October 31, 2011

The Book I Am Most Thankful For

Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe, is doing a super huge book giveaway contest. It's super. And it's huge. The grand prize is a whopping nineteen signed books (with at least one ARC in there), a box of Turkish Delight, and whole pile of swag. Awesome, right? All you have to do to enter is blog about the book you are most grateful for. So without further ado, here's mine:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This is kind of an odd choice because it's not my favourite book ever. It is definitely on the list, but it doesn't top it. I am grateful for this book because it is an example of one of the many books that my parents (in this case, my mother) read to me as a child. Books and reading have always been a really big part of our lives, and I owe that entirely to my parents. I remember many trips to the public library as a kid with my parents. Sometimes it was to check out books, but many times it was to purchase a truckload of books whenever they had major book sales. You know, one of those fill a box and pay some ridiculously low price kind of book sales. For as long as I can remember I've been surrounded by books thanks to parents who felt that reading was so, so important. That's why I choose Little Women as the book I'm most grateful for. It could be any number of others that were read to me, but this is one of the ones that stands out the most in my memory.

October 28, 2011

Fall Book Club: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Well, it's book discussion time again! This month's choice for Tracey Neithercott's Fall Book Club was Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.

Goodreads description:

“Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?”

*     *     *

First of all, I loved everything about this book starting with the cover. If this book hadn’t been this month’s selection, and even if I hadn’t already heard so much buzz about it, the cover would have grabbed my attention right away. It’s absolutely gorgeous. How completely fitting that such a beautiful cover is wrapped around an equally beautiful story. 

There was so much hype around this book that I found myself approaching it with a mix of anticipation and trepidation. I so badly wanted it to live up to the hype and to not be let down. Wow, Daughter of Smoke & Bone certainly deserves all the buzz around it. The entire time I was reading this book I was captivated by Taylor’s skillful descriptions and turns of phrase. This is a perfect example of description done right. It's all 'show' and no 'tell'. It was one of those situations where I would reread lines just to savor them again and again. Her way with words made this story come alive in so many ways. I had to consciously shut off that voice in my head that kept telling me that my writing will never measure up (henceforth it shall be referred to as 'the book that launched a thousand doubts'). It was that good

The choice of Prague as the main setting was beyond perfect for this story. I’ve actually been to Prague so it was hard not to squee with glee when she mentioned familiar places*. Prague’s gothic and creepy architecture and the city’s rich history make it simply ooze atmosphere and this book captures that perfectly. Take this sentence on the very first page, for instance: 

On the riverfront thoroughfare, trams and buses roared past, grounding the day in the twenty-first century, but on the quieter lanes, the wintry peace might have hailed from another time.” 

The other settings were just as rich in atmosphere, and any time Karou's story's 'backdrop' changed, I was just as pulled in by her new surroundings. That, of course, all goes back to Laini Taylor's amazing descriptions again.

As for the characters, this story had quite the unique cast which I found increasingly fascinating the more they were explained. The various combinations of chimera were at the same time creepy and intriguing (Brimstone was such a great character!). Karou as our protagonist was witty, intelligent, sympathetic, vulnerable yet strong, and just plain interesting. I loved her voice. There was nothing try-hard about it, which I really, really appreciated**. She was very real despite the otherworldly aspects of her story. Akiva as a love interest (*clears throat*)…“Did it just get crazy hot in here?” Perfect, that's all I'm going to say about that. Their romance develops quickly - some might even call it 'Instalove' - but it's not worthy of a single eye roll. You don't doubt that Karou and Akiva are soulmates for even a moment. To go into further detail would involve spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.

This is one of those stories where I actually thoroughly enjoyed the backstory. The history of the animosity between these two groups of beings (Chimera and Seraphim) was far from boring and only added deeper layers to the story. Everything is explained properly and I didn't have that feeling at the end that a whole pile of questions were never answered (call it J. J. Abrams' Lost syndrome, if you will). It is set up for a sequel which I will definitely be reading.
In the spirit of Halloween and 
unabashed geekiness I give you: 
Daughter of DollarStoreMask 
& TooMuchTimeOnHands

I have to say, after reading a certain sparkly paranormal series and all the wannabe spawn in its wake I was kind of turned off of paranormal for a while. This wonderfully written story has renewed my interest in paranormal romance all over again. So for that I say, ‘thank you, Laini Taylor’. If I could give it a 6 out of 5, believe me I would.

