Literary Musings

Unfinished

I am having a horrible time finishing anything I’ve started writing this year. Now, I’m not surprised that this is happening in regards to my novel writing or updating my fanfiction on the sites where I post it.

When it comes to novels I usually like to write and write and kind of finish an idea but then table it for awhile. My first novel, still not yet published, was started when I was in eighth grade and then wasn’t actually “finished” until I got to college. And I’m still saying it’s not “finished” since I keep going back to read it over and finding all sorts of things to fix and I refuse to let anyone else edit it…sigh. And my trouble with fanfiction is that I finish writing it up, let it lay around for awhile because I feel like it’s actually completely finished and then I struggle to find the motivation to type it up and post it online. That’s typical of me.

What isn’t typical is the fact that I’ve started more than a half dozen fanfiction pieces, for a variety of fandoms, and haven’t finished writing up a single one. I have bits and pieces of a couple Avengers ideas, a couple Star Wars ideas, and a couple Harry Potter ideas all rolling around in various folders and notebooks and not one has more than five handwritten pages finished.

I think this is likely because I usually start out with a fairly simple idea and then it gets out of hand. I’m also blaming my dog. I used to be able to spend hours after work typing up or handwriting things and since I’ve gotten a dog the time gets taken up by walks (why pull out all my writing supplies when I’ll just have to put it down to walk the dog within the next hour or so? It’s so much easier to just hold a book or mess around on my phone while the TV is on!) and it’s additionally hard because the dog likes to snuggle. Normally this is great. Pupper cuddles can be awesome but usually what happens is that when I’m in the mood to just relax and read, he wants nothing to do with me but the minute I pull out a laptop or gather a whole bunch of supplies he decides that’s a great time to push everything out of his way and just plop down on my lap or chest.

I can only imagine how much crazier the struggle will be if and when I have kids…

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Literary Musings

Returning to a Book

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: “Are there any specific titles you return to regularly? What makes you go back to them?”


Given that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in America in 1998 when I was eleven, the same age as the boy wizard in the first book, I am a Harry Potter fan through and through. I literally grew up alongside Harry Potter and his friends and it was a world I got to know as well as my own. When each new book came out I would have it pre-ordered and would attempt to time my reread of the rest of the series so that I could finish the old set the day before or the day of the arrival of the newest book.

And to this day, over a decade after the last book in the series came out, I still enjoy returning to that world to “see” all of those old, familiar places and characters. Honestly, it’s been really neat to not only grow up Harry but to reread the book at different stages of my own life because with each new reread I notice new things and I identify with different parts of the story each time.

(For example…back when I first read the series Hermione Granger was my favorite character because she reminded me so much of myself with her dark hair and bookish ways and I thought she could do no wrong. Then, upon my most recent reread last year I realized that she was actually pretty annoying and did get things wrong sometimes. I still like her as a character and liked her growth but I found myself wishing we had more information about characters like Neville and Luna who are just unapolegetically themselves. I found myself thinking of Luna as my favorite and wishing I could be more like her. And I’m sure my favorites will continue to change as I grow older.)

Literary Musings

Sometimes I really like a good series while other times I just want to read a standalone. What makes things especially complicated is if I start a book that’s first or second in a series and then need to wait a year or more for the next to come out. A lot of times I’ll remember enough to not have to re-read but other times, even if I love a book, I just won’t. So I’ve been telling myself not to get suckered into a new series and yet it happens again and again.

Here are a few series that I’m currently in the middle of:

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    • After an awesome collection of novellas this series got off to a rough start for me but now I am absolutely loving it. I recently finished book four of the six books that are currently published. Fortunately the final installment is expected to come out at the end of the year so I won’t be in that realm of not remembering what was going on.
  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
    • I’ve read book one in the trilogy and am looking forward to reading the rest though I am grateful that it is just a trilogy. That way I know there won’t be any surprises.
  • Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich
    • Honestly I don’t think there is any end in sight in regards to this series but the books are all so easy to read and so formulaic that it doesn’t matter how long I go between each book.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
    • My fiance introduced me to the aSoIaF series nearly a decade ago and I happily consumed the books that had already been published at that point. (And by “happily” I mean that I spent a lot of time going…”Wait? He killed off that character? I thought that was a main character? Why are you making me read this?”)  Now it’s been seven years since the last book came out and there are still two more expected to be released and they have no publication date in sight. And while I enjoyed the series when I first started it, it became so convoluted and I’ve reached a point where I kind of just don’t care about the series anymore.

There are a whole handful of other series that I’m in the middle of, some of which I’ll probably reread and finish while others I just won’t be bothering with. Plus there are a whole bunch of other series that I’m trying not to start because I know they aren’t finished yet. It makes life a little complicated.

Library Life · Literary Musings

Now that I’ve been running a Teen Book Club for a little over two years, along with having a Goodreads account for years and reading reviews, etc. I’ve learned one thing about myself…although I really like that people are reading, I can get very annoyed when someone disagrees with my book related opinions. I try not to let it show though. When it comes to Goodreads I don’t really comment on anyone’s reviews or even in discussion boards. Instead, I silently seethe when people don’t “get” a book or plot point that I really like or smile when I read something that echoes exactly how I feel.

This makes preparing for and leading a book discussion very interesting. If I really like the book I finish reading it, or re-reading since I like to choose books I’m already familiar with if at all possible, quickly and then I have no trouble coming up with discussion questions. But, on the other hand, if I didn’t like the book at all I have to force myself through it and then force myself to come up with questions. And then when the day of book club comes around I either find myself really looking forward to it or completely dreading it.

