Tag Archives: Books

Thoughts on Twilight…About Ten Years Late

“There’s things you don’t do after a break up: 1) Start doing drugs 2) Start smoking                       3) Read f***ing Twilight.” -A dear friend of mine in the middle of a snow storm

 

Unless you were living under a rock in the mid-2000’s, you probably heard the term, “twilight” thrown around all the time. It wasn’t because society had suddenly found interest in this specific time of day; it was due to the wild popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s romance series Twilight that had recently begun being adapted to film. I was ten years old when the first film was released, but I remember clearly my middle school friends all gawking and fangirling over either the guy who played the vampire or the guy who played the werewolf as the movies gained popularity. Fast forward to my almost 21-year-old self, who has just recently completed the book series and has a few thoughts on this polarizing saga.

48406840_1926730457443444_6715674713009422336_nFirst though, a bit more background. I grew up in a Christian household with loving parents who knew I was an avid reader that inhaled stories. However, as Meyer’s books began to rise in the ranks of pop culture, so did the Christian Blogger Moms rise to write against the story. The wrote posts saying that people shouldn’t be reading these books because they had *gasp* vampires in them (sparkly ones at that). My mom, wanting to do her best for her dorky middle schooler, didn’t let me read the book series. Personally, I had no problems with this. I wasn’t into romance and was more interested in my growing love for Star Wars. Ironically, after letting me read all the Left Behind books (which by the way, REALLY INTENSE), my parents allowed me to read Harry Potter as I would avoid reading the vampire books. So I guess, Thanks Stephenie, cause I really like the child wizard books.

IMG_3785.JPGRecently though, my mom decided to start listening to Twilight books on the Libby app, which is this nifty little thing that my local library is linked through. After listening to her talk about them for a few weeks, I rolled my eyes and started reading the first book before bed. Now, let me remind you all I am a full time college student and was working three jobs at the time when I started reading this, so it wasn’t until about two weeks after starting the book that I was able to focus on it over Thanksgiving Break. I had a long car ride and was able to finally get the idea as to why so many people liked the series. In an odd way, the mediocre romance between the klutzy human girl and the attractive vampire dude was fun and a way to let my brain relax and enjoy reading for fun again, which I haven’t gotten to do in a hot minute.

As finals creeped closer and life kept throwing massive curve balls at me, I began listening to the audio books for the last three books. Let me tell you, when you’re spending hours on end at a computer animating or walking about a half mile to the fine arts building every day, it’s nice to have an engaging story to listen to through the day. Over the course of three weeks, I managed to complete the series and I can honestly say I don’t feel like I wasted brain cells on these books. Yes, the writing isn’t the greatest; we all know this. But it was fun and something I was able to use as an escape from what seemed to be constant chaos around me. And a lot of fun things came from me reading the books in my relationships.

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  • I was able to bond with my roommate over how frustrated I would get over fictional characters.
  • I was able to make one of my buddies laugh many times with my overview of the series.
  • My suite mates watched the first movie with me the day before a much needed snow day, and enjoyed a lovely pizza night while watching New Moon.
  • Making observations with my parents on the films, such as, “Wow, that CGI wolf truly is a better actor than the actual guy.”

 

Twilight is not a masterpiece. However, the themes of sacrificial love and the power a woman has truly were inspiring to both read and watch on screen. Granted, I am thankful I did not read these in my formative years. The obsessive love between Edward and Bella is *not* healthy in the dating stage of a relationship. Our culture is saturated with the idea of the “perfect partner.” Think of Jim in the hit TV show, The Office. He’s the dream guy, right? He’s funny, cute, charming, smart, chases after the girl he’s in love with… and has a script. People don’t talk like they do on screen or in books. There are times when we can get caught up in looking for the picture perfect match when we really need to be searching for the other flawed human being that can weather the storms of life with you faithfully. However, the love that Edward and Bella share is a love that should be strived for with your spouse. While it takes time to achieve, this love comes after intentionally learning the other person, through better or worse. On top of all this, Bella is not a damsel in distress. In all four books, she is the hero who always puts the needs of others above her own. She and Edward complement one another, working as a team when things get tough, but in Meyer’s narrative, the author shines a light on how powerful a woman can be. I feel that the books do a wonderful job of showing that a woman can be powerful while also working alongside a man, which is how God intended us to function in our married lives.

There’s so many more words I could write about this series, but I will choose to leave it here for now: a fun adventure I dove into during a hard time in my life. And hey, finding biblical truths from books about blood sucking dudes that sparkle in the sunlight? Not a bad way to spend Christmas break. Twilight made me excited about reading again, and I look forward to spending more time enjoying a pastime that has shaped me into the person I am today.  

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

P.S. Alice is the best character in the whole dang series and I will fight anyone who tells me otherwise.

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a book lover. There’s a few pictures of me in old photo albums with stacks of picture books and of trips to the library. There’s even a few librarians that have watched me grow up since we moved to the home that we’ve been in for the past 13 years.

Sadly, due to the intensity of a few of my college course over the past academic year, I wasn’t able to read any leisure books while I was doing school. It was a very sad situation. I was reading mundane textbooks that made me bored out of my mind, and all I wanted to do was dive into my stack of library books. I’m one month into my summer, and since I got out of school, I’ve read a grand total of eleven books. There have been days where I lay in bed for hours at a time just soaking in words, and because I have started reading again, I’ve wanted to write again.

