& Forbidden Forest Fridays: Don’t Be a Snitch

Alas, Harry Potter week had to come to an end, my friends. But: I have one last thing to tell you.

Or show you really…

hptattoo

 

 

I officially have a Harry Potter tattoo!

I’ve been wanting a literary themed tattoo for a while (wrote a post about it a while back, actually…) and as you can probably tell if you didn’t know already…I’m a big fan of Harry Potter.

So here’s my brand new ink, on my right forearm, my very own Golden Snitch. I’m loving it so far, which is good, because it’s permanent.

 

hptattoo2

Anybody else out there have Harry Potter ink? Any other literary tattoos I need to see?

Hope you enjoyed the magical theme that was this week! Happy Friday!

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& Fridays: On Reading a Series #2: The Waiting Game

It’s a satisfying feeling: you finish a book – whether it’s one everyone has been talking about, or one a friend eagerly pressed into your hands, or just one with a pretty cover that you pulled off the shelf – and you LOVED it. You just know you’ll be thinking about the characters for weeks, and you cannot wait to see where things go next. You Google the series. You pull it up on Goodreads, eagerly clicking through the author’s profile only to see….you have a year to wait. Or worse: there isn’t even a date set!

And then you curl up into a ball and sob, because you loved it and now you have a book hangover and HOW ON EARTH WILL YOU BE ABLE TO READ ANYTHING ELSE? NOTHING CAN COMPARE!

Even if you don’t descend into that extreme of a despair spiral, your heart at least falls a little. For me, it’s not so much the waiting (well, sometimes it is…but there are so many other books to read!), but the realization that in a year, I will not remember all of the wonderful characters and details that made me like the first book. Even books I adore, I feel the need to re-read before I go out and get the second book. And when you get to the fourth book, the fifth book…with a year in between each release…that’s a lot of re-reading.

But I already did a post on re-reading for a series. How do you deal with the waiting game between sequels? Do you re-read the first one every few months to remind yourself of the book world you loved? Do you stalk fanfiction, fan art, ANYTHING to do with the book? Do you mildly stalk the author on social media?

And at some point, do you just get annoyed? I greatly respect the authors who can churn out a sequel to a book in a year. But sometimes the year turns into two…or three…or seven…and you start to go “WHERE’S MY SEQUEL?” and you start to run amok, terrorizing cities and breathing fire.

No? That’s just me when I’m hangry? Okay…

But let’s be honest – it sucks to wait a long time for something you really, really, really, really, really want. And you see the author blogging and you see a picture of them with their family and you go “WHY AREN’T YOU WRITING?!”

Well. Neil Gaiman wrote an apt blog entry on that very feeling. Titled “Entitlement Issues,” it boils down to this distinct though: “George R.R. Martin,” (or insert your beloved author here) “is not your bitch.”

Essentially, he writes that writers are *gasp* human, that they run into deadline issues and have to, you know, live their life. And despite the fact that they want to sell books to readers, they do not work for you individually. There’s no contract when you buy a book that the author now works for you, and must submit quality work to your liking by a certain time. You can find the article here:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

It’s a valid point, but not something everyone understands or even accepts. I’ve had my own share of exasperated sighing when I check for a book’s due date and see that there isn’t one yet. It’s frustrating, especially when the things you’ve been reading recently don’t hold up to the standard of that story/character/world. But hey: do you want to read half-hearted crap from your beloved author, or a well-crafted, well though over book that you love more than the first?

The latter, I think. It’s just hard to play the waiting game.

& Fridays: To-Be-Read Pile: How Much is Too Much?

I read an awful lot. It feels strange and off-putting if I go an entire day without reading a few chapters. This means that I buy/borrow/rent books quite often. I buy/borrow/rent to the point that I finish off one book, and I have bought three or four to take its place. I’m not terrific at math, but if I read one and get three more…that’s not a good ratio for polishing off my “to-be-read” pile anytime soon…

When I got the new bookcases in my room, I designated two lower shelves on the biggest bookcase for my “to-be-read” books. I told myself that I would stick to these two shelves, and no more. If the shelves were full, I would simply read a few books before I bought new ones.

Ah, youth (this was about a year ago…)

How naïve I was…seeing as not only are those two shelves full, but now I have stacks of new books in front of the older ones, so that I can’t even see the books originally on the to-be-read shelf! It’s a sickness, I tell you. A wonderful sickness. But still, it’s getting a little out of control.

