A Change of Plans

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Photo Credit

Okay guys, something that I’ve told a couple of you and that the rest of you have been in the dark about is that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my future, particularly my employment. I’ve mentioned it many times on here that I currently only work weekends at a job I’ve had for five years. You can do the easy math and realize that I’ve been there since I was 17, so this isn’t exactly a career for me. So I’ve been thinking about my future and I sought the advice of a few bloggers who I interact with quite a bit and also just a few friends of mine. Let me tell you what I asked most of them to consider before I continue.

There were three things. The first was that I move from my current job to working at the library or a bookstore. Both jobs would pay me less than I make now, but theoretically I’d be working more hours. The second was grad school. But I wasn’t thinking CJ, I was actually thinking library science. The third choice was a job in CJ, because after all, I have that degree thing.

Now let me tell you what those few people told me. A few said that if I want to work in a library or bookstore so that I could be surrounded by books all the time, then I should do it. A couple others said that I should work in CJ because I won’t really know what I think of it until I give it a shot. And one person was like “You’d be perfect in grad school!” That might even be a quote from her text.

Suffice it to say that there was no consensus on the matter.

So that’s what I asked them to consider and those were the answers I got back. But I was planning on writing this post to ask you all what you might do in my shoes. Obviously I would weigh what you all say a bit differently from what the others said because they’re more familiar with me and what I have going on, but this week that changed.

Because someone I know told me that it was pointless to even consider part time jobs if I already have one and I’m not going back to school. But idiot me goes off and makes some really dumb remarks, even though I was only getting what I asked for. This was someone who I trust enough to ask about something as important as my job future and who was trying to help me with that decision-making process, and I just went off on some inexplicable rant for no reason whatsoever. The point that I’m making by telling you all this is that she was right.

I’m not going to sit here and say that every other person I asked about this was just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear, because I’m not in their heads. What I am saying is that if you’re going to seek out advice, then really seek out advice and the opinions of whomever you’re asking, don’t just expect them to see everything exactly as you do. Because then you turn into me and disrespect people who don’t deserve that under any circumstances ever.

I’m sure you’ve gotten this far and are wondering what the heck the point of this post is. It’s actually quite simple. Prior to these past couple of days I’d decided that I wouldn’t go to grad school and that I wouldn’t work in CJ. But that’s no longer the decision I’ve made. It only took someone to sit me down and tell me what no one else would, that there really is only one choice in the matter…work in CJ.

And if you’ve made it this far now you might be thinking that I can do whatever I want. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with this choice I’ve made. No one is here holding a gun to my head and I wouldn’t be making it if I didn’t think it was the best choice.

And some of you may now be wondering about this blog or my writing, well I’ll keep blogging forever and my writing is just not what I’m focused on right now. I’ll refer you to a post at the beginning of the year here in which I stated that my goals for 2014 were to finish the book I’m currently working on and begin the query process, finish the next book in the series, if those don’t go to plan, then work in CJ. I’m not writing two books before the end of the year and I’ll be lucky to finish the first draft of my current WIP. Sounds like it’s going according to plan, right?

That’s all I have for you today.

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Reading Dialogue

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Photo Credit: Partridge Publishing

First, I’d like to thank Amy for giving me the idea to write this post. Even though I think she would have liked me to write a whole lot more on the topic than I have.

Reading dialogue can be one of my favorite parts of a reading a book, but we all know that it is not always a pleasant experience. I hate to keep mentioning this, but my main reason for disliking Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was because of the dialogue. It was so childlike. There were exclamation marks everywhere and even though they were meant to convey a sense of excitement, eventually the reader has to just think people are yelling at one another the whole time.

But we don’t have to always focus on the negative. I don’t have any particular titles in mind, but a story’s dialogue can also be the main reason for enjoying a story. The protagonist is often giving you information about himself (or her) throughout the book, but we can learn so much more if the story’s dialogue is written well.

What it comes down to for me is that dialogue is rarely just some part of the book. Often times it is pretty great or it’s pretty bad. I suppose there can be a middle ground when it’s just okay, but I haven’t read much of it.

So what about you? What makes you enjoy or dislike dialogue in a story?

Amazon v Hachette: Part II

Okay guys, this is going to be a rather short post because the a/c has not worked in my house for more than 24 hours and we found out that the unit can’t be fixed. So now we’re waiting for a new one. But sitting at the computer is making me sweat, so you’re getting a short post. It was right around 90 degrees in the house all night. Ugh.

So you all should know a little about the Amazon v Hachette dispute. Though it can’t be confirmed, the rumor is that the dispute is over how ebook prices will be split between the two. Typically retailers will take 30% of the list price, but word has it that Amazon wants more. That’s what we believe is at the heart of the dispute. As a result, Amazon has delayed the shipping of Hachette books and halted preorders.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I already wrote about that here. Recently Amazon offered to fund an author pool in conjunction with Hachette so that all affected authors would receive the full price of their books sold while negotiations are ongoing. But Hachette declined.

So before you go thinking Amazon is this evil empire trying to take over the universe, why not first ask the question of whether Hachette is really doing all this for their authors. I’m not so sure.

That’s all. I’m so hot I’m going to melt before this even publishes.

United Way’s Reading Together Program

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Photo Credit: The Tennessean

Okay. This weekend I came across something that I think is great and I immediately knew I had to write a post about it. If you live under a rock, United Way is non-profit organization that raises money for all kinds of programs from helping women escape abusive relationships to providing care for the elderly. They do something for everyone.

The program I’d like to tell you all about is called Reading Together. I’m not sure if it’s currently in every part of the country or not, but we’ll get to that in a second. Reading Together was started after a series of surveys conducted by United Way found that half of 4th graders in Texas are not as proficient in reading as they should be. So Reading Together is the result of those studies.

What is it? The program matches an adult volunteer with an elementary student for an entire school semester. The volunteer reader and the student will then spend an hour each week reading together. So easy and yet so important.

This came to my attention during a work meeting in which a United Way representative spoke to a number of our employees and said that her experience as a volunteer in the Reading Together program was something she’ll never forget, and I believe it.

See, I know a lot of people on here don’t like how I write my posts and I bet even more people don’t like how I interact with other bloggers. I’m perfectly fine with that, but this is important and it’s easy. Who cares what you think of me? If the numbers she gave are true about kids in Texas, then I’d be willing to bet that most states face similar struggles in getting students reading at the appropriate level. If you read my blog, then you likely love books and everything that has to do with them at least as much as I do. Show it. An hour a week for a single school semester is nothing. And there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll cherish the experience.

I’m not sure if Reading Together is operating in all parts of the country. I tried to find information on the website about it, but it just asks you to donate rather than volunteer. If you’re unable to volunteer a single hour each week to help a young student get reading, then this is one of those programs that you may consider donating to. Here is the link to the United Way volunteer page, perhaps you can donate your time to one of their many programs.

Questions 41-55 About Books and Reading

So we’ve reached the final set of questions. I think you’ll know just about all there is to know about me and books and reading once we finish this last bunch. But if you need to catch up, here are the links to the previous posts with the questions leading up to today’s post.

Monday.

Tuesday.

Wednesday.

Thursday.

All caught up? Perfect. Let’s see what else I have for you all. Fair warning, this is a little lengthy. As in my longest post I’ve written. But it’s okay. There are some great questions toward the end!

41. The longest you’ve gone without reading

Well I didn’t hardly read at all during middle or high school. I mean, those are like full time jobs. Where could I find the time? So I’ll just say I’m sure somewhere along the line I made it a full year without reading a book from start to finish that wasn’t assigned reading.

42. Name a book that you did not finish

Well up until very recently my list of DNFs was quite small. But then I just started reading some books I didn’t like. I’ll just mention the most recent one. A Wrinkle in Time. And it’s so short, but I hated it from page one.

43. What distracts you when you’re reading?

Everything. I’m almost always in silence when I read. Occasionally I’ll read with the TV on mute.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel

This is tough. I think I’ll have to declare a three-way tie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But the only thing is that I haven’t actually made it that far into the world of Harry. Those two are based solely off the movies because I think they were great. I’ve obviously read Catching Fire and saw the movie on release day and thought it was true to the book and better than the first.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation

The Great Gatsby (2013). When you see that cast you expect a pretty damn good movie to result, and it didn’t. I had this on my DVR for months and I finally started watching it a few weeks ago. To say that I was wildly disappointed would be an understatement. I just didn’t understand the crap music in the movie. And it won a freaking Oscar for it! Just didn’t like the final product that was adapting a great, great book.

46. The most money you’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time

I’ve never been one to buy a bunch of books at once. It’s expensive. And you all know I only read one book at a time. I’ve spent maybe $35 on Amazon at one time. And I think when my local Borders store was closing down I may have spent between $20-$30. I’ll never spend more than that at any one time. Makes no sense. I’m sorry I’m not rich like you.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

Never. I read mostly series. And when I finish one I don’t even see what the next is about before buying it. I’ll literally read the back cover text of the book seconds before I start reading the book. I have no idea what the book is about until I’m ready to read it through. Just how I am. Skimming a book seems like stealing to me. Why not just go to Barnes and Noble everyday for a week and finish the whole book there? That’s what skimming is like to me.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?

The story. The main character. The writing. Any number of things. One of the most recent books I stopped halfway through was because the author wrote entire chapters of description. These were like 25 page chapters of nothing but description. not only was that boring, but holy crap it was annoying. Give me some dialogue or action or something!

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Whaa? I love books. More than non-book blogging people can possibly understand. You know how we randomly play out crazy “what-if” scenarios our heads to see if we’ll know how we’d react? Well I do that all the time. And very recently I thought of a house fire and what I might do. Guess what I came up with rather quickly? I’d break the window in my room by throwing my night stand out and then I’d grab one of those super heavy duty trash bags and just start throwing all my books in there as fast as possible. I think they’d all fit without ripping the bag. Then I’d throw them through the window and see what else is happening in the house. So yes, I keep my books organized because they’re my most prized possessions. Sure I have one on my bed and a few on my desk, but my shelves are perfect.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away after reading them?

Reread my answer to the previous question. Do you honestly think I would give away books if I’m over here talking about breaking windows and inhaling smoke just to save my books? No. Matter of fact, hell no. I will never give away any book I own. Even the ones I don’t like. And it really ticks me off to see that some people are willing to give away boxes and boxes of them. If there ever came a time in which I didn’t have enough room to keep all of my book, then I would throw away unnecessary furniture or I’d have them in storage or in the garage if it was climate controlled. I don’t care what you say, there will never be a valid reason for me to give away any one of my books. And when I’m older and dying I’ll probably leave them to someone in my family who vows not to ever give them away, in writing. If no one like that can be found, then I’d donate them to a library or charity. They’ll never just be given away. Rather serious answer there.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?

Avoiding isn’t the correct term. There is only one type of book that I’ll never read. Erotica. Cause no. Even though there are several books I’m not interested in reading like Twilight, I would read those four books fifty times before ever reading erotica.

52. Name a book that made you angry

Crap. Plenty of books have made me emotional. But I really can’t think of one that made me angry. Honestly, I don’t get angry but in very specific circumstances. Books don’t fit the bill.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did

The Hunger Games. Shocker, right? It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to like it, it was that I had no idea what it was about or why the heck my brother had been telling me over and over to read it. It was one of those rare instances in which I went in with no expectations because we all know my take on recommending books. Just because he liked it didn’t mean I would. But hey, now I’m obsessed with the series and I’ve been introduced to my future wife in Jennifer Lawrence and I’ll likely be getting that mockingjay tattoo I told you all about.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, we’ve all seen the first movie. And probably many of you have seen the second. I really thought this would be a great book. Roald Dahl is freaking beloved. But it wasn’t. It was not good at all. Oh well.

55. Favorite guilt-free pleasure reading

Nothing. I read whatever I want. Period.

Yeahhhh! All done! Any thoughts on the last bunch of questions? Or are you just ready for me to get back to my regular posts? Probably choice B. No worries. Monday shall be more normal.

Questions 31-40 About Books and Reading

By now you should know that I’ve spent this week answering questions about books and reading. If not, that’s okay. You’re just out of the loop. You can change that by clicking here to navigate to the first post from Monday. And then Tuesday. And Wednesday. That will get you up to date and all caught up for today’s questions.

31. How do you feel about giving negative reviews?

Well anyone who reads my blog knows that I don’t write book reviews. Read this for my reasons why. But for the sake of this question let’s pretend that my entire blog is book reviews. I get ARCs from authors and publishers and whomever. I’m writing several reviews a week. If this were the case, I would have no reservations about writing a negative review. It really irks me to see all these blogs reviewing books every week and seeing that they won’t go below a four star review for any book. What is the reasoning for this? No really, tell me why you do this because you know you do. It’s stupid. And makes it seem like you give EVERYTHING a positive review even though you and I and everyone else knows that you can’t possibly like every book you read that much. So if you don’t post negative reviews, then I’d like to know why. Cause you’re not helping anyone.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which would it be?

Spanish. Because I already can read a little bit. And because if I could read it, then I could speak it, and I think Spanish is the sexiest language ever. Unless you’re speaking so fast that my mind is blowing up. Seriously, talk to me in Spanish while maybe wearing cowboy boots and perhaps a cowboy hat AND yeah, I’ll probably faint. And dream about your perfection.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read

I’m not intimidated by any books. Quick story, I remember my junior year of high school some kid who was a year behind me but in my Algebra II class made a comment about my not being able to understand whatever book he was reading in his English class. Maybe it was A Tale of Two Cities? Not sure, but I think it’s hilarious now. Some little shit who I can literally throw across the room with no effort at all saying something like that to me. We’ll forget the fact that I’d never even stepped foot inside a gym back then. And we’ll also forget that I finished my undergrad with honors in three years. But I can’t comprehend some book? This would be where I’d normally rattle off a few cuss words, but I won’t. Little prick.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin

Refer to previous question.

35. Favorite poet

I don’t have a favorite poet who you all would know. But I do have a favorite from here on WordPress. I’m not going to link to her blog because she doesn’t post her poems on here too often, but I’ve gotten to read more than what she has on here and I love every single one. Her name’s Mahrukh. Shhhhh I didn’t tell her I was writing this.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at one time?

Interesting. I’ve already made it clear that I don’t use the library at all. Zero.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?

I have no idea. Now stop asking about the library. Fair warning.

38. Favorite fictional character

I KNOW you all know the answer to this without reading my response. The Girl on Fire. Katniss Everdeen. I could go on and on about her day after day and week after week, but I won’t. She’s independent. Resourceful. Strong. She’s simply more than just a character in some book. And a million thousand other things that you can come up with because I will literally write thousands of words all about her if given the chance. So, moving on.

39. Favorite fictional villain

Ooooooh. I was sitting here trying to decide between Voldemort and President Snow. But then I realized that there’s someone who epitomizes the title of villain. Can you think of him? 19th century. One of the most widely recognized names in all of literature. Dracula. I really hope that you’ve read Bram Stoker’s classic by now. Especially if you read about vampires today. No. I don’t care what you’ve read written in recent years, Dracula is the vampire you want to read about. Period. That book is the first that comes to mind if I think of good vs. evil. And it’s one of the few stories that I will never forget. And it’s because of the impact that a single individual has on so many. Favorite villain, the Count. No doubt about it.

40. Books you’re most likely to bring on holiday

I’m not sure what this means. Like summer break? Or vacation? I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t take my books anywhere. They stay home. On the shelves. I’m not that reader who has to be reading something at all times. Eh. Those people annoy me.

So there you have today’s questions. And I must say that these may have been my favorite to answer so far. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Think I’m a crazy who needs help? Let me know. I’ll answer the final 15 questions tomorrow. Be on the lookout!

Questions 21-30 About Books and Reading

I surely hope you’ve been reading my posts this week. If not, well then I don’t much like you at the moment. BUT we can change that! On Monday I started a list of 55 questions about books and reading that I found on another blog. I’m answering 10 questions each day this week. You can read Monday’s post here and Tuesday’s post here. Let’s get to today’s questions!

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

I almost wanted to say “here, read this” to answer this question. I was going to link to my post titled Recommending Books. But no need to start off this set of questions on a bad note. I don’t recommend books. I have before, but just because I love something doesn’t mean that every person in the world is also going to love that same thing. You’ll get no recommendations from me unless you explicitly ask knowing that I never give them out and have no idea if you’ll even enjoy the book.

22. Favorite genre

How is it that we’re basically repeating questions already? How is one’s favorite genre any different from one’s reading comfort zone? I’m not repeating my answer. It’s question #12  here if you’re interested in going back to check it.

23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did

This is such a dumb question. Seriously. If there’s a genre I want to read then common sense would tell you that I’d read it. I’m starting to think a robot came up with these. I have no response.

24. Favorite biography

Shit. Do people read these? I don’t. I have no favorite. Come on with the questions!

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

I’m trying to think of topics I’d need help with that Google can’t help with. Can’t think of one. Maybe in an alternate universe in which Google and the internet don’t exist, then maybe I’ll read a self-help book. So no, I haven’t.

26. Favorite cookbook

Oh come on. Who the heck do I look like? I use the microwave. And occasionally a George Foreman. I don’t cook and I definitely don’t read cookbooks. It’s like all the bad questions on the list have been bunched together.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year

Anne Frank. Because Harry Potter and company or Hazel Grace Lancaster or Alex Cross just don’t meet the bill to be considered inspiring. Not by me, anyway.

28. Favorite reading snack

Another thing I do not understand is reading while eating. I can’t even watch TV while I eat. Unless it’s something I’m not paying attention to. I just don’t get how someone can touch some food and then touch their book right after. I mean, you’re stupid. And probably obese. I don’t eat anything while reading so I have no favorite reading snack.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience

First off, if you read a book because of its hype…you’re dumb. Second, hype has never ruined any book for me. The only one I can think of that I read while there was hype going on was The Fault in Our Stars. I thought it was great because I thought it was great. Not because every other person in the universe thought so. I did read The Hunger Games about a month before the first movie came out. Again, thought it was great because that’s what I thought of the book. All the other books I’m thinking of that have had a lot of hype surrounding them have not graced my Kindle or my shelves.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

Huh? I hope readers don’t care what critics have to say about books. A few of the James Patterson books I’ve read have received very negative reviews from critics and I haven’t read one that didn’t entertain me yet. Sure the writing may not be incredible and the stories may not be the most believable, but I don’t read fiction because I want to read something that I could see happen on the street. I read fiction because I want to be entertained. Critics mean absolutely nothing when it comes to what I think of books I’ve read.

Okay. I have to say that I was bit disappointed with these questions, but they got better toward the end. Any thoughts? 31-40 tomorrow!