book review · books · features · lists · shanti

Fiction-Non-Fiction, Economics Edition

Hi Virtually Readers! Uni has started again for me properly and I am extremely busy and trying to figure out how to keep fitting Virtually Read into my life. I’m also panicked that I’m going to stop loving reading somehow, but that seems stupid, right? Does anyone else ever feel that way? I wrote an article about how to read and study at the same time and feel like a bit of a hypocrite because I’m not very good at following this advice. Anyway, I’ve been thinking lots about the economy because it matters a lot and also needs a total restructure because capitalism really sucks (this is what you learn at university). I like to read economics books because I feel like that helps me to understand the financial system better. So this edition of Fiction-Non-Fiction recommendations is themed around the economy!

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Sacred EconomicsTess of the Road

Okay, full disclosure: I’m not actually done reading Sacred Economics. I’m about a third of the way through. It’s a book about why the economy is broken, and how it is set up in systems which perpetuates injustice and inequality. Beyond that, Sacred Economics is a book about healing the economy, understanding it enough to actually change it. I don’t know enough about policy to understand how these concepts could translate, but I really appreciate this visionary book. Tess of the Road is on the surface a very different book. But like the global economic system, Tess is shattered in hidden and blatant ways. The novel is about her quest for something larger and more mysterious–something underneath–an embodiment of the principles of the world and the way they exist. I reckon it pairs beautifully with Sacred Economics.

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Talking to My Daughter About the EconomyThe Islands at the End of the World

Talking With My Daughter About the Economy is an excellent, readable primer on fundamental principles that govern economics. If you’rs a bit intimidated by learning about the economy, I hightly recommend it. To be honest the ‘talking to my daughter’ aspect of the book was somewhat contrived in a ‘now child listen to my wisdom and I will contextualise it by entioning your iPad’ sort of way. Still, it’s a good idea. The Islands At the End of the World is similarly centred on a father daughter relationship, where a father and daughter are navigating a broen world made more frightening by their inadequacies. Together, with resoucefulness and vision, they can understand why they are so lost. Again, it sort of matches on a deepre level.

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No LogoTheir Fractured Light

Naomi Klein is a bit of a legend, and references to this tome, which I read ages ago but should probably read again, are all over the place in my reading for an Advertising critique paper I’m doing. In this book and This Changes Everything (also a great economics book!) she details some of the ways that the global economy is injust, particularly in the context of large corporations. Their Fractured Light is also about confronting massive corporations, from within and without, and seeking justice. It uses an astonishing range of characters to examine different responses to inequality. It’s also a fabulous adventure story.

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Naked EconomicsSpinning Silver

I read Naked Economics a few years ago when I was just reading non-fiction for Lent (this year I’m mostly vegan). Now I read HEAPS of non-fiction. I don’t really agree with the premise of Naked Economics; it’s very much a status-quo, liberalism-inspired approach to the economy (does anyone else find it confusing that liberal politicians don’t follow policies of economic liberalisation?). Charles Wheelan places far too much faith in the power of the trickle-down effect, for instance. Nevertheless, it’s important and useful to know how people with different economic opinions than me justify that position. Spinning Silver is a stellar book, and has a character who is venal and money focused. But as a compassionate writer, Naomi Novik gives Miriam the context to explain how she became that way, and the book is all about how money matters and how different people understand it.

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Doughnut EconomicsStation Eleven

Doughnut Economics, like Sacred Economics, is an invitation to reimagine the economy. It goes beyond identifying problems, and is quite data driven (compared to Sacred Economics, which is heavily philosophical). I really enjoyed it–although I don’t really know what I can do as a non-economics student who does not make policy. The principles of Doughnut Economics is that the systems of the world–social and cultural systems, ecological systems, climate systems, and of course financial systems, are deeply intertwined. Station Eleven demonstrates the same thing, by showing how interconnected different aspects of the world are, and what happens when they’re broken (The World Without Us is a non-fictional approach to the same thing). If you long to understand the world as interconnected in fragile and resilient ways, you’ll love both of these books.

do you understand economics? do you want to? and have you read any of these books?

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discussions · shanti

What is YA?

So, this is a mostly YA book blog, because I mostly read YA. Fair enough, right? But what is young adult? I’m going to unlock that mystery in this post. Is it a genre? An audience? Something else entirely? I’ve seen it described as many things. 

