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They were the Hipsters before Hipsters.

15 Sep

Friend: “… and thats what a hipster is.”

Me:, “I’m sorry but you just described every writer I’ve ever known.”

The soap box is coming out folks because this whole ‘hipster’ business, it’s ridiculous. These people were totally are  just copying writers! They just made up a new name for writer and decided to be ‘deep’ out from behind a desk. Think about it.

People say hipsters are (for one) apathetic/lazy. That’s every stereotypical writers ever mentioned! All writers do is complain and laze about until they absolutely force themselves to write something down. They work in their pajamas for heaven sakes! It doesn’t get much worse than that.

Second of all hipsters read and then apply what they read to sound ‘deep’ and ‘philosophical’. W.R. I.T.E.R. Writer. All writers do is read and then pretend they have any clue at all about what they are read. Then they write it down slap a stamp on it and send it out to other people to absorb their genius!  Actually I can’t think of a group more apt to sit down with a stack of books, meditate on it, and then philosophically or ironically (another characteristic of hipsters) discuss them than writers.

Then you have the denial aspect of ‘hipster culture’. Anyone who is a hipster supposedly denies their hipsterness. HELLO!!! Writers have been doing that for eons before the word hipster swung around the block. You ask someone if they are a writer they will usually say “no, not really, I write but I’m definitely not a writer.” I rest my case.

Of course hipsters hang out in cafes and drink herbal tea and no one does that right? Uh no, not except writers! Writers have been lining Starbucks and every other teashop and coffee house in the nations pockets since cafes existed! In fact writers will sit there for hours and work in mysterious silence sipping their drinks till they go cold. Or even better letting them go cold next to them because they are just being so philosophical that they can’t pull themselves away from their screens. Top that hipsters!

And so, my dear readers let us give a round of applause to those who were hipsters before hipsters:

Lois Lowry (The Giver) Not only is she sporting an edgy non-mainstream hair cut ,but she’s also wearing over-sized glasses, a turtle neck, and she has a shelter dog with her. She is so much better than any hipster that It’s just unspeakable!

Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter) Flaunting his mustache. Wait people had facial hair before hipsters!? No way. O.o

Jane Austen… Sporting a vintage hat. That’s right hipsters she wore a hat before you!

I hope I have brought to everyone’s attention that hipsters a totally just copying writers! Any Hipster want to take that up with me? Or am I too philosophical for you?

 

*I really hope everyone took this as a joke about hipsters haha

 

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Bridgeing the Gap: YA to Adult Literature

17 Aug

YA has become an enormous market for readers. More of one than I think anyone ever expected. But none the less we now have a whole generation of teens who are hooked on YA literature. Not only hooked, but in many ways boxed in by it. Bridgeing the gap between picking up a Young Adult novel and “adult” novel can seem tremendous to some people.

It’s foreign territory, and up until a year ago I was one of those people treading water between YA and Adult trying to figure out where I stood… or ummm…. swam. Anyway I think that this is a big issue with today’s young readers and so I thought I’d help bridge the gap a little.

As I said before I myself was having trouble crossing over. After-all when you read as much YA as I do you get comfortable. You get used to certain types of cover designs, writing styles, and basic plots. You know how to choose books that you’ll like and you know what ones to toss. But, when it comes to Adult literature I was lost. The covers were very… plain with tons of super imposed names and lengthy blurbs. The books were thicker, and the characters older. How was I going to relate? Where was I supposed to start? How would I be able to choose a book when I didn’t recognize any of the authors or see any covers that caught my eye?

So I hesitated, and waited, and procrastinated; until… I YouTubed. Oh my, how I worship book tubers! And that is one way to break into the Adult genre! I myself  started began reading Jasper Fforde’s novel Shades of Grey ( NO NOT FIFTY SHADES OF GREY this is a different book entirely) after hearing a lovely review by one of my favorite book-tubers “The Readables” .  She posted a rave review of it, and I couldn’t help but be curious. Since The Readables does a lot of YA reviews as well I felt comfortable trusting her opinion. So, one way to break into the Adult genre is to join YouTube and follower book-tubers!  Hearing a review by someone who really loved a book can be a lot more motivating than staring at a zillion covers or reading long blurbs. I highly recommend you check out The Readables and other book tubers liker her! (This applies to book blogs too!)

Another way to get into adult literature is to check out more ‘adult YA’ I know I’m contradicting myself a bit here, but what I mean is that you should try getting into YA that deals with heavier topics and has deeper meaning than just a story if you are scared to take the plunge headfirst. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater for instance reads much more closely to an ‘adult’ novel than much of YA. It has an excellent vocabulary and leaves out many of the cliche teeny-bopper frills that a lot of YA has.  Books like Birth Marked  by Caragh O’Brien, In The Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith, and Fire by Kiresten Cashore are all excellent crossover literature to check out as well.