So now I’m going to actively try to clear up the shelves a little bit. I intend to read four books before I allow myself to buy a single new one.

Now, I will (rather unfairly) not count Uppercase Box or Owl Crate books. I’ll be getting both book subscription boxes for the next few months, and they give me a new hardcover release each.  I’m justifying this by saying who knows if I will have read four new books by the time I get these new ones, and I am not going out and choosing these ones – they’re coming to me!

I know, I know, it’s a lame excuse. But if I’m now limiting my book buying and borrowing to once or twice a month, I have to be a little lenient with myself…

And there are a couple of book releases I have already penciled into my planner (yep, still have a paper planner – I’m in love with it, don’t judge) that I am tempted to not include in this 1 book for 4 rule. For example, the fourth book in the Gentleman Bastards series comes out a little more than a week before the published script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is released. And in August, new installments for two different series I read come out: Tana French’s new Dublin Murder Squad mystery, and the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes. SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME!

But maybe it won’t even be an issue in August. Maybe I will speed read through so much of my to-be-read shelves that buying new ones isn’t that much of an issue.

Ah, there’s that youthful naivety again…

Anyway! Are your to-be-read piles climbing to the ceiling? Are they stacked three deep on your shelves? Are you quite buried under all of the books you fell in love with in the store/library? I ask because I genuinely want to know, but also to reassure myself that I’m not the only one 😛

& Fridays: On the Horizon

Does anybody else put book release dates on their schedules, paper or electronic or otherwise? No?  Just me?

Morning Star by Pierce Brown. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Del Rey February 2016

Morning Star by Pierce Brown. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Del Rey February 2016

I have had Morning Star in my little calendar for as long as it has reached until 2016. The third installment of the Red Rising trilogy, I am sure you have heard me gush about it a number of times. I met the author, Pierce Brown, at a signing at my local bookstore. I devoured the second book, Golden Son in days, and since it ended on a cliffhanger (so, so mean, Brown…) I have been buzzing with anticipation waiting for it.

AND IT’S ALMOST HERE! It comes out on February 9th, y’all!! THAT’S SO SOON! LIKE, 4 DAYS SOON!!!!!!

You can bet I will be staying up late just reading one more chapter. And I will be heading to another reading/signing by Brown at the same bookstore on the 10th. THIS WEEK IS SO EXCITING JUST BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK!

Also, go read that series. Right now. I’ll wait…

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Broadway Books January 2016

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Broadway Books January 2016

Another terrific book I read back in 2014, City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (review here), is getting a sequel this month. City of Blades, out January 26th, sounds like it features everybody’s favorite butt-kicking Hagrid, Sigrud, in even more detail. Yay! I will definitely have to quick-read City of Stairs though – it’s a complex world I will be re-immersing myself into!

And I just looked up the sequel to my favorite book I read last year – Illuminae – and the sequel is slated for this year! YAY! Of course, the first one was out in October, so the next one is likely to be out around then too, so I have a bit of a wait….

But it’s okay, I can be patient…..

Sometimes.

What about you, dear readers? What books are you excited about? Any sequels coming out soon that you will hunker down and devour within days?

& Fridays: December Uppercase Box

I mentioned Uppercase Box in my almost-belated gift-giving guide for the holidays for book lovers. In the past year or so, I feel like book subscription boxes have really taken off. Which is exciting. And also dangerous. For my wallet.

One of my lovely Christmas gifts was a few months’ subscription to Uppercase Box, one such service that sends you a hardcover YA book and a couple of book-themed goodies. Let the unboxing begin!

One

Yes, I did use Christmas tissue paper as a backdrop. It felt appropriate.

I love the cloth bag it comes in. They could just throw everything in a cardboard box and call it a day but this adds a nice touch. Now to find a way to repurpose it.

 

 

 

Two

Ahhh the spoils – look how colorful everything is!

The book goodies this time are a gorgeous, wooden bookmark in the style of a cherry tree, and a great calendar with fun, graphic quotes of various YA books. I have a thing for bookmarks (future Friday post on that later!), and this one is almost too pretty to use (just kidding – what’s the point of a bookmark if you don’t use it?!). The calendar is a great size – compact so it won’t take up too much space on your desk or wall, but big enough to see the quotes and the books they come from. This is a great way to get reading suggestions, too!

