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Friday, September 28, 2012

Those Kinds of Special Books

Song of the Week: 19 and Crazy by Bomshell

Markus Zusak has said, "Sometimes you read a book so special that you carry it around with you just to be near it." That quote really spoke to me when I read it and much later, I started thinking about books that are that special to me.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 
I actually brought this book to college with me because I couldn't imagine leaving it at home. It's such a beautiful and heart-shattering story and it just didn't seem right to leave it in my dark bedroom on a shelf.

Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
Most of Pierce's books are special to me, but this one is the most special. I've read it many, many times over the years. It's gotten me through bad times and been with me through good. Last semester it was my de-stress read over finals.

Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I grew up with Harry Potter and the entire series is special to me. When I finished DH for the second time, I actually fell asleep curled up with it. One of my clearest memories is going to the bookstore to buy it and then barricading myself in my room for twelve hours while I roared through the pages.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is beautiful and it ripped out my heart in a way that few books have. I had never been able to imagine calling a book "gorgeous" until I met this one. It was a week before I was ready to try reading something else the first time around.

What books are that kind of special to you?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New releases: Confessions of a Murder Suspect, The Blessed, The Casual Vacancy

Confessions of a Murder Suspect
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Teen Detectives Series #1
On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone--maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?

 The Blessed
by Tonya Hurley
The Blessed #1

From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy—a boy who believes he is a saint.

What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief.

The Casual Vacancy 
by J.K. Rowling
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

RTW -- Best Book of September

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: 
What was the best book you read in September?

Reflecting the fact that college is the world's biggest time suck, I've only read three books this month (including one that was a beta read). It doesn't help that the one I'm reading right now is A Clash of Kings. I'm pretty sure that -- even though I adore it -- this book is probably going to take me three months to read at this rate.

There was no contest this month for the best book...

Every Day by David Levithan 
I read it a few weeks ago but I still think about it all the time. The writing is gorgeous, the plot very original, and the characters amazing and diverse. I love the look into different people's lives as A switches between bodies.

If you've read Every Day, what did you think? What was the best book that you read this month?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grimms' Fairy Tales

A large amount of Once Upon a Time watching has given me a increased fascination with fairy tales. Now, I've known for awhile now that the original fairy tales were recorded by the Grimm Brothers, written for adults, and much darker than their Disney counterparts. I've been wanting to read the Grimm versions for awhile now, so when I found out that Grimms' Fairy Tales came free with my Kobo, I knew I had to read them.

Some of them were great, some were just plain weird, and others didn't really make much sense. In honor of Once Upon a Time's season two premiere on Sunday, here are a few of my favorites.

The Golden Bird 
This is the tale of the youngest of a gardener's three sons who goes on a journey to hunt a golden bird that keeps stealing the king's golden apples. I've read it twice now: the first time was because of a OUAT rumor that it would come into play in the show. I'm not sure why I enjoy it so much, but it's a very interesting tale.


Jorinda and Jorindel 
The tale of two lovers that wander too close to a fairy's castle. The fairy turns Jorinda into a nightingale and traps her in a cage in her castle along. Jorindel is frozen when the fairy captures Jorinda and is only unfrozen when he agrees to leave the fairy's lands forever. Jorindel discovers a flower that counteracts the fairy's magic and takes it to her castle to rescue his love. I hadn't heard of this one before and I really liked it.

The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean
The tale of a piece of straw, a coal, and a bean that escape from an old woman's cooking pot and decide to journey away together so they can avoid the brutal fate of their brethren. It was, quite possibly, the weirdest story I have ever read and I think that's why I liked it so much.


Briar Rose
This is the Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty. When the princess, Briar Rose, is born, her mother decided to invite the fairies but they only had twelve golden plates by which to serve them and there were thirteen fairies. Each of the invited fairies bestowed upon the girl a wonderful gift, but the fairy that was not invited cursed Briar Rose so that on her fifteenth birthday she would prick her finger on a spindle and fall dead. The last fairy that hadn't yet given her gift saved Briar Rose so that she would only fall asleep for a century. When she pricked her finger, instead of just Briar Rose falling asleep, so did her entire court. Then for a hundred years she lay asleep until finally a young king heard of the court's plight, found the castle, and kissed the princess. I like this version better than the Disney one for some reason. There's just something eerie about an entire castle being frozen for a hundred years, only to be awoken by the kiss of a prince.

