Friday, March 30, 2012

March Wrap Up

I hope you've all had a wonderful March. Spring has sprung and St. Patty's day has passed. SRT has been busy with lots of updates so let's get into my monthly wrap up - just in case you've missed anything! Personally, I hopped onto my blog today to see what was scheduled to post and was surprised that we're up to the wrap up already! March certainly flew by!

Books Reviewed:

The Lorax The classic Dr. Seuss book that "speaks for the trees!" and was put out in theatres on Dr. Seuss' birthday!

The Silver Kiss A book preceding Blood and Chocolate with descriptions of the typical late 80's/early 90's clothing and a heart wrenching tale about a vampire and a girl who are both dealing with loss.

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters The second book to the Percy Jackson series with ships, quests, and islands filled with doom.

The Wolf Gift Anne Rice returns to the supernatural with her first book about werewolves, or Man Wolf's, rather. Check out my opinion and then the opposing opinion of a friend (link is in the entry).

I Am Mordred A companion  book to I Am Morgan le Fay, this book also takes a look at the "evil" characters of Arthurian legend and sends some light on their personalities, giving the reader a chance to sympathize for the character.

Other Posts:
E-Readers and Bookstores
The Weekly Reader
The Hunger Games Movie Review

There's an announcement coming up next month on April 13th so keep an eye out for it. I hope everyone is having a stellar start to their spring!

And (drum roll, please) after only being back to blogging for two months you all have helped me to gain my second highest blog view count in the history of SRT! Thank you all so much!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - March 29th

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks questions are:
Are there any fictional characters whom you have emulated (or tried to)?
Not so much now, as an adult, have I tried to emulate myself with any characters. But as a child I was always attempting to imitate one character or another. I wanted to be an elf from the Lord of the Rings (Galadriel one day, Arwen the other) and would imitate how I saw them behave quite often. I had a wild imagination and other days I was one of the children from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Another favorite character of mine was imitating Morgan le Fay (around friends). Oh boy, how embarrassing to admit all of this! As an adult I've tried to more so emulate ways of thought and personality traits of characters I've liked, but nothing of the extreme of my childhood.

The second question is:
Who and why? What literary character do you feel is most like you personality-wise (explain)?
My friends joke that I am like Maharet of The Queen of the Damned (Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles). She has quite a bit of ties to her family (she is like the queen of making family trees. Family genealogy is something I enjoy doing myself) and seems generally calm; however you don't want to be the one to make her angry because her punishments are not for the faint of heart. Otherwise, if there is a character in a book who enjoys reading, has a tendency to provide random facts, loves nature, and I probably will feel that character and I meet in personality. I know I've seen character like that before although my most recent experience was with Miss. Skeeter from The Help. This character was tall, she enjoyed writing and reading, she wasn't married (I'm 25 and really too busy to look for someone to date, let alone marry), she had big dreams and she wasn't going to allow social expectations to hold her back. Well, she struggled a little bit here and there, but she did it. She did what she wanted to do in her life. A lot of her struggles in the book was met with my going, "No, don't do that, I would do that and I know what the outcome is!" and various other cheers and groans. There are other characters who I feel I relate to, personality-wise, but that's the character I can think of most quickly!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Am Mordred

Arthurian stories and shows have become my 2012 obsession. I've always been a fan of Morgan le Fay as was mentioned in my review of I Am Morgan le Fay and with my devouring of different books my friend mailed me a book by the same author: I Am Mordred.

So that I do not drown you all in endless Arhurian stories, I tried to break up my readings with other books (as you may or may not have noticed) before picking up this book. The glory of the two I Am books by Nancy Springer books is that neither are very long, they're quick reads and light to carry, and they are always a pleasant surprise. With both books I had expected them to be somewhat childish and the word choice to be simplistic. I'm sorry, I totally judge books by their covers. With the flashy coloring on the cover and the short length of the book I thought, surely they have to be childish. But with both books I have been wrong. I love both I Am books but my focus now is on I Am Mordred.

Mordred of Arthurian legend is an "evil" character much as Morgan le Fay is. Who mothered Mordred is up for debate, depending on what legend you have read, he could have either been mothered by Morgause or Morgan. Both are the half sister of Arthur, who is always depicted as Mordred's father. Fate decreed that Mordred would kill his father, Arthur, and upon Mordred's birth he was deemed evil for that fact alone. But are children born evil? Is fate that powerful?

