Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Gettin’ Back To Sci-fi

Hey y’all! I know today is Banned Books Week but I also happened to spend three days at a fantasy/sci-fi convention this week and seeing as you’re all probably SWAMPED with Banned Book posts, I’mma choose to discuss the later here for today’s post.

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I spent my days at the wonderful world known as CONVENTIONS aka Days That Feel Like Magic And Then They’re Over and Real Life Seems Horrible. I met new people, went to panels and lectures about different aspects of sci-fi and fantasy, books, movies and tv shows. It was fascinating, but that’s not what I want to discuss.

This post is mainly about my desire to return to my good ol’ sci-fi/fantasy days. I developed my tendancy to shy away from long or complicated books sometime in the past few years. I used to love reading never-ending, million paged books, whereas today I run away from anything that’s thicker than a pizza crust. This year I’ve been trying to fix that, and I’m currently about 100 pages into a 580 page book. One of the things I’ve lost due to this habit is my love for the two genres mentioned above. I now read mostly mainstream young adult novels, which in my defense are easiest to aquire when looking for English book in a non-English speaking country.

I think my main drive for returning to my old ways is… well… fandom. Yes, it sounds silly but it’s true. I love the feeling of community, and that’s an extremely strong feature for these two genre fans. Harry Potter, Star Trek, Doctor Who… the list goes on and on. I like merchandise, I like conventions, I like stimulating discussions about fictional characters and ideas and situations.  The convention this week has inspired me to start catching up, both film and literature wise. I have a whole new list of authors, books, movies and tv shows to watch. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more free time than I did before so the journey shall be a long one, but hopefully it will be worth it.

My book schedule for the remainder of 2013 is a tight one, due to my attempt at completing TWO ERCs, so major advances in MY NEW CONQUEST TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH SCI-FI AND FANTASY will only take place in January. Does anyone want to join? We can do it together. Sort of like a no-commitment, sort-of-book-club-ish-thing? We could decide together on reading material and/or viewing material and discuss it together. This idea is still in its early stages – in fact, I’ve only thought of it just now when I wrote that – but it could work. There are nearly one hundred of you here now (!!!) and if we have participants we can develop it together! Maybe I should provide you all with some of my TBR/TBW(atched) plans:

  • TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (on season two), Agents of Shield (watched pilot yesterday) Firefly, Star Trek, Dollhouse, Game of Thrones
  • FIlm: SerenityBack to the Future, Star Wars, Matrix Trilogy, The Congress
  • Books: Doctor Who novels, I Robot (reread),  Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, American Gods, Brave New World, Farenheit 451, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, Asimov’s Robot Series, The Caves of Steel, Pandemonium (Daryl Gregory), Blindsight, Tea From an Empty Cup, Neuromancer, The futurological Congress

So, what do you guys think? Wanna join me? Lemme know in the comments. I’m actually kind of excited about this idea! Expect a follow-up post going into more detail, maybe plans of an all-genre-every-book-ever book club sometime in the future? We’ll see. For now I leave you all with this post and this list. It’s very… demanding, and it’ll take time, but I’m good at listing and planning is always a good start! This post has kind of gone off track and is very different from my original post idea but I think it’s wound up okay.

So, that’s a wrap. Book club? Maybe. Sci-fi/fantasy comeback? Definitely.

Ban This Book by Incidental Comics

Ban This Book by Incidental Comics

Top Ten Tuesday – Banned Books Week Special

Hey there folks! As many of you may have heard or read, this week is Banned Books Week. To honor the importance of such a week I will be straying from The Broke and Bookish‘s weekly topic, and choosing to follow in the footsteps of Words for Worms‘ idea of listing favorite banned books!

Top Ten – Favorite Banned Books (A Banned Books Week Celebration)

  1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – I’ve mentioned this book here before, it’s a beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking story about a human test subject, told through his point of view. According to Wikipedia is 43rd on the American Library’s Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999. The reasons for the challenges vary, but usually center on parts of the novel in which Charlie deals with his sexual desires as the medicine affects his brain.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – one of my all-time favorites. Do we really need to mention the controversial issues here? The entire book is basically just a list of social “weak spots.” Drugs, acohol, homosexuality, sex, abuse, and all of those involving teenagers.
  3. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – well, whaddaya know! Even the loveliest family-life, coming of age, semi-cancer child story can be a challenged book! This wonderful creation was 7th on the ALA’s 2009 list of most frequently challenged books because of sexism, homosexuality, sexual explicity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuitability to age group, drugs, suicide, violence. Holy shit.
  4. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park – not sure if I’m supposed to laugh or cry at this one. Apparently, Miss B. made it to the ALA list at #71 for the most challenged between the years of 2000-2009, and this is because she isn’t considered as a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. I just… is this a joke?
  5. 1984 by George Orwell – I think the reasons here are pretty clear. Great book. Go read. You can never look at anything political the same. IT ALL FEELS LIKE A CONSPIRACY NOW.
  6. Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary – apparently the book was removed from some school in California because a kid came across the entry “oral sex.” We start bannin’ dictionaries – everything’s going to go downhill from here.
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – violence is definitely a big issue here, so I do think it’s okay to avoid letting younger kids read it, but the message of the book is one ALL people need to understand, so banning is not the option, but monitored/supervised reading for the younger ones.
  8. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume – a favorite of mine growing up. The book deals with issues deemed controversial when addressed in a kid’s book, although that’s the whole porblem because the book discusses subjects which MUST BE DISCUSSED WITH KIDS but aren’t because they’re considered taboo. That’s really the irony of censorship in general. If you decide to hide something, chances are it’s something everyone needs to hear.
  9. Harry Potter by JK Rowling – too many people are under the impression that JK Rowling wants to create a generational Satanic cult.
  10. The Giver by Lois Lowry – probably need to re-read this. At the time I did not get the point of dystopian novels and so the end pissed me off. To be frank, I still don’t really get it. 1984 inspired a fit of rage, followed by acceptance of the ending and complete awe and admiration for Orwell dearest. I have a feeling dystopians tend to become Banned Book List favorites. Censorship is EXACTLY aimed at making… everything bad sort of just disappear.

