Literary Musings

Reading Preferences

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “What’s your preferred reading style? Are you a fan of hardcovers? Paperbacks? Ebooks? What determines your choice?”

There are two main factors that determine my choice in reading style as pertains to this question. The first is availability and the second is the size of the book.

If I really, really want to read a book then I will take it in whatever form that I can get my hands on the fastest. So that usually means hardcover or ebook if the book is brand new, given that paperbacks usually aren’t released until some time later, oftentimes six months or more behind the book’s release date.

Size also matters. A smaller book can be read in paperback easily enough but I feel as though a book that is over two hundred pages should be in a different format. Thick paperbacks just fall apart so fast because you have to break the binding in order to read all the words on a page and the font can also end up horrendously small. Just generally bad for ease of reading.

But, at the same time, a massive hardcover can be hard to hold as well. Especially if you’re reading in bed and need to rest said book against your stomach or if you’re reading on the couch with a dog in your lap and no good place to lay the book. In that case, ebooks are the way to go. (This is why I have multiple copies of some of my books that I know I’ll be re-reading in the future. Like “Pride and Prejudice” and the Harry Potter series.)

To Read or Not to Read?

Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern by Danielle Fishel

Every so often I like to pick up a celebrity biography even though I usually don’t end up enjoying them as much as I assume I will. I almost always pick things by “funny” people, celebrities who are most well known for their humorous characters and quotes on their Twitter feeds and then I’m disappointed when their biographies aren’t so funny. In this case I wasn’t expecting funny necessarily. I was expecting the girl next door feeling from the girl who brought Topanga to life in Boy Meets World.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what I got. Little stories that made me feel all nostalgic for the 90s and that just made Danielle so real and so normal. It seems like a lot of celebrity bios try to convince you that the person is a normal person but then their personal stories are so far removed from anything I’ve experienced that I just can’t connect. With Danielle there weren’t a lot of crazy, messed up teenage escapades like a lot of celebrities write about (which is maybe why I liked it…I wasn’t the type to go crazy when I was younger either so some of those “I did all the drugs” kind of stories just aren’t things I can relate to) and most of what she wrote about was so normal.

There were also lots of mentions of Boy Meets World and her castmates from the show and some gossip I don’t remember hearing about which made me smile and feel all young at heart again. It was very nice.

Literary Musings

For the Love of Books

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “what do you love most about books?”

I have always had a very active imagination. To the point where I still had imaginary friends and was trying to get my fellow recess goers playing pretend far past when they were interested in that type of play. And those imaginary friends that I pictured hanging out with were usually based on movie or television characters and, once I started reading, book characters. I felt like they were alive and that I could have conversations and adventures with them. I think this is one of the reasons why I’ve been reading and writing fanfiction for over a decade.

That’s what I love most about books and reading. That even fictional places seem real and that I feel like I personally know characters just as well as I know people in real life. And now with social media I know that other readers feel the same way. That there are others out there who know all the answers to Harry Potter trivia and sink money into different fandoms because it’s important to them.

It’s kind of cool that nowadays reading a book can be such a personal thing and yet it’s a thing that other readers identify with. And that’s why I love books.

Literary Musings

Favorite Fictional Mothers

In honor of Mother’s Day I figured it was a good time to create a post about my favorite fictional mothers from books and television. So here goes…\

  • Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter series
    • I just always loved how Mrs. Weasley was portrayed. She was tough but also thoughtful and very caring though she did jump to conclusions a lot without consulting others. (Like in Goblet of Fire when she read Rita Skeeter’s article and assumed Hermione had been cheating on Harry and then slighted her because of it without actually checking with Ron or Harry as to whether the story was true.)
    • I also liked that she was shown to be a very motherly type of stay at home mother, taking care of all of Ron’s friends as though they were family but she also turned out to be incredibly kick ass during the final battle. “Not my daughter, you bitch” makes me cheer every time.
  • Joyce Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • I just loved the evolution of Buffy’s mom as she discovers that her world isn’t as normal as she’d always thought and how she just takes it in stride like a trooper. She was also tough and caring and the episode The Body also has me bawling. That scene were Buffy walks into the house and…well damn. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
  • Lorelei Gilmore from the Gilmore Girls
    • I just loved the dynamic of Lorelei and Rory in the Gilmore Girls especially since it showcased a relationship that felt a lot like my own with my mother. Though my mom didn’t have me when she was a teen, she did end up being a single parent and we were very close like Lorelei and Rory. Plus, I was a big book nerd just like Rory so I saw a lot of similarities.
To Read or Not to Read?