Continue reading “What is YA?”

shanti · writing

Beautiful Books: NANOWRIMO IS WAY TOO SOON

Hey Virtually Readers! As you may know I do some creative writing from time to time and I do so love it. (I also suck). I turned eighteen a few weeks ago, and among several goals for this year, I want to write two first drafts and edit two more manuscripts. Let’s see how that goes. I want to get Entreaty to a place where I’m happy to get feedback from people, and after visiting Thailand I feel all inspired to rewrite Lighter Places with a better setting and stronger characters (though I don’t think the plot will need such big changes). Anyway, I’m writing something totally different, an as-of-yet unnamed fantasy novel that will be part of a trilogy, for NaNoWriMo this year so I thought I’d link up with Beautiful Books, hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further up and Further in, to talk about it. Continue reading “Beautiful Books: NANOWRIMO IS WAY TOO SOON”

book review · books · shanti

Literally just a book about YA books

I heard about Literally a few weeks ago. It’s a book about a girl called Annabelle who discovers that she’s living in a YA book. It’s less fun than you might think. It was a lot of fun, and very easy to read, but didn’t quite achieve the trope reversal it promised.

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Tropes include….

    • falling in love with your brother’s best friend (about equivalent to your best friend’s brother)
    • a love triangle
    • many underdeveloped elements (which I’ll get to)
    • White middle class girl with professional parents
    • divorce
    • background best friends
    • realising you love someone at a party
    • surfer boys
    • driving everywhere (there were a *few* cycling scenes which made a nice change
    • “normal” “good” girl finds freedom in rulebreaking
    • and more

There were more, too, but those were the ones that came immediately to mind. Now, I’m not totally against tropes, and some of these are ones I actually liked. A lot of the tropes were used in a very self aware way, but other’s weren’t. For example, “Lucy Keating” wrote the perfect boy into Annabelle’s (the protagonist’s) life, but made a love triangle, yet Annabelle fell for the “unobvious” person in the love triangle. The whole point of love triangles is that there is a conflict with who to choosed, because both have good points and represent some part of the protagonist’s personality. There was none of that here. I was waiting the whole time for Lucy Keating to prove that the love triangle thing was silly by having Annabelle fall in love with someone else–but no, that didn’t happen. (I don’t really think that’s a spoiler). Basically, it was hard to tell how many of the tropes were intentional; I’m okay with that ambiguity I wanted to be okay with that ambiguity; the trope reversal could have been more clever than it was, but I do see what Keating was trying to do. Still, I was not on board with either side of the love triangle.
Then there were a lot of things that were underdeveloped. The biggest one was my pet peeve: Annabelle was editor of the school newspaper. As a high school senior at like the exact stage of life before graduation that she was AND A NEWSPAPER EDITOR, I wanted to see her being stressed over newspaper and have it consume her life (that’s what happens in real life) but that did not happen. I did relate to this quote though: “I love to take a group of words that just aren’t working and turn them into something readable and interesting.” Same thing with her getting into Columbia. YA makes Ivy Leagues look easy, but Annabelle didn’t talk about this much. Her parents getting divorced didn’t impact her much; she jsut decided not to talk about it. And a lot of the details of the world (how was the author able to actually talk to the characters? Why did “Lucy Keating” tell Annabelle about writing her life? WHAT IS REAL?) Again, I can totally see how this could have been self aware underdevelopment (for instance, the bland best friend, Ava, was absolutely self aware) but I wouldn’t have minded a bit more development (which would have enhance the whole metafiction thing). After all “What’s the harm in living outside the lines?” (or writing outside the lines, as the case may be).
Still, despite the tropes, I really like what Keating was trying to do here. She clearly reads a lot of YA, and was able to imagine how annoying it would be to be a main character.  Annabelle was an interesting character, clearly coping with a lot of things (like most teenagers) and doing her best to understand. I related to her “just a teenager” thing, too; as a seventeen year old, this made a lot of sense.

“There are no promises here. But I’m seventeen years old […] And maybe tomorrow, it will all be different. But I don’t care.”

Both Keating and Annabelle got how crazy it all was, and I liked that the book made fun of how unrealistic YA while also examining why it’s appealing to so many people. There was lots of fun banter, and Annabelle was interesting, and the ending worked really well for me. Also, these are some quotes I liked.

“You’ll find your Happy Ending, and it’s not about with whom you end up. I am only just beginning to figure that out.”
“And just because something ends doesn’t mean it didn’t mean anything. Sometimes, you just have to take the risk.”
“Life is filled with plot twists. That’s what life is.”

So, Literally was sort of all over the place, but it was relatable to me, and it was self aware (even if it could have taken everything a step further). This and Dreamology have shown me that Lucy Keating writes really cool concepts that are fun to read, and so I’ll keep reading her books.

