topic: happy books or sad books?

28 October 2012

This blog post is prompted by a discussion I had at lunch on Friday with my table of friends. We're all book lovers, so it became a passionate discussion.

I make myself happy, even when I'm not. If someone were to ask me "Are you happy?" I wouldn't know what to respond. I think because I'm quite bubbly at school, people automatically assume that I'm just always happy all the time. I'd beg to differ: I'm not a very cheery person when I get home. It's because of my introverted-ness. I know you're thinking "What? Then why is she bubbly at school?" Because I like being friendly, but school usually drains out all my social-ness and I recover over the weekend by staying in room all by myself and doing things alone.

Back on topic. We asked a question: "Which do you prefer, sad books or happy books?"

I said, "I like sad books"

And that fired off into passionate "argument". A friend (let's call her C) told me something along these lines:

C: "It's because you're happy all the time that sad books don't affect you as much. Sad books make me more sad, and I don't like that. Only when I'm really happy will I read a sad book. Depressed people who read sad books make them even more depressed"

Of course, her argument does have some extent of validity that I agreed with, but I'm not happy all the time and sad books do affect me. That's why I love them. My argument was this:

Me: "I love sad books because they're easy to write, meaning that it's easier to portray sad feelings, angry feelings, and all those negative emotions through writing than it is to write happy emotions. Sad books impact the reader in a tear-jerking, heart panging way that happy books sometimes can't achieve"

Then another friend, M, agreed with C and I became...well, that person on the other end of the spectrum. We compared different tastes, in which I and C were total opposites (thus this conversation)

I am too happy at school, or I seem to portray that too much so it bothers people that aren't. C is awesome: she's funny, sarcastic, and a great friend, but she has a sadness to her that I somehow challenged by saying that I liked sad books. I don't like making people upset, so this made me feel terrible. But then I thought, why feel bad about my opinion?

M and C both said they preffered happy books over sad ones. And once I again, I tried arguing that more often, sad books meant good literature (that's not always the case!). I used The Count of Monte Cristo as an example, but in the end, I was shot down. After lunch, I thought about what others would pick.

Sad books or happy books?

manga: my guilty pleasure + funny GIF!

21 October 2012

You all may not know this because I rarely ever mention this, but I do in fact read manga and I have for years. I don't mention it on this blog because I believe this blog is for novels, literary in only words. That's why you don't see graphic novels here.

But I do love manga a whole lot. It's a different type of novel, like a film in novel/drawing form. I mainly read shoujo because secretly (not so secret) I enjoy sappy romances. But not the literary YA romances that I read about: the Japanese manga ones that I can actually see.

Shoujo mangas are very visual and emotional, tugging on one's heart strings and effectively portray a story. It's because instead of just reading "He blushed profusely" or "she said with dangerous fervour", one can actually see it. I'm not making sense, but facial expressions say a lot more than words and manga-kas (manga "writers") have perfected it.

Like right now, I was just reading the latest chapter of Akuma to Love Song and I decided to find an old chapter image to show you what I mean (w/o spoilers!) The ones I wanted to use had spoilers, so if you're planning on reading it (it's AMAZING) then I won't be the one to ruin it

You can see exactly what each character is feeling and you can hear Maria's voice in your head. Even the heart has the effect of showing you her danger (with that cool, darkened face)

The amazing mangas will make you cry and laugh and giggle, and here are some that I recommend:

Fruits Basket (THE ULTIMATE MANGA! #1)
VB Rose (really sweet and cute, I CRAVE this one)
Love So Life
KouKou Debut
Hana Kimi
Special A
Ouran High School Host Club
Beauty Pop
Black Bird

 OK I know these sound like terrible titles. I laughed at first when my friend introduced me to "Fruits Basket". I thought to myself, "What the heck? Is it about...a basket of fruit? What are these strange drawings? The eyes are so disproportionate to the face. HAHA what's up with their tiny mouths? Why do they always wear such short skirts! The modesty, honestly"

 I was naive. It's not about the drawings (even though some styles really bother me) and well...maybe it IS about the drawings. That's an important factor. But the story is what's so sweet.

 A manga that has the most HILARIOUS drawings is Dengeki Daisy. It cracks me up every page! Look look, proof:

While we're talking about funny things, here's this gif I found on Tumblr that's just so ridiculously funny that I've shared it with so many friends. I dare you not to laugh! I've broken out into hysterical laughing over it, to the point of tears: so it's quite emotionally intense. Prepare yourself.


topic: reading in class/for class

I have horrible news to share with you all. The best book in the entire world, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (on my favourites list) is recommended reading in my class and has been for the past two weeks.

