Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I couldn’t stop right there
And be one traveler long I stood
And looked at the ground
Praying it would swallow me whole
Then closed my eyes and spun around and opened my eyes and walked straight ahead and got lost.
Has that made all the difference?
My father knows twenty three languages, not including various baby dialects. My father has two first names and two last names and three more in the middle. And a hyphen. My father is a hyphenated guy. My father is the one billion and sixth tallest man in the world. My father gave birth to himself. My father was a published poet at the age of twelve, and wrote his first biography at nineteen. The sequel, Plus One Year, made him the first twenty year old bestselling author. My father has read Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus, the longest novel in the world. And at the point he didn’t even know French. My father made it around the world in eighty days. By foot. My father’s brain is faster than my calculator. My father’s cursive is legible. My father never burns his toast. My father knows when the avocado is ripe. My father can build a card house in the wind. My father can take money out of a piggy bank without breaking it. My father’s teeth are whiter than my wall. My father has a black belt in all forms of martial arts. My father is a professional dancer. On ice and underwater. My father is best friends with the prime minister of Israel. My father is best friends with the president of Palestine. My father has managed to keep this a secret from both of them. My father never finds himself stuck without a bookmark. My mother says my father is an expert at lying. My father says he’s actually just a very good story-teller.
Random-point-in-life-crises usually happen at night. Not saying just “mid-life” because this shit usually happens much earlier than that. Unless your life is halfway up by the time you’ve hit puberty. Or finished high school. Or finished college or got fired or really just had any terrible night at an age where you could form coherent thoughts. They usually happen after watching some indie film, or just anything in a foreign language, while making yourself feel guilty for not doing the things you’re actually supposed to be doing.
All of a sudden from master procrastinator and quite possibly soda addict you’ve gone into full philosopher mode. Everything becomes so profound you’re not even sure anymore whether you seriously feel like you’re drowning or if at this point you’re just mocking yourself. Plato, Aristotle, Kant – they’ve got nothing on you. If your questions and queries become any more questioningly inquiring the universe just might fall apart. No, not the universe. Reality. Anything outside of your own mind is unsure, the external world cannot be known, and might not even exist. You realize you’re quoting the Wikipedia article on solipsism and then you’re fucking proud of yourself for reading philosophy articles on the internet.
At this point you’ve grown hungry, possible even starving, because really who knows or understands anything at all. Desires cannot be measured. Nothing makes sense. Everything is a lie. You go search for food, possibly stopping to impart some information to your cat, if you’ve got one.
You’re not really sure what to do now. In some faraway part of your brain you realize the wise decision would be to go to sleep. You organize your computer files and scroll through endless Buzzfeed posts instead. Eventually the panic of going to sleep once it’s light outside settles in. There’s something unsettling about going to sleep when the entire sky is shouting at you that you’ve missed the opportunity to rest. It’s like being yelled at by your mother, but on a whole other scale. Also, the sky is blue. You crawl into bed, promising yourself you’ll shower first thing tomorrow morning. Well, it’s not exactly tomorrow – technically speaking it’s already tomorrow now. That’s supposedly unimportant stuff but at this time, in this state of mind, it’s actually vital you take a moment to recognize this technicality.
The antidote to over thinking, over analyzing, and life crisis-ing is not-night-time. Once it’s properly day again you realize how stupid you are and how unproductive it is to waste away the night, thus ruining the following day as well. You’ve literally achieved nothing. In fact, you’ve even regressed because now you’re very tired, you’ve eaten way more than you ever planned on eating and you have a brand new stock of terrible poetry saved in various states of completeness all over your computer.
Really, your entire life is one big crisis. You can feel the clock ticking, the time passing by. You still haven’t discovered the meaning of life. You’ve probably just gained a few pounds, lost a couple of inches from sleep deprivation, and ruled out a future in creative writing.
Well, considering the fact that you’re a fully formed human who still has no clue what that even means and you’re hopelessly confused about practically everything, and you’re going to die anyway and probably be forgotten the minute it happens, that’s actually a considerable achievement for one night, don’t you think?