*The Charles Bridge and Tyn Cathedral among others.
**I read a book recently where the MC's voice felt really 'try hard', and I could even feel the author's voice sneaking in a little. Needless to say, it was a bit distracting.

October 26, 2011

RTW: Best October Read

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
What was the best book you read in October?

I feel like one of those girls who is obsessed with some guy and can't seem to keep from slipping his name into the conversation at every turn. That's how I feel about Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Not a day has gone by this week where I haven't somehow managed to bring it up, both here on my blog and in the rest of my life. 

Problem is, we're discussing this book on Friday for Tracey Neithercott's Fall Book Club. So since I can't really talk about my #1 choice, I'll have to go with my second choice. Frankly, it's a little embarrassing that I've only just gotten to this one considering how everyone has been raving about it for ages:

(Summary from Goodreads)
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.  

*     *     *
I should start by saying that I didn't love this book as much as everyone else seemed to. I think my expectations were far too high given all the praise it was getting. What I can say is that I definitely appreciated  the book's message and I feel that it is one that everyone needs to hear and take to heart.

As somebody who has never contemplated taking my own life, I often struggle to understand the thought process that leads to someone committing suicide. I mistakenly thought that for most it was one colossal event that was just so bad that it made living unbearable. That may be true for some, but in the case of Hannah Baker it was a whole series of smaller events that snowballed, leading to the taking of her own life.

The message that I took from this book is twofold:  
1) Stupid little things I say or do may amount to something far bigger to someone else.
2) It's never too late to reach out to others, and not just the people 'on the fringes'. 

Like I said, a very worthy message and one that everyone needs to take to heart. This book is well worth the read even if I wasn't completely bowled over by the awesomeness I was hoping for. That's why I'm choosing it as my (second) best read in October (shameless plug: tune in on Friday for my #1 October read).

October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I just finished Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone yesterday, and all I can say is "Wow!". I'll get into that more on Friday in the Fall Book Club discussion, though. After finishing such a good book I had that not-sure-what-I-wanna-read-next feeling going on. I figured since it's October, why not go with something kind of creepy. It was a toss-up between The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer  by Michelle Hodkin. I chose the latter because I've been hearing so much about it, and all good things. So here's my teaser:

"We followed slowly, the beam of Jude's flashlight bouncing over the walls as we advanced toward the impenetrable black hole that yawned in front of us. When Rachel and Claire disappeared behind a corner I sped up, terrified to lose them in the labyrinthine passageways."

p. 232, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Sounds kind of creepy, right? The only downside to these Teaser Tuesdays is that randomly selecting sentences from the book can sometimes reveal things that I don't yet want to see. Guess next time I should pull these sentences from the part I've already read (Duh!).

October 24, 2011

From Discouragement to Encouragement

I'm currently nearing the halfway point in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and need to get my buns in gear because Oct. 28th* is rapidly approaching. I'm not going to say too much (read: practically nothing) about this book because I hope to do the review of it on Friday, but what I will say is this:

This is one of those books that makes me realize how much my WIP blows chunks at the moment. For real.

I keep reminding myself that my story is allowed to suck right now because it's only in its infancy, its earliest stages. It still needs all the fine-tuning and ironing out of wrinkles. But knowing all this in my head still doesn't erase the nagging sensation that my story will never get to the point of awesome.

I'm sure all of us have read books that we thought could have been so much better. Stories like these, while not terrible, buoy us because they make us think that we might actually have a shot. This is not one of those stories for me. This is that story that makes me want to go back to bed for days with the covers pulled over my head. This is one of those stories that makes me want to go all QWERTY face on my keyboard, particularly in the vicinity of the delete button. This is one of those stories that almost makes me wish I'd never had the audacity to think that I could write something anybody would want to read.


Rather than allowing these feelings to take root and suck the motivation right out of me, I'm choosing to use them to inspire better writing. And why the heck not, right? It just means the bar is set higher, which can only be considered a good thing.

How about you? Have you ever read a book that made you feel like a blibbering idiot in your own writing or worse, made you want to 'pack it up, pack it in'**?

*Review day for Daughter of Smoke and Bone as part of Tracey Neithercott's Fall Book Club.
**Lyrics from pretty much the coolest song ever: Jump Around by House of Pain. Oh yeah!

