Archive for May, 2013
Today’s topic is about non-fiction!
I don’t read a lot of non-fiction regularly. However, as someone who minored in history minor, I had to read my share of non-fiction works. I’m far more interested in reading about people than the history of a country. I feel like I’m more interested in reading about people than the history of a country.
Like I said earlier, I’m interested in reading about people – specifically the Lost Generation folks and the Bright Young People. I find these group of people extremely interesting and fabulous. I’m a big fan of the early 21st century – 1920/30s are my favorite time period. I envy their lifestyles (which included partying and being oh-so-tragic). It’s just so interesting to me. For those who don’t know who these group of people are, the Lost Generation included infamous writers like Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. Bright Young People were bored rich people in Britain who threw lavish parties despite ongoing problems in the world. Any books about that are set in that time period – give them to me!
I have four books on my table that I have yet to read, but I am dying to!
- Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant by Philip Hoare
- Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age by D.J. Taylor
- Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties by Noël Riley Fitch
- The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lowell
What are non-fiction books that catches your eye?
Today’s topic is about ethics! Juicy one! I’m gonna try to keep it relatively short.
Plagiarism + Credit!
Plagiarism sucks. I haven’t experienced plagiarism, but it is a big no-no, especially for me – a former English major who was taught that plagiarism will earn them an F on the paper and possible academic probation. It’s something I was always afraid of happening. Copying somebody’s written work is obviously not okay. If you’re copying somebody’s work word by word, there is something deeply wrong with you. Why would you even do that? What purpose does that serve? Just STOP. You should let your words speak for yourself. It’s your words we, as readers, are interested in. That type of plagiarism is obvious to spot.
What about plagiarizing ideas? Now that is a bit difficult to identify. I think we all fear that we may have unintentional plagiarize an idea (maybe for a meme or a discussion post that uses the same arguments as another person). The important thing is being self-aware. If you find out that your idea sounds like a similar one (but you didn’t intentional plagiarize them), you can address it. Whenever I wrote essays, I constantly worried that I was writing about something somebody had already written a paper on. Let’s be honest, you can’t have a truly original idea. You can put your own spin to it, but give credit when necessary. If you are inspired by an idea from a fellow blogger/writer/artist, credit them.
Always credit when you take ideas/pictures/gifs/quotes. It’s not difficult. I understand that you may sometimes forget to credit the person who made the gif or picture. (I know it slips my mind when I take gifs.) BUT it’s one of those situations where you learn from the mistake. I always make sure I credit every image I take. Just credit people. It’ll give you a peace of mind.
When I read reviews, I like knowing where bloggers get your books from – bought, won, borrowed, whatever it is. I feel like knowing where they get it brings a level of honesty. I’ll know that they aren’t stealing the books for their own entertainment. If the book is an ARC, say so. As well as specifics, be honest.
Respect people’s opinions. In reviews, not everybody will enjoy or like a book you did. They have good reasons why they didn’t like it, and hopefully, they provided the reasons why. People having differing opinions can lead to a healthy discussion. When I read a review I disagree with, I do feel defensive about the book that I liked, but I don’t jump down the writer’s throat. You want to treat them the way you want to be treated. You wouldn’t want a person to suddenly attack your opinions just because they didn’t agree with them, right?
A blogger having a bad review isn’t horrible. To me, having a balance of good and bad reviews show that the person is trustworthy. They aren’t rating these books because they’re getting paid by said author or are trying to boost the author’s ratings. I can really rely on their opinions (even if I don’t agree with them).
Well, I did not keep my word that this was going to be short. Whoops?
What are your codes of ethics when it comes to blogging or writing reviews?
Today’s topic is about literary fiction aka “we-are-sailing-into-murky-territories-known-as-literary-fiction-please-help-me.”
What is literary fiction?
