Friday, October 31, 2014

If We Were Having Coffee #2

So I've been generally a rather sporadic blogger for the past month and I'm so sorry for that! I love talking to you guys and I miss interacting with everyone. I've just found myself really busy lately and whenever I do have down time, I'm usually using it to finish the homework I procrastinated on (always) or doing things that don't require much thinking like watching TV or listening to music or surfing the web and NOT reading or blogging. So I'm sorry that I haven't been around. I truly miss you all so so much! I haven't created a game plan yet for jumping back into blogging more regularly and I don't know when that'll happen but I thought it might be good for me to pop in today since I haven't posted in over a week.

So hello everyone, I did not disappear into thin air! Just really busy but I thought I'd check in today and update you guys on what's been going on in my life.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I broke my phone. I dropped it on the floor - a really rough tiled floor, to be exact - and the screen cracked. I mean, that's the way things work but considering the number of times I've dropped it before and it survived (even on hard concrete sidewalk once), it was a LITTLE surprising for me. I'd gotten to thinking my phone was indestructible! Clearly not... I got the screen replaced this past week and now I'm going to be extra careful! My parents weren't as mad as I thought they'd be - in fact they weren't mad at all, more exasperated or annoyed - but I know if I were to drop it a second time, they would be and I don't want that to happen. But yeah, it's really nice to have my phone back and working again. I wasn't dying during the four days I went phone-less but it was rather strange and inconvenient when I wanted to call or text someone.

If we were having coffee, I'd start gushing about Taylor Swift's new album 1989. IT IS SO FREAKING FANTASTIC. I've been waiting and waiting for it and then it was finally here and I was so nervous it would let me down but it didn't. Seriously I just love everything Taylor does. This album is one of her best FOR SURE. Her vision was so clear and it was evident through the music and the packaging and everything. I also loved her lyrics and how she was experimenting more with her range like using her lower register more and ugh, just so good in general. So so good. Please go take a listen to it. I think I might type up a post soon (once I ease myself back into blogging) on 1989 and some of my favourite songs and my thoughts in more detail.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you about how I climbed the CN Tower this month! It was actually three weeks ago but I'm still not quite over it. Probably one of my biggest achievements ever. In case you don't know, the CN Tower is this really popular attraction in Toronto and stair climbs for it are really common throughout the year. For some people, it's like this annual tradition. This year was my first so my time wasn't amazing but I'm still so proud and happy that I did it. It's really such a great experience though I won't lie, it really tested my muscular endurance. I was crawling up the stairs by the end but there was a poster I saw that really motivated me and it said "pain will be forgotten but pride will not." So I kept on thinking about that while I was climbing the stairs and I made it! Somehow... I don't know, the pain really was forgotten. But anyway, I did it and am planning on going next year again and hopefully get a better time!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you about all the wonderful books I got from the library a few days ago! I just felt like I was so out of material for reading so I had my dad drive me to the library and I got books that I'm all super excited for! I think I might do a book haul with those books and some others I've received this coming week because I do want to make another video. I'm not sure yet... We'll see!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about how report cards will be issued home really soon and I'M SO NERVOUS. I don't think I failed any courses but still anxious. Report cards are always a source of anxiety. Especially this one because it's so early in the school year that it's never an accurate representation of how well or how bad you actually do. My marks will probably be really, really inflated which is a little sad to think about. Like how my marks at the end of the year most likely will not match my marks now? Anyway fingers crossed for the best!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you about how I got accepted into this TED conference for youths in Toronto. It's really really exciting! I'm so looking forward to seeing all the speakers in November. Slowly counting down the days...

If we were having coffee, the last thing I'd talk about is blogging. I've been having a really hard time with blogging (and reading) lately and I honestly don't know how it's going to go. I just haven't been feeling the motivation to blog at all and I'm not sure what to do so I'm going to wait and let it play out and then decide. I miss you all so much but blogging has just been really difficult to make time for lately and when I do sit down to blog, it's so strange because I haven't done it in ages and the words don't come to me at all. It's not natural. So I don't know yet what to do... I'll just sit on it for a while and see if I want to stop or whatever.