This novel shows the lighter, feeling side of the character Mordred. We see him as an innocent boy who is forced into this premade character and his fight against fate. In I Am Morgan le Fay, Morgan was also fighting the fate that seemed to weigh so heavily on her and those around her; particularly the fate of others. But with Mordred it is more-so his personal fate. He loves and hates Arthur as he grows into a young man but in the end realizes that he loves his father. His one wish is to be called 'son' by his father rather than sharing cryptic phrases and glances between the two that underlines their relationship. But in the end, Mordred loves his father and king. He doesn't want to partake in the fate that was placed for him upon his birth and has no intention of killing Arthur.

He seems so devoted to staying away from the prophesy that even I, having read the very start of the book which states all of the Arthurian legend to have been true, wondered if maybe, just maybe, Springer found a way to trick us all and that Mordred wouldn't have killed Arthur. She nearly convinced me that it was impossible and wouldn't happen. That's a powerful trait for a writer to have.

Without getting too far into detail and spilling the metaphorical beans; fate cannot be changed. At least that seems to be the point of the I Am books. Despite everything Mordred tried to do to save himself and Arthur, it still was impossible.

Mordred was never a favored character for me. I think he's awfully cute in the BBC show Merlin (played by Asa Butterfield), so much so that I kind of like that particular portrayal, but I've never come across a Mordred in other books that I've liked. Well, not until I read Springer's book. I really felt for Mordred, my heart went out to him with each page and through each struggle.

The prologue and epilogue of the book was probably the most beautifully written and most moving (for me) but you'll have to read that to see what I mean. Also, the play on words tickled my fancy: a black crow would croak "More Dread" which ultimately lead to the repetitive cry of "Mordred." Oh, how I loved that!

Really, this book was just as amazing as Morgan le Fay and I am saddened that Springer has no other I Am books. While her books may be marketed towards preteens and young adults, I feel that there is a certain level of heaviness in the books; a darker side to the world is definitely not covered up with frills and happy things. Springer is honest and hints at the less appealing side to Camelot while not being grotesque. I just... cannot say enough good things about these books and may, in the future, do a comparison of the two. I went into reading I Am Mordred assuming that I wouldn't quite like it because Mordred, as I said, has never been a favored character for me. But I ended up loving his character and flying through the book.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - March 27th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"Instead, Gerry and Holly traveled the world together. It made far more sense that way because when they weren't, well, together, Holly just felt like she was missing a vital organ from her body."
-Cecelia Ahern, PS, I Love You 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Musing Mondays - March 26th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

Have you ever found a book out of the blue, read it, and then had it be surprisingly good — one that stuck with you for years? If so, what book was it?

My Answer is:
This is hard to answer because the majority of the books I read are found out of the blue. But not in the sense, I think, that the question means. When I find a book it sort of goes like this: I'll be at a bookstore or browsing goodreads and I'll come across an interesting title/cover. I pick up the book (in a bookstore) and read the back, followed by the first few pages. if it's interesting, I'll buy it. For goodreads I'll simply read the description and check out the rating. This always leads to hits or misses. Some books I read and adore, other's I can barely get through. But I would say there are definitely more positive outcomes than not. To list the books would be hard, just scroll through my goodreads or my blog and look at the best rated or most loved books - the likelihood that I just stumbled upon them is very high.

Hey, Soon Remembered Tales readers, happy Monday! Have a great week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - March 22nd

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks question is: 
Ever read a book you thought you could have written better yourself?

