Why I Love the Olympics + The Olympic Book Tag
Aug 5th 2016
The olympics have long been one of my very favorite events to look forward to. There is just something about them: The camaraderie between competitors and countries, the bringing together of the best of the best athletes. It’s just amazing to me. I love hearing the life stories of the olympic athletes, and every year the olympics seems to bring about some sort of heartwarming story too.
I personally am an athlete myself, and as my sport is Synchronized Swimming, the summer olympics are kind of by default my favorite. I love to watch the swimming and diving events best, though the gymnastics and even the different races are great to watch to. Probably the high point in my time loving the olympics has been four years ago when I was able to go to the London 2012 olympics and see my sport competed live and in person.
This week when I saw that Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight had made an olympic themed book tag in honor of the summer olympics in Rio (which start tonight!!!) I had to jump on the chance to complete it just in time for the opening ceremonies happening half a continent away from me.
Opening Ceremony : A Book You Loved From the First Page
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It starts out funny and it stays funny… While also becoming amazingly insightful and complex. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Though be prepared a good part of it is simply made of satire.
July Wrap-Up + Harry Potter Release Party
Aug 1st 2016
Harry Potter Releasing
Unless you have had no access to the bookworm community lately you probably know that on Saturday night the bound script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released! With all of the local bookstores in Saint Paul I had a plethora of release parties to choose from, but I of course had to go to Red Balloon Bookshop’s: partly because I love their events, and partly because that is the store where I so many years ago attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (I was 8, by the way)
The store was wonderfully decorated, everyone was dressed up, we participated in a fun scavenger hunt through the store, there was cake for Harry’s birthday, and we all counted down to midnight. Even though the series is over it was great for everyone to come back together in their love for it for this release. I guess you could say it was sort of ~magical~
At the very beginning of this month I came back from Nationals in New York, (we did moderately well) and then halfway through the month my family took a little trip to San Diego, California in which I learned to surf (!!) and took many pictures of palm trees. I also made a travel diary type video of the trip.
Packing for College
It’s happening. I don’t have everything together yet, but I have an idea of everything. I’ve been thinking about filming a “dorm haul” video and writing a post about the books I’ll be bringing, so you can look forward to that.
What I’ve Been Reading
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer ★★★★☆ This was REALLY enjoyable. The food descriptions made me want to bake everything, I loved Meyer’s spin on wonderland, (especially the two separate kingdoms) and the way we see Catherine go from happy heiress to evil queen… So well done and rather heartbreaking. I hope to have a full review eventually but be assured that this managed to meet my high expectations!
- Far Out Fairytales by Joey Comeau
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson ★★★★☆
- The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid ★★★★★ I read the entirety of this book in a single day and it was SO FANTASTIC. I couldn’t put it down at all. Enthralling, exciting, and filled to the top with political intrigue and sci-fi morality. One of my new favorites of this year!
- Wanderlost by Jen Malone ★★★☆☆
- Saga Volumes 1-4
- Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson ★★★★☆
- The Eighth Day (#1) by Diane K Salerni ★★★★★ (re-read)
- The Inquisitor’s Mark (The Eighth Day #2) by Diane K Salerni ★★★★★ (re-read)
- The Morrigan’s Curse (The Eighth Day #3) by Diane K Salerni ★★★★★ I am unquestionably in love with this series. I want to live in it’s world, it’s fascinating, and the characters are oh-so loveable. I really want to do this finale justice with a full review, so I think I’ll just leave it at that.
- The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Steifvater ★★★★☆
- The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Steifvater ★★★★☆
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne ★★★★☆ Good for what I expected it to be. You can watch my video review, if you like!
On the Blog
Mid Year Book Tag
Jul 29th 2016
My wonderful friend Jess from Princessica Of Books tagged me for the “mid year book freak-out tag” at the beginning of July and I’ve decided to do it since this seems like a great way to recap a half year of reading without only talking about books that were released this year. I’m going to keep these answers short and sweet so I don’t question my choices too much considering I have read many amazing books so far this year.
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016:
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016:
The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is always good, and Mistborn is always good, but this one in particular was phenomenal.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:
The Inside of Out looks like a very interesting read! It’s been on my radar for a while now but just hasn’t happened.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:
This would probably have to be Timekeeper by Tara Sim. I actually don’t have a ton of releases I’m waiting on this fall which is such a contrast from last year where I had a dozen books preordered…
5. Biggest disappointment:
Goldfish (aka ‘Girl Out of Water’) by Nat Luurtsema. A synchronized swimming book with poorly researched, non-existent synchronized swimming. Count me extremely disappointed and a little bit mad. I wrote a very frustrated review, too.