When you start to develop a skill, such as writing, there are times were you need to go back to the thing that inspired you to start developing that skill. Looking back, the writing that I did when I was consistently reading was loads better than when I wasn’t. Studying books that you love and even ones that you dislike help your brain learn the kinds of techniques you want to use when making your own style. Plus, reading helps you build your vocabulary and is a great way to keep your mind sharp. If you’re going to write, you need to know what people like and don’t like reading.

If you are interested in the books that I’ve been reading, you can check them out at my Goodreads here:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22783084-sherlock I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult fiction, but I’m also reading through some comic books and art history books. If there’s a book that you love that I should read, let me know! I really enjoy finding new things to read 🙂

I hope everyone’s summer is going well!

Until next time,

Abby

Books to Check Out-January 2015

Since I am doing a reading challenge for 2015 to get back into reading regularly, I thought I would start something new for this blog and share the books I read month to month. Under reach mini review, I’ve also posted my YouTube book talks. Feel free to check them out! Maybe you’ll find something that sparks your interest!

Can’t Look Away by Donna Coonercan't look away

I dunno how your library works, but my library has a section that has new releases on display. In December, I grabbed this book after reading the inside cover. If you are active on YouTube, you know about beauty gurus. I’ve watched videos made by girls who give beauty advice before, and though I personally don’t watch them often, the category on the website is huge. The book follows a girl who is one of these YouTubers after her sister is killed in a hit and run case. She moves with her family to try and start over, and the story follows what can happen when you put out so much of your personal life on the internet.

I personally had a very hard time liking the main character, but I enjoyed almost every other character in the story. It was a very quick read, and it gives a good perspective on why it’s important to be careful with what you say on the internet.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 Beauty Vlogs

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op55TVxGSiI 

Dragonsdale by Salamandra Drake2-Steves-157-208x300

I didn’t really have a horse phase as a kid, but I did have a dragon phase. From about 5th grade to 7th, I was constantly reading books about dragons, and this was my favorite one. This was a reread, and it was funny because I remembered almost all of the dialogue, since I had read this book at least eight times in grade school 😛 A big reason why I kept rereading it was because it was written by a 16 year old. If she could do it, why couldn’t I do it too?

The story follows a girl who works with her father in a dragon stable. She’s very good with the creatures, but she’s not allowed to ride them. It’s a good story about learning how to deal with bullies, working hard, and chasing your dreams. I highly recommend it to kids with active imaginations who enjoy magical stories.

Overall rating: 4/5 Dragon Scales

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y86v8ccl0mA 

Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renée Russelldork

The Dork Diaries Series is a series that is almost embarrassing to talk about for me, because I LOVE it. Seriously, it’s kind of sad. It’s the Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls, and the art is so much better.

This one is the seventh book in the series, and to be honest, it was my least favorite. I still liked it, but it seemed the most superficial. I didn’t like how the main character was written, because I felt she was acting so out of character. But overall, it was still a nice read. I recommend this book to pre-teen/tween/middle school girls, or high school/college kids who want an easy, funny read.

Overall rating: 3/5 TV Stars

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql2aHpftC64 

Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After by Rachel Renée Russell51LjcPf6gsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Yes, this is another Dork Diaries book. This is the eighth book in the series, and this was actually one of my favorites. It’s basically a bunch of classic fairytales jumbled up together into one really funny journal. It’s best to read the other seven first, but I feel that this one could be read alone (though it will spoil some stuff :P). Just go start reading the series right now.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Fairytales

The link above talks about this book too!

UnDivided by Neal Shusterman17950614

            Oh boy this series. This is actually the final book in a four part series, the first being Unwind. I have been invested in this series since about 2011, and I highly recommend reading these books all at once. The story is amazing: very thought provoking and intelligently written. But they drag on, especially when you are waiting year to year to read the next part. The series was originally only two books, but it ended up being four (I can’t imagine being his editor).

It discusses the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice fight, and what would happen if a new option came around to get rid of abortion: unwinding. Children between the ages of 13 and 18 can be sent to unwound by their parents or the state, which means that every part of their body, including blood and all internal organs, apart to be used in hospitals or for cosmetics. The child is technically left alive, as in their conscious is still intact, but anti-unwind citizens view it as murder. It’s a good reminder of how we can become so callused to awful things in our society, and the measures that need to be taken to stop injustice. Definitely worth the read, even though it does drag in a few spots.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Rewrites

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTZGRdOwE4A 

This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl tumblr_myzmu3QbB81tp4avro1_400

The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books, and this is a book about the girl who inspired John Green to write it. Esther Earl lost the fight to cancer at the age of 16, but not before living a wonderful life. The book is a collection of her journals, Caring Bridge posts, and stories from friends and family, including John Green.

This book a great reminder that you can live and extraordinary life just by loving the people around you. Esther was a follower of Christ, and she loved people to the best of her abilities while she was on Earth. It was a good reminder for me to love the people around me while I have the time, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Overall rating: 5/5 Tissues

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwX0hSAtqos

Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art by Rice Freeman-ZacharyCreative time and space

This is a great book for all types of artists. If you are trying to be an independent artist, give this book a read. It’s got some great tips for using your times wisely and making the best of the space you have. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to artists of all ages, mediums and talents!

Overall rating: 4/5 Paint Brushes

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVRxxotjMK8 

I hope that one of these books sparked your interest! I hope to have more great books to share with you in March!

Until Next Time,

Abby