My Answer:
Yes! I'm so sorry, my friends and I joke that this is when I become a 'judgmental (former) bookseller/English major'. But it's true, there have been many books I've read and I've thought, "I could have written this so much better." But I think, really, my opinion more so stems on the thought of, "I wish I could have given the author tips on how to have written this so much better. This word doesn't work for this sentence, this scene should be cut, that scene needs more detail, and what is going on with this plot?" I feel so snarky and mean when I think this way but I also tell myself, I am an editor, so it's okay to feel that way! I know editing personal work is down right hard and I know my own work (literary or otherwise) can be riddled with repetition, spelling and grammar errors, and "what is she talking about's." That's the problem with writing. And as a writer, I always sit back and go, "I could have written that so much better" even if it's my own work! I'm highly judgmental of what I create so my guilt of judging other books, I think, comes from that. That author may be judging what they wrote as well and they don't need me adding to their possible negative opinion. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Weekly Reader

I’m a reader and a writer. Or at least that’s how I viewed myself as a teenager. Despite going to school all day, staying on top of homework and studying, then throwing in my long list of after school activities (drama, the honor society, dance classes, volunteer work, etc) I still read like a fiend. Books after books, I was that kid getting in trouble because I was found reading by flashlight three hours after I was supposed to go to bed. I’d read multiple books at a time, all of them stacked on my nightstand and being toted from class to activity. Despite all of this I still managed to have the time to write story after story. It seemed like I was endlessly busy but blissfully happy. See, I like to read. I love it. But once I graduated High School and went to college my intake of books came to a faltering stop.

I was in a new city, I had a very active social life, and I had so much reading to do for my English courses that I didn’t have much time to pleasure read and my time to write had dwindled into nothing. After four years of school I struggled to figure out how to get into the habit of reading again. With work and other things in life I felt like reading, at times, had become a chore.

But it was simple: I had to make reading a daily part of my life. And it’s worked, so long as I keep it in mind, and I’ve been reading more than I used to. If you’re struggling to keep reading here’s some suggestions of times you can work reading into your life and if you stick with it, it can become natural and you’ll find yourself reading more.

  • Make a ritual out of reading:
    • Figure out what time of day is your best time for reading. Do you like reading over a cup of coffee and your breakfast? How about bedtime? Label a specific time of day to be your time of reading; no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • Reading during little breaks:
    • If you are in a waiting room, read a book! 
  • Reading during daily breaks:
    • Have a lunch break? Bring a book with you! If you enjoy reading and it brings you a sense of happiness it's a great way to calm down from the stresses of work and also escape your place of work for a moment or two.
  • Multitask:
    • If you have an e-reader this could be a little easier. If you're at the gym and walking on the treadmill or working on the elliptical you can always read a book. Having an ereader will make it somewhat hands free (just sitting it on the machine) but having a regular book works fine on bike machines!
    • You can also have your e-reader "read" your book for you. Set it to audio and it will read your book aloud while you clean the house. 
    • Order books on tape. That way you can have your book being read in a voice that isn't a computer voice while you drive to work or are on trips. 
  • Now I break this rule myself all the time but it will help you finish more books at a quicker pace: stick to one book at a time.
  • Carry your reading material with you. Whether it's an e-reader, a printed copy, or an audio book always have it with you. That way if you come across a chance to multitask, a break, or a solid chunk of time to get some heavy reading in you can do just that.
  • Choose books that you enjoy. Don't read something only because it's popular. If you're taking classes and have assigned books, chose something you want to read for pleasure to keep on the side. It's always easier to read when you're enjoying yourself. I always had an issue with assigned books. I didn't want to be forced into reading something that I didn't want to read and it always worked against me: I read slowly. 
Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - March 20th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"To Maestro Ambrogio the night before Madonna Assunta was as holy as Christmas Eve. Over the course of the evening vigil, the otherwise dark Siena Cathedral would be filled with hundreds of colossal votive candles--some weighing more than fifty pounds--as a long procession of representatives from every contrada made their way up the nave towards the golden altar, to honor Siena's protectress, the Virgin Mary, and celebrate her assumption into Heaven."
Juliet by Anne Fortier

Monday, March 19, 2012

Musing Mondays - March 19th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...
Would you choose to review a book if its description sounded interesting but the cover was terrible?
My Answer:
I completely judge books by their covers. I really do and I am so sorry for that. There have been times where I've totally surpassed a book, based on its cover, but then a few months later it's reproduced with different cover art and I don't even realize it's the same book. But because it has a different cover, one that I like, I'll suddenly pick it up and read the back.
Now if someone submits a book to me and asks for a review but they don't include the cover art... it completely depends on whether or not the description is interesting. If the cover looks really terrible I may very well pass it up.

