Library Day Friday 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!

Hope everyone had a good holiday and is ready for 2014, because ready or not, it is here. Did you make any New Years Resolutions this year?

I’m not a big “New Years Resolutions” person. I am a big goals person, however. I think that goals can and should be sent throughout the year, whenever you stumble across something in your life that you wish to achieve or change. You don’t have to wait until the beginning of a new week, a new month, or a new year, to set goals for yourself. Though, I concede that ‘beginnings’ are natural turning points in many ways.

“Um… Megra? This post is titled ‘Library Day Friday 2014’ but you are 2 paragraphs in and haven’t mentioned a single book yet…” Yes. I know. I am getting there, I promise. I decided to combine my New Years and my first Library Day post into one this week. I’ll mention books and reading and the direction for Library Days by the end!

Okay, so where was I? Oh, right, goals. Though I don’t typically make big resolutions at New Years, I do have a few goals for 2014 that just happen to have surfaced as the old year faded away. I thought I would share some of those goals with you, my lovely readers, as some of them are related (either directly or indirectly) to this blog. Starting this year I want to write more and I want to read more. (Yes, I know, those are really broad goals. Patience. Does this post look finished to you?).

1. First off, reading. As I have mentioned in the past, I have always been an avid reader. In 2012 I challenged myself to read 100 books. At that time I had no idea whether that was a reasonable goal or not. I didn’t know if it would be easy compared to what I normally read, or a major challenge. That fall I started Grad School and with one thing and another I stopped keeping track of books read. So, this year I’m leaving the number where it is and challenging myself once again to read 100 books this year. <Megra12 note: I will update you periodically on my progress here. If you would like more frequent updates, you can check out my challenge here on goodreads.> As a side goal to reading more, I want to write about and recommend more books. I want to keep a better record of why I like certain books and keep a list of my favourite quotes from those books. So, what does this mean for you? Well, it hopefully means more Book excerpts, mini reviews, What I’m readings, and Book recommendation posts. Unless I change my mind at some point this year, all of these types of posts will be features on Library Day Fridays. If I post any book related posts on other days of the week, I will make sure to link to them on Fridays.

2. Writing. I want to write more this year. I want to make writing a priority in my life and make a habit of writing everyday. Even if it’s only a little bit. Now, this in and of itself, is not a new goal. This is a goal I have had for awhile now and one I started focusing on in September once again. Up to this point I have not succeeded in writing something everyday, but I am getting better. My writing goals for 2014 do not stop at just writing and blogging more. I have specific writing I would like to focus on. You see, for the past couple months I have been entertaining the idea of beginning a novel. To be clear, this isn’t a new thought, as such. I’ve considered it many times in the past. Most times, though, I brush it off and decide I don’t really have any good ideas. Or, I don’t have the necessary skills to write a novel. Or, I’m probably going to give up part way through anyways, so why start… hold on. That last one is a pretty lame excuse. And it sounds an awful lot like fear of failure. For that matter, all of them sound an awful lot like fear of failure. And a fear of failure is no reason to not try.

So this year I am going to start writing a novel. (I’ll tell you what, that is still a scary sentence to write).

3. (What there’s a third goal? You only mentioned two earlier?) Scrapbooking and Smash booking. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I enjoy scrapbooking and smash booking (if you don’t know what this is I’m planning on writing about it soon so stay tuned). This year I would like to be more intentional about taking pictures, documenting life, and creating in this way. I may even start posting some of my craftiness on here. (New series perhaps?)

If you made it to the end of this long post, congratulations! I can’t wait for what this year will bring, and I hope you will continue to join me on my Meanderings.

