Sunday, 30 September 2012

Books Read in September

Gosh, this has been the crappiest month ever. I've been constantly sick, with on-again, off-again flus, and then I found out that it was because I have sinusitis.
Sinusitis totally doesn't sound like a real sickness. Every time I catch myself saying it, I keep thinking, you just made that word up, didn't you? But I promise I didn't make it up. My doctor must have made it up, or something.
But yeah, that's what my life has been for the past month. I've missed a month's worth of classes, but that's okay, because most of my classes don't actually seem to need me to be present, so I'm a bit lucky. I've also gotten a bit behind on my reading and editing, because sinusitis apparently means that I need to have constant migraines because of the pressure of constantly blocked sinuses. Fuck you, sinuses!
I've been on antibiotics for the last 9 days, and they end tomorrow, but I don't feel much better. Bleh. I hate being sick.

Anywhos, enough of my whining, here are the books I managed to read this month:
As always, * indicates a favourite, and ~ indicates a graphic novel or manga or picture book.

1. Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades of Grey, #2) - E.L. James
2. The Little Storm Dancer (The Lotus War, #1.5) - Jay Kristoff ~
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte *
4.  Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation  Elissa Stein & Susan Kim
5. Every Other Day - Jennifer Lynne Barnes
6. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell *
7. The Assassin and the Empire (Throne of Glass, #0.4) - Sarah J. Maas
8. City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5) - Cassandra Clare
9. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame Smith
10. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1) - Stephen King
11. Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1) - Michael Crichton
12. Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1) - Saladin Ahmed
13. Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, #1) - Rachel Caine
Image taken on my Instagram
14. On the Edge (The Edge, #1) - Ilona Andrews
15. Adorkable - Sarra Manning
16. The Avengers vol 1. - Brian Michael Bendis & John Romita Jr. ~

So yeah, not much of an exciting list this month. I finish uni halfway through October, so maybe then I'll have more time to read. If my sinusitis goes away, that is.
Of the books I read this month, only two really stood out: Jane Eyre and Cloud Atlas. 

Jane Eyre was read for my literature class for uni, and I loved every moment of it. The writing is just phenomenal, even though sometimes Bronte does tend to ramble on about the most inane detail. I can't wait to write my essay on it concerning gender and societal roles. I'm so excited. *is such a nerd*

Cloud Atlas also had phenomenal writing, but what made this book stand out was the sorta gimmicky way it combined six separate strands to make one overarching story. And each of the six stories, despite focusing on completely different topics, characters, and even genres, was fantastic in its own way. Several weeks later, and I'm still thinking about it. This book definitely needs a reread at some point in the future. Maybe before I watch the film.

Hopefully next month will bring a more fruitful list. I've been going insane from not reading enough. I'm not used to reading at the speed of a normal person. I don't like it. :c
Currently Reading.
Image taken on my Instagram

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Can Adults Read Young Adult?

I was in the library today with my mother. We had an hour to kill before an appointment, so we were sitting in the Young Adult section: I was reading Adorkable, and my mum was flicking through some magazines. Then, a middle-aged woman, around my mother's age, walked into the section, and began browsing through the books.

As soon as the woman left, with a stack of YA books in tow, my mother started her rant:

"What is a woman her age doing reading books for teenagers? Has she no shame? Is she so dumb that she needs to read children's books?"
etc. etc. etc.

There's always a stigma towards books that aren't classics and/or literary. Genre books always get a lot of flack. But Young Adult seems to be getting the worst of it. People seem to think that because YA is aimed mainly at teens, that only teens should be able to read it. And, sometimes they go a step further, assuming that because it's aimed towards teens, it's somehow not as intellectual or as deep as adult novels. Basically, there's a lot of ageism going on.

It makes me wonder how people view me. I'm twenty years old. I haven't been in high school for three years. I'm definitely not a teen anymore, and I'm slowly ceasing to become a young adult. And, most importantly, I read practically nothing but young adult. I write only young adult.

Sure, there may be lots of YA books that are vapid and shallow, that are pale imitations of Twilight. But isn't that the same for books for adults? I don't mean to sound like a genre snob here, but a lot of smutty erotica novels are hardly deep (hurr hurr....). I've read a few books that are classed as literary (what is literature, anyway? But that's fodder for another post), that feel shallow, with stupid characters that are nothing more than Edward and Bella as adults.

But on the other hand, I've read some really deep YA, such as The Book Thief, Twenty Boy Summer, or Looking for Alaska, and they all deal with important topics. They are hardly vapid, and there's potential to teach a lot of people. Ditto with adult novels, whether they be literary or genre fiction.