October 21, 2011

Friday Fives: The Life In Your Years

This week over at Paper Hangover, the Friday Fives question is:
What are the FIVE best ages of your life and why?

I have to preface my answer by saying that I don't remember all that much about my early childhood. Weird, but true. So for me this question translates to the most memorable ages in my life (with pictures because, as you can probably guess, I love pictures):

Age 12 (1990)
Dad today: happy & healthy
When I was 10 my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The next few years were beyond horrible as he battled this disease that kept trying to take him from us. Several rounds of chemo, radiation, an autologous bone marrow transplant, 40 days of total isolation in a hospital 9 hours by car from where we lived… Not a good time. But age 12 was especially good because that was the year my dad went into remission for good. Twenty years later he is still cancer-free and I’m so, so thankful.

Age 15 (1993)
My first year of high school sucked, so I switched to an all-girls Catholic uniform school. A couple girls I knew went there and they just seemed so happy that I thought I might give it a try. Best. Decision. Ever. I loved wearing a uniform! There were no worries about having the latest trends, and no decision about what to wear. It’s also amazing how freeing it is when you aren’t tearing apart another girl over some stupid guy. Jocks hung out with geeks and there just weren’t the same barriers that I had been so used to seeing. This was the first time I remember being really happy at a school in a long time. [Note: no pic because...ugh. That's all I'm going to say.]

Meet Freak and Weirdo
Age 22 (2001)
This year of my life involved a whole lot of crazy. Everything in my life went to crap and then, through a series of extremely difficult and yet extremely liberating personal choices, I emerged an entirely different, stronger individual. The year started out horribly and ended up a heckuva lot better. Mainly, because I met my best friend who also happens to be my husband, Todd.

Age 32 (2010)
For two reasons:
Women's Hockey gold medal
1) The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Not only was my brother-in-law, Trev, a torch-bearer, but this two-week long event will always be special to me for another important reason: For the first time ever, Canada actually felt like a united and proud country. We’ve always been divided in ways too complex to explain here. We are not known for our patriotism, and so this feeling was unbelievable. I will never forget what that was like as long as I live.

Special Constable swearing-in
2) Getting the call that the police wanted to hire me as a Special Constable.  This was a several months long process, including months of waiting to hear whether I passed the polygraph (I totally felt like a criminal).  Getting sworn into the police felt loads more exciting than my University grad for a variety of reasons (cheaper, for starters).  I’m not with the police anymore, but I will never regret taking that job. Ever. 

Age 33 (2011)
Every time my life takes a major turn, I generally find myself in a much better place than before. ‘Change is good’ is pretty much my mantra. Unemployed (again), I decided to take this newfound free time and take a stab at something I'd only ever talked about doing: writing. I decided that now was as good a time as any to give it a whirl. Awesome decision and I’m pretty excited about my life at the moment. I’m unemployed, renting, have no kids yet, and I’m the happiest I think I’ve ever been. 

My best years usually started out SUPER crappy, but then did a 180° and finished off well.  Despite all the crap, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m in a place now where I can honestly say that I have no real regrets (well, except having bangs from the age of like 4 until 22.  Seriously, why didn’t somebody just come at me with a pair of scissors?!).

Speaking of regrets, I've had Shake it Out (about regret) by Florence + the Machine on repeat the last day or so:

October 20, 2011

Aw, Shucks and Gee, Thanks

Colin D. Smith graciously presented me with the "One Lovely Blog" award. It's things like this that make my constant fidoodling with my blog feel worthwhile, so I say "thank you". I'm actually teetering toward the brink of insanity with this fidoodling. I will actually change a word in a post just so that the lines of text line up better (I hate when a big word jumps to the next line, leaving a big gap). Like I said: I'm bordering on nut job status.

As the recipient of this award, I also have the privilege of passing it on to fifteen of my favourite "lovely" blogs (which just made me think of The Lovely Bones, and now I'm creeped out). Yes, fifteen. Not so simple. These fifteen will then pass it on to another fifteen, and so on. If I have given you the award and you've already received it, you can link to the fifteen you already chose (or do nothing, that's okay too ☺). This is just me telling you that I think your blog is worth checking out (and that just made me think of Notting Hill and the "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy..." line, and now I'm smiling).