What’s a book that hasn’t quite worked for you? Do you enjoy tropes, or making fun of tropes? And have you read Literally? tell me in the comments!

book review · books · Shar

Review: The Lost Girl

By Shar

I’m back with your usual Tuesday review (I mean, I don’t always review on Tuesday but because I have a lot of other things to do, then I have posted more reviews recently. Anyway.) I read 7 books in 7 days the other week while I was on a school trip, and it was fabulous. This one caught my attention with an Indian setting, but you’ll see what I thought about it if you read below. the-lost-girl

Title: The Lost Girl

Author: Sangu Mandanna

Genre: YA dystopia/paranormal?

Themes: Humanity, friendship, death, belonging, trying to avoid your clone’s boyfriend

Cover rating: 2/10 very ugly and doesn’t represent book at all.

Similar to: Hybrid Chronicles, The Body Electric, The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Summary: Eva has spent her whole life repairing to be someone else: her ‘other’, Amarra, who lives across the world in Bangalore. If Amarra ever dies, Eva’s supposed to replace her seamlessly. However, she has a mind of her own and a stubbornness that constantly gets her in trouble. Could Eva survive a new life without the guardians who raised her?

Like I said, the setting initially intrigued me, followed by The Lost Girl’s curious premise. Modern India isn’t a common setting in young adult books, after all, and seeing as I live in India and have been to Bangalore, I was interested to see what it was ll about. The author painted an accurate picture of an Indian city, from the cafes to the malls to the crowded streets and schools, but I couldn’t help feeling that this setting didn’t fulfil its potential. I wanted to see the side of India that makes it different to a western country, like England, the other main setting. In a lot of ways, upper class Indian teenagers at international schools live very similar lives to teenagers in developed countries, but I wished the different experiences of lower class Indians (for example, India’s devastating poverty, or the cows on the roads, or the random holy monuments everywhere) had been highlighted more.

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The premise was fascinating: a London guild of Weavers design clone-like humans to replace others. Parents can basically order these ‘echoes’ to replace their beloved children if their child dies. It didn’t feel sci-fi, but more like modern steampunk. the weavers who created Eva have been doing their thing for 200 years, so while there wasn’t the sic-fi feel of books like The Adoration of Jenna Fox, it returned to the age-old question: what makes a human? Eva’s narrative voice certainly sounds human, Eva looks and acts human, but she is made, not born. Part of her consciousness is someone else’s; she’s supposed to be Amarra, but she isn’t. Her headstrong uniqueness makes her someone else.

Eva was interesting. Like I said, she had a clear voice, but I didn’t really connect to a lot of her problems. I liked the love interests Sean and Ray (it’s not really a love triangle), but at the same time even the interesting secondary characters felt one-sided (except Matthew, a Weaver, who was…complicated.)

This book required several suspensions of disbelief. For example, 3/4 members of Amarra’s family know Eva isn’t their daughter/sister. But they’re totally chill with her living with them-they even like her, even though her appearance (and existence) constantly reminds them that Amarra is dead. At another point (avoiding spoilers), Amarra’s parents agree for something really horrible to happen to Eva. Everybody knows about it, but then Eva’s perfectly happy staying with them? And at the end of the book, after a lot of drama, she agrees to go back and live with them. It makes no sense.

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The Lost Girl is divided into 4 parts: one that is primarily exposition/background, another when the setting changes, essentially a second set of background and introductions. Some things start happening in the third part, but the greatest amount of plot is crammed in the last section super dramatically. Maybe this is just me, but books with too much beginning and too much plot at the end don’t work for me. It was nice to appreciate the dual settings, but still. The ending was crowded with overdramatic events . I did like that while this functions perfectly as a standalone (I don’t know of a sequel) the ending is open.

Overall, I loved the idea and the setting, but The Lost Girl could have certainly been better executed.

Plot: 2/5

Characters: 3/5

Setting: 3/5

Premise: 4/5

Themes: 3/5

Total: 3/5

Have you read this? How do you feel about books with settings near/familiar to you? Are they normally accurate? What’s your favourite ‘is this a human’ book?

 

features · shanti

Bookish craft ideas

Hi there everyone! As book fanatics, we love to express our love of certain books and characters. But merchandise is often really expensive. How can you show how much you love something without breaking the bank? As the title of this post may have clued you in, today I’m giving you bookish craft ideas! This does presuppose *some* experience of crafting and supplies, but most of the stuff is really easy to get and there are tutorials elsewhere.

