Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 Begins!

Today started well. I'm over my word count but I'm going to keep going in case I fall behind. I'm liking my first chapter of the first short story. I'm shooting for 5 stories with 10,000 words each. If you want to join me on NaNoWriMo this is my NaNo page. For anyone interested, here is the first chapter of my zombie story/novella thingy.

Chapter 1
When zombies started taking over, everyone continued to go to work. You would think that people’s survival instincts would have kicked in, but the government assured everyone it was safe and people believed them. The military took over the safety of the population and for the most part it seemed to be working. People carried guns everywhere they went and stayed in groups. Whenever a zombie was spotted groups would often shoot at them at the same time. The increased uses of ammunition lead to a shortage. When companies started making more to meet the need there was an economic collapse. People were bitten so they couldn’t go to work; production slowed because of the lack of workers; the value of the dollar plummeted and that is when the disaster began. Not with the zombies, but when society was no longer able to function.
Mollie had often considered what would happen if zombies actually came into existence. She had written in her journal many times over the past few years what would happen when a scientist decided to try to see if they could make a zombie. Morality of scientists didn’t seem to exist to Mollie. She had figured that at some point a scientist would go beyond wondering if they could make something rather than thinking if they should. So when the zombie apocalypse started she was prepared. She had spent so many years thinking about how she would go about protecting herself that she had a sort of blueprint in her mind; a kind of checklist. She spent the first few months building up her bunker and buying supplies. She paid for it all on credit of course; because once the zombies completely took over she did not think creditors would be knocking on her door trying to collect. Mollie knew money would only be good for so long. Once the economy collapsed, it would be about what you had and how you could protect it. Because it was not the super flu (she had planned for that inevitability as well) she knew that she would not want to be above ground. She had planned for these instances because she was a constant worrier. She did not worry about important things like her career, bills, or finding a suitable mate, but she instead worried about zombies and the super flu. These worries that seemed so foolish at the time turned out to be the thing that prepared her for the future better than anyone.
So Mollie prepared for the worst, buying up guns and ammunition, gasoline, generators, surveillance equipment, food, and other supplies making it possible for her to live comfortably. She figured out how to make her own ammunition for when she ran out, she gathered a large collection of books to teach her what she didn’t already know. And she did all this while most other people assumed the situation was under control. Her family thought she was going crazy and that she would regret her choices once the zombie population was exterminated. No matter how many times she told them that they should prepare they laughed at her worries.
It took almost a year for the trouble to really begin. Once the ammunition ran out people had to start carrying weapons which required a closer proximity to the zombies, which meant more people were bitten. Families did not want to kill their family member until they turned, which lead to families waiting too long and getting themselves attacked by their former loved ones. The virus or whatever it was (it was never really confirmed), was spread by fluids entering the blood stream. A simple bite wouldn’t condemn one to death, but zombie mouths were typically so full of saliva and blood that once they managed to bite down and take hold, it would be difficult to remove them without losing skin and letting the infection in. Some people would hide the fact that they were bitten until it was too late and they became a zombie as well. Some, nearing the end of their human life, would sit with a gun to their head but unable to pull the trigger out of fear, which lead to zombies walking around with guns still in their hands. It was awful to many because of the gun shortage, but nobody really wanted to wrestle a gun away from a zombie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

NaNoWriMo Again?!

Why do I set myself up for these things? I have no frakking idea. I guess I'm a masochist. I've decided to try again this year with a different tactic (because of last year's epic fail). Because I have a hard time focusing on one thing I'm going to give into my need to do multiple things and write a collection of short stories rather than one 50,000 word novel. Maybe that will help my writing ADD? Not sure but I guess I'll find out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1984 by George Orwell

19841984 by George Orwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Slightly boring, but did cause me to think about this dystopian society and what could be possible.

What is “freedom” really? That’s the thought I had throughout this novel. I also wondered how so many people would allow our current “freedoms” to be taken away. I think that people, at their cores, wouldn’t stand for that much control (that they’re aware of). I know that we are monitored now, but it’s not so blatantly obvious that we see it every day in our homes.

So let’s examine the word freedom. Winston says in the novel that freedom is the right to say 2 + 2= 4 and even that is taken away from him. The dictionary says freedom is:

1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.
4. political or national independence.
5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.

But can we listen to what the dictionary says a word means if even that is being controlled? Can we define something when the government says it is something else? It is so easy to be controlled that we don’t realize we’re being controlled.

