Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WWW Wednesdays: October 29


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Each week, MizB over at Should be Reading asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?


• What are you currently reading?: I'm currently reading nothing! Today is an off day and have nothing pressing (a la nothing due before Monday evening) to read, so I'm going to decompress from the fact that I've read ten novels, books of essays, or anthologies in the last nine or so weeks. I'll be chilling and catching up on some TV. The way this semester worked out, I had novels to read during the first several weeks and now just have short stories to read for classes and submissions to read for the literary journal that I'm a Reader at. It'll be a nice little break from the novel.
• What did you recently finish reading?: I recently finished reading The Haunting of Hill House for my Forms of Fiction class (and my last assigned book of the semester!!!
)


• What do you think you’ll read next?: Now that I have a little bit of free time, I really want to go ahead and read Debbie Macomber's Love Letters, but I may hold off and let that by my Thanksgiving read. Since I'm not going home this year, I'll have a few free days of relaxing at home and watching copious amounts of football. If not Love Letters, I may just grab a book off one of my bookshelves as I start trying to get through the many (and I do mean maaannny) books that I've bought but have yet to read.




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Alana

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit

*Note: I didn't really grow up watching horror movies or scary books. Casper and Goosebumps are about as far as I got (which may be why I could only think of eight instead of ten), but I would love to hear any recommendations*

1. The Craft: I don't think this is a scary movie, but I loved loved loved it growing up. Had to have rented it from Blockbuster (remember that store, guys?) at least 12-15 times over the course of a couple of years. Every time it was movie-rental time, that was my go-to film.

2. Goosebumps: I loved reading these growing up. I even had a few of them, but they've mysteriously gone missing over the years. I don't have any left unfortunately, but there were many Halloween seasons in the past that started with reading whichever Goosebumps book I could get my hands on.

3. Beetlejuice: DAY-O! I catch that movie every time I can on TV. Once again, not a scary movie, but I loved it growing up.

4. What Lies Beneath: so this one is a bonafide horror movie (I think) and one of the very few that I haven't minded watching more than once. Maybe because it had elements of suspense in there as well, which I like more than I like straight-out horror flicks. I may look that one up on Netflix and watch is again at some point this week (if I have the time).

5. Insert any title by Stephen King here: For me, it's Carrie, which I read for the first time around Halloween time in I want to say sixth or seventh grade, but I know most of his books would fit right into this list. Weirdly, this is the time of year that I like reading his books or listening to the audiobook versions.

6. Now and Then: a stretch, I know, but the mystery of the girls finding out what happened to Crazy Pete's family and the seance scene with Dear Johnny count...right...? Well, it does for me.

7.  Are You Afraid Of The Dark: I know it's a TV show and not a movie, but oh my goodness, in all of its Snick glory, I will find a couple of episode on the Youtube and watch them this Friday!

8. Casper: I actually only saw this movie for the first time in 2012 when I was working at a daycare, but I finally got to see what all my childhood fans used to rave about because a lot of them would get together and watch Casper after going trick or treating.

Happy Halloween!!!

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Alana

Monday, October 27, 2014

Musing Monday: October 27




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Each week, MizB over at Should Be Reading asks six reading-related topics for bloggers to choose from.

This week's topic: Describe one of your reading habits

One of my most important reading habits is that weekend reading = for pleasure reading. My weekdays are dedicated to the books and stories assigned for my classes and that reading and the various writing assignments that accompany most of it takes up a large chunk of my week. 

Last year, however, I decided to do something new: no homework on the weekends. This was a far departure from my usual of doing assignments every single day I could find something to do. I did this because inevitably, I would find myself burning out each semester and it would take most of my break (if I wasn't taking wintermester or maymester/summer classes) to recover from the previous semester. 

With my weekends now free from homework, I find myself still reading a lot, but I read something else. Usually, I dedicate a lot of my weekend to catching up on fanfiction, but I have an apartment full of books that I haven't gotten to read yet, so I've started trying to get through those as well. 