That's pretty much it for me right now. What's been going on with you guys? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle #1
Published July 30, 2013 by Scholastic Books
Paperback, 409 pages
Borrowed from library

(from Goodreads because I don't know how to summarize this book.)

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

The Raven Boys was not a book I was in the least bit interested in picking up at all. I'd always seen it around the blogosphere - multiple bloggers raving about it but all of that flew way over my head. My friend convinced me to read it though so I was like "Okay, why not? I don't really know what it's about so why don't I give it a shot?" And now here we are... This might be the start of something new, you guys.

I love the clairvoyant/psychic aspect.
So our main character, Blue, comes from a family of psychics. She herself is not a psychic but her family is and one of my favorite parts was being able to get acquainted with all her family and their line of work. I find psychics so interesting and while I don't believe it 100%, I'm not a total skeptic either. Like I wouldn't rule out its existence. The general idea though of being able to be in touch with a person's future and to know the unknown is so fascinating to me and also quite spooky, regardless of whether it's true or not and The Raven Boys didn't help to quench that fascination. If anything, I'd say I'm even more interested especially after learning about things like ley lines and St. Mark's Eve which I had no idea was even a thing. Very, very interesting and definitely one of my favourite parts of the book. 

This book was so gripping.
Usually it takes me a while to really get into a book and determine whether I'll like it or not but the first page for The Raven Boys and BAM I was into it. I could not stop reading after that. Maggie's writing is so wonderful and clear and the story is so interesting. Everything just works so well together that I couldn't help myself. I just had to read on and find out what would happen to the Raven Boys. This book was 400 pages long but honestly it felt like 100 because I was so enamored in it!

I wish there was more development of the characters.
I loved what we saw of the characters. I loved Blue and the Raven Boys and Maura but I also felt like there needed to be more focus on developing those characters. Truthfully they were very one-dimensional for me and while I still adored them, I feel like if there was even more development and exploration of their personalities, it would have made the book even better. I would have beyond loved it!

It took me a while to understand exactly what was going on.
The whole Welsh mythology thing was really interesting but it was so confusing. I felt like it wasn't really explained in a clear way and it took me a really long time to figure out what was going on. Honestly even now, I'm not quite sure why Gansey was on this hunt and why it was so important to him and how he came about it in the first place. Maybe these aren't questions with answers that would be relevant to the story but I'd like to know even for some a greater grasp on Gansey's character.

A solid first book in a series! There was enough about it that I liked and enough about it that was interesting that urges me to continue with the series but there were a couple things that I felt like were missing too. The characters felt a little flat for me and it took me really long to catch on. I also wanted to see more of the Welsh mythology and the whole Blue-Gansey ghost thing which I felt like wasn't even touched on in this book. Really excited to get to the next book though and perhaps get to find out more about everything that was introduced in this book!

people who enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood or The Archived. It's a paranormal-fantasy book set in real time so if you like those type of books, you'll like this! Also if you like slightly spooky books, this is a good one for you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

4 Reasons to Go See The F Word/What If

By the time you're reading this, The F Word/What If most likely isn't in theatres any more because this post is way overdue. I went to go see this movie in theatres right when school started back at the very beginning of September and planned to write this post but by then, I just didn't have energy to blog so this post got pushed back and now... here we are. I would have just scrapped this post altogether but The F Word/What If was just SUCH a good movie, I had to tell you guys about it.

So first I guess I should mention that this film actually goes under two names: The F Word and What If. For Canadian release, the film used its original name (I think?) of The F Word but for everywhere-else-release, it went under What If. I'm probably just going to end up using The F Word to refer to film when I get tired of typing out The F Word/What If because that's the name that's familiar to me.

And just to sum it up very, very briefly, The F Word is a romantic comedy about a girl and a guy who meet at a party and end up getting stuck in the friendzone (hence, the F Word) and it's really hilarious and wonderful and I think that's all you really need to know but if that summary kinda sucked, then visit the IMDB page for more information.