1984 causes people to think about society and politics and what we allow to be done (or what we ignore). Every question I have leads to another question…. which is frustrating if, like me, you prefer to read and enjoy instead of questioning each part of the book you read. I don’t like questions, it reminds me too much of my college English classes.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Shining by Stephen King

The ShiningThe Shining by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this novel! King really makes the Overlook come to life. From the freaky hedge animals to the creepy ghosts in the hotel, the Overlook becomes it's own character. As I read I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what it was going to do next. I loved the characters even though they each annoyed me at some point.

I have seen both the movie and the mini series and enjoyed them both, but seeing Jack free fall into insanity is something you just can't get from a movie. His irrational thoughts (whether caused by the hotel or not... you're never REALLY sure) and actions gave me the creeps and throughout the book I wanted to yell at Wendy and Danny to just leave already.

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good scare and a lot of suspense!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend (Collection)I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this story. It really got into the psychological aspect of being left alone in a horrifying environment. There were some nerve racking scenes but I really liked getting inside the head of the character of Robert Neville. His fear and despair and yet, hope, made it a good read. For being written in 1954 (based in the 70's) it was surprisingly still modern. You didn't have the feeling like it was that much in the past.

Nothing like the movie, but I would definitely recommend it.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

E-book Prices Give Me a Headache

There is really no reason an e-book should cost more than a paperback. I mean, think about it. There is no cost for paper, ink, printing, etc. The publishers set the cost and I understand them not wanting to lose money, but come on! What "reason" do they have for making something that costs them practically nothing to create vs the printing of a paperback? I come with examples....

All of the books above cost more than their paperback version, while the example below is at least the same.
I am more likely to buy something that is the same or (preferably) lower cost as the paperback. Am I the only one practically outraged by this? I think everyone who has the same issue needs to write to the publishers and demand lower prices. I didn't pay $150 for an e-reader to spend more money on books after all.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Stand by Stephen King

The StandThe Stand by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book (WAY better than the movie- but I'm glad I read this after watching the movie or I would have been disappointed) but the length about killed me. I don't have much time to read so it took me almost 2 months to get through. Some parts were a little slow but I enjoyed most of it.

The idea of a super bug or super flu freaks me out a little and I am interested in the Good vs Evil idea. Even though we know which side we are supposed to support, there were still people on the "good" side that weren't really that good and people on the "bad" side that weren't really that bad. I loved the characters (or in some cases really hated them) and for me that is what gets me interested in their stories. The connections between them made me care more.

This was my first Stephen King novel and I will definitely read more.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although I understand the appeal of the book, I wasn't that impressed. The strange jumps in time and place makes it hard to follow occasionally. Certain sections in the book are never completed and left me wondering, which was probably done for that reason. The repetition of "so it goes" got a little annoying but after awhile I suppose I got used to it. I appreciated that it wasn't a very long novel. If I had to read 500 pages of it I probably would have just put it down and left it. It was long enough to be entertaining short enough that it was easily readable.

The time travel and abduction put me off a little and I'm guessing that Billy was experiencing some form of PTSD from the war. No matter how strange the book, my guess was that the character Billy created the whole alien abduction in order to deal with other mental issues stemming from his time in the war.

Even with its flaws I can see why some people call it a "classic."

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was OK, but could have been better. The main character Thomas wakes up in an elevator with no memory other than his name and when he is let out he is surrounded by a large group of boys in something they call "the Glade," which is surrounded by walls that shut every night. There are some crazy weird machine things in the maze (outside the walls of the glade) that will try to kill you and if they sting you you get memories back that apparently are bad. But you don't know much of anything during this book because as soon as Thomas is going to be told what's going on something happens and it's like "I was going to tell you but I'm busy now so never mind." This is pretty much the entire book! SO frustrating!

I was hoping this would be another Hunger Games futuristic end of the world type book but too much of nothing happens for so much of the book that you get tired of it. Now this is supposed to be a trilogy and I think I'll probably read the other two books just so I can know what happens. Because, apparently, even though I'm frustrated with Dashner's writing style, the story is still interesting and I want to know what happens. You're left with a cliffhanger and I'm interested with where the story was going.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Probably my favorite book or at least one of my favorites. It seemed to start a little slow but as soon as Bilbo goes running out of his little hobbit house I feel like I'm swept into another world. I love the characters, the scenery and the story that pulled me in (almost from the start).

They started filming The Hobbit and I'm really excited about it! Can't wait to see it! Below is a video blog from Peter Jackson.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's here!

I got my Kindle today, which has me all sorts of excited. I've been in a lull reading wise lately and haven't really found anything around that I've wanted to read. But, oh happy day, my Kindle finally arrived today (as a late Christmas present). I think it's awesome how many books are available and how many you can find for free. I've wanted to start reading classics so now I can do so leisurely without worrying about returning them to the library on time or having to buy them and have them just sit on my shelf... which really lacks in space. I think my husband will be glad for the space saving as well. Well, I'm off! Happy reading!