Rocket Raccoon, Vol. 1 by Skottie Young

Minor spoilers for Avengers: Infinity Wars…




After watching Infinity Wars I desperately needed something Marvel related that was going to make me laugh or at least smile a bit so I scoured through what graphic novels were available at the time. Obviously I crossed my Black Widow collection off the list because although the ones I’ve read are interesting she almost never has a story that I’d really deem comical.

I eventually decided that that meant I had to go with the Guardians of the Galaxy crew but it took me awhile to find one that I could start reading right away. That left me with Rocket Raccoon, Volume 1: A Chasing Tale. It’s a story about Rocket being framed for murder and there’s a whole side plot of him being chased by a bunch of ex-girlfriends. And unfortunately, I didn’t really like it.

First of all, the artwork wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Rocket looks more than a little rabid and Groot looks absolutely terrifying which isn’t what I’m used to in regards to those characters. Peter Quill is shown in a few panels though he’s not in the main part of the story which I was actually kind of thankful for because he was drawn to kind of look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo and it was weirding me out.

Other than the art, the idea of Rocket being a playboy and having relations with a whole slew of women, most of whom looked vaguely human, kind of squicked me out because it made me wonder about the hows of a relationship between a slightly oversize raccoon and a human and I do not want to be thinking of that because ew.

The saving grace was the typical Guardians banter and the story that Groot told entirely in his “I am Groot” language.

Library Life

Balancing Act

Generally I try to have read the books I’m going to have the teens in my Pizza and Pages teen book club before I assign them. But sometimes I just choose books that the teens themselves have suggested without pre-reading them first. (I do make sure I scour the internet before I put them on order. That way I have an idea of whether or not they are actually appropriate. So grateful for other book reviewers and bloggers for sharing the scoop on that!)

Content wise it’s always seemed to work out. The only questionable books we’ve read were a couple that I assigned without remembering that there was quite a bit of foul language/some scenes that younger teens felt squicky about. (It’s just kind of hard because, as an adult who has read and watched things like Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire there just isn’t a lot that phases me…especially when it comes to bad language.)

But then some times bad things happen. Like a few months ago when I assigned The Book Thief by Markus Zusak without having read it first because the internet told me it was fantastic. And it’s true that a lot of the teens did like it and we had decent discussion but it was torture for me to read it. I didn’t like the format and I didn’t like any of the characters.

And that is very similar to the book we’re going to be discussing tomorrow which was suggested to me by one of the teens in the club. It’s the first book in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson and it’s called The Angel Experiment.

Now I’ve read some of Patterson’s other YA stuff and I’ve never rated them very highly just because I didn’t like his style so I should have known. The Angel Experiment is very similar. Tons of very short chapters (which actually gets very, very annoying. A 400 page book doesn’t not need over 120 chapters. It’s very jarring.) A main character with a ridiculous inner monologue. Bad dialogue. Bad characters who are basically caricatures of villains. Very “mwah ha ha!” in their actions and speech. And a plot line that is just full of things that don’t make sense.

(Example: at one point the group has a total of $200 to their name. They proceed to use it for: 41 items from a fast food restaurant, hot dogs, burritos and ice cream in New York, at least six little bags of those warm honey roasted peanuts from street vendors, bus tickets, and warm cookies. Um…pretty sure the warm peanuts alone were like $25…those things ain’t cheap.)

So, in order to get myself through the mind meltingly ridiculous book I decided that I needed something that actually made me think. That’s why, in order to balance out The Angel Experiment, I also started reading Macbeth by William Shakespeare. It’s a play that I’ve always meant to read but never gotten to and I thought it was the perfect time to start. Read a couple of mind numbing chapters of The Angel Experiment followed by a few acts of Macbeth. It definitely helped to get me through.

I’ll have to keep that in mind if I’m ever forced to reading something else was awfully bad.

P.S.- Why is James Patterson such a beloved author? Maybe his books for adults are better written? I certainly hope so…

Short Stories

Ten Words

(Writing Prompt taken from The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer)

“To word-bowl, do your best to use each of the ten given words, one per line, in a ten-line story…” (The given words will be in bold and I’m formatting it how I did on the on the ten-line page instead of how I would if I were actually writing it like a story.)

The zebra pranced around the zoo enclosure,

his eyes pinned to the guy in the vest.

“It seems like he feels a kinship with you,” the zookeeper

said to the main who responded by pulling a lemon

out of his pocket. “Mercury is high today,” he

said. “Weather is going to be nasty.” Another

zoo guest shot an overt glare his way.

“Can you feel the passion too?”he asked with a wink.

“I have to rehearse my play,” she responded and turned

around with a simple shrug.

Commentary: This prompt was one of of the ones I offered my teen writing club in April. Now, not everyone had to choose the same ten word list but this is the one I chose. The idea came to me relatively fast though it’s completely nonsensical and definitely not the best example of my creative writing skills. But it’s something at least.