Who Am I?

I use the term “nerd” in here a lot, and my Commandments post proclaimed me a “book nerd”.  But what exactly is a nerd?  And how does it differ from geeks, another popular term?

Answer.

Don't agree, but cool nonetheless.

I think I’m both nerd and geek- a neek, if you will, because I don’t like the term gerd.  It sounds weird.

But when I say “book nerd,” I mean people whose lives very closely resemble my Commandments.  I mean people who camp out for days to get the first copy of their favorite sequel.  They don’t necessarily have to stalk authors or turn everything into a totally obsessive fangirl-fest.  They just have to be really into reading.

Thus, dear readers, today I introduce the “book nerd” species into this hierarchy of nerd/geek/dorkiness.  Arise, bookworms, and conquer!*  Because, unlike the Trekkies and the Comic-Con dresser-uppers among us, we have at our disposal the power of words!

You know what they say:

Move over, Medieval Times...WE HAVE PENS!

And another thing: never let your title bring you down!  Bear your mark of nerd/geek/dorkiness proudly!  It’s a badge of honor, says I!

Okay, that’s enough for the randomness that is this post.

Happy reading!

*Okay, maybe not conquer, per se…

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On Subjects And Other News

Firstly the news, because the Subjects just make me angry.  I don’t want to be angry while giving news.  Because this particular news is especially newsy.

Any-who, I was just checking out Scott Westerfeld’s blog today for the first time in a while (no offense, Mr. Westerfeld.  Huge fan.  Really.) and I noticed an interesting tidbit:

The Uglies movie is officially underway.  Well, at least it has a producer, and a company to produce it.  The same people who made Captain America and The Social Network.

The press release is a lot of official jargon that little ol’ me can’t possibly hope to get through, but that’s the big stuff I pulled from it.  As always, you can view the blog in question in the sidebar under AUTHOR’S BLOGS.

Mr. Westerfeld is an exceptional writer.  I’m slowly making my way through all of his books.  At least the YA ones.  I’ve read Uglies, of course, and all the sequels, and I’m just now finishing up The Last Days, which is a sequel to Peeps, which is about vampires.

But they’re not really vampires.  Because Mr. Westerfeld has a great way of making everything just different enough to be COMPLETELY AWESOME.

Just look at his latest trilogy, two books of which are already out (and both of which I own):

Well, that’s enough fangirling for one day, don’t you agree, reader?  Yes?  Okay.  On with the angry.

Warning: Rant Ahead!

I’ve been reading a book called Subject Seven for a while now, and if you remember I had to force myself to stay away from it a couple of weeks ago.  That was because I had only read the first few pages.

Basically, the entire premise of the book is that there was a group of genetically altered human experiments who undergo a certain Jekyll/Hyde sort of transformation when given a trigger phrase.  On the Jekyll side, they’re just everyday teens, but on the Hyde side they’re destructive supersoldiers with an attitude.

Sound good?  I thought so.  Which is why I bought it in the first place.  But, alas, I was sadly mistaken.

I’m about two-thirds of the way through the book, and I’m about ready to put it down now.  Those who know me will be shocked when they read this, I’m sure.  I’m someone who always HAS to finish books, and you can count on one hand how many books I haven’t liked in my ENTIRE LIFE.  But this little piece is just the worst bit of writing I’ve ever seen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me go through and list the things I’ve noticed that went wrong in this book, at least in my opinion.  Spoiler Warning!

