I’ve been trying to come up with interesting topics for blog posts and decided that I should do a post about my favorite quotes about books and reading. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had done a similar posting before and I’m frankly too lazy to double check and make sure I haven’t written this exact same post sometime over the years so I apologize if I have.
So without further ado…my favorite bookish quotes.
- ‘”One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”‘ – Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel)
- I read Clockwork Angel by Clare years ago and yet this quote has always stuck with me because I just think it’s so true. Reading, and words, can have such a powerful effect on us. They can be meaningful in an enlightening way or just in a personal way and I think that’s amazing.
- “When trouble strikes, head to the library. You will either be able to solve the problem, or simply have something to read as the world crashes down around you.”- Lemony Snicket
- I love the combination of book love and library love in this quote. As a librarian I, of course, love the library so it’s nice to see a quote that speaks of the importance of the library like this one does. In a library, and in books, you can find solutions to problems or just enjoyment. I know that I can sometimes get so lost in a book that I can picture the world falling down around me without my notice.
- ‘”A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,” said Jojen. “The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R.Martin (A Dance With Dragons)
- I just love how this quote really puts an emphasis on how important reading can be to an individual. When you really get into a book you aren’t just reading it, you’re “living” it. And to me, that’s just beautiful. Plus, it shows non-readers that they are really missing out.
I read book reviews for a lot of different reasons. Of course there are the reasons you’d expect…to get an idea from other readers as to whether or not I should actually bother buying or checking out a particular book from the library. I usually start by checking Goodreads to see whether any of my “friends” on their have the title and have a few reviewers that seem to have pretty similar tastes to mine and so I usually end up trusting their judgement. I also utilize reviews in regards to my job because I know I need to buy books for the library that will be universally appealing and may not be necessarily up my alley taste wise.
Then, after I read the reviews of my trusted sources, I generally check the most negative reviews even though that occasionally leads to my being spoiled about some plot point (though most Goodreads reviewers are actually good about tagging spoilers so I can avoid them) . Sometimes people point out things that I know would irk me and other times a person’s gripe makes me laugh out loud and immediately go to pick up said book.
And then there’s the aftermath of my reading a book that I either particularly liked or didn’t like. After I finish a book I feel strongly about I start looking through reviews of readers who thought the complete opposite and, sometimes, I end up seething in anger. Now, I never give into that anger. I never reply and start a heated debate with someone who has differing views than I do but boy do I compose retorts in my head. And there’s mental name calling because, usually when someone gives a negative review to something I love, I can tell that they just don’t “get it” like I did.
Yeah I know it’s silly but here’s the thing…I may let it get me riled up for awhile but, in the end, I’m just glad that people are reading things and are obviously willing to get riled up as well. Plus, when it comes to reviewers that I know in real life I don’t let our differing book opinions get into the way of our friendships.
I’m not sure where exactly I heard a certain piece of advice, maybe in one of my many literature/writing classes in college or maybe in a collection of tips from published authors, but many moons ago I was told that a writer should never throw away a piece of writing because it may prove useful later. I usually follow this advice very carefully, to the point that I have about six versions of a novel I started in middle school floating around my apartment. (Don’t tell my fiance though…I don’t think he’d appreciate that there are about a thousand pages just sitting on our shelves, likely to never see the light of day unless I make it big one day and someone wants to know my writing process for said first novel.)
Then last year something happened. I got swept up in a TV series based on a book series, binge watching the first seasons over the course of a couple of days. And, like what happens a lot when I latch onto something, I was inspired to write some related fanfiction. But since I finished watching the show so quickly I didn’t have time to finish said fanfiction before I moved onto something else. It was a good show but after reading some reviews I decided I didn’t want to read the books the show was based on so I had very little to work with for inspiration. So since I had nothing else to work with I didn’t have the desire to finish the fanfiction and, instead of just leaving the pages in a notebook or at least typing it up for posterity, I’m pretty sure I just ripped the pages out and threw them away.
And then this weekend season two of the show appeared on Netflix and after just one episode I started thinking of that fanfiction I started writing up last year and I had sudden desire to continue it. But I threw it away. It doesn’t exist anymore. And now I’m back to the beginning. Do I write it up again and risk losing the mojo before I’m done watching season two or do I just ignore the urge to write in this fandom? As of right now I haven’t decided but I do know one thing…to make sure I don’t just dispose of things I start but don’t finish because I may want/need them a year or two from now!
In a couple of my previous blog posts I mentioned that I was working on a cutesy little Christmas themed Hermione/Draco fanfiction. I even posted a preview on here well in advance of the holiday. And, this time last month, I should have been uploading said fanfiction on all of my sites. But, the very thing I was afraid of when I started writing, ended up happening.
Let’s cut back to early December when the words were flowing from my pen and I thought I was well prepared for posting said magical mistletoe themed story before the holidays were actually upon us. That’s when the simple little one shot turned into a monster that will likely need three to four posts to complete. Yep, my writing got out of hand. I finally finished hand writing the story less than a week before Christmas. I frantically started typing up the story and ended up not even being halfway finished with the first “chapter” on Christmas Eve.
Now I probably could have gotten away with just uploading the first part of the story on Christmas, or maybe even the day after Christmas, and then going on from there but then I started thinking about my fanfiction reading preferences. About a month or so before Christmas I LOVE holiday themed fanfictions. And then we finally hit the holiday and I’m over it. I don’t want anything to do with mistletoe kisses and proposals under the Christmas tree. So I held off. Actually, as of today, I still haven’t finished typing up the darn thing. Instead I’m going to hold off, make a note in my calendar, and try again in early December.
And maybe that’s what I should do whenever I get the holiday inspiration. Know that I’ll probably be a little late so let’s just use the material for next year.
