Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon Wrap-Up & Mini Review!

Yesterday was the biannual Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon. This was my third time participating, and I've got to say, it went quite well! I finished two books! Though I actually had started them beforehand...

Books Finished

 

Book One:

Title: 172 Hours on the Moon
Author: Johan Harstad
Translator (originally in Norwegian): Tara F. Chace
Format: audiobook
Genre: sci-fi/horror
Pages: 368
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.69 stars
My Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It's been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2.
 

Mini Review:

The Good:
THIS BOOK. I liked it way more than I thought I would. It's not exactly a genre I'm very into. I quite like the characters. Mostly Mia. Her love for music was a nice touch. The other ones were okay. For while I was kind of confused why it was horror because it took awhile to get to anything scary, but it got pretty damn scary. It wasn't really traumatizing, though. It got about as scary as Doctor Who usually does, creepy, but it won't give you nightmares probably. At least not for very long. I SO DID NOT SEE THE ENDING COMING THOUGH. I SAW NOTHING COMING. I WAS ALWAYS WRONG IN MY PRODICTIONS.
 
The Bad:
The romance was kind of unnecessary. Luckily, it didn't last long, but I'm not really sure why it happened in the first place. Also, I thought it was going to end like ten times before it actually did. In my opinion, it would have been better if it had left on a cliffhanger. As much as I hate cliffhangers, I honestly think it would have been better if we could have imagined the ending ourselves. (SPOILER: It should have ended when it was revealed that Mia was the doppelgänger.)
 

Book Two:

Title: Half Lost
Series: Half Bad Trilogy (#3)
Author: Sally Green
Format: print
Genre: fantasy
Pages: 352
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.83 stars
My Rating: 5 stars
 
**FULL REVIEW COMING SOON**
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So yes! It actually went pretty well! I also got about halfway through rereading More Than This by Patrick Ness (one of my favorite books of all time). Considering I stopped reading when there was still 8 hours left (I had stuff to do today...), I think that's pretty good! Hopefully at some point I'll actually do the full readathon without giving up when I get tired.
 
Did you participate in this readathon? How was it?
 

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Thoughts on Romeo & Juliet (Expressed Entirely in Gifs)

I recently read Romeo and Juliet for school. I had opinions about it, but I didn't want to do an actual review for something like this. So because it's still a really well-known story, I thought it would be fun to express my thoughts in gifs. At first I was going to put captions around them to give them some context, but I think most of these can be applied to most of the play.

Just a warning, these are in no order whatsoever. Some of them are, but most of them are random...




 
 
(Or...just kind of looking, I guess.)
 
PS: I actually do like Shakespeare's writing style, but the plot of this one annoyed me. Though I do enjoy a good main character death... 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Names: A Discussion











For some people, names are a pretty big part of life. They define
who you are, what kind of person you are, what you're capable of, etc.

I am not one of those people.

Questions to think about while reading: Do you identify with your name? Do you think names affect personality? Do you find names important? Why do you think humans have names? Why are they such an important part of culture? Do you think names are important in your life? Do you judge people based on their name? Do you ignore names entirely? Have you ever thought about changing your name? Do you think changing your name is a good or bad thing? What do you think of names in general?

My Experience with Names:

I've never liked my real name. I don't doodle my name on every surface. I don't like signing my name. I don't even like when people just say my name.

Introducing myself has always been a challenge. Sometimes I just don't. I'll say "hi," and that's it. I swear, it's not me being shy, it's just the hatred I have for my name. Hearing it makes me cringe.

I've talked on here before about using a pseudonym. Obviously, it's just a safe thing to do. But when I originally came up with the name Skye Clover, that wasn't what I was thinking about.

But anyway, let's start from the beginning. My first name, and by that I mean my first fake name, or username, as most people call it, is a good place.

When I was around the age of...6 or 7 (I don't really know. It was a long time ago.), I created a Webkinz account. (Whether or not you know what Webkinz is is irrelevant to this discussion. It's a website for tiny humans and I made an account on it.) That is where the username koranika originates. Yes, I still use the username I came up with when I was 6. I still think it's a pretty good name to be honest.

I used koranika a lot on the internet. Until late 2014, it's the only name I ever used.

It wasn't until I created the email iheartserqet@gmail.com around the time I made this blog that I created the name Skye Clover. Though, honestly, I'd used the name Skye before that, but Clover was new.

