Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Expectations

NOTE: This may or may not be a rant, the intern hasn't decided yet. But there are slight spoilers. ** I am not suggesting that every book has a formula. I'm just saying that I want a happy ending.

So picture this:

You read the back/inside flap of a book, and you either intentionally or unintentionally develop this idea of how the book should go.

When you read a romance, the main girl ends up with the guy that either makes the most sense or the guy that makes the least sense in the best way.

Or when you read a mystery, the murderer/criminal gets caught and the detective/cop gets the satisfaction of catching him/her.

Then there are those books that don't do that. And it's just like:


I respect an author's decision to do what they want but at the same time there is a formula (or a similar word) that you must follow.

For example, don't have a huge cliffhanger at the end of a book if you're not planning a sequel. And, yes this is a fictional reference but Augustus Waters will understand, but An Imperial Affliction. Anyone who has read The Fault in Our Stars gets that reference.

And this is probably just one of those "things that only I think are a thing" but I really hate it when, in some of the YA lit that I've read, the main girl decides to "find herself and learn to love herself as a person yadda yadda" instead of being in a relationship with the boy.

This is totally fine in real life. In fact, I highly suggest it. But I'm talking about enjoyable, light fiction. I did not read your romantic teen lit for you to go on a journey of self-discovery. If I did, I would've read a different book that told me this up front. And I definitely don't appreciate it when a book gives me this whole idea about how it's supposed to go and then it doesn't go that way and goes in a totally bad way.

And I'm not talking about plot twists. I'm talking about when books just completely veer off the point. Maybe I interpreted the first 30 pages differently or incorrectly, but I thought this was a teen book not a philosophical pondering.

One of my popular examples of this are two books by Robin Palmer: Geek Charming and Wicked Jealous. In Geek Charming, the geek boy and the popular girl do not get together. She dates a random college guy and he dates some girl from his childhood. I found that really disappointing because I really liked the idea of Dylan and Josh being a couple but then NO.

But in Wicked Jealous, the main girl Simone spends the book pining for this popular jock who's a Belieber but she ends up getting close to this adorkable, shy puppeteer and then SHE GOES OUT WITH THE PUPPETEER, I WAS FILLED WITH SO MUCH ENJOYMENT.

My point with this (all the way down here) is that there's a certain agreement writers have with readers. They want to see the couple get together. They want to see the bad guy get caught. They want to see the hero go on a huge adventure and live. Give us that please.

Leave your opinions down in the comments! I'd love to read them!

Sincerely,

Owyn the BBS Page

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Books versus Movies In General

NOTE: Since I've said in multiple blog posts on here that I actually do enjoy some movies more than the books, let me just explain this is because most of the time I read the books second for those instances. But I will get to this.

So, since Hollywood seems to have an issue with developing some original ideas, people are seeing more and more book-to-movie adaptations in theaters. Especially with the success of such franchises like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Twilight (say what you will about the series, it still did really well in both book sales and at the box office).

And there are some pros to this! More and more people can discover the book after seeing the movie trailers and all that kind of buzz. And, if you're an avid reader like me, you have this hope that the

Unfortunately, the movie is almost never as good as the book.

But that's not necessarily the movie's fault.

HOW DARE I SAY SUCH A THING?
Let me explain.

I mean,  typically, when I hear people complain about books' movies they say stuff like "Well it's not how I imagined it..." "When I envisioned this scene..." "If I directed the movie..."

I mean, in the end it's how someone else interprets the words and puts them on screen. It's not like they can enter everyone's imaginations and then see how the book should be done with all of those preferences. That would be tiresome and unlikely.

So, that's why the movies are never better than the books: because it's someone else's imagination projected onto yours and it will always disappoint you.

On the other hand, it could also be the movie's fault.

Sometimes, books aren't meant to be adapted for screen: they don't have that kind of caliber, they're better in the imagination, etc. Which is okay, but it's kind of annoying that the big-wig movie producers out there in Hollywood-land want to squeeze EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR out of the franchise. Which is not okay.

Or they're just adapted poorly. The person who directed it was terrible at it, the person who wrote the adaptation didn't know what they were doing or one of the lead actors had never read the books and are doing it for the money. And that kind of stuff makes me sad because when you are graced with the opportunity to adapt a book into film form THEN YOU SHOULD DO A GOOD JOB BECAUSE A GOOD BOOK DESERVES TO BE A GOOD MOVIE.