No one will ever know…
I generally like reading challenges, either ones where I challenge myself to read a certain number of books per year or per month or ones like the PopSugar reading challenge where you’re given prompts like “read a book that was written the year you were born.” These challenges can be fun. In fact, the first PopSugar challenge I did a few years back was the only reason I even picked up a graphic novel and, since then, I’ve found quite a few that I love to read! And though some of the challenge prompts are just plain silly others are more meaningful, getting people to read books outside of their comfort zone. And that’s a great thing.
But…sometimes a challenge can be too challenging. I read primarily for enjoyment and partially for my job and other hobby. I want to publish a book someday and I figure the more I read, the better prepared I’ll be for writing the right book. Also, as a librarian, I like to know what’s popular and have personal knowledge of lots of books so I can give suggestions for readers that may not know as much about what’s out there as I do. Which is why, last year, I first joined the Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky (SWON) Teen Reading Challenge. It promotes the reading and knowledge of teen material in a fun, competition amongst librarians and their friends/patrons way. And it was both fun and super frustrating.
I already read lots of teen fiction. I’d say that’s actually where I go to get most of my reading material and not just because I’m a Teen Librarian. I just find most teen fiction to have something that a lot of adult books just don’t have. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is and why I feel that way but it’s there. So I loved the idea of a challenge where the challenge is to read teen books! But it was a double edged sword.
By the end of the two month challenge I was so burnt out on teen books and was getting very negative in regards to their reviews even though, if I’d read them at a different time of the year, I probably wouldn’t have judged them so harshly. I think I’d just read so much, so fast that things were starting to blend together and one book would remind me of another and it just wasn’t the best. So I’m taking a different approach this year. I’m still going to try to read as many teen books as I can but if I need a break I’m going to give myself one. Instead of feeling guilty if I step out of the teen section I’m going to do just that. Maybe grab a book of smutty short stories or an adult graphic novel and delve into that when the teens are just too much.
Honestly, I may end up reading more than last year just because I do that. Because yes, a challenge should be challenging but it shouldn’t make you want to pull out your hair. Right?
Now that a new year has started I thought it might be a good idea to document some of my favorite and least favorite books from 2017. This list will include books I loved, books I hated, and books that just didn’t turn out how I expected them to.
Onto the list which will be in no particular order because the holidays were good but also stressful and my brain hurts too much to organize more thoroughly.
- Hunted by Meagan Spooner
- Hunted is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite Disney fairy tale princess story and the author of Hunted has written some books that I absolutely love so I was expecting an amazing book. And it was good and interesting and well-written but it wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped. I think I just didn’t connect with the Beauty character, Yeva, as much as I’ve done with other heroines in fairy tale retellings. Super disappointing.
- Caraval by Stephanie Garver
- A tale of two sisters, magic, and adventure. There were twists and turns and, as many other reviewers mentioned, some very purple prose in regards to the writing but I remember absolutely loving reading this book. I’ve read lots of books in the past few years but this was one of the only ones in 2017 that I literally stayed up hours past when I should have went to bed just to finish. Back in the day, staying up to read all night was a common practice but now that I’m working full time and what not it’s just not a thing that I let happen often.
- The Illuminae Files Books One and Two by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- I was hesitant to pick up the first book in the series because I knew it was written in a very different style than I’m used to. The Illuminae Files is a trilogy set in space and in the future with mega-corporations battling it out and with regular people getting caught in the cross fire. There was space travel and plagues and creatures getting loose and all sorts of craziness and the book was told through emails, interviews, medical reports, etc. It was an interesting format and very visual and I ended up getting through both massive tomes in very short spans of time. Amazing.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Everyone I know loves The Book Thief, a book about a little German girl growing up during the Holocaust. And I should have loved it too because I typically love young adult books set during that time period. But I didn’t connect to any of the characters at all and didn’t like how the book was set up (it was narrated by Death) and it was an all around fail for me.
- Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
- A tale of two teens, a webcomic designer and a boy who writes fanfiction for her webcomic. Only, at the start he doesn’t know it’s the girl’s webcomic. There’s main characters with anxiety and who are very much introverts. There’s secrets and emotional upheaval and it was all brilliantly done.
Sharing your love of a certain fandom is an excellent thing. It’s always nice to actually have other people who are interested in the same thing you. I know I’ve latched onto TV shows or books before and was disappointed to find that very few other people in the world had enjoyed what I had and so there was no fan art or fanfiction to be found. And, at least in my case, it kind of messes with how much I’m into it just because the original source material is the only way I can really get into said fictional world.
But then there’s also a problem when it comes to being part of a fandom that millions of other people enjoy.
Case in point: Star Wars.
Last week I went out with a group of friends to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi on opening night and it was awesome. It also left me with a lot of questions and ideas for fanfiction and for the drive to see what other people were writing in their fanfiction. And I did end up finding a lot of stories that enjoyed reading but, from a writerly perspective I didn’t like at all. Because, less than twenty-four hours after the movie premiered, there were already dozens of other fanfiction writers who’d written a story very similar to the one that I had gotten an idea for while watching The Last Jedi.
I mean, it’s great to know that other people are into the same idea but at the same time it’s kind of depressing to know that I wasn’t the first to come up with an idea. I still think I’m going to write up my own version of the story, it’s just going to be one of those things where I’ll have to be even more creative to try and put my own spin on the idea.
So that’s why it’s both great and kind of awful to be part of such a large fandom when it comes to fanfiction. I love it when I have tons of options of stories to read, yet it means it’s harder and harder to come up with a concept that hasn’t been done dozens of times before.
But, I guess that’s what every author has to deal with regardless of what they’re writing. *shrug*