Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Follow Friday and TGIF!

Happy New Year's Eve and Happy Saturday!  I was preoccupied with tons of things yesterday, so the Friday memes are going to have to take place today for me.  Here we go!

Follow Friday and TGIF are brought to you by Parajunkee and Ginger @ GReads.

The New Year is here-- and everyone wants to know your New Year's Blogging Resolution!  What are you going to try to revise, revamp, and redo for 2012 on your blog?

I'll keep this part particularly short, because I plan on doing a separate blog post for this (when, I'm not sure, but it will get done!).  In 2012, I plan to...

  • Okay, no promises on this, but maybe try doing giveaways.  The reason why I wasn't doing this before is because I'm still living at my parent's house and it just seemed a little weird to me to do this.  So when I move out, it might be something kind of fun to do.  This being said, my next bullet point is...
  • Talk to publishers so that I can get ARCs.  If you have any advice on this at all, I'm all ears.  Please tell me how to do this and there could be giveaways in the future of "Whirlwind."
  • Do reading challenges!  I found those to be quite a hoot this year, so I'm going to do them again this year. I won't create a lot of my own challenges this time though.  I've found that I have trouble keeping up with my own challenges when I make them.
First and Last: What was the first book you finished in 2011 and the last book you finished in 2011?  How do you feel about these books?  Would you recommend them to other readers?

Looking through my old book reviews, it looks like the first book that I finished reading in 2011 was 'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen.  The last book that I've finished and reviewed was 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I would absolutely recommend both of these books-- I think those were two of my absolute favorite books that I've ever read, and I'm pleased that I had the opportunity to read such awesome literature this year!  Now we just have to make 2012 even better :)  If you'd like to read my opinion on these books, click the titles and you will be taken to my reviews of them.  

Have an excellent New Years!  To those in Europe and countries other than the U.S. in different time zones, tell me how the New Year is, since you'll get to experience it before me.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where I've Been All This Time

Hello there!  So, I haven't been very present for the past ten days or so.  But I have an excuse!  Over the past ten or so days, I've been...
... making snow angels in the middle of frozen lakes!  Okay, not exactly in the middle, but still on a frozen lake.  Where I live, it's been uncommonly warm.  It's been forty degrees Fahrenheit for the past week, so my cousins, sister, and I decided to take a walk around a lake close to my grandma's house.  It's insane, because last year at this time, we had like, five feet of snow.  Now there's nothing, and it's really actually nice :)
My cousin McKenna and sister Shannon
Cousins Thomas, Kenna, and Sister Shannon
Seesters!
So yeah!  I've been hanging out with family this weekend!  Also, during my absence, I turned eighteen, but there will be more on that later in video form.

I haven't had a lot of time to read what I want to read-- it's all reading for school.  So I haven't been very motivated to read (though I do need to finish one by tomorrow... oops...) so I can't really give you a specific date on when the next review will be.  So there might be a bundle of lists and picture posts headed your way soon.  I'll space them out though.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Review of 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro

I know, I know... "It's about time, Jude!"
"From Book Prize-winning author Kazuo Kshiguro comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them so special-- and how the gift will shape the rest of their time together.  Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day."
In a word: Stunning.

I finished this book just today (I was supposed to finish about a week ago, but... eh, too late to turn back now) and if I could cry during sad books or movies, I would have been balling.  I'm really glad that this was a discussion book, otherwise I probably would not have realized the full magnitude of the sadness of this book.

This book is romantic, it's... slightly historical, but not too much.  It's a little bit scientific, but it doesn't go in depth when explaining certain processes (I'll tell you a little later, but I'll put a spoiler tag.  Seriously, if you know about the students of Hailsham, everything will make so much more sense.  It did for me).  This book is more for those that like reading romance novels, sad novels, controversial novels... anything like that, this book is for you.

Now it's spoiler time.  Don't read any further if you want to discover everything for yourself.  If you don't mind being spoiled, read ahead and the book will make a lot more sense.

SPOILER

The children of Hailsham are all clones.  Their "possible" is their original.  This whole story is based on the central question of "Are clones really human?"

This is the most amazing book I've ever read.  It's touched my soul like no other book has to date (aside from Harry Potter, maybe). 

I give 'Never Let Me Go':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

P.S. I have a few more sad books to read and then there'll be books about food.  Or sad books about food.  I certainly didn't plan it this way, but now you kind of know what to expect soon!

I apologize for not posting this review yesterday.  Funny story: early yesterday morning (like, 2:30 am) I woke up and I decided to finish the three papers that I needed to turn in in twelve hours.  I finished two of them and then my power cord for my laptop broke.  I was running on a battery that was only going to last another hour-- my computer is about six years old and I haven't replaced the battery since I initially bought it, so that's why it doesn't last very long.  So, I'm using my dad's computer to keep on blogging and keeping up with the various other computer-related things until Amazon sends my new power cord (yes!  Amazon.com is amazing and I'm only just beginning to discover it's awesomeness!).

Follow Friday/TGIF-- December 17, 2011

Happy Friday!  Saturday!  The day that it currently is!

Follow Friday and TGIF are brought to you by Parajunkee and Ginger @ GReads!  Let's go to question time!

When you've read a book, what do you do with it (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it?)

Typically, I borrow things from the library, so after I'm done reading and reviewing a book, I'll bring it back :)  But when I buy a book (usually from Half-Price Book-- that place has spoiled me, I swear) and I really, really like it to a certain point where I would absolutely give it to a future daughter/son of mine, I will keep it on my bookshelf forever.  This could be a problem when I go to college, but it's a welcome one, I guess.  I haven't done this yet, but I have a pile of books that I'm planning on selling because I've had them for years and I haven't been able to get past the beginning.  So when I get a decent enough pile, I'll take those over to Half-Price and sell them.  It should be an adventure!

Most Popular: What blog post has gotten the most activity/comments on your blog this year? 

THIS ONE and THAT-A ONE.  They both have 16 comments on them and incidentally, they're both Follow Friday/Blog Hop posts (no TGIF yet!).  So... there are more questions to read, if you want.  I guess bloggers really like to meet people!

Thanks for stopping by today!  If you'd like me to stop by your blog sometime, leave a comment below with your web address and I'll try my best to come by for a visit this weekend!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Monday, December 12, 2011

Musings on a Less Than Awesome Day

Today has not been a fantastically awesome day.

First, my alarm never woke me up this morning.