I know, I know! I'm a judgmental book reader! It seriously is one of my greatest concerns, if I were to ever be published, that I would get stuck with a crummy book cover. So really, it all depends on the presentation. In a store, I won't review a book if it has a crummy cover because I probably won't even pick it up to read the description. But if I read the description first and I like it, well then the crummy front cover can be ignored.

Anyway, happy Monday everyone! The last Monday/day of winter! (Even though, if you live in the Eastern US you couldn't tell it is still winter!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Wolf Gift

If you haven’t gathered that I am an Anne Rice fan based on my reviews in this blog you’re either new or haven’t been reading! I’ve been obsessed with The Vampire Chronicles since middle school and when I read that Anne Rice was returning to the supernatural my ears perked up. This would be the first Anne Rice book of this nature (I don’t count Angel Time into this category) that I would be reading (for the first time) as an adult. I was excited and a little scared. I had built up a very clear visual of how my Anne Rice experiences were based on the mind of a pre-teen, when I had originally read the Vampire Chronicles. How would this first experience be?

Originally I wasn’t going to purchase this book right away because I have been trying very hard to not buy new reading material. I have enough books that I own that I haven’t had a chance to read yet and I really just…shouldn’t be adding to the pile. But I couldn’t help myself. I mean, this is Anne Rice we’re talking about. This is the Queen of Vampire Literature and has been an inspiration to me for half of my life. I couldn’t just wait to read this book. I needed it. So the day it came out I bought it and dove right in.

Reuben, our main character, is plunged into a world that he, like the rest of us, assumed only existed in movies and television. When the reporter has a chance encounter he becomes a werewolf, or as Rice pens it: a Man Wolf or the more proper name, Morphenkind. While Reuben is becoming the Man Wolf, we are witnessing it along with him. We are just as dazed and confused as he is and we have just as many questions as Reuben does as he goes blindly into this venture.

This is where it breaks off from what is typical of Rice’s supernatural writings. Throughout most of the Vampire Chronicles we are introduced to a character who is already a vampire. They are always settled in the creature they are and they tell of their past story, recalling everything that happened in the past. But with The Wolf Gift we are going right along with Reuben and experiencing it all first hand with him. Rather than reading the book from the monster, we are reading the book of the man as he is turned into the monster. As he discovers the details of what he is, the history of Morphenkind, and what his future holds for him. It gives an element of surprise and it also causes impatience. Something that was similar from book to book was Rice is the power of the media. Through The Vampire Chronicles these creatures are telling their stories and having them published. The vampire Lestat is all over the news and tells his story to the masses through songs. He uses the power of the media and the interest of mortals in what the news says to speak his story. Reuben uses the media in his own way; being a news reporter he is able to pen an article that could either support or deny the existence of werewolves. He can use the news to his advantage or to hopefully push away attention. Even to the very end, the use of witnesses and the spoken word is given power. I love that element because it’s all so true: look at how the media can spread beliefs, lies, and opinions. I mean, I’m doing it right now by writing this.

The middle of the book I found somewhat sluggish. I was impatient to find out what was happening in Reuben’s world with an assortment of plots that were going on. Rice drew it out and I hate waiting! But the tail end of the book was fantastic. I had about a quarter of the book to go and suddenly I could do nothing but read. I pushed aside my duties for the morning, sat down on the couch, ignored that it was far too cold out to have the front door open (and that I was freezing), and just read. Read through the rest of the page until I closed the book. I loved the ending, I loved the possibilities, and I’m left wondering if Rice is planning on making this into a series or maybe adding a second book. I know that I would read it if she did, and that’s not just because I’m loyal fan. I still hope desperately that Anne Rice will return with another vampire book but this is good as well. I’ll be happy to continue reading her books, shall she continue writing them, and I’ll surely continue enjoying them as well.

Update (3/19/2012): 
If you'd like to see an opposing view of The Wolf Gift please hop on over to Through Her Ribcage and read my dear friends review!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - March 15th

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks question is: 
Have you ever used a book to instruct someone of something or is there anyone for whom you would like to do that? (I don’t mean a text book for a class, but a work of fiction or non-fiction that would get a certain message across either through plot or character). What is the book and what do you wish to impart?

