Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time: A really long list of books

            So Summer is coming up, and I CANNOT WAIT.
            I always feel so great at the end of the semester, whether it's the Fall or Spring one. But of course I'm going to be more excited about the Spring semester coming to an end because the break is WAY longer--which means more TIME.
            Time is something I never ever have when I'm at school, so I'm super stoked to just have extra time not devoted to homework. Instead, I'm doing the usual: editing the story, then querying the story, then writing other things. BUT. This Summer, i have a new thing I want to try out: reading!
            Yeah, I know. Soooooo exciting. And it's not like I don't read as of now. But like I said, the time thing...I don't have it. Usually, when I manage to have spare time, I'm only doing what I have listed above, which I love love love doing, don't get me wrong. It's just that...I would really love love love to take a break from being kind of stressed out (mainly about the querying part) and escape from things the way I used to: plain old sitting somewhere comfy and reading.
            Seriously, if you know me, you know I love to read, (what writer doesn't?) and I always seem to have a different book. My friends always comment on how many bookshelves I have, I must of read all of those books, and therefore, I must be a better, more enriched, human being because of it. People must think I'm a super-awesome-speed reader. Nah. Nope. None of it. I just have a hard time concentrating on one book at a time while school is in the mix for some reason.
            And those book shelves? Illusions, Micheal! (You're my insta-friend if you know what that is in reference to!)

            So to motivate myself in this new-kind-of-not-really-new idea,  I'm making a list of books to read...or just finish, because there are a lot of those lying around. But there are rules.If there are no rules, I feel like I'll just end up buying tons of books to add to the almost finished book shelf, which would be kind of counter productive.
           Rule 1: I can only read the book if I have it in my possession. This means (with few exceptions, meaning the book hasn't come out yet and is due out this summer) that I have to read and finish the books I have, unless they're awful, before buying the books on my wishlist.
          Rule 2: Read all borrowed books first. I have a really hard time giving back books in a timely manner to my friends, so I'm going to en-state this rule for those poor souls still waiting for their books to come home to them.
          Rule 3: In between reading books that are borrowed, I have to finish at least one book that I own that I've started but never finished. That way, i will feel like I am reading more, even though I'm pretty much not, because I literally have like, a few chapters left of most of the books I have yet to finish.
         Rule 4: As strict as I am with writing, I am not as strict with reading. so I am going to follow the same rule I have when it comes to writing for myself: Read a little every day.  Even if I'm busy, or don't feel like it. Do it. I will thank myself later. Trust me.
           So, here we go, a not-even-close-to-being-finished-list of books I want to read/buy/finish this summer.

Book number 1: Looking for Alaska by John Green

      Yes, I know, most people have already read this book and know of John Green's super amazing-ness. But dude, I read The Fault in Our Stars first. That book was so sad, and funny, and beautiful, that it hooked me into buying this book the day I finished it.
     ...And then it sat on my bookshelf, where it was neglected for months and months and months. I haven't decided which order I'm going to read the books I've bought, but this is definitely up there.
     You want a synopsis? eh, here's one from Amazon:
     Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. Green's dialogue is crisp, especially between Miles and Chip. His descriptions and Miles's inner monologues can be philosophically dense, but are well within the comprehension of sensitive teen readers. The chapters of the novel are headed by a number of days "before" and "after" what readers surmise is Alaska's suicide.Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book number 2:  Half Black Soul by H.D. Gordon