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.
Dunno if y’all remember, but lately I’ve been mentioning in many posts a certain magazine being released on August 1st. Well… it’s here! Jayde-Ashe @ The Paperbook Blog has completed and published the first issue of The Paperbook Collective!
For quite a while this lovely lady has been collecting submissions from people all around the globe – poetry, book reviews, photography, etc. I was lucky enough to have Jayde put something of mine in the very first edition. It’s a piece titled “Book Murder,” and due to her request for submissions that have not yet been published anywhere else I’ve had to wait until I could show you guys what I’d written.
Well, now you can go check it out for yourself! The magazine is up online and has a downloadable PDF version you can even print for yourself and maybe for friends and family as well! Spread the word! So much work has been put into this project, and I’m so happy to be a part of it! There’s some great work from so many talented people in there! There’s also a Contributors page at the end so you can go check out the links of the people whose work you especially liked.
Thank you so much to Jayde for letting me contribute to this. I don’t think I can thank you enough. You should all go check out the new magazine and maybe even consider submitting for the next issues!
As you may have noticed, even though I do love reading, my real passion is writing. It’s why I started this blog in the first place. Yes, I wanted to talk books with other people who were interested, but for the most part I wanted to WRITE. And what could be better than writing about something I love so much? So I started a book blog and pretty much completely gave up on my original writing blog, although lately that one has been getting some more action.
I mostly write for myself and for the Internet – far away from anyone I know personally. Only recently have I begun sharing my writing with people in my life, and that’s become quite a success. I’ve been trying to find a way to really get my writing out there and this blog has become a great platform for that, using the Book Talk page I love so much. I’m also debating reading my Spoken Word Poetry at a talent show I might participate in sometime in August.
However, the real excitement is the fact that my very own writing piece will be appearing, as I’ve mentioned countless times before, in the new magazine project brought Jayde-Ashe @ The Paperbook Blog is in the works of creating. The first edition will come out on the 1st of August, the plan being to have a new edition come out on the first of every month. Hopefully, I’ll be writing for the following ones as well. I can’t wait!
Moreover, I have a friend who works for this company that creates and manages websites. They’ve been looking for writers to put together short articles about all kinds of topics. I wrote up a few and my friend said he’ll show them to his boss and we can discuss payment. The two I’ve sent in are already up and my job application email is in his boss’s Inbox, waiting. This just might be my first ever serious job, and it’ll be related to writing. I don’t think I can explain how excited I am. This is what I’ve always wanted to do – get paid. For writing. About whatever I choose. I’m in complete shock. Unfortunately, the writing is in Hebrew and so it would be pretty pointless to link y’all, but still. I. AM. SO. HAPPY.
This has been an exciting week – hell, an exciting few months – ever since I began this in blog in April. This post, like some recent ones, has strayed from the strict topic of books but I feel like by now, with seventy six of you, after nearly four months, I can be a bit more… personal. I’ve already gone all sappy on y’all with a previous post and so again, I’ll spare you now. This is just a random update from my life. Here I go trying to get closer – meet me halfway, my friends. Comment. Share. Anything.
Adios for now!
P.S. Paid. FOR WRITING. YEEHAW.
I have no clue what any of that means but I HAVE HIT 70 FOLLOWERS OH LORD and 70 seems like a very boring number so I googled it to see if they had anything. You can always count on dear ol’ Wikipedia recommending weird-ass information to supply my always-running Department of Useless Information in this jelly hidden by my hair (and some other weird and goey stuff).
Did you know that the year 70 started on a Monday? How lovely. It was Monday just a mere 55 minutes ago. Also, the French have no word for the number 70! They use “soixante-dix” instead, which is basically just 60 + 10. In 1970 Mick Jagger was fined £200 for possession of cannabis!
Okay, I think those are enough facts for now. Of course I love you all but dear 70th fella – Four for you Mr Seventy, You GO Mr Seventy!
Because Mean Girls is always relevant.
Well, I’ve done my sappy, happy, thankful post in my last BA 26 Post Challenge but I can never thank ya’ll enough. I really can’t. I wish I could mail you all hugs and chocolates but I am broke and cannot even afford a sufficient amount of chocolate to keep ma’ own self alive, let alone ALL OF YA. Seriously though, you guys keep me writing. Every person who reads my writing gives me reason to keep going. Never hesitate to commentand let me know what you think, answer my cliche bold or italicized or underlined or CAPS LOCKED or even colored (ALL TOGETHER NOW) questions I post at the end. Tell me what you’d like to see more of, see less of, what interests you all!
I’d give you all a free cat if I could. Actually, I wish you could all give ME free cats. My mother would probably hunt you all down and kill you though so maybe that’s not my best idea.
So at this point in my post I’ve confused you, deprived you of chocolate and posed a threat to your life. I think I should stop now. Plus, I’m completely off topic by now. Was there ever a topic? Who knows. I don’t. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU SEVENTY (and hopefully more to come) HAVE A SEVENTY-ONETH OF MY HEART (one for Douglas Adams), THE REMAINDER OF MY EDUCATION-SYSTEM-VICTIM BRAIN and MY VALUBALE TIME FROM USUALLY AROUND 1am – 2am.
May the force
and the cats be wid’ja.
The 26 Posts Blogging Challenge is a challenge hosted by Bookish Ardour, which poses topics for 26 years. I have not completed every topic, and I don’t plan on continuing on a regular basis, but I did want to write up something and this is a good way to find prompts. This week’s topic is –
Your Changes: How have you changed since your blog began?
This is actually a really interesting topic, and it has more to do with my love of writing than with my love of reading. I do run a book blog and so of course I enjoy reading but a passion of mine I’ve discovered and pursued only relatively recently is writing. I write short stories, poetry, essays, spoken word poems – everything. I originally intended on running a book blog with reviews mainly, but eventually I realized that – unlike many book bloggers I follow – I simply cannot keep up with reading a library every week. I got into the weekly meme posts and those seemed to be a big hit with you guys and so I do them often now. At one point I also realized I wanted to incorporate writing into this blog and that’s how my “Book Talk” page began. I guess I never made it clear but that page basically just rounds up links for all of my more personal posts about books that aren’t memes or reviews. My first piece was one about Orson Scott Card and my own personal agenda regarding him, and authors who partake in activities I am against in general. My second post was about literary tattoos, one that for some reason never picked up – you can view it here, in case you’re interested. I’ve gone on to write two more of these (My Reading History & Book to Movi- TV Show?) and to be honest they’re what I enjoy most, besides my very favorite Top Ten Tuesday posts. In fact, Jayde-Ashe @ The Paperbook Blog has started a project of putting out a monthly (maybe twice a month even) literary magazine online and I’ll be submitting a piece about what I like to call “book murder” in there. I’ll make sure to link you guys when it’s up.
So, now with this lengthy introduction in place – you guys know how I tend to get off topic – I guess I should address the real question here. I think I’ve mainly changed in the fact that I’ve stopped just listing ideas. Nowadays, I actually tackle them. The Scott Card post is a topic I’ve been involved in ever since I discovered the topic after reading Ender’s Game about a year and a half ago. I discuss it verbally with people all the time, but I never actually sat down and wrote about it. This platform finally got me going. I finally DO SOMETHING with my ideas, and it makes me so happy with myself. I’m a professional procrastinator and this blog has managed to hack away at this laziness I’m encased in. I’ve also started writing reviews of course, something I’ve been interested in doing but never actually made the effort. The main change I guess I’m trying to emphasize is that I’ve become a “do-er”, along with just… a thinker.
In addition to that, ever since I started writing I became more confident in my own life. I’m generally a shy person with strangers – not loud or outgoing. My writing has helped me discover other sides of myself – the opinionated, strong, humour person I come off as through these posts. The fact that people actually read MY writing – you guys have no idea how happy it makes me. Every email I get from WordPress makes my day. It still astounds me that 69 – NEARLY SEVENTY – human beings in this world choose to invest time in reading the words I type up here in my little room. Having readers? It’s crazy. I never thought I’d reach that point. I don’t need crowds of people or mainstream websites printing my writing – just this. Anyone. Someone who listens. I know every blogger is glad to be read but when it comes from that BEING A WRITER aspect it really affects me. I love what I do with books here, but at the end of the day my writing is most important to me.
So yes, I’ve changed. I’ve become more confident both in real life, in writing, and in sharing my writing in real life. I’ve started accomplishing things instead of just piling up ideas and plans. This show of support I get here with every follow, comment or like has encouraged me to continue. I’ve changed because I feel like people care, and I think that’s honestly the best motivation. I’m not big in the book blogging community and I might never be, but my goal is to have people listen and for now this is more than enough.
I think it’s only right I finish this post off with a thank you. I usually do the whole “What do YOU ______” thing but this post isn’t so much about questions for you – it’s just… thanks. You guys have no idea how much every one of you means to me. We’re nearing the 70 now. A small community. All of this wouldn’t exist without you or your support.
Thank you, danke, gracias, merci, תודה.
We’re all familiar with the book-to-film phenomenon. Someone takes a book, turns it into a movie. Or, in my slightly unobjective opinion, someone takes a book, rips it open, stabs it thirty times in the heart, writes a murder plan, turns it into a movie, and hacks away at my heart and brain as I suffer through said movie.
We all have our own opinions regarding these movies. Some turn out good, others not so much. We also are all familiar with that unfortunate event where people watch a film and then never read the book because they’ve “already seen the movie.” That’s when us readers usually intrude, making futile attempts to convince this poor, ignorant friend that “the book is so not like the movie!” We fail, of course, and return to our computers defeated and angry – prepared to rant to the Internet about this awful incident.
Something that has been on the rise lately though is not movies based on books, but TV SHOWS based on books. Sometimes these are series that get translated to many seasons; sometimes the show begins with a book and deviates from it, becoming a creature of its own.
With films, we walk into a dark room and experience the book we’ve read on screen for no more than three hours. We experience a very basic version of the book – this intimate knowledge of characters and their lives and troubles simply cannot be translated as perfectly in such a short time. Most films don’t convey that feeling of getting into somebody’s head, viewing the world through their eyes. It’s a very special experience – one you can almost only find in a book.
On the other hand, with TV shows there’s suddenly this whole huge time span. These characters we read about become full-fledged people. Our books don’t get condensed – they get stretched. Many times the writers of these TV shows start inventing new situations to put characters through – happenings that didn’t take place in the original novel. Movies that are book-based are usually created in order to pair a visual experience to the imageless one we get from our book. Book based TV shows, however, take these people we’ve befriended on paper and put them in our own very real world. The TV shows aren’t meant to perfectly portray the novels. They’re meant to expand them, to show us what happened before and after or what happened in between in the parts the author chose not to mention. It’s why these TV shows usually tend to stray from the original works they’re based on. On screen these characters come to life and with so much time to fill they become their own standalone individual, no longer based on that snippet of their life that we read about.
I haven’t actually read many books whose series I later watched. I read the first book in the Dexter series, which according to Dexter fans is very similar to the first season of the show, even though later on the show and the book part ways. I still remember the surprise I felt when one day a few years ago I turned on the TV and discovered that there was a Tracy Beaker show. I never took a particular liking to it; then again I was not exactly at the appropriate age anymore.
The Pretty Little Liars series was a different case because I actually read all eight books before the series was announced, and I can still recall phoning my friend and telling her that a TV series was going to be made. The eighth book had an open ending, and when the series turned out to be a huge success Sara Shepherd immediately announced she’d be writing four more novels. I read the first one in this new continuance and was very not surprised when it turned out to be a complete waste of time. It was obvious right from the announcement that this was simply a way to make money off her new fame, and I was both prepared and disappointed. Many of my friends started watching this show and immediately fell in love. I remember being shushed and hushed at every conversation regarding the show because I knew what was going to happen. It was an unusual experience – we’re used to not spoiling short stories – movies and books with clear beginnings and clear ends. With a TV show it’s different. You don’t know how it’s going to be spaced out, what’s going to happen now, how they’re going to wrap up a season. I used to have my friends tell me what’s going on in the show and then I’d compare it with the book progression. In the beginning I absolutely hated the TV show – the characters were all wrong, the plot was completely off track – so much of it was different and made up. It’s the exact thing I hated about book-based movies. The episodes seemed to be airing whenever I decided to watch TV – no matter the time – and of course I ended up watching them and slowly, over time, learning to like this new version of the books I’d read. Unlike my experience with movies, I managed to put the books aside and view this series as a sort of alternate universe to my books – slight similarities mixed with new ideas and inventions. Eventually the show went completely off course and now it’s just a TV show that happens to share a general idea and a couple of names with Sara Sheppard’s original books.
I cannot stand seeing my fictional friends being abused for two hours as every shred of character is taken away from them, but when they’re given a new life with their own adventures the case is different – I see my fictional friends go from limited entities to proper beings. I think the difference in my attitude toward these two mediums stems from the fact that I view movies as a recreation and TV shows as a new creation.
I was just browsing my Facebook News Feed when I came across a link to a post called My Reading History by Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner. In it she describes in lovely writing and even lovelier images the history of her reading over the years – from child, through teen and college all the way to today. She inspired me to write one of my own posts, although without the wonderful graphics because I am hopeless at creating things using a computer. I’ll just stick to words – hope you guys don’t mind. Actually, I’m sure you guys won’t mind because trust me; images will make this a lot more messy.
I guess I should begin from… the beginning? Wow, how surprising. So, I’ve loved reading since I can remember myself. In fact, in 2nd grade I was already reading proper books. I was one of few 2nd graders in my class, maybe even the only one, who’d reached the stage where they move on from picture books. I didn’t like this difference and I insisted on reading picture books even though they were below my level. Eventually Ms. Golden, my 2nd grade teacher, told my mom she refused to allow me to read picture books when I could be reading proper writing and that’s when my love story with picture books ended. It was in 2nd grade that I first read a Roald Dahl book – George’s Marvelous Medicine – and fell in love with rhyming poetry in the form of Jack Preluztky. I specifically say “rhyming” because I was convinced that any poem that didn’t rhyme wasn’t really a poem at all and that it was just stupid. On the first day of 2nd grade my teacher gave every kid a small book of poems by many different poets. I still have the book, along with a decent collection of Jack Preluztky books.
In 3rd grade I discovered Harry Potter, which of course took over the rest of my life. I read all six in record time, the books breaking my tiny eight year back; the seventh came out only a year and a half later. My friend and I printed Potter related things, wrote Potter poems, practiced spells, drew characters and basically just had our own fan club without knowing that’s what we were doing. I still have two letters I wrote – one to Harry himself and the other to JK Rowling – somewhere in my room. As you can probably tell, I don’t throw stuff out. Like, ever. I also read all twelve A Series of Unfortunate Events books that had been released till that point. Funnily enough, I ended up ordering The End off Amazon and only making it halfway through. I also remember reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – a book I later read one or two more times and yet still do not remember even now what happens in the end.
My entire reading history can be summed up into one word – whatever. That’s it. I read whatever I found, without considering the genre or age it was meant for. It’s how I ended up being asked by a teacher in 4th grade why I was reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and why I to this day am still unsure of the definition of children and young adult literature. I simply never went by definitions. I read everything and anything. I do remember despising non-fiction books, the only exceptions being the non-fiction companions to the Magic Tree House series books.
Between fourth and fifth grade I moved back to Tel Aviv and ended up reading the last Harry Potter book in my first summer back here without my own proper room or friends – specifically my best friend who I’d read the entire series with.
I’ve never had a lull in my reading. I mean, nowadays I read less but that’s because I have so much more to do and so much less time to do it, and that’s even though I sleep way too little – as my mother never tires of reminding me. I also haven’t really gone through any “periods.” I’ve always read anything. I do admit that when I was younger I preferred longer and bigger books because I hated that feeling of finishing a series and not having anything more to share with those characters, contrary to today when I prefer shorter books that don’t make me feel tiny and discouraged.
I have so many great memories associated with reading. There was that time I was visiting my grandparents in Israel back when I still lived in New York and when I was bored one day they gave me a box full of children’s books, namely The Babysitter’s Club books by Ann M. Martin. I was probably around eight years old at the time, and I decided I’d read all of the books in the series in chronological order. I reached the eighth book and that’s when I came across the book numbered 108. Needless to say, I gave up that plan.
Another story – one I’ve mentioned here before – is the time I got left behind on a 3rd grade trip because I spent too much time in the library and the class left without me. I ended up riding a taxi to the theatre with the meanest, scariest teacher in the school and the copy of A Wrinkle in Time that I’d finally chosen before I’d discovered my class’s disappearance and all hell broke loose inside eight year old me. (Wow, lots of stuff happened to me when I was eight.) After the teacher’s incessant apologizes to my mom over the phone we sat together and complained about the play we were supposed to be watching the entire time.
I don’t remember anything about the book The Wind in the Willows, except for the fact that I hated it. It was the first book my mother chose to read to my sister and me when we decided to start a bed-time story ritual in the winter of 2006. I remember how one night, after reading, or maybe instead, my mother told us we were going to be moving back to Israel the next summer.
My obsession with Jodi Picoult I established after reading her book The Pact. The interesting part of this is that I picked up The Pact after recognizing Picoult’s name since I’d read My Sister’s Keeper. I found it on a random rack of not-yet-shelved books in the library I absolutely hate and have been to very few times – an even number because I had to return the books of course. This is the only good thing I ever got from that place. Ever.
In 2012 I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and then visited the places he mentioned in it when I visited Amsterdam in the summer. Somewhere in my massive Sent folder I still have the email I wrote to fictional Hazel and Augustus while riding the train from Holland to Germany.
Oh, and at some point during my younger years I developed an unexplained hate for Narnia and all things related which explains my Narnia-less childhood.
My reading history is basically just a big mess littered with thousands of memories. These days I’m pickier and I tend to avoid huge commitments – it’s why I’m still putting off Game of Thrones.
I’ve also always had this… fear of classics. It’s the same feeling I have regarding cult films – I’m always worried I won’t get what they hype is all about and then end up just feeling stupid because I haven’t experienced a revelation or epiphany of some sort after reading said book. Or worse, I won’t even like it.
So, yeah, this is it basically. My “reading history.” Well, actually, it’s more like a bunch of memories that cover it, but maybe that’s just the same thing. I mean, I could go on listing books forever but I find that highly uninteresting not to mention pointless. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of Judy Blumes and Roald Dahls and so many other books but in the end it’s the memories that make up my history, so I think presenting them is much better than just listing. The Wayside School tapes we listened to in the car, the spell practicing with Potter and my friend, the poetry obsessions – those are what matters. I still read young adult literature these days, along with what you’d categorize as “adult novels.” I don’t know if I’ve ever had a certain taste – I just went along with what I found. If it looks good, I’ll read it.
I intended on one day making a post about the memories we associate with books and how the books I read can tell the story of who I am but maybe this is it. It’s just… my history. Or maybe I will end up writing another post and you guys will recognize stories I mention there because they probably appear in other posts of mine as well. Who knows? We’ll see.
What do you guys think? Is our reading history just an assortment of books or does it mean more about us? Have you had periods in your life where reading just wasn’t a top priority anymore? Or maybe it only became important later on in life?