Especially since it seems the movies are geared towards those who have not read the book because they want to get a wider audience. You shouldn't do it for the audience you don't have, you should do it for the audience you do.

Those are my thoughts. You can comment down below with yours!

Hasta la vista!

Owyn the Intern

Monday, August 12, 2013

Banning Books: Why it's Stupid

Hello everyone! I was browsing my Pinterest (which you should check out because I think I'm funny) when I saw a list of 25 banned books. One of them happened to be Alice in Wonderland, which was banned in China because the "animals are scary".

NO.

JUST. NO.

There are so many things wrong with that, I don't even know where to start. Maybe how the animals aren't even that scary. Or the fact that just because SOME people are freaked out, doesn't mean you ruin it for everyone else.

Which brings me to my main problem with Banned books: you're stopping everyone from reading something just because a percentage (can be small, can be big) are too appalled by it.

Mark Twain (the best quote-person ever) once said "Censorship is telling a man he can't have steak just because a baby can't chew it".



Banning books just seems like something so simple to stop. Why are you denying people their natural right to read what they want?

If I want to read Fifty Shades of Grey (I don't) at 16-years-old, I will. If I want to read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? at age 8 (and I did), I will. If a teacher wants to assign me to read Speak (a book about a girl who is raped) because of its fantastic message to speak up for yourself, then they should.

If it comes to people in school and of school-age, you can't protect us forever. Especially since we have the internet. I'm going to learn about sex, pregnancy, STDs, and other adult-stuff in the world. People who ban books are also banning open conversations that parents should be having with their teenagers. I'm fortunate enough to feel like I could talk to my parents about everything. And I get a lot of my questions from reading books that could be seen as "risque" (by which I mean YA books featuring off-the-page sex).

But if it comes to books of any age that happen to feature any other kind of risque material (sex, homosexuality, politics that aren't in agreement with the government, etc.), then I'm just like WHY?

What is so wrong with that stuff? If you really don't like that stuff or reading about it, then don't read it. Why stop other people from reading it? So what if I want to read a children's book about a same-sex family? Erie, Illinois should not be able to stop me.

And, even then, there can be some stuff about the book that is appalling to read. I read one on the Pinterest list that was banned in Germany because the author is Pro-Nazi. While being a Nazi is DEFINITELY not okay, books should still not be banned. Just don't read it and then, hopefully, the book will go out of print so you're not supporting a Nazi.

But yes, those are my thoughts. Tell me what you think in the comments here or on Facebook!

Owyn

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Required Reading: Pros and Cons

NOTE: I really like pro and con lists.

The topic for this weeks Pros and Cons is required reading.

As a junior in high school who's been assigned to read books since seventh grade, I've been forced to read my fair share of books. I have a lot to say about the subject.

Pros:

If I'm being honest, there are some pros to required reading. Like the fact that you may not have read a book without being forced to and then enjoy them. For example, I finished reading The Glass Castle as part of my summer reading and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though I never thought I would. Reading beyond your comfort zone can be very healthy, and while challenging, rewarding. I absolutely enjoy hearing someone say "I probably wouldn't have read this unless you pushed me, but I liked this book." (Which my friend said about one of the books we had to read for LA, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) And when I read To Kill a Mockingbird back in 7th grade, I enjoyed it.

But, with TKaM, I would've read it anyway because my mom loves that book and she would've made me at one time or another. My English teacher helped a lot with understanding the book; stuff I would not have gotten without him. Like, in my naivete, I thought the "black balcony" was referring to the color of said balcony, not the people who had to sit there. Or when Bob Ewell said "... rutting on my Mayella!" I had no idea what that term meant, and my teacher said it gave a horrible connotation to what "Tom was 'doing' to Mayella", as a part of ethos to get the jury on Bob's side.

Cons:

As a very stubborn teenager, I don't like to be forced to do anything. I know this. So that's one of the many reasons I don't like required reading. Why should I have to read books I don't want to?

My reaction to most required books.
I know that you're really supposed to delve in when you have to read books for school, and normally I read through a book once to understand the plot then read it again to get a better understanding of everything. Unfortunately, most of the books I read for school are ones that I NEVER WANT TO READ EVER. (Like Great Expectations, The Odyssey, or Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.) So I usually end up "reading", term applied loosely, a book I hate instead of reading books I actually enjoy (like the ones I can post blog posts for). Because if I read a book I want to read instead of a book I have to read then I just completely forget about said book.

