Thursday, December 29, 2011

Interview With My Awesome Sister On Books (and Movies)

I like learning about people's reading habits, because I find it fascinating how different they can be from person to person. So far I've interviewed my best friend, my brother, and my dad. Today, I will be interviewing my sister.

My sister is 19 years old, and she has Down Syndrome which means she learns slower than other kids her age, but also that she has an awesome personality. She loves movies and loves to make us laugh. She is also quite short compared to the rest of my family, and I like to tease her by calling her "Shortbread Cookie". :) She also likes to be a chatterbox, although she wasn't so much in this interview because we weren't talking about movies.

Anyway... onto the interview!

Me: So, what kinds of books do you like?


Sis: Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables, Flat Stanley.


Me: So why do you like those books?


Sis: 'Cause... interesting?


Me: Why are they interesting?


Sis: They’re based on a movie.


Me: Oh, so you like books based off movies.


Sis: Yeah.


Me: How come you don’t read more?


Sis: I don’t know! I always read before bed.


Me: What’s your favourite book?


Sis: Wizard of Oz


Me: Do you like reading?


Sis: Yes.


Me: Why?


Sis: ‘Cause... everything.


Me: Yeah, but why?


Sis: (groans) I enjoy reading.


Me: Why?


Sis: I enjoy reading!


Me: Yeah, but why? Is it fun, or...?


Sis: It’s fun!


Me: Would you read a book that I wrote?

Sis: No.


Me: No! Why not?


Sis: Cause... not fun.


Me: Why not?


Sis: It’s not based on a movie.


Me: (laughing) Oh... well, thanks. So if I got a movie made, and then I wrote a book...?


Sis: Yup.


Me: You’re silly. What books do you not like?


Sis: Your books.


Me: What? Oh, like the books I read?


Sis: Yeah.


Me: Why not?

Sis: Cause kind of bit boring.


Me: Why are they boring?


Sis: Cause not based on a movie. I like Wizard of Oz, because it’s based on a movie.


Me: So how do you pick a book to read?


Sis: Just pick one book, and read it.


Me: Yeah but is it the title or the cover?


Sis: The cover.


Me: Or...


Sis: The cover!!


Me: What do you like about the cover?


Sis: The pictures.


Me: Do you have anything else to say about reading and books?


Sis: Nope. Bye.

So, in case you didn't catch that... she likes movies. And the Wizard of Oz. Haha. Isn't she cute? :)

What's your favourite movie based on a book?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Actually ACCOMPLISH Your Goals

Around New Year's is the time when we start to think more about these things called "resolutions" because new year, new start, right?

So I think that "resolution" is just a fancy way of replacing one of my absolute FAVOURITE WORDS OF ALL TIME:

GOAL.

You may think I am crazy, but goals definitely are NOT just for January. This year I have made Summer Goals, New School Year Goals, and Mid-Semester Goals. I have goals in various categories such as health, reading, writing, school, and more. Now, I don't know, maybe everyone makes a lot of goals. But I bet a lot of people don't actually accomplish (okay, what is the correct term when you uh, reach a goal? reach? finish? accomplish?) their goals. And what's the use of making goals if you don't actually accomplish them??

So I bring you today...

GRACIE'S GUIDE TO REACHING YOUR GOALS

Tip #1: Make a plan

If you just flippantly say "I resolve to write more" or something, and then that's it, it's pretty difficult to reach that goal. OK, so I'm going to use a goal I made at the beginning of September as an example. I made a goal to run more, building up so I could go farther.

So, first step in making a plan, I think, is dividing up your goals.

Tip #2: Divide up  your goals



When I make goals, I try to be as specific as possible. "Write stuff this month" should be "write at least 3 scenes of work in progress" or "Write 50,000 words this month". Then I'd divide it up even more: "In order to write 50,000 words this month, I will write 1,667 words a day"; "In order to run 60 miles this month, I will run 2 miles each day." This is all part of my plan for reaching my goals.

The next thing that most people would say now is that you can motivate yourself by bribing yourself. "If you abstain from sweets this week, you can have a piece of cake on Saturday." This definitely works for some people, but I don't understand this kind of motivation - you encourage yourself with something that is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish... okay, then. But it does work for some people.

For me, I just need to be focused and constantly plan and be absolutely determined to reach my goal. The actual accomplishing of the goal is a huge reward for me, actually, especially in areas like fitness because as you live healthier, you actually feel more energetic, better, etc.

Another motivation for me is sort of competition. My dad and I both run and he is always impressed when I say I've run longer than usual, and sometimes that will motivate me. I think, "I'm going to run 5 miles today, then just wait until dad hears how long I went for!" I think we both encourage other, and in some cases it is a little competitive. Some time in mid-November, I'd run 45 days in a row and my dad was going on the treadmill and I heard him say to my mom, "I have to run! [Gracie]'s run 45 days in a row!"

Tip #3: Use encouragement and competition from another person to motivate you.

And guess what? My goal of running 60 miles in November I reached, and passed... I actually ran around 65 miles, and I ran everyday from October 24 to December 22, and so far I've only missed 2 days in December. I know I used running as an example, but all these things you can apply to writing goals (or any other goals) too.

