Discussion: Reading Classics

Hello!

I haven’t done a discussion post in ages, which is why I made it a goal for myself to post more discussions in 2018. As soon as I started thinking about a discussion post, I knew I wanted to talk about reading classics, as my thoughts on reading classics has really changed over the past year or so. Pretty much everyone has to read a classic book in their lifetime, whether it’s for school or just on their own. I’ve read quite a few classics in my life – most of them have been for school. In the past two or three years, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to read more classics. In 2017, I made a list of 12 classics that I absolutely had to read that year.

This year, I decided not to make a full list of classics for two reasons. One, I didn’t have enough classics on my physical TBR to make a full list. Two, I really wanted to stop succumbing to the societal pressure that was telling me I must read a book simply because it is a classic. I hate the idea that I can’t be a “real” reader or an “intelligent/intellectual” person because I read mostly YA and not adult “classics” or “literature”. There is not a hierarchy of books that determine your worth in society, and books are not inherently less valuable because they aren’t classics. This is not to say that I don’t like or value classics. Some of my all time favorite books are classics. So this leaves the question – what makes a classic worth reading, and how do I choose which ones to read?

As I said before, most of the classics I have read have been for school. Classics I’ve read for school are pretty hit or miss for me, and it also really depends not just on the quality of the book, but also on my teacher, how they approach the book, and the quality of the discussions that I have in class about the book. Some of my favorite classics that I’ve read for school include: The Great Gatsby, which I will never get tired of analyzing and pondering, and all of the Shakespeare plays that I’ve read (especially Macbeth). Some of the classics that I’ve really hated when I read them for school include: Crime and Punishment, The Sound and the Fury, The Stranger, and The Catcher in the Rye.

As far as classics that I read outside of school, I’ve started choosing classics I want to read mostly based on recommendations from friends and family. I’ve already read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens at the recommendation of a friend, and I have several books on my physical TBR for this year that have been recommended to me by friends or family. These books include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I’ve also discovered some of my favorite classics on my own. Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and a Mary Shelley are all authors whom I discovered on my own, and whose books I absolutely adored. I especially love Pride and Prejudice which I’ve read and reread several times since I read it back in elementary school. One of the reasons I like Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein so much is because of how often I see it in other stories (like the TV show Penny Dreadful which I absolutely adore). It was so nice to return to the source material and really appreciate where so many shows and movies have taken their inspiration.

This system of choosing classics based mainly off of recommendations really works for me, because I’m reading books not because they are classics, but because they sound interesting and I want to read them. Reading is a lot more enjoyable when I’m not pressuring myself to read books that I’m not actually going to enjoy.

What are some of your favorite classics? What books did you have to read for school? What makes you want to read a classic? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

Advertisements

NaNoWriMo: Weeks 1 and 2

Hello!

NaNoWriMo is fully under way now. It has been a busy two weeks. Which is why my “weekly” update went completely out the window. I had family visit from out-of-state all last week, so that severely cut into my writing/reading time. Nonetheless, I’ve gotten some writing done, and I still want to update you!

So, first off, I wanted to talk about my novel, as well as my goals for my novel. I’m writing a Young Adult contemporary, with three alternating points of view. My three main POV characters are twins Noelle and Joshua, and Noelle’s best friend Ireland. My story is loosely based on a side character’s story in Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not, and it’s been rattling around in my brain for a couple of years now. The idea (for the ending) came to me at least five or six years ago, but I never had a story to go along with it until I read MHTN.

A basic summary of my characters (plus some basic plot) – Joshua is bisexual, and he and his boyfriend Taylor (who he’s been with in secret, as he’s not “out” yet) have just broken up and decided to explore other options. His particular “other option” that he ends up with is his twin sister’s best friend, Ireland. Noelle, meanwhile is finally getting together with her long-time friend Austin, but she’s exploring what being in and wanting to be in  a relationship means for her, as she’s (questioning)-romantic asexual. Austin is an African-American boy who grew up down the street from Noelle and Josh, and he’s also a swimmer who suffers from chronic pain due to a swimming injury. I think that’s all I want to say about it for now, other than I’m really exciting that I’m finally putting this story into words and not just hiding it away in my brain.