Being the person that I am, both Skye and Clover have reasons for why I picked them as a pseudonym. Koranika actually doesn't, but I was 6 when I made it. I think I just made some sounds that sound cool.

Where does the name Skye come from? Well, it's actually a name my parents were going to name me but didn't. (How sad.) But they would have named me after the Isle of Skye, an island in Scotland. WHY WOULDN'T I WANT TO BE NAMED AFTER A PIECE OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY????? REALLY.

Where does the name Clover come from? Well, ahem, this is actually a little more depressing. Clover was a cat I had for a little more than a year before she died on August 18, 2014. (That, coincidently, was the same day I got into My Chemical Romance.) You see, Clover is a name I'm really proud of. I love that name. It even fits into the pattern I have of naming all of my characters with names that start with C (the kind that makes a k sound) and have an l in them (Cleopatra, Clara, Cliena, Camille, etc.) But I wouldn't feel right naming another living thing the same name, so I made Clover my namesake. It's also a plant. A lucky plant!

And I thought Skye Clover had a pretty nice ring to it. Right? I'm not crazy. It totally does.

One of my favorite things, though, is naming other things, whether that be people or pets or instruments (I have still yet to come up with a name for my ukulele) or characters. I love coming up with names.

Most of my names have some sort of pattern to them. My pets are named mostly after gods. (I didn't get into naming them after gods until it was too late to rename some of them.) I have a dog named Loki, and cats named Isis and Serqet. (Serqet is the name in my email....) And, as I mentioned before, all my character names have a pattern as well.

 

Names in General:

Names are a pretty big part of human culture and day to day life. They're usually the first thing you learn about a person, and the first thing you have to judge them by.

Names are pretty important to literally every human religion, civilization, culture, etc. They've even been observed in other species like dolphins. They're a part of life and identity.

I've always found that kind of weird. I mean, pretty much no one gets to choose their own name. Sure, some do. Some people change their name. But most don't. Yet names are still such a big part of identity! Does your name affect your personality? (Yes, probably, at least a little.)

As someone who has never identified with their name...I always feel weird. I feel like names are supposed to be a defining part of your life. They're the first thing mentioned on your character profile. But usually your name is something that your parents chose. Not you.

So should you change your name to better match your personality? I say yes. A hundred times YES. Then again, maybe I'm the exception. Maybe most people identify with their names. Maybe they don't care.

A topic where names come up a lot is gender. Non-binary and transgender people commonly change their names to fit how they see themselves. If you see yourself as a man, having a traditionally female name is uncomfortable. It just doesn't seem like you. And I pretty much feel the same way. Even if Skye is also usually a female name, it's also I name that I chose. It feels way more like me. But why? Why does that even matter?

When I start talking about picking names, I usually think of Alaska from Looking for Alaska. Her parents allowed her to choose her own name, something most of us don't get to do. I love that idea because even if you do decide to change your name, it's still going to take people that already know you awhile to get used to it. Like, I've told people that I'd rather be called Skye. Did that happen? Haha. No. It really didn't.
 

Why are names so important?

No, really, I want to get into this discussion. WHY? I get that it's useful to distinguish people (which doesn't really work if we keep naming people after other people by the way), but why is it so important? Why has naming a child become such an important ritual in so many cultures?

Names have meanings. They're supposed to correspond with someone's personality, job, rank, etc., but what if they don't? What if your name means noble or kind, and you're...a serial killer? The name completely loses it's meaning. Right? Names nowadays mean pretty much nothing. It's all about how pretty it is or what sounds cool.

Anyway, after as much research as I could muster, I found, ahem, nothing. Humans (and a dolphins and stuff) use names for identification. But why are they so important to civilization? Why do we have separate male and female names? Why do names have meanings? I have no idea.

Human names go as far back as writing and history. As far as I can tell, there hasn't been much of a time when we haven't had names. Somehow, these names became a central part of culture and life. Naming your child is sometimes seen as the hardest decision you'll ever make for them. It just is.
 

Names in Books

But wait...this is a book blog! What do names have to do with books? Everything. Character names are chosen with a specific personality in mind. For many people, choosing character names is a long process for the same reason choosing your child's name is a long progress - it's going to stick with you and them, especially if your book becomes popular in any way.
 
I pay a lot of attention to the names of characters. Maybe that's just because I like names, I don't know. But just like with people, names are usually one of the first things you know about a character. It's a first impression, and that impression has to stick. Authors, including myself, choose names carefully. Sometimes they're named after somebody, the have an important meaning, or they contain some information as to what the book is about or the characters.
 
