Never Say Never

My sixteen year old self is shaking her head and narrowing her eyes at me. Her gaze is one part accusatory other part disappointed How could you?

I just stick my tongue out at her.

I caved in. Yes I did something I said I would never do. Don’t you just hate when that happens? The only thing I regret is saying I’d never do it. Whatever sixteen year old me needs to stop being so damn judgmental anyway.

I am bought a kindle. Kindle Paperwhite to be exact.  For years I ranted and raved about e-readers. How yes I understood their benefits, but they weren’t for me. Naturally I feel like a fool now, but I don’t feel so bad about getting an e-reader.  In fact, I think I’m pretty late to the party. Nobody cares anymore, and if they do well you can join sixteen year old me and I’ll stick my tongue out at you too.

Kindle

I’ve been debating for the past year whether I wanted an e-reader or not. I couldn’t justify needing one because I obviously prefer physical books. So I eased into it by getting the Kindle app on my laptop. I downloaded a free book by an author I follow on Goodreads and decided to give it a go.

At first, I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get used to the e-book format. Everything was too bright and prolonged reading caused my head to ache, and my eyes to blur. Where were my smells?( Yes I am a sniffer) I wanted to feel the cover, and run my down the spine.I enjoy flipping pages. These things are a part of my reading experience, and I love them. They are almost as precious to me as the stories themselves. Needless to say, I was not impressed. I left the app on my computer, and occasionally I would try to get back to the story. No luck. I was happy to dismiss the app and therefore, everything e-book related.

I found myself face to face with the app again by circumstances. I had my laptop, no book, and no wifi. I started reading the story again, and I got hooked into the story. I forgot about my other issues and just read.  I tweaked the settings lowering the brightness which made the whole headache situation better. Still to bright for my liking but it worked. My reading experience became about the story, and I missed all those other commodities, but in the end reading is about the story, and  I realized that by refusing to read this great story only because it was on the Kindle app was stupid. It’s like being thirsty and not drinking water from any other bottle but your own.

After that first book, I read a few more and even discovered free classics. Which as an English major come in handy. I discovered my  public library loans out e-books, and I read a few more. I was quickly getting over my misconceptions. However, reading on the computer still hurts my eyes, which is where I decided to simply bite the bullet and get the Paperwhite. I liked it because it was simple and was backlit. I considered getting the Kindle Fire which allows you to do many more things, but between my laptop, ipod, and phone. I really don’t need another smart device. Most importantly the Paperwhite is supposed to be good for your eyes, or at least limit the harm.  I finished Neil Gaiman’s short story,How to talk to Girls at Parities in about twenty minutes -great story by the way-with no spotty vision problems or headaches. I can read PDF files on here, which is great for researching material. Another reason that I decided to buy one, was that if all goes as planned after I graduate, I’ll be either moving out of state, or out of the country, and obviously I won’t be able to lug books around with me.

 

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I’m a book-lover from way back, and I won’t ever stop. I will always prefer the physical copy. People say print is dead, but I don’t believe it is. As long as people like me exist we won’t allow it.

So I’ve made peace with the e-reader. They are here to stay, and I accept that. Besides, whatever gets people reading books is the most important thing to remember.

Verdict I have a Kindle and I don’t hate it.

In fact I kinda of like it.

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Book Thoughts: Burned

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2.5

I have some knowledge of Mormonism (LDS) most of it learned from an old friend I had in high school. Therefore, I hoped Burned in addition to being a great story, would also teach me something. Ellen Hopkins’ style of writing in verse while at first made me hesitant also intrigued me. The story grabbed my attention and kept it for the first one hundred pages; however, while some of the story continued to hold my interest, it was too predictable for me to truly enjoy.

Pattyn’s family is strict and religious on the outside. On the inside, Pattyn’s family life is a nightmare. Her father is an abusive drunk who expects his wife and daughters’ absolute obedience. Her mother subjects herself to his treatment in the name of religion. Pattyn knows that her life is planned out for and she dreads it. She starts to read and the more she reads she questions the teachings she has been taught all her life. She rebels against her family and her church. As punishment she is sent to live on her aunt’s farm. For the first time in her life she is allowed freedom, and she learns about herself and what she truly wants for her future.

To say this book was difficult to stomach is an understatement. I want to make it clear that I don’t believe that all Mormons behave the way they are portrayed in this book. I’ll admit I don’t know many, but I don’t want to stereotype anyone. I have a huge problem with women’s roles according to this book. As a woman it is hard to stomach some of the ideology being thrown around. What I mostly wanted from this book, in addition to a good a story, was to learn more about the Mormon faith and its followers. Well the story was just Ok to me, and the only thing I learned that I didn’t before was that coffee is a sin? (Correct me if I’m wrong)

Pattyn as a characters worked for me in the beginning. She was curious and not afraid to push buttons. However, she lost some of her personality when she met the boys in her life. To be fair, I think it was just how Hopkins wrote the scenes. It didn’t feel natural at all. I’d hoped that connecting with her Aunt J would allow for some personal growth that we the readers would enjoy seeing. However, when boy number two enters the story I already knew where the story was headed. Pattyn finds her self-confidence not from her own issues and overcoming them, but because a beautiful boy happens to like her. This wasn’t consistent with what I assumed the book represented. Certainly what I was getting from the story, which was about questioning women’s roles and their rights to be individuals. One of my pet peeves, is when authors have their female leads “overcome” their issues by having them abruptly fall in love. Then we are supposed to believe that they are strong and confident now. I don’t believe that things are ever that simple. If you have issues, the best thing for you to do is to resolve them, before trying to give any part of yourself to someone else.

