The Bye-Bye Summer Readathon!

Dear readers,

You are cordially invited to the first ever

BYE-BYE SUMMER READATHON

hosted by yours truly

to be held on August 24 – 31, 2014

wherever you happen to be in the world

*

RSVP is not mandatory

Heck, attendance isn’t even necessary

But if readathons are your thing

then by all means

FEEL FREE TO READ ALONG

(Otherwise, I shall be reading all by my lonesome.

Which is okay. 

But still.

It’s more fun when others get in on the party.)

*

Hey guys! So, I’m doing a reading thing. Brought to you by a combination of two things:

1) I haven’t visited my local library in YEARS, and I miss going to the library, and I miss borrowing books, and I want to remedy that. Also, libraries are awesome and they need our support if we hope to keep them around.

2) Summer is coming to an end, and I thought a readathon would be a fantastic way to see summer off with a bang.

Frankly, I have no idea what I’m doing, and it’s all pretty spur-of-the-moment, and I’m harboring doubts as to whether I’ll actually manage to pull off this thing—but hey! Better tried and failed than not try at all, right?

Right.

Here are the details, if you guys want to join the fun:

☼ The readathon begins at 12:00AM on 8/24/14, and ends at 12:00AM on 9/1/14. This is not time zone-specific, so start and end whenever the clock strikes midnight for you.

☼ Read ONLY books that you have borrowed from your local library. Or, if you’re in a pinch, a personal library of someone you know. (Please, PLEASE make sure to actually borrow the books, and not, you know, filch them.)

☼ Read from whatever genre you want. Young adult, sci fi, paranormal, non-fiction … the library is your limit!

☼ Also, you do NOT have to read from a physical book! While I prefer “real” books, you are welcomed to read ebooks if that is your preference.

☼ There is no limit—or threshold—for the number of books to read. Just read as much as you can, as fast as you can. No one is keeping count except yourself.

☼ An online presence is not a prerequisite to participate. However, should you feel inclined to document your readathon experience online—whether on a blog, or Twitter, or Youtube, or whatever—you are more than welcomed to. I for one will try to do a combination of live-tweeting and booktubing. (Although I’m still figuring out a formal hashtag. Is #farewellsummerreadathon too long, you think?) #BBSReads, y’all!!

☼ Last but not least—have fun!

I think I’ve covered all the bases. If you guys have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Ch-ch-ch changes

Hey guys! Hope you have been well. I wanted to check in with you all about some changes that I will be making to this blog effective … pretty much now.

1) No more blogging schedules! As much as I like the idea of having a blogging schedule, I just can’t sustain it. I simply don’t have the time. Nor the energy. And keeping a schedule really wasn’t doing any good for me. Rather than feeling more organized, I felt incredibly pressured and rushed, to the point where I didn’t even care WHAT I posted about so long as I posted SOMETHING to keep this blog “active.” And that, to me, totally defeats the purpose of my blog. I have always maintained my previous blogs on an entirely voluntary basis. If I didn’t feel moved to write something, I wouldn’t. And that has produced more genuine, heartfelt writing than any rigorous schedule ever did. So I’ll stick to that. Don’t care how many professional bloggers tell me otherwise.

2) No more writing like the book reviewer I am not! It wasn’t until, like, earlier this week that I realized for the first flipping time that I haven’t been writing like myself. At least, not on this blog. I think part of it had to do with WordPress—which I never felt at home with in the same way that I did with LiveJournal—but I think the majority of the problem came down to me wanting to write like the bloggers that I admire. I don’t think there’s a problem with admiring people for the way they write. It does, however, become problematic when you—or rather, I—take that to the next step, and start trying to write like them … because you think your own voice sucks. Honing one’s voice is something all writers and bloggers struggle with at one point. But I think it was a particularly difficult task for me because I had, at some point, picked up the notion that to be a proper writer, or a proper blogger, or a proper adult, meant having to write in a certain voice. As a result, I went to war with myself, attempting so so hard to “fix” my voice so that it would sound just as polished and successful and cool as all those writers that I admire. What I failed to understand, all those years ago, is that being a proper writer AND a proper adult means writing exactly in the voice that you have.

So here’s to a new beginning—and to a doing away with trying so hard to be someone I’m not. I won’t ever write like the writers I admire, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s absolutely ideal.

