Bargaining

Going into a bookstore is like entering a new world, one scented with ink and paper, coffee and tea, dust and wood. I could browse the literary and young-adult sections forever but at the end of the day, I could never purchase any of them. The trip usually results in me buying something from the clearence or the bargain bin; however, I have went into a Barnes & Nobles or Books-A-Million and walked out feeling more angry about the prices.

For all who buy books, we know that at the end of the day it all comes down to money. How much are we willing to spend on a book when we can buy it elsewhere for a better price.

Below, I have ranked the order in which I purchase my books as well as the sites and stores I frequently visit or find the best deals.

Free Books- You can find free books at your local library and online through give-a-way sites and e-books.

Free Book Friday: It is site that gives you the option to enter a “raffle” to win a free book in any of the four categories.http://www.freebookfriday.com/

Get Free Books: It is a site that allows you to legally download free books. http://www.getfreeebooks.com/

Online Alternative- You can find a multitude of discounted books! I use this to find a majority of my books. I almost never use any e-book format and do not own a Kindle. I owuld consider these the best options for those who like to have a physical copy of the book.

Best Bargain Books: It is a site that guarentee’s each book to start out at 60-80 percent off its original price. The fault is that books are almost always out of stock and you do pay arounf $3’s in shipping. http://www.bestbargainbook.com/

Better World Books: It is an organization dedicated to improving literacy world-wide. It has a “bargin bin” where you can find a majority of popular titles and authrs for under $3’s per book. For every book you do buy, the organization gives a book to a child or adult in a foreign country. Shipping is free!http://www.betterworldbooks.com/

Trick-or-Treat Sellers

Barnes & Noble: It is probably the best known bookstore; however, it’s prices can be drastically lowered if you are willing to look around and price elsewhere. I would recommend checking their website for bargain-buys but shelf buying should be prohibited. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

Books-A-Million: It is a smaller bookstore but a great place to find bargains. Here, you will find popular titles in each genre for under $5’s on clearance. No shelf buying unless you have a membership and even then, it can cheaper through online alternatives. http://www.booksamillion.com/

Half-Price Books: It sells and buys used books. It is a great place to shop the bargain boxes and clearance shelf. I would recommend browsing the shelves for hidden bargains which cost about the same as a book and its shipping online. http://www.hpb.com/

I know that finding a good bookstore is often hard simply because of prices. It is tragic that the publishers and owners must sell at a high rate to make their own profit. Over this past year, Border’s went out of business and I was heart-broken; however, I never bought books except from the bargain table. It is the sad reality of books: it all comes down to price and quality and format.

Currently Reading

At the moment, I am reading “Emma” by Jane Austen. I will admit, I found her writing questionable and I remained suspicious (another word loosely-sued for convinced) that I would not enjoy reading a book written by a women about women; however, I am have been proven wrong.

Emma’s character is by-far one of the most interesting female figures I have read in awhile. She is a match-maker which means finds individuals a suitable partner to marry. I should mention that she does it in a very under-handed, back-door, kind of way. Emma is also confident in her beliefs and thinking to the point where she can loose sight of right and wrong. I willingly say I like reading about Mr. Knightley. He is the one person who can find Emma’s faults as well as her beauty.

Austen’s writing style is difficult to follow in some cases but if you remain focused on the wording, you will find her voice elegant and proper.

While there are 508 pages in this novel, I am sitting contently at page 78 and a half. Like every other book I pick-up, there is still a long way to go.

Cheers to Reading!

Book Review

Yesterday, I finished reading “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell. The book was first written durring the mid 1800’s in a great attempt to explore the world of animal treatment and welfare. Interestingly, the author herself had been in a bad accident that left her lame and she was forced to travel everywhere by a horse-drawn cart, sparking the inspiration for the story.

The book is told entirely in the first person by Black Beauty himself as he narrates his life-story. In the beginning, and well into the middle of the story, I found him extremely naive but gentle-minded; however, he is forced to take a different turn in the road and learns that not all men are good and thoughtful but cruel and heartless.

Along the way, he makes a friend: Ginger. She is a chestnut mare with a bold and defensive nature. Personally, she was my favorite character in the book. Unlike Black Beauty who will complete any task so along as it pleases his master, Ginger takes it as mistreatment and fights back by either biting, kicking, or throwing herself to the ground to prevent from being hurt. Granted there are other horse-characters but each is minor in that their appearence is brief, lasting for about three to five pages.

