There is something to be said for experiencing the Harry Potter series for the first time as an adult. Yes, you read that right. I grew up during Harry Potter’s prime, and yet I couldn’t get into the books as a kid. I was an avid reader, mind you, but I was more interested in vampires and other dark creatures. …
Readers often feel a sense of guilt when abandoning a book. It could be simply that we’re not quitters, determined to finish a project or task no matter how unenjoyable. We’ve committed to this book, checked it out at the library or paid good money for it at the bookstore, and we are damn well going to finish it. Even if it’s the last thing we do.
Maybe we’re also competitive or, if you will, gluttonous. We want to read as many books as we can get our hands on. We’ve told ourselves we were going to read X amount of books this year (I’m currently behind on my personal 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge). If we can simply push through this book, it’s one more toward that goal, but in doing so, we end up slowing ourselves down.
The reasons we choose to give up on a book vary. It’s naive to assume that because you like a book everyone else you know will too. Reading is subjective. Sometimes your favorite blogger or Goodreads reviewer will fail you.
Here are a few reasons it might be time to let a book go.
My friend is much wiser than me. He, you see, brings at least two books with him every place he goes.
I sometimes bring a book, or my kindle, but sometimes I forget and I’ll just leave the house with myself, my keys, my wallet, and my cellphone.
Sometimes I get really, really bored.
He, on the other hand, always has two books with him to read, so he’s generally always got something to do if conversation slows down or if there’s a wait somewhere or something of the like.
The other day I asked him, out of curiosity, “friend, why do you always have two books with you? Why not just bring one?”
He gave the simplest, most elegant answer I could imagine, “Well, what would I do if I finished the first book and didn’t have the second book? Not read?”
So now, personally, I’m implementing a new rule that I’d like to share. I call it the two book rule. The rule is as follows:
This summer I decidedly drove to Northern California to spend some time with my family and simultaneously tutor my younger sister. Surprisingly, my sister has been excited about studying at home and continues to show eagerness in most of her subjects.
When I arrived, my mother handed me an impressive copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a Barnes and Noble hardcover classic edition with olive and violet images pressed into the leather-like texture with silhouettes of Atticus, Scout, and Jem.
It’s been quite some time since I last read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and it has been a reanimating experience while I annotate and rediscover all the details that make this novel an all-time classic.
While I spend my time rejoicing in my revisit of the novel, there is something in this edition that I have never noticed in my prior experience. Before the first chapter begins, there is a foreword which states:
Please spare Mockingbird an Introduction. As a reader I loathe Introductions. To novels, I associate Introductions with long-gone authors and works that are being brought back into prints after decades of interment. Although Mockingbird will be 35 this year, it has never been out of print and I am still alive, although very quiet. Introductions inhibit pleasure, they kill the joy of anticipation, they frustrate curiosity. They only good thing about introductions is that in some cases they delay the dose to come. Mockingbird still says what it has to say; it has managed to survive the years without preamble.
—Harper Lee, February 12, 1993
I’m torn. I love books – all books, including ebooks, because I love to read. Reading a physical copy of a book, for me, is just as good as reading an ebook. But I do see a distinct advantage in ebooks, and that comes in the form of volume. I can carry around a device that gives me access to the 300+ books in my elibrary without having to lug the physical weight around of those 300+ books. I know, I don’t READ 300 books at once, but I like reading multiple books at once and having a Kindle allows me to do that in an easier format than, say, just carrying around 5 books with me everyplace I go.
Image from Amazon.Com
Amazon.Com is offering a services for fans of ebooks called Kindled Unlimited. This service has been available for a few months now, and I thought it was about time to try it out and review it. Here are some of the basics Amazon boasts, if you’re unsure of what the service offers:
* Over 800,00 books for subscribers to choose from.
* Unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks.
* The ability to read and access these books from any device with the Kindle app installed.
* All for the low, low price of $9.99 a month.
After having Kindle Unlimited for two months, I have to say that some of these claims, outside of the prices, are more true than others. (more…)
I’m a poor college student. Actually, all of the writers of this blog are college students and fairly broke. While we write these posts about literary paraphernalia and how much we’d love to own some of these great book-related items, we really can’t afford to.
It makes me sad.
That’s why I decided to hijack this column for the week and do a list of DIY projects that range from easy to difficult and aren’t terribly expensive.
We’ll start with the easy DIY projects first. These will require little to no extra crafting gear outside of say, glue, a pen, and maybe some scissors.
This bookmark is simple, cheap, and versatile. While doodling flowers is one method of decorating this bookmark, another (which I would probably do) would be to write your favorite book quote on draw various literary characters into the different colored boxes.
These cute little notebooks are a snap to make and great for writers to use! You can also grab some Sharpies and decorate the covers. These would also make cute gifts.
Normally, I’m not one to start an online debate with another blog, but while scrolling through Tumblr a few days ago, I came across this post.
I immediately shared the post with the other contributors here at the blog, and we, along with many other Tumblr users, had a wide range of thoughts regarding this piece of advice.
Before I begin, I think it’s only fair to say that there were also many Tumblr users who shared their support of The Writers Helpers, the Tumblr blog which handed out this advice. According to these users, the account admins were not being racist, but simply honest.
In case you were wondering, I fundamentally disagree with the original advice offered by The Writers Helpers. Do I think that the admins of this blog (or “S,” the specific admin who responded to the question) are racist? No. I do not. However, the statement—the advice itself—advises writers to treat their own characters’ races as unequal.
In Adam Frank’s recent article on NPR, the writer compares poetry to physics. He begins his discussion with T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, which is 434 lines. In other words, it’s long. For some readers, that length provides something to hold onto a bit longer. An author might claim that more space allows for them to create greater meaning. But for some readers, longer poems can be daunting.
However, length isn’t the only thing that makes certain poems more difficult for some than others. Why someone may not “get” a poem can be for many reasons. In Frank’s article, the writer interviews John Beer, poet and professor at Portland State University. Beer had this to say about the subject:
There are, it seems, as many ways for a poem to be difficult as there are for it to be a poem at all. For most people, a lot of poetry written before the twentieth century will be a challenge: the vocabulary will often be unfamiliar, the syntax may be more complicated than we are accustomed to reading, and allusions, especially to classical learning, abound.
The haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms. I will often jot one down in class when not paying attention to a teacher, or when riding as a passenger in a car, or on my friend’s facebook pages when I am awake late at night and procrastinating on something important to do.
Haikus are short and to the point, much like I am. It was as if the form was made for me, but really, it wasn’t. Haikus were made for all to enjoy, not just me. A traditional haiku has 17 syllables, broken up into lines that are 5/7/5 syllables each. In sticking with tradition, most haikus usually include references to nature or the seasons and contain a contrasting image within it. It is common for haikus to have spliced words, elongated vowel sounds or double syllabic sounds to fulfill the syllable count requirements. Haikus can also be joined together to make a larger poem, but each haiku must stand on its own and be able to be read as an independent piece for the poem to truly be considered a haiku.
Below is my interpretation of a traditional haiku. This is a series of haikus, but each also stand independently, or, I at least hope they do.
Ah poetry, that thing we all universally love, appreciate, and understand.
Well, some of us, anyway. For others, poetry is a torture device full of alliterations, assonance, allusions, and apostrophe that cause anger. This is because some of us read poetry to appreciate it, think about it, and to find pleasure in it, and others, well, as Billy Collins’ poem Introduction to Poetry shows, try to find meaning.
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
But a poem isn’t about meaning. A poem’s answer is never going to be five. A poem isn’t something that can be solved – a poem is something to bring about contemplation and pleasure.