      Now, don't go calling me biased because one of my friends wrote this. Fuck you, she's and amazing writer, and if you haven't read her first book, Blood Warrior, you should go to Amazon right now and read that.
      So I started this, and got a good chunk of it read before midterms smacked me in the face. I've read pieces of it here and there, but I haven't had time to dive right into it for a while. This is probably going to be the first book on my "finish" list. Just because it is amazing, and I love all of her characters. If you like vampires, and blood, and not the typical "oh you're a vampire, well, I automatically love you because of that fact" vampire fiction, read the first book and then read this. I mean it.
     Oh, here's a synopsis from Amazon:  In the past few weeks Alexa Montgomery has had her entire world flipped upside down. She's gone from living a semi-normal teenage life to a life full of vampires and werewovles who all expect her to deliver them from the control of an evil dictator because she is the last of her kind. She is a Sun Warrior. Alexa has left the safety of Two Rivers and gone in search of her mother. WIth her is Kayden, a vampire who is the other half of her, and who will do anything to protect her. But, by going on her quest, she has left behind her sister, the one person she was always told to protect. Secrets will come out, relationships will break and danger lies just ahead. WIll Alexa be able to face it all and come out alive? And, will she be able to protect her sister from danger when she is so far away?

Book number 3: Hairstyles of The Damned by Joe Meno

     My best friend, Sara, was down a week ago and gave me this book to borrow. She said something to the effect of "You'll like this one. It's got punk stuff in it." God, does she know me. Okay, I'm reading this one right now, and I'm about **this** close to finishing it, so I won't copy the synopsis and I'll just sum it up really quick:
     Brian Oswald is a kid whose parents are fighting, is trying to fit in at his catholic school, while trying to find love and be a teenager, and figuring out where he belongs and who he is. Seriously, this book captures to a T what it is like trying to be a punk, and not just that, but a teen in any respect, and just trying to figure it out. I'm not going to say anymore, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to post a book review on it. But you should read it. I'm loving it.


Book number 4: Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

     My boyfriend, Al, got me this book for, I birthday last year? I don't know. I do know that I love this book! I honsestly do not know why I haven;t gotten around to finishing it. There are Neil Gaiman and vampire movie/book references. This is funny as hell too. Also, it takes the popular vampire conventions and bends--or just plain laughs at them. And then--THEN--in the middle of this fat kid being truned into a vampire, and the hilarity, there is heart. There is love; there is horror. This will probably be the next book I finish.

Book number 5:  Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

     I know I had to have read this book back in middle school at some time, but I cannot remember reading it, or anything about it, so therefore it is as if I haven't read it. And I really really want to read it. We all know the story by now, I hope, so I'm not going to post a synopsis. I also want to read "Choke," but I think I'll start with this one. Oh, and I don't own this book or anything, so hopefully I will be able to stick to my rules so I finish books that I have and not spend money on this until I actually have it. So. that's that.

Book number 6: Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi  

      With very few exceptions(The Hunger Games and things), I'm not too big into the new-wave dystopian novels. However, there are a few that I have my eye on, and this book is one of them. I read the first few pages in Target one day, and I really like how it's set up. It starts off quick, but without losing important character building, which I feel like is so crucial in the first few chapters a book sometimes, yet is often ignored in YA. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just what I personally like most of the time. AND there is this cool experimental stuff going on with it. A lot of the lines are crossed out to where you can still read them, and then something contradictory is written instead. And I remember I felt like I was reading poetry rather than a YA book, which was really nice and not something I always like, but it was done really nicely in this. Of course this is on the do-not-buy-until-you-are-absolutely-done-with-the-rest-of-them alas. Until that day.

Book number 7: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larson

     This is one of those books that I'm sad to finish, so that's probably
why I have been stuck on that last ten chapters or so for about three months. It's not that it's slow, or that I don't like it. It's just that I've been reading the series since winter break, and I love love love all of the books. I'm sad to be done. This always happens to me when I read series books. I plow through the first few books, then I get stuck on the last one to the point of craziness where I vow never-again-will-I-read-a-series-ever-I-mean-it-this-time. BUt Lisbeth is just such an amazing character, as well as all of the characters in the Millenium series. I'm going to miss her.
     No synopsis for you. If you don't know what these books are about, that is completely your loss.