I will admit that the ending is really good but the pages that lead to it are heart breaking. Black Beauty is bought and sold to multiple owners, each one mistreating him in one way or another. It might come as a spoiler to those who have never read the book or watched the film but I feel that it is important to mention something. Towards the ending, Black Beauty learns and witnesses Ginger dying from being over-worked to the point where she actually drops dead in the London streets. As much as I hate admitting it, her death hit home more than other human characters I have read about.

"Black Beauty" is definitely not for the average reader. I feel it would bore a majority of readers and it is a classic. I would recommend it to those who enjoy reading from an animal’s perspective or want to read a classic without being bothered with a complex storyline to follow

Rating: * * * * *

Cheers to Reading!

The “Englishmen” Response

1. What book for a class or course have you read that you secretly liked?

I have two books that I have read and secretly enjoyed. The first would have been Beowulf durring senior year of high school and Frankenstein durring my second semester of college.

2. Who is your most liked/disliked author?

My most liked author, and there are many, would be J.R.R Tolkien. I have yet to read a make-believe-world as developed as Middle-Earth. My most disliked author, and there are many of those too, would be Tim O’Brien.

3. Name one book you have read instead of completing your work and why.

I have done this more times than I can count but the most recent book I did it with was Sara Gruen’s novel “Water for Elephants.” It was second semester and the professor was going-on about some poet whose name I could not remember. I always sat in the back row and one minute I was looking at my Norton Anthology and the next I was reading “Water for Elephants.” He dimissed us and I was still sitting there reading. Lucky for me, someone had stopped to ask him about their notes and I quickly acted as if I had been listening the entire time.

4. What is your preference when reading a novel: 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person?

I prefer either 1st or 3rd person but I like the book to have a present tense where you discover everything right alongside the characters rather than having it explained.

5. If you could vist the world of a book, which would it be and why?

When I wrote this question, I figured a majority of people would immediately say Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling’s world of Harry Pottter; however, I would choose Middle-Earth. I want to meet the Elves and Ents and the men of Ithilien.

6. What are your thoughts on Classic literature?

I view a classic as something that appears boring but is actually a great read if given the chance. It became widely known for a reason and serves as a foundation for our culture; however, I also believe that some books that are deamed “classic” should not be and there are some books that should be.

7. Your favorite English sub-category: novel, short story, script, or poetry?

I have never been one for scripts or poerty (Robert Frost and Walt Whitman are the exception). I write short stories and prefer them because of the impact of their content and them but I would say my favorite sub-catergory is the novel. I like an enriched story with substance and characters that you follow.

8. Name one book you read for guilty pleasure and why.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setewian is my guilty pleasure book that I read over-and over. I find the characters fascinatingly made and the imagery and theme of the novel is one I appreciate.

9. What is your preference: hard-back, paper-back, or e-book?

I am a paper-back man myself. I like the way it feels and looks, easily bendable. It is also the cheaper and most common format to find.

10. Do you believe in buying books as a form of retail-therapy?

Yes! I believe that book-buying is a better form of retail-therapy than buying materialistic items. When the horrible deed of spending money you do not have is over, at least you have something to educate as well as enterain yourself with.

Ancestry

In the literary world, we have at one time or another read about a character who knows little about their family origin. In fact, I would dare say it is among one of the top three most common aspects driving the character or plot in any give story, which brings me to my writing this un-literary post.

I have decided to take it upon myself to compile as much information as I can dealing with my family tree. Personally, knowing more about them will give me, possibly others, a well-rounded idea of where I came from and the lifestyle of my family line.

For the last day, I have been researching, using online databases, public records, and newspaper archives. All the information and resources are out there to find the people you are looking for; it is simply a matter of dedication and patience.

Yesterday, I found the name of my great grandparents on boths sides of the family as well as their occupations. I also learned that on my mother’s side, my great grandmother was adopted, along with her twin sister. It really interests me because I want to learn about both the original family and the adopted family.

If you have never thought about you ancestry, I would advice you to look into finding out more. It really is interesting to learn about them.

Cheers to Reading!

