Tag Archives: book

Plans for Moving Forward

My sincerest apologies for practically throwing this blog to the wayside. I feel as though I’ve run out of a lot of ideas for this blog, and so I’m here to announce some big plans that I plan on accomplishing within the year as well as plans for this blog.

First off, let me start with my overall plans.

I feel as though I’ve been slacking in what my dream became once I found my calling in college, which was Professional Writing. Well, to be technical, that’s just the term I graduated with. To be more precise, I feel as though I have been called to creative writing; that is, bringing those many thoughts and ideas in my head to life, creating stories and beings and wonderful things from my head onto paper (or screen, in this case). I want to create and write and just have fun doing something I love to do, and I realize that when I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2014.

I created my first full fledged story and I didn’t even complete it. But I also realized that it wasn’t the exact story I wanted to tell and so I have decided to rewrite the entire thing from a different perspective(s) than before and in a different tense than before (present instead of past).

It’s a huge undertaking, but I believe I need to accomplish it. Without it, I won’t be telling the story that I know resides within my heart. Though I’ve just started rewriting I’m already frustrated, but that’s how it always goes, right?

Besides that, my other big plans include:

  • finishing said story to its completion, polished and ready to go
  • having said story read and critiqued by others whom I trust to give me honest opinions
  • once feedback has been received, make any adjustments and then proceed to research agents and publishers
  • query my story

Very big plans, as you can see. But that’s not all I have planned for this year. I have some other major plans that I’ve been thinking about and I truly believe that I need to accomplish them:

  • choose one of my many ideas and start working on the next story
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2015
  • if rejected from any agents/publishers, continue writing anyway
  • potentially find some way to get myself out there more in terms of writing
  • continue with my Reader Rayna blog & my YouTube channel

Those are some pretty hefty things I want to continue to do for myself, that’s for sure. Some are easier than others, but they’re all time consuming. As a writer, it’s nothing short of what I expected.

I love what I do. I love to write and create and bring characters to life on a page. It’s one of my passions that I stubbornly ignored for such a long time but I found it is truly my calling.

Though I can’t be a full-time writer right now, I can work on the sides and behind the scenes and push through my day to day life. I know my husband supports me in my endeavors, as does God, and so I have to support myself, right?

Now as for this blog, I know I’ve highly neglected it for several months now, and once again I apologize. Topics just haven’t been coming to my mind and I have been busy with my other blog, work, wedding, honeymoon, and just trying to make it by in my daily life.

But I’ve missed this blog and those that read and follow me. I miss the conversations and the fact that I could express my own opinions about topics and be happy that they were out there.

So here are some of my plans for this blog:

  • write at least one blog post bi-weekly; if I’m able to write more, then I’ll do more
  • don’t so much focus on a certain topic, but just let my opinions soar out of me
  • as I continue in my endeavor to write and eventually query my story, talk about that process and what I’ve learned from it

It’s only a few, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to stress myself out too much with this, so I just want to give myself at least a few small guidelines for what I expect to do with this blog and how I want to continue in my endeavors and journey as a writer.

I hope I have your support, as well, in all of this, dear reader. I want to be as warm and inviting as possible to those who read my blog and can put up with my absences. This isn’t about just “trying to be professional,” but it’s also about connecting with a larger community of people like me.

Thank you for your time.

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Celebrating Occasions with Books

It’s no wonder that many people love receiving gifts – from gift cards, to big things, small things, expensive things, and all other things in between. Sometimes the gift is just the thing you wanted, and other times it’s something that you hope came with a gift receipt.

When it comes to book lovers, what’s the first thing that they ask for during any major holiday, whether it be their birthday (hey, to them it’s a holiday), Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other day, books are usually at the tops of their list.

But what if you don’t know their reading style? What if you get them a book – or series – that they already have?

