Saturday, November 30, 2013

NaNo's Done - Real Life Resumes!

So about an hour an a half ago I validated my NaNovel!
My complete stats page

The story isn't done - there are a few more chapters to go before my characters reach their happily ever after - but it felt good to print out that winner's certificate.

Now that that's over...

  • I will be writing more! (Crazy me.) I've loved how good it feels to have a wordcount every day, so I am setting a personal goal. 500 words daily! I feel this is achievable and only takes about a half hour of my day. Not bad. 
  • I will be catching up on Downton Abbey before the new season begins. For the last month, my mother and sister have been binge watching while I was holed away upstairs writing, so I'm WAY behind them now. I'm already planning to watch them during winter break with my grandma.
  • I will post rather often here - at least more often than I've done for the last month! I have some legit posts planned for the next week - none of this update stuff.
  • I will be going to bed at a reasonable time.
  • I will be waking up at a reasonable time.
  • I will be reading TWO BOOKS AT ONCE! What is this madness! As you may know, I never ever read more than one book at a time. But this Jane Austen marathon is taking longer than I expected, and I'm also signed up for a Tale of Two Cities readalong for December. Austen and Dickens at the same time! Fun stuff. We'll see how this goes and how I end up managing it.

Did you do NaNoWriMo? What are you planning to do now that it's over?

Or, if you didn't do NaNoWriMo - do you read more than one book at a time? HOW DO YOU DO IT? :-)

Happy Last Day of November!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

On Tuesday I wrote my Top Ten things I'm thankful for.
Well, I missed a biggie.

I'm thankful for you, dear readers! :-)

Wishing you all a great Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: What am I Thankful For?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish.
Today's topic is: Things I am Thankful For, since (American) Thanksgiving is this Thursday. We've got snow here in Chicago... and Christmas songs on the radio. Um.... too early?
(Can I make a confession? I've been listening to the channel with the Christmas carols occasionally. Shhh... don't tell my sister - she would scoff at me. She thinks it allowable to listen to carols only about a week or so before Christmas - and by no means before Thanksgiving!)

Note, this list is not in order of importance! :-D

1. My mother. Firstly, because she is awesome and fabulous, and is helping me so much with college apps! Secondly, because she started me reading early. She blames herself for causing me to get glasses early (because she started me reading so early), but I tell her, "I'd rather have glasses, and be the reader than I am, than not have glasses, and not adore books as much as I do."
Mama, I now absolve you of your guilt!

2. My friend, for starting me writing stories. I never thought I could actually write those stories that I loved to read so much until I was eight years old and saw my friend's story notebook in her car as we carpooled to ballet. It blew my mind. That was when I first realized - "I can be an author!"

3. Books, of course! I don't know what I would do without them. I know I'd be extraordinarily bored - I'd also probably be a completely different person.

4. My dad. For also being awesome and fabulous, and supporting me in everything. For the last week or so, he's asked to see my NaNoWriMo stats graph every evening. Even though I am really behind. (I think he'll be more disappointed than I will, if I don't win. Which makes me want to win even more!)

5. My sister. Woo! I love her. She is my best friend. And I am so glad she is my sister and that we share a room - we get to talk late into the night and have very deep philosophical discussions (as well as completely crazy nonsensical ones). <3 <3

6. All of my friends. I am the luckiest person to have such awesome friends. Occasionally it hits me just how great my friends are and I sit in awe for a few minutes. Seriously.

7. The opportunity to home-school. It's been amazing and though I'm excited to start college, I'll forever be grateful for my homeschooling experiences.

8. Having the chance to go to Costa Rica last summer. Nuff said. :-)

9. Libraries! Free books, for heaven's sake. And not just books - the library in the next suburb over has the best collection of DVDs ever!

10. Car radios. Even if in the beginning of the car ride I'm feeling too cold or grumpy to sing along, I always end up belting out the songs at the top of my voice at some point! It's even better if no one's in the car because then I can (attempt to) harmonize. When I (attempt to) harmonize I sound like I'm intentionally singing out of key. Not pretty. :-P

Wishing everyone a fantastic Thanksgiving!
What are you thankful for?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish.
Today's topic is: Books I'd Recommend for a Mother to Read to her Kids.
I can't wait to have kids so I can read to them!

Let's start with the picture books - my three favorites from my childhood.
1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Artist: Clement Hurd)

I still have my copy sitting on the shelf... and I still like going through the pictures trying to find the mouse in each one! :-P

See the mouse?

2. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (Artist: Crockett Johnson)

I absolutely adore the art in this one. And it has a sweet story of a little boy's perseverance to grow a carrot - even though everyone kept saying, "It won't come up:"

I want to hug that kid.

3. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (Artist: Clement Hurd)

Every kid wants to know that their mother will never ever leave - she will always find them.

On to chapter books!

4. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

This (actually, the exact book above) is the book my dad was reading to me when I, at three years old, corrected his reading. Yup.
Read this book, no matter how old you are. It will make you happy and give you thousands of insights into life.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

My all time favorite book. It's an interesting read for any age.
(And I have the exact complete collection pictured above. It has the original illustrations by Pauline Baynes.)

6. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

What can I say? Start your kids on Lord of the Rings early. :-)
(My cousin actually saw his first LOTR movie when he was one year old. Nerd parents ftw!)

7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This book will make any girl want to grow up and honorable lady, and any mother strive to be like Marmee.

8. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Haven't read this one in a while - I should reread it sometime soon.

9. Where the Sidewalk Ends (or other collections by Shel Silverstein)

Random fact: my neighbor's grandma dated Shel Silverstein.

10. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

... and other books by E. Nesbit. But this one is my favorite, by far.

BONUS 11! 
Happy Times in Noisy Village by Astred Lindgren

This is one of the most adorable books you will ever read - ever.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite childhood books?


Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Real Mr. Darcy

So who started the idea that Mr. Darcy was Prince Charming? The classic hero? The ideal man?

Colin Firth is awesome. Mr. Darcy is not.

C'mon guys. Seriously.
"I certainly shall not [dance]. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with."
Is this your dream man? Someone that considers only the most stunning woman to be worthy of his attention? Someone that calls a cute girl "tolerable," just because she isn't Aphrodite?

Well, it definitely ain't mine.

Yes, Darcy does change by the end, but - we'll get to that later.

In the beginning, Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth because she is the only person who feels no inhibitions in teasing him. She is a drastic contrast to the flattering Miss Bingley.
However, Darcy is not afraid, because he considers himself too proud to even consider marrying someone of her status:
"He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger."
One trip to Hunsford later, Darcy decided that, despite her embarrassing connections, he can't dismiss his love for her. So he proposes:
"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
So far, so good. But then he says:
"Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? - To congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose conditions is so decidedly beneath my own?"
 Yeah, that's really going to recommend him to her. Totally. I mean, he's basically saying:
"Seriously, did you think that a fellow like me - with ten thousand a year - could even deign to glance upon a girl like you, with such a meager income. But that's what love does. It defeats even such insurmountable boundaries like those."
And he expects her to say yes! Is he out of his mind!?
Even disregarding all that about Wickham, and all Elizabeth's accusations - this sort of pride alone would not recommend a man at all.

So he learns his lesson. Elizabeth is not desperate like Miss Bingley. He realizes that he has to be sincerely nice (shocker) to get a girl to - just maybe - accept a proposal. And he realizes that he has just lost Elizabeth.

When he bumps into her at Pemberly, he desperately jumps at the chance to redeem himself.
Now, this switch doesn't completely make sense to me - but I've never been in love. Whatever it is, Darcy is a changed man: he saves Elizabeth's family (the one that was so embarrassing, remember) by paying his sworn enemy. And all because of Elizabeth? That's some strong love.

But think about it. Is he really all that changed?
Yeah, he's nice now. Yeah, he's not always criticizing people.
But the only reason he's not doing that is because he's afraid to lose Elizabeth.
Ultimately, he's still the same person:
"Elizabeth did all she could to shield him from the frequent notice of either, and was ever anxious to keep him to herself, and to those of her family with whom he might converse without mortification."
No way would I want to have a husband that was so - sensitive. Ugh. He's just as proud as he ever was - he just is learning how to hide it.

My hope is that, in time, Darcy will learn by doing, and he won't need the motivation of Elizabeth to be a nice person. And it is true that this pride is the result of his upbringing.

But, to all the girls who are out there looking for "their Mr. Darcy," let me suggest that they look for"their Edward Ferrars," or "their Captain Wentworth," or, most of all, "their Mr. Knightly."
Mr. Darcy isn't bad, but there are definitely better!


(Read my other posts on Austen Dudes here!)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This is how I am going to die

Hello folks!

When you combine NaNoWriMo, College Apps, and a college Organic Chemistry class, blogging kind of falls to the wayside.
So I'll give you a little story that I wrote about a week ago while waiting for my train. It's was rather impromptu, and I haven't even polished it up at all, so don't expect an O'Henry or something.


This is how I am going to die

I am sitting at the train station when it starts to snow. I am early because I overestimated my time.

"I'll be fine," I had said when my mother protested the cold. "I'll have my book, I won't mind." And I don't mind. The snow begins to fall as the sharp wind whips at my scarf. It blows it off sending it flying away through the fog.
But I don't notice.
Why would I, when there's a battle going on before me in the pages of my book?

Eventually my hat follows the path of the scarf before it and my head is bare, my hair snapping about in front of my face. I push it aside with my cold fingers and continue reading. I've forgotten my gloves, but who cares? The hero has forgotten the important missive and is in dire straits.

Snow is slowly building up on my boots and my head but I pay it no mind. It engulfs in its grayish whiteness. I start loosing feeling in the hand that is holding the book, not to mention my nose and ears and chin. As snow covers the pages of my book, I am able to keep reading through the melted hole my weak breath makes in the snow as I lean over. It is the climactic moment!!!

As darkness overwhelms me, I hear a voice say, "Hullo."
"Eh?" I say, looking up, "It's almost done. Let me finish."
"It is done," says the voice.
"No it's not," I say. "The villain is just about to be defeated. Turn the freaking lights back on."
"Oh," says the voice, "I was talking about your life. It's done."
"Oh," I say. "Just let me finish the book, ok? Turn the lights back on, please."
"Hey!" says the voice. "Are you even listening? I said your life is done! Over. You're dead. Kaput. Gone to heaven. I'M GOD, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE."
"Ohhhh," I say. "Is it always this dark in heaven?"
"No," says God. "We're not there yet. Oh, here we are."

Suddenly we burst into light. There are glorious golden buildings with glorious golden figures walking about. It's like a book world! Suddenly I remember.

"Thanks for the light, God," I say, and look back down to the book in my hands. "I'll be right with you. Just let me finish the book. I'm almost done."




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Sequels

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish.
Today's topic is: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Get My Hands On!

Because I read only one book at a time, and because I have things like school that demand my attention, these sequels aren't necessarily recent publications (though some might be). I just haven't gotten around to them.

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth Yup.

2. The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde I've read all the others, but somehow never read this one... gotta get it from the library!

3. A Storm of Swords by R.R. Martin (and the rest of A Song of Ice and FireYeah, I really need to catch up on this series before the 6th book comes out!

4. Shades of Grey: Painting by Numbers by Jasper Fforde 


5. Shades of Grey: Gordini Protocols by Jasper Fforde

There's not even a hint of these coming out anytime soon (thus, no covers) Oh well...

6.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling Yes, I know, it's shameful. I somehow never got around to reading HP7. I promise, I'll do it soon!

Gah! I've run out of ideas!
Oh well - I guess if you add the rest of the Song of Ice and Fire books, it comes out to ten:

A Dance With Dragons US.jpg

(Does anyone know if the last one the official cover? It had a deviantart watermark on the bottom right corner.)