For example, I wrote a story with two sisters named Clara and Cleopatra. First of all, they follow my pattern of naming for my characters. They also are named in a way that shows a bit about their father, who is an archeologist (he's basically me in 30 years). Clara is named after the main character from the Nutcracker. (No, not from Doctor Who. I'm surprised too! I came up with this name before the Clara from Doctor Who was a thing.) Cleopatra is obviously named after the last pharaoh of Egypt. I put quite a bit of time into these names. They aren't just random. They provide clues as to the developing the character of their father later on. Their father is a pretty big part of the story actually.
 
In other words, I put as much time into character names as parents put into their children's names. (My characters are my children.)
 

Conclusion

I'm not sure if this is really a discussion or just an educational article about names with some more personal stuff thrown in. Though is it really educational if you end up with more questions now than when you started? Did you learn something?

Questions I have for you:

Do you identify with your name? Do you think names affect personality? Do you find names important? Why do you think humans have names? Why are they such an important part of culture? Do you think names are important in your life? Do you judge people based on their name? Do you ignore names entirely? Have you ever thought about changing your name? Do you think changing your name is a good or bad thing? What do you think of names in general?

Articles to check out if you want to learn more than I can explain (there weren't that many good ones, but I did get some information from these):

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

GLSEN Day of Silence


This Friday, April 15, is this year's Day of Silence. What is the Day of Silence, you may ask? Well, here's what the Day of Silence's website says (because I can't explain anything, obviously):

"The GLSEN Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT."

If you're unaware, I do count myself as part of the LGBT community, and I have a ton of LGBT friends (we tend to band together a bit). For some strange reason, I've never participated in the Day of Silence. I actually knew what it was before this year, but I always remember/hear about it way too late (like, day after). This year, I WILL BE PARTICIPATING. YAY.

What exactly the Day of Silence is and how exactly it goes differs from person to person. Some people just talk when they have to. Others put duct tape on their faces and refrain from all social media. Basically, there are different levels of severity.

While I most likely won't put duct tape on my face (ow), I will be completely off the internet for all of Friday. How am I going to survive? I don't know, honestly. But it's one day. I'll be disappointed in myself if I really can't do that. But anyway, don't expect me to be anywhere near this blog/Twitter on Friday. :)

In addition, I obviously won't be talking at all in school. Not to friends or teachers or anything. Now, if you don't know much about this event, you may be a little confused as to how exactly I wouldn't get in trouble. Well, I have some supportive teachers, and I told all of them that I would be participate in this event. The principle of my school is also all in on it, so I'm pretty much guaranteed to not get in trouble. I mean, it's a silent protest. It would be unjust to get in trouble for that! Plus, it's not like I'm just taking off school. I'm still doing work just being silent about it. If anything, you should be thankful I'm not giving you any more of a headache.

If you can and want to, I would suggest you guys participate in the Day of Silence. If anything, check out their website and learn more. Even if you're not a member of the LGBT community, YOU CAN STILL PARTICIPATE. Just make sure your friends/teachers/parents know so you don't get pestered to talk or anything. And if they're homophobic and/or transphobic and disagree with you? Do it anyway. (As long as you're safe and stay out of trouble...)

By the way, have those of you outside of the US even heard of the Day of Silence? Have those of you in the US? I feel like I have too many LGBT friends to be a good example. How be is this thing, really?

What do you think of the Day of Silence?

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Guide to Journaling

I've pretty much always written in journals. I've always loved  moving my hand constantly even if it had no meaning and was just a lot of ranting about stupid, unimportant things. I even have some from when I was a miniature human! Well, those are the embarrassing ones. But I still regularly write in journals today! I wonder how long it will be until those are the embarrassing journals...
 
Do you write in a journal? WELL YOU REALLY SHOULD. Like, now.


1. It's a chance to calm down and think things through. Journaling can be a break from your day.

2. An easy a regular way to improve on your writing.

3. You can look back on it later, and you keep track of your progression through life.

4. You can finish journals and feel awesome. (That accomplished feeling.)

5. Journals are a place to vent without being judged and/or upset other people. Be as controversial as you so choose.

6. Remember things as they happen, without the misremembering and unreliability of your brain.

7. They're a place to write down random words you like and want to remember.

8. They're pretty and nice to look at. Like books. But personal. Personal books.

9. Boost your creativity without really trying. Just get out your journal when you're bored.

10. Be happier. (No, really.)

Personally, I work best when I have several journals for different things. What kind of things, you may ask?