  1.  The Premise.  Okay, so we find out that the people who created these experiments tested the babies and found them to be normal.  So, logically, they thought they had failed.  That’s when they put the “normal” babies up for adoption, leading to the whole rediscovery, ohmygosh-I’m-a-genetic-freak bit.  But this has more holes than Swiss cheese that’s been used for target practice!  Wasn’t the whole point of the Jekyll side of the kids to make sure they seemed normal?  Then they could sneak into a government building for a tour or whatever, transform, do their job and then be teens again before they were caught.  SO OF COURSE THE BABIES SEEM NORMAL.  THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO DO.  The scientists couldn’ t have at least waited a little bit for them to mature?
  2. The Pacing.  I’m over two hundred pages in, and the Jekylls have only just found out what they are.  This book is only about 320 pages.  I realize there is a sequel coming out at some point (at least a quick Google search told me so), but really.  We don’t need this much teen angst as five kids try to handle their blackouts and nine different levels of crazy.  I mean, it’s totally fine at first, but after a while it just seems like the author got stuck.
  3. The Style.  I’m sorry, James A. Moore, if he ever happens to read this, but I despise the writing style.  It’s just awful.  First of all, he repeats things way too much.  I mean, I get it.  The one dude is a geek.  The other one has issues.  There’s no need to just say it outright every time it comes up.  If you need to continue with the description, at least have it mentioned in dialogue, or show it in a character’s movements.  There are other ways.  Also, it just reads really plainly.  I don’t think I can pin that down, but just the whole overall style makes me want to put it down.  Also?  WHERE IS THE EMOTION?!
  4. The Characterizations.  Oh my goodness, the characters.  Maybe I’m just not getting it, but the characters were just not at all believable.  I don’t think I can say it all in one bullet.  So I’m putting in multiple for this one:
  • Most of them are cliches.  Plain and simple.  There’s the geek who can’t talk to people, the hot cheerleader, the tough soldier.  Like I said in number three, not enough emotion or really flesh at all.  These characters are flat and one-dimensional.
  • There is one character who actually has more than one emotion or overarching feel in the book, and that’s the antagonist.  Or at least I think she’s the antagonist.  Of course, nothing’s really clear at this point.  Over two hundred pages in.
  • Anyway, the antagonist.  She has a more complex character, but the complexity is confusing.  She has such a mix of completely opposite traits that it starts to look like multiple personality.  On one hand, she is a loving wife and mother.  On the other, she’s the one who KILLS BABIES AFTER SHE’S DONE EXPERIMENTING ON THEM.  It could work, but here it’s just done in the worst way.
  • So, during this entire book the teens are having blackouts and being tested.  They’re being accused of murdering and drug-using, and they’re scared and helpless and angry at the world in general.  They are reduced to visiting abandoned warehouses (which, when inside, is really just an office building) and going into cars with strangers just to find out what the heck is going on.  But, of course, all they ever seem to notice or think about is how cute/hot/sexy the rest of them are.  Why?  Because they’re teenagers, and apparently no matter how bad the situation, that’s just how teenagers work.  UM, NOT TRUE.
  • Descriptions: almost nil.  Most of the kids are described as “dark haired.”  Even the blond ones get darker hair when they become their Hyde selves.  What up with the dark hair?!  Other than that and naming most eye colors, I haven’t noticed any physical traits that would help me visualize.  The single exception to this is when one girl is shown to have “Asian” looking eyes, inevitably leading to the boy noticing to think about how darn CUTE that makes her look.
  • A boy whom I judge to be no older than his early teens actually says this line: “I am my mother’s son.”  I don’t know about you, but I know exactly ZERO boys who would say that, no matter how strictly they were brought up.  Reading that just irked me.

Exhibit A

That’s all I can think of at the moment.  Even though this book annoys me SO MUCH and seems to exist only for the action, I think I’m going to have to finish it.  That’s just the kind of person I am.

And, yes, I know I’m completely bashing this book, but I honestly cannot think of anything good to say about it.  I’m sorry if you’ve read it and liked it, really, but I just don’t.

Just one thing, though:  What’s “dark haired” supposed to mean?!  Is it brown or black?!  They’re not the same, you know!

Happy reading.

All Was Well

At midnight this morning, I attended the premier of the last Harry Potter film.  It was amazing.  And also sad, because I realized it was the end of the Harry Potters.  No more releases, no more screaming lines of fans.  Just seven spectacular books, eight glorious movies, and countless Patronus-worthy memories.

Therefore, this post is to commemorate what Harry Potter was, is, and always will be.  And also to tell you how awesome the movie is.

First, what I wore:

"Don't worry. You're just as sane as I am."

The front of the shirt had the name of the movie and the sign of the Deathly Hallows.  Plus the date and tagline “It All Ends.”

I also made radish earrings from paper to complete the Luna outfit.  It was pretty sick.  Sick as in good.  Like scary good.  I loved it.  I went to the movie with two friends of mine who also love the series and we had so much fun quoting the movies and books and Potter Puppet Pals.

Now.  The movie.  It had everything a good movie should.  It stuck to the book pretty faithfully, and I was okay with the few changes that were made.  Of course, it had a lot of action and death and sad moments, but also a lot of heart.  The writers even found time for some humor in there, which was greatly appreciated.

I think any fan will be pleased with the results.  I would have to watch the other movies again to be sure, but I think this is one of the best if not the best one in the series.  Everything was very cleverly and spectacularly well done.  Also, (SPOILER ALERT) there were a couple of really sweet Luna/Neville moments, so now I’m officially a Luneville shipper (my celebrity name for them).  I don’t care what J.K. Rowling said.

Speaking of Neville, the second half of this movie was really his shining moment.  I loved it.  Matthew Lewis is a great actor.

I think all of the things on my top ten list made it in with only minor changes, which was excellent, because as you may know I am a stickler for accuracy in book-to-movie productions.

So, yeah.  Go see this movie.

Yes, you.

*uncontrollable sobbing*

I’ve been attempting to come to terms with the fact that this is really the end.  I cannot remember a time when one or another Harry Potter movie was being advertised.  One very clear childhood memory is watching a trailer for Prisoner of Azkaban.  Of course, I didn’t join the fandom until later, but still.  You see my point.  This is a traumatic thing.  For the past ten years, Harry Potter has been the franchise of all franchises, the thing that all the baby movies looked up to.  Now all of that is about to disappear.  This is a strange feeling, there being nothing more to look forward to from J.K. Rowling or the Trio.  (Unless there’s a James/Lily/Marauders/Snape prequel…please?)