4 Reasons to Go See The F Word.

It's filmed in my favourite city ever, TORONTO!
Maybe this won't be a selling point for you but for me, it definitely was! A lot of films actually get filmed in Toronto (hence why it gets called "Hollywood North" a lot) but it's not often that a film that gets filmed in Toronto is actually meant to be set in Toronto so with The F Word, you actually got to see all the cool Toronto landmarks that probably wouldn't make it into other films filmed in Toronto because it would contradict the setting the movie is supposed to take place in. 

The screenwriter, Elan Mastai talks about this (kinda) and I thought it was interesting so I'll share it with you:
"My personal, emotional life was bound up in the iconography of the city," Mastai said. “I was thrilled we got to shoot it in Toronto. I feel like Toronto is often treated very coldly in the movies when it’s being treated at all... I always prefer to have the movie set where we shoot it, so that you’re not hiding anything or trying to pawn it off as some kind of Anytown, U.S.A. If you make a movie more specific, it actually makes it more universal… Whether you’re setting your movie in Manhattan, or Los Angeles, or Paris, or Kuala Lumpur, or Toronto, it’s always going to make the movie better, more textured, and more rounded because it’s a real place."

And I've lived here my entire life that sometimes Toronto starts to lose its magic for me but after watching this film, it was like "yeah.. I really do live in a cool city!" My friends and I were joking afterwards that the filmmakers made Toronto seem so much more hip and cool than it really is but okay guys, Toronto is actually pretty awesome even if I don't think it all the time.

Liz Braun wrote a review for the Toronto Sun about this film that sums up my thoughts totally:
"Toronto audiences get the extra bonus of seeing their city through the eyes of love, a point of view that makes every inch of the waterfront, every park and every streetcar hugely desirable. If you didn't know better you'd almost want to live there." 

Yes, that is exactly how I feel.

And even though Daniel Radcliffe was here for TIFF, it didn't really hit me that he was in MY CITY and has been to MY CITY before for this film until I saw the film and saw him WALKING ON THE SAME FREAKING STREETS I WALK ON LIKE EVERY FREAKING DAY. Holy shit.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan were ADORABLE.
They were actually soooo cute. I can't even explain. I can't even. I'm unable to even. Like what the heck?? Is it even possible to be that cute? So many feels. So many great, great, great cute moments. And their banter was fabulous. So hilarious and ADORABLE. Like obviously, in real life unless you ARE Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, the banter sucks. It's awkward, it's not funny, it's not cute. Or maybe that's just me? Why do movies and shows and books make banter seem so easy? It's not. All I can manage ever is a chuckle and maybe a really bad joke and then I'll end up stuttering and it's horrible. But anyway. Wallace and Chantry (Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan's characters) were A+. Really adorable but also fantastic characters. In all honesty though, all the characters were great so I guess that's another reason why you should go see this movie: fantastic characters!

Cute, cute outfits.
Zoe Kazan's character, Chantry had the CUTEST outfits. I don't know why I pick up on these things but literally every single outfit she wore, I was like OMG CAN THAT BE MINE PLEASE? They were all so cute (sorry, I lost my thesaurus) in that Taylor Swift-esque way kinda? 

It's just such a sweet and cute movie in general.
I've used cute and adorable in this post way too many times already but man, this film is just so SWEET and ADORABLE. It's such a feel good movie, I can almost guarantee you walking away from this movie smiling.


So obviously I'm not a film expert and have no clue about the technicalities but I know what I enjoy and The F Word was definitely very enjoyable so I highly recommend you go see it and then tell me what you think! If you've already seen The F Word/What If, tell me what your thoughts were. Do you agree with me? 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

20 Things You Didn't Know About Me

I wasn't tagged by anyone to do this tag but as you may know, I can never resist a questionnaire! And this seemed like a lot of fun especially since they're not all related to books and while I do love books (obviously), sometimes a little departure is good for a change. So let's do this!

