Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Hate Myself for Loving My Kindle

Sing it, Joan.

Seriously, though. I was always one of those printed-paper die-hards, who vowed never to turn the non-existent pages of a Kindle for as long as they lived. I promised to uphold the virtues of all that is inky and sort-of-musty-smelling-after-a-while and good, and read only paper books forever. They said that eReaders were the future; I said that technology would ruin us all.

But it's just so pretty.....

And way more easy to handle than normal books. And I love the fact that I can upload books instantly, instead of dragging my butt to whatever Borders or Barnes and Nobles is still somehow open, and trying desperately to find this book that I want, and deciding whether I truly want it or not because it's waaayyy overpriced. Also, they have a load of classic literature available for free, and while I do wonder how they are paying these authors the royalty they deserve, I do appreciate the fact that I have two new Oscar Wilde books downloaded and ready to read this weekend. And it's so easy to handle, I've already zoomed through two new books I've been wanting to read for a while, but haven't gotten the chance to just yet.

That being said, I do have a couple of misgivings.

Some aspects of the Kindle - I have the Kindle Touch - are not so easy to manipulate. For instance, highlighting? Is a pain. And while I appreciate the ability to share your opinions, as well as the fact that you finished the book, with others automatically upon turning the book's last page, that was kind of difficult as well. There are actually a couple of aspects that are almost impossible to figure out. Also, I know this sounds kind of stupid... but the feeling of a cold peice of metal just can't match up to the warmth, and personal texture of PAPER. It's not what I was raised on, what I like. The Kindle just feels more impersonal than actual books.

So, my heart is still conflicted over this admittedly awesome peice of machinery. I hate it, I love it. I hate myself for loving it. While I will always appreciate the convenience and effieciency of a Kindle, real, printed books will always be better.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dark Days

It's been another one of those weeks. Just generally depressing, where I barely manage to crawl my way to the weekend, feeling like I've only just escaped the jaws of doom. You think I'm kidding.

However, there is no way I'm turning this post into another, dad-dubbed, "mopefest."

[Then again, he is the one who refuses to kill the giant, man-eating spiders in the garage, and pokes fun at me when I've realized that one of them has suddenly disappeared, so maybe he just generally thinks people should deal with their own problems. Which is why I'm going to hide one of said spiders in his bed. (Jk, Dad.)]

Instead, I'm going to spend my time singing the praises of a truly great book.

Flashback to seventh grade. Ignore my icky hair, and the uniform we were forced into every day: focus on the book in my hands. Any given day, it would have been one of two: Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, or Meg Cabot's All-American Girl. I read these two books, back to back, almost all the way throughout that particular school year (yes, people noticed; no, I didn't care.)

Flashback to eighth grade. Ignore the fact that my hair looks even worse, and that I'm wearing the same baggy school sweatshirt every single day. Instead, take a peek into my soul, into the bookshelf in my heart, and see which space is rather conspicuously empty.

During the summer between seventh and eighth grade, I had lost Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty. It had remained missing ever since... until last year, at Thanksgiving, when a large bag of books returned from my cousin's house had yielded the evidence of my one time "loan," that ended up lasting over three years. Consider the hole filled. However, my previous paper love had shriveled, into what I assumed was merely a schoolgirl infatuation. I had grown older, and known much more impressive, daring, classic books, than a young-adult yarn, about a secret Order of girls who could work magic.

Having to endure the rather unhappy past few weeks, filling out college applications, and scholarship applications, and just feeling older than I should, I was missing the vigor of my childhood. I haphazardly rifled through the contents of my bookcase to find suitable material, and just as I was reaching for my copy of The Phantom Tollbooth, I knocked this one off the shelf, onto my foot. What a painful, happy accident.

I relearned my love. This book really affected me as a kid, simply because it was filled with strong, smart heroines, who all grew up feeling repressed, desperate to find a way to control their own lives. They're all just trying to figure life out, trying to find a way to make their own way. I got that then, and I get it now.

I'm serious. It's just a great book. Read it. Preferably as soon as possible.

[Disclaimer: Take into account I am a girl. An occasionally girly girl. Quite often, a very romantic girly girl. This book would typically be classified as a "girl" book. So, if you are a guy, a guy's guy, you may not understand why I like this book so much. Just sayin'.]

But really. I really love it. I have all of the rest in the series, too.

However, you can bet that I'm never lending them out to anyone ever again.

#12. Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty (Delacourte Press, 2003). Red-headed, spirited Victorian-era young lady, Gemma Doyle, is forced to move to London, and keep her magic and secrets hidden, after the murder of her mother.

Friday, November 11, 2011

She's a Fighter

You know those weeks where there are only four school days in the week, and yet it manages to drag on for an eternity - an eternity of way too many homework assignments, and not enough time for breathing - and by the end of it, everyone around you, from your friends to the people who sit behind you in AP Eng, are super cranky? And no one actually thought the week went very well anyways, and you aren't even able to grudgingly say that at least a lot of work got done, because in actuality, the bare minimum of work got done, and you actually have a load of work sitting in your inbox that you're staring at sadly until you finally fling yourself at it Sunday night?