1. A personal/diary-type journal. (I think this is pretty self-explanatory.)

2. A small one I carry around everywhere. Used for: cool words, ukulele chords, poems, things/lines I want to remember.

3. One for philosophical and political rants and ideas. I like to keep these all in one place!

4. One for more thought-out short stories or entire books sometimes. Sometimes I get annoyed with computers, and writing it down on paper (usually as well as typing it out later) helps me think.

If you do plan to get into journaling, I suggest you spilt up several journals for different things in whatever way works best for your interests.

1. GO BUY SOME JOURNALS! Preferably high-quality, pretty ones, but even just a spiral-bound notebook can work. For me, at least, I can't use anything other than a small, average book-sized, quality journals. Even if I spend $15 on it, it's worth it because I usually use them for months or even years depending on its use. Plus, it's not like I plan on getting rid of them ever. Might as well make them nice, right?

2. Create a routine. Many of you probably already have morning or night routines put into place. I suggest you squeeze a few minutes of journaling in there every night, especially if you don't usually have time during the day.

3. Take at least one journal with you. I prefer a pocket-sized journal with lines. (This is the one with the ukulele chords. It's just convenient.) Just like with reading books, taking a journal with you makes you much more likely to write something in it. If you wait until you get home or something, you'll probably forget or procrastinate or find something more important that needs done. Write things down right when you think of them!

4. Get new/awesome writing utensils. For me, getting shiny new pens is one of the best ways to get myself to write more. I'm always so excited to write with my new pens! Though it's very possible I just have a pen problem. I love my pens.

5. Make a special place on your headboard/nightstand/bookshelf for your new journals. I suggest somewhere that you look at often. This helps me remember to write at night. It also is just nice to have pretty journals right next to my face. I like staring at them. (What? Most of you probably smell books on a regular basis...!!)

But...wait. What should I journal about?

ANYTHING. It could be something important or mundane or funny or boring. Write what makes you happy or sad or angry or afraid. I say you should write as often and as detailed as you need to in order to put yourself on paper. Write about EVERYTHING that makes you you. Don't try to make your life seem perfect. Don't hold back. Write about things that make you feel something.

And most importantly, be as disorganized as possible.

Suggested things to write about:
  • Recent things that happened to you.
  • Funny stories.
  • Lines/words you want to remember or use again.
  • Random Ranting.
  • Poems.
  • Your sexuality. Or lack thereof.
  • Song lyrics. Or notes. Or chords. Whatever.
  • Books/movies you like.
  • Goals you want to accomplish.
  • Places you want to go.
  • Places you've been.
  • What you want to do with your life.
  • Religion/spirituality/lack thereof.
  • Your favorite people.
  • Why you think we're here.
  • Stuff that bothers you.
  • What you think is wrong with the world.
  • What you think is wrong with yourself.
  • Things you want to change.
  • What makes you cry.
  • Things you like to do.
  • People you like to see.
  • Your greatest fears.
  • What you think of death.
  • That burrito you had for lunch.
  • Things you wish would change.
  • Things you wish would stop changing.
  • Ideas about how the world could be better.
  • Your political views.
  • Your frustrations.
  • Things you wish were socially acceptable.
  • Food.
  • Short or long stories.
  • How you think our brains work.
  • Philosophy in general.
  • What you wish you could have.
  • Whether you think selfishness is okay.
  • What you wish you could give to someone.
  • People you think are stupid.
  • Etc.
Or anything you want really.

Do you write in a journal? Do you plan to? Was this post useful to you or change your view on journaling? Please leave your thoughts below!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Haul: Winter 2016

It's been a long time since I've done a book haul, hasn't it? Not since December 1st! How is it April already??????

Anyway, I got quite a few books. Most of which I haven't read because I've been in a terrible reading slump for most of 2016. Maybe going back through them will change that? Nah, probably not.

1. Guardian (Proxy #2) by Alex London

I got this for Christmas, and why I still haven't read it? I have no idea. I loved the first book, Proxy, which I read last summer, but I just haven't felt the urge to pick this up. Honestly, I probably won't for while now....it's very sad.