Finally if all else fails why not read a bestseller books like The Help, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, and Memories of a Geisha, that become popular motion pictures or international sensations are a good place to start. If nothing else you know that it must be an okay book, or it couldn’t be that popular right? Read a few reviews and then choose the NYT bestseller that you think best fits your taste. if nothing else you’ll have bragging rights and be able to converse intelligently about the books that are buzzing in adult circles!

I hope those of you who haven’t tested the waters in adult literature do so soon, because there are a lot of wonderful books out there in this genre! And for those of you who do read adult literature any recommendations for new comers?

Apparently I Need a Cat to do This.

28 Jun

Does every writer have a cat? While perusing a couple of writing blogs I began wondering this, and as I continued my daily rounds I realized it was true. Holy crap! Beth Revis has a cat! so does Maggie Stiefvater, and Libba Bray, and holy crud Jackson Pearce’s site even advertises her cat ownership!

I was utterly shell-shocked.  I do not have a cat to lay on my keyboard and interrupt my writing, I realized. All I have is an overweight coyote looking dog that lays next to my desk and snorts in her sleep. If she tried to lay on my keyboard she’d break the computer!

As I continued to mope over my overweight dog I came to the realization that I also don’t drink coffee or tea… I don’t

My overweight coyote-looking dog.

even drink mountain dew! Every writer on earth seems to mutter over sipping on coffee or stirring their tea as they write at their desk in the morning or haul through a tough NaNo night. Me? i hate coffee and tea.

So there I am, Cat-less, and ready to go brew a thing of coffee just to let it go cold on my desk when  I realized something. If I had a cat instead of my bum-ish over fed dog I would probably be chasing it off the keyboard every five seconds or teasing it with catnip. And on top of that if I was drinking coffee I would never be able to sit down. I get bad sugar highs and if you handed me a bottle of caffeine I would probably have a heartache attack and never write another word ever again.

So, I came to the conclusion that even though I apparently need a cat to do this thing called writing. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have one.

Anyone else notice habits writers have that you don’t?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Review

24 Feb

Maggie wowed us with Shiver, made us cry with Linger, and left us wanting more after her Wolves of Mercy Falls series ended with Forever. In answer to our prayers she came out with her first stand-alone this past year: The Scorpio Races.

And what is the Scorpio Races about you may ask?

Killer water horses.

If you are all slightly confused please just calm down, take a moment to process what I just said, and then calmly return to your computer… I’ll wait.

Back? Good.

Yes, as I was saying Maggie’s newest book is about killer water horses. In The Scorpio Races we are introduced to the island of Thisby (a geographically obscure and rather timeless little chunk of land somewhere near Ireland) where every November the Scorpio Races are held. A deadly competition that leaves men strewn on the beach their blood turning the tides red. The winner gains fortune, and fame. The losers, fall prey to the deadly horses they ride. But this year Puck (AKA Kate, our main character) is entering the races, the first girl ever to do so, and Sean Kendrick (three-time winner) isn’t at all pleased to see her on his beach.

Even going into such an unusual premise I wasn’t at all prepared for what The Scorpio Races dished out.

It was very different from what I had come to expect from Stiefvater, I went in thinking The Scorpio Races would have many of the same aspects as Shiver did. Mainly romance and a really strong suspenseful pull. But it wasn’t like Shiver at all.

The Scorpio Races starts out slower than expected. If Shiver was an atom bomb then The Scorpio Races was a line of gun powder leading up to a keg.

I also was surprised to find that The Scorpio Races main focus wasn’t romance. If you thought you’d be getting a Sam/ Grace replay then you will be sadly disappointed. Most of the story centers around preparation of the races and exploring what they mean, and Sean and Puck’s reasons for running in them, all surrounded by the dangerous carnage of the training grounds, and of course Stiefvater’s beautiful prose (something I doubt I will ever stop geeking out about)!

After finishing the book I found myself slightly dumbfounded wondering how it was that Shiver and The Scorpio Races had come out of the

same persons mind, because they were so utterly different, and as I said before that difference kind of set me off kilter. In the end I felt as though I needed to read the book again just to get a good grasp on it. Because, for me, The Scorpio Races was a lot deeper than Shiver. I remember thinking when I read it that it felt a lot more adult. Not in the plot or the wording, but in the feeling and mood. Something solemn, and serious, and intense.

Because it wasn’t really about Killer Water Horses, or Love, or racing, or Irish pastries. It was about finding out what you want, and what you need, and sometimes those things are the same. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes you don’t get them. Sometimes you do. And, sometimes when you get them it’s not in the way you expect.

And it took me a good two weeks of contemplating the novel to get the above sentences. So, my rating of the Scorpio Races?

4.5 stars out of 5

I really liked the book and recommend it to anyone who reads YA. Whether you were a Shiver fan or not (though I can’t image who those people would be).