 A small sampling of the books I own. I need more shelf space... 
the rest of my collection is in boxes, the poor dears.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Top 10 Censored Books- According to TIME

As I was wandering the interwebs today, I came across an article on the TIME website titled "Removing the N Word from Huck Finn: Top 10 Censored Books" and being the word nerd that I am, I had to check it out. The books below are on that list.

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
 When good ole' Sammy wrote this, he didn't think using the N word or anything else he wrote would be a big deal (it wasn't at the time, but later people suddenly were upset). Even Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women) decided to stick her nose in the air for other reasons. As quoted from TIME, she said "If Mr. Clemens [Twain's original name] cannot think of something better to tell our pure-minded lads and lasses he had best stop writing for them." First of all the fact that she thought "lads" and "lasses" were all pure-minded she was delusional. Kids know stuff (I was a kid once after all) and holding things back from kids can have consequences.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
I don't know much about this other that it is really sexual and has something to do with pedophiles.

3. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
 A teenage boy who swears and likes prostitutes? Automatic uproar from the masses I suppose. Combining cuss words and sex is bound to have people crying foul.

4. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
A school that teaches witchcraft (& wizardry) to children (go Hogwarts!) can't be that bad. By simply reading the books you can see it is about good triumphing over evil. But some religious fanatics in Maine claimed these books promoted devil worship and wanted to have a book burning. Even though no devil worship is mentioned... in fact not even close. Hmmm, did they even read one of these books? I seriously doubt it.

5. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
In 1971 Willy was just 19 and angry about the Vietnam War (in which he was drafted) when he wrote this. In 2000 even HE tried to keep it from print but no longer owned the rights.

6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Written in 1970, Maya discusses racism, sex (and most disturbingly being raped by her mother's boyfriend when she was 8). She wrote the truth and sometimes, people just can't handle the truth.

7. Candide by Voltaire
In a quote from the article, because I haven't read this: "This classic French satire lampoons all things sacred: armies, churches, philosophers, even the doctrine of optimism itself."

8. 1984 by George Orwell
"Written in 1949 by British author George Orwell while he lay dying of tuberculosis, the book chronicles the grim future of a society robbed of free will, privacy and truth." Wow, you go George.
"Some reviewers called it a veiled attack against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet ruler's infamous "midnight purges," though, oddly enough, parents in Jackson County, Florida, would challenge the book in 1981 for being "procommunist.""

9. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
"This book sparked riots around the world for what some called a blasphemous treatment of the Islamic faith (throughout the book, Salman Rushdie refers to the Prophet Muhammad as Mahound, the medieval name for the devil)." 
People were killed and injured in riots. It's crazy that a book can cause such an uproar. I'm going to put the rest of what the article said because it's so unbelieveable.
"In 1989, five people died in riots in Pakistan and a stone-throwing mob injured 60 people in India. Although Rushdie issued an apology, Iranian spiritual leader Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini publicly condemned the Indian-British author to death, putting a $1 million bounty on his head (an Iranian assassin would get $3 million, Khomeini promised). While European nations recalled their diplomats from Tehran, some Muslim authors, like Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, defended Rushdie and accused the Ayatullah of "intellectual terrorism." Meanwhile, Venezuelan officials threatened anyone who owned or read the book with 15 months of prison. Japan fined anyone who sold the English-language edition, and a Japanese translator was subsequently stabbed to death for his involvement with the book. Two major U.S. booksellers — Waldenbooks and Barnes & Noble — removed the book from their shelves after receiving death threats. And while Rushdie's publisher, Viking Penguin, denounced such "censorship by terrorism and intimidation," threats of violence forced the company to temporarily close its New York City office to improve security. Under the protection of British authorities, Rushdie lived in hiding for nearly a decade."

10. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
"Huxley's 1932 work — about a drugged, dull and mass-produced society of the future — has been challenged for its themes of sexuality, drugs and suicide." Is it just me or does the world not sound so brave?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you like books about symbols, secrets, masons, danger, etc. all centered around a non-hero's hero, you'll like this book. I'll admit though, that I did have to skim through the last few pages of this book. By the time the book was winding down I was sick of waiting to find out the big secret. It's enlightening and made me think but I really don't want to go on much right now. I just finished the book and after getting through over 600 pages my brain is tired. I really can't sum it up better than author Maureen Johnson. Follow the link to read her review. http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/2010/...

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