Monday, September 30, 2013

Schedule Switch-Up

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hi, everybody! 

Due to school commitments (homework and the like), the weekly book review will be posted on Thursday instead of today (Monday). In the meantime, you can check out the interview I did with YA author and librarian Lauren Gibaldi or peruse through this past week's Bookish Buys, if you'd like.

Thanks for understanding!

xoxo

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekly Recap: September 23-28

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Did you miss something this week? Don't worry- everything that's been happening on the blog is down below! 

MONDAY

The Alchemist
The Alchemist is known as a modern classic... but I couldn't take the preaching.

TuesDAY

Sequels are a tricky business, but these 10 sequels? They're the tops!

ThursDAY

Speak
Despite what book banners say, rape is not pornographic. And banning books that deal with rape? It's offensive and, more importantly,  perpetuating rape culture.

FriDAY


SaturDAY

Upcoming HarperTeen author Lauren Gibaldi stops by to talk about her YA debut, life as a librarian, and nerdfighteria!

AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE

Fiktshun asks for whom you're blogging. Iris Jexx has a great guest post from The Boyfriend App author Katie Sise about getting inside a character's mind.

Make sure to stop by next week! There's a HUGE, super exciting book haul that I can't wait to share with you!!

What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Inside the Industry: Author + Librarian

Saturday, September 28, 2013
A look at the book business by the people who know it best.
Lauren Gibaldi is the YA author of the upcoming release, The Night We Said Yes (HarperTeen, 2015), a debut about "the giddy, magical night two people first meet and spark to one another, and the night they reunite one year after their break-up, questioning if second chances are possible." She's also a teen librarian (and a nerdfighter, but more about that below). 

How does being a teen librarian help your writing, or vice versa? How do you balance both jobs?
Working with teens is wonderful, because I think people genuinely underestimate them. But there are some witty, smart, thoughtful teens out there, and I love talking to them about what they like/don't like (in books and in life. Believe me, I've given relationship advice in our aisles). They're at such a weird stage in their lives, when they're figuring out who they are, and what they want to become, and it's so extremely relatable, because we've all been there. So I think working with them encourages me to write honest, real characters (at least I hope they come out that way) because I want to make these teens proud. And writing it, well I've become a bit immersed in the category, so I love recommending books that I think a specific teen will cling on to. I honestly love both jobs, so it's easy to balance both. (Though I think my husband may disagree. I think he forgot what I look like.)

Are you in charge of buying teen books for your library? What factors into your decisions?
I am not (we have people at our main library branch do that), however I can request books to be purchased if I don't see them on our shelves (which I've done), and I get to make displays and book lists featuring titles I want to push. And I love pushing books. 

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)I saw on your blog that you host a Nerdfighter meet up each month at your library, which sounds awesome. What makes for a great teen library event?
I do, and I love it! It started almost a year ago - a girl (who's since become a friend) approached me about a possible event like that, and it's become a monthly meetup since. They're really fun, and I've gotten to see these teens become great friends and open up to one another. I love that they come to the library to simply hang out. I think what goes into a successful program is just that - collaborating with a teen to create something they want. They come up with crafts for us to do, they bring games and snacks. I think it's successful because it's as much their program as it is mine. (I'm currently working with one of them to make a Catching Fire program - we're playing the floor is lava during it!)

Tell us a little bit about your path to publication. How long did it take for The Night We Said Yes  to go from a Work-in-Progress to a Book-with-a-Publishing-Contract? 
I originally had the idea for TNWSY a while ago, and wrote a chapter here or there. It never turned into anything. So in 2011 I did NaNoWriMo and finished my first draft in 27 days. After that, I took a few months to mold it into something much better (my first drafts are not good), and had three friends read it, edit it, and critique it. Once I felt it was ready (around March), I started querying agents. I'll admit that I was very lucky; my wonderful agent, Michelle Andelman, was one of the first five people I queried because I had recently read and enjoyed a book she represents. After Michelle offered to represent me (and I did the required happy freakout), we worked on perfecting it and sending it out on submission. In April of this year, the amazing Karen Chaplin with HarperTeen made an offer on the book and I haven't stopped smiling since.