Happy 2014 and Keep Smiling!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — H. Jackson Brown

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Austen Adaptations

What do you think of Jane Austen adaptations? There have been many over the years, and some that may not be technically adaptations but seem to bear a lot of similarities. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Clueless, that episode where wishbone does Northanger Abbey, that episode when Wishbone does Pride and Prejudice… More recently of course there are Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Now, I admit that I haven’t read all that many Austen books. I have read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. And I haven’t read any of the modern Zombie and Monster adaptations (I’ve been kind of refusing on the principle that they are basically the same with just a few words changed. Feel free to try and convince me otherwise). I do like movie adaptations of some of the books, however, and I have enjoyed the Graphic Novel adaptations I’ve read.

This summer I discovered a YouTube adaptation (produced by Hank Green) of Pride and Prejudice and I absolutely loved it. So, this is me recommending that you go and watch the series. I will even put a link to the first episode right here.

Now, you may be wondering, if I discovered this adaptation in the summer why am I mentioning it now? That is a good question. There is a new adaptation of an Austen novel began recently. I am thoroughly enjoying it. New videos in the series are posted every Monday and Thursday and it’s currently 12 episodes in. The series is called Emma Approved and, as you might have guessed, is an adaptation of the novel Emma. I can’t comment on how close it is to the book or whether it has the same feel since I have not yet read Emma. But, as someone new to the story, I’m happy with it and find myself making sure I check every Monday and Thursday.

So – here is a link to the first episode of Emma Approved. I think you should seriously consider checking it out.

Keep Smiling!

 

Book Pins I love

Hey everyone,  I was hoping to have a “What I thought” post for this evening on The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. I managed to get it half written and I now find that I just don’t have the brain power to finish it well this evening. So, instead of doing a terrible job of it, I thought I’d do another non-writing heavy post tonight and show you some of the book related pins on pinterest that I enjoy.

 

Keep Smiling!

That Customer

NaBloPoMo November 2013

I spent a lot of unnecessary time searching for a book online today. All because I was stubborn. And I didn’t want to be that person. Not that I have anything against that person. I just feel like, with my knowledge of books and fantastic Google skills, I shouldn’t have to be that person. Which person is that, you ask? I’m sure you know the one. It’s the person that walks into a library or book store and has a conversation that goes something like this with the librarian or store attendant:

Customer: Hi, I’m looking for a book.

Librarian/bookstore person (herein known as book genius): Sure! (thinks internally, of course you’re looking for a book. You’re in a bookstore). What book can I help you find?

Customer: I don’t remember what it’s called.

Book Genius: Okay, do you know the author?

Customer: No, but I think it was a woman. It might have been a man though. It definitely started with a C. Or maybe an L.

Book Genius: Okay, do you remember what it was about?

Customer: No. But I remember it sounded really interesting. Oh! And the cover was blue with a guy on it doing that thing!

Book Genius: Hmmm… Do you remember what genre it was? Fantasy? Romance?

Customer: It was a novel. And I can remember the cover clearly now! It was blue and it had a guy on it, or was it a girl? Anyways there was a person on it and they were standing in front of something I think! It’s a really popular book, I’m sure you know the one!

Book Genius: (inwardly wishing to strangle said customer with the blue, popular book) Do you know if it’s a new book?

Customer: Yes! It’s really recent. They were just talking about in on T.V. the other day.

Book Genius: The other day? Okay, I might know the one.

*Customer and Book Genius walk over to New Releases/Best Sellers and begin looking at books*

Customer: No, it isn’t any of these. It’s blue and it has that guy, doing the thing! It’s really popular. Maybe someone else will know the one I mean?

Book Genius: Do you remember what they were saying about it on T.V.?

Customer: Oh, let me think. I really can’t remember, it was quite a while ago now.

Book Genius: (Inwardly: Awhile ago? I thought she just said it was the other day?) Awhile ago? Okay, maybe it’s this one over here?

*As the Book Genius leads the Customer to another section of the store, desperately wracking their brain to think of all popular books, with blue covers and a guy (or girl) on the front by authors with names (first or last) starting with C or L, the customer lets out an exclamation*

Customer: Oh! There it is that’s the one!

*Book Genius looks in the direction the customer is pointing.*

Book Genius: This one?