20 Things You Didn't Know About Me.

1. How tall are you? 
I haven't been officially measured (like at a doctor's - that type of thing) for about a year now so I'm not quite sure how accurate this number is but roughly around 5'2". Which is good because it means I've grown over the past year! Although ideally I'd like to at least hit 5'4" so average height... If it's "let's be unrealistic" hour, then that number would probably be 5'8".

2. Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what? 
A hidden talent? Uh well, I can blow a double bubble provided that I have the right type of gum that allows for maximum bubble blowing. I can also catch food with my mouth and touch the floor when I bend down? That's about it honestly... Pretty boring, right?

3. What is your biggest blog-related pet peeve? 
My biggest blog-related pet peeve would probably be Captcha. Just not a fan at all. It's not something that will deter me from commenting on your site but it definitely elicits a little groan when I see it.

4. What is your biggest non-blog related pet peeve? 
When people misunderstand you. That is probably one of the most frustrating things ever. And I find it so annoying when people ask countless questions in a row. Like please, just stop. For the sake of my sanity.

5. What’s your favourite song? 
I hate this question so much because how does one pick a favourite? It changes always. Right now though, my favourite song would have to be I Choose You by Sara Bareilles, Esmerelda by Ben Howard and The Last Ship by Sting.

6. What’s your favourite Etsy shop that isn’t yours? 
Uhh... I don't have an Etsy shop nor do I have a favourite one. I kinda feel like I should though after this question.

7. What’s your favourite way to spend your free time when you’re alone? 
Watch television. Eat ice cream. Scroll through Twitter. And Tumblr. And Pinterest. And Facebook, if I'm feeling it. Maybe also watch some Youtube videos. Jam out to some music. Play the Kardashian game because of course. Read a magazine. Read a book. Eat something else. Maybe take a bath if I'm feeling up to it. Paint my nails. Scream. Dance. Shout. Sing badly.

8. What’s your favourite junk food? 
I don't discriminate against junk food, I accept them all. Okay but in all seriousness, my favourite junk food would probably have to be those fries from Costco. And all types of chocolate and candy and baked goods and sweet treats. I also have a soft spot for dill pickle chips and ketchup chips and sour cream and onion chips. And Tim Hortons Boston Cream donuts are the BOMB.

9. Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names? 
I do not have any pets. And I don't plan on having any anytime soon. Because although I think it'd be super awesome to have a furry ball of cuteness to look forward to after school, I honestly don't think I'd be able to handle all the work and my parents aren't home often either so yeah... just don't see how it could work. It wouldn't be fair to my pet.

10. What are your number one favourite nonfiction and fiction books? 
My favourite non-fiction book would probably be Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. It's such an interesting concept for a book and it's where I get all my best jokes. As for my favourite fiction book, it's probably a tie between the entire Harry Potter series and Anne of Green Gables and The Book Thief.

11. What’s your favourite beauty product? 
I don't wear makeup often but when I do, it's usually mascara. I stick with the Clinique mascaras because my mum gets them in her complimentary bags whenever she buys their moisturizers but also because the wand isn't ginormous. My lashes are fairly short so ginormous lashes like the ones by Maybelline would not work. I also really like lip balms and lipsticks though they rarely ever look that good on me because my lips are always chapped. Nail polish is also fun especially white nail polish which is my go to. And I feel like if I were good at eyeshadow, it'd be awesome as well but I'm not...

12. When were you last embarrassed? What happened? 
I embarrass myself on a daily basis. And my brain does this horrible thing of remembering all the most traumatic moments of my life so sometimes I'll just be walking and I'll remember that moment and it'll play back and it'll feel like I'm reliving the moment again and it's the ABSOLUTE worst. So yeah, I have a lot of stories of embarrassing moments which means that even though I do embarrass myself a lot, because I have so many other worse memories, it's easy for me to shrug off the more minor incidents. The most recent one I can think of is not really a big deal but it was kinda awkward and it was when I, for some unknown reason, thought it would be a good idea to tell my English teacher that he looked like Thomas Muller. Yeah, it was a little awkward...

