Books · Reading · Writing

2016 in Reading

For the second year in a row, I was unable to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Even though I’d lowered my goal instead of going higher – as is customary for me – I just did not have the time to get to all the books I wanted to read. I tried to do too much… way too much… that I barely left time for myself to sleep. And it still wasn’t enough.

Yet I kept adding to my TBR pile, going nuts with my bookstore “raids”. In fact, my bookcase has really filled up compared to last year. And become so much more beautiful, if  I do say so myself.

Still keeping up the colour synchronisation! And look at all those creatures that have found a home between the books. :D
Still keeping up the colour synchronisation! And look at all those creatures that have found a home between the books. 😀

Still, can’t go (further) into the new year without a wrap-up list! Continue reading “2016 in Reading”

Books · Reading

Potter on a Pedestal

On Sunday, 31st of July, at 3:15 a.m. I wrapped my hands around a fresh new copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. My friend and I attended the launch/Harry Potter birthday party, did a meet and greet with Hagrid, stayed out of Snape’s path, gorged on some wizarding candy… then waited patiently until the UK midnight release.

IMG_20160731_095312
The best thing about this picture is my Hogwarts Express ticket. Okay and the Hogwarts journal. Okay okay and my House colours. xD

It was a work night and I went to the office on less than three hours of sleep, but you know, I didn’t mind because the party was quite fun and I thought it would be all worth it when I got home and sank into the book with a cup of piping hot tea.

It wasn’t. [This is a spoiler-free post; can’t vouch for comments though!] Continue reading “Potter on a Pedestal”

Reading · Writing

Proudly presenting… my bookshelves!

I am quite proud of my shelves. Even though they’re overflowing right now and could do with some form of categorization, I am still filled with delight every time I look at them. So I’m taking a leaf out of Britt and Letizia‘s books and accepting the challenge posted by Jilane Hoffman … and showing you my bookshelves! Mind you, I have not read every single book on these shelves. In fact, the total number of books that I haven’t read is 40. Eep.

So to begin with, below is my bottom shelf. As you can see I arrange my books by height, and tallest starts at the bottom. I no longer have room for books on my shelves, so horizontal organization is unfortunately inescapable. To make things more interesting, I’ll tell you my favourite and least favourite of each shelf. In this case, my favourite is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and the least favourite is How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

bookshelves 1 Continue reading “Proudly presenting… my bookshelves!”

Writing

Sorry – you didn’t make the cut.

weasley twins 2
The best kind of twins.

My most recent bout of  Writer’s Block lasted more than three months. It’s nothing compared to my five-year Block, but it was still frustrating. I felt stuck and didn’t know how to move forwards or backwards from a specific point in Penny for Your Dreams. For the first time since forever, I was actually editing  and rewriting before completing my first draft. I rewrote one particular scene five or six times in hopes of striking an appropriate chord with my novel. Ultimately the solution turned out to be rather simple.

I was incorporating what I’d hopped would be Weasley twins incarnates into my novel. I liked them. I wanted to give them a lot of spotlight. I really wanted other people to like them. However, I ended up realising I could never produce characters that measure up to the Weasley twins.  Not only that, I can’t even write twins without making them sound cliché or cheesy. So I did the next best thing and got rid of them. Well… more or less. Continue reading “Sorry – you didn’t make the cut.”

Reading · Writing

Books are one-time things.

ReReadI almost always read books to their very end; yet at the same time, I almost never reread them. I often feel surprised when I come across someone who has a book or two that they read time and time again. I heard a fan of Jane Eyre say they read the book fifteen times, and my only reaction to that was, “How can you do that? Don’t you get… well, bored?”

I love books as much as the other bibliophile and I do have some favourites, but even those I can’t picture myself reading so often. I can read a book twice, or three times if I really love it, but even then I wait for long stretches of time before I even think about giving it a second spin. My shelves are crammed with books I haven’t read in years because they are still fresh in my head. I can remember almost every detail about them and as such I don’t feel the need to read them again. In a way I’m a bit of a paradox – I can’t not finish a book, yet I can’t be bothered to finish it a second time. Continue reading “Books are one-time things.”