Then, I discovered that a majority of the band that I play in does not like Harry Potter.  We had a song, we read it, it was beautiful and totally not a lame rendition of many of the songs from Sorcerer's Stone, and then it was voted off the island.  Now we're playing music from The Incredibles, Fiddler on the Roof, and Porgy and Bess.  I hate the Porgy and Bess song.  Am I a terrible person?  There is kind of an up side to this horrible occurrence though.  The Community Band gets to play Harry Potter now.  I'm going to ask my director when they're going to start playing it and then promptly join in on the next available Tuesday.  I think I'll do that tomorrow.

I'm having trouble finishing books.  Like I said in my previous post, I have three going.  That's changed.  I just received my fourth one.  I miss reading the books that I want to read and I miss writing reviews.  I'm trying very hard to finish "Never Let Me Go" so I can begin reviewing that.  If I can finish one, the others are sure to follow very soon.

Participation, for me, doesn't come easily in my college-level English class.  I'm constantly thinking about what we're reading and what everyone else is saying, but it's the saying things out loud part that I can't seem to grasp.  I got one of my essay/journal things back and there was a big fat C on it.  On the essay/journal things, this is a regular occurrence and I can't seem to shake it.  My teacher keeps telling me that I'm not articulating my points enough, but when I'm writing these essay/journals, it feels like I've reached my point.  He never elaborates on how I can elaborate and explain my points better.  It's really frustrating.  I'm not used to being bad at English.  I left the classroom today feeling incompetent thinking to myself, "Really?  You want to be an English teacher?  Yeah, your students are screwed..."  I keep thinking back to myself, "Yes, I really want to be an English teacher.  Just not like my current English teacher."  So I guess I'll never be a college English professor.

Math was better.  I can always rely on that class to be constant and mostly unchanging.  We change seats every once in a while, but that's about it.  The information is broken down enough where I can understand it and feel a little more competent at life again.

Biology is getting better.  It's chaotic, but it's getting better.  We're not receiving gobs of vocabulary words any more.  We're actually doing labs.  We spent last week doing a big packet, but now I can kind of tell you about the general process of DNA and RNA transcription.  I still don't feel good enough to take the AP Biology test at the end of the year, but I feel better about this class than I did last quarter.

After I got home, I went to my last piano lesson at 7pm.  My teacher and I spent a good fifteen minutes crying and reminiscing because we won't get to meet every other Thursday at 5:30 any more.  I love playing piano (even if I'm never going to be the next Lorie Line or some other famous pianist) and my teacher is absolutely amazing, but I can't bring myself to regret my decision to quit lessons.  I stopped in anticipation of everything happening at the very beginning of 2012 and then afterwards.

To counter these not-so-good events of the day, I was accepted to my last college-- I've been accepted to all four that I've applied to, which I'm really excited about!  Now I just need to make a decision on which one to attend in the fall.  I think I know which one I'm going to pick though.  I also have tons of felt that I want to make things with and it's making me happy.  This Thursday, I'm going to a meeting so that I can hopefully write an excellent one-act play and have it performed.  My eighteenth birthday is in 8 days (almost 7, since it's just about 11pm right now).

So I guess this day wasn't too terrible, in hindsight.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better though.

Tomorrow I have to go to school, so I'm going to wrap this up here.  Good night, readers!  I promise I'll have a review for you by the time it hits the weekend.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Monday, December 5, 2011

An Update On A Number of Things

Hello there!

I haven't really done a legitimate blog post in a while.  I've mostly been doing Friday memes and announcing useless things instead of writing reviews or lists or useful updates.  This post is going to be more useless updates, but at least it's not a Friday meme.

At last, my lack of sleep and too much... stuff to do has caught up with me.  I have caught my first cold of the season.  A few days ago, my throat was just sore and there was a burning sensation about it.  That was okay-- nothing I needed to worry about really.  Well then, that sore throat turned into a cough and congestion.  Then there was mucus.  A LOT of mucus.  The kind of mucus that just likes to sit in your head and back up your nasal passages.  It's disgusting.  And I'm totally blowing the situation out of proportion.  I'm not that sick, I'm just even more tired than usual which makes everything kind of suck.

We need happier updates.  Happy is good.  Tomorrow marks the two week count down (or whatever you want to call it) to my passage into adulthood-- my eighteenth birthday.  I have no idea if I'm doing anything or not.  I've never really been one for large birthday parties or anything like that.  I've jokingly asked the boyfriend if I could have a diece-y-ocho or a dix-huit (eighteen in Spanish and French) like Latinas have Quincineras (the passage into womanhood on their fifteenth birthdays).

I have been reading a bunch, just at a snail's pace.  This month will be extra busy and I'll have three relatively big reviews for you: "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro, "As I Lay Dying" by William Falkner, and "Prozac Nation" by Elizabeth Wurtzel.  These three books are my priorities right now because they're actually for classes of mine.

Honestly, I can't wait until I have a normal high school level English class again.  I love my Intro to Lit class very much, but I can't wait until I have a teacher that will give us two or three weeks to start and finish a book.  Next semester will be so much easier after this.

My senior slide has gotten worse and worse.  I just really want to get out of high school.  It's not that I've had a bad experience or anything, in fact, it was just the opposite.  Middle school was just horrible, mostly because everyone is a little ball of puberty on steroids, but it seems to mellow out a little as we adjust to our bodies and minds in high school.  That's reason number one why I want to teach anything but middle school kids after college.  But yeah, "worse and worse" to me is forgetting an assignment or three, but to someone else that might mean flunking a class.  I haven't reached that point and I don't plan to.  My minimum goal for any class I set out to do is to earn a C.  Of course, I shoot for those A's-- they're just beautiful.

I've been preparing for my France and Washington D.C. trips as well.  I've obtained several small consistent jobs and they're proving to help tremendously.  I've become a dog walker, babysitter, and house-looker-after(er).  Heck, I might even get to be a chicken-sitter when my neighbors go off for the holidays (they have chickens in their backyard.  Sometimes they fly over the fence).

I've been hearing from colleges!  So far, I've been accepted to three of my four schools that I applied to.  I've even heard from both of my first choices!  I just need to hear from one more before I need to make plans to visit and then work on making my final decision and then indicating my decision to that school.  I was especially pleased that I was accepted to the college that I had to write an essay for-- so thank you for getting me into college!

