Monday, 24 February 2014

Falling Short on Forever

Mr. Dickins
I'm the kind of person who will set themselves impossible challenges and then beat themselves up for not accomplishing them. Read sixteen Dickins books in six month. Read War and Peace in two weeks. Read fast, read now. I did manage to read thirteen Dickins books in the six months and I did read War and Peace in two weeks, which I am very proud of. The size of that book. It was good too.
  I'm constantly setting myself challenges. I have certain habits to that make no sense to 'normal' readers. I only read one book at a time, I only read church related books on a Sunday, I like to marathon series, and I have to finish a book once I've started it. This year I have set myself my longest challenge to date, the 100 book challenge. To read one hundred books in a year. So far, I'm three books ahead (18) and enjoying my success. I always thought that of course I'd read a hundred books in a year, but looking at how much a hundred books actually is makes me question it. Seen as I didn't actually keep track of when I read books, until October last year when I decided to write a review on each book just after I read it. I write only a tiny A5 review, full of spoilers and first impressions before I look at how other people felt about it. I really enjoy it, it lets me know that my impressions are mine and not just influences from others.
  However, no matter how much I enjoy whatever challenge that I have currently set for myself,  I find myself looking forward to the next challenge. What books come out later this year, what is next in my TBR shelf.
  I'm constantly just racing through books, I don't even know what I'm racing against. Myself? I like to put myself under pressure but am I even enjoying what I read, or am I reading for the sake of reading?
  A lot of people won't believe me, but I think it makes me enjoy it that little bit more. I don't think I'm happy unless I've put myself under pressure. I like stressing out about my little challenges. I know, I'm obsessive. I did try to warn you at the start. I think, so long as I enjoy reading at the pace I do, that I won't mind testing myself to see if I can stretch a bit farther, read a bit quicker, write more, read more. I know that some people will see it as falling short on forever, but I view it as escalating toward eternity.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Journeying to Olympus

  So I thought that I would do a kind of overview on the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series. I'm not going to go into individual reviews on each book or even really be discussing the plot in too much detail, because I feel that I couldn't really do it justice.
  I was so excited to start this series, just because it is one that everyone has been raving about and mythology is something that I love. I'm even studying Classics in college. I've been saying as a joke how reading the Percy Jackson books would help me in 'studying' for my mythology class, but, it has. I finished reading them, just as my class started and I was actually amazed at how many of the characters I knew, and who was related to who, and who was having an affair with who, and why did they do that, and what does that symbolise. I mean, obviously the Percy Jackson books are set in modern times, and I am studying the ancient version, but seriously, Rick Riordan, is a legend. I love when books like this have been researched properly, I felt that they were just an AMAZING interpretation of the ancient greek myths.
  Basically, the Percy Jackson series follows a young boy who is a demi-god, (half mortal half god). The world is full of monsters that mortals cannot see, but that will track down demi-gods, and so when they reach the age of about twelve they are taken to camp half-blood to learn to defend themselves and live in relative safety. During their time at camp half-blood, they can go on quests and if they are lucky, find out who their immortal parent is.
  I loved these books, I loved the quests and how gripping and satisfying the stories are. Even though they are marketed for 12-14 year olds, they are, like Harry Potter, still exciting for much older age groups. I am considerably out of the target audience age, but I loved them so much, I have been recommending them to every one in my Classics class.
  I just have one request. Do not watch the movies, at least not first. They have changed so many important things, and have, in my opinion, absolutely butchered the stories. I (unfortunately) watched the first one before I'd heard of the books, and then the second one because I didn't think I would get around to reading them for a long while. As a result I found that I didn't enjoy the first two books as much as I enjoyed the later ones.
  Essentially, this series was epic. If you have considered them in the past and just put them back on the shelf like I did, now is the time, Now. Right Now. If you like fantasy, myths, quests, magic, historical references then this series is for you. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next series. I've heard that Rick Riordan has also written a series based on the Egyptian myths, which I also love, I can hardly wait to get started on them. What are you still reading this for? Go get yourself to the library or something.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Patience and Pickings

I'm not usually a patient person. So when the next book in the Lunar Chronicles was released last week I was really excited because I only read the first two in December. On top of that I had a voucher for the book store so I wouldn't even really have to 'pay' for it.
  But. There's always a but. The bookstore hadn't gotten it in yet. No problem right? Normally they're very good at getting books in fast. But, it's almost a full week later, and still no book. I am devastated.  I know it'll probably make me appreciate it more when I get it but, at the minute I am just impatiently waiting for it to come. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
  I also wanted to talk about something that's been annoying me for a while since I started back at college. It's kind of a pet hate, but it annoys me so much. It's structure. And over analysing. This hadn't annoyed me too much until my last year in secondary school, when we studied poems, and now I find myself studying poetry again, and I have the same problem.
  The poems, or stories or whatever, are picked and picked apart until they're lying there all bruised and broken, with the inner meanings strewn out across the page and no one has really even appreciated it. I mean, isn't half of the reason that poems or fiction aren't blindingly obvious so as you can meditate on them, and come to your own conclusion as to why the writer had written in that style, or used that metaphor? But to have it set before you almost diminishes the meaning, does it not? To really understand it you must find it yourself, otherwise, you can't really understand it.
  Also, to say that if something isn't structured precisely then it is not what it is. Let me explain further. I'm not against grammar, or against keeping within certain boundaries, but if you had wanted to write another take on a sonnet, or a ode, or a limerick, to try something new, to do it your way, and then to have it dismissed because it does not conform, then I am against it. Surely these were new too at one point? Surely, you don't have to be a credited writer to express your self in literature?

  So I'll sit here, and (im)patiently wait for my book, and think about how to try and pass my English class by writing, for my assignment, a sonnet that does not conform. Or at least to say why I like to do things a bit differently.

Monday, 3 February 2014

A Verbal Cacophony

Have you ever wondered if your voice would be distinguishable amidst the crowd of written noise. That if your future self had written something, would yourself from the now recognise it as your own? Like a mother recognises her baby's cry. What makes our voice uniquely our own? And is the writing a portrait of the writer?
  I'm not going to answer these, because I don't know the answer. I'd like to think that I would recognise my own writing, but would I? looking back at some of my old journals I'm now not so sure that I would. I am no longer that same person. I can clearly see the influence of writers that I had been obsessed with at the time, though at the time I wouldn't of seen that at all. It makes me think now, what writers are influencing me without me even realising it? Will I look back in five years and say how blind I'd been to the impressions of others that I'd been reading?
  It seems strange at how others writing have influenced my personality so completely.

  I want to write my my own novel, I feel like I already have, I'm a good way into the second draft. I suppose whats been stalling me is that every time I go to write it I question if I will do the story justice. Like I'm afraid that I'll mess it up before I even really begin it. I want it to be at least on the same level as it is in my mind. I picture it so vividly that I want others to see it like I do. But whose to say that others will like what I see? I feel like I should at least give them the option.
I want, this year, to stop procrastinating. To finally make some headway, and give more shape to my beginning.