#1. Ereader case!

So as you can see from the pictures, I recovered my old kobo case and then embroidered it. The embroidery took a while, but it’s just simple chain stitch. The case was really easy to measure and sew out. I recovered it, so I didn’t need to bother about padding, but if you’re making it from scratch, do two layers and put padding in between them and then quilt it. Zip attaching is hard and tbh my mum did that.

#2. Bookmarks!

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We published the linked post on bookmarks a while ago. They’re really easy and you can write whatever you want on them, be it book related or not. (and this may be some blogoversary foreshadowing)

#3. Jewellery! (sorry, I’m just in an exclamation mark mood today)

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My grandma gave me this set where you can write something on a piece of paper and stick it in a pendant with glass over the top—in this case the Tiger Lily quote ‘we are just stories’) but if you don’t have this stuff you can cover beads with paper and write on them and then use PVA as a varnish (though water will ruin it) or write on wooden beads or try your hand at whittling. There are various ‘make your own bead’ things that you can buy in craft shops too. (I’m lazy and can’t be bothered finding links. Sorry!) I’ve also made ‘fangirl’ bracelets from letter beads which are really simple—you could write a fandom name or a favourite character.

#4. Quotes!

I’m not that good at art so illustrating quotes, mostly physically and sometimes digitally is a really good way to express my fandom J. These are some of the ones on my wall. I’ve used watercolours, gel pens, and various paper—anyone can do this with a quote and given supplies. Stamps are great too for neater writing. (but plan your stamps, otherwise you’ll end up writing ‘You have feet in your head. You have brains in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose’ which happened to a crafting friend of mine)

#5. Fanart!

I’m not really someone to give advice on fanart, but above are some of my attempts (my fanart wall, DoSaB and The Montmaray Journals). I’m no art expert, but watercolours and pencil are probably easiest. Think about a favourite scene, or what a character might mean to you and try to draw it. It’s just for you though so don’t feel any pressure J.

#6. Clothes!

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Some awesome friends of mine screenprinted my favourite t-shirt with a charter mark for a gift one time (now you guys are gonna think that I always wear wrinkled clothes. Not true). I myself am not very good at screen printing (I think I’ve done it once) but you can get fabric paint and alter a garment (ideally a plain one) pretty easily, or use your mad sewing skills to make a cosplay outfit. I’ve made my own cloths but never for cosplay—it’s on the list for ‘maybe one day’—but this is a really awesome way to express your fandom.

So do you like to craft? How do you express your bookworminess in real life? Don’t forget that the best accessory, regardless of crafting skill, is a book. Talk to me in the comments, Virtually Readers!

books · shanti

The Write Idea (the stories that float around in my head)

Hi Virtually Readers! So sometimes I do this thing where I, like, write stories? I did write a novel once, but I haven’t yet edited it. I also write short stories and *sometimes* poetry. These are some ideas I have for stories I want to write. For most of them it’s the first time I’ve ever written anything down about them. These are just ideas; just thoughts I’ve stolen from the part of my head where they were floating. I’m sure there’s some link up for this, but I can’t be bothered to find it. I’m totally open to feedback and thoughts.

story ideas

The Cursed Diamond Story

So this one I have actually done some work on? I wrote and edited a short story set in this world, except in an alternate reality so I wouldn’t have to do research. (I’ve done actual research for historical fiction stories before; it’s hard). Anyway, this story would *probably* be set in the modern day. Have you heard of the Koh-i-noor? You know, the diamond that’s the biggest in the world and has bought kings ransom and been stolen again and again and now sits in the Crown Jewels of England. What if that was cursed with a curse of lies? So that’s the concept. I’m still working on the plot, but there will be creepy magic and lots of history and lots of India. Basically all the things I love. But I want to do a lot of research before that happens.

The AV Girl Story.

Something you don’t know about me: I do AV, like sound and lights and projector stuff at school. It’s really fun and interesting and lots of work. Anyway this would be a contemporary about a girl who does lights. She gets invited to all the cool parties and knows all the cliques because they want her #skillz (I don’t usually like z’s instead of s’s but it’s a hashtag so), but she doesn’t fit in anywhere. There will be high stakes about morality and truth involved. It will answer all the big questions: Can you put a value on friendships? Are you worth more than the sum of your parts? What class do you have next period?