Mother Holle 
This is a tale of a woman's daughter and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter is made to spin all day long and one day she drops the spindle down the well. Her stepmother instructs her to go get it and so she jumps down the well and finds herself in a meadow. She becomes employed by an old woman, works hard for her all the time, and is rewarded when she returns home by a shower of gold. The mother decides that she wants more riches, and so sends her daughter down into the well. Her daughter works hard at first, but then becomes lazy and never does anything for the old woman. When she returns home, she's rewarded by a shower of pitch instead of gold.

Rumpelstiltskin
He's recently become one of my favorite fairy tale characters since Once Upon a Time so his original tale fascinates me. It's the well-known one of the girl who is ordered by the king to spin straw into gold because of her boastful father. Rumpel helps her, eventually asking for her firstborn child. When the child is born, he agrees not take the little girl away if her mother can figure out his name within three days. After many fruitless attempts, the woman finally learns of it on the third day.

The Old Man and his Grandson
It's the story of a grandfather who lives with his son and his son's wife. As he gets older, he starts to spill food and drink and so they make him sit in the corner and eat out of a wooden bowl. One day, his grandson starts to play with sticks and his parents ask him what he's doing. The grandson replies that he's making them a trough to eat out of when he gets big. The son and his wife are so ashamed by his reply that they let the grandfather return to the table and never speak a word when he spills things.

Have you read the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales? What do you think about them?

Monday, September 24, 2012

College: Tips for Cold Season

It's rapidly getting cold again (it's snowing in some of the northern states for Doctor's sake) and that means cold season is upon us. Half my campus has been sick lately. Being sick in college is nothing like being sick in high school.

If you live on campus, there's no mom to take care of you.

There's no such thing as taking a "sick day."

Your professors aren't just going to hand you a stack of missed homework when you get back.

On test days, you can't just take it the next day.

Here are some tips on how to get through it and get back to being healthy as quickly as you can.

Drink plenty of fluids
The biggest thing when you're sick is to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water or your favorite drink in your bag when you're running around campus. I also recommend tea, especially green tea.  

Rest
This is the best thing for getting better. If you have the chance to take a nap, do it. If not, try to relax and get as much sleep as possible. If you're sick, I don't recommend running around outside, especially if it's cold. The more running around you do, the more likely it's going to take longer for you to get better. 

Skip class only if you have to
On a similar note, don't skip class unless you have to. Sometimes it's better to skip class if it means you'll get more rest and recover faster. At the same time, it's hard to make up for lost class time in college. Even if you have someone to get the lecture notes from, it's not the same as being there and being able to write them down in a way that you'll be able to study from easier.

Keep food in your room 
I have a supply of food for cold season. Get whatever you like best and keep a little bit of it around. I have a couple cans of Campbell's Soup to Go, a ridiculous amount of tea, and a small cup of rice.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Releases: Ten, The Raven Boys, and Burn for Burn

Ten 
by Gretchen McNeil
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

 The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
Raven Cycle #1
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

 Burn for Burn
by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RTW: Twice Upon a Time

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.


This Week's Topic: 
 In honor of this month's Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer's CINDER, name a fable or story you'd like to see a retelling of. If you're feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!

I've been thinking a lot about fairy tales lately and -- in the process of working my way through the original Grimm Brothers ones -- have been thinking about ones I'd like to see retold. Despite that, it was really hard for me to think of one for this post because there are already so many that are being retold. Plus, I'm obsessed with Once Upon a Time (eleven days to season two!) and I adore their adaptations of a lot of things.


One idea that I've been playing with for a long time is KITSAN (Knight In Shining Armor -- NOT). It's a tale about a princess trapped in a tower who is rescued by a prince who expects her to be so grateful that she'll sleep with him. Furious, Kaelyn escapes his grasp and sets out into the city to find her own destiny -- and her own prince.

One of my favorite Grimm Brothers tales is Jorinda and Jorindel. In the original tale, a witch transfixed anyone who came too close to her castle, turning innocent maidens into birds that she kept caged in her castle. Jorinda and Jorindel, promised to marry each other, wandered too close. After Jorinda was turned into a nightingale, Jorindel was freed. Jorindel dreamt of a flower that protected him from the witch's spells, removed the evil magic from the witch, and turned all the birds back into women.

I just think there are some great chances for interpretations in it and I would love to read one!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Every Day Review

Every Day
by David Levithan
Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

This book is so beautiful and original and fantastic. If I didn't have classes, I would probably have read it all in one sitting. The end broke my heart. I probably would've been crying my eyes out if my roommate hadn't been sitting in the same room as me. I didn't even know what to do with myself after I finished it.

I love A and Rhiannon. And even though the ending broke my heart, it still felt so right.