3) In which I plunge into the world of … booktubing? Whoa, didn’t see that one coming, did you? Ha. I didn’t either. In fact, if you were to tell my former self that one day I would not only talk—on my own volition—into a camera, but also upload it onto the Internet for everyone to see … I would laugh in your face. Or spit coffee at you, depending on how early in the morning you decided to approach me. But here we are. Yes, this is for real. Yes, this is not a joke. Yes, I don’t really know where I will be going with it. But I’m excited to find out!

I’ve long known about this thing called vlogging—which I understood to be blogging … but on video—but I never, ever felt any interest for it. This all changed earlier this year, when I watched and fell in love with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Suddenly, vlogging looked … cool. Fun. And incredibly doable. This feeling continued as I got into Emma Approved, and intensified when I found out about Booktube-a-thon* and discovered that, lo and behold, there is a THRIVING community of bookworms on Youtube that absolutely rocked my socks off with their enthusiasm, passion, positivity, and inclusiveness. From there, it didn’t take much self-persuading to set up a channel.

I’m still in the processing of setting everything up, but once I’m done—namely designing and uploading a channel header that doesn’t embarrass me—I’ll share the link with you guys. I’m super excited to start my journey into booktubing, and I can’t wait to share this next chapter of my bookworminess with you guys.


And … that’s it! I’m excited for all these changes, and hope that you’ll stick around to see them in action.

Happy Friday!

* Thanks to Carina for the head’s up!

IF YOU LIKED : Anya’s Ghost


Welcome to the inaugural post of my new blog series, If You Liked! I was inspired to start this after reading the fabulous blog, Go Book Yourself, and thinking it would be fun to try my hand at book recs. I’m limiting this series to a once-a-month basis, so expect to see more of these on the last Friday of each month. Hope you enjoy!

If you liked Anya’s Ghost, why not try…

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

… for more stories featuring plucky girl leads, mystery, and a dash of the creepy.


Readers—What have you read lately that you would recommend?

SNIPPETS: “You cannot nourish the soul with data!”

“Oh, I want readers, my boy.” Mr. Baram sighed. “A world of readers I want, and yet, all I have is you. You want information, mere data, just like everyone else. That’s not reading. Wisdom? Inspiration? Phfft! Their time has passed, eh?” He waved his hand in the air. “You cannot nourish the soul with data!”

Proxy, by Alex London

Here’s a less wordy edition of Snippets for this week, because 1) I figure this excerpt speaks for itself, 2) I don’t feel like elaborating on it, and 3) the more I try to talk about Proxy the more incoherent I become, until all I end up writing on the page are variations of OMG SO GUD U GUYS BAWLING BCUZ FEELINGS. So … next time. Until then, go nourish yourself with some reading!

THE REEL DEAL : June 2014

Welcome to the inaugural post of my new column, The Reel Deal! (Wop wop, I know. Bear with the corniness, dear readers.) I know that my record of column retention hasn’t exactly been stellar, but I see it as part of the blogging process. Sometimes, a column idea may sound great and promising, but once the rubber meets the road it may not be as interesting as expected, or in many of my cases it’s simply not sustainable given my personal schedule. And so I drop it. But the important thing is that I’m learning from my mistakes and making better decisions for the future. The Reel Deal is where I’ll be sharing with you about upcoming movies that I’m looking forward to, or a recap on the movies that I’ve watched. You can expect to see new posts twice a month, on the first and third Thursday.

With that, let’s kick things off with this month’s new movies.


 The Fault In Our Stars

The trailer looks uber cheesy, but if the movie is anything like its literary original it’s going to be one heck of a smart, cheeky tear-jerker full of feels you probably didn’t know existed. For those not familiar with the YA blockbuster, The Fault In Our Stars is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a snarky sixteen-year-old battling lung cancer, and her romance with the equally precocious Augustus Waters, himself a cancer survivor who is “on a roller coaster that only goes up.” I’ve deliberately steered clear of reviews, so I have no idea if the film is any good, but I’m pretty optimistic.

The Fault In Our Stars came out in theaters June 6.

