. Zen has been one of my faves for a long time. When I read her posts, it’s like seeing life for the first time. With her delightful views on books, chocolate, and more reading, and more dessert, her sweetness remains with you long after you’ve left her blog.

That kind of youthful joie de vivre is exactly why I asked Zen to be a Life Enthusiast. 

Connect with Zen on Twitter.


Like others before me, I want to thank Britt for this…

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Farewell, Sir Terry.

2015-03-13 19.39.28Yesterday Terry Pratchett, author of the brilliant Discworld series, passed away at the age of 66. To say I wasn’t shocked by the news would be a lie. Even though I knew he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and could no longer write his books without the help of his assistant, I still couldn’t accept that his death was imminent. Like… I don’t think anyone could even accept the possibility that J. K. Rowling would cease to exist one day, or even Stephen King. These authors have become so ingrained in the literary world that it would be impossible to imagine it without them. Though… I guess if you think about it, authors are forever immortal. As long as you always see their names on the shelves, they’re never really dead, are they? I’m comforted by the fact that later this year one last Discworld book will be published, one that Sir Terry finished writing a few months ago.

At times like this, I feel the best way to remember these authors is to share some of their best quotes. Here are some of my favourites.

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Spring Cleaning!

Here in Dubai we’ve basically skipped Spring and jumped right into Summer, but I’m going to pretend it’s Spring because the heat is not yet overwhelming enough to melt my eyes out of my sockets. Taking a little inspiration from Maddie, I feel it’s time for a post long overdue; after all, it’s been almost five months since I moved and I have yet to say anything about that. So this is a sort of “cleaning” post – I’m dusting off my blog and poking those cobwebs out of the corners, in hopes that I’ll be more active here over the coming months.

Though I’m from Lebanon, I was born and raised in UAE, and spent over 19 years of my life here – it’s more of a home to me than Lebanon will ever be. In Zen’s Grand Life Plan, returning to this country was a high priority. I had to make it happen. It wasn’t just an option. It was difficult, but I made it happen. So now I’m back home, and I feel happier than I’ve ever been in a very long time.

I finally have my own place in the middle of a skyscraper community. It’s a cute little studio, which I’ve decked with purple. Seriously – purple crockery, cutlery, bathroom stuff, bed sheets… it’s not completely Zenified yet, but I’m getting there! Next step – a PURPLE COUCH. Maybe. >.>;

The neighbourhood is lovely, I have a park right under my building, and the towers are all built around big lakes, which are pretty despite being artificial! In fact, here’s a picture from my bedroom window.

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That’s the entrance of the park, and you can see the lake to the side!

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2014 in Reading

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Last book of 2014!

2014 was many things… good, bad and ugly… but at least it did not throw any 1-star books at me! Of course a lot has changed in the course of this year, and I’ve had a lot to reflect upon… but the one constant has remained my love for reading (and determination to beat the Goodreads Reading Challenge). Around this time of year, I like to look at my stats and pick out the few that really stuck with me. And okay, okay, I’ve read some books that made me feel that I’ve wasted my time, but I still think I’ve had a pretty decent share of good ones, and I wrapped up the year with a pretty book (and some amazing sweets but that’s besides the point)! But first, let’s see how I checked out on the resolutions front!

DONE

  • I read 50 books in 2014! It was a close call, having finished the 50th book yesterday, but I made it!
  • I read one children’s novel and one middle grade novel and liked the latter more. That is important because the children’s one was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I wasn’t all that enamored by it.
  • I didn’t stop reading any books! On a roll for more than two years now!
  • I’ve written a review for every single book I read this year. I even went back and wrote reviews for some books I read years ago.
  • I was not lured by pretty covers. Well, I was lured by a book or two, but I think I improved!

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Bookish Questions!

Lately I’ve been quite busy with my apartment hunt and finally finding a place and moving into it that I haven’t had the chance to visit this blog much. I’m still epic busy, but I’m gradually settling in and will write a post about it later, but until then, here’s a book meme I stole from Maggie – it looked like fun! Feel free to answer them yourself! :D

You have 20,000 books on your to-read list. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
I don’t. I have enough trouble deciding with 60 books on my to-read list, let alone 20k! The best way to go about this would be an automatic book generator or something, because let’s face it, eeny meeny miny moe won’t get past the first 20 to 30 books! 



You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
Committed to the very last page, though I start skipping passages if I get too bored. The only time I’ve quit a book is when the content became way too explicit for me, borderline an erotica.

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?
That happened to me once. I cheated and lowered the number of books. >.> I’m so ashamed. Thankfully, right now I’m just one book away from winning my 50 books challenge, so yay. Continue reading

Rebuilding My Bookshelves

One of the most difficult things about my move to a different country is the fact that I had to leave more than 90% of my books behind. They were too heavy and there was no way I could cram them all into my suitcases… unless I was prepared not to pack anything else. So I only brought twenty books with me, and they’ve been looking at me forlornly from their single small shelf since I got to Dubai… so sad was their appearance that I had to find them company. Fast.

My big pile o' books.

My big pile o’ books.

I arrived here on the 18th of October. Since then I’ve accumulated 11 news books, bringing my total to a whopping 31. I’m trying hard not to bring that number up anymore for the time being, but it’s proving to be so incredibly difficult. The bookshops here are absolutely lovely, and far bigger and better than anything I found back in Lebanon. One particular bookshop, Kinokuniya, was so big I needed four hours to browse through it. And even then I was barely thorough. I was so overwhelmed by the fact that there were many books there that I’d been looking for and hadn’t been able to find before. My wallet complained. Loudly.

So yeah. I bought a lot of books. And I found myself buying a lot of hardcovers too. I usually buy paperbacks, but in the face of all the gorgeous hardcovers I came across I could not resist. This country has corrupted me. But for now, I’m just going to highlight a few of my favourite picks! Continue reading