The Innkeeper Fantasy Story

You know how in fantasy stories, there’s often like, that one inn where everyone gets their info? And the innkeepers know all the gossip? That’s who I would want to be in a fantasy story. So the concept behind this one is that it’s an innkeepers daughter and she knows all the gossip, but who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Who should she tell the truth to? Can she keep the business afloat in the middle of this blood war? I love love love moral ambiguity and this would be all about that and keeping secrets and it’s exciting *rubs hands*

So that’s a wrap! Those are some of the stories floating around in my head. I might never write them, but hey, ideas are a start. Do you write? Would you read these if they were ever full novels? Tell me your genius ideas in the comments!

 

 

books

What makes a good blurb?

Hello, O Blookunity (<– book blogging community) I’m currently & tragically stuk in Sydney airport because my flight was delayed due to a thunderstorm (It’s been 8 hours grrrrrr) However, there is lots of good news. For one thing I used my mind control powers to force my mother to give me money kindly asked my mother to buy me a book and it worked. For another thing THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE YESSSSS.  I’ve spent the last three days hanging out with my cousins and there has been bushwalking and nice food and swimming and reading and even kangaroos. (I’m so Australian) But it has been good. Anyway, today I thought I’d talk about what makes a good book blurb and what makes a bad book blurb and why it’s important. But first, you’ll be subjected to pictures of my new pretty.

-shanti

So far into Illuminae (50 pages) it is really violent and sad but I’m hoping that there will be mystery and intrigue and compassion and heroism in surprising places. (don’t spoil me)

But Illuminae and other books have got me thinking about blurbs. Blurbs are put there, essentially, to convince you to buy the book–or at least read it. They need to orientate the would be reader, let them know what sort of book they’ll be reading and introduce them to the premise, without revealing the mystery or being too vague.

I absolutely hate it when blurbs reveal a plot point that occurs more than 25% of the way through the book. I think it’s unfair to the reader, because it essentially makes reading that part of the book pointless. It must be really difficult to write a good blurb. Another thing blurbs can do, if not spoil somethingg, is hint at what’s going on, which is also pretty frustrating if it’s a mystery or something. I also find that if you read a lot of blurbs, which I do (thanks goodreads) they start to sound a bit generic. You know, like

Character A and character B are facing a dilemma. They must make a choice. {insert setting detail} there is much danger in what they have to do and surprising things will happen. This exciting, sure-to-be-popular novel turns {genre} on it’s head.

Or something like that. It’s like there’s a fill in the blank form for sci-fi, fantasy, contemporaries and so on and they just fit the words in. Don’t get me wrong, this kind of blurb does it’s job… but it’ isn’t particularly interesting to read.

What should a good blurb look like, then? I think that it should have

a) Mention of the characters

b) Mention of the premise (setting, plot beginning etc) without spoiling things.

c) An explanation of why this will be worthwhile to read/what makes it difference

d) (optional but important) Information that ties into the cover.

It also has to be interesting, not formulaic. Formulaicism is annoying. (and we can’t have that) Obviously, any quotes on the jacket are going to be wild with praise, so I’m not getting into them. But I like it when a book blurb shows you how the story will connect to you. This can be cliche, like ‘a teenager just like you’ but it should give me the idea that whoever these characters are, I’m going to care about what happens to them. Blurbs are one of the most important parts of publicity and it’s important to hink about what they’re trying to tell you (apart from BUY ME! BUY ME! BUY ME!) (<– This and reviews definitely worked for me and Illuminae)

What do you think of book blurbs and illuminae? Have you ever tried to write a new blurb for a book? What is the most important thing that blurbs should tell you? Tell me in the comments!

 

books

Exclusive, elusive, excellent: The Five Star Post

I read a lot of books. I read about 205 last year (approximately 4 books a week) and I liked most of them. My rating average is 3.78, which is pretty high, and I have no one-star books. But rating is really, really hard. I often will look at a book again and change my rating. I have very few 5 star reads- maybe 15 a year. In this post I’m going to discuss why I give so few books five stars, why my ratings can change, and what the best books look like.

sorry about the terrible writing!
sorry about the terrible lighting!

So, on goodreads (which is pretty much the way I deal with all the books in my life) I have a read-again-and-again shelf. This is for books that a) I’ve read again and again or b) that I plan to reread in the future. These are all 4- or -5 star books and I think that they are worth rereading (I’m a rereader!) This and my “yes” shelf are the ones I really like. I should actually make a five-star shelf, but I haven’t yet. The thing is, that I give well over 50% (maybe 65%) of books that I read a four star rating. And I can’t help wondering if this is because I have good taste in books, because I’m not afraid of dnf’ing (did not finish) bad books or because I guilt myself into thinking that a book deserves five stars.