Four

The book, Not if I See You First by Eric Lindstrom sounds super interesting. I was just ruminating the other day on the thought that becoming blind would be so devastating to me. So many of the things that I love – reading, traveling, writing – involve sight. Not that I couldn’t do and appreciate all of those things if I were blind – in fact, I think I might enjoy them better, in new and different ways. But I have never read a book from the perspective of a blind character. I am excited to get to this new book on my to-read shelf!

 

Five

As an added bonus, there are these neat notes every so often as you read that can unlock cool content. When I entered this code on Uppercase’s Reading Experience page, a video from the author popped up explaining some of the main character’s motivation. The page also makes sure to inform you that the video is spoiler-free, so you don’t have to worry about flipping through the book and typing in all of the codes before you have finished the story. It reminds me a little of Night Film, one of my favorite books, which also involves multimedia content to enhance its story.

So far I’m loving it all! Packaging, book goodies, and book! Anybody else get a subscription box for the holidays?

& Fridays: Best Books of 2015

Welcome to the Second Annual Ampersand Read Best Books of the Year Award!

It seems so strange that I can say “second annual” on this blog – I’ve been doing this for almost two years? WHAT?

Okay, I’ve recovered. This is my end of the year coverage of some of the best books that I have read all year. They were not all published this year, and they are by no means the only good books I read all year, but I did read every single one of these between January 2015 and December 2015, and they all stuck with me. Many of the categories are similar to last year’s, with a couple new ones thrown in.

Without further ago, THE BEST BOOKS I READ THIS YEAR!!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Fiction. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The Royal We

Most Surprising: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I think I was definitely just expecting a fluffy, light read that I would read for fun and then be happily on my way. And while that was the case: it is a light, happy romance that basically rips a love story from real life and tweaks some of the details and names, I found that Ireally, really liked The Royal We. It was beautiful and wish-fulfilling and so much fun to read. I devoured it and pushed it onto all of my friends.

 

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. Fiction. Publisher: Simon & Schuster, August 2015

A Window Opens

 

Close Second: A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
This one was so surprising because its synopsis makes it sound so frivolous and obnoxiously chick lit-heavy. While it did have some of those tropes, it was also heartbreaking and real and a good read.

 

 

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Publisher: Del Rey June 2006

The Lies of Locke Lamora 

Best Start of a Series I Read All Year: The Lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch
I love a fantasy series that pulls you in to a complex, well drawn world and holds you there. I found it hard to put Lamora down because the setting was so intense, the characters so witty and fun to be around. The plot kept you guessing and the heists kept increasing in complexity. A good first book keeps a reader for the rest of the series. I intend to keep going with the Gentleman Bastard series (partly because that’s an awesome series name, too).

 

goldensonBest Sequel I Read All Year: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Uggghhhhhhhh….remember how I hated this ending? A cliffhanger, Pierce Brown?! WHY?! Luckily, Morning Star, the third and final installment of this amazing series, comes out February 9th. Which is still two months too long. I might buckle down and re-read the first two (like I did when I first read Golden Son) just to get in the proper mindset. I also freaking love the books, so that’s just an excuse. If you can’t already tell, I want all of you to go read this series right now.

Poison by Sarah Pinborough. Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Publisher: Titan Books

Poison

Best Cover: Poison by Sarah Pinborough
This cover is probably best appreciated in person. The texture, embossed details of the title and graphics, and the simple feel of it in your hands is really, really well done. It’s so eye catching to me. I think this fairytale re-teller did an awesome job capturing a reader’s attention.

Close second (and third): Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff will win another award later one, but I certainly waxed poetic about the effort that went into this entire book, including the elaborate cover

And The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, whose dreamy watercolor painting cover of a girl in an ethereal gown and setting made me lunge for it on the shelf.

The Fold by Peter Clines. Science Fiction/Fantasy. Publisher: Crown.

The Fold

Best Twist: The Fold by Peter Clines
The whole premise of The Fold is a brainy consultant goes to investigate a mysterious machine, which claims to have mastered teleportation. What it really does is so much more dangerous and interesting, and the whole mystery is revealed very skillfully in this novel.

AND FINALLY (drumroll please)………..

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Published: October 2015

Illuminae

The Best Book I Read All Year 2015: Illuminae

Ah, Illuminae. I didn’t really know what to expect from this collaboration between one of the authors of the Starbound series, whose first installment I loved and whose second installment left me a bit disappointed, and another author I had never read, but Illuminae is fantastic. The sheer work and writing and designing that went into the book is so impressively mindboggling to me, but the story is great to boot. The two enemies: a zombie-like virus, and a smart and vindictive AI system that controls the whole ship, are amazingly balanced. The story and obstacles had me flipping pages rapidly, pausing only to admire the beautiful artwork and design choices the authors made. 600+ pages flew past in just a couple of days.