What part of the publishing process has been the most rewarding? The most challenging?
Writing "The End." Weird, right? TNWSY is the first book I wrote, so writing those two words just felt...magical. I finished something. Something I liked! And then hearing Michelle and, later, Karen talk about my characters like they're real people - and really getting who they are and what I want my story to tell - it was just such an amazing feeling. The most challenging is definitely the waiting. I'm impatient. It happens. 

Describe your writing routine. Do you make playlists/have lucky writing socks/any other routines?
I don't really have much of a routine. I try to write every day (without music - I get distracted), and really go all out on Fridays. My hours fluctuate, but i'm always off on Fridays, so that's become my designated writing day. I like sitting outside until I can't stand the Florida heat anymore. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
WRITE!  If you just write, you'll get somewhere. Don't stop to self-edit. Don't doubt yourself. Get your first draft done. After that, you'll feel amazing. 

Just for fun question: If you could recommend only one book to your library’s patrons, which book would you choose? 
Hardest question of my life. We have a staff picks table, and I think my current books are Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby and Wild Awake by Hilary T Smith (both wonderful books). But if I could only choose ONE book...it would be The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I loved that book when I was 17, and I still love it now. 

Want to find out more? Check out Lauren's Goodreads page, blog, Twitter, and Tumblr!
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If you work in the book business and would like to be featured, send an email to pagesagesara@gmail.com with the subject line “Inside the Industry.” I would love to hear from you!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bookish Buys: Banned Books and Bookmarks

Friday, September 27, 2013
Each Friday I post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.
654-4SSBE-EV PKG 01 RGB
Evernote Post-its
A lot of bloggers (including myself) use Evernote to stay organized and NOW THERE ARE REAL POST-IT NOTES THAT WORK WITH THE ONLINE PROGRAM...which I think is kind of cool.
Banned Books Tote
Perfect for Banned Books Week, right?

Adorable Animal Bookmarks
This is from a German site and Google Translate doesn't work too well, but I'm PRETTY sure these are handmade.

Feather Bookmark - Silver Plated Pewter Charm with Verdigris Green Turquoise Sea Glass Beads / Silver Shepherd Hook Page Marker
Feather Bookmark
How beautiful is this??!

Are you using Evernote? OR How did you celebrate banned books week? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week: Rape is not Pornographic

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Trigger Warning: The following blog post does address sexual assault.

SpeakIn July, a Floridian called Laurie Halse Anderon's Speak pornography. For those of you who don't know, and this is a mild spoiler so I apologize, Speak is the story of a girl who gets rape. The only "sex scene" in the book is the one which describes her horrible, horrible experience.

Now, in Ohio, a woman is trying to get Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye banned from classrooms. Why? Well, it's about rape, and apparently it's "pornographic."

First, let's define pornography, because I'm really not sure these people know what it means.
Definition: movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement

Did you catch those last four words? "To cause sexual excitement." Porn's sole purpose is to cause arousal, so to say that depictions of rape is pornographic is to say that rape is arousing, that it's "sexually exciting." And truthfully, that's simply offensive. Rape is horrendous: it can lead to PTSD, depression, and/or Borderline Personality Disorder (RAINN). And that's only a few of the effects. Belittling the emotional story of girls who have to cope with sexual assault by comparing them to nude pictures and sex tapes is not only incorrect but disturbing.

You know what else those people who say rape scenes in YA books are "pornographic" are really saying? They're telling rape survivors, no matter how inadvertently, to shut up. According to RAINN, "54% of sexual assaults aren't reported to the police." And as shown in Speak, women and girls are often blamed for the assaults committed against them. This results in a society that shames and silences women who are hurting, who need help and feel they can't ask for it in fear of retribution.
The Bluest Eye
Getting these books out of schools, prohibiting students from reading them, comparing them to porn is the same as saying rape is disgusting, it shouldn't be talked about, don't speak up.