That’s all for now. This has been a great learning experience – turns out there are SO many more challenged books than I thought. I may follow up with some more banned book themed posts this week, maybe even let it continue till the next. It’s a very important topic – seven days aren’t nearly enough. It should ALWAYS be on our minds. So, what banned books did YOU like? Or are you a rule follower and thus have a wonderful new by-the-host-topic-choice TTT to share with us all? Go ahead! Comment! Share!

Keep Calm and STOP CENSORSING BOOKS.

WWW Wednesday (September 18th)

The weekly meme, hosted by Should Be Reading, in which we answer three questions about our past, present and future reading plans.

• What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading John Verdon’s Shut Your Eyes Tight. My friend and I both read and loved his debut novel Think of a Number and then when this one came out she read it and immediately urged me to do the same. I kept putting it off and then, in January, she bought it for me as a birthday gift and said that now I had no excuse, so now I’m finally getting around to that, also because it’s part of my Eclectic Reader’s Challenge 2012 2nd attempt.

• What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished reading Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, which my cousin got me when she came to visit last week. It was excellent, and I’ll be checking out his other books as well. It took me only three days!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Definitely something from my last Top Ten Tuesday post. Probably something short – my current read is over 550 pages. Maybe Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List? The Little Prince? Neil Gaiman’s new book? We’ll see. But def something for the Eclectics.

  1. Read questions.
  2. Think up answers.
  3. SHARE WITH ME.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

Back to doing my Top Ten Tuesday posts! (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I got a whole load of books when I was in the US so I have so many new books to read, not to mention I’ve realized I’m kind of behind on my attempt to cover both the 2012 AND 2013 Ecclectic Reader’s Challenges (after failing ’12). So my choices are going to be from all different genres, so that I can cover as much as I can. I’m currently reading John Verdon’s Shut Your Eyes Tight so that covers the Crime/Mystery category.

Here goes! (I’ll attach Category and Challenge Year for each one.)

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

  1. Bossypants – Humor, 2013 
  2. Silence of the Lambs – Horror, 2012
  3. Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List – New Adult, 2013 (I really don’t get this genre… at all. It’s too abstract.)
  4. Brave New World OR A Clockwork Orange OR Farenheit 541  – Dystopia, 2013 (Switched 1984 over to Classic, 2012.)
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Published in 2013, 2013
  6. The Trial OR The Little Prince OR The Pianist – Translated Fiction, 2013 
  7. White Oleander – cousin recommended
  8. The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World – quit midway
  9. A Wrinkle in Time OR Lord of the Flies – Action Adventure, 2013 (the first will be my 1st reread in YEARS)
  10. American Gods OR Dead Until Dark – Urban Fantasy, 2013

Not bad, not bad. I just spent ’bout an hour researching titles and genres and learned a ton – especially about what the hell New Adult is because that category seems like a… mix between attempts at being more specific and attempts at making more money. We’ll see. Most of these books are books I’d planned on reading at some point anyway, so I’m happy I can incorporate them into my tight schedule. I have eleven books to read to complete both ERCs this year, which I really want to do because I don’t want to drag them into 2014 with me! I don’t really know how to define “fall,” seeing as in Israel we basically only have “hot summer” and “cold summer” so I’m giving myself till December 31st to complete this. I have eleven books for about three and a half months, and a few thrown in for personal enjoyment that don’t fit any empty genre categories. THIS IS GOING TO BE TIGHT. Wish me luck!

Are you guys doing the Eclectic Reader’s Challenge this year? Which books have you read? Does anyone else not really get the whole New Adult thang? Lemme know!

Hello.

Hello everyone. I’ve been gone… for a really, really long time. I had one helluva crazy August that included an intense one week medical course and then a three-state-seven-flights trip to the US and back home. And then two days later school.

So here I am again.

One amazing thing that happened to me in New Hamphire was my participation in the weekly talent show in World Fellowship Center, where I read – for the first time ever in my life – my poem The Things No One Told Me in front of an actual audience. It was amazing. I was nervious and shaky and I didn’t look up from my page, which I’m sorry for, but I DID IT. I never in my life thought I’d have the courage. I was still debating dropping it about a second before my name was called.

Also, my mom read one of my stories aloud (a choice I made not out of fear, but because I thought it came across better w/o my emotional reading). The reactions were wonderful. I was praised by so many people. One person that really stood out was a lady who works with the organization ORNG Ink. She stopped me on my way out and told me my story touched her and inspired her to write again. She even wanted to meet up and write together, however I unfortunately was leaving the next morning. When she found out I was 16 she nearly had a heart attack, and then she immediately pulled over her friend and exclaimed “she’s 16!” I couldn’t stop grinning like a crazy person. She later even wrote a poem about how my story affected her. As a writer, my dream – my goal in life – is to inspire, to perpetuate creativity, to touch others. This woman’s reaction is a dream come alive, and I will forever remember it. It was one of the most intense emotional experiences I’ve ever had. 

So yeah, intense summer. I took my first major step towards public poetry performing, something I hope to get better at in the future. Next time I’ll look up, make eye contact with the audience, connect my words with my performance. For now though, this is more than enough. 

My writing has inspired a 22 year old writer. Holy shit.