My Answer:
I'm sure there are many books that I would use to instruct but my mind-library is currently faulty because I just woke up. So, I'll go with the first book that came to mind: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I feel that the book deals with depression and mental illness in a way that isn't tacky but still funny. Yet, it is clear of the utter depths one will sink to while in such a predicament and what goes on within the mind of someone suffering. I am not categorizing depression into this book and saying all forms are the same, but I am saying that this gives a good idea of how desperate and alone a person could feel. For a person who has not suffered from depression or known a family member or friend to suffer, I feel that this book would be great to instruct what it's like and how it feels. There may be other books out there that do this job much more accurately than this, but until I read that book, I'll stick to this as my answer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters

I am admitting to my own failure: I read this book months ago and never got around to writing about it. I know, I'm horrible, I've had this draft sitting in my posting section for months. It's been staring at me in it's grayish font just asking to be written and I've ignored it, brushed it off, and moved onto better things. But not anymore! I am sorry, Sea of Monsters, I am now devoting all of my attention to you.

I was quite impressed with the first Percy Jackson book. It's a children's book, yes, but it placed a certain sparkle to Greek mythology. It could spark the interest of children and maybe make it a little easier for them to read about the Greek gods they've come to enjoy through these stories. While working as a bookstore I often had children coming in asking for books about the Greek myths because they were fans of Percy Jackson. It was a direct influence. They found the books to be "cool" and the gods to be "awesome" and they had heard that it was all based off of really old stories. Go figure! But any book that gets kids reading, and not just reading but interested in more classic literature and story-telling, is okay in my opinion.

It also helps that Percy Jackson is an adorably funny read. Maybe a little cheesy at times but it's entertaining even as an adult. I think that this would be a series I'd love to share with my children, to read out loud to them, and I'd enjoy it just as much as they.

In the second book of the Percy Jackson series, The Sea of Monsters, we're introduced to a new character who I completely fell in love with: Tyson. He's a huge kid, homeless, and with a lovable if unique personality. This kid adores Percy and follows him about like a devoted pet. It's adorable. I couldn't get enough of this character and would literally 'aww' every time he did something cute. The character's unique appearance and manners made it hard for Percy to make friends, which is unfortunate, but through out the book it became clear that Tyson is the right friend to have.

Camp Half-Blood, the magical area where the demigods are protected and can truly be themselves, is in danger and Percy sets off to save the camp, but there is one big blaring issue: Grover, Percy's best friend, has been taken as a prisoner somewhere near the Sea of Monsters. The Sea of Monsters have swallowed many a Greek hero whole but in this day and age we know of the area as the Bermuda Triangle. That's something I love about Percy Jackson, that it takes modern day locations and turns them into something unique and mythical. (Not that the Bermuda Triangle wasn't already unique).

Things are never easy for Percy and there is an assortment of problems that he runs into while on his quest. There's also appearances of other gods, visits of others who you've seen in the first book of the series, and the introduction of other mythical characters and beings. It's such a great learning tool for children, this series, and it's all so wildly entertaining. I really can't get enough of it (even if it's taken me a century to write this review). I fully intend on continuing with the series and reading other books written by Rick Riordan.

The books have a Harry Potter twist in that there are the three good friends; two being boys, one being a smart girl, while all are coming up against obstacles that no mere mortal could handle. It's a great recipe for entertainment for a child/preteen/teenager/adult of any gender and doesn't need to be specified to "Great for girls!" or "awesome for boys!". I love that it doesn't have to be categorized, necessarily, into an age group either. And that comes as a rarity in the pre-teen world: to find a book that can appeal to all ages. But Percy Jackson has achieved that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Musing Mondays - March 12th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

What book do you wish you were reading right now? Where would you take it to, if you could go anywhere to read for a while?

All of my books, really. I know, what a boring generic answer, right? But hear me out - I am so busy that I am squeezing in time to read. The reason for my business will be made later this month. But I just haven't the time at the moment to sit and read through my books one after another.

A few years ago I had a January where I had no work and that's all I did: read. I read huge 1,000 page books because I didn't have the time frame and it was magical. Maybe that's a more clearcut answer to the question. If I were to read something right now, I wish I could be reading my huge multi-hundred page books. If I could go anywhere to read I would go to summer: not when it's too overwhelmingly hot and to the lake by my house so that I could read in the outdoors and shade.