Customer: Yes! That is definitely the one! Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone! I just knew the author’s name started with an R. And look, it’s part of a series! I told you the boy was standing in front of a train! I really can’t believe you didn’t know which book I meant!

Book Genius: It is a really fantastic series, one of my favourites actually. I’m glad we were able to find the book you were looking for. (Inwardly: thinking about imitating Doby and beginning to hit head off random hard things in the store. She meant Harry Potter? I can’t believe she was talking about Harry Potter? How was I supposed to get that from what she said? Recent?! The first Harry Potter book came out in 1997! That was 16 years ago!)

*Book Genius smiles at Customer and wishes her happy reading*

So, instead of going to the library/bookstore to talk to someone I spent forever (or close to it, anyways) going through the top 200 releases of each year  for the past few years on Goodreads. And that was only after my searches for variations of “books set in London that involve time travel,” “book with a man on the cover with a top hat and a watch,” and “historical fiction, time travel, London, fantasy” came up dry.

After much frustration, I found the book I was looking for. I found it on the 2008 list (though it looks like it was republished in 2011). There’s even a second book in the series now. I have to say, I felt quite the sense of accomplishment when I managed to find it.

“What book was it?” Oh, sorry, I thought I mentioned. It’s called The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (translated into English by Nick Caistor). And the cover looks exactly like I remembered it (I don’t know why memories of covers never include the way the title looked on that cover). I now have it on request from the library. No matter what happens, it will now be in my reading history on my library account.

Oh, the other thing? Once I found it on Goodreads (and finished cheering and congratulating myself), I discovered that my friend has it on her “Want to read” list. I could probably have explained it to her, and maybe the two of us could have figured out the title much quicker. But I didn’t want to send her a message, because she works in a library. And I didn’t want to be that person.

Keep Smiling!

(P.S. Just for the record I love librarians and amazing people who work in bookstores and know all the books.)

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” — Neil Gaiman

(Crossposted to BlogHer)

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What about Today?

What I Finished: October 2013

NaBloPoMo 2013

What I’m Reading – Beautiful Creatures

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Okay, so today’s post was supposed to be my Stacking the Shelves October post (the one where I tell you what new books I either bought, borrowed or took out of the library). Unfortunately today turned out to be a bit busier than anticipated and I didn’t quite find the time to sit down and write that one (though in theory it should be a pretty quick write up.) Since it is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month for those who don’t know), and since I don’t really want to fail by missing the first days post, I have come up with an alternative post. Stay tuned in the next couple of days for Stacking the Shelves.

Sticking with the Library Day Friday topic, I thought I would tell you a little bit about the book I am currently reading. I’m going to try to not include any major spoilers (and really I’m only about halfway through so I definitely can’t spoil the end). <Note: if you like this post and would like to see more similar let me know in the comments>

As I mentioned in the title, I am currently reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. If I remember correctly, this book was recommended by one (or possibly many) of the BookTubers I follow. I picked it up from the library the end of September or so (yes, I’ve had to renew it) and for some reason I kept passing it over when it came to picking a new book. Part of this probably had to do with the number of horror/creepy novels I had picked up to read in October <Note: I can’t wait to tell you what I thought of The Monstrumologist> and for some reason I began to wonder if I would actually enjoy Beautiful Creatures. Now that I’m into the book I am so glad I decided to give it a chance and not just return it to the library, which I actually considered.

Beautiful Creatures is a YA-novel, which one of the reviews on the back cover describes as a “southern Gothic.” The story takes place in a small Southern United States town that has never “got over” the Civil War, is distrustful in the extreme of outsiders, and owes it’s very existence to the Ravenwood family who, incidentally, they also ostracize and strongly dislike. According to the main character, Gatlin is the kind of small town that no one ever leaves. If you were born there, chances are very good you are going to die there. It’s the main character’s sophomore year (if I remember correctly) and other than some strange dreams he’s been having, the school year seems destined to be about the same as always. Enter: the new girl a.k.a Lena a.ka. town shut-in Macon Ravenwood’s niece. What do you suppose ensued? You guessed it, all kinds of drama.