(The funny thing about that though? A lot of times I end up more frustrated after book club if I liked the book than if I disliked it. That’s because a lot of times if I hate the book I question certain plot points and the teens can give me their reasons as to why they disagree with me and it leads to a good discussion. If I loved a book and they hated it I just vaguely upset if they kind of go “meh” over something I was really happy about assigning them.)

The reason these thoughts are all up in my mind is that tomorrow afternoon the book club will be discussing a book that I actually really, really liked when I first read it. And although it starts a little slow and kind of harps on a romantic entanglement at the beginning it becomes a very interesting book with a twist at the end, one that I hadn’t expected. Now the problem is that many of my teens don’t like any depictions of cutesy romance stories so I’m sincerely hoping that most got through the first bit where that’s all the main character really thinks about and let themselves get to the part where the mystery starts because I really want to talk about it with them! And I may get a little angry if nobody finished…

To Read or Not to Read?

Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi

Chasing Shadow wasn’t actually a book I chose for myself, it was a book that I received in one of my OwlCrate (a young adult book subscription box) some time in the last couple of years. Honestly, I can’t remember which month’s box it came in. I just know that at the time I had so many library books out/other books on my radar that I shelved Chasing Shadows and just know got around to actually reading it.

Chasing Shadows was an odd mix of contemporary fiction and graphic novel, starring two Point of View leads, Holly and Savitri. Holly’s passages are the ones told in an unusual format. Her thoughts have Weird Capitalization to show what she finds to be important and the graphic novel portions of the story are from her PoV as well. Savitri is more of your usual narrator, nothing odd in formatting at all. Then there’s also the Leopardess, a graphic novel superhero that both girls read though Holly loves her the best, and there’s the Hindu mythology story that Savitri was named after.

And finally there’s Corey, Holly’s twin brother and Savitri’s boyfriend who, in the first couple of pages of the novel, gets shot. This sets off the whole story with both girls trying to deal with what happened. Savitri’s is the more typical reaction with guilt and anger and upset while she’s trying to move on while Holly has more of a breakdown and slowly descends into madness.

Overall, the story just didn’t do it for me. All of the depictions of freerunning didn’t help me to understand what the pass time even is and it’s mentioned a lot, being a hobby of all the main characters. Savitri was the more sympathetic of the two PoV characters and yet I still didn’t really care enough about her to really get into the story. She seemed more tangled up and worried about who she was named after and what her relationship was to other people than to herself. And yes Holly had a reason to be so full of grief and yet she wasn’t presented in a sympathetic way at all.

Yes, the artwork was interesting but it pulled away so much from what was going on and didn’t really make sense.

Basically it was an interesting idea but the characters just fell completely flat and didn’t work for me at all.

To Read or Not to Read?

The Girlfriend by Sarah Naughton

Note: I received a free copy of The Girlfriend from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review some time in late 2017 and I finally got around to reading it and reviewing it. (I really need to start keeping more up to date on these NetGalley books which is why I haven’t really requested any this year. Maybe some time I’ll be more timely.)

Most of the time the books I read or request for review are Young Adult novels, usually more fantasy or science fiction than anything else. But sometimes I just want a nice, good mystery and lately YA mysteries haven’t turned out to well for me. So that’s why I requested The Girlfriend because it sounded like an interesting mystery/thriller.

The Girlfriend opens up with a person discovering that someone she loves has fallen down the stairs of a building and that his blood is spreading out over the floor. The opening has a sinister feel to it and we don’t actually find out any of the names of the people involved. Not yet.

And then we go forward a little bit to one of the POV characters, Mags. Mags is a tough, no nonsense lawyer who is traveling back to Britain from America because she received a call that her brother Abe, who she hasn’t talked to in years, has suffered a nasty fall and is in a coma. And even though they haven’t spoken in years he has named her his next of kin.

When Mags arrives at Abe’s hotel room she finds his fiance Jody crying at his bedside and has half a mind just to leave her brother in Jody’s care. But then Mags starts to get curious about Jody’s story of the night of the accident and she starts to do a little digging.

This leads her into a series of revelations about Mags, Jody, and Abe’s pasts and what led up to Abe’s fall. And it was a pretty interesting twisty ride though a couple of the revelations weren’t actually all that surprising, at least not to me. But enough of them were an actual surprised that I didn’t feel cheated.

The ending though…it bothered me a bit. Not to be too spoilery but during the book a couple of crimes are committed and it seems as though the perpetrator is going to get away with it (he actually did in a past crime) and so other characters frame him for something he actually didn’t do. I understand that sometimes it’s hard to get justice for certain crimes but that just didn’t set well with me.

But overall I enjoyed the mystery and thought this was a fast read because I actually wanted to know what was going on. Plus it didn’t fall into the trap of a lot of gritty mysteries where I end up not caring because all of the characters were despicable. These characters were rough around the edges and kind of horrible but not complete trash so that part at least seemed very realistic.

Literary Musings

Rereading

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: “Do you ever reread books? Why or why not?”


I do reread books though I probably shouldn’t do it as often as I do considering the fact that my to-be-read list gets far more books added to it each month than comes off of it.

Now, I generally have two major reasons as to why I would reread a certain novel. The first is out of sheer love for a particular title that I enjoy escaping into again and again. A lot of times I will reread these books when I’m in an especially sad or bad mood because I know it’ll get me out of my funk, or when I’m sick because they bring me back to happier times. Plus my absolute favorites (the Harry Potter series, Pride and Prejudice, and several books by Robin McKinley) have been reread so often that I’m familiar enough with them that I don’t have to put all of my attention to it. That way if I fall asleep in the middle of reading or feel feverish then I can still enjoy the story without fearing that I’ve lot track of the plot, etc.

The second type of reread is the “I started a series before it was finished and it took so long for the rest of the series to come out that now I can’t remember exactly what happened in the first book/books” type of reread.