I hope this helps you a bit when trying to reach your New Year's Goals! Good luck!

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do you ever actually accomplish them? What's your strategy?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Book: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: YA Contemporary
Why I picked it up: I saw it somewhere...
Cover: I love it when covers just have one symbolic image on the front that says so, so much about the story inside.

Summary:

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

Last year sometime I saw this book on a blog, asked for it for Christmas or my birthday or something, got it as a present, read it, and then fell completely in love with it. Jellicoe Road is a book that I have read 3 times this year. It also made me cry each time, and I think the best books are the ones that make you cry.

Each time I read this book I am amazed at everything. The writing is amazing, the stories are amazingly intricate and touching, and the characters are awesome and completely lovable. The idea itself is also quite interesting and completely unique.

Even though there is so much sadness in this book, and so many horrible things it never gets to be too much. It's all just part of the story and makes it so the beauty of life shines through even better. I love how it switches between past and present, and how you have to work to figure out what's going on but when you do figure out, you're blown away.

I loved the characters. Taylor is such an awesome character, so beyond any of the stereotypes you see in a lot of books today. Actually all of the characters were. I loved how at the beginning Taylor distanced herself from everyone, and at the end she had a whole group of friends which made a cast of characters that you just wanted to stay around forever. The best books always have characters that become friends to you by the end of the book.

This book is just so unique and different and not stereotypical or annoying at all. It's like no other book out there, but it so, so beautiful. I love this book (obviously, I read it 3 times already this year and I'm sure I will read it many more times) and I really, really want you to read it too.

I think EVERYONE should read this book. Go. Now. Read it!!!!

LINKS:
Jellicoe Road on Goodreads
Jellicoe Road on Amazon.com
Jellicoe Road on Amazon.ca

Melina Marchetta's Website

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Corrine Jackson's IF I LIE Cover Reveal!

Guess what? Today I am helping to spread the word about the cover of Corrine Jackson's IF I LIE. I've been following Corrine Jackson on her blog for a while, and I really enjoy reading it. I also interviewed her here.

Now, summary of IF I LIE....

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.



Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.
 
Then, the cover!!
 
 
It comes out August 28, 2012. I'm so excited!! :)
 
Links:
Corrine Jackson's Twitter
Corrine Jackson's Facebook
Corrine Jackson's Website

Monday, December 19, 2011

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO...and 39 New Things To Try On Your Blog

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. I feel like I'm a little kid again, back in the time before I was a hard-working, motivated young person with lots of goals to reach and... y'know, before I spent my time lurking the Internet. *ahem*  Anyway, I feel like it's perpetually one of those days where I'm sitting on the couch and outside, the sun is shining, and my mom is bustling about and all I can think of to do is whine, "I don't know what to do-oooooooo!!" And then Mom replies threateningly, "Well I could give you something to do." And I scurry off before she puts any evil scheme into motion.


So. That's pretty much how I feel about this blog right now, I have no idea what to do. There's lots of stuff I could do, but none of it really excites me.

Yeah and then I remembered that I actually made a list of "new things to try on your blog". I read something once that said you should try new things on your blog to see what works the best. Not to mention it's fun. So now I present to you, 39 New Things to Try on Your Blog!

1. Post your inspiring pictures
2. Take pictures of your neighbourhood and post them
3. Take pictures of any area inside your house and post them
4. Give a virtual tour of your desk/writing area/bedroom/most important room in your house
5. Draw cartoons and post them
6. Use drawings to illustrate a point you're trying to make in a post
7. A different format, like vlogging, or aerial writing...
8. Do a post on video
9. Post a pardoy video
10. Make a short fun/serious film
11. Live blog (which is when you update a specific post throughout the day)
12. Live chat
13. Create a blogfest
14. Create a blog award
15. Do a link roundup
16. Get quotes from a whole bunch of people (bloggers, authors, experts, etc) on a certain topic and post them
17. Create a weekly meme
18. Organize a blog scavenger hunt
19. Hold a contest
20. Giveaway prizes
21. Do an interview with someone
22. Do an interview with someone on a specific topic (like their reading habits)
23. Do an interview with someone with video chat
24. Do an in-person interview with someone on video
25. Do an interview and post the audio
26. Host a guest on your blog
27. Do a blog swap with another blogger
28. Create a post of your favourite quotes
29. Create a post of quotes on a specific topic or issue
30. Post about your music inspiration
31. Ask a question so that lots of people comment and discuss stuff
32. Do a book review/suggestion
33. Tell a funny story
34. Post part of someone's MS and critique it (with permission)
35. Do a blog series on a specific topic
36. Hold a writing contest
37. Share an excerpt of your WiP or anything
38. Post your opinion on an issue
39. Write a post in a different perspective

So yeah... those are just some ideas for you, and just because they've all been done before doesn't mean they can't be new to you and your blog. :D

I also wanted to update you on my ideas of the Teen Scene Link Roundup and my Ask-the-Teen questions. I'm going to post a December Teen Scene Link Roundup on January 1st, and the Ask the Teens thing I am going to start sometime in the New Year (in January, probably). And I made about pages too... the about page for the Teen Scene Link Roundup is here and the about page for the ask the teens thing is here.