It can be hard to shop for a reader, especially when so many different factors can play a part into what should and should not be given them. Let’s take a moment to explore some ideas for your average book lover:

  • Gift cards – they’re a great gift during any occasion, and you can give gift cards for specific stores, such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon. You can really never go wrong with this option.
  • e-Readers – they’re not all expensive and can hold thousands upon thousands of books in just the palm of your hand. From the nook to the kindle, there are several e-Readers that do the job just fine. You can even get accessories for each reader, which makes it more personal, and fashionable.
  • Book-themed apparel – yes, it exists. Haven’t you seen the “Okay? Okay.” shirts looming around some stores modeled after “The Fault in Our Stars“? Or what about the Harry Potter themed clothing items that can be found at Hot Topic? Do a little digging and you’ll find many places carry book-themed apparel.
  • Audiobooks – they can be just as expensive as hardcover books, but audiobooks are a great way to listen to a book for your busy, on-the-go, reader. There’s a wide range of different kinds of audiobooks, but not all books are made audio, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a specific title.
  • Custom designed anything – have you ever viewed Etsy? It’s a website where people can hold little online shops and sell items custom designed for others. You can find many people who do custom bookmarks, totes, and other objects and make them personal to your book lover.

Those are just a few examples of the what you can gift your book lover. They will love anything given to them that’s book themed (as long as they liked the book). It can be challenging, but with so many different tools out there in the world, you can find that some of these things are manageable, affordable, and totally perfect for the book lover in your life.

What kinds of gifts do you give to your book lovers? What kinds of gifts have you received as a book lover? Let me know in the comments!

Kids & Reading

It’s no shocker that kids who read do better in school – and not just in their English classes. In fact, the American Council on Education, as restated on Do Something, says that “53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally ‘almost every day,’ while only 20% of 8th graders could say the same.”

Think about that. Just over half of young readers read for fun, while just four short years later the numbers drop over 25%. What would cause something like that?

It could be that the school systems become harder, kids growing up just have less of an interest because it’s “not cool,” or some other factor that prevents them from reading.

According to the Literacy Project Foundation, “Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country [the United States] that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children.” I would be so sad if I couldn’t read to my child when I have one. Stories bring to life so many adventures and create vivid imaginations that can take many children to places they’ve never been – especially in their playtime.

Reading not only brings up literacy and allows children to succeed well into their adult years, including, but not limited to, higher education, attaining a career, and keeping out of jail. Yes, jail. It’s a scary fact (see sources linked above), but it’s true that having the ability to read above a certain level can actually help to enhance a child’s future rather than hinder it.

If you live in the United States (and other places in the world), we have this wonderful place called the library. Many larger cities have their own, as well as many schools, and so allowing children to take advantage of reading free books (so long as they have a library card and no late fees to pay off) is well worth the trade off of having a child who is happy from reading. For a list of public libraries by state, check out this link.

When picking out a book for a child, or allowing them to choose on their own, simply think of their interests: do they like animals? Superheroes? Trains? There are so many wide varieties of books to choose from that they will never be bored of it. I know that, personally, when I walked into Barnes & Noble or my local library at a young age and gravitated toward the children’s section, I was always swept away at the amazing amounts of books and the many, many different kinds I could choose from. I personally enjoyed puzzle books and animal books, but your child may enjoy books like Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, or any other kind of book.

For young readers under the age of eight, I recommend books like Stellaluna, Verdi, and Eloise.

For young readers age eight to thirteen, I recommend books like Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and really anything from this list.

But reading doesn’t have to be limited to those kinds of books. Let a child dip their toes into some more mature reads (obviously not too mature, depending on their age) and see if they can handle the language and structure. It can be a challenge, but sometimes that’s just what they need.

So what do you think about the importance of reading for a child? Do you think it’s worth it to have someone who enjoys having a big imagination, a broader vocabulary, and a sense of adventure? Sure, reading doesn’t necessarily mean all these things will happen (except the broader vocabulary part), but it still does allow them to find more dreams in the world than what may seem to be out there. We all know reality can be a harsh place to live in, so why not allow them to dream for just a little bit longer?

Do you think it’s important for kids to read? What would you recommend to a child under the age of 12? Do you remember what you read as a kid? Let me know in the comments!

Movie Adaptations of Books

We’ve all seen and heard of book to movie adaptations, such as Twilight, Divergent, The Great Gatsby, Life of Pi, etc. The list goes on and on.

But what is it about book to movie adaptations that make them so much worse (generally, not always) than the books themselves? And in retrospect, what makes some movies better than the books themselves?

As an avid reader and book lover, I must say that when I first read a book, and I love it, and then hear about a movie adaptation coming out of it, I have high expectations. There’s nothing that upsets me more than a bad book to movie adaptation.