Now – on to my GOALS! So, obviously, the point of NaNoWriMo is to put 50,000 words on paper in 30 days. I am, of course, trying to meet this goal, but it’s not one of my huge priorities. This is the first time I’ve tried to write ANYTHING fiction beyond the length of a short story, so I’m using this as an opportunity to really discover and explore my voice as a fiction writer, rather than just as an academic writer. My major goal for this NaNoWriMo beyond that is to get the first 1/3 of my novel done, as that’s the section of my novel that I have really fleshed out. I’m planning on having about 12 chapters in this section, and so far my chapters have been 1500-2500 words, so even if I meet this goal, I most likely won’t hit 50,000 words, and that’s ok. I’m trying not to pressure myself, and force myself to write when I’m not in the mood. I really want to try to enjoy this writing process, and if I’m stressing about hitting the word count, I won’t enjoy it. I also think the 50,000 word-count goal is pretty unrealistic, just because this is one of the busiest times of school for me.

Anyway, now that you know what some of my goals are, where am I now????

Based on the 50,000 word goal, I should be (on day 14) at 23,333 words. Yeah…. That’s not a thing. I’m currently at 10,044 words, so I’m WAYYY behind. I was really proud of myself because I was only one day behind for the first week, but then I basically didn’t write anything for the entire second week while my family was visiting, so now I’m REALLY behind. Again, I’m trying not to stress about this, so while I will still try to catch up as much as possible, I’m not going to pressure myself to finish or write when I’m in the mood to do something else. The fact that I’m writing anything at all is a miracle, so I’m just happy about that. As far as my goal of finishing the first 1/3 of my novel (12 chapters), I’m currently on CH 6, so I’m actually on track in terms of that.

How is your NaNoWriMo novel coming along? What is it about? Have you done NaNoWriMo before? Tell me in the comments! (Sincerely, a newbie who is FREAKING out)

-Sky

Discussion: Books I Want to Reread

Hello!

I hardly ever reread books, mostly because I feel guilty about the books that I own that I haven’t read. There are some books, though, that I really want to reread, despite the guilt. I have a few that I have reread before (like Harry Potter), but there are a bunch that I’ve never reread, and I want to try and reread them sometime next year. Here they are!

six2bof2bcrows2bduology

The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

I read both of these books right when they came out, so there was about a year between each one. I would love to reread both of these books together, so I could go into the second book with all the details from the first fresh in my mind. Plus, I’d love to revisit all of these beautiful characters.

Image result for percy jackson and the olympians

Percy Jackson and they Olympians by Rick Riordan

I’ve actually reread this series once, but it was at least five years ago. I’d love to revisit this original story before I move on to some of his newer series like Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo.

200px-the_fault_in_our_stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’d really like to reread this book, as it’s been several years since I’ve read it, and John Green has a new book coming out this month, so I’d like to reread this one very soon. It’s been on my all-time-favorites list since the first time I’ve read it, but I think I’ve only read it twice. This is also one that I’d really like to rewatch the movie of, as the first time I missed part of it because I had to use the bathroom.

51yd0qrsr6l-_sx328_bo1204203200_

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I’ve only read this book once, and I’m absolutely shocked by that fact. I love this book so much, and I really have no idea why I haven’t reread it yet. I’m going to do this very soon, and I’m absolutely going to have a pack of Oreos with me when I do it.

infernal-devices-covers1

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I have a couple of reasons for wanting to reread this this trilogy. Firstly, it’s one of my favorite series and its been about 5 years since I last read it, so I’d love to revisit the Shadowhunter realm. Secondly, I really want to continue on with Cassandra Clare’s new series, The Dark Artifices, so rereading these would be a good refresher.

51rofznopjl-_sx328_bo1204203200_

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

I’ve wanted to reread this book since I first read it when it came out a few years ago. I never did. This is the perfect book to reread because you can go back and see all of the little hints and clues that you missed the first time around. I’m super excited to go back and see this from a the perspective of someone who knows what’s coming and what really happened.

darkest-minds-giveaway-feature

The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

This is another series that I fell in love with when I first read it a few years ago, and I want to go back and fall in love with it all over again. Over the past year or so, the cast of Six of Crows has been my favorite band of renegades, and recently I’ve realized that I kind of forgot how much I love the group in this series as well. Everyone takes care of each other, and they all are so supportive and I want to go back and remember all the great scenes with this rag-tag group.

51a99tea6il-_ac_ul320_sr204320_

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another book that is one of my absolute favorites, and I think I’ve only read it twice? It’s been at least 3 years since I read this one, and I’m starting to forget some of the details. I also want to rewatch the movie for this one, because the soundtrack is GORGEOUS.

Image result for the hunger games

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I’m pretty sure I’ve only read this trilogy once. I want to go back to it for a few reasons. Firstly, I want to reread them to help distinguish the events from the books from the events in the movies, because at this point its all just a blur. Secondly, I have a LOT of mixed feelings about Mockingjay, and I’d like to reread it to try and sort through those feelings a little bit more.