“But Megra,” I hear you complain, “where is the gothic? All I see is typical high-school drama.” To which I reply: patience dear readers. You see (I’m not going to give you details because where is the fun in that) Lena is not your average new girl. She has a secret. A major secret. It’s the kind of secret that brings danger and mystery and endless complication to the lives of both the main character and herself. Her secret, along with her families history and the house she lives in (did I mention the town kids call it the ‘haunted mansion’?) all create a very Gothic horror setting. The characters are superb, and the world creation? Phenomenal.

And did I mention the writing itself? I have quotes written down from most of my favourite books (ooh look, I said the word favourite in relation to this book). I have yet to write out a single quote from this book — “Um, Megra, I thought you said the writing was good. Wouldn’t that mean you’d have quotes written down?” — hey! enough of the interrupting, I’m getting there — As I was saying, I have yet to write out a single quote from this book, because I keep wanting to write out entire passages. And that is just not practical, at least not on the first read through. Beautiful Creatures is the first book in a series and, unless something changes, I can see myself buying the series at some point.

Well, there is my first NaBloPoMo post completed (and just in the nick of time, I promise not all of the posts will come appear this close to midnight). Now I’m going to sign off and see how much more I can finish of this book before I fall asleep! See you tomorrow!

Keep Smiling!

“There were no surprises in Gatlin County. We were pretty much the epicentre of the middle of nowhere. At least, that’s what I thought, when I closed my battered copy of Slaughterhouse-Five, clicked off my iPod, and turned out the light on the last night of summer. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave. I never even saw it coming.” — Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures

If you didn’t get a chance to read my intro to NaBloPoMo post, you can check it out here.

(Cross Posted to BlogHer)

What I thought: Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

What I thought - Bones of faerie Oct 25I had initially planned to write a full, somewhat structured, review for this book as well as others that I’ve read recently. They were supposed to start into the posting schedule a couple weeks ago. Clearly that did not happen. It would seem I find the idea of posting a structured review daunting enough that I can’t bring myself to start writing. That being said, I do still want to share my thoughts on books with you all. So, I came up with something of a compromise. If I can’t write what I would label “reviews” at the moment, I will write less structured “What I thought” posts. Maybe they’ll function as mini reviews? Or, over time they may become more like a structured review. We shall see. So, (without further rambling), here is the first installment of “What I thought.”

I picked up Bones of faerie from the library over a month ago. This pick was not the product of an internet review, or a recommendation from a friend, rather I saw the most recent book on the New Releases shelf. And, since it doesn’t make sense to start a trilogy at book 3, I went in search for book 1. Surprisingly (this never seems to be the case for me) book 1 was in the library, so I added it to my pile of books.

Synopsis: Bones of faerie is a post-apocalyptic/dystopian, YA-fiction, novel with a bit of a twist. Instead of a devastating world war between humans, the war in this story took place between humanity and Faerie. Since magic was involved, the devastated human world bears the scars of plants that move on their own and ground that is difficult to grow food on. Fifteen-year old Liza grew up in a town that her strict father saved from destruction by ensuring that all traces of magic are destroyed; even if that magic manifests in the faerie-pale hair of his own newborn child. The story begins when Liza’s baby sister is left to die on the hillside overnight and her mother disappears into the dangerous forest. When Liza discovers she has some magic ability she flees to the woods where she eventually encounters people that live differently than the people in her village. Throughout the story, she travels to Faerie and back and learns that Faerie has been equally, if not more, devastated by the nuclear weapons used to end the war.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story, and look forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy. The characters were well developed and the conflict, both within the world and within Liza, was well developed and built upon over the course of the story. The main quest, to travel to Faerie to find her mother, was paired with a personal journey quest. Liza, when presented with a reality different from the one presented to her as she grew up, had to figure out what to believe for herself. Was Faerie magic completely evil and wholly destructive as her father believed? Or, was it possible that Faerie and humans could live together peacefully and assist each other in the dangerous world left behind after the war? Simner created a well thought out and believable world that included both the familiar and the fantastical. I especially enjoyed how, despite the destruction and atmosphere that made most pre-war technology inoperable, things such as Tupperware remained.

