Monday, March 10, 2014

Maniacal Mondays: My Barnes & Noble Addiction.

It's true. Every time I go into Barnes & Noble it just reminds me of how little I can control myself in Barnes & Noble. Books everywhere. The scent of happiness. It's like letting an alcoholic tour a brewery. I probably shouldn't have used that comparison...oh well. Too late now.

Anyway, I was hanging with my partner-in-crime at B&N looking for 1984 and The Sound and the Fury for class when I stumbled upon the YA section. And today, my lovely readers, I found hope.

That hope is called Avalon by Mindee Arnett, and for the first time in years I actually want to buy the book off the shelf.

You heard me. No waiting for it at the library, no borrowing it from a friend, I wanna read this sucker. Just look at this beautiful cover.

Do you not just immediately want to read that? It's everything I like - star ships, galactic confederacies, teen rebels, male protagonists, did I mention star ships? It sounds like dystopian Star Trek and the main character's name is Jeth and if that doesn't make you want to read this thing I don't know what to tell you. Jeth comandeers a star ship with a band of teen rebels who all just want to be left alone by the Confederacy, and the story pushes his limits on how far he'll go for freedom. Oooh.

So that's my little spiel for Monday, which I have created a new blog post day - Maniacal Mondays, which will end up being sort of my personal blog day that will relate to something in my life that I'll then gush about (or rant about) to you guys.

Do any of you have a special place that makes you go nuts? Any books you're excited to read? Share! I'm going on Spring Break soon and those plane rides beg for reading material.

Trying to make Mondays a little brighter,

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Thoughts Thursday: The P Word

It's been quite the week. Generally I have some sort of post for Thursday where I'm serving up literary snark, but I'm too tired even for that. Sometimes, life rolls on. Other times, life steamrolls on. Over you. This is one of those other times.

A lot of people think that after Christmas break, life's a breeze. But since these people have left school, various school boards, states, and federal whims have brought us more testing, more homework, more diagnostics, and other behavioral corrections enough to make a lab rat out of me. I am nothing but five letters meant to make the school board look good, it seems.

The good news is, the weekend is almost here, and the week of OGTs is next, meaning I have two hours off school each day while the sophomores take graduation tests. I think...I THINK that I can finish The Artist next week.

Fingers crossed, writing gods appeased, lucky shirt worn.

So I guess my thoughts this Thursday are summed up on one word: Persistence. Perseverance can work, but you need tenacity, endurance. Push through, and you'll get what you want. Let's hope we all accomplish that soon, huh?

Don't forget the brain bucket,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Think Tank Tuesday: Commercialism

"I lit up like a Christmas tree, Hazel Grace."

"Real or not real?"


"May the odds be ever in your favor."

"And in that moment, I swear we are infinite."

I'm guessing you can probably tell me which book these quotes belong to, who said them, and why. And you would probably be right about all of them. They're on t shirts, fanmade goodies, and every gifset and photo collage of that book or its movie adaptation on tumblr. But what about these quotes make them special? 

The answer: Their commercial value. 

These phrases aren't just any old string of words strapped together. They are great one-liners for t-shirts, good quotes to spout as you hug that beloved book to your chest. They're enormous money makers. Publishing houses love them, movie producers want them, and authors provide them.

Or...they try to.

You can see it especially in YA writing where an author is trying - really, really trying - to make that magical phrase happen. They repeat it. They try to put some sort of infinite wisdom in there, pack it with meaning. But it just doesn't work. As much as authors will tell you they write to tell a story,  the reality is that we're also trying to make money. Sure, we clearly aren't as money-hungry as other professions (if you're in it for money, writing is not for you.), but we gotta eat. So appealing to the commercial aspect of books should play a role. But that role has started to cause a deterioration of the writing it sells. How many times have you been reading a book you love, and suddenly there's a plot twist, ooh! And it's a complete sellout, clearly meant to propel the love triangle. Or a character says something ridiculously out of character for the sake of a quotable piece on their Goodreads page. It's like someone had taken a hatchet to their manuscript and filled in the slits with little commercialized bits to catch a publisher's eye. 

Do we need to acknowledge the necessity of a commercially valid piece? Yes. But we can't let it destroy our ideas and hold them captive. A good piece of literature should stand alone, be able to be good outside the industry. You're putting your name on this, don't you want it to be good?

So for the writers: keep doing what you're doing. Write. Revise. Edit. Query. Fight for your story, and don't sacrifice it for commercial success.

For the readers: venture outside the newcomer shelves. Look on Goodreads, ask an associate of Barnes and Noble, take charge of what you read. Read something. If you love it, tell others. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you're the consumer. You hold the power. Take it.

Viva la RevoluciĆ³n,