2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

A friend gave this to me also for Christmas. I'm a little iffy on reading it just because the synopsis makes it sound like it's going to romanticize suicide and depression. I have no idea if it actually does or not, but I'm scared. If it does, it get zero stars. No questions.


3. Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Why did I buy this? Ummmm....because everyone else was. And the cover is pretty! Terrible reasoning. Just awful.


4. Truthwitch (Truthwitch #1) by Susan Dennard

Well, okay, maybe I bought this one for the same reasons as Passenger, but at least I think this one actually sounds interesting!


5. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

I looked far and wide. And guess what I found? A gender-fluid MAIN character. IT'S FUCKING MAGICAL. No, I haven't read it yet. What???????


6. Every Day by David Levithan

I FINALLY GOT A PHYSICAL COPY. YAY. This book is not just good, but it's also very special to me. I read this book nearly two years ago, and I can't believe I waited this long to get a copy! I'm so happy I have it.


7. Uglies Series (Uglies, Pretties, & Specials) by Scott Westerfeld

I got this entire series from Half-Price Books for around $13....which is just amazing. Even if they aren't exactly in new condition, it's still amazingly good for the price! And, I mean, I thought Uglies was okay. A solid 4 stars!

8. Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore

Hey look, it's another first book in a fantasy series! Are you surprised? Because you shouldn't be.


What books did you buy last winter?
 

Monday, April 4, 2016

I think I finally found a review format that I like...

 
Since I started this blog, I've been experimenting with different formats of reviewing. I always felt like just putting some information and writing a couple paragraphs wasn't enough, and I think a lot of people feel the same way.

I almost never reviewed books because my format was a mess that changed pretty much every time I wrote a review. But I'm quite happy with this new one I've put together. It's not too complicated or original, but it's more organized and interesting to read than it has been previously. I wanted to know what other people thought before I started using it permanently.

Many people have said that you should come up with a more interesting title for your post than "Book by Author Review" - and I agree.

Some Title That Makes People Want To Read Your Review

Title:
Series (if there is one):
Author:
Pages:
Publisher:
Published:
Average Goodreads Rating:
Book Rating: *I suggest using pictures (perhaps something not stars, something that represents you/your blog somehow) instead of just saying 5 stars or whatever.*
Cover Rating:
Synopsis:





Cover:


*thoughts on the cover/overall prettiness or nonprettiness of the book*

Activity while reading:


I don't know why I didn't think of including this sooner... I usually write down my thoughts on books while reading them, but why not include them in my actual review?! Maybe at some point I could make this even better by somehow making it into a graph, or some kind of graphic. Like if you had a timeline and small quotes from yourself on specific pages.

This is a thing I like to see in reviews because it's much easier to read than just a bunch of paragraphs - especially a graphic.

**Anyway, here, I suggest you put either Goodreads updates or any notes you wrote to yourself in the book.

FINAL THOUGHTS:


I really like this as well. The idea of writing the things you thought about a book directly after you finish it seem like a perspective before your opinions have been influenced by time or other reviews. Just write the things that stick out to you, and you will probably want to mention them in your actual review as well.

Now here's where the choice comes, and it completely depends on the book.

I've found that using the exact same format to explain your thoughts for every book just doesn't work. I have three go-to formats I like the best, but sometimes I just make something up that works. Basically, you don't always need the same format for every review.

FORMAT ONE:


Things I liked:

Separate plot, characters, etc. if you wish.

Things I didn't like:

Separate plot, characters, writing etc. if you wish.

**Works well for books you have very distinct likes and dislikes.**

FORMAT TWO:


Plot/Story:

Characters:

Writing:

Romance (if applicable):

World-Building (if applicable):

**Works well if you have comments about a part, but you didn't really like or dislike it. For example, if you liked some aspect of the writing and didn't like another, or if there were certain things of which you were not a fan.**

FORMAT THREE:

Non-Spoiler:

Separate plot, characters, etc. if you wish.

Spoiler:

Separate plot, characters, etc. if you wish.

**Works well for books that you really can't make a non-spoiler review for because you're exploding with feels or something, but you still want people who haven't read the book to not hate you. In my opinion, it works best for more popular books because there's a better chance someone will actually read the spoiler section.**

I suggest ending your review by repeating your book rating (preferably a picture of 5 stars or something).

Conclusion...

So yeah. If you guys have anything to add or any suggestions, please tell me below! What kind of format do you use to review? What do you look for/enjoy in a review? What do you think of this format?