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Alana

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WWW Wednesdays: October 15



WWW_Wednesdays4 

 
Each week, MizB over at Should be Reading asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading? I'm currently finishing up with The Rooselvelts: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns. I already caught all seven parts of the PBS doc, but when I saw this at the library, I couldn't resist. Lucky for me since I learned that you have to pay to rent audiobooks (not on a e-reader, but CDs and cassette tapes. I know, right!) and couldn't find anything else that I wanted to read during my fall break. 

• What did you recently finish reading?
I finished reading Sisters by Danielle Steel (as well as that analytical paper I was stressing out about...turns out I didn't need to worry about making word count since I ended up going 166 OVER. Being an English major is a blessing and a curse sometimes!) 

• What do you think you’ll read next? Next, I'll be reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson for Forms of Fiction and the three short stories that were turned in for Workshop.



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My 500 Words: Day One

My 500 Words 
Today's My 500 Words prompt: Commit to the Plan



There is a reason that I’m doing the Jeff Goins My 500 Words challenge. There is also a reason why I’m starting said challenge a mere fourteen days after everyone else. 

The latter reason is much easier to explain than the former one: school. I got slammed with assignments and a very important paper the last two weeks. Only fall break has given me a bit of a respite.

I haven’t always been a school-first student, but now that I am, I tend to let school be my primary focus while I fit everything else in or let it go. 

But I want to write. 

As a grad student, the demand on my time and energy is much more than it was as an undergrad or during my gap year. 

But I want to write. 

And I’m studying writing in grad school, so you would think I’d always have the time and energy to write. Right? Wrong. 

I’ve been a sporadic writer at best for years. Sometimes, I’ll write a lot. Other times, I can go months without putting pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard. 

But I want to write, so that needs to change. 

Unfortunately, writing has always been a hobby for me and I’ve treated it like such. But I want to write. And one day, I want to be a writer. The best time to stop seeing writing as a hobby and something that I actually want to do with my life is now. 

So I’m taking the plunge. 

I can’t promise to write 500 words every single day, but I promise to write something. Anything. Short term, I hope this challenge gets me ready to participate in NaNoWriMo. It’ll be my third time attempting this, but my goal this year is to finish out the month. Long term, I hope that this challenge will bring about a change. I want to start writing regularly, and I believe this challenge will get me on the right path. 

So yes, I’m fourteen days behind everyone else, so my thirty days should end around the middle of November. This will be right in the midst of the NaNoWriMo and this semester. This will most definitely be a learning experience as I try to fit in more than one primary activity into my life instead of letting one task (mainly school) overwhelm everything else. 

And it looks like I’ll be about a hundred words short. But it’s something. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Day one complete! Only twenty nine more to go!



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit 

1. Paris, France: I'm trying to think of stories I have read that use Paris as a setting and can only think of Danielle Steel's Zoya off the top of my head (Zoya and her grandmother settle in Paris after exile from Russia). Since I read this one when I was so young (I was 11 I think), I can say it was one of my first introductions to Paris
2. London, England: I think Bridget Jones's Diary is the first story I read set in London, but there are so many movies that I have seen from there (Spiceworld anyone?), so I think it's a mix of both that make me want to visit London and the U.K. as a whole.

3. Italy: Eat Pray Love and before that, Under The Tuscan Sun has made all of Italy a must-visit location. Maybe if I can manage to get to Paris or London, I'll make it a European adventure and visit many places while I'm over there.

4. New York City: so many books I have read are at least partially set in NYC (including Zoya come to think of it), but I absolutely must visit NYC at least once in my life. Have to. 

5. Genovia: granted, I only read the first two books of The Princess Diaries series and have only seen the first movie, but Genovia seems like it would be my kind of place if it actually existed. 