Biology has become less of a pain.  It hasn't gotten much easier, but the teacher seems to be listening to us and trying very hard to help make things a little easier, which I appreciate.  It's not her that's bothering me now.  It's another girl that is just adamant about hating that class because of what happened first quarter.  It's still not my favorite class, but it's not the worst class any more.  I've even used information that I've learned from that class in conversations with my friends because it came up and I actually knew what I was talking about.  It was kind of exciting!

Some of you may have been wondering about the LONTEM Project.  It's kind of come to a stand-still.  There are months where I have the footage and other months where I didn't do anything at all because I either a) lost interest in the activity, b) just plain ran out of time, or c) forgot.  Come winter break, when I'm simultaneously celebrating the holidays and catching up on whatever work I have to do, the LONTEM Project will definitely be one of them!  I want to get my gardening video and soap-making video out there the soonest because they're the closest to being done.

I will cut this video short (or at least before it gets any longer) and I will mosey on to bed.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of my updates in my life and for this blog!  Enjoy the rest of your week!

--Jude

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Friday!

Hello and welcome to Friday!

TGIF and Follow Friday are brought to you every Friday by Ginger @ GReads and Parajunkee.


Writing Reviews 101: What's your process for writing book reviews?  Any tips or suggestions you would recommend to other bloggers?

I'll break this down into steps to keep it relatively short (or at least to prevent a wall of words).

1. Copy the synopsis from the inner flap/back of the book into my notebook.  Continue to write down thoughts right under it (I write everything in a notebook first so that I can carry it with me and keep writing whenever I have a free moment)
2. Transcribe what I wrote on paper to a blank post on blogger (it's so inefficient, but I can't be bothered).
3. Quickly edit and add in embellishments (you know, like the bold effect or italics... maybe even underlining things-- "Oh no she didn't!")

This works for me and it's a good way to filter and edit what I want to say before I actually say it.  I can write whatever I want, but then I'll take those thoughts and feelings down a couple of notches before I actually post it for you to read.


What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books?  Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots?  Tell us about it!

I've found that I'm super picky about the writing style.  I hate walls of words (though, I will admit, there are one or two exceptions) or when an author decides not to capitalize letters despite the context they're in.  As a writer myself, it's very distracting and hard not to take a giant red pen and correct everything.  It's a blessing and a curse.

Overused plots are kind of annoying too.  If you haven't read a certain kind of plot for a while, it's nostalgic, but if a certain author or a group of authors use the same basic plot over and over again, it's just bad.  For example: girl falls in love with a vampire, boy ALWAYS gets the girl, two girls fight over one boy... that kind of thing.  Cliches, really.

Welp, that's it for me!  If you'd like me to stop by for a visit, feel free to leave your web address in comment form below and I'll try my best to come and visit this weekend!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite: Last Day


How did NaNoWriMo go this year?

  • Well... I wrote almost 5,000 more words that I originally had.  Altogether, I have 15,366 words, amounting to 25% of my word count goal.  So while I didn't reach my goal, I did get something done.  And I'm proud of what I've done.

How do you plan to conquer NaNoWriMo next time?

  • I plan on participating in the summer version of NaNoWriMo!  I realized that a lot of my problems had to do with wrapping up high school, which is really super important for me.  In the summer, I won't have the problem.  I'll be packing and hopefully working, both of which I can maneuver around.  In the summer, I think I stand a better chance of completing this thing.

What would you do differently next time?

  • I wouldn't count the words as I was writing.  I just want to get words down on the page.  I don't want numbers to be what is perpetuating my story.  I would also try not to get discouraged when I become days behind where I'm supposed to be.

Did you get anything out of this year's attempt?

  • Yeah!  I am up another 5,000 words from where I used to be.  My story has changed quite a bit-- I've added a bit of what I think is Stockholm Syndrome, so that's a relatively new element (kinda sorta).  I'm interested in seeing how this story actually turns out when I'm completely done with it.
Thanks for keeping up with my NaNoWriMo progress if you have been.  I'm terribly sorry that I didn't do more of it this November.  I'll for sure be better about this over the summer when the craziness has passed.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Wishes!

You guys are so nice :)

We've increased our numbers by tenfold over the weekend, which I certainly didn't expect.  Thanks for being awesome!

Are there any books that anyone would be particularly pleased to see a review of on here?  I can't make any promises, but I will try my best to accommodate your suggestion by moving it to the "next book to read" slot on my mental To Be Read list.

I must go get ready for the rest of the day (I have to print a couple papers and make sure I didn't lose anything over the five day weekend) and then make my baby sister a birthday card, because it's her fifteenth birthday today!

Have an awesome week and thanks for reading!

--Jude

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jude Discovers the World!

What's that?  A new blog?  I'm out of control...

I was going to put traveling stuff on this blog, but then I thought that there would be too much stuff to deal with.  So I created a new one that I called Jude Discovers the World!  This is mostly in preparation for my two upcoming trips, but I plan on using this for trips that I haven't even begun to formulate.  I've also started including tips for student travelers (if you have any ideas for topics I could write about, I'm all ears.  I have a few in mind, but I'm just waiting for those things to happen so that I have some sort of credibility when I talk about them).

So any way, feel free to check it out!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

I Almost Forgot That It's Friday!

It's been a bit of a strange week, so it didn't even register with me that today is Friday.  The beauty of Thanksgiving Break :)  Anywho, I haven't done any of the Friday question things in a while, so let's get started!

Follow Friday and TGIF are brought to you by Parajunkee and Ginger @ GReads.

When you're not reading: What occupies your time when your nose isn't stuck in a book?

When I'm not reading, I'm in school, doing odd jobs (because I've been out of luck with getting a formal job), hanging out with my friends and/or family, or entertaining myself.  

I'm a senior in high school, so this year, a lot of my time is devoted to getting college stuff straightened out (applications are all done!  Woohoo!) and finishing.  Everything.  

I'm doing odd jobs because I'm headed to France in about four or five months and then a week after I get back, I'm heading right back out again to Washington D.C.  I'm so excited!  

My friends are quite important to me, especially since I won't get to see a lot of them on a regular basis in one year's time.  Less than one year's time, actually.

When I'm entertaining myself, I'm writing, rocking out to Phantom of the Opera (yes, of course with a sucky operatic voice), listening/playing other music, or taking pictures (you'll find a lot of my photography on this blog, actually).

It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., so we want to know what you are thankful for-- blogging related, of course!  Who has helped you out along the way?  What books are you thankful for reading?