Everybody has their own views of what they consider “classic” or “genre.” And literary fiction is the same. Defining “literary fiction” is a bit tricky. It’s a fairly new term. I feel that it is…everything else, but emphasizes a lot on meaning instead of pure entertainment. “Literary fiction” are like works of art. The content is so rich and complex (and that is to say other genres are not). It’s generally considered works that are “critically acclaimed” or “serious.” It’s the section I naturally gravitate toward whenever I enter a bookstore (before I fell back into young adult novels). It’s what I read and analyzed as an English major in college.
Literary fiction is love of mine. An old lover, you can say.
Contemporary literary fiction!
I feel kind of embarrassed to admit this – I don’t read a lot of contemporary literary fictions. I own a lot of it. It’s not that I don’t want to. I don’t have the attention span. I have a list of books and authors I am dying to read. Here are some authors that I want to read and believe that they fit into literary fiction.
- Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood)
- Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace)
- Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
- Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore)
- Maria Semple (Where’d You Go, Bernadette)
- Carol Rifka Brunt (Tell the Wolves I’m Home)
- Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe)
- Joan Didion (Play It as It Lays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
All (or at least most) of these works are critically acclaimed books that I need to get my greedy hands on.
Note: I have excluded YA novels because I don’t feel like it fits under literary fiction (with the exception of a few like On the Jellicoe Road).
1920s & Onwards!
Do authors/books that were published in the 1920s (and onwards) count? They do! Literary fiction doesn’t always pertain to contemporary books! There are plenty of 60+ year old books that are fits the definition. Any book that has been critically acclaimed. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Virgina Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston. I consider all these authors to fit into literary fiction (and not classic literature). And I’m not sure if you can tell, all the authors I picked are from the late 20th to early 21st century. Why? It’s my favorite time period for books! We have the introduction of Modernism and the Lost Generation!
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- Every author/book in the bullet list above.
For the record, I hate referring to anything as “literary fiction” or “mainstream fiction.” I think it’s one of those terms that is unnecessary. It’s a bit difficult to define because the term is so broad, yet concise. I don’t know what it wants from me!
What are your thoughts on literary fiction? Are you as clueless as I am?
Today’s topic is about genre fiction.
Genre fiction is an intimidating phrase to me. I don’t know why, but I think it has to do with the fact that I find it a bit difficult to talk about. Genre fiction has a lot of categories and I find myself not knowing what books goes into which. (I think I’m just having a brain fart moment.)
Out of all the genres, I read a lot of books from the romance one. There are sometimes fantasy, paranormal, mystery, or historical aspect in the book. That counts as other genres, right? I don’t think I branch out as much as I should. At the moment, I seem to only be reading Young Adult, New Adult, and Romance. Talk about diversity!
If you’re a reader of genre fiction do you have a favourite author or series?
- On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young
- The Highland Pleasure series by Jennifer Ashley
- The Hathaways and The Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas
And what keeps bringing you back for more
fantasy/sci fi/horror etc romance?
Romance novels always suck me in. When I’m tired of reading other literature works or Young Adult, I can fall back into the comforts of romance novels. That usually happens when I need something over-the-top or something will make me cry/sigh. I live vicariously through these characters (despite how ridiculous their situations or actions are).
And if you don’t read one (or more) of these genres what is it that deters you from those sections of the bookstore?
When I go to a bookstore, I usually head straight to the Young Adult section or to the general literature section. I think I avoid the other sections in the bookstore because I don’t find the content interesting. For me, it’s hard to search through the shelves for a good book when there are a lot of choices sitting there. With YA or romance, I know a lot of the authors and what they like to write about, which allows me to easily pick what I want to read. I don’t know a lot of science fiction or horror authors, so I don’t bother looking.
We’ve reached the end of this post. It’s fairly short since talking about genre fiction is a bit hard for me. I know that I definitely need to start reading other genres.
Check out my previous post in Armchair BEA:
Waiting On is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
Why I’m waiting?
1. The cover! The lighting, the position of the models, the typography of the title…it instantly pulled in. I wonder if a road trip will be involved. I always like reading about those.
