Sunday, January 31, 2016

40 Books That I'm Reading in 2016

My New Year's resolution is to read more books! Last year, I met my goal of 25, so this year I hope to read 40 books (at least!)

So when I put together my list, it was actually super challenging.  Through the cross-outs and additions (and cross-outs again), I think I finally have my perfect 2016 reading list--so now I'm sharing it with you!

1. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
2. In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
3. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
4. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
6. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
7. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
8. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

11. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Macker
12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
13. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
14. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
15. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
16. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
17. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
18. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
19. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
20. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

21. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
22. Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann
23. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
24. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
25. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
26. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
27. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer
28. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
29. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
30. Bossypants by Tina Fey

31. Know Your Beholder  by Adam Rapp
32. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
33. The Unloved by Deborah Levy
34. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
35. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
36. Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
37. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
38. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
39. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
40. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Les Miserables: A Tough Read That's Actually Worth It

3 years ago, the film adaptation of Les Miserables came to theaters.  I saw it probably 9 times and pre-ordered the digital download on iTunes.  I was obsessed with the musical, so much so that I even went out and purchased the original book.

Victor Hugo's 1,232-page story is so much better than the musical or the movie.  I drudged through the first hundred pages (and still got lost countless times throughout the rest of the novel) but eventually made it through.  But I loved this book so much because it was thorough--I mean really, really thorough.  There are about 200 pages talking solely about Jean Valjean's voyage through the sewers while he's trying to save Marius.  That was pretty tough to get through.

But even though most of this book is so detailed it hurts, there's still a great story underneath it all if you're willing to take the time to analyze it.  Even though I basically watched the movie on repeat, I picked up on so many more things after I read the book.  And since the book is so detailed, there's so much more information in it.  There are many connections between characters that I would have never realized if not for the book.  Also, there are some really magnificent quotes, like in the very last paragraph of the book:

Should we continue to look upwards?  Is the light we can see in the sky one of those which will presently be extinguished?  The ideal is terrifying to behold, lost as it is in the depths, small, isolated, a pin-point, brilliant but threatened on all sides by the dark forces that surround it: nevertheless, no more in danger than a star in the jaws of the clouds.

So if you're a huge Les Miserables fan like myself, I definitely recommend taking the time to get through the original novel.  It may take you years (like me), or if you're lucky, it'll only take you a month or so.  Either way, Victor Hugo's genius definitely shines through in this story, and will only make you appreciate the movie and musical more!

Monday, January 18, 2016

4 Pinterest Boards All Writers Should Have

I, like many other people my age, have this wild dream of becoming an author.  We're inspired by J.K. Rowling, John Green, and Brandon Stanton to become the next great thing.

At this point, I have about 9 stories swirling around in my head--none of which are anywhere close to complete.  So when I get stuck with writer's block or just can't figure out where to take the plot, I need to do some brainstorming.  My favorite way to do that is to create storyboards on Pinterest.  With a little hunting through Pinterest and Google, I can put together all of the inspiring images into one spot, so when I write, I can simply find my storyboards and get the words flowing.  So here is a list of my 4 boards; hopefully you'll find at least one that will work for whatever story you have stuck in your head!!

1. Characters

For this board, I look up pictures of people that match my descriptions for characters.  For example, the two pictures I added in here are the images that I have in my head for two of my characters (in two different stories).  This board mainly helps me when I'm trying to describe the physical description of a character, or trying to develop relationships among them.

2. Settings

When I first introduce a new scene, I have to picture that scene in my head.  This board helps me immensely when it comes to that.  These pictures of an interstate bridge in Tallahassee (left) and a random home that I found on Pinterest (right) both give me the images I need to show my readers what I want them to see.


For those moments when I just cannot come up with something profound to say.  These quotes give me a jumping ground to write about something that will (hopefully) stick with the readers.  They also inspire me to keep writing :)

4. Writing Tips

Of course, you need a whole board that will give you advice for when you need to tweak your story and make it perfect.  My tips board has hundreds of Pins that make my writing easier to understand and more enjoyable to read.

For more inspiration, visit my Pinterest page or my new favorite writing page, Novel Inspiration.  Happy writing!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

4 Things I Want to See in The 5th Wave

When I first saw the trailer for The 5th Wave, I knew I had to see it because of Chloe Grace Moretz (I mean come on, she's perfect!)  But I wasn't so sure about reading the book--that is until one of my friends read it first.  This weekend, she brought the book to my house (unannounced) and told me that I absolutely had to read it right away.

And she was right.  This book was incredible, to say the least.  I was expecting a boring sci-fi novel, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  The 5th Wave gripped me, shook me around, and spit me up.  I may also need to add the fact that I finished this book in 2 days.

So when I go see the movie in the near future, I'm expecting most of the aspects of the book to be included in the movie.  Obviously, I'm not hoping for perfection--they're going to have to leave some parts out for the sake of time.  But my expectations are that of the Harry Potter movies (I'm really just praying that it doesn't turn out as bad as The Mortal Instruments movie did--yikes!)  Here are the 4 definite things that I hope to see in The 5th Wave's movie adaptation:

1. Ben Parish.  I know that someone super cute is picked out to play this character, so I'm super pumped about that.  I'm also interested to see how much they include his character.  I mean, Cassie is obsessed with him, and I hope that comes across clearly in the film.

2. A clearer ending.  I'm not about posting any spoilers, so I won't say much about the ending.  But I (and many other readers on Goodreads) were really confused about the ending.  Hopefully, the movie will clear things up.

3. Sequels! There is a second book in the series, and a third (and final) one confirmed.  I hope that this movie is good enough to continue the series, otherwise, I'll be left with a sad, lonely void.

4. Deaths.  I know it sounds morbid, but I fully expect every death that happened in the book to happen in the movie.  The losses that Cassie deals with in the book are the main reason she continues to fight.  So I hope the movie doesn't sugarcoat the situation.  I want to feel scared and hopeless and really, really upset.