Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why = AMAZING

So I just finished Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, and let me tell you...WOW! I seriously couldn't stop reading; it most definitely got my pulse racing and my head spinning.

Before I go any further, I'll try to do a quick little summary of the plot for those of you who haven't heard of it...

There's this high schooler, Clay, who comes home one day from school to find seven cassette tapes lying on his front porch; on the tapes is the voice of Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush, who committed suicide very recently. He listens to the tapes, discovering there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Even crazier, he discovers he himself is one of the reasons.

It's totally enthralling, and a page-turner that's not just a "page-turner" for the sake of being put on a cover so people will buy a book. It's totally heartbreaking and does have a lasting impression (though I did just finish it an hour ago, so I can't really judge its "lasting" impression, I suppose), but I just know it will linger in my head. I had gotten it a few months ago, and for some time it had sat lined up with all my other "to read" novels on my shelf; when I was cleaning, I had to take all the books off to dust, and I cracked open the first page, started reading, and...well, here I am, writing about how great it was. So, I meant to read it, just...not now. I'm glad I did, though. :)

(I wasn't able to get an autographed copy, though that would've been amazing!)

So, that's all. :) I'm sure many of you have heard of it and probably read it, but I still just needed to blab about how great it was (because, honestly, how can you resist that plot and the mystery of it all?). Five out of five stars, no question. Mr. Asher is a fine writer.

I'm still trucking onward with my other books (both the readings and the writings), and I'll keep you guys posted if I have some breakthrough with anything or something magical happens (not yet querying, though, so I can't imagine anything yet). ;)

Any of you finish great books recently? Have any of you read Thirteen Reasons Why? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Taylor Swift's Songs Are Like Good Writing

Okay, so maybe all of you don't agree with that statement. But after having just been in a little fight about whether or not Taylor Swift can sing and the statement that all her songs revolve around boys and falling in love and breaking up and feeling cheated and etc., I kinda got to thinking... I think so many people resonate with her songs because they're real. Relatable. Her songs aren't like the crazy other songs out there, where half the time you don't really know what they're singing about but you just sing along anyway because it's catchy (guilty). Don't get me wrong--there are still tons of other songs out there that are just as easy to understand, as understandable as Taylor's; I'm only using her as my example because I was just defending her and I like her. :)

As writers, we're always striving to make our stories, our characters as real as possible, as believable as can be. That way, our stories will stay in readers' heads and make them truly think about what they've just read long after they've turned that last page. We try to strike them in the gut, reach out and make them feel while they're reading.

Yes, I'm a guy, and I think Taylor Swift's songs are fantastic. I feel like she's speaking directly from her heart when she sings (not to get all sappy or anything), and that really makes me smile and lets me know she pours her soul into all of her written works.

That's what we, as writers, must continue to do. Put as much passion into our works as we can, because once we have, it'll truly begin to shine like it was meant to. I wholeheartedly believe that.

Food for thought, I guess. :) What do you think?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back In The Swing Of Things...

So, it's 2011. Can you even believe that??? I mean, honestly, I just felt like I was partying for 2010. Time baffles me...

It's time to turn on our brains, get off the couch, and head back into reality, whether we want to or not. There's always that difficulty that comes with heading back into the world, yet at the same time that feeling of happiness since we're actually beginning to accomplish things during the days that seemed to have fallen to the wayside as the holidays barged right on in.

I know in my last post I said I had time to write, and, well...I lied. I thought I'd have time, but I guess I was a teeny bit overzealous... Sure, I wrote a tad, but nothing significant. However, now that the new year has begun, I'm very happy to say that I (along with hopefully everyone else that had to drag themselves right back into the swings of things at the close of the holidays) will have more time to least once things slip back into their usual routine, which, for my family, takes a good few days. There's always that little bit of craziness as everyone struggles to board the insane, always-moving thing called life--especially after the holidays.

I'm incredibly excited for 2011; a fresh year, a clean slate, a perfect oppurtunity to sharpen our writing craft, read read and read, and simply enjoy ourselves on our authorly journeys. As of right now, there's not much happening with me, just the usual dillydally and procrastination of things to do and the yearning to go back to the holiday greatness and the joy that another year is upon us and the excitement that comes with it...

Okay, I need to breathe.

In book news, I recently started reading Brenna Yovanoff's THE REPLACEMENT, which, so far, is amazing (the cover is one of those rare covers I just have to keep looking at because it's just so cool!). Already I can tell I'm going to totally love it. :)

Now, with each new year comes new books. I'm already amassing a list of what I'm terribly excited for. Here are the 2011 books I just can't wait to get my hands on:

  • DESIRES OF THE DEAD by Kimberly Derting
  • WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight
  • UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand (wouldn't ya know, it comes out TOMORROW!)
  • WITCH EYES by Scott Tracey

So, any of you guys ready to jump back into the chaos of normal life? Picked up any good books lately? Immensely excited for upcoming novels of 2011? Leave me your thoughts, and Happy New Years!