Verdict: I am always hesitant when it comes to reading post-apocalyptic/dystopian stories. I either really like them, or I really don’t. There is rarely a middle ground, and I often avoid them because of that. After I read the Hunger Games trilogy (and loved it) I decided to try and branch out more often. I would say that Bones of Faerie is a good choice if, like me, you’re not entirely sure you like the genre. With its integration of a fantasy component it attempts to answer the questions typical of the genre, but in a less typical way. In short, it was a good read, and I recommend it.

There’s one other component I would like to include in these posts and that’s a rating out of 5. But I think that giving stars is just not exciting enough – so I’m going to give cups of tea. Sound good? I will look for a nice little image of a cup of tea to work with, but for now I’ll just need to use words.

I give this book 3.5 cups of tea out of 5

Stacking the Shelves September 2013

STSmall

Last month I posted a September Library Haul where I told you about all the books I’d taken out of the Library in the previous few weeks. Since then, I discovered a “link-up” that is similar to a haul, but allows for books acquired either, permanently or temporarily, from any sources (library, purchase, borrowed from a friend). Since it’s a lot of fun to link-up with others writing the same types of posts, I’ve decided to join the “Stacking the Shelves” link up hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves September - A bit out of control?

Stacking the Shelves September – A bit out of control?

My library card has been receiving a lot of exercise this month so my list of books from the library for this month (I am only going to talk about books I received in the previous month so, in this case, September) is exceptionally long. I’ve been watching and reading many book blogs and for a while every time I heard about a book I was interested in, I would request it from the library. It seems that at some point I started using the library request system as an informal “To be Read” (TBR) list. I’ve since realized this isn’t really the best system as it got a bit out of control and resulted in a crazy pile of books at the end of my bed. If anyone has any suggestions on a TBR list tracking system that works well for them, let me know in the comments!

So, now that I’ve finished all the precursor ramblings, onto the books!

Library Books:

Say Everything, The Sandman, Ocean at the End of the Lane

Say Everything, The Sandman, Ocean at the End of the Lane

1. Say Everything: How Blogging began, what it’s becoming, and why it matters by Scott Rosenberg

2. The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

3. Emma Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori

4. Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear by Hugh MacLeod

5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – I’ve had this book on request at the library for awhile (possibly since it was released) and my name finally came up on the list. I’ve heard great things about it, so I can’t wait to pick it up.

The Demonologist, The Alchemyst, Bones of faerie, The Monstrumologist

The Demonologist, The Alchemyst, Bones of faerie, The Monstrumologist

6. The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

7. The Alchemyst {The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Vol. 1} by Michael Scott – I’ve looked at this series and thought about giving it a try for years (I think it began around the time the Harry Potter series ended). I’m about ¼ of the way through it and so far I’m enjoying it.

8. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner – When browsing the new arrivals shelf at the library I picked up the most recent book in this series, realized I should read the others first, and went on a mission through the shelves. To my surprise, the first book was on the shelves. I have already read this one, enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the rest of the series. Maybe I’ll review it or do a more thorough recommendation of it in the next couple weeks.

9. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey – the person who recommended this book described it as a typical YA horror. I’ve never been a huge fan of horror (I like some thrillers and suspense but I’m picky) but I thought I’d give it a try because it sounded interesting. This is the first book in a series.

Leviathan, Beautiful Creatures, Far far away, Sweetly

Leviathan, Beautiful Creatures, Far far away, Sweetly

10. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

11. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

15. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

16. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Shades of Earth

Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Shades of Earth

12. Across the Universe (Across the Universe series, Book 1) by Beth Revis – This is another one I’ve already read. It’s a dystopian, YA novel, set on a space ship that is supposed to be heading towards a new home planet. I won’t say too much more about it here but I enjoyed it so much I almost started the next one immediately after.