Image result for graceling trilogy

The Graceling trilogy by Kristin Cashore

I’ve reread Fire two or three times, but I’ve only read Graceling and Bitterblue once, and the only time I read Graceling was…. 10 years ago? Something like that. So it’s definitely overdue for a reread.

What books do you want to reread? Have you read or reread any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

 

A Slightly Rambly-Random Rant

Hello,

I was initially going to do a Hufflepuff recommendation post today, but some stuff happened today and I’m just not in the mood. Plus, I just did a TTT and I don’t really want to do two recommendation posts in a row. (I’m typing this as of Thursday, just as an fyi for some things I’m going to talk about.)

So, I’m not going to go into too much detail about any of this, since it’s more personal, but basically the fact that I’m moving in two days had led to a lot of tension and stress in my house; this eventually culminated today into probably the biggest fight/argument I’ve ever had. The past couple of months as we’ve been preparing for this move haven’t been the greatest, and it’s really highlighted some of the not-so-great aspects of my home life.

That’s why I wanted to make this post today, because I wanted to talk about one other aspect of my life that I’ve really come to appreciate over the past few months, and the events of today really showed me how powerful this part of my life can be. It may sound a little bit cheesy (but I mean this in the most sincere way possible), but the community that is a part of YA Twitter has truly become a refuge and a haven for me over the past few months. Today’s events with the NYT Best-seller list especially showed me what an amazing, powerful, and active community we can be (if you didn’t hear about this, you can read the basics here).

There are some pretty horrible things going on in the world today, but this is just one example of people coming together and taking absolutely none of the sh*t that the world throws at them. It’s the perfect example of people standing up for what’s right, rather than hiding their heads in the sand and ignoring things that are going on around them, simply because they are privileged enough to do so.

I know that I come from an extremely privileged place, and for a long time now I’ve used that privilege to avoid the news, politics, and anything going on in the world that is mildly upsetting. This online community, particularly since the 2016 Presidential Election, has taught me so much about that privilege, and how I can use it to help those who are not in such a privileged position. I have learned so much, and am still learning. I make mistakes all the time, but I am learning and growing as I see people on line point out what we can improve in the world, and they systems that are in place to deliberately debilitate and hinder those who come from a disadvantaged place.

As I am still relatively new to this online space, I haven’t yet made a lot of friends, because I’ve sort of deliberately stayed in the background to watch the interactions around me. In the short amount of time that I’ve been on Twitter, I have seen SO much support, love, happiness, and goodness come as a response to one negative thing. One negative thing can spark so much response from those who care and will defend the ones they care for, and refuse to spread anything but positivity and love.

So much of the mindset around the Internet is geared towards how terrible and ineffective/inefficient discourse is online. This is true, there is certainly much to improve upon in online discourse. Yet, when I see a community come together in this way and perform in such an efficient, almost professional way, I’m reminded that there is such a thing as good, even great discussions that are constantly occurring, and we need to focus on promoting those, too. We focus so much on denouncing the negative, which is of course helpful and necessary, but I want to promote the good, too.

YA Twitter is such a powerful community, and it’s already done so much good for authors, readers, and just people everywhere. As much as there is bad and evil in the world, today YA Twitter reminded me that there is good, too. I want to be a part of that good, and I hope someday I will be.

-Sky

Discussion: Bookshelf Organization

Hello!

So, I’m moving next weekend, and I’m also starting school that following week. Busy times are ahead. I’m going to try and get some posts scheduled before I get too busy, but I’m already super busy with packing, so I’m not sure how active this blog is going to be for the next few weeks.

One great thing that’s coming from moving is the huge opportunity I’m going to have to reorganize my bookshelves. Currently, I have 2 big book cases – one has five shelves, the other has six. They don’t match, so when we move I’m hoping to buy two new shelves, and they’re going to be white to match my (new!) bedroom furniture. It’s all worked out, except for how I’m going to organize my shelves. As of now, they are roughly organized by series/standalone, and then just sort of by what I thought looked best and fit together. The shorter shelf has most of my series on it, and the other shelf has some series, and all my YA, MG, and adult standalones and non-fiction. The standalone shelf is also organized (a bit) by genre.

The question, now, is – how do I want to organize my books after I move?

BY COLOR? 

02b38da1c7aab11b6fb7f0cc307b0179

I’ve only tried to organize my shelves by color once, and since I didn’t want to split up my series, I only organized my standalones. It was incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but it was a LOT of work. I think if I was going to do it again, I would actually try and use all of my books, so both shelves look good instead of just one. Rainbow shelves are SO pretty.

