Monday, October 29, 2012

The Haul and the Giving

Compared to past book sales, this time around was not as rewarding. I bought eight inches ($4); that's down from 22 inches last time. It was an odd day, that's for sure. For some reason, the weather decided, "Hey, it's almost November, let's get freaky cold, freaky fast!" And since the clouds and the wind are followers, there was no stopping the resulting dip in temperature.

I was unprepared. And I couldn't get a close parking spot to the library. I was supposed to take my grandmother with me to make up for lost bonding time, but even that didn't work out as planned. 

So, there I was. Freezing and staring at tables full of romance novels and John Grisham paperbacks. Slim pickings for the connoisseur that I assume myself to be. Don't even ask me about the YA section. I kid you not, there were THREE boxes full of copies of Twilight and New Moon. THREE. One foot by one foot boxes. At least 20 books in total. 

I should have taken a picture. But I was too tired and cold for that. And I wasn't surprised. 

Anyway, here is what I managed to find despite all of that: 

1. The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan 
2. Middlemarch by George Eliot (Admittedly something I should keep and read.) 
3. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti 
4. A Place to Come To by Robert Penn Warren
5. A World of Great Stories ("115 stories, the best of modern literature")
6. Library of Choice Literature Vol. V: Humorous

I wish I had better choices for y'all! Hopefully the next book sale will be a bountiful book harvest. 

Aaaaaand here is the Rafflecopter thingy! Go crazy!

A few things though. I am a poor college student, and I can't afford to send packages to most foreign countries. Therefore, this contest/giveaway is open to U.S./Canada only. Sorry! I wish I had lots of money. I'd buy more books that aren't being sold 50 cents by the inch. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Potential for Some Giveaways

Bloggy friends! It's that time of year again. The time of year when my local library has its Fall 50-Cents-an-Inch Book Sale!

It happens rarely, but when it does happen, I get really excited. So excited, that I make memes.

But this time around, I had an idea. What if I bought these gently used books (some of them have probably only been read once! The travesty!) and then had a blog giveaway? Does that sound like a good idea? 

There are always some good finds at these sales, but I never really know what I'm going to find. Usually I just buy whatever appeals to me. Hopefully, I'll find some books that y'all will like too! If not, then I guess I get to keep them... *fails at looking sad*

I don't know if any of y'all are "old" book fans like me, but one great thing about these book sales is that a lot of older library patrons participant and bring in books that they've had for decades. This gives me the chance to snatch up some awesome first editions of books that you don't find very often. 

I wrote about one such instance of rare book finding in this post last year. I found a collection of poetry by the infamous Ossian. I may or may not have squealed like a little girl being tickled by her father when I found that book. Okay, I did. Every once in a while I'll pick it up, smell the old yellowed pages, and clutch it to my chest like it might disappear. 

Anyway, back to the idea at hand. Once I make my purchases and throw my back out carrying the books to my car, I'll do a catalogue of books, put together a giveaway thingy, and then let mayhem ensue! Feel free to share this with others, or not depending on how greedy you're feeling once the books are revealed. 

I may just find some super awesome books at this sale. Or I may not. One never knows how a 50-Cents-an-Inch Book Sale will turn out until one finds oneself there. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

RTW: Adapting the Words

Welcome to our 153rd 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.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

It isn't surprising that this month's Bookmobile selection, Leigh Bardugo's (@LBardugoShadow and Bone, has sold film rights; the darkly magical world of the Shadow Fold begs for an on-screen translation*! But that got us wondering. We'd like to know, in your opinion, what is it that makes some books seem ideal for a film translation?

(*And don't forget, you can chat with Leigh about the movie, and any other burning questions you have about Shadow and Bone, during YA Highway's live chat with her next Tuesday, Oct. 30!)

The moment I saw this prompt, I giggled. Why? Well, it just so happens that I'm reading "A Theory of Adaptation" by Linda Hutcheon right this minute (I literally just set the copy down to check on the Internet and make sure it's okay), and my head is full of the why's and how's and other theoretical thingamawhosits surrounding adaptations from books to film to opera to plays to poetry to video games and beyond. 

Now, don't get me wrong. It's actually quite enjoyable. Relating to this RTW, one question that Hutcheon discusses is:
Are some kinds of stories and their worlds more easily adaptable than others? (15)

Well, in short, yes. Some books naturally lend themselves to visual translation. Books that contain a wide breadth of imagery and visual scope give screenwriters and directors more to work with on the visual aspect of films. However, another important piece of this adaptation game is the style of the novel. "Linear realist novels" are easier to adapt to the big screen than what we call "experimental" novels (Hutcheon 15). (Look at me using MLA format in a blog post!) 

So, basically, novels that follow the plot pattern of cause and effect, point A to point B, etc., are easier, and therefore more likely, to be translated to movie form. It's more difficult to translate stream of consciousness novels or novels narrated by a single protagonist with lots of internal reflections, unless the director is going for the Sundance effect and cares about "art" and the "craft." If that's the case, I say more power to them. Indie theatres need films too. 
The most successful films are adapted from books that do meet the requirements of "linear realist novels," at least in the respect to the linear part. I happen to believe that the term should be retooled to say "linear fiction novels" due to the preponderance of fictional--often fantasy--novels that were made into movies or are currently in the works. Ex.: The Hunger Games series, Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Percy Jackson series, Twilight series (I'm ready for this to just be over...),  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Eragon (although that was kind of a flop), City of Bones, and now Shadow and Bone, and the list could go on forever. 

You also have to take into consideration the relative success of the novels themselves. A production studio is not going to take a risk on a novel adaptation unless that novel has a large fanbase and they think they'll sell bajillions of tickets. Another component is the book's theme and connection to other, highly successful adaptations. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," pretty much sums it up. Exciting or otherwise appealing themes (dystopian boom, anyone?) are what big studios count on to drawn in the public. People like what they like, and if the public is clamoring for more Vampire/Werewolf dramas, then the film companies will rush to give it to them. In exchange for their money, of course. 

We, as humans, are attracted to the known without often realizing it. We want more of whatever satisfies our desire for escape and adventure, but it has to be within the boundaries that we are comfortable with. Movie studios recognize this fact and use it to determine what they produce. 

It's a tough business, but if an author is lucky enough to attract the right attention, he or she might just see his or her novel adapted to the big screen. Wouldn't that be exciting? 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review of "The Crown of Embers"

I wrote a review a week or so ago for The Vanguard, and I just want to share it with y'all. I don't have time to write another review of The Crown of Embers specifically for this blog, but if y'all want to see what I had to say (in AP Style, no less) about this second novel by Rae Carson (@raecarson), then please hop on over here to "Carson's 'The Crown of Embers' burns bright."

I hadn't planned on writing a review for The Crown of Embers at all, simply because I don't really have time right now, but my friend Jake needed another article for the JagLife section and I wanted to help him out.

As a past JagLife Editor, I know what it's like to have writers not turn in articles by deadline. It makes one crazy. Crazy enough to kill. So to prevent any more deaths, I read The Crown of Embers in two hours and wrote an article directly after. Super speed-reading Bailey to the rescue!

I know it may sound funny, but I love the fact that the quote on the cover is by Rachel Hawkins (@LadyHawkins), and she perfectly summed up my feelings about the book in three words: "I adored it."

So there you have it. I actually managed to write another review without meaning to write another review. Fantastic!

Until next time...

(And yes, I realize this is my second post today. I'm being oddly blog post prolific today for some reason.)

RTW: NaNoWriMo Not Likely (for Me)

Welcome to our 152nd 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.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?

Alas, I will not be able to participate in the annual scramble for words that is NaNoWriMo. I know that once November rolls around (and it will be here before I'm ready) I'll see Tweets and Facebook updates galore about word counts and so forth. And I will not be one of them. 

I'm just too busy with classes and work to even think about adding another thing to my plate. Sure, I'd enjoy it, but I have a thesis to worry about and it needs my attention quite desperately at the moment. 

Perhaps next year I'll be able to participate again. I do enjoy the thrill of getting the requisite number of words each day. It's addicting in some sense. Okay, it's very addicting. Every writer--published or not--who participates gets the NaNo Buzz. Exhausted but exhilarated, we type like fiends until our fingers refuse to continue, and then sit back on our heels to whistle appreciatively at the words, glorious words, that fill our screens. 

Just the mere fact of thinking about trying my hand at 50,000 words makes me want to try...

But I can't. There are times when I can do something, and also times when doing what I want to do will be too  much of a burden for my already laden schedule to bear. This is one of those latter times. And I hate it. 

However, there's always next year. I'll just have to live vicariously through all of y'all's NaNoWriMo experiences this go around. I hope y'all have fun. I'll be watching wistfully over here...

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

RTW: Cooler Days are Coming

Welcome to the 150th 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.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic: How does your writing (place, time, inspiration) change with the seasons?

As far as creative writing goes, winter and fall are the most productive times of the year where my stories are concerned. I'm afraid they get a bit neglected when the weather is hot and humid.

For some reason, when it's hot outside I don't want to write. It's strange, I know, but it's the truth. My creativity is near zero during the hotter months. But when the first crisper days of fall roll around, I start to get the writing itch. Ideas come flooding into my head and my fingers just want to type. 
I just love this image. It's so beautiful. 

I can feel the change coming on, too. This week the mornings and evenings have been in the 60's and I've seen the leaves turning orange, yellow, and brown. I'm waiting, quite impatiently, for the day when wearing a thick jacket outside is socially acceptable and not just something I do because I'm too lazy to take it off after exiting the freezing buildings. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the energy I'm saving not sweating to death. That's my theory. And along with the colder weather comes fun things like bonfires and hot chocolate. Some of my fondest memories from growing up have been during this time of year. There are holidays and gatherings of friends and family. 

Everyone gains a new energy once the temperatures begin to dip. It's wonderful. 

Writing while under the influence of cooler temperatures and hot chocolate comes easily. Throw in a crackling fire and you've got one happy writer girl. 

Until next time...