And that's the exact opposite of what should be taught.

In the tenth anniversary edition of Speak, there's a poem compiled of some of the many, many letters Anderson has received. Through these letters it's obvious Speak didn't just help some of her readers- it saved them. People, like those above, who rage against books that have sexual content regardless of the context aren't helping any readers. They certainly aren't protecting anyone from the terrible things that exist in the world. Ultimately, they're hurting teens and adults, men and women, who could benefit from those books. 

To end with, here is the video wherein Anderson reads the poem:
Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (103)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Top Ten Sequels
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
2. Game by Barry Lyga
3. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)Game (Jasper Dent, #2)Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2)
4. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
5. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
6. Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
7. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
8. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
9. Prisoner of Azkaban by Harry Potter
Inkspell (Inkworld, #2)Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)
10. A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)
What are some of your favorite sequels?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Monday, September 23, 2013
The Alchemist
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Adult
Website
Source: Borrowed
Here is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers into the Egyptian desert where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him. This is a story that teaches us, as only few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path and, above, all follow our dreams.
The Alchemist is something of a modern day classic. Its reputation, combined with its fairy tale feel, made me think that I was going to love it.

Instead, I'm just feeling kind of meh.

My main issue is that I prefer subtext. I like there to be symbolism and layers and sentences with double-meanings in the books I read so that I can then interpret them and hear others' (sometimes varying) interpretations. The Alchemist doesn't really allow the reader to do that- it's over a hundred pages of preaching, everything laid out so clearly on the surface that there's very little for the reader to figure out.

I love the lesson of following your dreams, regardless of fears and challenges. I'm not crazy about the fatalistic side of this, though the author does have one foot in and one foot out of the fate pool (as in, you have choices, but if you don't go after the one true path you have, you won't ever be truly happy).

Another aspect that bugged me was the lack of female characters. There are only two with dialogue and the love interest, Fatima, is perfectly content sitting and waiting for her man to return to her while he goes off and has adventures. This stereotypical gender role is irritating, though it would have been significantly less irritating had there been other female characters with the same complexity as the crystal merchant, the King of Salem, or the camel driver.

The Alchemist contains a lot of really interesting philosophy and it's great how the author included a bit of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The world-building is fantastic, too. The pastoral imagery of the desert and Spanish fields is so vivid and gorgeous. I just wish the story itself had more depth.
*2.9 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times."
Do  you like books with hidden symbolism or in-your-face lessons?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In My Mailbox (98) + Weekly Recap

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In the Mail:

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Won from Adventures in YA Publishing- thank you!)
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde by Frank Cammuso (For review from Amulet books- thank you!)

Birthday Presents:

Works of Jane Austen (Including Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion
A gorgeous bookmark!
Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Monday: Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky is an important read.

Tuesday: I can't wait to read these 10 books this fall (especially United We Spy!!!).

Friday: Why wait for Prince Charming when you can have these bookish charms?

Around the Blogosphere: Pretty Books knows that you're never too young to read children's books. The Perpetual Page-Turner is currently drowning in books.


The newest Reader's Report (the newsletter for bloggers by bloggers) is out today!

Did you get any new books this week?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bookish Buys: How Charming

Friday, September 20, 2013
Each Friday I post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.

Book Necklace Louisa May Alcott Quote Classic Literature
Bookish Necklace
Simple, pretty, and would go with everything!

Doctor Who Bookmark - Shepherd Hook Book Mark
Doctor Who Bookmark
Ten's Converse, Eleven's bow-tie, and the clock! So cool!

Pride and Prejudice Necklace
If I owned this, there's a possibility I would wear this everyday.
Reading Charm
Because, well, you love to read, right?
Buy it here.