Speaking on behalf of a percentage of teenagers, required reading totally turns us off to reading in general. I mean, why can't I just read books I want to instead of the ones a bunch of 40-50 year old people who know nothing about me think I should read. I mean, maybe I DON'T want to read a very depressing play about teenagers deciding they're randomly in love and 6 people end up dying (AKA Romeo & Juliet). HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES?

Solution:

I think required reading should be a thing, because sometimes it works (like 10% of the time) but if a student reads 1/4 (or some other agreeable fraction) of the story and genuinely doesn't want to read anymore, but for a reason other than laziness, they should be able to have some sort of alternative project for a book they want to read.

For example, my L.A. teacher made us do blog posts about a book every 70 pages and talk about it (which was right up my alley) and then graded us on whether we did it or not. You see, that's a good idea. Then I'm not reading a horribly depressing book about a sexist, misogynistic society invaded by white people (Things Fall Apart) and instead I'm reading YA lit that I truly enjoy.

Because at my school, I get weird looks for reading. (I talk about it here on my blog). And I'd say a majority of people there don't read for leisure. And required reading is certainly not helping. So instead of trying to get kids to read books that teachers and adults think they should read, they should try to GET KIDS TO READ IN GENERAL BECAUSE LESS AND LESS KIDS ARE READING AND IT MAKES ME WEEP FOR HUMANITY.

I told you guys I had a lot to say about this.

What are your opinions? Leave them down in the comments!

Adios!

Owyn the BBS Page

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Adult: Pros and Cons

Hello everyone, it's the Intern! And I'm going to be discussing the pros and cons of the up and coming category "New Adult" named for people that are "new" to being "adults".

For those of you who don't know, New Adult is written for people 18-25ish since they are no longer adolescents but you could argue that they are not exactly adults either. It's like the purgatory between Young Adult and normal Fiction.

What sets NA apart from YA is the topics it covers. They contemplate leaving home for college, first actual jobs, roommates, sexuality, mature relationships, and discovering yourself without your parents to guide you.

And the sexuality part is probably the biggest difference. It's racier and could even be more explicit (not graphic, but not exactly fade-to-black-for-the-sexy-times either.) Which makes the category definitely more Adult than Young.

To get my opinion out of the way, I'm going to just say that I like the whole New Adult category. And I hope it continues to be a thing. But I will also go over the other side's equally valid view points.

Cons:

One could argue that it's just a marketing ploy to try to get an even WIDER audience and try to sell more books that are in such a purgatory. And they could also ask why are they in such a purgatory? Can't they be limited to either YA or just A? You may not even hate New Adult itself, just when people try to limit books to one category when they can go across the board if they want.

Or you could be offended by the SEX ASPECT!1!


Sex has no place in anything anywhere. The fact that authors can even imply people aged 18-25 could have DONE that is just DESPICABLE. (This is my sarcastic side coming out since I can't take these kind of arguments seriously).

Pros:

I think that anything that engages more readers is a good thing. If you can appeal to a new audience, then what's the harm? I also think that there is a distinct difference between people in high school and people in college and post-college and I think many plots that one could apply to one cannot be applied to the other.

Also, people forget that YA wasn't really a thing until a couple decades ago. And I, for one, am particularly excited to be apart of this upcoming category. I think there are a lot of ways people could write for it and there is a great hope for more books in this genre to come.

And if the potential sex aspect bothers you, don't read it. That simple.

So yes. Hip-hip hooray for YA and NA!


If you guys have any opinions, feel free to comment them down below.

Bye!!

Owyn the BBS Page

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vague Endings

Hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely Fourth of July weekend.

And I decided to kick off this week with a blog post about books that have vague endings.

There are two ways to do this: satisfying or infuriating.

*AVAST HASHTAG YOLO SPOILERS*

The two books I'm going to compare for the sake of a visual are Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys and The Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The first being by Kate Brian and the latter being by Robin Palmer.

Brian's book is about a girl who moves into a house that is occupied by 7 boys because it was either that or move to Korea with her military parents. And there is drama, romance, and MOAR DRAMA. (Like the fact that one brother cheats with the other brother's girlfriend and that girlfriend tries to blame Megan when it wasn't Megan's fault.)