But I must remember that this is far from the end.  Harry will live on as long as there are devoted fans who are willing to read and reread the books, and rewatch the movies.  There will always be conventions and Pottermore and Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron and everything else that brought the world of wizards into our Muggle universe.  There will always be those who Sort themselves and everyone around them into one of the four Houses, those who will name their children Ron or Harry or Hermione, and those who aim to attend a certain college purely for the Quidditch team there.  There will always be role-playing and Halloween costumes and theme parties.

More than anything, there will always be another copy of the first Harry Potter book, sitting on a bookstore shelf, waiting to be picked up by a curious child and ready to welcome them to Hogwarts for the first time.  There will always be those who are discovering the magic for themselves.  And, for those of us already fans, in the words of the author herself, “Hogwarts will always be here to welcome you home.”

This holds true for me.  Yes, I joined the fandom later than most, but that doesn’t matter.  I fell in love with the books, and the characters, and the world.  J.K. Rowling created something special, something that introduced countless people to reading and that introduced magic into our mundane existence.

So even though today marks the beginning of the end of what I’ll call the Greater Harry Potter Era, this fandom will march on.  Yes, it is bittersweet, but it is never the end- that’s the thing about books.

There are never enough words to describe the unimaginable impact this series has had on the world, and on me.  Neither are there enough to describe the feelings of the fandom at large in the light of this final movie.  So I won’t try.  Just see for yourself.

And so now, my dear readers, I will depart with the words of someone who also stuck with Harry until the very end:

“Nitwit!  Blubber!  Oddment!  Tweak!”

As Promised…

Today’s post is about my all-consuming passion for The Hunger Games (okay, maybe not all-consuming.  But still.).  Be warned: I will ramble.  Read at your own risk.

Okay, so if you have not heard of the Hunger Games trilogy at this point, a) you clearly don’t follow the YA genre at all, and thus this post might not be for you, and b) it’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian series by Suzanne Collins.

Here’s the cover of the first book:

Isn't it pretty?

Fun Fact: the word dystopian, which is clearly an actual word and not something I just made up, doesn’t appear in my computer’s dictionary.  Huh.

There.  I added it.  Now we can get back on track.

Anyway, the trilogy centers around Katniss Everdeen, who lives in District Twelve of the country of Panem.  Panem arose after said apocalyptic events, taking form in what we know as North America.  Panem consists of twelve districts that serve a vastly indulgent, cruel, and wealthy Capitol.  A few generations before the opening of the story, the districts rebelled against the Capitol’s harsh rule but failed.  In order to both remind the districts of their failure and to keep them subdued, the Capitol instituted the Hunger Games, a yearly happening in which every district is forced to send one boy and one girl (between ages 12-18) to compete in a fight to the death.  The last “tribute” alive wins.

Katniss Everdeen makes her living by hunting illegally in the woods around her district to keep her family from starving.  She loves her sister, Prim, more than anything in the world.  Thus, it comes as no surprise that when Prim’s name is drawn in the reaping for the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to go instead.

The book is great.  It’s got awesome characters you can relate to (trust me), a pretty whirlwind plot (in a good way), and two other books in the series that AT LEAST match it in both plot and quality.

There’s something for everyone in this book: romance, action, an awesome plot.  This series is one of my all-time favorites.  I discovered it maybe a year ago, a couple of months before Mockingjay came out (the last book).

Ohmygosh I love these books so much.  Yes, a lot of death, that’s kind of the whole point, but Harry Potter had the same thing, and I loved that series too.

The series (The Hunger Games, not Harry Potter, though the same goes for that too) has grown an immense fandom, with dozens of fan sites.  Some of these include The Hob, Down With The Capitol, The Hunger Games Trilogy, and Mockingjay.net, to name a few.  It also gave birth to multiple role-playing sites.

So, yeah, you could say it’s a popular series.  The first book alone had A LOT of weeks on the NYT Bestseller list.

Okay, here’s the most exciting part of the whole post:

THERE IS A MOVIE IN PRODUCTION.

Cue hyperventilating.

It’s being made by Lionsgate, and it’s got Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in it and it’s going to be AMAZING.  I can’t wait.

But wait.  What’s that you say?  Don’t get too excited?  Movie versions are usually terribly off from the book and pure torture to purists like myself?

That’s where you’re mistaken.  Because the author is VERY involved in the entire process.  I have great faith in her and in the director, Gary Ross.

Besides, if the author’s okay with it, it’s not technically wrong, right?

Right?

And now, for the final part of my post, something that probably won’t make sense to anyone who isn’t a fan.  I felt like I should include it anyway, though, because it’s important to me.  For the past few weeks, the fandom at large has been deciding on what to call us, the fans of the Hunger Games.  After several polls and some heartbreaking results (because my favorite name was cast off after the first “round”) we are officially Tributes.

I liked District 14 much better.

Okay, rambling over.  I guess this post was pretty pointless if you’re already a fan of the series, but I felt like I had to get all that out in the open.  Also, this is a great starting point for future posts that reference The Hunger Games.

Goodbye for now, I suppose, and happy reading.