I'm thankful to those people that willing went on adventures with me and let me take pictures of them and let me tell stories about them.  I'm thankful to J.K. Rowling, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Gabrielle Zevin for writing some of the best books that I've ever read ever.  My list could go on, but this blog post is going to be long enough as it is...  I wrote another Thanksgiving post, so just scroll down one post.

Feel free to leave a comment with your web address and a message (if you want) in it and I'll try my best to come by and return your visit!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Later today, my family and I are going to have a non-traditional Thanksgiving.  Instead of family, we're going to have neighbors dropping by whenever they can, whether that's for dinner or afterward for football.  I'm really excited for dinner though.  It's one of the few holidays where we can eat stuffing and a lot of other yummy things and have it be okay.

For me, Thanksgiving has never been about celebrating the pilgrims.  Yeah, I've heard the stories, but I didn't find it worth celebrating.  It's a day to sit back and look what you have right in front of you-- plenty of food on the table, good friends and family, whether they could join you for dinner or not, things like that.

I thought that I'd continue my habit of making lists and make a list of a lot of the things I'm thankful for.  They're not placed in any particular order.

1. Internet Access.  Without this, almost nothing that I do would be possible or it would at least be very difficult to do.

2.  Friends and Family.  Without them, I would be bored and lonely.  Not to mention that it would be hard to come by really cool people.

3. Metro Transit.  They help to get you from Point A to Point B in one piece and usually the drivers are pretty friendly, which is great, because being a bus driver can't be the easiest job in the world.

4. Finished College Applications.  I can now enjoy good food and company without having that stuff hanging over my head.  Bring it on, waiting period!

5. Music.  I would be bored and my life would be drastically different without it, considering that many of my hobbies are music related.

6. My Current and Previous Schools.  Yeah, we might have had a rough relationship at times, but in the end, it's going to make me better and it'll be the starter block for something even greater to come.  If I get nothing else out of my schooling experience, it'll be cool stories and a high school diploma.

7. My Boyfriend.  He quickly became my best friend and he's kept me sane for almost three years.  Thanks for dealing with my mood swings, being there for me always, and helping me function normally in society, love!

8. And last, but not least... You.  My Followers.  Without you, I would just be talking to myself and that's just weird.  So thanks to all 165 of you, I have an invested hobby that has and always will keep me interested and motivated to read everything that comes my way.

Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks for Reading!

--Jude

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

Hurray for over-exaggerations!

I haven't posted in a while (technically yesterday, but the 20th was a long time ago, and that was the time before last time that I posted), so I thought that I'd throw out a little update.  I do a real post later today.

I just finished applying to colleges.  I applied to four and I only had to write one essay.  Do you want to know what I wrote my essay about?

I wrote it about all of you.  And this blog too, but you're much more interesting.

So thanks for being a big part of my life so that I could write about you!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Don't Adele and Drive

I really don't have any reviews for you... I might have to go back to some old reads and review those.  Until those reviews are written and I get my act together and focus on one or two books instead of the seven that are living in my bed right now, I will share this video with you-- it's hilarious!

Thanks for reading and bearing with me!

--Jude

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Review of 'By Night in Chile' by Roberto Bolaño

"A hypnotic deathbed confession revolving around Opus Dei, crazed schemes, poetry, and Pinochet, 'By Night in Chile' pours out the self-justifying dark moments of Father Urrutia, a half-hearted Chilean priest.


'By Night in Chile's single night-long rant provides-- as through a crack in the wall-- a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile.  This wild, eerily compact novel-- Roberto Bolaño's first work available in English-- recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a lap dog to Chile's rich and powerful cultural elite, by whose favors he meets Pablo Neruda and Ernst Jünger.  Father Urrutia is offered the tour of Europe by agents of Opus Dei (to study the 'disintegration of the churches,' a journey into the realm of surreal); and ensnared by this plan, he is next assigned-- after the destruction of Allende-- a secret, never-to-be-disclosed nighttime job involving Pinochet.  Soon, Father Urrutia's memories go from bad to worse."

This certainly isn't an easy book to read.  For starters, there are so many cultural allusions, it's not even funny.  It helps to be familiar with some classical poets such as Leopardi, Neruda, etc.  It would also help to be acquainted at the very least with Opus Dei and Marxism.

The fact that this book is made up of two paragraphs is a little disconcerting when you first open up this novel-- a wall of words is always a little daunting.  But if you've read the above description (taken from the inner flap of the book) you'll kind of see why it's written the way it is and maybe you'll come to terms with it.

There is a sort of dark humor that runs in the book.  Speaking personally, I have a dark sense of humor as well, but this book reached down to a different level of dark humor, so for the most part, I took this book seriously and didn't even realize that a funny something had just flown past me.

This is one of those novels where you need to read it at least two times before you understand.  Having read it only once, I would tend to agree with that statement.  Luckily, the book is only 130 pages long, so it won't be too big of a chore.

Even though I have only read it once and the humor was on a different plane than I, I still really enjoyed this book.  I typically don't like political/religious books because I don't understand them, but with a little research, it was easy to draw parallels and I got quite a bit of enjoyment out of it.  The only thing that is sucking the enjoyment out of it is the fact that I still have to write a paper about it today.  I've never been less excited to write something...

'By Night in Chile' is a tricky book filled with all sorts of literary culture that will keep you thinking and interested.  I give it:
Thanks for Reading!

--Jude

Monday, November 14, 2011

Glee Has Finally Done It...


...They've finally created a mash-up that's actually good and that I absolutely cannot stop listening to.  If they have this group singing songs throughout the show, I will definitely start watching it.  Just as long as they don't bring that one girl in... she takes center stage far too much and I can't stand her voice...

Thanks for Reading!

--Jude

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Afternoon Thoughts

Thought One: I should really write something for my amateur writer blog...

Thought Two: I should create a travel blog and get Chicago pictures up and prepare for France and Washington D.C.

Thought Three: I had a dream last night that my poor little Siberian Dwarf hamster, Sullivan, was eaten by a dog (that wasn't mine) who cornered him... I hate REM sleep sometimes...

Thought Four: I wish these biology notes were done

Thought Five: I wish I could clone myself a few times so that I could clean my room, write Murder by Rulers, do everything mentioned above, and take a nap.

Thought Six: I want tomato bisque... REALLY bad... writing makes me hungry.  Maybe I shouldn't write about food to eat on a date-- er, lunch get-together... sure, I can have inside jokes with myself.

Thought Seven: I'm not a fan of Lady Antebellum.  I'm changing the Pandora station.