6. Whistle Stop, Alabama: I've been in the south my whole life, so there aren't many places in the region that I will necessarily want to visit (especially if I can go somewhere else) but Whistle Stop may be an exception to that rule. Though I don't see myself settling down in one, I like visiting small, unique towns and Whistle Stop is both. 

7. Lake Quinault: This is where Sidda goes in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood after the New York Times interview. I would love to spend some relaxing time in a cabin by the lake (but hopefully not right after an interview causes a huge family row of course...) 

8 & 9. Greece and Pennsylvania: I placed these two together since they're both from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Greece, of course is where Lena's grandparents live and Bridget works at a soccer camp in Pennsylvania. I'm a huge history nut, and both places (in their own granted since Greece has a few thousand years on Pennsylvania) have such a rich history, so visiting will quench my wanderlust as well as my need to visit historical places.

10. Stars Hollow: I'm totally cheating right now since Gilmore Girls is a show and not a book, but I'd absolutely love to visit that quirky little town, stay at the Dragonfly Inn, and grab a bite at Luke's Diner if any of it existed.



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Monday, October 13, 2014

Musing Mondays: October 13




MusingMondays5


Each week, MizB over at Should Be Reading asks six reading-related topics for bloggers to choose from.

This week's topic: Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

I feel like this is timely because this is something that we're currently discussing in my Forms of Fiction class: putting genre labels on fiction. I hate labels period (especially when it comes to music), but I'm beginning to feel the same loathing about labeling fiction. Maybe it's because I grew up going to a library who just organized fiction by author's last name or spending so much of my time (and so much of my money) at a Half Price that was too small to organize fiction by genre, but this whole labeling process annoys me. Especially since said labels are keeping some really good books from getting the appreciation they deserve because there are no great (insert genre here) books. 

Don't ask me what they should do instead. That's above my pay grade by a few digits, but I'm glad I came into my own reading-wise where this wasn't an issue. I read a lot of books that I may not have read if they were separated by genres because I too have a negative connotation when it comes to something belonging to this genre or that one. 

A good example is actually a book that we read for Forms class. Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist. I won't lie and say that I liked the book as a whole (though I'll at least try to read it again on my own time where I can read on my own pace without having to read three other books or stories at the same time...oh grad school....) but there were parts of it that were really intriguing. It's labeled as Speculative Fiction (something I'd never even heard of before the class), but it's along the lines of Fantasy I do believe; a genre I've never been interested in reading. That aside, there were elements of historical fiction, a trickle of romance, and a dash of political intrigue; three kinds of fiction that I really like reading. That alone kept me reading though I've never read a Fantasy book before. Were it not for class, I probably wouldn't have picked it up.  

And I don't want to be that kind of reader, but I feel like I'm being forced to be. Let me decide for myself what I'm interested and not interested in. That's not going to happen with these labels. I know some have found fame and fortune writing "genre" fiction, but I'm sure others have been harmed with labels that others choose for their creation. Just let it be fiction and let us as readers decide for ourselves what we want and don't want to read.

Okay, so maybe this wasn't a bookish rant, but a rant for me that is trying to make me more open-minded to the types of books that I read.

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bucket List 28 & 29

As a life-long fan of country music, eventually going to Nashville was a must for me. This past weekend, I got to make that dream go true when I traveled to Nashville to see one of my all-time favorite singers, Loretta Lynn. This was my fourth chance to see her. Lack of funds, bad weather, and a cancellation hindered the first three times, but I was determined to get to see her. This time, my mom and I made it work!

The show was amazing. Nashville was amazing. I'm just so happy that I got to go, even if only for twenty four hours. I will most definitely be back and stay longer next time around!
    
28. Go to Nashville



29. See Loretta Lynn in concert 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WWW Wednesdays: October 8



WWW_Wednesdays4 

 
Each week, MizB over at Should be Reading asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading? I'm currently reading Sisters by Danielle Steel for my analytical paper. I'm coming up on Fall Break now, so I won't be reading anything else for class until school starts back up on the 16th! (Hopefully)

• What did you recently finish reading? Just finished reading
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter for my Forms of Fiction class and Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life by John Griswold for Lit Arts Programming. That's the last book that's assigned for the latter class and second to last for the former. November will be mostly dedicated to writing/reading some short stories.