Reading · Writing

Author Existence Failure

gameofthronesLately I’ve been hearing a lot about A Game of Thrones… good stuff too. I don’t know what kept me away until now, maybe it was the number of books out there, maybe it was their daunting size… or maaaybe it’s the fact that the last two books in the series will be published in 2015 and 2020 respectively.

Yes, I’m not deceiving you. Feel free to check the books up on Goodreads for their expected publication dates. I was actually planning to venture – albeit timidly – into the world of George Martin, then I stumbled across the publication dates and backtracked. For curiosity’s sake, I checked Mr. Martin’s profile and was dismayed to learn that he’s 64 years of age. Let’s do a little math here, shall we? Martin will be 66 years old in 2015, and 71 in 2020. The average male life expectancy in the States is 75 years old. Do you see where I’m going with this?

He might die before completing the series. Continue reading “Author Existence Failure”

Writing

Jack did not have to die!

The other day as I sat watching the final scenes of Titanic with my mum and sister, I couldn’t help but think, “Did Jack really have to die?” It has been proven on Mythbusters that, technically, Jack could’ve survived, that both he and Rose could’ve fitted quite easily on that wooden board. When I voiced my indignation (amid tears, mind you), my mother said, “Well, it’s what the director wanted.” Or rather… it was written in the script that Jack dies, so I guess it’s what the writer wanted.

titanic

I’m not averse to being mean to fictional characters, but I do feel strongly about unnecessary killings. Jack’s death is arguably necessary; since the movie mostly revolves around Rose, and how her love for Jack saved her first on the ship and then throughout her life, even if he wasn’t there to see it. It’s rather bittersweet, and I suppose it does make some sense… but it’s more than I can say for other movies and books. Continue reading “Jack did not have to die!”

General · Reading · Writing

Hating a popular book is no taboo.

I’ve been reading this book that qualifies as “popular”, probably the most popular among its author’s works. Readers raved about it in their reviews, and it had a high rating on Goodreads, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It can’t be that bad, can it? Boy was I proven wrong.

After my less-than-pleasant escapades with a number of bestsellers that lured me with their pretty covers and abundance of good reviews, you would have thought I’d learn my lesson, but nope. I walked in headfirst, expecting to read something that will blow me away. That was nearly two months ago. I still can’t bring myself to finish this book because reading it feels like a slow and painful death. Continue reading “Hating a popular book is no taboo.”

Reading · Writing

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, what is plagiarism?

I’ve heard someone say that once people start imitating you and copying your style, you know you’ve made it big. Same goes if you receive a high number of spam comments on your blog, but that’s a completely different matter. Yesterday’s WP prompt suggested writing a post in the style of another blogger, and I have to admit that I would feel flattered if someone were to do that to me. It would feel like some sort of homage.

However, at some point that homage stops being so and instead turns into something uglier and almost taboo in the world of writing. This was something I hadn’t even considered before. Okay, so I know papers and studies sometimes get plagiarized, that’s not unheard of in schools and universities, but I never thought it could happen between writers. Yet in one week I came across three bestselling authors who’ve apparently did a share of plagiarizing. One particular author began with fanfiction, and no, I’m not talking about E. L. James. Continue reading “If imitation is the highest form of flattery, what is plagiarism?”

Reading · Writing

So I’m going to be honest with you here…

I’m not really all that fond of classics, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The general notion seems to be that you’re supposed to like classics, and that people who don’t  are either (a) dumb, (b) not smart enough to understand them, (c) breaking some unwritten code of literature, (d) don’t know how to read, or (e) all of the above.

Now that’s just silly. There’s no rule that says that you have to like classics before you can be taken seriously as a reader/writer/person. Classics were written in a time much different from ours and discussed themes and topics that may not be of much concern these days. That’s without mentioning how classic authors tend to get a bit long-winded and use prose that could be called outdated or old-fashioned.

Continue reading “So I’m going to be honest with you here…”