Book Review

"Of Bees and Mist" by Erick Setiawan is an enthralling read from the first page. It was first recommended to me through Amazon and Good-Reads. I have reread it a great deal and enjoyed it every time. It is a Young Adult story and also Setiawan’s debut novel which may come as a surprise because the language reads like it was written by a distinguished author. The book is told in the third-person but the main focus is on the life of Meridia.

The story begins with Meridia as a child. Her father, Gabriel, is presented at a cold and numbing character who is impossible to win attention or love from. It is shortly revealed that every night he leaves in a cloud of mist and returns home the following morning in the mist; he is in the midst of having a long-standing affair with another woman. Her mother is no exception with her private dark language and obsessive behavior. The house, like the parents, is always filled with a bitter coldness to where Meridia can never remain warm for very long. Needless to say, she lives a very abnormal childhood.

The story transitions into Meridia’s life as a young adult where she meets Daniel. It seems unreal when she finds herself taken by his charm. She then learns to cherish his mother, Eva, whose laughter brings her warmth, appearing to be everything her own mother is not. Later in the story, Meridia realizes that Eva is the one responsible for keeping people awake durring the night, torturing them with the sound of a thousand buzzing bees. Daniel’s two sisters, Malin who is spiteful, and Peremony who is gentle and kind, are the family she envies. Meridia becomes Daniel’s bride through a sacrifice on her own mother’s part.

After having married Daniel, the plot of the book begins to take an unmistakable turn. For the remainder of the story, Meridia spends a majority of her time arguing with Daniel, feuding with Eva, re-establishing her relationship with Ravenna, protecting her sister-in-laws, and finding the answers to Gabriel’s secrets.

The setting of the book is a mystery in that Setiawan never gives the reader a name, only the title of streets, estates, markets, and festivals; however, the langauge makes-up for it.

I would recommend this book for those who enjoy Fiction, Literary, Fantasy, Young-Adult or those who enjoy stories with a Fairytale-esque to it.

Rating: * * * * *

Cheers to Reading!

Short Story

I first read “The Garden Party” by Katherine Mansfield durring my first year at college for a composition paper. Little did I know after reading that it would leave a major impact in my thinking as well as carpal tunnel from writing thirteen pages about it. It is one of my all-time favorites.

The story is centered around Laura Sheridan, one of the daughters in the Sheridan household. In the beginning, she is placed in charge of decorating for the extravagant party her family is giving. There is a marquee being erected, flowers being planted, and food being prepared. All seems to be going as planned and Laura, along with the entire family, are thrilled at the prospects.

Partly into the story, the cook informs the family that a man had been killed earlier that same morning, most likely while they were setting-up. I should have mentioned before that the Sheridan house is set on a knoll that overlooks a poverty-filled village. Mansfield describes it as being “little mean dwellings painted a chocolate brown… [with] the very smoke coming out of their chimneys was poverty-stricken.”

At hearing the news, Laura immediately wants to cancel the party out of empathy for the mourners below. Her family thinks she is being foolish and carries on with the party as planned.

When the guests leave and the party if finally over, Mr. Sheridan convinces his wife to send a basket of left-over food to the newly widowed woman. It is Laura who ends-up taking the food down into the village. Despite her good intent, she feels outcastted and uncomfortable walking through the village. She manages to find the woman and observe the corpse of the man. She then rushes out of the house and runs into Laurie, her brother that had been sent to find her because their mother had grown anxious.

The story’s ending is where a majority of the meaning comes into play. Mansfield ends it with the idea that life is a darling, a thing I take to be easily swade from one spectrum to another.

Rating: * * * * *

Cheers to Reading!

Currently Reading

I am currently reading “Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heros” by Edith Hamilton. I first saw the book sitting on the bookshelf at my local Walmart and was captivated by the cover and subject.

A great deal of the book is made-up of short stories, an athology of the Greek tales if you will, explaining the existence of the gods, the creation of the earth, and appearence of mankind.

The one thing I have found interesting so far is how the gods are able to see their direct influence and place in the world below them. Zeus is an exception to the rule because he manages to have several affairs with mortal woman, never being able to quite realize he belongs in the heavens with his wife, not on earth parading with women.