13. A Million Suns (Across the Universe series, Book 2) by Beth Revis

14. Shades of Earth (Across the Universe series, Book 3) by Beth Revis

The Diviners, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, The Fault in Our Stars, Doll Bones

The Diviners, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, The Fault in Our Stars, Doll Bones

17. The Diviners by Libba Bray

18. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I picked this one up to read earlier in the summer and then never got to it. Since it has quite a waiting list at the library I was only just able to get it back out. I’ve started it (maybe 2 or 3 chapters in) and I’m enjoying it. It’s a mixture of writing and unique photography and so far the story is intriguing.

19. The Fault in our Stars by John Green – Here is another one that has a waiting list a mile long. I finally got it the end of last week, and I’ve already finished it. I Read it in an evening (I was up until about 2:30); I couldn’t put it down. Wow, just wow. John Green pretty much destroys emotions; but he does it with such elegant, smooth and captivating writing.

20. Doll Bones by Holly Black

Anna and the French Kiss, Longfellow, Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares

Anna and the French Kiss, Longfellow, Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares

21. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

22. Longfellow: Poems and Other Writings ed. J.D. McClatchy

23. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

24. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

The Spindlers, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Longfellow, Vampire Academy

The Spindlers, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Longfellow, Vampire Academy

25. The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

26. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

27. Longfellow: Poetical Works – As this book, and a few further down indicate, I was in a poetry mood.

28. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m always leery in regards to Vampire books. I think they’re either really good and I enjoy them a lot, or they’re really bad and painful to read. We’ll see where this one falls.

E.E. Cummings, Vampire Slayer, Writ in Stone, The Haunted Dollhouse

E.E. Cummings, Vampire Slayer, Writ in Stone, The Haunted Dollhouse

29. E. E. Cummings Complete Poems 1904-1962 ed. George J. Firmage

30.  Nancy Drew Girl Detective #2: Writ in Stone by Stefan Petrucha and Sho Murase

31. Nancy Drew Girl Detective #3: The Haunted Dollhouse by Stefan Petrucha and Sho Murase

32. Nancy Drew The New Case Files #2: Vampire Slayer Part Two by Petrucha, Kinney and Murase

Received from Goodreads giveaways:

Urgle

Urgle

1. Urgle by Meaghan McIsaac – This one wasn’t an ARC (it was published earlier in the year) but I will review it as part of the Goodreads giveaways program

Well, now that you see how out of control my library list began, you can appreciate my need for a new TBR system. I may not end up reading all of these, and I may need to take some of them out of the library again (depending on whether I can renew them or not). I’m going to try and include a list of the books I read (with brief recommendations) at the end of each month as I find that it’s easy to let you know what books I think I want to read, but more helpful to know if I did read them and if I enjoyed them or not.

I also want to start posting at least semi-regular, more in-depth, reviews of some of the books I read. Do you have any recommendations for me? Or books that you’d like me to read and review? Let me know in the comments.

Keep Smiling!

Experimenting with Graphic Novels

I had hoped to post my first book review today but, as of writing this post, I haven’t finished either of the books I was planning to review. I should be able to finish one of them by Friday, but since I have a few other things going on this week, and I don’t want to put together a rushed review, I decided to postpone. In place of a review, I thought I’d talk about a type of book I only recently started seeking out – Graphic Novels.

I’ve read graphic novels in the past, but they’ve never been high on my reading list and I would only rarely go searching for one. About a month or so ago, however, I started watching Amy Dalen’s segments on Geek & Sundry (you can watch one of Amy Dalen’s Video’s here). She talks about comic books primarily, and her segments got me thinking about experimenting with graphic novels. So, one evening when I had time between my Grad school edits, I spent a few hours looking up different types of graphic novels, and reserving a number of them from the library website.