13. If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Coconut water and coffee. That'd be all I need in life. But mostly coconut water because that stuff is SO GOOD and SO REFRESHING and SO HEALTHY but also unfortunately, SO EXPENSIVE.

14. What’s your favourite movie? 
Hmm, I don't think I have a favourite FAVOURITE movie but the last movie I watched that I really, really liked was The F Word so you should go see it!

15. What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist prep etc.? 
I'm still in high school and I'm honestly not sure at all. I don't think I have a specific thing. Like some of my friends are really into drama so I guess you can consider them drama kids and then others are great at art but me? I don't really have a thing. So honestly I have NO CLUE.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? 
I really like Toronto and realistically, I'm probably going to live here when I'm older as well. I just can't picture myself anywhere else. For a while, I thought definitely London but now I'm not sure. I think it'd be a cool place to visit but not somewhere I'd want to live. Really, all I can think of is Toronto. I truly, truly love my hometown and while I don't want to be stuck here for the rest of my life, I think I'll probably return after experimenting with some other cities. But then again, who knows what will happen?

17. PC or Mac? 
I've never had a Mac so PC, definitely! But I definitely want to look into a Mac in the future.

18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boyfriend/girlfriend? 
Uhh... I don't know about a romantic gesture but I can think of, like, nice things they've said? I don't know if that counts but honestly it was like months ago so I don't even remember that clearly. Yeah... no.

19. Favourite celeb? 
Dylan O'Brien. Taylor Swift. Emma Watson. Emma Stone. Jennifer Lawrence. Andrew Garfield. Eddie Redmayne. Gordon Ramsay. Ellen DeGeneres. Probably more that I'm forgetting...

20. What blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with? 
Every single blogger I've met so far has been so sweet and kind so I don't know if I could pick just one when I really want to be best friends with ALL OF YOU.


So that's it for this tag! It was so much fun answering all the questions and hopefully you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me. And I won't tag anyone specific but if you want to do it, please do! I'd love to get to know a little more about you as well!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey #1
Published May 20, 2014 by Harper Teen
Paperback, 384 pages
Borrowed from library

After three years of dating, Jason breaks up with Lainey. Totally unexpected without even giving an explanation. Just told her they needed a break in front of all her friends at the coffee shop where she works. Lainey is in shock. She and Jason were going strong for so long, they were inseperable. And so, so good together. Unable to cope with the breakup, Lainey devises a plan to win back from reading The Art of War. It's a ten step plan involving spying and a new fake boyfriend to make Jason jealous and drive him back to Lainey. But will it work? Or will everything fall to shambles?

Writing this now, it's just occurred to me how long it's been since I've written a proper review. So excuse me if I'm a little rusty at this, I think I've forgotten how a little. Time to exercise my reviewing muscle again!

So The Art of Lainey. What a fun book. I read it in three hours today. I started it during Ceramics class, read some more during English and then on the subway on my commute home and then walking from the subway back home. Which should be a testament to how much I enjoyed this book because god knows how horrible reading while walking is for your eyes and usually I try to be very careful about not harming them before than I already do by wasting hours away on my laptop and phone but I just COULD NOT put this book down. And then once I got home, I read like a crazy woman and finished it in two hours. And now, I'm writing a review. Writing a review immediately after finishing the book for the first time in ages. This is a really strange feeling but here we go...

To Paula Stokes: thank you for including AUTHENTIC sounding text messages.
I know this is such a random thing to point out but I just have to say it! Because honestly I have such a problem when books include text messages and everything's abbreviated so obnoxiously like evry1 or l8r or c u @ skool tmrw. And okay, maybe it was a creative decision so that people understood clearly that this was dialogue set outside of the actual setting in the book and that it was a text message or an IM message but that doesn't make it any less annoying. Because I'm pretty sure that for the most part, we don't text or message like that! Or at least me and everyone I know don't. Interspersing those numbers in those words takes longer than typing out the actual words themselves and with autocorrect these days, who even needs to type accurately? But Paula, YOUR TEXTS WERE SPOT ON. As far as I saw, there weren't any L8Rs or SKOOLs or EVRY1s (which if I'm being totally honest was part of the reason why TTYL did not work for me). So thank you for that.