Book number 8: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

     Because I love the show, and I love the characters, and if I don't, Al will absolutely slaughter me, I'm putting this on the list. My boyfriend has always told me, from the moment I met him, that he doesn't like to read. Well, I saw it as my job from that moment on to make him LOVE reading for-the-love-of-god-even-if-it-kills-me. So I bought him this book for like, six dollars for Christmas and he read it in a few weeks. He's now on the newest one;I've created a monster.
     There are a few drawbacks that are holding me back from reading this. Okay, I already saw season one, which really means nothing, but Al tells me it's pretty much the same as the book--and then pointed out what wasn't (a monster, I'm telling you!). So I kind of know what's going to happen. Also, it's not the typical thing I like to read. It's very fantasy, which I barely read any of anymore, but used to love when I was younger. However, I really like the Dyer wolves, and John Snow, and the dragons and things like that, so I think I'll eventually get around to reading it. I may just have to break it up with other not finished books and things. Or maybe my estimation is completely wrong and I'll just completely spend my entire summer reading the rest of the series.

Book number 9: A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford
     This is another sequel. I read her first book during the "hurricane" last summer when the power went out at Al's house for like, 12 hours straight. It's about angels, and dark angels, and new-super-natural-creatures that I love love loved. There is also romance, and gore, and darkness. Real, not, "my boyfriend is such a douche bag but I love him so I guess I'm stuck with him. I'm gonna be depressed now," darkness. I could never get into the books about angels and fallen angels, mainly because I always feel like with a lot of them you have to have a biblical background to get any of it, but with this it wasn't the case. So. I may be breaking the no-buying-books-rule for this one, just because I meant to get it when it came out but Stockton made me concentrate on things like earning a degree so I don't have to work at Petsmart the rest of my life.

Book number 10: 

     Okay. So I kind-of-sort-of-may-have-seen-the-movie-and-then-immediately-went-out-to-buy-the-book with this one.
      ...Then the book sat on my to be read shelf for over a year. Yep. Anyway, This book is kind of like the Hairstyles of The Damned book in that it's mostly about being different and trying to fit in while sticking out, finding yourself while growing up, and all the while trying to deal with school junk, family shit, and dumb boys. The character has a really strong and sarcastic voice, one that reminded me a teensy bit of a certain character of mine So. I think I'll like this, I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. PLUS! Roller derby! How could I forget about roller derby! 

            ...Okay, there you have it. If you've read this far, good for you. This is only a fraction of a fraction of the books I have on my ever-growing list, so stay tuned for new lists and reviews of the books I read! : )

Thursday, April 26, 2012


            So I thought I would start off my new blogger with something I wrote for school.
            Here's a little background before you read it:
            I wrote it for a class called "Writing About Nature." It's exactly what it sounds like. Anyway, for this assignment, we had to take something about nature and explain it to people using science-like-things. I chose bats, and I only used two sciency-things. But I really like how it turned out; it's even better than I thought it could have been.
            My professor thought it was good too, so he asked me to read it at Stockton's Creative Writing Showcase.
              The thing about me and reading out loud to people: I'm usually okay with it. HOWEVER, I have always, always had this inexplicable fear when reading my own things out loud to people. I don't know where it came from, but there it is.
            So, if you haven't seen the video of me reading it that my friend, Matt, recorded using his phone, I'll put it somewhere in here. But take my word for it, it shows that I was nervous. I was scared to read something that was new to me, that I hadn't been working on for years.
            I was scared to read out loud something that was true, because I usually write fiction. I was scared that the people, the actual writers around me, would be judging me.
            But after I was done, professors and college students-and writers came up to me and told me how much they liked it.
            That is what made the whole thing worth the sweating and the shaking and the freaking out.
            The fact that people I didn't even know fouund something that they liked in something that I wrote.
That feeling outweighs the fear.
            So, I'm going to post the actual paper now. That way, people can either just read it, or read it while they listen to me read it, because the sound quality isn't too good. 