I have noticed that a majority of the book is comprised of Greek and Roman mythology with a smaller section in the back dedicated to Norse folklore. I will admit, I am looking forward to reading the Norse myths seeing as I live for such things as Beowulf.

As of right now, I am on page 113 and there are 465 pages…. a long way still to go but looking forward to the challenge.

Cheers to Reading!

The “Fairytale” TAG

I first heard about the TAG from Renee on her Youtube channel “Renee’s Channel of….. Stuff” who conviently started it. For those of us who enjoyed the tales of beautiful maidens, fire-breathing dragons, knights in shining armor, and other magical elements, I believe you will enjoy this TAG.

Alright, lets begin!

1. What was your first introduction to fairytales?

My first introduction to fairytales would have been through Disney cartoons; however, I was recommended Grimm’s in college by a friend.


2. Do you have a fav fairytale/fav fairytale character? Or several?

My favorite fairytale would be Sleeping Beauty, both the Disney adaptation and Grimm’s version. As for my favorite character, I would have to go with Bell from from Beauty and the Beast.


3. Do you immediately associate fairytales with Disney, and their Disney incarnations? Do you think this association is a good/bad thing?

Actually, I don’t immediately associate fairytales with Disney. I know I did at one point but after reading Grimm’s and other fairytale collections, I tend to automatically compare and contrast the different versions of the story.

4. Do you prefer “lighter” or “darker” fairytale renditions?

I prefer “darker” fairytale renditions. When you read the originals, the stories themselves tend to be graphic and straight-forward about the evil in the world.


5. Do you read fairytale adaptations? If so, name some favs

Typically, I don’t read adaptations; however, I would like to read the Sisters Red, Beastly, and Cinder.


6. In terms of fairytales on film, what are some of your favs?

I adored Red Riding Hood, directed by Catherine Hardwicke. She did a great job at bringing the moral of the tale to life while capturing the imagery of a believable setting.


7. What novels and films with a fairytale feel do you enjoy? These are not directly canon tales eg. a tale from the Grimms, from Perrualt, from Anderson, etc.

I enjoyed Alice in Wonderland (book and film), The Jungle Book (book and film), Penelope (film), and Of Bees and Mist (book).

8. What do you think accounts for the enduring appeal of fairytales?

I think the mere size of a fairytale is attractive in that it is usually a short read. I would also be willing to say that the magical elements and familiar characters have contributed to their enduring appeal.


9. Was/is there a character or tale that impacted you the most?

All of the fairytales I have read have impacted me in some way or another. The one tale that has impacted me the most would be Beauty and the Beast. The one character that has impacted me the most would be Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.


10. If you could be any fairytale character, who would it be and why?

I would want to be Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. In the Disney and Grimm’s version alike, she is portrayed as this powerful fairy. I have always been fascinated with her ability to flatter and insult at the same time. I know, it is a strange choice for a man but you’ll have that sometimes with a reader.


11. If you could rewrite or reenvision a fairytale, what would it be and what would you do/change?

I would reenvision Little Red Riding Hood. I have already started my own version of the story within the last year. It is set in a village, similiar to that of the film but slightly different, with a complete plot change. So far, it has grew into a story of loss, obsession, and love.


12. Your fairytale weapon of choice: poison apple, the power of a name, an evil bargain, or praying on a specific human weakness/emotion?

If I had to choose from the list, I would go with the poison apple. In the fairytale of Snow White, the apple is always shown as something lucious; however, I would take a magical staff in a hearbeat.

Now it is your turn! Take the twelve-question TAG and see what you find out about yourself and others. Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts, and own answers!

Cheers to Reading!

Introduction

Hey! I have always had a devotion to authors, books, and writing. In this Tumblr, I will strive to make it nothing but a literary heaven, if such a place could ever exist outside the libraries, coffee-houses, and bookstores.

I’m currently entering into my third year studying English at a state university. Every day, from the pages of a book, I learn something new whether it be a matter-of-fact point or a theme that defines the universe; it’s all there between the pages.

Now there are a few ground rules: read the books that inspire you, keep the discussion going, expand your mind, think creatively, and be yourself. I welcome all sorts of individuals, from the lovers of fan-fiction too the tip-toeing classic admirers too the overly vocalized pop-culture readers.

If you have a question, a statement, or a comment, leave it here and I will do my best to answer it.

Cheers to Reading!