Let me take a second to talk about one adaptation that really ticked me off: Blood & Chocolate. I first read this book about werewolves in middle school and loved it. It was dark, humorous, adventurous, and more. When I heard that a movie was coming out of it, of course I had to see it.

And I was severely disappointed.

The age of the characters was wrong, the plot was completely different, the acting was just bad, any form of CG was low quality at best, and it was just an overall horrible book to movie adaptation.

It kind of puts a damper on movies when you think about it because so many movies nowadays are based off of books. When the Harry Potter series first came to the big screen, many people were unsure if it was going to live up to the expectations that had been set so high by the fan base. Luckily the movies did well in representing the books (so I hear as I’ve only read the first two books thus far, but have seen all the movies). It seems to be a rare occurrence to have a decent, let alone true, adaptation.

What I think the movies lose is the sense of who the characters really are from the books when they’re being written for the screen or are spoken by a certain actor, or that there isn’t enough budget to make the world look believable, or there’s just some element missing that makes the movie that much worse than the book itself. This isn’t always the case, and there will always be some flaws in every adaptation, but that isn’t to say there aren’t some good ones out there.

The best adaptation I’ve seen recently was The Fault in Our Stars. Every line of the book and every scene from the book took place in the movie, minus one scene that was changed from what was in the book. Obviously some parts were snipped out due to time restraints and budget, but it was the most faithful book to movie adaptation I’ve seen in a long, long time.

And then there are some movies that are actually better than the books. These seem to be few and far in between, but they do exist somewhere out there!

Though adaptations can be a controversial subject as to quality on each medium, the fact of the matter is how you view each and your own opinions on them.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions on everything discussed in the comments!

Book Clubs

Have you ever wondered what a book club is? Have you ever wanted to start one but you were unsure of how to go about doing it or couldn’t find enough people to join you?

Book clubs can be a fun way of sharing experiences, likes, and dislikes among book lovers. Pretty much the person in charge of the book club picks a book that everyone in the club has to read within a certain time frame and then they discuss it in detail. This can consist of various questions that were thought up and the person in charge has to make sure that there’s flow for each question before moving on to the next one, and more.

It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not all that bad.

If you join Goodreads, there are plenty of book clubs on there to join; you just need to find one that’s right for you. Or start one!

To start a book club, think of the following things before beginning, or as you go:

  1. Find people to start the book club with. Start small with just you and two friends, and before you know it, you might end up with ten more people joining down the road. The point is to start small and build up.
  2. Think of a theme or set genre for the types of books you want to read. Do you love mysteries, but the rest of your group prefers sci-fi? Find a common ground for everyone to stand on and start there, branching out afterward.
  3. Write down questions for discussion. If you are the person in charge for the first meeting, make sure you’re prepared (actually read the book) and have some questions on hand to ask your fellow club members. Write them down so you don’t forget.
  4. Pick a time frame. If you start a book club, decide on a book, and then just say, “Have at it!” then you’ll never meet up again until probably a year later. Be realistic in your time frames:
    1. For larger books (over 500 pages) or series, try having meetings monthly, one meeting per book.
    2. For smaller books (less than 500 pages), try having meetings bi-weekly.
    3. If you’re ambitious, finish one book per week, but make sure it can fit in with everyone’s schedules!
    4. If you prefer, have set chapters to read rather than completing the whole book so the book can be drawn out and you’ll have more to talk about.
  5. Bring snacks! Book club meetings can take a lot of time, so be prepared to serve some snacks so everyone can be satisfied and think of something to talk about.

Okay, so number 5 isn’t really a requirement, or something you really need to consider, but it’s still nice to have something to munch while you’re thinking of the answer to the question that was asked.

Book clubs can be fun for everyone and they don’t have to take a lot of time. Set your meetings for an hour each meeting and try to meet your own personal goals and guidelines to however you have it set up. Just be sure to have fun with it and keep on reading.

For the Love of Reading

Reading is a gateway to a world unlike any other. It can be set in reality or Mars. It can be a great way to de-stress from a long, hard day, or a way to just have some fun. It’s entirely up to you on how you view it.

But why is reading so great?