I don't know why I'm getting so worked up on such a tiny thing but yeah... just thought I would put it out there exactly how I feel about the portrayal of text messages in books. 

There was too much Lainey for me.
Is that weird to say when she's the main character? But I just felt there was an overload of Lainey. Like even though there were other characters, everything was ALL ABOUT LAINEY. And I don't really know how to explain this because it isn't something I've felt before but it just didn't feel balanced for me. I was really interested in learning more about the other characters because they were so interesting but it was just Lainey 24/7. And maybe this fact particularly bugs me because I didn't like her very much? Like that's probably why I'm bringing this up but ugh I did not like Lainey

She was shallow and obnoxious and annoying and irritating. All she cares about in this book is popularity and her boyfriend Jason who was a total asshat anyway. His reason for breaking up with her? DID NOT BUY IT FOR ONE SECOND. Honestly what a load of shit. And her popular best friend Kendall? HORRIBLE HORRIBLE. 

And on top of that, Lainey was just so... full of herself. I don't want to read about someone who has zero confidence in themselves but there's a line between being self-confident and just arrogant. And it's okay to admit that you're popular or like really pretty and athletic but then there's also that point when it just becomes flaunting and it's obnoxious behaviour.

And there wasn't enough Art of War for me.
I guess the point of the book wasn't really to have a great focus on the Art of War but honestly it was so shoddily included, I would have just scrapped out the entire thing and just had it handed over straight. Like yes, you just got dumped by your boyfriend, now you want him back for god knows what reasons and this is how we're going to go about it: spy on him and his new girl for dirt to use against him and make him jealous. Like that's obvious enough right? You don't need to read the Art of War to get that. So honestly that part just did not do it for me. It would have been interesting if it were executed better.

As for Micah...
He wasn't insufferable. But he wasn't the best either. And it's not just because he's a bad boy. Which he literally is supposed to be. He's roughed up, been to juvie, does weed, has piercings and a mohawk and tattoos. Think of how many classic bad boy stereotypes you can come up with and chances are Micah fits into them. And honestly, he wasn't a bad guy. He was sweet, especially with his younger sister Trinity but he wasn't the nicest guy either. And maybe that's called keeping it real but when this guy is making gross and demeaning comments about you, I don't find that sexy. Maybe for some, it's flattering and maybe I just don't get it. But still, a step up from Jason.

And yet despite all this, The Art of Lainey gave me some serious flutters.
I flew through this book like crazy. And even though there were a lot of things that kinda irked me, it's undeniable that Paula Stokes has written a seriously addicting novel. I could NOT put it down. And at the end, even though Lainey isn't my favourite character ever, I still walked away feeling feels. And thinking that this book would be so much better as a movie. And that I would definitely watch the movie.

I actually quite enjoyed myself reading this book even though I did have a lot of negative things (like the lack of Art of War in this book and the fact that Lainey just wasn't a very likable character) to say, I guess. But honestly props to Paula Stokes for creating a seriously readable book that I just had to read it straight away. That doesn't happen often and when it does happen, I'm definitely keen to take it into consideration!

people looking for a quick romance to give you feels. If you liked On the Fence by Kasie West, you might like this book. There are probably other comparisons I could make but I'm out right now. Sorry.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

How Podcasts Have Changed My View on Audiobooks

In the past month, I have become OBSESSED with podcasts. Like seriously, OBSESSED. I have not used my iPod to listen to music in weeks because all I want to do is listen to my constant stream of unplayed podcasts. And I have 109 of those with everyday bringing more episodes which doesn't make me feel hopeless like, "Oh my GOD, I'm never going to get through all of these!". Instead it makes me feel elated that I can waste away more hours listening to random people speak about different topics.