The only reason it didn’t receive a perfect 5 stars was on the account of the romance, as I had expected a little more fire from Maggie in that department, but otherwise, I really enjoyed the novel and hope you all will add it to your reading lists.

If you’ve already read it, what were your reactions to the novel?

I Read – I Reviewed – I Conquered: Part II

31 Dec

Book Awards 2011 Part II

Hey all, I know I was supposed to post this yesterday, but unfortunately (or… well fortunately for me) I began reading Wither yesterday afternoon, and I had intended to post that evening. Ha! Right! I spent the rest of the afternoon, and evening (and… admittedly into the deep hours of the night reading Wither) and so, there is my excuse for not posting. Now, onto the post, of which I did not post:

Picking up where we left off yesterday, I’ll be finishing 2011 book Awards (see yesterdays post HERE).

Our first award of the night is:

“The Cutest Couple Award”

I don’t mean to take you all back to your highschool year book, but I had to come to this award. I read too much YA to avoid it, and honestly, you know you have a cutest couple in your head right now. Admit it. Anyway, I’m giving this award to:

Max & Dylan from James Patterson’s ANGEL ( Maximum ride book #7)

I am admittedly a Fang Girl, but book 7 is really turning the tables. Max and Dylan had the cutest chemistry, and honestly I may be going from the dark side to the Dylan side… Scary, yes. Anyway, I really enjoyed the cute, if not awkward relationship between Max and Dylan. It was a nice change from the usual intense infatuation of  YA romance, and if you haven’t gotten around to reading the Maximum ride books yet, you might want to crawl out from under that rock you’ve been living beneath and join the rest of the free YA world. I can’t wait for book 8! *squee!*

Our next award is

“The Teary Page Turner

This award is for the saddest book I’ve read all year, or the book that made me cry the most. Let me tell you, you have to be pretty good to get me going, because I usually don’t cry when reading books (I’m more the hyperventilating type), but I actually had three or four that got to me this year, so it made this decision really hard, but I’m giving this one to:

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

This is the third book in Kagawa’s series, and I won’t say much as not to ruin it, but I just have to say I cried like a little girl at the end. I was actually worked up for a little over a half hour about this one guys. It was made even worse by the fact that I had to wait 6 months for the next one in the series! So if you read this series (which I recommend you do, beware of book 3…  enough said.)

Next, I’m going to be giving the

“Bad to the Bone Award”

This award is for the baddest of the bad. The best (or… maybe I mean worst?) antagonist of the year. After all where would are hero’s be without their bad intentioned brethren?

This was a hard choice for me, but I finally decided upon:

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

The bad guys(and gals)  in here don’t get much badder. I mean what’s worse than kidnapping killers that don’t happen to look any more harmless than your average Joe walking down the street. I mean an average joe with super strength and shape shifting powers! I was scared silly by Pearce’s antagonists, and (unwisely) stayed up into the wee hours of the morning trying not to flinch every time the wind would blow! If Jackson to do anything its scare me!

And now, we have our last two awards of the night (and the year) The BEST and the WORST book I read in 2011.

My Least Favorite Book of  2011:

Num8ers by Rachel Ward

Let me start by saying that this is just MY opinion, and my two cents is only worth as much as anyone elses on the street. But, I honestly could not finish Num8ers. I wish I could say that I found something about it redeemable, but considering I only made it about 150 pages in, I really don’t think I can. I ALWAYS finish books ALWAYS. It has to be pretty bad for me to set something down, and, well, I set it down.

To end on a happy note, My Favorite Book of 2011:

A photo of my personal copy

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I made a concentrated effort this year to read some classics. I managed to make it through the Odyssey, I’m not exactly sure how, and read some lesser-read plays by Shakespeare that I really liked (The Taming of the Shrew being one of them ‘come and kiss me Kate!’) but I was most surprised and pleased with The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett. As a child, I LOVED the movies. I mean really LOVED them.  I watched them every week (when my mother could stand it) and my love for the movies hadn’t faded with time, so I decided to give the book a try. I was not disappointed! Collin (our snotty and hilariously rude little invalid) is every bit as snotty and hilarious as he was in the movies, if not more so. I was very swept up in the mystery of the mansion and the magic of the gardens with Miss Mary. This will remain one of my favorites, and it’s on my re-read list for this year!

I hope you all enjoyed the Novel Idea awards, and had a very happy 2011.

Wishing you all the best in 2012, enjoy your new year!

I Read – I Reviewed – I Conquered

29 Dec

BOOK AWARDS 2011

There are only two days left in December, and so, it’s time to see what exactly I’ve spent my time reading this year, and which books are worth YOUR time to read next year. So I present to you (A NOVEL IDEAS AWARDS segment) The 2011 Book Awards!