I then spent a weekend reading nothing but Graphic novels. I enjoyed some more than others, but the experiment showed me that graphic novels can be really enjoyable and fit into many different genres of literature. I generally thought of graphic novels as primarily telling stories of Superheroes and science fiction (don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all saying this is a bad thing since I enjoy both of those genres). I now found that they cover genres from classics, to fairytale remakes, to mystery.

And the artwork is fantastic. I have always loved illustrations. When I was little, my favourite illustrators were the ones who went out of their way to add in detail. A mouse that appeared on every single page; a border that portrayed a side story (Jann Brett was one of my favourites); secret clues that helped solve a mystery. I’ve continued to love and collect children’s books that feature beautiful illustrations. The illustrations are often one of my favourite parts of the various graphic novels I’ve read recently.

Without further ado, here’s a summary of some of the graphic novels I’ve read recently. I’ve read adaptations of childrens, or young adult novels such as The Lightening Thief (adapted by Robert Venditti), and Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident (adapted by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin). I’ve also read adaptations of classics such as Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice (both adapted by Nancy Butler), and Dracula (adapted by Gary Reed). Both of the Austen adaptations were fantastic but I found Dracula a bit disjointed. The adaptation was generally good, but if I wasn’t already familiar with the novel I think I would have found it a confusing and somewhat disjointed.

Now, I feel I should preface these next two novels with a disclaimer, so here goes. <Megra12 Disclaimer: I am, and always have been, a HUGE Nancy Drew fan. I am not ashamed of this.> Now that’s taken care of, in my first trip to the library I borrowed two Nancy Drew graphic novels. Nancy Drew Girl Detective: The Demon of River Heights (Stefan Petrucha) and Nancy Drew Girl Detective: The New Case Files: Vampire Slayer part 1 (Stefan Petrucha and Sarah Kinney). I enjoyed them so much I was disappointed I’d only had two brought to my local library. I have since requested more and I’ll most likely end up reading the whole series. In the past I’ve had mixed feelings about spin off Nancy Drew series (I was especially against the ones that saw Nancy break up with Ned Nickerson. Shame on you authors), but so far I love the graphic novel spin offs.

Do you read any graphic novels? What are your favourites?

Keep Smiling!

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” – C.S. Lewis

September Library Haul

September Library HaulSince I finished my Masters, I have been enjoying the freedom to read for recreation. In addition to being a student no longer, I am also currently unemployed. As a result of the combination of these two factors, I have been making frequent trips to my local library. Don’t get me wrong, I use visit the library regularly as it is, but over the last month or so my library card has received quite the workout.

Some of my library trips are brief. I request books online so that I only have to go in and check them out. (Huge time saver!) This time, after returning one huge stack of books, I let myself wander the stacks. I had no list and no reserves to pick up. It was one of those days where I just walked up and down the stacks to determine my reading choices. My wanderings still had some structure. I was in the mood for fantasy more than mystery, so I focused on those types of titles. Other than that, I selected books based on the title, the covers, and the synopses.

Rambling aside, here is my most recent library haul (with a couple others that I picked up the time before).

1. Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. 

Right after I finished my major paper for my masters and while I was waiting for the defense date, I went on something of a Graphic Novel spree. While on that spree I was also really interested in reading something by Neil Gaiman. This book came up in a suggested reading list at some point during my online library browsing and I thought I’d check it out.

2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente; with illustrations by Ana Juan

I actually picked this one up because a YouTuber I follow recommended it. Unfortunately I can’t remember who recommended it but if I ever figure it out I will post an update.

3. The Emperor’s Knife, Mazarkis Williams

This one is full out fantasy. Different world. Knights and Princes. Assassinations. And a plague that consists of a geometric pattern that spreads across the skin and basically threatens the existence of the Empire. The cover reminded me of video games like Skyrim, or Assassins Creed.

4. The Restorer, Amanda Stevens.

I have to admit I picked this book up for reason only slightly related to the book itself. This is the first book in The Graveyard Queen series and I just read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and enjoyed the setting so the graveyard aspect drew me in. Also, the cover has a weeping angel statue on it, and I’m a Doctor Who fan.

5. Finding Camlann, Sean Pidgeon

This one is not directly fantasy, but it has to do with King Arthur. It looks like there’s an archaeological discovery that sends the main characters on a quest to find out more about the origins of the King Arthur stories. I really like this type of historical/mythical/archaeological quest stories, so that was a big draw for me. I think the library had this one faced out and the cover art was the first draw.

6. Hellbent, Cherie Priest

I was actually drawn to the Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest but the first book was already checked out. So, I decided to try a different title to check out the author. This one has vampires, a “certifiably crazy sorceress,” a murder, and a quest for some relics. I find Vampire books can be hit and miss, so I’m a bit concerned about that aspect.

7. Bedtime Story, Robert J. Wiersema.

A young boy apparently starts reading a book that draws him in to the point where he is waking up in the story. A story which was apparently created to steal the hearts and souls of young children. Um…okay…interesting hook… we’ll see if it pans out into anything good.

Here's another picture so you can see all the Book Covers

Here’s another picture so you can see all the Book Covers

Hopefully in this list of books I’ll find a few that I really enjoy. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll all be good! I will try to review a couple of them over the next few weeks. Have you read any of these? Or is there one in particular you’d like me to review? Drop me a note in the comments!

Keep Smiling!

“Nothing is pleasanter to me than exploring in a library.”  — Walter Savage Landor

Introducing: Library Day Friday

Photo Credit: Ryan Hyde/flickr

Photo Credit: Ryan Hyde/flickr

I am a reader. I have been for as long as I can remember. I have read good books, bad books and great books. I have a never-ending reading list and yet I continually re-read books. You know that person who trips over her feet because she’s trying to walk and read at the same time? That’s been me. You know that girl who always has a book or two stuffed in her bag, even when there seems to be no opportunity to read it? Yup. Guilty as charged. I find it difficult to walk by a bookstore without going in. I rarely enter the library without glancing at the featured reading shelves. Pick a cliché to describe a reader and I’ll probably be able to nod yes to the charge. Books are a constant in my life and even when I’m in a reading lull, they hover and beckon.

I believe that reading and adventure often go hand in hand. I have had adventures inspired by books I’ve read. I’ve sought out books to read based on my everyday adventures. Above all, books contain adventures within them. In books I have travelled to far off places. I’ve travelled in time. I’ve defeated dragons. I’ve ruled kingdoms and I’ve solved mysteries. I have experienced the feeling of exhaustion that comes from finishing a particularly engaging book.

I am that weird creature that occasionally talks to books, yells at the characters, and frequently cries while reading. Sometimes I even cry on re-reads. Sometimes I cry more than the first read through. I don’t even know how many fictional characters I have “fallen in love with.” Gilbert Blythe will always hold a special place in my heart.

Photo Credit: Craig Sunter/ Flickr

Photo Credit: Craig Sunter/ Flickr

By now you may be wondering: “What is the point of this blog post?” Well dear readers, I would like to include these reading related adventures in this blog. Reading is an integral part of my life and stories of my meanderings would be incomplete if books were not included. Fridays will be the day when I let you into the Library part of my world. There may not be a reading related post every Friday but I will try to confine them to Fridays. Library day Friday posts will include Book Hauls, recommendations, reviews, discussions of my favourite authors, genres and series, and any other book related topic that strikes my fancy. Book Hauls will include both books that I buy and books that I borrow from my local library because I think that Libraries are magical places where books you would never see in the store somehow find their way into your hands.

If you have any suggestions for me to read or review, let me know in the comments! If you have any reading related topics that you want me to post about on let me know in the comments! If you are interested in seeing new Library Day Friday posts as they are published, don’t forget to Follow!

Keep Smiling!

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.” — Roald Dahl, Matilda