Of course I, being stubborn and too in love with the book to ruin it through a rubbish study guide, refused to read it for class. It's a parallel reading, which means it's out of class, and thank goodness for that.

Teachers + Students Reading Aloud

No. Just...I can't stand it. When teachers read aloud, they can read pretty fluently, so that's a positive. However, I don't like it when anyone reads aloud at all. I have my own voice in my head that reads at a musical, pleasant pace. Yet when someone reads aloud, the story dries up. I can't have the lovely film playing in my head or the character's voices speaking to me: because the teacher/student's voice is all I can hear. It's horrible. And when students read: it'll be in a monotone voice with hideous mispronunciation and frequent pauses and so on.
I've resolved to myself that if I read aloud in class, I will put on whatever accent I must, raise or lower my voice to fit the character and speak as if I were actually speaking aloud in the story rather than sitting in an English class being told to read by the teacher.

So for this part, I'm glad that my teacher didn't read The Alchemist out loud. She read the first sentence and the story of Narcissus and I felt destroyed inside. Now, whenever I try to read it in my voice, it's her voice I hear. I feel terrible about this, and my love for the book is somehow in jeopardy because of it. I wanted, the entire time, to plug up my ears. However, that's impossible because I sit right in front of her in class and I didn't want to look to obvious and offending.

Required Reading: A HUGE NO

Required reading destroys the character, charm and beauty of a book. I strongly believe this is the reason why loads of teenagers my age, younger and older, "hate reading". They don't hate it, they're love for it just hasn't been nurtured and their experience of required reading has forever scarred them.

For instance, if all one can worry about it finishing x amount of chapters by Friday for Friday's quiz, or completing that (rubbish!) study guide for the test next week, or answering the guided reading questions for homework due on Wednesday AHHHHHHHH! A student will forever relate that book with the tedious amounts of useless homework involved with it.

When I read The Epic of Gilgamesh for class, I read it on my own and loved it. Yet when I completed the study guide, the love dwindled. I couldn't think about anything but how question #8 really trumped me and where is it in the book? What page, what line?

What Do I DO?!

However, for The Alchemist, I cannot afford to fail it because I'm too close to an A and it's nearing the end of the semester.

I feel terrible right now. Like once I start working on the study guide, I'll be on my way to a funeral. I'm torn. The test is next week. What do I do?!

giveaway: foxfire

20 October 2012

Hello all! It's time for another giveaway sponsored by an awesome publishing company: Flux. I think this is Halloween themed, but its opinionated. I believes the paranormal concepts allow the book to be tied to the paranormal celebration of Halloween, don't you think?

The book is Foxfire by Karen Kincy: it was just released this month, so if you want to, it's available to purchase in stores. Now, I've only read the first book and it's enjoyable but I regret to say that I haven't read the second and not even this one. If you're a reviewer, I'd like to read your review on this! :)

In this short, ten day giveaway, any US resident will have a chance to win a copy of the book!'s the third instalment in with two other books before it, so it'll make sense for only those you've read or are planning to read the first two to enter!

About the Book:

Tavian and Gwen race to find a magical cure in the third thrilling Other novel. Tavian has never forgotten his real mother, a shapeshifting Japanese fox spirit like himself, who abandoned him. On a trip to Japan, his homeland, he discovers that she's alive. But a faceless ghost warns Tavian to stay away from her. Even worse, Tavian's magical fox powers have vanished. Finding his mother in Tokyo's seamy underworld may be his only chance to beat back the vicious dog spirits stalking him and his girlfriend Gwen--and to recover from a fatal magical illness eroding his human side.

Find out more on Goodreads

About the Author:

Karen Kincy (Redmond, Washington) lives among countless trees, some of which—her pet kumquats and oranges—have lovingly invaded her apartment. Unlike her characters, she has never been on the run from the law or bitten by a werewolf, though she has been known to howl at the moon. Karen has BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College, and is studying toward a Master’s in Computational Linguistics. (more on her website)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

review: snow flower and the secret fan

17 October 2012

book info:
ages: 14 and up
grades: 8-9 and up
years: 10 and up
on sale: now
copy from: library
pages: 258

title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
author: Lisa See

Lily is haunted by memories–of who she once was, and of a person, long gone, who defined her existence. She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness.

In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.