I appologise for this ranty post. I realise it's not really going anywhere. I'm just trying to sort my thoughts into some semblance of sense, and I know it's not really working. Regardless of how much I'm failing at understanding this phenomena, I'd like to know what you guys think. Do you think that adults should be able to read books for teens, and vice versa? Is there something dumb about an adult reading below their age level? Why do you think this is?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I Hate Editing

Dearest Readers, I hate editing.

I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

It is the bane of my existence, but considering I want to get published, I have to deal with it. Woe is me.

I can handle writing thousands and thousands of words of first draft, but when it comes to editing the drivel, I get lost and it's as if I'm being waterboarded.
The reason I'm feeling so much hate towards editing right now is because I'm in the middle of editing my NaNo'10 novel, a steampunk with leprechauns and thieves and bluestocking girls. And it is tough. It's kicking my ass. But, I must persevere.

I guess what I hate most about editing is that I don't know how to do it. There's no rules on how to do it. Every book or guide or piece of advice on editing is different, and a lot of the time, it's contradictory, so I have no idea what to do and where to start and how to go about perfecting my precious novel.

So far, I think I've managed pretty well. My first step was to read through my manuscript and type out an outline of everything that happens. Important plot points. Character deaths/injuries for future reference. What weapons are used (because I'm unable to keep track of what weapons my characters use, apparently. (in one scene, my male main character was stabbing people with a sword, in the next scene, the sword became a gun).
At the same time, I wrote down all the things that needed to change in comments on the document, so that I know what to do.

And... now I'm stuck. I have no idea how to go about making these changes. I have no idea what to do. All I want to do is lie in a foetal position and cry forever and hope that an agent takes pity on me.

I've been slowly--super slowly--making changes to my document. I've never realised how hard it is to actually edit a whole novel.

I feel that editing is a bit like time-travel: if you tweak a slight bit at the beginning of the novel, the end can be vastly different, much like the theory that if you accidentally killed a plant, then the future can be supremely different. Blah, there's so much responsibility.

It doesn't help that my betas are impatiently waiting for my newly revised novel to arrive in their inboxes. So much pressure! What if they don't like it? What if I suck? Argh, can you see why I prefer to write novels and not edit them? (Though, funnily enough, I have no problem with editing other people's work.)

So, how do you edit? What do you do to make editing less of a terrifying chore, and something that can be enjoyed?

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Books Read in August

Howdy, folks. I know, I know, it's been a month since I last wrote. I promise, I was going to write a cool post about writing, but then I got horribly sick, right at the time that most of my assessment tasks were due. So yeah, I've been a bit busy. And as a result, I haven't read that much this month.
* indicates a favourite
~ indicates a graphic novel or manga

1. Past the Shallows - Favel Parrett
2. The Doomsday Vault - Steven Harper
3. Ship Breaker - Paolo Bacigalupi
4. The Selection - Kiera Cass
5. Princesses and Pornstars - Emily Maguire
6. Wildwood - Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis
7. Ascendant (Kiiler Unicorns, #2) - Diana Peterfreund
8. Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3) - Kerry Greenwood
9. Rapture (Fallen, #4) - Lauren Kate
10. Irresponsible (Ultimate Spiderman, #7) - Brian Michael Bendis ~
11. End Run (New Birds of Prey, #1) - Gail Simone ~
12. Blood - Tony Birch
13. The Theban Plays - Sophocles
14. Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5) - Ilona Andrews *

Photo taken on my Instagram
Wahh, only 14 books read this month. That's almost nothing. And what makes this even worse is that most of the books were pretty meh. The only book that really stood out was the most recent book in the Kate Daniels series, and you can see me rant about how much I love that series here.

So, what books am I planning to read in September? Well, Jane Eyre and Notes From Underground for my Intro to Lit class (*swoon*!). I've already started Jane Eyre, and I'm loving it. It is taking a long tim to read, though, because of the dense writing, but oh man, it's so worth it.

Other books I'm planning on reading:

  • Hoping to finish Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I'm so close to finishing it, but it's just so boring and dry, that I haven't wanted to pick it back up again.
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I really want to read this before the movie comes out. It looks like it could be a fantastic film (yellowface issues aside. Let's not go there.)
  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I've never read any of Woolf's works. Perhaps I should start now. 
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Can't believe I haven't yet read this. 
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I love the movie. So so so much. Let's see how the book compares.
  • Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami. Can you believe it, I've never read any Murakami, either. Hopefully this first foray into his work will not be my last.
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick. This is for research purposes. My current novel is a sci-fi/cyberpunk that deals with the idea of humanity in a world with cyborgs and androids. 
  • Finally, Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. I'm so excited to read this. I love love love  books set in a non-white/European fantasy world. And it has a gorgeous cover. Just look at it.
Those are just the books I have from the library. I'm not even going to go into the books I own/ARCs from publishers. Maybe I'll save that for another post.

In the meantime, stay classy, internet.