Because for me, there is nothing quite as magical as reading during the summer with the warm breeze blowing on your naked arms and legs. The sound of the breeze, the splash of the lake, and the shout and play of kids along the man-made beach is pretty perfect background noise to accompany reading as well.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Silver Kiss

The Silver Kiss is told by two characters: Zoe, a teenage girl with more on her plate than she feels she can handle and Simon, a 300 year old vampire. This was written long before the teenage vampire craze took over the literary world so don't back out of this review just yet. Despite that this book very much involves a vampire character and his back story I feel that the supernatural isn't the main topic of this book. It's the idea of handling death.

In that, the book is amazing. Through Annette Curtis Klause's creative use of words she gives you this story of two people who are both very lonely, both dealing with the occurrence of death, and yet underlying it all is this sensitive discussion of a very normal, human function that is at times very hard to talk about.

Simon is capable of bringing death out of his basic need to live. He feeds off of life and can easily kill from taking too much. Other vampires take lives without a care, leaving families broken and in mourning. But Simon has suffered his own loses, having seen death as a mortal as well, and he understands the harm and grief it can cause.

Zoe is dealing with that hopeless point of waiting for death. Not for herself but for her mother. Suffering from cancer, Klause writes of Zoe's hopes, desperation, confusion and heartbreak as she witnesses her mother's slow decline. As someone who has witnessed family members suffer from cancer (and some pass) I found Klause to have been dead on with the emotions felt during that horrible time. The most poignant and moving way Zoe was attempting to handle what was occurring to her mother was her considering magic spells. Please, don't immediately think "oh it's a supernatural book, now we're getting into magic" because that isn't the case. Zoe is at that desperate moment of consider any possibility. Does magic exist? Can you make someone you love stop being ill and prevent them from dying? At that point a person is willing to consider anything and hope that they'll find a cure.

I believe that handling death was what this book about while the two characters in play helped support it through the actions they did. There is a spark of romance but nothing too overboard and Simon, although he looks rather dashing, is more grizzly than most vampires that are in literature today. Sleeping in dust and dirt, exhibiting human bodily functions, but nothing horribly graphic so don't concern yourself with that.

I read this book originally when I was in Middle School. I had dived into The Vampire Chronicles and it kicked off my obsession with vampires. I wanted more, all the vampire books I could get, but there weren't many options on the market at that time (hey, it was late 90's). When I read The Silver Kiss, it came at a time just under two years since I had experienced my first death (my grandfather) and the book made me cry. It wrapped up how I had felt so clearly, so perfectly, and its ending was uplifting. It gave me hope and an understanding that I hadn't quite been able to grasp beforehand. I suddenly got it.

This will be a favorite of mine for years to come and I'm sure I'll come back to it time and time again. I bought a copy of the book a few years ago and was really surprised that I never wrote a review on it. I love this book, hands down and I hope you will as well.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - March 8th

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks question is: 
Which non-series book would you most like to read the sequel to? Do you have any wishes for what might happen in it?

My Answer:
I just had this discussion with Ash of Through Her Ribcage about the book Father of Lies which I read a year ago and she has read recently. The book is absolutely fantastic and the end leaves you wanting more. We both agreed: we wished there was a sequel. I felt the same way with Tuck Everlasting (as a child) and numerous other books. Basically, if I enjoy a book thoroughly, I want there to be a sequel. I don't want to let go of the characters and I keep wanting to live in their worlds. Especially if the book has some sense of magic or a really interesting main character whom I love.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

E-readers and Bookstores

What may possibly be the most noticeable event in the publishing world is the disappearance of bookstores. Many place blame on e-readers causing the closure of Borders and forcing stores to cut back due to a lack of sales. In fact, there seems to be a wide range of support for the existence of bookstores, and you won’t find me bashing them. I do love bookstores, I love the atmosphere, and nothing brings me more happiness than a trip to an indie seller where I can curl up and read.

Some of the more elaborate online comments spotted on different sites pertaining to e-readers and bookstores are such gems as, “The kindle killed my bookstore/Borders” and “people who use e-readers are lazy! Go to a book store!”