++

How To Train Your Dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon is one of my favorite films of all time. Which is saying something, as I’ve insisted that choosing favorite movies (or books) is like choosing a favorite child. That said, I’m not sure what to think in regards to its sequel, which came out last week. The trailer left me feeling torn. I’m excited to see the story continue, and curious as to how Berk has changed now that they’ve adopted dragons as their pets/steeds/beasts of burden. But I wasn’t expecting all the changes: how the characters are years older, how Hiccup’s mom is alive (??), how Hiccup himself is no longer the endearingly awkward underdog but the dime-a-dozen cool kid that leads the pack. Maybe I’m just being grumpy. It’s a sequel. Of course things are going to be different!

In any case, I’m still looking forward to the film.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 came out in theaters June 13.

++

Snowpiercer

So, the only reason why I know about this film is because of Chris Evans. Ha. But I’m glad I found out about it because it seems like a pretty interesting film. Based on a graphic novel by Jacques Lob, Snowpiercer is the story of the have versus the have-nots, and the rebellion that arises among the denizens aboard the titular train chugging its way across a decimated earth frozen over by an apocalyptic ice age. Granted, dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories have been flooding the box office these last few years, and yes I am getting bored with the repetition. But Snowpiercer looks promisingly different. It’s grittier than your average polished Hollywood blockbuster, and the film seems more interested in providing genuine social commentary as opposed to compensating a dull plot with explosions and flashy CGI. And I won’t lie, part of Snowpiercer‘s allure lies in its director, Bong Joon-ho. I haven’t seen any of his previous works, I’ll admit. But I’ve read up about him and his movies, and I like his approach to movie-making. He’s a big fan of social and political commentary, and never wants to repeat himself but rather tries to do something innovative with each new movie. Also, I admire how Bong wouldn’t back down when Snowpiercer‘s US distributor wanted to cut out 20 minutes of the film because they felt it was too long. “I’m not that kind of young, innocent film school student who is saying ‘Nobody can touch my movie!!’” Bong said in an interview, “I’m not like that, I can negotiate, but I really hope to protect and keep my vision.” And lucky for us, he did. Although according to Deadline, it’s at the expense of a limited release.

Snowpiercer comes out in theaters June 27.


Readers—What new movies are you looking forward to this month?

Summer 2014 reading list!

I mentioned previously that I made it my unofficial summer goal to read more classics. But then That Slate Article went live, and for a moment I contemplated pushing the classics aside to read exclusively YA because I was seriously bothered by the article and really wanted to do something in the spirit of protest. But then I knew that if I did do that, I would regret the loss of an opportunity to play catch-up with the classics. So now I’m compromising by deciding to do BOTH. I haven’t decided if this is yet another one of my have my cake and eat it too moments, or a genuinely good idea. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here are the books* that I’m planning to read:

Young Adult…

  • Proxy, by Alex London
  • Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina
  • This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales
  • The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer
  • Beastly, by Alex Flinn
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
  • Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

Classics…

  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  • The Bluest Eyes, by Toni Morrison
  • Othello, by William Shakespeare
  • The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury [not pictured above]

*I would like to thank my housemate and fellow bookworm, whose generosity in granting me free rein of her personal library made the majority of this reading list possible.


Readers — What are you planning to read this summer?

SNIPPETS : “Misery made me a fiend”

I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king, if thou wilt also perform thy part, that which thou owest me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other, and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember, that I am thy creature: I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Every where I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.

— The unnamed monster, from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’m rereading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in preparation for the upcoming adaptation by Pemberley Digital and PBS Digital Studios. (Cue the excited screaming!) This is my first time back in this book since college, and a part of me is kicking myself for having decided all those years ago to toss out my lecture notes because I’m really curious as to how my professor analyzed and interpreted this book. (I can’t remember a thing. Ugh, count on me to forget.) But I do remember—however vaguely—the famous speech that the monster delivers to Frankenstein, his creator, a portion of which I chose to post for this week’s edition of Snippets. I was intrigued by the monster’s claim upon Frankenstein, and how he repeatedly references Adam’s relationship to God. I was also struck by what he said towards the end: “Misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.” One of the major questions that the book brings up is nature vs. nurture. Are we who we are because of genetics, or an inherent, predetermined nature? Or does circumstance mold us into the people that we are? The monster believes it’s entirely nurture, but I think his “fiendishness” and “virtue” aren’t so much sides of his moral nature as it is behavioral reactions to how people treat him. If they’re good to him, he’ll return in kind. And likewise with those who mistreat him. His moral nature is actually very human—he gives what he gets.