Let me first start by saying why I love it: it helps me to get away. I am a very imaginative person, and so to be able to have a way to channel that imaginative and creative side of me into something other than drawing is relaxing and fun for me.

I especially enjoy young adult literature. There’s a sense of innocence in many of the books, but there’s also a deep sense of self and adventure in many of the novels I have read. It’s nice to be able to read books about teens and young adults that can be so relatable, and yet some reach the very stretches of the imagination.

Not only that, but I have read manga, romance, fiction, historical, fantasy/sci-fi, religious, and many subcategories within those categories. There’s a whole range of genres of books that are accessible to those that are willing to read – so go out and pick up a book!

When reading I often put myself into the hero or heroine’s shoes, and so when some actions happen I react appropriately to those situations, such as when a romantic scene is happening: I tend to get butterflies. Or when someone is pissing off the main character I start getting pissed off. It’s a way for me to drop whatever is bothering me that day and just let go of it all.

So what can you do to start loving to read more?

  • Pick up a book! It’s not going to kill you to go to the bookstore, the library, or even online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and buy an e-book.
  • Listen to an audiobook. I had a classmate that fell in love with reading again because of audiobooks. Some of the people who read it don’t sound great, but try to enjoy the story regardless.
  • Start or join a book club. What better way to read than being forced to meet up with people to discuss a book at length? Search around for local book clubs or start your own!
  • Pick up books with stories that interest you. It sounds like a “well, duh” answer, but we are often forced to read books through school that we otherwise didn’t enjoy, or even hate, so try to go for a genre or type of story that you’re interested in, such as dystopian societies or dragons or romance.
  • Find someone to read with you. This is similar to the book club idea, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Find a friend or someone close to you who will be willing to read a book along with you so you have someone to discuss every intimate detail with. It can be a life saver when you’ve just read something you love and need to talk about until your throat runs dry. Also try online communities where you’ll get even more people who will enjoy it with you!

The possibilities are endless. Reading isn’t just for school or something that has to be a chore, as many younger people, and sometimes even older people, find it to be. It’s fun, exhilarating, and completely worth it.

Take the time to make a list of your likes and dislikes in a book, then go searching for some! Always start off at your local library if you’re uncertain that you might like a book enough to buy it. The books are free and the librarians are often very happy to help with any questions you may have.

So how about it? Do you love reading or think you’ll be able to?

 

What are some of your favorite types of books? Why do you love to read? Let me know in the comments!

Fiction vs Nonfiction

First off, let me just say that everyone has their own personal preferences as to what they like and dislike in a book, and these are just my views and opinions on these two genres.

The two major branches of classifications in a book are fiction and nonfiction. If you don’t know what the differences are, let me tell you:

Fiction is a story that can be either real or imaginary, but takes place in a setting that is created by the author. Think of stories like “Divergent” by Veronica Roth or “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen.

Non-fiction is a story that is based in real life and can fall under the categories of autobiographies, biographies, historical, memoir, and more.

Each major genre branch has many little branches that like to “grow” from them, let’s say. For fiction there are genres such as historical, romance, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, teen paranormal romance, etc. For non-fiction there are genres such as lifestyle, historical, biography, etc. There are many different genres to read in this world, and there are also many different forms of these genres, particularly those in print, digital, and magazine.

When looking at the big umbrella of fiction and non-fiction, there are different factors to consider when picking out a book (or looking for a website) that you should consider before you pick one up:

  1. Are you in the mood to read about something that is made up and that has a plotline? Or are you interested in someone from the real world, whether that be a politician, an actor, or an author?
  2. Do you tend to be more of an artistic mind or are you more of a forward thinker? This can actually make a big difference when you choose the types of books you read. If you have an artistic mind where you have a vivid imagination or are thinking of getting ideas for your own story, then maybe you want to read at a fiction book whereas someone who’s more business oriented will want to read a non-fiction book or magazine to just pass the time or learn more about the world.
  3. Do you prefer digital or print? Thought eReaders are becoming really big nowadays, that doesn’t mean that print is going out of style anytime soon. For many books, though you can easily find them for an eReader, if you don’t own one or you spend more time online but are looking for a fictional novel to read, you might be out of luck. Think about getting an eReader from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble – it’s an investment that can be worth it.

Though it can be a toss up as to whether or not you want a book via a certain type of “printing” you can still decide what you prefer to read by also making a pros and cons list.