What I've just described is TOTALLY my life right now.

It's hectic. It's difficult. It's all so unforgiving, and merciless in it's battery. I didn't even get to watch any TV until Thursday night, when the weekend officially commenced! Terrible, terrible. I swear, my head may explode. Especially when my mom and I are having conversations like this:

Me. "Gosh, Mom, I'm so stressed right now. Can I have a hug?"

Mom. "Sure, honey." *gives hug* "Why do you think you're stressed? Do you think it's because you're missing all these scholarship and college application deadlines?"

I'm definitely not, by the way. Missing the deadlines. No, my mom, I think, actually ENJOYS giving me cardiac problems. I think she's just going to keep needling me about college, and stressing me out, until I eventually crack down, and agree to go to UW, closer to home, instead of California.

Anyways, the brief - extremely brief - amount of free time I was allotted by the Universe was spent reading Tamora Pierce's last book in the Beka Cooper [my favorite of all Pierce's heroines] trilogy, Mastiff. Seeing as though the fantasy genre falls under my very general category of "escapism," I thought that this book would be my savior, whilst I was pinned by the unyielding onslaught of suck that was my week. It was, but it didn't necessary save me. It more of just acted as a crutch as I limped along through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Don't get me wrong: it's not bad, or anything. In fact, if you're a fan of Beka, or Tamora in general, please pick it up. Really. It's just that, I'm not sure of whether I just didn't have the time to absorb it fully and in its entirety, or if I had just reached that point where I was so stressed, I hated everybody... but I didn't really like it. I felt that there were aspects of it that were a little gimmicky, or out of place, or just wrong... but I also can't honestly say that the terrible week I had didn't impact my reading. I think I may have to go back and revisit it later, at a point in time where I don't feel like the only sunshine in my life is present when I'm sleeping.

Besides, we read Oedipus Rex and Antigone in AP Eng this week, and I may have reached the point where I'm just tired of fictional people I like (mini spoiler alert!) dying.

Anyways, I managed to find other things to get me through the week as well, such as endless jamming to One Night Only's "Say You Don't Want It," Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers, Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (pictured above), and the fact that one of my best friends imported Royal Wedding English Breakfast tea from England, and has promised to give me a tin.

Anyways, here's to you having had a better week than me. It may have even managed to ruin my weekend, too. Maybe some Harry Potter is in order...

#11. Tamora Pierce's Mastiff. Beka Cooper leaves a recently-buried fiance, and the guilt about her relationship with him, behind, in order to track down the people who stole the king's son.

PS. While I only fought the stressful forces at play in my life, I would like to remember those brave souls who have fought the dangerous and deadly all over the world with our country's armed forces. Today is Veteran's Day, a day for honoring those who have entered onto battlefields, knowing they may never come back from it, but feeling that what was at stake was worth it anyways. To those brave and beautiful men and women who deserve our eternal thanks and gratitude, I can only say, "Thank you, bless you, and well done." <3

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Haul

It's only when you have one of the busiest weeks ever that you really appreciate how much stuff ended up coming together!
I finished Madeleine L'Engle's a Wrinkle in Time (still as excellent as ever, in case you were wondering), as well as my Marvel Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch bday present (which, once you get past the overt '90s-ness of it, is pretty awesome!).
I received my new, hardcover copy of Tamora Pierce's Mastiff [Beka Cooper Book 3] in the mail a few days ago, and then one of the biggest windfalls of new material happened this morning, at the Puyallup Fairgrounds' bi-annual Antique Show. Trolling through the entire showroom, I snagged a copy of J.M.Barrie's Peter and Wendy (Grosset & Dunlap, 1911), and two cooking pamphlets from 1936 and 1940, as well as Early Americans Recipes: Traditional Recipes from the New England Kitchen (Phillips Publishers, 1953). I love old children's classics, and I'm always looking for cool, vintage beauty, housekeeping, etiquette, and cooking books, so I always manage to find at least one awesome source of reading material here!
But that's not all! I also picked up the Secret in the Old Well [a Dana Girls mystery] from "Carolyn Keene" (Grosset & Dunlap, 1944), as well as 5 new-to-me Nancy Drews (Grosset & Dunlap, 1953, 1963, 1964) to add to my collection!
So, it's nice to know that even if I almost lost my mind this week, what with all the things that needed to be done, I could still take the time to get through some reading I've been trying to finish, as well as beef up my bookshelf. :)

#9. Madeleine L'Engle's a Wrinkle in Time. Social outcast Meg Murray, as well as her brother Charles, and a neighborhood boy named Calvin, travel out of this world in order to save Earth from the Dark Thing, and get Meg's father back.
#10. Marvel's Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch. A teenage boy finds himself transforming into the Spirit of Vengeance, with the help of an otherworldly motorcycle.