So without further ado or burbling, I give you my choices:

1.  A Writer In Bloom
11. Liza Kane
15. Daydreamer to Writer

I know I have given some of you awards very recently, so I hope I'm not coming across as stalkerish or creating unwanted work for you. Your blogs are great and I just wanted to give you the recognition that you deserve. You don't even need to pass on this award if you don't want to.

Other really great blogs, but that have already received the award:

I ♥LOVE♥ these blogs, but would never have the cojones (sp?) to offer them awards directly (somehow it would feel like they were made out of macaroni, popsicle sticks, and glitter glue):
  • Brodi Ashton - EVERNEATH (Jan. 2012) author and hilarious!
  • Veronica Roth - I love her book and her insightful take on things.
And since I started this post with a picture of a tea cup, I figured why not end it that way too (plus, this thing is just cool):

October 19, 2011

RTW: THE Reason I Write

Welcome to our 101st Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
What's your numero-uno reason for writing?

To which I say:  There are many,  but I'll do my best to narrow it down to THE reason. I've hopped around to the other links on RTW and I found myself saying "I agree" to every single person's #1 reasons. Here's mine:

For me, writing is a long-sought-after marriage of creativity and planning. These two things matter to me, and I have spent ages looking for that thing that would allow me to access both. 

As a student, I ♥loved♥ the heck out of my English and History courses, but I also couldn't wait for Math (that one's for you, Alison ☺). Just to be clear, I wasn't one of those kids who had the Midas touch where school was concerned. I stank royally at anything science-related (funny, considering my current WIP is sorta sci-fi), hated Phys. Ed with a passion, and never quite had the knack for Art. 

What is a girl to do with equal tugs toward the left and right sides of her brain? Well, it sure as heck wasn't Accounting (bad idea). Teaching was pretty much the right option for me, but that fizzled out (no jobs).

Turns out writing is exactly what I was looking for. I'm not a pantser so the planning, researching, and endless bullet-list-making that I do definitely speaks to that part of my brain. But all the fun and imaginative thoughts that go into writing feed that need for creativity in what I do.

Creativity+Planning are a perfect match. They're pretty much that couple that everyone loves to hate because they are just too darn awesome. All jokes aside, there is nothing greater than finding that thing that speaks to you on every single level.

And that's why I write.

October 18, 2011

Teaser, Triangles, and Twitter

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I stumbled across this in my web wanderings and thought it would be kind of fun to take part in. Here goes:

"I took a bottle of rubbing alcohol because I vaguely remembered something from a cop show about how to use it as a weapon... And I hoped that whoever was watching on the cameras would assume my theft was a dangerously moronic attempt at getting drunk."
p. 234-5, "Variant" by Robison Wells 

I just started this book last night before bed, so I have no idea how awesome or not-so-awesome it might be. It definitely has potential so far, and it doesn't hurt that this comment is on the cover:

"I loved it! The twist behind it all is my favorite since ENDER'S GAME."
--James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of THE MAZE RUNNER. 

Sweet. Love THE MAZE RUNNER and ENDER'S GAME so much.
*     *     *     *
On Love Triangles

I'm not sure where exactly I came across this post by Malinda Lo on Love Triangles in YA, but I thought it raised some really interesting points. Particularly thought-provoking was her suggestion that many of the so-called 'love triangles' in YA more closely resemble a 'V' rather than an actual fully-formed triangle. Huh. Excellent observation, Ms. Lo. 

Take her Vampire Diaries example, for instance: 

Elana is in love with Stefan and also struggles with her feelings for Damon, but that's not what makes it so interesting. The element that kicks the tension up a notch, and makes this a full-fledged love triangle is the relationship that exists between Stefan and Damon as well - they're brothers (nothing kinky implied here, I assure you).

Contrast this with what everyone calls a 'love triangle' in the Twilight series:

Bella may have the hots for Jackward (Jacob + Edward <--my sister and I call it this), but the fact that these guys hate each other intensely, keeps the triangle from fully forming. Get it?

Malinda Lo has some other great examples in her article, all of which really got me thinking about the topic.