Also, Book Thief mention for the win. 

Overall: 10/10 I seriously love David Levithan's books but I think this one might be my favorite yet of the ones I've read. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

College Monday: Studying for the First Exam

The first few weeks of college are over (where did the time go??) and this means that the first exams are starting. The first exam is always the hardest in college because you don't know what each professor is going to ask and how they're going to ask it.

It's perfectly normal to not do as well as usual on the first exam. Here are some tips on how to study to make it less stressful and make sure you're as prepared as you can be.

Listen to the professor closely
Some professors will tell you certain things that will definitely be on the exam or the kinds of things they ask. My business professor told us that the first exam will have a lot of short-answer questions. My psychology professor warned us that we need to know all the cranial nerves. Make note of all these things so that you can target your studying to what's most important. If they show a lot of emphasis on something but don't state straight-out that it's going to be on the exam, chances are it might and you should pay close attention to those notes.

Study the book
Skim through the chapters that the exam is going to cover again. If you took written notes, study those too. If there are review questions in the book, give them a try and see what you know and what you might need to study a little more. 

Study the lectures
Look through all your lecture notes. If you recorded the lectures, listen to them again and see if there's anything that's overly stressed in a way that indicates that you really need to know that section.The amount of things in the lecture on the exam depends on the professor. I've had professors do exams almost entirely based on lectures and professors who didn't really test on anything that wasn't in the book.

Make flashcards
Use index cards to quiz yourself on key terms in the chapters. This works better for some subjects than others, but it's a great study tool. Once you get them all down, you can ask a friend to quiz you on them again. 

Do the study guide
If the professor gives you a study guide for an exam, DO IT.  Not a lot of professors will do this so it's always great when you get one that does. I don't recommend just studying what's on the study guide (freshman year I had a professor that gave us a study guide and then barely tested us on what was on it), but it gives you a great guide to target your studying on the most important points.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Adult - More than Just Age?

Note: Sadly, I'm discontinuing Week in Short, at least for now, to give myself free time to work on revisions or write.

At WriteOnCon, Liesa Abrams quoted Eileen Cook as having said "In MG, the characters are learning how they fit into the world. In YA, they're learning how they stand out."  That quote has really stuck with me and I've realized exactly how true it is.

One of the major problems with New Adult is that, so far, the only distinction between it and any other category is the ages of the characters.I don't think that's the only difference between YA and NA, just like age isn't the only difference between high school and college.

Middle grade = learn where we fit in
High school = learn how to stand out
College = learn who we really are

In middle school and high school, there's a lot of pressure to fit in. There's quite a bit of identity searching but at the same time, you're still under someone else's control. When college comes around, a lot of people are on their own for their first time. It's a time of rapid growing up and exploration. It's a time to try new things and try to figure out what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.

I would love to read about college-age characters who are going through some of the same things that I am. College is a turbulent time. Why should that be ignored in novels? 

High school is when you think you have it all figured out. College is when you realize that you really don't.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Releases - Tap Out, The Diviners, What's Left of Me

Tap Out
by Eric Devine
Seventeen-year-old Tony Antioch lives in Pleasant Meadows, a trailer park where questions aren't asked since everyone already knows the answers from their own experience. He dreams of rescuing his mother from her constant stream of abusive boyfriends but in reality can barely duck the punches that are aimed at himself.

When Tony is coerced into joining his friend Rob's Mixed Martial Arts class, he is surprised to find that he has a talent that he actually wants to develop. But with a meth-dealing biker gang that is hungry for recruits and a vicious cycle of poverty and violence that precedes him, Tony is going to need a lot more than blood and guts to find a way out.

The Diviners
by Libba Bray
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first

What's Left of Me
by Kat Zhang
Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RTW: Scrivener Love

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Next week's topic: 
What word processing program do you use to write your manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?

Two months ago, I downloaded the free trial for Scrivener (for Windows) and fell head over heels in love with it. At first I just used it for revisions but last month I decided to try it for writing my new WIP. I haven't been able to use it too much so far, but I'm really liking it. I can't wait for the Windows version to catch up with the Mac one. 

There are a lot of really awesome features, but the one that comes to mind that helps me while I'm writing is the project target feature. It allows you to set a target word count for the manuscript and for the session. Then a colored bar shows you how far you are towards that goal and changes color the closer you get. If you finish one session and you want to do another one, you can just hit reset.