Some of my five star books/series (I can’t be bothered with links, sorry)

-Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton

-Old Kingdom by Garth Nix

-Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper

-Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

-Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

DSC02279I’m inclined towards imperfect ratings. Occasionally, my ratings goes down (The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl) but often they go up. I find that I am thinking about this book a lot. I am recommending it to all my friends and librarians. I want the next book desperately. For example, Cinder, one of my favourite books EVER, got a four star rating at first. Some of the books named above I read in the Dark Ages (pre-goodreads), so my rating had maybe changed, but I will mark three star books up to four and five stars down. My ratings change, because though no book is ever perfect, the ones I mark as five stars are as close as it comes. Initially, I see the imperfection of a book as I rate it, and then I write a review (at least most of the time) and it helps me to process. But I have marked upThis Song Will Save Your Life, Legend and Rose Under Fire, because all books have imperfections, but for me these are as good as it gets. Ratings are not written in stone: they change, you change.

This part of the post is highly subjective! Don’t get angry, just discuss in the comments.Also, this is for novels I read for fun. Non-fiction and school are a bit different.

My perfect book is strong in character and setting. The way that the characters engage with their environment and the world around them makes me think about my choices and my world. The characters are real in their thoughts and actions, written complexly, and a little bit flawed.DSC02282 The book will have a plot that is fun to read and it will have a writing style that is clear. There will be less infodumping and more subtle realisation of setting. The book will be funny and serious. There will be friendship and love, and complexity of good and evil which makes you question your own morality. You will never be bored while reading.

Does any book perfectly fit this description? NO. Am I going to keep reading and writing anyway? YES. Is Goodreads amazing? OH YEAH.

Do you find rating hard? Do you change your ratings? How would you describe a perfect book, and have you ever read one? Do you love goodreads like I do? Tell me in the comments!

Oh, and by the way: Shar and I have lots of exams over the next month, so we’ll be posting a bit less. But we’ll still reply to all your comments and post at least once a week. Okay? Okay.

-Shanti

Uncategorized

Ordinary

I went the the Messiah last night. It was brilliant (especially the viola chorus parts) and during some of the more repetive bits, I decided what people should be called, based on their faces (Gilbert! Janice! Kevin! Jonathan!) Do you ever play that game?

So I have noticed that in books, people tend to think that they are ordinary.That they don’t have any special talents or skills. That they don’t stand out. That they couldn’t change anything.

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For example, in Divergent, Tris thinks that she is ordinary. But the books spends large portions of time showing that she is special. And the blurb is all “1 girls choice will change everything *drumroll*”. Which is all related to the modern, Western way of thinking- a belief in the power of the individual. And some individuals have enormous power- but there aren’t that many of them.

But I have never read a book and believed it when a character says that they are ordinary. By the very act of being singled out for their story to be told, they are no longer ordinary. Some characters, such as Celaena Sardothien, know that they are not ordinary. But others, like Elise (from This Song Will Save Your Life) feel very ordinary. The definition of ordinary (from google)is : with no special or distinctive features; normal (adjective) or what is commonplace or standard (noun).

However, I don’t agree that normal and ordinary are comparable words. Everyone is ordinary: no one is normal. Normal is how you think everyday life should work as a cultural average (I sort of made that definition up), whereas ordinary is how your everyday life works. For instance, many people would think that my life of belonging to two cultures, living most of the time in India, reading copiously, tramping in the Himalayas during holidays, and occasionally crashing into inanimate objects as abnormal (because, lets face it, I am not a cultural average) , but for me it is utterly ordinary.

Now, most peoples lives don’t have plot. But by the very act of hearing someones stories (in a book or IRL) do you stop them from being ordinary? Does empathy with another person, understanding them, stop them from being ordinary and make them special? Would Christina’s story, or Hazel(from the Hunger Games), or Sophie (from the Infernal Devices) be equally special if we read about them? Now, some books, such as the Truth About Alice, or A Little Something Different, have multiple perspectives that tell a story, but its not about the characters with the perspectives, its about the person/people at the heart of the action. Which I like, but I actually wank to find out more about the people telling the society, even if they are “ordinary”.

So, in conclusion : if your story is being told, you are special. If your story could be told, you are special. If you have a story, you are special. And if you listen to someone else’ ordinary, you are both special. Everyones’ ordinary, which is not normal is special. Consider this as you read.

And a quote from Ruin and Rising :“They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things-if love can ever be called that.”

Also : follow/friend my goodreads :).