Thought Eight: I feel REALLY good about how the concert went last night!  I'm sad that I'm the only bass clarinet in the Wind Ensemble, but I think that it's only made me work harder because I'm not relying on my stand partner.

Thought Nine: It's so beautiful outside!  It's November 12, a time when typically it should be cold and not so pleasant, but instead, it's 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny!  It might just be a picture day today :)

Thought Ten: I need more things for my scrapbook for my Host Family... I guess there will be three big projects going simultaneously today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things I've Noticed Since I Started Preparing for College

1. In Some Ways, I'm Distancing Myself and in Others, I'm Being Distanced.  The second part of this sentence isn't as true as it used to be.  I'm thinking mostly of my church now.  A year or two ago, there really wasn't anything for the older half of senior high except for a trip, which was a lot of fun, but there wasn't anything else to do besides that.  Now, the youth director is making more of an effort to include everyone, which is really nice.

As for the first part of the sentence, I feel like this is still true because a lot of changes are being made and most of the people in my graduating class aren't going to be affected by these changes, so we're not really interested in taking a part in these decisions because they don't effect us.  This sounds terrible and absolutely selfish, but honestly, I've noticed that this happens in people of all ages, not just people getting ready for college.


2. I've Been Hanging Out With Friends More.  This isn't a bad thing!  I've just noticed that I've been making more of an effort to hang out with my friends because I won't get to see them until I come home for holidays or even for just a weekend.  And even then, they might be busy.  In years past, I would put off hanging out thinking that I had "more important things to do," (which was probably homework), but now I've felt like I'm on a race against the clock-- I only have so much time left here, and it's a little distressing.  This is one of the bigger things I've regretted in my high school career-- not hanging out with my younger friends and/or friends that go to different schools than mine.


3. Trying New Things.  I've tried theater, mostly (I'm planning on auditioning for another play in December-- it's a musical called 'Into the Woods'-- and I'm also planning on writing a one-act play).  I'm preparing to leave the country in five/six months time. I'm making new friends and realizing old friends that I didn't think I had.  It's an amazing experience.


4. I'm Much Busier.  This is probably a bit of a given.  I'm filling out college applications, applying for scholarships, keeping up with the classes that I have now, trying to manage my own life and make things happen for me.  Just to name a few things.


5. I'm Testier Than Usual.  Part of it is due to general stress.  There's a lot to do!  The other part comes from Biology class.  This is the first year where on more than one occasion, I've left the building for the day fighting back tears of rage.


6. I'm Closer to my Mom.  It's not that I have a bad relationship with my mom, it's because she is the one that has taken me on road trips to visit the colleges that I've been interested in.  As a result, I've had ample opportunity to talk with her about my future plans, what I want, and then just to talk in general.  It's been really nice and I really appreciate it.  On top of that, she's the one that has been checking my essays for scholarships, filling out things for my France trip that I'm not allowed to do myself, and checking over my college applications to make sure everything is in order and so I know what I'm supposed to ask for when I go to the counselor's office.

Note: These points that I've made don't necessarily apply to every person who is preparing for college.

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Review of 'Sweet and Sour Milk' by Nuruddin Farah

"Winner of the 1980 English-speaking Union Literary Award, the first novel of Farah's universally acclaimed Variations of an African Dictatorship trilogy, 'Sweet and Sour Milk' chronicles one man's search for the reasons behind his twin brother's violent death during the 1970s.  The atmosphere of political tyranny and oppression reduces our hero's quest to a passive and fatalistic level; his search for reasons and answers ultimately becomes a search for meaning.  The often detective-story-life narrative of this novel thus moves on a primarily interior place as Farah takes us deep into territory he has charted and mapped and made uniquely his own."

This book was way above my maturity level... This could be because I've never read anything dealing with politics (unless you consider something World War II-themed to be political) and I was only vaguely familiar with Somalia in general (meaning I knew of its existence and where it was, but that's the extent of my knowledge).  Because of those two things, reading this book was a very difficult task.  It was only when I really started to write my paper (I had trouble writing my paper too... I had a lot of false starts...) and doing a bit of research that I began to understand what was going on.  And it was also quite interesting.

I'll keep my review relatively short because I don't have a for-sure stance on this book.  I really want to like it, but at this point in time, the material just went right over my head and I can't like or dislike something that I don't completely understand.

I liked that this book took place in Somalia.  Nuruddin Farah is one of the few writers that writes about Somalia.  That was a nice change that immediately stood out to me (and not just because we talked about this fact in my English class).

"Sweet and Sour Milk" is confusing only if you don't know anything about Somalia (either now or in the 1970s). However, if you do have a decent amount of background knowledge about Somalia, enjoy a little mystery and/or politics, this book might be worth your while!

I give "Sweet and Sour Milk":
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0: Day 5 and 6



How Are You Doing So Far?

  • Ugh... today, not so hot... I have no idea how the long weekend just ended in the blink of an eye.  I was expecting to get mostly caught up (I'm not stupid enough to think that I could make up three or four days all in one weekend... I've never done that before), but instead I'm just barely done with the word count for Day 2... so right now, I'm feeling like a failure as a writer (please don't feel sorry for me, this mood will undoubtedly pass... it always does).
  • I'm having that feeling that NaNo wasn't such a good idea this year.  I have colleges to apply to, things to do to prepare for my trips in five/six months, social get-togethers because I either don't get to see them a lot now and/or I'm not going to be able to see them when I'm gone next year.  It's kind of important.
  • I'm just complaining now.
  • The saving grace of today was I was able to write during church and not get scolded for not paying attention.  I'm so happy that I have supportive parents like this!  I was really afraid that I was going to get my notebook thrown across the room (figuratively, of course).
Did You Reach Your Word Count Goal?

  • Do I need to answer this question?
What's Standing in Your Way Right Now?

  • Too many expectations between home and school.  I've tried to remove certain ones at school, but I was unable to.  The counselors told me to come back in a few weeks.
How is Tomorrow Going to be Different?

  • I will be in a better mood, my homework will be done, and I'll want nothing more to do than to write.  That's my hope and prediction for tomorrow, any way.
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

A Review of 'The Other Boleyn Girl' by Pilippa Gregory

"Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a King.


When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII.  Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen.  However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interests begin to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne.  Then Mary knows what she must defy her family and her kind and take her fate into her own hands.


A rich and compelling novel of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, 'The Other Boleyn Girl' introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her heart."

This might sound horrible, but I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as I read the last word on page 661 (the very last page).