Another thing I love is the notecard feature. My MS is divided up into sections where each scene gets their own "document." Then each document is attached to a notecard where I can jot down a couple lines describing what happens in the scene. If I have an idea for a future scene but I'm not ready to write it yet, I can create a notecard with the idea and just leave it at that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Advice for Returners

I realized that most of the college advice that I've given over the past couple of weeks is geared more towards freshman students. So, this week, I want to give some advice to returning students. I'm two weeks into my sophomore year and I can say it's been an experience.

Don't become antisocial
As a returning student, it's easy to fall into groups of your old friends. There are lots of new people arriving and it's okay to go out and talk to them. Invite new people into your groups. 


It will be weird
Before I arrived, I didn't expect coming back would feel so strange. It's kind of like deja vu when you arrive and move back into your dorm room and see all your friends and start classes. In some ways it's familiar because you did this last year and in other ways it's different because you know what's going on now. The weirdness is okay. Recognize that it will be there and work your way through it.

Try new things
It's easy to make it your goal to try new things when you're new to college and a lot harder once you're settled in. Don't stop, though. See a club that you wanted to join last year but didn't? Go to a couple meetings. 

Help the freshman
Last year, we had a bunch of sophomores in the house that kind of took us under their wing and showed us the ropes. When the new freshman arrived, remember the help that upperclassmen gave you and how nervous you felt, and give them a hand.

Keep thinking about the future
Freshman year is a time to try new things and figure out what you want out of your college career. Then it's time to start building your resume whether it's grad school or a career that you're aiming for. The job market and grad school applications are highly competitive and anything that might help you stand out is a positive.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week in Short

I hope everyone had a great week! I'm quickly remembering how little free time there is in college. The Doctor Who premiere last week was fantastic and I'm psyched for the new one tomorrow.


Song of the Week: "True to Your Heart" from Mulan


Must read:  
Janet Reid: Question Emporium

Kidlit:
Should you have multiple email accounts?


Queryshark:
#226 - YA romance

Querytracker:
Villains: the guys you love to hate
How to be a know-it-all 

Rick Riordan:
The making of a graphic novel


Write on Edge:
Research and the art of eavesdropping

Writer Beware:
7 freelance writing scams and how to fight them 
Electronic distribution and control of creative material


Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Releases: Origin, Beneath the Glitter, Carnival of Souls

Origin
by Jessica Khoury
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home—and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Beneath the Glitter
by Elle and Blair Fowler
Welcome to a place where dreams are made.  And where nothing—and no one—is ever what it seems.

After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia finds herself torn between a gorgeous bartender and a millionaire playboy, and Ava starts dating an A-list actor.  But as they’re about to discover, the life they’ve always dreamed of comes with a cost.

Beneath the glitter of the Hollywood social scene lies a world of ruthless ambition, vicious gossip…and betrayal.  Someone close to them, someone they trust, is working in the shadows to bring the London sisters falling down. And once the betrayal is complete, Sophia and Ava find themselves knee-deep in a scandal that could take away everything they care about, including the one thing that matters most—each other

Carnival of Souls
by Melissa Marr
In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

RTW -- Read Through Chapter Four by Tuesday...

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.


This Week's Topic:
What's your favorite book that you had to read for class?

I have a confession to make: Despite my wild love of reading, I struggled through school to finish assigned books. I hated the discussion questions and the fact that we couldn't read at our own pace. The list of classics that I didn't finish in high school is longer than the list of books that I did.

However, there were a few classics that I remember loving. My favorite was To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee Harper. I read it my senior year and loved every bit of it. I loved the story and the writing and the social relevancy. It's still one of my favorite classics and I really want to buy a copy so that I can read it again.

Going back to middle school, my favorite was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I remember hating how we were only supposed to read a certain number of chapters a day and not a chapter more (not that I ever listened). I remember biting my lip so I wouldn't cry towards the end. As soon as we finished, I hunted down the next two books in the series and devoured those too. I'm so excited for Son coming out this October!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Great Writer or Great Storyteller?

My mom and I are both writers and, as a result, we get into a lot of discussions. One day, we got into one over quality of writing and popularity.

She said she'd rather be a "bad" but popular writer. She'd rather have her writing torn apart daily as long as she had through-the-roof sales. I disagreed.

There are a few writers out there with huge followings, but whose writing is also often criticized. Then there are some incredible writers out there that have a good following but their books will never be turned into movies or become worldwide phenomenons. 

Not every writer falls directly into the "great writer" or "great storyteller" mold. There's usually some kind of mixture. In some cases, it appears that great writing is falling to the wayside in favor of a story with strangely massive appeal.

What do you think? Would you rather by a great storyteller or a great writer?