Do you have any ideas for new things to try? What new thing do you think I should try? ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray




Book: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA
Why I picked it up: I've seen a lot of talk online about Libba Bray and a couple of her books, this one and another (Beauty Queens).
Cover: My favourite covers are the ones that have just a couple of simple images that represent the story... and this one definitely falls into that category!

What it's about:

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

So, I guess I'll admit it... I was kind of weirded out by this book at first. But then it started to make sense, and then it was pretty cool.

It's kind of like the Wizard of Oz in the sense that Cameron, the MC, falls into this really weird dream world where he goes on a long, fun, weird journey and meets people along the way.

I loved the way this book didn't fall into the trap of focusing entirely on the romance... it gave a lot of room to the friendships Cameron formed too, which is awesome! Before I read this book, I was like, where are all the awesome best friends in YA?? Well, I found some in this book.

I liked the weirdness of it... in the end it just made it fun and made me appreciate Libba Bray's creativity (and I am slightly jealous because this book would have been so much fun to write).

I would recommend this book to you if...
-you like those crazy adventure books
-you're looking for a book with some good friendships in it
-you don't mind books being on the kind of weird, random, creative side

Links:
Going Bovine on Goodreads
Going Bovine on Amazon.ca
Going Bovine on Amazon.com
Going Bovine on Libba Bray's Website (...where you can find a whole bunch of other links of where to get it)
Libba Bray's Official Website
Libba Bray's Twitter
Libba Bray's Blog

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BEWARE THE BOOK CURSE!!



A terrible thing happened the other day... and I'm not really sure I am able to talk about it with you, as it was such a traumatizing experience. But I will try.

See, I was at the library. Innocently, I was gathering books for the coming week. Hours later, I innocently went up to the checkout counter and piled my 21 books (barcode up, you're welcome, librarian) on the wood surface. 20 beeps later, and I was almost home free.

BUT THEN.

Then something happened that, at the time, I didn't notice as being strange. But now I realize how naive this was, for of course it sticks it out now! You see, now I recall the event and in recalling the event I remember the librarian's appearance. Gnarled, wrinkled hands with lengthy fingernails the ends of which were tinged green. A gray bun in the centre of her head framed perfectly by wispy gray hairs. A hooked nose, a mole, beady eyes... and a suspicious smell.

At the time, I dismissed her slightly odd appearance but now I wished I would have been more alert (oh, what the excitement of 21 new books to read can do...)

The strange librarian scanned my last book, and then did a strange tapping pattern on the cover before sliding it over to me. The next part gives me shivers - she grabbed a bookmark from beneath her desk and tucked in this last book. After closing the cover, she gave it one last tap and grinned at me, revealing yellowed teeth. "Enjoy," she said in a decidedly sickeningly sweet voice that was flavoured with cackle.

Strange things were happening - and this was only the beginning.

I went home with my bags weighed down with lovely blocks of words, eager to dig in. When I got home I was for some reason drawn to that last book, the one the librarian had tapped and slipped a bookmark into. I opened it.

And soon found I could not let go. My eyes devoured the pages and my heart pounded and I could feel the drip of sweat on my forehead. What was happening to me?

Despite my efforts to not read this book all of the time, I could not stop. I spent all of my time in this book. It was a lengthy book, too, and I began to realize everything was disappearing around me: my family, my friends, my life outside of the fictional realm. My social life was disappearing along with my health - now in addition to increased pulse and sweating, my head hurt and my eyes drooped.

At one o'clock A.M. that night (morning, I guess) I realized I had been talking to the book. I had been yelling at the characters, warning them of what I thought was ahead, and crying with them when they were hurt. I was talking to fictional characters! Yet at the time I thought, I knew they were real.

My mind, my health, my family, my friends... all gone. What was going on?

That's when I remembered... the strange gray-haired, hooked-nose librarian. The tapping. The bookmark. The sickly sweet "Enjoy" accompanied by a yellow-toothed grin.

It was five-thirty in the morning. I was on page 254 of many more. I gasped.


A witch! A curse! The tapping... obviously some sort of code to unlock a crazy spell. The bookmark... obviously injected with some sort of witchy potion. I had been cursed!

Yet I could do nothing to stop it... the only thing I could think of was to finish the book.

I holed up in my room for the next two days, not wanting anyone to know I had fallen for any librarian's harebrained tricks. I read and read and read, and my vision began to swim but I kept on.

On the third day, I finished the book. I closed the cover with a smack and immediately felt a sigh on my lips and a weight lift off my chest. I knew the curse had run its course. Although I could still feel some remnants of the curse as I felt a twinge of sadness that I had finished the book...
And maybe I am still cursed after all... for I still have a longing to return to that wretched place, the library, that caused me to be cursed in the first place....

**This entire post is fictional, although I may have been "cursed" by a good book a few times... also, librarians, my description of you is for the purpose of the story. None of you that I've seen ever look like that... :) What books have you been "cursed" by??

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