This was one of the greatest books that I've ever read.  Hands down.  My sister gave me my copy for Christmas last year and I only started reading it this past summer.  It took months to finish, but honestly, I did not mind devoting that much time to a single book because this story was very well-written, the people in it were absolutely fascinating!  And to know that they existed in real life (well, most of them, I'm guessing) is absolutely amazing!

Might as well get this warning out of the way... there's a lot of sex in this book.  It's basically what it revolves around-- seducing the king, bedding the king, producing his children.  It's a vicious cycle.  If you're sensitive to this kind of reading, this is absolutely not the right book for you.

I'm typically not a hiostorical fiction person, but it was terribly interesting, so I'm going to have to read more in the future.

As interesting as this book was, it was absolutely exhausting reading about Anne trying to capture the king's heart and then moving on to the next step.  It was like walking on egg shells.  But the thing is, that is a representation of good writing because that's exactly what was happening in the book-- they were ALL walking on egg shells.

Philippa Gregory did an excellent job with the pacing of the book.  It's true, the book is two/two and a half inches thick, but since the story lasts over the course of many years, it's justified.

Even though the book is long, you will never be bored because there's always some sort of plotting going on or a baby being born... that type of thing.

"The Other Boleyn Girl" is scandalous, passionate, and never boring.  I give it:
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0: Day 4

How Are You Doing So Far?

  • The picture above implies great productivity, and while I wasn't terribly productive on the novel writing front, I did manage to get quite a bit written, so I'm happy with that at least.  I think I mentioned this yesterday, but I'm really proud that I've at least written a little bit every day-- even if I didn't reach my 1,667 words for the day.  I'm still about three days behind, but I'm going to keep writing and sooner or later, I'll get caught up.
Did You Reach Your Word Count Goal?
  • No, but at least I'm writing.  That's mostly what I was looking for when I signed on for NaNoWriMo.
What's Standing in Your Way Right Now?
  • I'm insulating windows, I have homework to do, a book that must be completed by Monday, and several essays and applications to fill out.
How is Tomorrow Going to be Different?
  • I'll actually be home with no friends, which isn't a good or a bad thing, but either way, it'll give me time to finish the things that need to be finished and even allow me to get a lot written.  Tomorrow will be different because there will be more time.
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0: Day 3

How Are You Doing So Far?

  • As far as NaNoWriMo, I'm still about two days behind, but I'm still very positive about it!  I have plenty of time to write this weekend, because I have a three day weekend (which I'm also going to use to start and finish 'By Night in Chile') so I can definitely catch up and keep on top of social, educational, and domestic responsibilities that I have.
Did You Reach Your Word Count Goal?

  • No, but I reached the word goal for Day 1 :)  That counts for something, right?  Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch.  Don't worry, I'll get better.
What's Standing in Your Way Right Now?

  • Just a few math problems and my own laziness.  I'll try my best not to make this a real obstacle.
How is Tomorrow Going to be Different?

  • I'm being extremely social tomorrow, but I'm hoping those events will only spark some sort of inspiration so that I can come right home and write like it's no one's business.  So it'll be a bit busier, but it's a good and enjoyable busy that will absolutely include meeting the word count goal.  I'll get up early-ish to do it!
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0: Day 2

How Are You Doing So Far?

  • Once, again, I'm behind.  After tomorrow, I'll need to calculate how much damage control needs to be done, but since I'm only two days in and tomorrow is my last day of school for the week, I'll have loads of time to catch up (notice I didn't say "get ahead."  Let's keep those goals realistic, now!)
Did You Reach Your Word Count Goal?
  • I'd be really surprised if I did.  I was working on making up for yesterday, so I probably didn't.  A good thing I am doing, however, is I'm writing every day.  I think that's more I can say about last year's NaNoWriMo.  I was such a skipper...  By the way, I do need to update the counter in the sidebar and on my NaNoWriMo page.  I'll do that tomorrow once I'm all caught up and everything.
What's Standing in Your Way Right Now?
  • This is going to be a bit redundant, but the end of the quarter.  Never in my life has there ever been a stressful end of the quarter.  It's ridiculous.  I still have to correct my essay, and I turn that in tomorrow, so I won't have to worry about that... the good news is, I've almost reached the 80% mark for my second to last quarter of online health, which is quite exciting!  One more assignment and that should do it!  That'll be one less thing to deal with tomorrow.
How is Tomorrow Going to be Different?

  • I'll be done with online health and then I can get caught up because I don't have school on Friday!  I can't wait for tomorrow!
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Reasons Why I Wish I Could Participate in No Shave November Like a Dude


1. I would have a legitimate mustache and beard to stroke when I'm deep in thought.  I stroke my chin naturally (mostly when I'm in over-exaggerated thought) and I think having something to actually stroke would make the experience completely worth it.


2. Natural face-warmer for the winter.  I'm not a dude, but just having a beard seems like your face would be warmer.  If you are an adolescent boy and older reading this, please leave a comment and tell me if this speculation of mine is true or utter crap.  I'm genuinely curious.


3. It's for a good cause.  Yeah!  It's kind of like what's done to raise awareness for breast cancer-- Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure and Avon's breast cancer walk... organizations and events like that.  The only difference is No Shave November is to raise awareness for prostate cancer (another version of world-suck).

But there's something the ladies can do in support of No Shave November...
I can't tell you how much I want a hat like this... I think I'm going to have to get better at knitting.  Or, if you know where I could possibly go to find one, leave a comment and I will be your best friend forever!

Or, I suppose you could just not shave your legs, but that tends to get a little gross after a while... it's different if you're growing a beard, which is strange, because you're doing the same thing that leg hair is doing, only it goes on your face...

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0: Day 1

How Are You Doing So Far?

  • I would love to say, "Everything is just fine and dandy!" but then I would be lying to you.  I'm already off to a rocky start.  I would have loved to have been writing all night long, but here's the big problem: It's the end of the quarter for my school.  That means everyone is busy rushing around collecting every assignment we've failed to hand in and (alas) assigning last minute assignments.  So I've been working on that instead.  I'm writing a paper on the significance of splitting things in two and how this is juxtaposed to the downfall of Somalia (based on the novel "Sweet and Sour Milk" by Nuruddin Farah-- there will be a review as soon as I finish it).  Sounds pretty hefty, right?  It definitely is.  I've never had this much trouble writing an essay before.

Did You Reach Your Word Count Goal?