Prior to this past month, I treated podcasts with the same disinterest as I did with audiobooks but without even knowing too much about them. I just knew I wasn't interested. Nope, not my thing. Moving on. But once a friend explained to me the basics of podcasting and urged me to download my QUEEN TYLER OAKLEY'S PODCAST, I thought "Okay maybe I SHOULD check this out because it's TYLER OAKLEY. I love him and should see what it's all about."

And then, the rest is kinda history... I mean, I legitimately spend hours a day now listening to podcasts and checking up on all my subscriptions and finding more to download.

So now that I have changed my perspective and opinion on podcasts, I feel like it kinda begs the question: what about audiobooks?

The main reason why I was so opposed to audiobooks was that I felt I would get distracted easily. That it would hard for me to keep my attention on the story. That I would get bored and want to do other things and then the story would get totally lost on me. I'm sure there were other reasons but for me, that was the main reason why I didn't think audiobooks would work for me.

But podcasts apparently DO work for me and they aren't so different from audiobooks... I mean, sure, maybe different type of material but in essence, it's the same. I'm using my two ears instead of my two eyes. And it seems like it's been going fine, so does my reasoning for not wanting to delve into audiobooks still hold up?

Well... kinda. I mean, as long as I'm not doing anything else at the time of listening to the podcast, I won't get distracted. But if I AM doing something else, then I will get distracted which is rather inconvenient as often times, I don't have the luxury of just lying around for hours listening to a podcast. The only time I can really give it my full attention is right before I go to sleep. Other times, I get distracted either by what I'm doing or my own thoughts.

But apart from that, I've also come to realize that listening to someone speak is very hard to do so in public areas with loud buses, loud people and NOISE everywhere around you. Unless you want to blast your eardrum by turning your iPod on full volume which I frankly would rather not do. With music though (at the same volume), I find that it doesn't take me as much effort to be able to discern what is going on when a subway train whooshes by. Maybe that's been like scientifically proven that melodies are easier to hear than more monotonous speaking. Honestly? I have no idea. That's just been what my experience is and so because of that, I've refrained from listening to podcasts in noisy areas (so, the public) because it's hard for me to hear unless I have it super loud which I don't want to do which results in me having to replay all sections because I missed them.

And finally, listening to podcasts takes a LOT of time. Most of them are half an hour to an hour or even more in length which means it takes me about two hours to get through approximately two podcasts on average. And think about it, books are LONG. So how much time do you think I'd have to spend listening to a book? Probably well over ten hours. Maybe twenty hours. ROUGH GUESSES but I'm sure it won't be anything to scoff at. So why would I want to spend twenty hours getting through a book when I can do so in three or four hours by manually reading it? I get that audiobooks might be the better way to go for some but for me, when I have the time to read actual books, I feel like it makes more sense to do so that way. In fact, listening to audiobooks would probably suck up MORE of my time since I can't multitask while listening. Just imagine how long it'd take me to get through ONE BOOK!

On the other hand, I've always loved getting read to and one of my favourite parts of listening to podcasts is being able to have someone tell me a story and to hear their voice. I know that sounds so creepy but it's comforting in a way. And it's one of the reasons why I love podcasts and why they've worked so well for me. And I'm holding out hope that audiobooks are going to be the same for me. That I'm going to try them and fall in love.

I can't help but still be a TINY bit skeptical but based on my experience with podcasts which has been really positive, I feel like this could be the start of something new! So I'm going to make it a goal to find an audiobook and listen to it by the end of this December. Let's see how it's going to go!

What about you? Do you like audiobooks? How do they work for you? How do you listen to them? If you don't like audiobooks, why not? Do you have similar feelings as I do towards them? Do you listen to podcasts? If so, WHICH ARE YOUR FAVOURITE? If not, I have recs if you're into them! Podcasts galore!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The DNF Files: The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

Yep, you saw that right: a new feature! And this time, I'll be rounding up those books I never finished. Today's post features The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf.