So here is the video, if you want to watch:

And here's the actual story:

The Look in Their Eyes
            The creature that stared back at me was terrified. If I turned around, I saw the same look mimicked on the faces around me. Each of the muscles near their eyes and lips were wrinkled in horrific grimaces as high pitched screams pierced through the warm summer air.
             This is the first image that comes to mind when I think about bats. Or middle school. It sounds really bizarre, but maybe a little back story will help.
             When I was about twelve, I was obsessed with horror movies. Was it the blood or gore that I was drawn to? Or was it the safety of knowing that it's okay to be scared, because it isn't real and when the movie is over, you can turn off the TV and resume normal life?
             No. For me, the main reason was this: the look in someone’s eyes. It is so amazing to me that someone can create something so fake, so unbelievable, yet when you're caught in the moment, you feel fear as if it were real. The fear that you feel is completely genuine, no matter how stupid you feel after the lights turn back on.
            I was the girl in school who carried around a coffin shaped back pack , the kid who would rather talk about the different ways to make corn syrup blood during lunch than last night's episode of Gilmore Girls. I was the only person my age that knew that a vampire bat’s cave mate cannot find blood, he will regurgitate blood into his mouth so he would not starve.
            Other kids were afraid of me. I found it impossible to make friends, and I visibly saw them shrink away from me as I walked down the halls.
             Someone in my family thought it was a brilliant idea to invite some of my peers to a pool party one day. We had never had a pool ourselves, but my aunt and uncle had just gotten one. Their house sat in the middle of the woods. Most of the yard was one big, open, space where they had cleared some trees. The remaining oaks hung over us like we were in the middle of the forest. The trees always made me realize how small I felt. Not because I was twelve years old, but small in the world. There was no way I would ever be as big and commanding as those oak trees that loomed overhead.
             The kids in school saw me as something different for the first time. Not only was I that weird kid that sat alone reading Edgar Allan Poe at lunch, I was the weird girl who sat alone reading Edgar Allan Poe at lunch who knew someone with a pool.
            So the bats come in about here.
           Most of that day is cloudy to me. I remember I was excited to maybe make a few new friends out of this deal, but I cannot remember any of  the kids that were invited. Not one. What I remember most came after we had already been in the pool. I swam for a while, went under, and when I surfaced, I remember people pointing and saying “Get out of the pool!”
            It’s then that everything becomes crystal clear. The muscles in the faces of my party guests were twisting into shock, the sound of was water splashing as they all seemed to leak out of the pool. They left me alone and terrified to find what they were all pointing at.
            I turned around and saw clinging to the metal bar, crying like a new born, a baby bat. Everything seemed to slow down in that moment. I noticed everything about the bat and nothing about the situation at hand. Merlin Tuttle, founder and president of Bat Conservation International says that, "Because of their shy nature and nocturnal habits, bats are exceptionally difficult to portray photographically as they really are in the wild". It's only now, when I'm recalling this memory, that I truly believe him. All the pictures I've ever seen of bats are almost scary. They're snarling, or looking like they're about to bite you.
            The thought "bat" registered in my mind somewhere, but it didn't make sense with what I was witnessing in that moment. I waited for the  fear would sink in, when it would fly up and attack. But it didn't. It clung to the bar, crying, and squeaking as everyone around me was freaking out. I remember the brown, velvety skin of its wings. I can recall how pink its mouth was when it opened it to cry. His eyes were always closed.
            Time sped up again, and my uncle was pulling me out of the pool. I remember going back to my aunt and uncle’s house a week later, wanting to know where the baby had gone. My aunt told me that they caught it in a net and set it free, but that was a lie.
           My uncle was afraid that “the thing” had rabies.
           He shot it with a rifle and threw it in a garbage bag.
           My uncle said it over dinner one night like it was nothing. He told us like he had done us a great service and I hated him for it. I cried. I was sad and cried over that strange creature that not many people get to see up close. And I still think about him sometimes, when I’m thinking about trying to make new friends, or middle school, or pools. I think about the baby bat’s eyes, wishing I had seen what was behind them.