Do I hate love triangles like so many other people seem to? No. But they have to be done right. There has to actually be a purpose for them in your story. They shouldn't just be thrown in willy-nilly to create lame tension. Malinda Lo includes a quote from Carrie Ryan, which pretty much sums up how I feel about the love triangle and the valuable function it can serve in a story:

"To me, a love triangle done right isn't about a female character's affections bouncing back and forth between two men, it's about her internal struggle within herself as she figures out who *she* wants to be and what's important to her.  This internal struggle then gets reflected externally as she wars within herself and grows.  And that's the heart of any book -- a character's growth from first page to the last."  --Carrie Ryan, Forest of Hands and Teeth 

Both of these love interests should speak to some aspect of your MC. S/he should conceivably be able to end up with either, though the scale should probably tip a little more to one love interest over the other.

What do you think? Do you hate or love or even just tolerate the love triangle?
*     *     *     *

I was one of those people who avoided Twitter like the plague, not really understanding what all the fuss was about. In the end, I caved but only because I wanted to follow authors (like Ally Condie & Veronica Roth) and actors (hmm...no comment) whose careers I was interested in. I wasn't concerned with gaining a following, mainly because it felt like too much work and because the minutiae of my life would hardly interest anyone.

But then last night I got my first follower and I'm still going, "Say what?". My first follower is Bill Cosby's nephew. No joke.

I can only assume it has everything to do with book promotion, since Braxton Cosby just put out a YA sci-fi romance novel in September. 

Still, totally, totally random.  

October 17, 2011

A Journey to the (Recent) Past

I woke up this morning to really bad radio music and something else that made me forget about the really bad radio music altogether: a 7x7 Link Award from Colin D. Smith. Thanks, Colin!

For those of you who don't know, receipt of the 7x7 Link Award gives me the opportunity to sift back through past blog posts that I've written and select one for each of the seven categories provided. Once that's complete, I then pass this award on to three of my favourite blogs, and those recipients will pass it on to three more each, and so on. Basically, it just gives followers a glimpse at past posts that they may have missed.

My blog is fairly new (August 2011), so this was definitely a challenge but it was also kind of fun. So, without any further burbling on, here are the categories and the posts I chose:

Most Beautiful:
I'm not sure that there is anything particularly 'double-rainbow' beautiful about Success, Failure, & Finding the Nerve, but since it was the first time I really put myself out there and was completely honest about personal failure, I think it merits the title.

Most Helpful
This one was tough because I'm still working on being more helpful with my posts. I think the closest I've come to helpful would be sharing how I overcome writer's block in Kicking the Crap Outta Writer's Block. Maybe somebody was able to take away something useful, I can't really say for certain.

Most Popular:
The post I got the most comments on was RTW: The Journey So Far. Judging from the comments and bits of encouragement left behind, I think many of us share the same potholes and detours on this journey.

Most Controversial:
I actually try to avoid controversial posts, though I probably shouldn't. The best I came up with is The Absent or Crappy Parent wherein I express my opinion about this topic. 'Controversial' is perhaps not the best word to describe the topic, but it does generally spark discussion (though not really in the case of this post...lol).

So very, very pretty!
Most Successful:
My post RTW: Favourite Covers was successful (to me) because it was one of the first posts where I felt like I was really beginning to connect with all of you. It brought people to my blog and made me feel all warm and fuzzy that there were others who shared my taste in books and their covers.

Most Underrated:
This category rubs me the wrong way a little because it has a certain nobody-likes-me-everybody-hates-me vibe to it. Irregardless (kidding) regardless, Random Thought Thursday seems a likely candidate. In retrospect, the lack of comments on this post can probably be attributed to the crappy title, the fact that I start out mentioning Canadian parliament (yawn), or that I wrapped up with a YouTube video of Leonard Nimoy singing "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" (to which I say, "It's Leonard Nimoy! What's not to love???").

Most Prideworthy:
I'm proud of this post not for any reason I really should be. I'm proud of Back to the Drawing Board...Again because I was able to figure out animated gifs in Blogger (take that Blogger!) and because the gif I chose to include is of crazy crazy Gary Busey. I laughed at my own post which is probably ridiculous, but so did some of you. Success!

And now for three of my favourite blogs/websites. These ladies' posts are inspiring, funny, and totally awesome:

Rebecca Behrens - I feel like a bobblehead with all the nodding and agreeing I do with her posts. Plus, the Beauty Queens review Rebecca wrote was totally genius (still wish I came up with it ☺).

Katy Upperman - This site is full and running over with all-around goodness. It's easy on the eyes, always interesting, and always relevant.