  • As of right now, no, but instead of reading before bed, I will be writing, so I could very well reach my daily goal of 1,667 words.  I have 418 right now... not good...

What's Standing in Your Way Right Now?

  • Homework and the end of the quarter... they're unavoidable.

How is Tomorrow Going to be Different?

  • Tomorrow, I plan to be completely done with my hefty paper and with my residual math and psychology stuff.  So that'll definitely open up some more time for me to write (I hope!).
Thanks for reading and also for your continued support!

--Jude

Monday, October 31, 2011

Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0: Day 0

We have six hours left!!

Since NaNoWriMo is about to start and we're basically in countdown mode, I thought I'd also kick-off Confessions of a NaNoNite 2.0!  I'm going to try and update every other day if not every day.  I'm going to shoot for every day.

To those of you writing, start your engines (and then wait for six hours, because that's cheating otherwise) and may the force be with you!

To those of you not writing and/or are anxiously waiting to read the wonderful creations made this month, I hope you find ways to occupy yourself.

As you can imagine, I might be skimping on the reviews for a month.  By skimping, I don't mean do a terrible job on the ones I write, I just mean fewer reviews in general.  Once more, this is only temporary.

Have an excellent NaNoWriMo!!!

Thanks for Reading!

--Jude

A Review of 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' by Ransom Riggs

"A mysterious island.


An abandoned orphanage.


A strange collection of very curious photographs.


It all waits to be discovered in 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children,' an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.  As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar.  They may have been dangerous.  They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-- impossible though it seems-- they may still be alive.


A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Childre' will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

There was a lot of hype for this book and this book absolutely lived up to this hype!  I was drawn in by the pictures, but I stayed for the story.

It seemed like there was a little something for everyone!  There was romance, time-travel, supernatural elements, history, photography, clever names... When I think of this book, I can't help but pair it with 'The Princess Bride' movie.  Not because the plots are the same, but because there's something for everyone who stops to take a look.

The children in the home for peculiar children were incredible.  Their special talents were astonishing, particularly the boy who could animate dead things or even things that weren't alive to start with new hearts (usually a sheep heart if the thing being animated was bigger or mice hearts if he was animating a toy).  I loved Emma's passion and Jacob's innocence.  Cairnholm was a rough but an overall interesting place.  I really do hope that it's a real island island off the coast of Wales, because if it is, I fully intend to visit!

The photography is amazing!  You'll never believe that the pictures were found.  Who knows what happened to them before they ended up in a collection, if anything happened to them at all, but they are extraordinary!

For a first installment, it was very satisfying, but sooner or later, I'll be ravenous for the second installment.  Hopefully the second installment will have tons of time loops (I'm 97% certain that there will be), because that would just be fascinating!

Ransom Riggs spins a handsome story and presents it in such a creative way that can be enjoyed by all.

I give 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

P.S. Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Review of 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

"Nick's just seen the girl who dumped him walk in... with a new guy.  What else can he do but ask the strange girl next to him to be his new girlfriend for the next five minutes?


Norah would do anything to avoid conversation with the not not-friend girl who dumped Nick... and to get over the Evil Ex whom Norah never really totally dumped.  What else can she do but answer Nick's question by making out with him?


With one electric, unexpected kiss, the five-minute couple of Nick and Norah set off on an uncharted adventure called the "first date" that will turn into an infinite night of falling in and out (and in and out, maybe in, and maybe out) of love.  Theirs is a first date of music, laughter, heartache, confusion, passion, taxi driver wisdom, and a jacket named Salvatore.  And of course, a killer soundtrack.


As Nick and Norah wander through the middle-of-the-night mystic maze of Manhattan, they share the kind of night you want to never end, where every minute counts and every moment flickers between love and disaster."

Best date ever!  Just the way Nick and Norah talk to each other (honestly and with matched sarcasm and wit) you can't help but wonder how there could possibly be a better literary romance than this one.  Yes, I'm opening this up for debate.

I love the collaborations that David Levithan does.  It's not that he's not a strong writer on his own (because he is.  I've given 4 or 5 star reviews of his work) but he has that added talent of playing off of other characters that aren't his own.

I've never read anything by Rachel Cohn, but I'm definitely going to do so now!  That's the best part about reading collaborative books-- you might just run into an intriguing author you've never heard of.

Nick is the boyfriend almost every girl dreams of being with and Norah, once she surpasses her reservations about almost everything, is an excellent girlfriend.

The layer of music and the New York late night music scene was flawless and amazing.  I personally cannot attest to what a legitimate concert is like (not really... Beatles cover bands just don't cut it), but I can't wait until I'm eighteen so I can go to places like First Avenue and listen to some really talented people.

Just to warn younger and/or sensitive readers, this book drops so many f-bombs.  That's my warning to you, take it as you may.

'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' was completely romantic, sensual, surreal, and amazing!  I give it:
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Thursday, October 27, 2011

7 of the Most Annoying Qualities in Unruly Teachers



You know we've all had at least one.

Of course unruly teachers are annoying in general, but I've decided to compile a list of the most annoying (in my opinion) qualities of annoying teachers, mostly so I don't become one of these Annoyingly Bad Teachers.

1. Speaking Too Quietly.  All The Time.  I hate it when teachers think that they're speaking loud enough and even when we (being the students) let them know that we can't hear them, they don't change their volume.


2. Talking, Talking, Talking, Talking...  I have at least one teacher that does this.  We sit down to have work time and without warning, they'll begin to address the class about "small learning communities" or "respecting everyone" when we're doing just those things, but they can't recognize it.


3. Clear as Mud.  This drives me even further up a wall.  It's really irritating when teachers don't write down (even if it's online!) the assignments we are supposed to do and when they are due.  They just assume that we heard them the first time and if they have bad quality number 1 on this list, it's a huge problem.


4. Presumptuousness.  I've had this problem within the past few days, actually.  I like to make sure that I heard things right, so often times, I will ask again, just to make sure that I understood the first time.  My pet peeve is when teachers think I'm stupid for asking again.  That's not the only example, but I don't want to become even angrier about this just by writing about it more.  To be fair, I'm probably being presumptuous myself.


5. Dumping a Lot of Work On a Student in a Short Period of Time.  I'm not talking about projects, per se, but just a lot of little assignments to do within the span of a week.  Worst yet, the easy but time-consuming assignments that are numerous and due at the end of the week.  Seriously, it's not fair to anyone involved.  The students have more than one class and then the teacher has to grade everything times however many classes they have.  Really, who's winning this situation?