With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

topic: blogging back then vs now + old friends

13 October 2012

Inspired by this post at a Reading Daydreamer, I've decided to finally stop being lazy and actually discuss something important (at least, to me)

How Blogging Has Changed:
Well, Jen (Reading Daydreamer) specifically mentioned ARCs and how blogging has become very competitive with the most popular blogs being the ones that receive the most ARCs. When I started four years ago (my anniversary is in two days!) many blogs that are huge today were in their early years. Everything was about sharing a love for books. I know that sounds so cliché and ideal, but it really was. Huge blogs gained followers through giveaways, but bloggers who were at my level: we commented on each other's blogs often and discussed books and what we liked and didn't.

I've noticed a trend in ARCs. Lots of blogs have already spoken about the courtesy and requests for ARCs that one should follow. For the first year, I was too naive to realise that I could actually get an ARC. I just reviewed books that were already published and that I could find at the library. To me, blogging is still just about the love of books. I only ask for ARCs on books that I really really like the sound of, and not just because I want free books. I don't constantly try to get as many as I can, because I don't have the time for that.

I'm not saying I'm better than everyone: it's just that blogging really IS different.

Lack of Blogging Friends
It seems that with so many blogs, it's hard to keep a track of a few. I used to have a group of really close blogging friends that I absolutely enjoyed: but most of them have shut down their blogs, or have gotten thousands of followers so that it's just too hard to keep in contact. Or time has acted as a barrier and I barely speak to them anymore. Back then, being friends with other bloggers was REALLY important, and I think that importance has deteriorated over the years.

Blogging as a business
Blogging is not a business. It shouldn't be. That'd be like owning a website or something. Lately, many bloggers have been turning into super-pro blogs. When this happens, it disconnects them from other people, and therefore defies the purpose of having a blog, in my opinion.

Who Were My Friends? 
You hear me talking about them often. Here are some posts from way back when that really show what blogging was like:

Top Ten (9) Bloggers of 2010 (You'll see the now really popular Brent from Naughty Book Kitties on there!)
Why I love Blogging (2010) I got lots more comments from the people I enjoyed, reading them now makes me feel nostalgic
Blogger Bullying (2010): When I got bullied. The support I received was so comforting and amazing!

review: timbuctoo

04 October 2012

book info:
ages: 15 and up
grades: 9-10 and up
years: 11 and up
on sale: now!
copy from: the author! signed too! Thank you :)
pages: 544

title: Timbuctoo
author: Tahir Shah

For centuries, the greatest explorers of their age were dispatched from the power-houses of Europe London, Paris and Berlin on a quest unlike any other: To be the first white Christian to visit, and then to sack, the fabled metropolis of Timbuctoo.
Most of them never returned alive.
At the height of the Timbuctoo mania, two hundred years ago, it was widely believed that the elusive Saharan city was fashioned in entirety from the purest gold everything from the buildings to the cobble-stones, from the buckets to the bedsteads was said to be made from it.
One winter night in 1815, a young illiterate American seaman named Robert Adams was discovered half-naked and starving on the snow-bound streets of London. His skin seared from years in the African desert, he claimed to have been a guest of the King of Timbuctoo.
Thought of an American claiming anything let alone the greatest prize in exploration was abhorrent in the extreme. Closing ranks against their unwelcome American guest, the British Establishment lampooned his tale, and began a campaign of discrediting him, one that continues even today.
An astonishing tale based on true-life endurance, Tahir Shah s epic novel Timbuctoo brilliantly recreates the obsessions of the time, as a backdrop for one of the greatest love stories ever told.

Timbuctoo will be released on July 5, 2012. This is a limited edition hardback, very very high spec, and designed along the lines of the travel books of two centuries ago. It weighs 2 kilos (almost 4.5 lbs), has fabulous marbled endpapers, a silk bookmark, a pouch at the rear with inserts, and six huge fold-out maps. The paper is wood-free, and the cover embossed with raised gold type.

In addition, each copy contains the clues needed to begin a treasure hunt that could result in locating one of four golden treasures of Timbuctoo. The book is a thing of extraordinary beauty, and the kind of book that will last two hundred years or more

finally: it's here!

02 October 2012

After over two weeks since I placed the order, I finally got the book I've been waiting for.

Four Histories by William Shakespeare (Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and 2, and Henry V) Though I've already got the grand Barnes and Noble complete set, I wanted one that I could carry around and that had larger print (as opposed to the tiny, minuscule print in the B&N one)

it's late, sorry for the poor lighting!

little did I realise how thick it was
 And of course, the book I'm only a third of the way through that I got AGES ago from the author himself! Signed! I promised a review and I really regret taking this long. This will be done before I start any other book, so next review is over Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah!
it's very unique. Thick, nice large print, and even fold out maps!
So there is my current stance on reading at the moment! What about you?

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