6. Biggest surprise:
I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Siren by Kiera Cass. I read The Selection by Cass because they’re kind of fun and silly books but I actually got rather attached to this standalone fantasy romance.
7. Favorite new author: (Debut or new to you)
Can I call the combination of Nina LaCour and David Levithan in You Know Me Well a new favorite author? Because I’m fairly convinced that they worked magic together.
8. Newest favorite character:
I seriously love Shallan from The Stormlight Archive. Such a funny, smart, damaged kid. 😩
9. Book that made you cry:
Some books make me tear up easier than others, but to truly make me cry I have to be very attached to the book. I cried a bit in both the middle and the end of Calamity by Brandon Sanderson because Reckoners was just one of those series I got amazingly attached to.
10. Book that made you happy:
I recently binge read the entire Eighth Day trilogy: I re-read the first two books and then read The Morrigan’s Curse by Diane K Salerni and this entire series, especially the endings of each book, makes me SO HAPPY.
11. Most beautiful book you’ve received or bought so far this year:
ALL MY BOOKS ARE BEAUTIFUL. But some of the more gorgeous ones have been: The Winner’s Kiss, Alcatraz Vs the Knights of Crystallia, Spells & Sorcery, The Diabolic…
12. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
There aren’t any books super nagging at me, but I do plan to read: The Raven Cycle, Any Sanderson that I have not read yet, (aka Warbreaker) The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3), The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2), and any fall/winter ARCs that might come my way.
What books do you most want to read this year?
What Booktubeathon Taught Me + Booktubeathon Wrap-Up
Jul 27th 2016
(a selection of the instagram challenges I completed for booktubeathon)
This past week was booktubeathon. A seven day long, booktube based, photo and video challenge making, reading extravaganza. I filmed and posted a booktubeathon TBR with books to account for all seven of the reading challenges… and finished approximately 5 of those books (4 graphic novels) and two of the reading challenges. My other goal was to complete all of the instagram and video challenges: I posted 4 of the instagram challenges, and filmed 4 of the video challenges. (1, 2, 3, 4)
But I am okay with what I did during this readathon because I feel like it taught me one important thing: my videos do not have to be perfect for people to enjoy them.
The nature of booktubeathon’s video challenges (and of my wi-fi connection) is that the videos need to be filmed and edited within a space of hours. The video challenge is released at midnight EST, and your finished and uploaded video must be submitted by midnight the next day. Factoring in an hour for export and color grading, around two hours for export, and a desire to get the video up in early afternoon… That doesn’t leave a ton of time.
Normally, I take days to put together a video. I think about what I’m going to talk about and what I want to say. I want the lighting and everything to be perfect when I do film, and I allow myself at least 45 minutes to film. I spend hours upon hours editing: making sure everything moves seamlessly, that I’ve cut out all the ‘um’s and ‘uh’s and that the audio is coded just right.
When it came to doing booktubeathon challenge videos, I had to let go of all that. I filmed in one take. I cut within the space of half an hour. They might have been shorter videos in the first place, but it was still sort of amazing. And the videos still turned out pretty well! They were far from perfect, but they didn’t need to be just right. They could just be alright and that was just fine.
I feel like for a long time I’ve been holding myself back a little creatively because I want everything I post to be exemplary. While I’m not going to continue creating videos in this rushed style I think I will take some of this with me and not feel like everything I make needs to be extremely polished. Maybe it’s better to make something “alright” instead of nothing at all.
Though, when it comes to instagram, I don’t think I will ever stop being a huge perfectionist with those pictures. But maybe that’s alright since those take a bit less time than a video in the first place. 😉
In the interest of a wrap-up, here are a few of the book challenges I DID complete:
- (read a book with yellow on the cover) Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
- (read a book only after sunset) Saga Vol 1-4
- (read a book that’s older than you) Jason and the Argonauts half completed
- (read seven books) The Eighth Day and The Inquisitor’s Mark by Diane K Salerni
After the readathon had ended I did also end up completing the challenge “read a book you discovered through booktube” by reading The Raven Boys for the first time! Better late than never, right?
Are you good at readathons? Have any favorite readathon experiences?
