Wednesday Wondering: The Reading Utopia

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

For this week’s Wednesday Wondering I am curious to hear your thoughts on your favourite reading spots. I stumbled across is absolutely amazing website of neat bookshops that I wanted to share with you:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/gallery/2014/oct/10/weird-and-wonderful-bookshops-worldwide-in-pictures

From keeping stock in the vaults of a building that was once a bank in Victoria, BC, to combining books with parties in Beijing, everyone has different preference as to where they enjoy picking up a good book and reading (maybe the latter not being as common?).

I have always preferred the reading nook, the little corner away from everything else in the world, the comfy couch to just stretch my legs over and snuggle up to a soft blanket with a good book. I can stay in that utopia for hours. Sadly, I have never really had this idealized nook in my life. It was always either on the bed (which gets pretty uncomfortable after a little while) or sitting behind a chair in the library when I went to school.

In the past I’ve done a lot of reading on my morning train commute to work (which I enjoyed quite a bit at the time as the train took us through the English countryside). It gave me about 45 minutes of peace and quiet before we stoped at the busy station and everyone squishes into the compartment like can of sardines. But let’s be honest, it’s not the same as reading by yourself.

Nonetheless, I think I am getting closer with the most recent move to putting together a proper reading nook! We actually bought a proper bookshelf which fits our books, which has been nice. Unfortunately it’s not big enough as we already have more books then space on the shelf! The next step is getting a comfy chair in there and a proper light! In my future house I will make every effort to re-create this little bit of paradise:

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I want to hear of your reading spot utopia. Do you listen to music? Do you need to be alone? Attach a photo if you have found your dream room online!

Wednesday Wondering: Reading Challenge

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First off, Happy New Years to all my fellow bookworms! I have been absent for a couple weeks now, with the exception of the one book review posted by my significant other, and I do apologize for that but I was on holiday in other countries so it was challenging to get wifi for more than 10 minutes at a time to actually write something proper. But hey, New Year, New Me right!?

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My winter vacation skiing!

For this Wednesday wondering I would like to discuss Reading Challenges. There are probably hundreds of book challenges out there, from banned books, to non-fiction, to a set amount per year, etc. I have always been hesitant to join them mostly because I was worried that it would hamper my love of reading, and turn it into homework rather than enjoyment. I also find that some that have really high volume of books to read in a short amount of time sometimes force me to choose shorter books in an attempt to keep up. As you might have noticed from my past book reviews, most of my books are within a 300-600 page range makes challenges with huge number of books even more daunting. I don’t want to be choosing books based on how many pages they have and turn down better, fatter ones. I don’t like to discriminate based on size (tehehe).

No book discrimination here.

No book discrimination here.

But I have been unacceptably absent and my books read have declined to a slow trickle which in my eyes in not acceptable. I have decided to create my own personal challenge instead of joining an existing one. Below are the criteria I have decided to focus on.

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The books that I have chosen are as follows:

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I am really excited to bite into this challenge. I never really thought I would ever do a challenge but this year I have decided to try something new.

How do you feel about challenges? Are you frequently an active participant?

Wednesday Wondering: The dreaded Movie vs Book debate

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

With the hyped-up anticipation of Gone Girl (the movie), I was inspired to re-think books turned movies. After reading the book I was actually surprised that they were doing a movie of it as a big bulk of the movie was Amy’s diary entries and feelings discussed. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s gotten 8.6/10 on IMDB which is promising.

There is a huge list of books turned movies that didn’t live up to the hype. Some would argue The Lord of the Rings series, although impressive, never lived up to the amazingness of Tolkien. Harry Potter series especially did not do the series justice. I remember re-reading The Order of the Pheonix a week before the movie came out and being immensely disappointed with just how much they’ve left out.

Then there are those books that are very psychological. I don’t mean psychological as in disturbing, but rather that they deal with the character’s emotions, thoughts and mental being. There has yet to be a film technique to transcribe character thoughts properly. This is one of the powers of the novel. We can properly dip into the mind of the character (if it’s first person narration mind you). It’s what makes books amazing, as they can create a world that isn’t necessarily physical and they are able to make it personal. In movies, you never really fully understand the characters. Frequently, their reactions are overemphasized to try to indicate a certain emotion that isn’t necessarily realistic.

In reverse to that I find that action packed movies are better than action packed books (yikes, what a bold statement!). I couldn’t imagine reading Star Wars and enjoying it like I had the movies or say like the Jason Bourne series with the music, and the car chase scenes. For example the recent thriller I have read, I Am Pilgrim, I could see how amazing it could be in movie format, but I just felt like it lacked in book form. Maybe I am just not as imaginative as I had thought?

What I have learned about movies and books is that you have to do just that, treat them as different entities. When younger, I used to get angry when films did not interpret the books the way I had imagined when I had read the book. But now, I just try to treat each film as a single interpretation of the novel. There is a reason why there is a disclaimer at the beginning of movies, it’s just “based” on a book not identically copied.

I feel like that is a reason why books are still so amazing today. There are able to discuss and bring to light elements of human psychology that cannot be transcribed on the cinema screen.

What are your thoughts on movies turned movies? How to you handle the frequent disappointment?

Wednesday Wonderings: To read, or not to read?

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

When I was younger I used to look at the title and cover of the book to determine whether or not it was a good read. I was also restricted to the options at my local public library because buying books was a birthday/Christmas/special occasion thing. The internet was just beginning to rise in my childhood, so reading reviews online and trying to connect in a reading community didn’t happen for me until fairly recently. My techniques to finding the perfect book would rely primarily on the following:

  • What my friends recommended
  • Perusing back/inside-cover teasers
  • Judging on visual appeal of the novel (*gasp*)
  • Availability of the book (could I borrow it from a friend or library)
  • Posters in the library/’New Books’ shelf

Nonetheless, now I have no restrictions at all. I can easily look up a review on just about any book on-line and get hundreds of people’s synopsis, readings or ramblings about the novel. It’s a lot easier to be instantly updated on new arrivals and past treasures. Trouble is now a person can get overexposed to a novel. Accidentally reading spoilers is prominent on my phobia list. They can jump out of anywhere.

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The fear of spoilers

Not all books by any means, but there are books out there that rely on the reader not knowing an important aspect of it for them to be enjoyable. For example **SPOILER ALERT** for me the greatness of Never Let Me Go by Kazua Ishiguro was NOT knowing that the children at the school were clones until a ways past the middle. Had I actually known what it was about it would not have sound appealing to me and I probably would have never read it. Yet, if I was writing a proper review on the book it would be very difficult for me not to mention that huge part, making me a criminal in my mind.

I am a book criminal.

I am a book criminal.

It’s tempting to research the book a little in order to see if it would be appealing. Yet frequently it’s the element of surprise that can make a book so amazing. It’s that “WOW!” factor that makes a book 5/5 . That’s difficult to get if you know what the book is about. I will never forget how in HP#5 a stupid kid at my school yelled out in the school hallway that Sirius was going to die.

Complete and utter rage.

Complete and utter rage.

Basically, The Order of the Pheonix would never make my top five. I’ve actually come to fear spoilers as you may have noticed, so I try and go in as blind as possible.

Do you research books that you are interested in or do you go in blind?