First, I would like the address the ‘laziness’ of e-reader owners. As someone maintaining a blog, working two jobs (one that involves a sixty mile commute, round trip), applying for full time jobs, plus an assortment of other things I do – I don’t necessarily have the time (or the gas) to drive an hour to the closest bookstore. But when I visit a bookstore, I browse, I enjoy the displays, and I will check out books I would like to buy and place them on my to read list. Sometimes I’ll buy a book then and there, other times I’ll download it onto my kindle. But really, no one is making profit off of me right now because I have so many books in my house that I’m refusing to purchase new books until I’ve read them.

But does this ‘laziness’ stem from people not visiting bookstores at all because they are busy sitting at home with their automatic downloads? Because if that’s so, why was there no calls of laziness (that I spotted, at least) for all of the years people were ordering printed copies of books from the internet to be delivered at their doorstep? Oh? A copy of the book you wanted wasn’t at your local bookstore? So you had it delivered to that store or to your home? Well, don’t be lazy! Drive to a store where they have copies! Really, the laziness argument in itself is lazy because there is nothing to back it up. It’s just talk.

But is the purchasing of books through digital means (whether for your e-reader or for copies of books to be delivered to your home) destroying bookstores? Borders Group closed its doors less than a year ago bringing out cries from many die hard bookstore/book lovers declaring the evil of e-readers. Borders had not turned a profit since 2006, it had “lost its edge” in the mid-1990’s.

“[Borders] went heavy into CD music sales and DVD, just as the industry was going digital.” Said Peter Wahlstromg when interviewed for the article, "Why Borders Failed While Barnes & Noble Survived".

“He says Barnes & Noble also invested in beefing up its online sales. Eventually, it also developed its own e-reader, the Nook. Borders did not.”

By the time Borders began to offer e-readers it was already scrambling. Holiday sales weren’t what they needed to be. It was trying to do anything it could to keep above water. I was an employee of the store prior to its closing and every month the store changed its rules and demands for the employees. Each month there was something new they were having us push on customers. Whether it was “Books You’ll Love” or being a door greeter. I am not saying e-readers had nothing to do with the closing of Borders but I believe that it didn’t have as great of an influence as e-reader haters believe it did.

In recent months, with so many e-readers and tablets being released onto the market, in addition to smart phones where you can still read your favorite book, the e-book industry is more powerful than ever. “Wahlstrom says Borders is disappearing at a time when, as consumers, readers are more empowered than ever. He says he still reads paper books but also reads on his iPhone, computer or tablet.”

“Lurking behind all of this is, the dominant force in books online and the company that sets teeth on edge in publishing” stated Julie Bosman in her article "The Bookstore’s Last Stand". “But in many locales, Barnes & Noble, is the only retailer offering a wide selection of books.”

This would be my problem, and I have many friends who have similar issues. We love books, we live off of the feeling of purchasing something new to read. But we don’t have bookstores in our areas. I, in fact, haven’t a singular bookshelf in my entire county. If I want to go to a bookstore I have to drive (as I mentioned) a solid hour to get to the closest one. Barnes & Noble is one of them. Once upon a time B&N was looked down upon by different book lovers for being the bully who took out the independent bookstores. When B&N came into power many of these indie stores suffered.

It seems that no matter what, every generation has some new drama to deal with when pertaining to the book publishing world. First it was the emergence of department-styled bookstores. Now it’s the appearance of digital books.

“Mr. Lynch says Barnes & Noble stores will endure. The idea that devices like the Nook, Kindle and Apple iPad will make bookstores obsolete is nonsense, he says. ‘Our stores are not going anywhere,’ he said… He pointed to a surprisingly robust holiday season. In the nine weeks leading up to Christmas, sales were up 4 percent from the previous year. Titles for children and young adults are doing well, partly as a result of the popularity of fiction with paranormal or dystopian themes…’”