Fiction Pros: Fun to read; engaging; imaginary worlds; sometimes they’re in a series; many different genres for every type of interest

Cons: If they’re hardcover they can be expensive (as will a non-fiction book); cheesy covers; it’s a gamble – you may pick up a really great book with a great story, characters, and setting, or you may pick up a dud

Non-fiction Pros: Easily relatable; entertaining (magazines); factual (most of the time); useful resources

Cons: Sometimes boring; topics retold over and over again; magazine subscriptions can get expensive

All in all, it’s really up to you. If you’re a person who doesn’t read a lot but is looking to pick up the hobby, this list I made may or may not have helped. If you’re a seasoned reader, then you know what you like and you know what you can look out for. I find that both non-fiction and fiction books have their own charms and their own curses, but when it comes down to it there is only one person who can determine what they want from a book, and that’s you.

Why Reading is Important

Have you ever felt a little ping of sadness when you’ve finished reading a really good book? Have you sailed the seven seas and soared through new and uncharted lands? When was the last time you escaped to a whole new world?

Reading can take you to places you’ve never been, never even conceived of in your mind; but why does it feel like the beautiful experience of reading seems to be diminishing in this world, or at least in the U.S.?

Technology continues to advance and become bigger and better than ever, new “things” just keep coming out. I say “things” because that’s really what they are: things we want but don’t need, things that are expensive but lack in quality, things that will make us happy for a short period of time before we’re ready for the newest and latest thing.

But books are timeless. They have been around for hundreds of years, perhaps even thousands in their own form, and yet it seems like all kids, teens, and even some adults care about are the things they can have right now, something to distract them for a few moments before they move on to the next thing.

When I was younger, I loved to read. We didn’t have tablets, computers were giant and chunky machines, and cell phones were only used for the purpose of calling people. Books were an escape, as they still are, from the world and the troubles of the day. I remember reading Stellaluna and how cute I thought the little bat was and what it would have been like to have been her.

Even watching TV shows was a reading experience: with shows such as Wishbone and Reading Rainbow it was easy to dive into the worlds that were presented to me and want to know more about them.

Today it doesn’t seem as if these types of shows exist anymore. There are kids’ shows that teach important moral values and all that, sure, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on reading.

I recently saw a commercial on Disney Channel with Debbie Ryan talking about the importance of reading. It was just a short 30 second commercial, but does it make an impact? There was also a commercial with Bella Thorne talking about her dyslexia and how she read to overcome it, now being able to read a year above her grade level. I often wonder if these types of commercials impact kids, and if they do, do they implement the message that they’re sending? Do they take the time to sit down and read?

Could it be that the pressure of reading books that, frankly, aren’t all that great in middle and high school deterrents from enjoying reading outside of the classroom? I know that’s a big factor for me, personally. If I’m “forced” or “required” to read something, I oftentimes don’t enjoy it. Sometimes I don’t even read it or have such a revulsion to it that I shudder whenever I hear the name of the book (especially if it’s turned into a movie).

Reading can take you on a whole new journey, though. Books can take you to new worlds, introduce you to new and weird creatures, and even bring you back in time. There’s so much wonderful potential books hold, so why not do it?

Here’s my challenge for you: pick up a book. Just one. Make sure it’s something that sounds interesting to you, something that you feel you’d enjoy. Don’t pick a school book, pick a book for fun. Now read it from cover to cover, take the time to let the words soak in to you. Don’t just hurriedly read through it just to get it done; take your time. If it takes a few days, a week, or even a month, just read it.

If you’ve never enjoyed picking up a physical book, there are other options: audiobooks and ebooks are two different ways to explore new worlds. I had a classmate a semester ago who rekindled her love for reading through audiobooks. She hated to read growing up, but now she can’t stop and has to read every night before going to bed. eBooks are also a great way to read because you can hold literally thousands of books on one device and read whatever and whenever you want without having to worry about a physical book taking up space on a shelf or desk.

Reading is so important. If we didn’t read, we most likely wouldn’t be able to hold jobs (including in writing – reading helps to form your own style by picking up the styles of authors you’ve read), help others, find where we need to go, or escape from this ever stressful world. So pick a book and start reading. You may just find that you love it.