BBCP Pages to Pictures: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Jul 22nd 2016
This summer I decided to take part in Nori @ ReadWriteLove28‘s Book Blogger Creativity Project! For this project teams of book bloggers were created that had to work together to create a series of book related posts. I was on the Magenta Team and we created ‘Pages to Pictures,’ a series of posts where each one of us has “adapted” a book into a movie form: cast the actors for each character, said where it should be filmed, listed what scenes need to be included in the movie, and so on.
For the movie adaptation I created I decided to take a slightly different approach by putting together an animated movie. I choose for my book one of my absolute favorites, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson. I have long considered how this crazy middle grade book could be adapted for the screen so I thought it only right that it be the one I write about. I believe animation is the only way to do this one because while special effects are super amazing now, a lot of what appears in this book is absurd (knights! hidden kingdoms in the middle of the ocean! dinosaurs! monsters made out of shredded paper!) and trying to pair it with the realism of live actors would frankly just make it look a bit like a b-list horror film.
This is an aspect I’ve waffled around with a lot because there are just so many possibilities, but in the end I’ve figured it would be best created in the style that most animated feature films have been lately: kind of false and bubbly with a slightly 3D effect.
Though I also think that the flat style commonly seen in many cartoon shows would also work really well in this book. Then again, if the animation looked exactly like the covers or the illustrations from the new Tor Teen editions of this book series, I would have no complaints.
Characters + Voice Actors
I love movies and tv shows, but if I’m honest I know next to nothing about actors. There are a few of them (*ahem* the entire cast of The Newsroom) that I can recognize instantly but… that’s about it. So, for the characters I’ve decided to suggest what I think their voices could/should sound like, and an actor or two that would make a good voice for them.
(admittedly some of these characters don’t show up until book two, but I’ve written about those that I have the clearest picture of)
Alcatraz: If I’m entirely honest I have no idea how the voice of our snarky, nerdy, cynical protagonist should sound. The problem with Alcatraz is no voice I’ve ever heard seems right because I’ve never heard any role try to be Alcatraz. I do believe that this role would maybe need two Alcatraz’s: whether it’s the same voice ‘aged up’ or two different ones so that the older Alcatraz (who is supposedly writing these stories) can speak in the monologues and such… I feel like I wouldn’t know what or who is right for this role until I would see it.
Bastille: While she is really much more than that, from a movie stand point Bastille is the perfect example of a “tough girl” role. She talks smart and fast, most of the time she is serious and curt, and she definitely has the best deadpan of the group. Honestly, I love Bastille so much that I would take the role (joking, I can’t act) but the first actor I think of is Beth Riesgraf based on her role in Leverage as the thief Parker.
Leavenworth (Grandpa Smedry): Leavenworth is really the only character whose voice actor I had picked long before I started writing this post. Grandpa Smedry is a kind, fun, completely nuts old man, and I see him as a slightly more jovial version of Charlie Skinner in The Newsroom. Therefore, the only voice I can think of for him is Sam Waterston.
Kazan: Kaz is the main traveller of the group, and is mostly pretty gruff, though he (like all of them) has his own shade of ridiculous. For example, one of his hobbies is keeping a list of why short people are better than tall people. For some reason Don Cheadle comes to mind for this role, but I don’t have any true preference in a voice for Kaz.
Australia: My favorite description that is ever given within the book for Australia is that “[she] is smart, but she forgets it sometimes.” (or something like that, I’m paraphrasing) Australia is bright, optimistic, and a little bit oblivious. I feel like Rowan Blanchard gives off that sort of ‘innocent and ridiculous but still very smart/competent’ when she plays Riley Mathews in Girl Meets World, so I think she could be a good choice.
Scenes to Include
Because these books are so short, and because about half of each one is made up of Alcatraz’s monologues, theoretically I believe a movie of this book could contain every scene. But, if not, here’s a short list of what needs to be included:
- Showing Alcatraz in foster care… And maybe burning down a house or two
- Leavenworth and Al’s first meeting (even just because it’s hilarious)
- Bastille beating up Alcatraz with her purse (ditto)
- The paper monster
- The jail scene (I figured this could actually be cut but the character development is actually really crucial)
What could be cut:
- Everything at the gas station
- The dinosaurs (even though I love them)
- The hook at the beginning… (probably shouldn’t put it there in case it’s never resolved in movie form)
As for the monologue portions of the books… A lot of those do need to be included for most things to make sense. I think it could be done in voice overs, freeze frames, or some sort of combination of those kind of things but there is crucial info that doesn’t happen within the outward plot that I think this story shouldn’t lose.
What do you think of the feature that my group came up with? What book(s) would you love to see a well done movie of?