Published October 11, 2011 by Candlewick Press
Paperback, 480 pages
Borrowed from library

So... what's it about?
The Watch That Ends the Night is a historical fiction novel told in verse about the events of the Titanic. Multiple characters tell their perspectives (like seriously, MULTIPLE. More than 15. Maybe less than 30.) about what happens leading up to the sink and then also, after the sink.

And just for reference, this is the synopsis provided by Goodreads:

"Arrogance and innocence, hubris and hope--twenty-four haunting voices of the Titanic tragedy, as well as the iceberg itself, are evoked in a stunning tour de force.
Millionaire John Jacob Astor hopes to bring home his pregnant teen bride with a minimum of media scandal. A beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers the first stirrings of love. And an ancient iceberg glides south, anticipating its fateful encounter. The voices in this remarkable re-creation of the Titanic disaster span classes and stations, from Margaret ("the unsinkable Molly") Brown to the captain who went down with his ship; from the lookout and wireless men to a young boy in search of dragons and a gambler in search of marks. Slipping in telegraphs, undertaker’s reports, and other records, poet Allan Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate glimpse at the lives behind the tragedy, told with clear-eyed compassion and astounding emotional power."

What initially attracted you to it?
Well actually, it was my friend who first saw this book but then passed it up because she wasn't interested it. And naturally, I took a look over and saw that GORGEOUS cover and was like check one. Then I remembered seeing it somewhere before on Goodreads as well as the fact that it was a historical fiction novel which made check two. And it's also about the Ttianic which I have this really weird fascination for so check three. And I just can't ignore it when a book has three things going on for it. One or two, sure but three is like, I have to give this a shot. I HAVE TO. So needless to say, I ended up walking away with it and it was the first book I picked up immediately once I got home.

How far did you read until you decided it was over?
I stopped at exactly the 200 page mark which out of 408 pages, is 49% of the entire book, so just a little under the halfway mark. I think that's a pretty good run? 

Why'd you put it down?
The only thing that made me DNF it was the fact that I just could not get into it. SO BORED. I had the urge to stop reading about 50 pages in but I made myself trudge on until I reached the 200 page mark and I was like, I really don't want to continue so what do I do? And yes that really was a question that popped into mind. I'm just not a DNF person so it rarely occurs to me that I can actually put down a book and not finish it if I don't like it. It took a while for me to catch on but I did and I was like, okay I am so done with this book. Like there was just no interest in me any more for the book. The story wasn't reeling me in and I just didn't care about the characters. There were definitely way too many for me, it all got so muddled. It was bland and so slow and when I realized I still had 200 more pages until the end, I wanted to cry. Basically all the signs that you should put down a book.

Also side note, I did not like how the iceberg was a character. I just found that totally took away from the story and did not work at all.

But on a positive note, was there anything you did like about it?
Yes totally! There were definitely things that I appreciated about this book. Obviously Wolf took a great deal of time to research the Titanic and make sure he had his shit down because all of the characters in this book were actual passengers on the Titanic which was really interesting, I admit. I also thought the way it was written was cool. Definitely unconventional. The Watch That Ends the Night is classified as a verse novel on Goodreads but I would disagree as for the most part, this book is just a regular narrative with short sentences and a lot of sentence breaks. But then also, I'm no poet so who am I to determine that? I also appreciated that Wolf really tried to capture all demographics on the ship so that made for a really complete narrative of what happened.

Final Notes

I've come to the conclusion that this book just was not for me. I definitely did see all the great stuff about this book so I understand why it has such great ratings but this book just was not it for me. I had a difficult time enjoying myself while reading this book. The number of characters was certainly an issue as well as the slow pacing of the novel. But if you're interested in learning more about the Titanic but don't want to read a stuffy non-fiction on it, then maybe consider checking out this book! It will offer you a fresh take on the Titanic from all perspectives and perhaps even help you get a sense of being on the ship as the events occurred yourself! There is also an appendix at the end with character notes and facts about the Titanic and a reference section for you if you're interested in further immersion.