Would you wear (or, in the case of the bookmark, use) any of these charms?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (102)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Books On My Autumn TBR List
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. United We Spy by Ally Carter
2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
3. Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling
United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6)FangirlThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)
4. City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
5. Emma by Jane Austen
6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
City of a Thousand Dolls (Bhinian Empire, #1)EmmaJellicoe Road
7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
8. Reality Boy by A.S. King
9. Proxy by Alex London
The Sky Is EverywhereReality Boy - FREE PREVIEW EDITION (The First 14 Chapters)Proxy (Proxy, #1)
10. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Two Boys Kissing
What's on your fall TBR?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

Monday, September 16, 2013
Anatomy of a Boyfriend (Anatomy, #1)
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Ember (Random House)
Series: Anatomy of Boyfriend #1
Age Group: Young Adult/New Adult
Website
Source: From author in exchange for an honest review
Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.
Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.
And then came the fall.
First off, a round of applause to Daria Snadowsky for the (sometimes funny, sometimes cute, sometimes AWKWARD) way she wrote about sex. It's unflinchingly honest and full of all the shyness and excitedness of being a teenager. Also, kudos to her for writing about a female character who explores her sexuality unabashedly- I mean, how many stories (including many of the classics taught in school) involve a male character figuring out sex. Compare that number to books with girl protagonists. It's stacked much higher in the boy's favor, which is why Anatomy of a Boyfriend is so important.

Dominique is smart. She's safe. And she also likes exploring sex with her boyfriend, and that doesn't make her a "slut" or worth any less as a person. Heck, I'd go as far to say that she becomes empowered. Even her best friend, Amy, who is more freewheeling with boys is never shamed. It's so utterly refreshing.

Also, I have to say that Snadowsky has created one of the most realistic teenage boy characters I've ever read about in Wes. He doesn't say or do all of the right things; he can be awkward and shy and selfish. That doesn't mean is he isn't sweet or cute other times, but let's face it: a lot of high school boys aren't like Noah Shaw or William Herondale or even (I'm sorry, but) Augustus Waters. Wes fits in with how realistic the rest of the novel is and, as I said above, it is really refreshing.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend does something really cool, too, in that it takes place during Dom's transition from high senior to college student. We get to see her at both points in her life and I think it's great that that transition period is showcased, since it so rarely is. (Although with New Adult, maybe we'll see more? And there are these books set in college.)

My only complaint- and it's a pretty small one- is that I was a little confused about the setting. The thing is, this is in no way something that could be fixed. Let me explain: I thought Anatomy had come out sooner, but it turns out it was published in 2007, back when AIM was still mostly popular. But when I was reading the book, I thought it was set closer to 2013. Thus the whole time, I was so confused thinking, what teenagers use AIM and email so much? (Although I love emailing, to be honest.) Just goes to show how much technology has evolved in almost 7 short years!

Despite that (truly insignificant) qualm, Anatomy is a very quick read and a worthwhile one, too! (Just know that it was published in 2007 so you don't scratch your head over AIM, haha!)
*4 stars*
For Fans Of: Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
How do you feel about technology in contemporary books?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekly Recap: September 9-14th

Sunday, September 15, 2013
Did you miss something this week? Don't worry- everything that's been happening on the blog is down below! 

MONDAY

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)
I'm still crushed that the Fire and Thorns series is over! But The Bitter Kingdom is phenomenal.

TuesDAY

If any of you plan on becoming movie directors, here are a few books you could start with (as long as you keep the story the same, of course)! 

WednesDAY

The Tragedy Paper
I did a guest post over at YA Contemporary, talking about the amazing book The Tragedy Paper and why you should seriously just go read it already.

FriDAY

I Read About It in a Book Throw Pillow
There are a number of swanky buys in this week's Bookish Buys, including a Sherlock Holmes iPhone case.

SaturDAY


Around the Blogosphere

Alexa Loves Books has 10 Reasons to Read The Bone Season. The Perpetual Page-Turner is DROWNING in books.

What's been going on with your blogs/bookish lives this week?