Through the negative phases the book world has gone through, times where people have cried out for some justice for their ideas of tradition, there has always been something that has helped out the change in times. Independent bookstores still exist, B&N still exists, e-readers are there. I don’t believe published books will fully disappear. I feel that there are far too many printed book lovers in the world to allow that. What is wonderful is that no one is forcing you, the reader, to choose sides. You do not have to have an e-reader if you do not want to. You do not have to go to a bookstore if you don’t feel like it. Wahlstrom was right, we are in a powerful position right now. We have so many options and can really cater to one another’s needs. We can do what we need to do, what makes us happy. All I ask is that we respect one another’s choices. If you do not like e-readers because you adore that crisp book in your hand, because you like things the traditional way, that’s okay. If you love e-readers because of the easiness of it all or the weightlessness of not having to carry books, that’s great. But what made me want to feed out these four entries filled with rants and rambles and quotes from random articles was the blatant hatred and disgust of what people like. We are all allowed our own opinions, even if they defer from our own, it’s our freedom as a human being: the capability of our own thoughts. So if you have a particular dislike for something (book/e-reader) respect those who do and please, agree to disagree.

Interested in more e-book ranting/loving?

Check these posts out:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - March 6th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"It made Richard think of documentary films he had seen of schools of fish, glittering and darting through the ocean... Deep water, inhabited by things that had lost the use of their eyes." 
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Musing Mondays - March 5th

Hosted by Should Be Reading, this week's musing asks...

When you walk into a bookstore — any bookstore — what’s the first section you head toward (what draws you)?

My Answer is:
I am a wanderer in bookstores but I have my specific paths. There are only two bookstores that I frequent in my area - my county is void of any bookstores so I have to drive an hour to get to one - and both have a set route that I take through the store.

Barnes and Noble in the city I work in has a layout where to the left (from the door) are the registers and to the right is the cafe. When I go to B&N it's usually to get some type of a hot drink so I immediately head to the cafe, strolling along and looking at the new paperback displays they have along that walk. Once I have my coffee or tea I go along that path again, this time between the first line of bookshelves until I get to the center walkway where they have the displays of new books. I then head back to the new Fiction and YA Fiction section and take a peak. This is the same path every time I go into B&N, even if I'm there to pick up something specific that is in another section entirely.

For The Moravian Book Shop I start off in the gift shop section, looking at Christmas ornaments followed by cooking supplies. When I finally make it through the large store to the actual book store I go straight for the display of new fiction. I always visit that table.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Lorax

The Lorax has been a long loved children's book by Dr. Seuss featuring his typical elaborately illustrated cast of characters and clever wording to create a world similar to our own. The Lorax is a character introduced while a tale is told of a time gone by, a land filled with animals, birds, fish and forest. It has all since disappeared, having been replaced by factories, the trees harvested and the waters polluted. The creatures are gone, the land is dead, all because of the greed of business and refusal to listen to the Lorax's warnings.

Who was the Lorax but a voice for those who had none. "I speak for the trees!" he would shout. And always he begged for consideration to the life that existed there before industry took over.

When the book was originally published during the year 1971, environmental protection was beginning to grow in popularity. Although I wasn't alive, I can't speak from personal experience, I'm under the impression that the 1970's was when people realized that their mindless destruction of the enviroment was bringing around immediate problems. With the environmental movement in full swing as was the anti-nuclear activism that was becoming prominent during that time. Even now, as the Lorax movie prepares for release, there is environmental awareness as citizens take the steps necessary to cleaner energy options and pushing for environmental awareness. Instead of having a Lorax to speak for the trees, we have people.

The movie has been drawing some criticism which shouldn't be a surprise considering the book had also had it's own negative responses from an assortment of people. Fox News declared that the movie is indoctrinating children. Maybe I was brainwashed at an early age but I feel the movie's message to respect the environment is necessary. The film looks enjoyable on an entertainment level and the book was always enjoyable when I was younger.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

Brought to you by the site Booking Through Thursday, each Thursday readers are asked a question (mainly book related) and answers are shared.

This weeks question is:
Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? Who and what about them did you love?

My Answer:
Yes! As much as one can love a fictional character I have loved many a character. Basically, if I find myself excited when that character is mentioned or makes appearances it's a sign of love. If I think about that character when I'm not reading, it's a sign of love. I've had a heavy love affair with Louis de Pointe du Lac of The Vampire Chronicles fame. As a child I was also in love with Dickon from The Secret Garden (I wanted to be his friend and play with him!) and as an older child, barely a pre-teen, I loved Jesse Tuck of Tuck Everlasting. There are so many other characters who I have 'fallen in love with' that I could probably (and should) make an entire entry completely devoted to them.