Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Makes A Book Great??

I'd already read the whole Hunger Games trilogy once, and since I'd read all my library books I decided to read them again. After reading some just okay books, the Hunger Games books struck me as particularly amazing, even the second time.

There were lots of things I noticed that made these books so, well, great in my eyes.

For one, the fact that it was realistic. I mean, in a way. There's obviously no Districts or Panem or Hunger Games in the real world but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the feelings and the characters and even the story itself. The ending was also satisfying in the way that it wasn't (hopefully you know what I mean!).

And, of course, the characters. Especially Katniss. It amazes me how real she is. She's not always on one side or the other, but kind of wavering in between, waltzing to and fro, getting caught in other's actions and lies and sometimes trying to untangle herself from them. I liked how she didn't always seem to be on the "good" side or the "bad side".

In fact, there wasn't a distinct good or evil side. Sometimes this is nice, but in the real world sometimes you don't know what's right or wrong. At least it's uncertain.

I guess my point is, part of a great book is having them be real. There is so much fake in the world, we need our books to reflect reality.

What do you think makes a book great?

Sunday, April 24, 2011


dictionary.com says:

noun Slang .

1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.

2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.

The real definition, o' course:

1. people that are funny, awesome, cool and have more fun from other people because of their weird obsessions.

2. little candy things in assorted colours that come in boxes

3. people that have fun being quirky

4. ME!

What's your definition of nerd? Do you have fun being quirky?? :)

Just something fun for today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Learning Is Awesome (I don't care what you say, it is)

I was thinking today about all the things I want to learn/learn about: French, how other countrys governments work, other cultures both ancient and modern, history of other countries, other languages, how to cook...

I was also thinking about how with so much of this stuff money is involved. Whether it be books, classes, ingredients... it costs. Which sucks.

Yet... there are ways to learn without classes or books or anything! (And I'm not talking about school, either. I mean, who learns THERE? And that wasn't sarcasm, by the way.)

Well... how about right HERE? Yup, you can learn stuff right here at I Am Writer Hear Me Roar. What you learn probably depends more on you and your brain, and other determining factors, but yes, you can just come here, read some stuff and maybe take away some snippets and go "You know what, I learned something. COOL."

So today Teacher Gracie is going to tell you... the origin of the phrase "cop out".

I was thinking of this because I was thinking what I would think if an author killed the main character at the end of a book and left the ending at that, and I kind of figured it's a kind of cop-out because it's an easy ending.


"Cop" was originally an old English slang term, around 1695-1705, that meant "to seize" or "to take" or "to capture" or something along those lines, which is where it came to be used for a policeman or "copper". Then a cop-out became to confess and accept a deal with the police, or really entering a guilty plea which came to be called "copping a plea". This was in the 1940s. And now we use it in pretty much the same sense, except we apply it to getting out of just about anything, not just police stuff.

**So ur ces

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What A Soccer Obsessed Teenage Boy (aka my brother) Has to Say About Books

After going for a couple weeks (sorry!) without a post, I FINALLY came up with an idea: to interview my brother on what he thinks of books.

Now, why did I want to interview my brother? Well, not because he's a book/writer genius. My brother is very intelligent, but not so much in that area. He's detail-impaired (as you'll be able to see...) and his two loves are soccer, soccer, and cooking. (Okay, three. He's the one who is good at math. :D) Oh, he's fifteen years old, too. (Although he's actually two years younger than me; it's just his birthday is in February and mine's in May.)

No, I wanted to interview my brother just to get an idea of what someone else thinks about the book world who isn't immersed in it as much as we are ("we" being people like me, who stalk book/writer blogs and write stories and blogs like this).

So here we go [My comments in italic]. It might help to imagine him playing a video game while answering the questions, just to get a better idea. Not to mention that's what he was doing what I asked him questions.

Me: What are your favourite kinds of books and why?
Bro: Books Mom picks. (My mom picks most of the books he reads). Not mysteries 'cause I don't like thinking.

Me: What would have to be an element of a book to make sure you read it?
Bro: A sequel. By this he means, the book would have to be a sequel to something else. Clever, hey?

Me: How do you pick books you read? (I mean the ones Mom doesn't pick out).
Bro: Read the back; the cover is interesting, like futuristic; books of authors I like, like Eoin Colfer. I had to ask him multiple questions to get this all out of him, mind you.

Me: What would make you put down a book without finishing it?
Bro: Not interesting/exciting. I got answers like "I don't know" or "I don't remember" when I pressed him to elaborate.

Me: What is your favourite book?
Bro: Artemis Fowl (series) by Eoin Colfer.

Me: What did you think of the idea of the Hunger Games with the whole reality show-murder thing?
Bro: Well, it's what the Greek or Roman or whatever did, except instead of being in the past it's in the future. Sometimes, there's little gold nuggets in there!!

Me: Do you prefer reading about male or female main characters?
Bro: Doesn't matter.

And, just for fun:

Me: Why is a book horrible to you?
Bro: I can't remember.

Yup. Pretty helpful, all that. But I actually realized something. His way of picking books and reading them is a pretty efficient filter. I mean, first it goes through Mom and then usually it goes through me so the book has to be pretty good to get all the way to my brother. And... I totally lost my train of thought.

Well, anyway, another thing I noticed is how he doesn't really let anything affect his reading. He just gets immersed in the story, not really caring (okay, not caring at all) about the point of view, the gender of the character, or any other little things that might bother him about the set up of the story. Things that I might notice and judge, but he doesn't even see. Which is good,  in this case, because then it doesn't affect his actual enjoyment of the reading. He just enjoys them, because they have to be enjoyable for him to read them.

He's probably going to be really annoyed with me for analyzing him, either that or weirded out. Oh well! :) I guess that's just another difference between us. I think the stuffing out of everything, and he doesn't like mystery "cuz I don't like thinking".

Love you, bro!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In Which I Talk About Mud And Books

This is my room.
Okay, I *wish* it was my room.
It's like walking through a mud puddle. Or, trying to walk through a mud puddle, really. We want to get to the other side, we want to slosh through and find a spot where maybe it won't be quite so thick. But no matter what, we just feel like we have to turn back because we're never going to get there.

That's kind of how I feel when I read a bad book. I want to finish it, on principle, but it's just too slow, and boring, and... muddy. And who knows? Maybe the mud doesn't end. And then I just wasted a day reading a muddy book.

Yet, a lot of things are useful that we didn't think would be at first. For example, a bad book. I think that it isn't useful to read a book that I'm not going to get anything out of, that I'm going to be tripping on the entire time, that I'm not going to enjoy, and that I'm getting more and more annoyed at the tell-and-not-show writing, at the lack of anything happening, at the whiny brat of a character. 

But, I also think, it kind of is useful. To see the examples of what not to do. Because we hear a lot of advice about what to not do, but I don't know about you but I find it a whole lot easier to catch on with examples. It's a good thing there's bad books around so we can have those examples.

(Although I'm not saying write a bad book just so someone can have an example of what not to do...)

And I guess if you're a reader, bad books are useful so they let you know what to look for next time.

Look! Useful things made from things that weren't going to be used (but now are being used):

Magazine table!

This was made out of menus, postcards, junk mail, greeting cards
and other recyclabes!
These shoes are awesome!!


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