6. No Variety in Teaching.  Maybe it's just me, but I get sick of learning the same way every day.  I can't watch movies all the time (unless it's a film class), I can't take notes all the time, I need to do labs, I need to read different kinds of books, I need to do projects.  If a teacher does any one of these things more than 70% of the time, I don't know how everyone is expected to learn what they're supposed to learn.


7. Overly-Strict Bad Teaching.  When a teacher is in the middle of teaching and suddenly they'll just go quiet for seemingly no reason.  When we look around, we see that they're looking at one person and we're confused as to why.  Then they proceed to explain why this person is being disrespectful and then goes back to talking.  Or during group work time, they expect us to be dead silent.  I don't understand how the whole communication thing is meant to work...

Maybe it's a personality clash and maybe it's just pent up nervousness...

Before I sign out, I'll just say that this post was not meant to offend, merely blow off steam.  I apologize to no end if this has managed to offend you.  I have nothing but respect for the teaching profession and those awesome teachers that know what they're doing.

If this becomes a problem post, I will take it down, no problem.

Thanks for Reading!

--Jude

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Review of 'Cut' by Patricia McCormick

 "Callie cuts herself.  Never too deep, never enough to die.  But enough to feel the pain.  Enough to feel the scream inside.


Now she's at Sea Pines, a 'residential treatment facility' filled with girls struggling with problems of their own.  Callie doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone.  She won't even speak.


But Callie can only stay silent for so long..."

For the longest time, I was afraid to read this book thinking that it would be very graphic and/or gruesome, but I was glad that it wasn't gory (sort of... kind of... it's not what you think... but... yeah...) to make a point, not for shock value.

I possessed face-value information about cutting (which basically meant that I know what you have to do, but not the psychological part of the equation).  After reading this, I've gained a little insight.  There's only so much a thirteen or fourteen year old girl can say about the psychological aspect of cutting, but McCormick has shown the most important side to just about all (if not every) disorder and addiction-- the need to do something.  The need to cut to feel better, the need to eat, to not eat, to make yourself throw up, to drink... the list goes on and on.

Callie's story was an interesting one.  I wasn't totally sure why she decided to be silent, but her thoughts were still interesting.  For a while, it felt like she didn't care, but I think that that was key to the story-- to prove to anyone who would see that she was so detached from the situation.

'Cut' was a sad, powerful, upsetting, insightful, etc. book and I highly recommend that everyone, regardless of age, reads it.

I give 'Cut':
Thanks for reading!

--Jude

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The NaNo Way!

Perhaps I've mentioned this already and if I have, I'm going to mention it again-- NaNoWriMo is coming up super fast!  We have 8 days, 1 hour, and I don't even know how many minutes and seconds are left...

In 8 days, those literary warriors around you are going to be writing with "literary abandon" just trying to make sure that their word goals are achieved by the end of the month.

I'm not really starting anything new.  I'm going to be doing what I've seen some people on DeviantArt do, which is take something they've been diligently working on for a while and use NaNoWriMo as an incentive to put something on the page no matter how good or bad it is.  I'm going to be working on 'Murder By Rulers.'  I have about 11,000 words already written, so I'm going to adjust my goal to 61,000 words to accomodate what I've written and still be able to keep track of my real goal, which is writing 50,000 words in a single month.

I'll keep a progress thingy in the side bar and I'll also do Confessions of a NaNoNite like I did last year, but Year 2 edition!

I'll see you all again Tuesday at Midnight when the literary madness begins (or in my case, continues)!

Thanks for reading!

--Jude

7 Countries I Would Like to Visit

So, if you know me even a little bit, then you'll know that my number one plan in life is to travel.  A lot.  And I want to go everywhere!  But since there isn't nearly enough room to put down EVERY country, I'm going to narrow it down to 7 places put in no particular order.
1. Australia.  It has been my dream for the longest time to go to Australia.  I plan to study there during college and I might even follow the example of THESE BLOGGERS and go again after college.  They went for a month, but while reading their writing, it felt like they were rushing and were forced to kind of do the things at the top of there list as opposed to being able to take their time and enjoy more than they already did.  So I'd love to spend a summer there after I graduate from college.


2. The United Kingdom.  As an avid reader, I've fallen in love with Harry Potter, but that's not the (only) reason why I want to go to the UK.  I would love to see the history and have fun "time traveling" going between castles and more modern cities.  It would be very neat!  I would love to study abroad here as well.  Also, I'd love to learn to drive on the right side of the road.  That in itself sounds like an adventure!


3. China.  A few days ago, I was looking at my friend's pictures when she went to China for a month with some people from her Chinese class.  It looks like such a beautiful country and even though I don't know the language, I think it would be quite fun!  And I'd be sure to have a few important words and phrases written down just in case I did run into trouble.  It's only been recently (like, within the past few months) that I've expressed an interest (more to myself that anything) in visiting any part of Asia.  That makes me sound like a bad person... understand that I hold no prejudice against anyone of the Asian persuasion or anyone who currently lives in an Asian country.


4. Greece.  Again, this is also a fairly recent development.  Maybe it comes from watching too much "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" or reading Lena's scenes in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," but the country has become more and more appealing to me.  And I love most Greek food!  I bought a Greek cook book and my friend Avery and I have been trying different recipes in it.  I'd just love to explore the birth place of Greek mythology (can I tell you how mad I was when I found out that my English teacher in ninth grade decided to take a trip to Greece two years after no longer being in her class?  Not happy at all... I was internally seething with jealousy and rage...).


5. Indonesia.  Okay, I blame "Eat, Pray, Love" for this one.  The people there seemed really adorable and I'd just like to get to know the culture more.  This is one of the places where I plan to teach in the future (if they'll let me).


6. Ireland.  Again, another movie, though the movie wasn't what caused this fascination with Ireland.  You know that scene in "Marley and Me" where Marley is left at home but John and Jenny decide to go on a belated honeymoon to Ireland?  The landscape there was so beautiful, and again, I'd love to appreciate the people and the Irish culture (I'm sick of the stereotypes that everyone in Ireland drinks... I won't believe it until I see it for myself).


7. Spain.  Since I discovered that I can still speak Spanish (not a lot, mind you, but enough to communicate), I've wanted to visit a Spanish-speaking country.  Maybe that'll be Mexico (actually that's on my list too) but I've got a friend who goes to Spain quite often and her dads live there now.  If I ask, I bet we could eventually plan a trip together.  But we'll cross that bridge when we get there.