Palmer's book is about a girl named Annabelle who's mom, Janie, is an alcoholic TV star who decides to clean up her act and take better care of her daughter while Annabelle has been taking care of her most of the time. Also coupled with cute romantic moments between Janie and Billy then Annabelle and Matt.

You see, in Palmer's book the ending doesn't say anything finite. But there's this hopefulness to it. Two couples are brought together, there's a new precedence for how Annabelle and Janie are supposed to act together and it just gives you a nice "Aw there's nothing really set in stone but I feel satisfied with that ending thank you very much awesome author."

BUT THEN THERE'S BRIAN'S BOOK

WHO GAVE HER THE RIGHT?

Ask my boss on twitter (@boulderbooks), I actually did this
I should probably explain my all caps rage. So in this book Megan has a slight crush on Evan but it's really more of an infatuation but then Megan starts to develop actual feelings for Finn and of course she does, Finn is amazing, but then things happen and then Megan leaves then she comes back and she has a moment with Finn and a slight one with Evan but BRIAN DOESN'T SAY WHO MEGAN ENDS UP WITH AND IT GIVES ME ISSUES.


Maybe some people are okay with not knowing but I am not. How. Dare. You. Brian.

So, personally, I prefer it if there's more of a happy-ending feel, because I didn't read your book to not get a happy ending. But I don't want an actual happy ending where every single string is tied and everything is all perky. I want realistic, but happy. So there could be a few loose ends, but at least have the couple together or the villain defeated or a hopeful outlook for that something to get fixed eventually. (Unless there's a sequel, then cover it in the sequel.)

But if the author just doesn't say something that seems vital to the denouement then I'm left feeling empty inside because HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT GOES ON IN YOUR BRAIN.

That's just my opinion. Leave yours in the comments!

Sincerely,

Owyn the Intern

Monday, July 1, 2013

Plot Wars: Distance Between Us vs. This is What Happy Looks Like

And the Intern is back with another Plot Wars for you all!

The two books butting heads today are The Distance Between Us by Kasie West and This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

VERSUS
The Set Up:
  • The Distance Between Us is about a girl named Caymen who helps her poor mother run a porcelain doll shop that rich people frequent. Which is how she meets Xander, a rich boy who seems to understand her. But she knows from her mom's experience that the rich's interest doesn't last long, but that doesn't stop him from trying to get her attention.
  • This Is What Happy Looks Like is about teenage hearthrob Graham accidentally sending normal, Maine girl Ellie an email, which leads to a period of emails where they talk about everything (except for their names or backgrounds). So when Graham's new movie is shooting in her hometown, Graham decides to meet her. Even though Ellie has a secret that requires her to stay out of the spotlight. Will these factors keep them apart?
Similarities:
  • A difference in social class between the love interests
  • A girl with a dad that is not involved in her life (SPOILERS: highlight to see: the mom slept with a rich man and who then abandoned the mom during pregnancy )
  • A girl with a poor, working mom
  • Both girls help their mom in a shop
  • A best friend who is highly opinionated about the main girl's life and the rich man's intentions
  • A group of similarly-minded people who think the love interests shouldn't be together/try to keep them apart
  • The girl has no siblings
  • The male lead has a problem with his parents
Differences:
  • Instead of being rich, Graham is famous (he's rich too, but that's not the defining factor)
  • There was more of a focus on the social-class differences with Caymen and Xander
  • Ellie's dad is a politician and Caymen's dad is just plain rich
  • Caymen's mom's shop is limited to dolls while Ellie's mom is a more general type of store
  • Some of Xander and Caymen's friends don't want him "slumming" with Caymen while it's the paparazzi make things difficult for Ellie and Graham
  • Ellie's not allowed to be in the spotlight because of her dad, and Caymen just doesn't want to deal with it
WHO WINS???
I don't know! They were both really well-written. It really just depends. The dialogue with Caymen and Xander is really dry and sarcastic, which made The Distance Between Us hilarious. But at the same time This Is What Happy Looks Like had an epistolary beginning (which are my favorite) with a shift in limited-third-person point of view. So it really comes down to what you prefer. But I liked them both.

Until later, readers!

Owyn the Intern

A/N: I also reviewed these on my personal YA book blog:
This Is What Happy Looks Like (WARNING the images don't work well and I don't know how to fix it. Sorry)