Marquita & Pam - Bright, cheerful, fun, insightful, and helpful...a great blog all around. With NaNoWriMo rapidly approaching, these ladies have posted a number of tips you may find useful in preparation.

If you haven't checked them out, you definitely should!

Happy Monday, everyone :)

October 15, 2011

The Silliness...It Burns! It Burns!

I don't even know how I stumbled across this video. I think maybe I blocked everything out of my mind that led up to finding it.

Warning: There will be no insight gained from this post, just...I don't know, a much needed laugh perhaps?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this THING, this video below, Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO. It's just a great big bucket of (unfortunately) catchy rhythms and downright dancey dance silliness*. You've been warned...

Aside from the catchy beat, this video is

     the worst remnants (revival?) of god-awful 80s fashion meets
     a dancing zombie apocalypse (sans decomposing bodies) meets
     that craptacular red leather-clad Jacko video, Thriller, meets
     a brief detour down the tinfoil aisle at your local Walmart meets
     spray painting a Uhaul box gold and slapping it on your head meets
     covering yourself in glue and log-rolling through a thrift store meets
     the biggest endeavor EVER undertaken on What Not to Wear meets
     if this is what's in style then, holy buckets, I'm WAY out of touch meets
     Must. Resist. Urge. To. Start. Dancing. With. Tongue. Out.** meets
     what I sorta imagine Hell is really like (not flamey, but oh so dancey).

If this is a glimpse into Earth's future, then toss me in a Hunger Games style arena. I'll volunteer to be the first one to get knocked off. Seriously.

*I'm betting that this video was intended to be silly. At least I hope so.
**Crud. ♫ Every day I'm shufflin'...♫ (*throws on tinfoil and starts getting all crazy and dancey and stuff*)

October 14, 2011

Friday Fives: Childhood Favourites

Wow! This was really fun to do! I had a couple books pop into my head right away, but then I had that 'what was the name of that book???' moment where I ended up Googling like a crazy woman. Cue trip down memory lane. The end result: I found more than five. A lot more. I'll try to control myself, though.

1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My mother read this one to my sister and me as children, so it is particularly special. As an adult, I still love this book, though I'm still Team Laurie even after all these years (doesn't help that Christian Friggin' Bale AKA The Dark Knight was cast as Laurie in the most recent version *cat calls*).

2) This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger
A science fiction spoof where a teen is forced to move with her family to a colony on the moon. I remember this book being totally fun and I loved the space shuttle and moon colony settings. I can't help thinking that parts of it have influenced my current WIP. And that's all I'm going to say about that...

3) I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman
What a hilarious book! Seriously, Gordon Korman really understood his target audience (he probably still does too). Every year I spent a week or more at summer camp, so it was a special kind of funny for me. Only, I didn't share his feeling of wanting to go home - I loved the heck out of summer camp and looked forward to it all year.

4) The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin & Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal
I lumped these two together because they are both ginormous series and because I'm a cheater (there were too many books to choose from for this prompt). I LOVED the idea of a group of  friends forming a club for babysitting (despite the fact that my own babysitting experiences were tantamount to torture). As for 'the twins', (this is not a boob reference) at the time I couldn't think of anything greater than being a popular blonde and blue-eyed twin (I'm the exact opposite).

5) Fairy Tales (again, I'm a cheater, but since they're so short I thought I could get away with it)
My favourite fairy tales as a kid - and still as an adult - were The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen and The Twelve Dancing Princesses by The Brothers Grimm. The Fairy & Folk Tales course I took in university was by far my favourite in all my years of schooling. I still love the heck out of fairy tales.

Short Stories
I frequently signed out from the school library In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz (illustrations by Dirk Zimmer). A particular favourite in this book was The Green Ribbon, which was about a girl whose head was held on by a green velvet ribbon tied around her neck (I know, right? What on Earth?!)

Another library book I couldn't get enough of was The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone. I remember loving his frequent repetition of the phrase 'teeny-tiny' (bunny trail: 'klitzeklein' in German) over and over again. It was almost like a tongue twister if you read it fast enough.

Mostly, my reading experience as a child was very sensory in nature. One of my favourite things about reading was actually the smell of the books. To this day I still love that older-library-picture-book smell. I'm sure as a child (and still as an adult) I must have looked like a complete weirdo with my nose literally buried in a book, sniffing the heck out of it. Not that I've ever claimed to be anything otherwise...