2. Also, Caymen studying the rich intrigues me. I’ve always been interested by how books portray the rich. I think it stems from my interest in the high society bunch (I’m envious of the parties and their money). I guess I want to live vicariously through these characters. Ha.
What books are you waiting for on this Wednesday?
Today’s topic is about blogger development.
This is a fairly hard topic for me to speak about – in the sense that I’m quite unsure of what I should talk about in terms of my own blogger development. Despite blogging for over seven years (and book blogging for nearly six months), I’m still learning.
Here is a bullet point list of my own blogger development.
- Blog layout + design
- I am guilty of judging blogs by its layout/design. Looking at other blogs and seeing their layout and design makes me feel envious. I don’t have the talent or the money to create a wonderful layout and graphics. I don’t know anything about graphic design or CSS code. However, despite these “disadvantages,” I used whatever is available to me. For instance, with layout, since my blog isn’t being hosted, I cannot create a layout of my own even if I wanted to. I chose this particular layout (you see right now) out of all the choices that WordPress supplies because I knew I wanted something extremely simple and something that wasn’t going to be an eyesore. And I knew I wanted space for my blog header. That is what this layout provided for me. Yes, it sucks I can’t change the actual coding, but I have to make due.
- Graphic design-wise is a somewhat harder for me. I don’t have Photoshop or Illustrator, but there are similar (but free) programs that serve the same purpose. My header and all the text pictures I create in Inkscape (which is really awesome). Text pictures are the only thing I can do right now. Lol. I would love for a hermit to be in my header, but I know it doesn’t really change the content of my blog. I just want one. ;D
- Social networking (Twitter + Facebook)
- I’m rather horrible at maintaining my Twitter and Facebook account. I admit it. I only tweet and post on Facebook when I have an update (but I don’t feel like those are reaching my audience). I want to interact with other bloggers, but I always feel a bit awkward of how I should approach them. I always feel like what I say won’t be worth a reply. I’m trying to be better at tweeting people. So please tweet me! I don’t bite! I want to be your friend too!
- I post whenever I feel like it. I usually pick a book for review when I know what I want to write in the said-review. I can’t write a review for a book that takes me forever to think of what to write. That’s why I never pick the next book I want to review. Sure, there are books I want to review, but I have to actually want to review it or I’ll end up disliking the whole review process and get stuck on my words.
- Some far, I post a few reviews and a lot of memes, which is so annoying to me. I get quite critical about the content I’m posting. It’s good I’m posting something, but it shouldn’t just be memes. I want to post a lot of book reviews, but it takes me a while to collect my thoughts, which discourages me. I have a lot to say, but I know I can’t post it all because it’ll basically be an essay about the book and nobody wants to read that! So a lot of time is spent to typing and deleting. I’m never satisfied! I still learning on what’s necessary in a review. I always find it a bit hard to continually churn out content. I can’t do that because I sometimes don’t feel like the content is representative of me. I want it to be true to my own thoughts.
- I’m not as concern about gaining followers. I know I will gain more as I continue to blog and forge friendships. It just takes time. I’ve gain a bunch of followers from my birthday giveaway, but I don’t want people to follow me because they want to win a book. (Of course, it’s a start for people to gain interest in my blog.) At the end of the day, this blog is more for me to collect my thoughts about books (and also to share them with my friends).
- Online Personality
- I am a bit shy, but I feel that I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve found a bunch of communities online that share the same interest with me. I’m not as afraid of creating my own opinions nor am I afraid to “squeal” about books or actors because there are people who adore the same things as I do. I’m pretty open to every topic (more so about books, pop culture, tv shows/movies, actors/actresses – basically all forms of entertainment).
- Brief Goals
- When I get used to realm of book blogging, I want to consistently post. At least 3+ times a week. The more reviews, the better.
- Forge friendships with other bloggers. I want to one day be BFF with all of you so when we meet one day and go book hunting or whatever. That means I need to be better at social networking.
- I want to own my blog address and be self-hosted.
I’m just taking it a day at a time. I hope every one of my followers continue to visit and converse with me! It doesn’t have to be about books!