Ellen Hopkins’s should be commended for her very unique writing style. The entire book is written in verse and not simply the stanzaic form. She creates images with the verses, and they allow the reader to not just read what Pattyn feels, but to see it as well. It was visually appealing as well as interesting.

Overall a strong start, but the ending didn’t work for me. I did like the writing style and I might pick up another Hopkins books.

Book Thoughts: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

 

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3.5. 
If you’ve seen the film before reading this story(like I did), then you’ll be definitely be surprised.
I’ve learned to separate films and books a long time ago. I still get angry when a favorite is poorly adapted, but I’ve learned to let it go.
I obviously knew beforehand that the stories were going to have some differences. The film is an almost two-hour feature, and the story is a total of thirty pages. However, I guess I wasn’t expecting just how much liberty the film took. Honestly if they had changed the title and the name of the characters, I would have never linked these two stories together.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button begins with the birth of Benjamin Button. To the shock of the staff and his parents, Benjamin is not the the tiny soft newborn they were expecting. He is man of about eighty with wrinkles and white hair who demands to be properly clothed and fed. Everyone including his parents is disgusted with him. However, his parents take him home, or I should say his father because his poor mother I think is mentioned once in the entire story. He grows up or grows down as I should say and every year he is younger. His maturity level changes along with his age which is disturbing and confusing to those around him.

What I liked about the story was the concept. It is fascinating to imagine what our lives would be like if were born old and as we “aged” we became younger. While reading this story, it is difficult to place the benefits, or the differences that come with that change.I think what Fitzgerald was attempting to create here, is that life is a cycle. We start as defenseless babies and we end as defenseless adults. One of the scenes that stuck with me, was when Benjamin’s son wants nothing to do with Benjamin because Benjamin’s youth is a liability. It struck me as a very real depiction of what many aging adults go through with their children.

I didn’t really care for the characters in the story. It doesn’t go in depth with these these characters which is difficult in a short story, but it just felt like everyone was almost the same. As I mentioned before, I was irritated that his mother didn’t really factor into the story not even after the birth of her son. I wanted to know how she felt after giving birth to an eighty year old man, and if she loved him with a mother’s love or like everyone else in the story treated him with revulsion.

Overall a good short story. I read in about thirty minutes. My only warning is don’t go into to the story with the film in mind you will be disappointed.

Thoughts on writing and September wrap up.

So… this month was a bit of a fail. I started this blog hoping to talk about writing and reading and just general book related things all of which make me happy, but just when I started it my life  went and got all busy on me. No fun.

I’ve been reading tons but all of it for school. Mostly I’ve been reading essays and dreary chapters from even drearier books, which as you can imagine is  exhausting. I am happy to say that I have been writing.  I’ve been writing poems mostly. I write them in the  the middle of the night when I am in between the hazy sleep and almost awake phase. I love to look them over when I am fully awake the next day. They surprise me sometimes,  and not because I think I am a genius, but because of the thoughts my subconscious seems to hold out on me when I am fully awake.  Writing is funny that way. Poems are funny that way.   I promise them that I’ll come back to them once everything is settled down. If everything gets settled down.

I am finding that I really like writing at night or just when it’s dark out. My house is usually so full of people, and I am so protective of my writing that I can hardly ever write in my own house. Lately I’ve been having a hard time sleeping. I either sleep to late or wake up to early. Instead of laying there tossing and turning, I’ve started to  get up to write, and I’ve gotten good results. It’s annoying that I have all this energy to write during one of the busiest moments in my life, but hey I’ll never say no to inspiration.

I’ve read interviews of some of my favorite authors in which they also say they write when its dark.  It has something to do with that part of the brain that holds creative and uninhibited thoughts is awake. Maybe it’s writer superstition,  but I am finding that to be true, however, I do like my sleep so I guess I have to find that balance. Normally I try to write whenever I can and at times I go weeks without writing just gathering ideas for when I’ll be able to find the time. Now I am forcing myself to make that time, and while things tend to get a little crazy the feeling of completing something you love is always great. It’s satisfying to see a full page of something as opposed to a blank page of nothing.

Since I shared a little bit of writing thoughts, I thought I would share this video I stumbled upon earlier this week  It is a video video of Jhumpa Lahiri  who wrote The Interpreter of Maladies a great collection of short stories as well as a few other novels which I haven’t read yet. Her book The Lowland is nominated for the Man Booker Prize, and I plan to read it soon.  She talks about writing, and I love listening to authors talk about their writing process. Also her voice is very melodic and puts me in the mood to write.

What are your preferred methods of writing. Do you need music, noise, or quite. How do you guy balance what is going on with your life and your creative projects?

Anyways on to the wrap up. I only managed to finish the three books that I reviewed on here.

The Mark Of Ran by Paul Kearney

The Forsaken Earth by Paul Kearney

Paint if Black by Janet Fitch

I enjoyed all three of them, and I highly recommend them.

What did you guys read this month?

I’m reading One Flew Over the Cukoos Nest,  I only have a hundred pages left, and  like it so far. I hope things start settling down, so I can focus more on reading and writing and enjoying one of my favorite months. Autumn is here and I love it!