• What do you think you’ll read next? Next, I'll be reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and whatever short stories are being turned in for Workshop. With the break coming up, I'll be reading/listening to whatever I can find at the library next Thursday. I won't get too carried away since I have an eighteen page short story to write over the next two weeks, but I'll find me a quick read and something to listen to on the road.



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

100 Word Challenge For Grown Ups: ...as I rose in the dark...

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This week's prompt from the 100 Word Challenge For Grown Ups posted on Julia's Place is "...as I rose in the dark..."

As I rose in the dark, I heard your key turning in the lock. I woke to get some water, but as I heard you bumping around in the kitchen, I'm no longer thirsty. Instead, I stay in bed and roll to face the wall as you make your way into the bedroom. With a heavy sigh, you sit on the bed and take off your shoes before slipping into the covers. 

You no longer care enough to bother washing her perfume off of you. 

It no longer bothers me enough to care.




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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

1. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons: Since I read this one for the first time as a middle schooler, I was shocked to learn that one, Ellen Foster wasn't an autobiography and two, Kaye Gibbons was in her thirties at the time it was written. For me, that's a big deal. At times, you can tell that an author is writing something that they don't fully grasp (like a middle aged man writing about a teenage girl) but if done right, you're shocked to learn that the story isn't written by someone who is a lot closer to the subject matter. Kaye Gibbons did it right. 

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: same with what I said above. Also read this one for the first time in middle school. Now, I know that Esther's story closely mirrors Sylvia, but back then, Esther and her story fascinated me.

3. Obasan by Joy Kogawa: I won't spoil anything, but after reading the last couple of chapters during French class (it was a free day), I started sobbing. Sobbing. In the middle of class. Plot-driven novels don't make me sob. I don't know what else to say about that one. But it's so good and it's pretty unique in its subject matter and setting.

4. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: I'm not gonna lie. I only read about half of this novel (senior semester was something else...) but from what I remember reading, Holden made that book. Write it in the POV of another character or in an omniscient POV,  I don't think it's anything close to the same novel.

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I don't want to keep saying the same thing, but if you like character-driven novels, you'll love reading about Scout.

6. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: It's weird to think that this book is mainly about Ninny telling Evelyn stories about the past since in the end, I was most interested in Idgie and Ruth. It was a strange balance, but after awhile, I forgot that Ninny was telling the story and I just got into what the characters were experiencing. Of course, seeing the movie first left its own set of problems, but there were some parts to the novel that weren't really explored in the movie that allowed it to still be interesting.

7. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: I know most will say that this was plot-driven and formulaic, but I don't think the story would have been nearly as poignant (or sad, terribly terribly sad) without Hazel and Gus's strong personalities. 

8. Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel: by Garrison Keillor: I actually got to listen to this one during a road trip. The Lake Wobegonians make this novel. Each character makes what could have been a simple novel set during 4th of July very complex and very hilarious at times.

9. Bastard Out Of Carolina by Dorothy Allison: I read for the first time as a sixth grader. This was one of the first novels that I felt like the character was talking to me and telling me her story. I can't think of very many characters who have left a bigger impact on me than Bone did.

10. White Oleander by Janet Fitch: I know many have heard of/seen the movie, but it's worth it to read to the book as well. There's a lot more to Astrid that isn't seen in the film and she has some experiences that didn't make it to the adaptation that explain a lot about her and her life up to that point. 

**Yes. I noticed that just about all of these were required reading in high school (or on high school reading lists I was given since I was reading above grade level in middle school) but I think that's what made them pop up in my mind as they have. To get me to read something that was required and to love it as much as I love these books is a testament to how well they were written.**

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana