Organizing Your Bookshelf

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Photo Credit: Call Me Crazy Reviews

I know there are plenty of people who have books all over the place. The floor, the coffee table, the sofa…just about everywhere. I wouldn’t consider myself one of these people. I have my two shelves right here that are a bit dusty, but nonetheless fairly organized.

I’ve always wondered at how people organize their own shelves. Not really because I care, but because I can’t see myself organizing mine any differently. Before I tell you how I have my books organized, let’s talk about some ways you might organize yours.

Author Last Name

Fair enough. I think every bookstore I’ve ever been in has organized their books by author last name. The books are easy to find and you have all of the author’s books in close proximity to one another.

Genre

For all of you diverse readers, this may be best suited for you. Maybe you read some romance and sci-fi and YA and mystery and you want them to be separate for when you go back and reread your books. I mean, bookstores are basically set up this way with the different aisles for different genres, so why not your personal collection?

Book Title

Can’t go wrong here. You have your books in alphabetical order based on the book’s title. Easy enough.

Now let me tell you how mine are organized. Answer choice C. I ¬†have my books in alphabetical order based on the book’s title. I suppose I could just as easily have them listed by author last name, but I’ve never liked that. I know it works for others because I’ve seen their shelves, but eh I like my way.

So that’s it. How do you organize your bookshelves? Do you use one of the three systems I mentioned or something else?

Inked (poem)

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Inked

Awkward stares
Worse thoughts
All because
Of something I’m not

I’m reckless, a criminal
And maybe a fool
But you don’t see
I’m not even judging you

I work, I play
As do you
But I’m different
Cause I have tattoos

What I don’t know
And don’t quite see
Is why I’m judged
Cause I express myself differently

But need not worry
It’s okay
I’m quite content
Without your say

The stares will still come
And eyes will roll
I’m just inked
You’re judgmental


Okay guys, this is the first poem I wanted to share with you all. I’d love to know what you think. Please!

Photo Credit: 1Funny

A Birthday Post (not mine)

Okay guys, y’all know every so often I’ll write about topics that have nothing to do with books or writing. I do this because I don’t know about you, but there’s more to me than talking about books. It’s quite minimal, actually. I pretty much only talk about that stuff on here. Anyway, today’s post is about someone I’ve actually already written about on here before. And it’s her birthday today. Her name is Lilly, but her 4 million YouTube subscribers know her as Superwoman. I first wrote about her in July when I just happened upon one of her videos. Suffice it to say that I haven’t missed a single video or vlog of hers since. Here’s my letter.

Dear Superwoman,

It’s your birthday and I imagine you have things to do and people to see to help celebrate this grand occasion. I’m hoping you’ll be able to take just a few minutes to read this.

I have to be honest with you, I am a very late comer to Team Super. I’ve never previously been someone who would subscribe to YouTube channels or watch too many videos. Mostly YouTube was where I’d listen to music to decide if a particular song was worth downloading. The funny part is that I discovered your channel by doing just that. It was the first week of July and a random article appeared in my Facebook News Feed talking about a YouTube comedian and rapper and this generation. I honestly had no idea what it was talking about or why I even clicked it. But I did. I read the article and thought I might as well watch the video. I watched the video and could not stop singing #Leh for a good couple of weeks. I downloaded it and watched something like 50 of your videos over the next two days. You had me hooked.

That’s my little story about how I discovered your channel. I subscribe to four channels and two of them are yours. But this post isn’t meant to tell you how hilarious I think you are or which of your videos is my favorite. I’d like to tell you why it is that I’ve come to enjoy what you do. So let me tell you.

You say shemurr. You call your fans unicorns. I could go on and on, it’s all great. Truly. And of course all of that is part of the reason why I’m so entertained by you, but there’s so much more. Ask me to describe you in one word. I’d choose genuine. And I didn’t even have to think about it. Why? Because over the course of the last few years you’ve been so very open with your viewers. Are there things that we don’t know about you, I’m sure, but there’s something to be said about someone allowing millions of people in on their life. I couldn’t do it. And I know most people couldn’t, but you have. I mean, who hasn’t seen video or pictures of some celebrity walking around with an entourage 10 or 20 deep. It’s like they operate as a wall between them and the so-called “regular” people. But not you.

You vlog everywhere and I’ve never seen you surround yourself with people or security or anything like that. I think this is part of the reason why your viewers are so enthusiastic. You’re approachable and you don’t cut them off. People ask for a hug and you give one. People ask you to sign something and you do so. People ask to take a picture and you never refuse. People cry and freak out upon meeting you because you’re a friend. Sure you’re a celebrity and it’d be impossible for you to get to know every one of your viewers, but I can sit here and honestly say there’s no doubt in my mind that we could meet and have a short conversation. That’s what makes you different from other people in the public eye.

Lilly, you may very well be the best at what you do, but you’re still a better person. So happy birthday! 26 is only a little old. ūüėČ

Sincerely,

A unicorn by the name of John Guillen

PS: that Harry Potter cake in one of your super early videos was INCREDIBLE! Second, I think this satisfies your request from your last video to tell people about your channel.


 

Back to you WordPress reader, you can check out her channel here.

I leave you with one of my favorite videos she’s done.

Have a Favorite Writing Instrument?

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Photo Credit: RGI Publications

I have to be honest with you all, I have a list of post ideas on my phone and I picked this one because I figured it’d take the least amount of time for me to write. Most only take about 20 minutes or so, but I’m sleepy and I’m looking to cut that time in half. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

How many writing instruments would you say we have available to us? I’m thinking maybe a handful? For the sake of this post I was going to focus on the physical act of writing, but we write on computers more than just about anything, right? So I think it’s only fair to include them in any discussion about writing instruments. So let’s see…pen. pencil. Laptop/desktop. Are there any more? I mean, I guess markers and crayons too. But the only writing done with either of those two is on the walls by the baby who thinks he’s helping decorate his room. Oh, a quill! Are there places you can actually buy ink and quills? I’m not sure about those. Anyway, those are the only writing instruments I can think of. I guess typewriters count too, especially since I can shamelessly link back to that post just because I mentioned them. Ha.

Let’s see if I have a favorite. Pens. They’re easy to write with unless they have some kind of gel ink that smears as you write across. I have to admit that I have a couple dozen notebooks from college full of pages and pages of notes from various classes and probably like 95% of all of that was with pencil. I’m not sure how come I did that. Maybe I made a lot of mistakes in the course of note taking and I didn’t want to have my pages full of things scratched out? It was always mechanical pencils with the nice erasers too.

On another note, I had a lot of gel pens in elementary school? Wait, is that weird? Uh oh. Oh well. So what’s your favorite writing instrument? Maybe it’s one I didn’t mention?

Something New

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Photo Credit: This Big Happy

Anyone who has followed my blog for as little as a few weeks knows that I’ll pretty much write about anything pertaining to books. You could enter any number of keywords into the little search bar to the right and I’m certain that multiple posts will come up for any of the main keywords you can think of. With that being said, there is something I’ve adamantly left off the blog during my 15 or so months on WordPress. Can you guess what it is? I think my die hards just may be able to.

I’ve never published my own writing on here and even wrote a post about why I’ve chosen to do this. Welllll I’ve been doing a little thinking and I may change my position. But now you might wondering what I’ll even post since most of you are well aware of the fact that I’m not actively working on my WIP. I’ve said this many times in prior posts. So what will I even post on here?

I’m glad you asked. You see, a type of writing that I thoroughly enjoy reading is poetry. I’ll never claim to be a poet or to have any idea what the heck I’m doing when it comes writing poems, but I’ve written a few poems this year that I thought were okay. Now I’m thinking I may write a few more to share with you all. What do ya think? I mean, it’s worth a try. This is not me being one of those people who thinks anyone can write poetry. Trust me, I don’t think that at all. You can think of this more as me testing out the waters of something so very foreign to me.

I don’t have a set schedule for when I might post poems I’ve written, nor do I know when I’ll have my first for you all. But you’ll see when I do and all I ask is that you be respectful. Cause I’m perfectly fine writing my rants on everything books, but posting my own writing on here is a little scary. A little. Okay, not really.

So tell me what you think of this idea. Tell me now.

Take Your Pick: Hardcovers v. Paperbacks

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Photo Credit: Out of Print

¬†I’m pretty sure I’ve written about every logical book related question you can think of. Print v. e-books. Standalone novels v. series. Types of e-readers. Different genres. And a million others I honestly can’t think of right now because I’ve written way too many posts to remember each one. I’ve had this question on my little docket for some time now. I don’t know if I was saving it for any particular day or what, but it’s been waiting to be written and now I guess it’s happening.

So, hardcover v. paperback. I think I typically list out some of the positives of each choice whenever I write these comparison posts, so might as well get to it.

Hardcovers

I have to be honest here. I’m not seeing a long list of positives for hardcovers. They’re way overpriced it’s not even funny. I mean, I love books as much or more than the next person but I am not okay with spending $29.95 for a book. No. Thankfully, Amazon and other retailers often slash the price of hardcovers immediately. But if they’re not new or bestsellers, then you better pull out your wallet. I don’t even pay that much for Blu-rays. Hm. Let’s see. They’re also bulky. They can potentially be used as weapons in the event of nothing better. They take up a lot of room on the shelf. And I can’t be the only one who hates those stupid dust jacket covers that always want to slide off while I’m trying to read. So annoying. Oh wait, I was supposed to list the positives here. Okay. If you’re lucky enough to meet an author, they much prefer to sign hardcovers over paperbacks. I don’t know why, maybe larger pages?

Paperbacks

Now this may be a bit more positive. Let’s see. They’re typically less than half the price of the hardcover edition. Don’t forget it is the exact same book. They’re much easier to carry around if you’re into that sort of thing (I take my books to my bed and nowhere else.) They’re easier to store on your shelf. ¬†In my opinion, they’re more pleasing to admire on said shelf. Easier to hold while reading. And I have more paperbacks signed by authors than hardcovers. So there. The only real negative is that they’re often released almost a year after the hardcover. Stupid publishers.

For the sake of this post I tallied up my books so I could provide some concrete evidence about what I think of this little question here. I have 175 books. 41 hardcovers. 134 paperbacks. Hm sorry Big Five. Not really.

So tell me which side of the fence you fall on. I’m obviously having trouble seeing any reason to have shelves full of hardcovers, maybe you’ll offer some insight.

Read a Banned Book This Week

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Photo Credit: EventKeeper

I think Banned Books Week actually began yesterday, but I was too busy writing about candlelight to remember that I wanted to write a post about it. Whoops.

So, it’s officially Banned Books Week 2014. Don’t you think this week should be a bit more celebrated than it is? I mean, I would be willing to put a whole lot of money on the fact that no one in my family even knows about it. I wish someone would give me that opportunity so I could become an instant millionaire. But no, no one has asked me to bet any money. It’s an unfortunate occurrence. But now you get to hear about it from me.

Each year the American Library Association releases its annual list of most challenged books. These challenges are not astronomical numbers, but they do happen and come from religious groups, parents, and sometimes even teachers. Don’t be misled by the name of the annual list or by the name of the week itself. These books aren’t banned, just challenged. Well I guess technically some books are actually banned in other parts of the world where banned books is a real thing, but that has nothing to do with what I’m writing here.

So the ALA releases its list relatively early in the year and then celebrates Banned Books Week a little later on. Now I know what you’re wondering. How can you celebrate? Simple, read a book from the list. Or two. Or the top ten. Here’s a refresher of the current list of the most banned books.

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian bu Sherman Alexie

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

6.  A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

9. Bless me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

So there you have the top ten. And if you’re in a celebratory mood and feel like reading one of the books listed, then I’d suggest tackling #5. But that’s just me.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week?

Also, if you’re interested in my thoughts about each book on the list, check out this post from earlier this year in which I discuss each book.

Writing by Candlelight

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Photo Credit: Pubhist

Hopefully you read my last post in which I wrote about that old thing known as a typewriter. In writing that post I got to thinking about something else I’ve never had to do because of technology. Writing by candlelight. How cool would that be? To be sitting there at your desk writing away into the early morning hours with a small candle lighting your pages. I can’t even write out posts in dim lighting because I can barely see the keys of the keyboard.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I’d rather write with a typewriter or that I’d rather write by candlelight just because, but I do think I’d like to experience the difficulty of typing on an old typewriter and also that of writing in near darkness. Technology is fine and dandy, but it’s contributed to all the distractions that now exist, especially for writers. So why not write without any distractions for a little while? Even if it’s a bit more time consuming.

What do you think about writing by candlelight? Would you ever try it? I think I would, assuming I didn’t light my house on fire.

Give me a Typewriter

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I’m not a big fan of collecting things. Besides books. And empty water bottles. And Smoothie King cups. But I’m REALLY not a fan of collecting older, antique type things. That isn’t to say that I’m constantly striving to get the newest and greatest toy, cause I’m not. My laptop is…five years old already. It’s bulky and I don’t take it anywhere for two reasons. It’s giant. And it’s like carrying a briefcase. Uh no. I guess that was really one reason.

Anyway, the point I’m making is that collecting things is not something I’m interested in. BUT I’m thinking I’ve never actually seen a typewriter. Ever. How can this be!? I don’t think I’d have any idea how to work it but it can’t be that hard, right? Maybe I should ask Santa for a typewriter for Christmas, although I’m wondering if I’m allowed to celebrate even though I’m not Christian or Catholic. Hm. Maybe I’ll just wait for my birthday, then. Except I just realized I have no one to ask. Not like I’m going to ask ¬†my parents when I’m about to be 23 in a few short months. Ugh.

Oh wait! I know who I can ask. YOU! I entertain you. I mostly reply to your comments. I share a passion for books much the same as I assume you do. It’s only fair for me to want you to give me a little something in return after more than 250 posts.

I’m totally kidding. I do think it would be fun to play around with a typewriter a little bit. I mean, imagine carrying that thing into a quiet little coffee shop and typing away for a few hours. Or a Barnes and Noble. Or a library! Ha!

Have you ever had the chance to write something using a typewriter?

Let’s Get Hypothetical

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Photo Credit: Savvy Stews

Hm. Oh the many things I could ask now that we’re speaking hypothetically. There’re writing questions. And book questions. And character questions. And publishing questions. And author questions. And reading questions. And…okay you get the point. There are SO many things I could ask you right now. Some questions would be outlandish and you might just give me a weird look, but others would really make you think. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

So hopefully I’ve come up with one that will make you think just a bit. I’ll give you a slight heads up. We’re about to talk publishing. Okay. No, I’m not going to just ask if you prefer traditional over self-publishing. That’d be too easy. I’m also not going to ask what you think about the current dispute between Amazon and Hachette. Nope.

Here’s our little scenario. You’re an author. You’ve written what you think is a pretty damn good book. It isn’t your first foray into fiction, but you’re not exactly the most experienced author out there. So now you’re considering your publishing options. You’re thinking the story is worthy of a big publisher that can put some marketing behind it, but you haven’t forgotten about those 92 rejections your last novel received before you ultimately decided to shelve it for the time being, Then a strange little man appears on your doorstep and before you can make up an excuse to get him off your porch he barges in without a word.

You start to protest but he’s able to quiet you just by lifting his index finger in the air. Then he sits down and waits for you to do the same. ¬†You do so against the screaming voice in your head. Then he says, “I have a proposition for you.” He doesn’t wait for you to respond. “You have two very simple choices to choose from when it comes to that book you’ve just finished. And you must make your decision before I leave here.” You nod your head with a confused look on your face. How the heck did he know about your book? After getting people excited about the last one and having it go nowhere you’d told not a single person about this one. You’re probably about to be cut up into pieces by this little man, you think.

“Okay,” he says, “listen very carefully to your choices. I’m only going to say them once.” You nod again. Your curiosity getting the best of you. “Your first choice is that a big publisher publishes your book. You’re new to them so they won’t get behind you as much as their more established authors. But you accomplish your goal of being published by a Big 5 publisher. There’s a slight catch. You won’t make any money off the book.” The hopes that had built up inside you as he spoke disappeared as soon as he finished.

“Your second choice is a bit different. You decide against traditional publishing like so many have before you. You publish an e-book online. You expect to sell a few copies to family and friends before the book falls into the recesses of the self-publishing craze. But you’re wrong. Some promotional things you do for the book pan out and you sell more than 1,000 the first month and you’re above the moon. But it gets better and after six months you’ve sold nearly 15,000 copies of your book. Your royalty is just under $5 a book. A year later you’ve written another book that you have already decided will be published online only as an e-book. Traditional publishing is not something you’ll ever consider again. The final part of this scenario is that your e-books will not be published in print.”

You should be wondering how this little man can possibly come up with these things, but you’re not. Your mind is racing trying to come up with a valid response that isn’t just “whaa.” Every real writer still wants to be traditionally published, right? All the writers in your critique group have expressed such disgust with self-publishing that you stopped mentioning it long ago. Self-published authors aren’t really authors.

But on the other hand you could quit your job at the newspaper that you hate. The people suck. The stories suck. It all sucks. But then you’d likely never show your face at critique group meetings again. Your book would never be on bookshelves at the bookstore down the street from your apartment. And whenever people asked who published your book you’d have to say you did.

He stands up. “I’m leaving now. You need to pick one.”


What would you do?