ALPHABETICAL (BY AUTHOR?)

My eight-year-old self would be so proud of me. For some reason, I was a little obsessed with alphabetizing things when I was a child. Every weekend I would sit down and organize all of my movies alphabetically, even though it usually took me like two hours. I also collect decks of cards, and I used to organize the “dog breed” or “horse breed” decks alphabetically by the breed on each card (there were 52 breeds, not 13). My only issue with this is that it would take SO long, since I have about 300 books, though having a bunch of series does make it a bit easier.

BY GENERAL AESTHETICS?

This is how I’ve organized my shelves for the past few years. I just pull all the books off my shelves, and put them back in what ever order “feels” right. While this is the easiest and fastest way to organize for me, I want to try something different and refreshing, since I’m getting such a perfect opportunity to start over and try something new.

BY READ/TBR? 

With the way my books are organized now, I keep track of my TBR with little circular stickers. I really like the idea of separating TBR and Read books. The downside to this method of organization is that you have to shift all of your books every time you finish one (at least with series). This would be easier to do with standalones, as it doesn’t really matter where those go on your shelves, but with series you would have to make sure to leave enough room for all the books you need to add to the shelf as you read them.

CONCLUSIONS?

I have no idea how I want to organize my shelves. No method is perfect. The good thing is – I don’t have to make my decision now. I still have a little over a week before I move and get my new bookshelves. Maybe some inspiration will hit me once I get the shelves set up in my new bedroom, who knows?

 

How do you organize your bookshelves? How do you think I should organize mine? Let me know in the comments!!

-Sky

Discussion: Beautiful Book Covers

Hello!

One of the challenges for this year’s Booktube-a-thon is “Read a book you bought because of the cover”. I never cover-buy books; I’ll always read the description or some reviews first. So this challenge was a pretty difficult one for me. The good part of this is that it got me thinking about some of my favorite book covers, and I wanted to share a few with you all today!

all_the_light_we_cannot_see_28doerr_novel29                   51xuq-fwml-_sy344_bo1204203200_                  17415685-_uy200_

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – this book is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. I love the blue and the turquoise colors blending together to depict the war-time city scape.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton – I have to say this picture doesn’t really do the book justice. The cover in real life is metallic, and made of a stationery-type paper that’s got almost like a fabric texture to it, with little threads weaving together in a cross-hatch. When I first read this book, I borrowed it from a friend, but I knew I had to buy my own copy because of the gorgeous cover.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – Are we noticing a pattern here? I like blue ok? It’s my favorite color. I love all the covers in this trilogy, because there’s little easter-eggs hidden if you pay attention. And each little detail is relevant to the story.

20983366-_uy400_ss400_         61znaba02bdl-_sx335_bo1204203200_              28960100

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken –  It was really hard for me to choose between this one and passenger, but I ended up going with this one, just because I love the idea of a tree growing under a glass dome like that. A whole little world inside, with the cityscape mirrored below.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick – Again, the picture doesn’t entirely do justice for this cover. The gold is beautiful and metallic, like it was gold-leafed. The indigo behind provides such a gorgeous contrast; it’s the perfect cover for one of my favorite books.

A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray: This whole series has some of the most amazing covers I’ve ever seen. This one has to be my favorite though. Space isn’t the most interesting visually, but I loved how they made it this rich, royal purple, rather just black or gray and boring. Plus, the stark scarlet against the purple is just stunning.

 

What are some of your favorite book covers? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

Discussion: Disappointing Finales

Hello!

So, I’m sure we’ve all read series that made us fall in love with them, only to completely disappoint us by the last book. There are a bunch that I’ve read over the past few years, but the most recent one for me is definitely The Chronicles of Narnia.

The first few books in the series are so magical and innocent. As a child I completely fell in love with the world of Narnia, especially since I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before I read Harry Potter. I was so envious of the Pevensies, and their magical land where they could be kings and queens.

giphy

Then, the last two books happened. There was such a huge shift in the tone and the message of the books, and it was impossible to ignore the incredibly racist and sexist undertones running through the narrative. I was so confused. Where did all my innocent babies go?

tumblr_nupezzvhwc1uv300do1_500

I think the only way I can cope is to pretend the last two books don’t exist. I’ll stick with The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, thanks. You can’t make me face reality, nope! Narnia is fine, and you can’t convince me otherwise. I’ll just go hide in my wonderful little fantasy world, now. Bye!

doctor-who-brb-narnia

What do you do when a series disappoints you? Have you read all of The Chronicles of Narnia? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky