Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Fact vs. Fiction.

And so the battle wages on. The battle that has been fought endlessly for years, decades, centuries, since the dawn of time. The battle which has torn nations apart and split the world in two.
  I am talking about Non-Fiction vs. Fiction. DUN DUN DUN.

    Okay, to be honest, I'm actually talking about realistic fiction vs. fiction fiction, like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Divergent, and so on. I have not been known to sit down and read a long memoir or a book of facts. At least not in the same way I read fiction fiction books. Since I'm tired of typing everything out, I'm going to abbreviate Realistic Fiction to RF and Fiction Fiction to FF.  (Not to be confused with Fan Fiction, which I shall not go into at the moment.) Of course, this has probably taken up just as much time and typing as it would if I hadn't done this, and kept it unabbreviated--uh.....

      Until I read Harry Potter, I would not tough FF. My dad had read me Chronicles of Narnia when I was really little and the only parts I really got into were the parts with Reep-a-Cheep the mouse, because his name was fun to say. Instead I would read sports books, books by Carl Hiaasen, and E.B. White. Sword fights and spells never appealed to me. That’s not to say that when I was little, I wouldn't have my toys act out wars, or lock each other up in towers, but I never really liked reading the stuff.

  Even now, I immensely enjoy reading the occasional Anne Tyler novel. Herman Wouk is amazing too. I still read E.B. White and Car Hiaasen. But all my favorite books are fantasy. Not generally hard core fantasy, like Lord of the Rings (which I did enjoy, by the way) but things like the Artemis Fowl series, The Hunger Games, or Percy Jackson.
  So what changed and which is better?
 The first question can be answered simply. I read Harry Potter. Read the previous blog post for details. Which is better? Hard to say.
  My friend (let’s call her Wilma) is not a fantasy reader.  She likes hard core non-fiction. RF is about as fictional as she will go. She's read ever American Girl book out there (the old ones are surprisingly good); most of Nancy Drew, and can name all of Judy Blume's books. I asked her why and she replied simply, "Because I can relate to the characters."
  And, looking back, I realized that her reason was the same as mine for reading RF. I liked reading a book and relating to the MC, who maybe has a lot of drama with her friends, school trouble, (not saying those last too happened to me personally) or is just growing up. Judy Blume's more kid friendly books spoke to me back then. They said "whatever problems you're going through or might go through or can even somewhat relate to, the MC is going through too. Read on to find out how she/he deals with it." I found kindred spirits within the pages.
   I was sure the only way to find a character so much like myself was to read something realistic. I liked the everyday drama writers would incorporate in the RF books. I liked learning how kids in different situations lived and dealt with problems. I hated most forms of FF because I was sure that the characters in FF were not relatable, and that the stories were only good because of the action, or because they contained magic or whatever.
   But FF characters are relatable. Harry does grow up in "Harry Potter." Katniss does know what it feels like to be conflicted in "The Hunger Games." Tris does know what it feels like to have an older brother in "Divergent."
   The difference is that FF invents even more hard situations for its characters to deal with, more--usually life threatening--struggles to overcome, and different battles to fight.
  Both genres have their perks and their differences. But does it make one better than the other? The battle goes on…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Hangover


That's the big question, isn't it? What to read next?
  Probably one of my biggest pet peeves about reading a book is the book-hangover I always get after reading something good. The feeling that all my emotions have been ripped out of me, leaving me hollow and out of it. The depression after it, knowing that a lot of characters have probably just died, and now you’re stuck in a bad mood until you find something else to read. That's the problem.
  The first time I got a really bad book hangover was after finishing Harry Potter. The first two books just left me in a nervous frenzy, dying to get the next one. "Prisoner of Azkaban" left me disappointed there was nothing left to read. "Goblet of Fire" left me depressed. The other three books? I barely survived them.
  The craving for more good literature that wasn't written in the 1700's drove me to reading the whole series less than a month afterwards. Then again a month after that. Then again and again until I was at the point that I'd take one HP book out from the library and read it continuously until it was due.
  After reading it 12 times in one summer, I finally threw down my wand and began to search the library for something else to read. I'd find books containing magic and sorcery, but the story would never be as good as Harry Potter. The main characters wouldn't have the appeal Harry would. The authors just weren't J.K. Rowling.
  I began to despair. I was certain I had read the best in the world and nothing would ever come along that captivated me as much as Harry Potter then. My school books all seemed beyond boring. All my old favorites were pale in comparison. I stayed into that frame of mind until the December after that, when my uncle sent my sister a book called "The Lightening Thief" by Rick Riorden.
  Around that time, they were releasing a movie for it, so adds for the movie appeared on all my brother's favorite channels. It seemed like a really preteeny movie, something along the lines of iCarly, or High school musical. I read the first three pages of the book, saw that it started at a school, and gave up.
  A month later I was desperate. I had absolutely nothing to read, period. I began to worry I would become illiterate.
  I was looking through my shelf again in agony, when a paperback book fell and hit me on the head. I looked down at it and sighed. I decided to give it another chance.
   Next summer, I decided to finish the series. Got the second book from the library, wasn’t impressed until the ending. Decided to get the third. Then the fourth. I was in love with it by the fifth.
  Looking back now, I don't see how I could have ever disliked it. The first chapter draws you in, the characters are beyond loveable, the writing humorous and constantly interesting. As the series went on, the books got even more exciting, the characters even more likeable, and my love for it grew into obsession. I patiently waited for the authors next series, (which I had also started during a book hang over, and, at first, I also didn't like, until I re-read it and saw what an idiot I was,) and even got a twitter, partially so I could follow him. (Geeky, I know.) Now, it is the first series I recommend to people (mostly kids, especially middle schoolers) when they're not a fan of books, or looking for the next big thing to read.
  The moral of this story? No, it’s not an ad for the books (however, if you get the change, look up "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" and check it out. You shall not be disappointed.) The moral of the story is--deal with the book hangover. It's horrible when you’re stuck in it. But it will end. And it’s totally worth it too. I wouldn't trade the experience of reading Harry Potter for anything. As for coping with book hangovers, I've learned that as long as you keep an open mind and don’t give up, it will end. And then it'll be awesome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


        Well, this is it. The beginning of something new. A place where you, the reader, can find the most amazing posts imaginable about everything from books and fandoms, (get ready for a lot of that) to movies and food, to giant spiders and magic, to anything else I can think of. Here you will experience fun, magic, entertainment, random singing, spells that may turn you into an elephant, more magic, and of course, randomosity. (And yes, I know that's not a word. Well, I'm making it one so get over it.)
  This is a blog/site dedicated to bringing you, the reader, something to distract you from studying for finals, socializing with people, and cleaning up the house. A site dedicated to capturing your attention for a few seconds, when you have nothing to do. A site dedicated to things most people either don't know, or don't care about. And finally, it's a site dedicated to helping you on your journey to awesomeness through posts about all the things mentioned above.
  Good luck on your journey, young ones, and have fun reading.