*crickets*

*Applause*

Lets start with some pictures. These are the books I read this year (Photos courtesy of GoodReads):

40 books, not ridiculously impressive, but I’m not terribly upset with myself over it.

Anyway onto the awards:

First up:

“The Clever Character Award”

This award is about my favorite character of the year. And this year it happens to be about a smart Alec the guy or gal in the book that you can’t help but balk at. The one you can count on to lighten the dampest mood with sarcasm, the life of the party, they are the one that make you laugh out loud while reading in public, and even though the guy on the subway is staring at you like your manic you can’t stop… Yeah that character. And this year that award goes to:

PUCK from the IRON FEY Series by Julie Kagawa!

I Loved this series, and Puck was my favorite character out of all the wonderful characters in it. Puck via Kagawa got this award because, I swear, every chapter I had something to laugh at from him, and he is possibly one of my favorite characters of all time. One of my favorite Puck Lines:

“Good idea,” Puck echoed from the back of the cave. “Why don’t you take first watch, prince? You could actually be doing something that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork.”

*Spork! haha… ohh Puck you kill me!*

Next Award!

The “Take A Deep Breath Award”

This Award is for the book that freaked me out the most, or I guess I shouldn’t say ‘freaked me out’, but it’s for the book that was kind of heavy, made me think. You know, the book that after you close the page you feel like you have to take a really deep breath and kind of just collect yourself, because your pretty sure little pieces of your psyche are chipped away in between the pages. Yep… that’s THIS book.

And this year it goes to:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This book was probably the ‘heaviest’ (metaphorically speaking) book I’ve read all year. The ending  caused me to read the last page twice, just to make sure what happened actually happened, and after that I just kind of stared at the back cover for a while. It was a really good book, but only if  you’re looking for something serious to read. There are no Pucks to be found here…

Our final award for tonight is:

The “Originally Speaking Award”

This Award is, well, for what I thought was the most ‘original idea’ for the books I’ve read this year. Or I guess I should say original let’s go with the most ‘different’ idea.

And that award is definitely earned by: Maggie Stiefvater in The Scorpio Races!

Maggie’s new book about Killer Water Horses, Love, Racing, and Irish pastries  is definitely a horse of a different color. (Haha- did you get it? Did you get it?!) I got really swept up in Maggie’s vivid world of dark oceans, blood-red beaches, and coal colored horses. I can honestly say I have never read anything like it. Even going into such an odd premise, it wasn’t what I expected, because it’s not really about Killer Water Horses, or Love, or racing, or Irish pastries. It’s also not about Scorpios. It’s about finding out what you want, and what you need, and sometimes those things are the same. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes you don’t get them. Sometimes you do. And, sometimes when you get them it’s not in the way you expect. That’s what it’s really about. Or maybe, I just can’t read… though that seems unlikely…

Anyway, The Scorpio Races was amazing and I highly recommend it!

Part II of the 2011 Book Awards will be out tomorrow, (since this post is already long) until then check out the above books, and tomorrow be ready for some more good, some bad, and some sad.

REMINDER:

Remember to comment on this post and other Novel Idea Award’s posts for a chance to win SHATTER ME!

And be sure to enter the ON THIN ICE FLASH FICTION CONTEST for a chance to win CLOCKWORK PRINCE BY CASSANDRA CLARE! Ends January 15th!

Novel Idea Awards: Best Blog Series!

26 Dec

Hey, it’s time for the first badge award on Novel Ideas!

My first award is for best blog series of 2011! This was a really hard choice for me, but I finally decided on a series from “Of a Writerly Sort” called “Lessons from the Monster“.

Basically it’s a dissection series where Gabrielle (OAWS admin) dissects her seven part series of novels (which she calls ‘the monster’), and shows us what we can learn from her mistakes.

I chose this series for a lot of reasons, but my main two were these:

1. It’s extremely educational. I learned a lot listening to Gabby dissect her novel scene by scene, or even line by line. I’m a person who learns well being shown things, rather than being told, so having an example right in front of me really let the information sink.

2. It was amazing that she was willing to share her first/second draft material with us! It takes serious guts for me to send off a 5th draft to betas, so sharing unedited portions of a novel with my readers would scare the bageebers out of me! Gabrielle’s bravery definitely paid off, and I really appreciated it!

For both of those reasons, and many others (like the fact that her whole site is amazing for instance!) I am now bestowing the Best Blog Series of 2011 to Gabrielle for “Lessons From the Monster

Here is your badge Gabrielle! Enjoy!

I hope you all check out Gabby’s series, and stay tuned for the next NI award!

REMINDER:

Remember to comment on this post and other Novel Idea Award’s posts for a chance to win SHATTER ME!

And be sure to enter the ON THIN ICE FLASH FICTION CONTEST for a chance to win CLOCKWORK PRINCE BY CASSANDRA CLARE!