Close Second: Golden Son by Pierce Brown
I feel bad for the books I read close to the beginning of the year, because I don’t remember them as fresh as I do books at the end of the year for these awards. Perhaps if I read Golden Son and Illuminae back to back, I would give the edge to Golden Son. Who knows. Both are excellent. I am excited there is at least a little more in each series.

Honorable Mentions:
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A fantasy novel that is surprisingly lovely, complex, and interesting. Another book I stayed up late flipping the pages for. Novik can expect a regular reader out of me.

In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
I almost put this as a “Close Second,” in a couple of these categories. This common trope, of a group of people’s lives and relationships over the span of a few years, can be overdone. But this story brought something fresh to the table with really, really good writing and characters I wanted to hear more from.

So there you have it! What were some of the best books you read this year? What do I absolutely have to read that I haven’t yet?

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

& Fridays: The Math of NaNoWriMo

Don’t worry, I won’t make you do the arithmetic.

My mother is a middle school math teacher. I had her for seventh grade Pre-Algebra, and have become quite familiar with her lessons over the years. She always did a unit on graphs. She would point out how easy it is to make graphs misleading, and how they are EVERYWHERE: newspapers, TV, even textbooks. So for a week or two, her students comb through graphs, talk about them, and draw them themselves.

Well, NaNoWriMo has GRAPHS (how’s that for a segway?). Every day that you update your word count, your little word count bar inches closer and closer to the goal line of 1,667 words per day. If you don’t write that much per day, your bar falls below the line. If you surpass it, you could leave that goal line in the dust (seriously, some people write 100,000+ words during November. How do they do it?!)

I think the graphs have provided me with a cool way to look at my writing over the past few years. For example:

graph

In 2013, I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time.

Notice that I was behind on my word count the entire month. I can’t even remember why I didn’t write ANYTHING for Day 2 or Day 3. The whole month it looks like I am struggling to stay afloat. But somehow, on the last day, I remember holing myself up in my room and pounding out those last 7,000 or so words. When I was done, I ran downstairs to show my parents the winner’s screen.

I think it’s pretty cool that although I was behind literally THE ENTIRE TIME, I didn’t give up. I’m pretty proud of that 🙂

graph

2014 was a revisit of a story I had started before. I rewrote everything I had done before, to be in first person, present tense, and to clean up some messes I had left in the first (very rough) draft. I had mixed emotions about submitting it for verification on Day 30, because I technically hadn’t finished the story. I ended it on a scene, but it wasn’t the scene I intended. There were still about 30,000 more words itching to be written, but they weren’t on the page.

But I was clearly a little bit more motivated this time. I remember right there in the middle of the month – that noticable dip – I went to visit my friend in Washington. I brought my laptop, and we were SUPER lazy the whole weekend – I think we watched something like 7 movies while sitting on her couch. But I didn’t write a whole lot. I had a big resurgance in the second half of the month, though, and only had to write out about 3,500 words to make it to the end. Again, I took a screenshot of the winner’s screen.

2015stats

Which brings us to this year! When I was on vacation (again, that dip in the middle of the month), I forced myself to write AT LEAST 1,000 words a day. The daily goal is 1,667, so I knew I was going to be behind, but not as much as if I just didn’t write. Luckily, my significant other is very laid back and happily watched TV in the background, or sketched while I wrote. And they kept me honest, saying “GO WRITE YOUR WORDS” whenever I started to procrastinate. True love, right there.

On the 21st I took myself to a Starbucks and made myself write a good 5,000 words, and again on the 29th. I only had around 1,600 words to write on the last day, but I got so caught up in the final scenes that I just wrote another 2,000 😛

This year’s story still has another hidden 50,000 words that need to go into it. I can feel it, how it’s just half-finished. Once my characters and I take a little break (I’ve put them through a lot!), I think I might need to fill in a few (giant, noticeable) gaps.

Portland, Oregon, the region I wrote NaNo with, was the 12th highest word count for all of NaNoWriMo 2015. That’s pretty damn impressive, seeing as there were hundreds upon hundreds of regions, and cities around the world participated (Germany had the highest word count). I’m pretty proud of that, too 🙂

Whew! This was a long post! But I missed writing for the blog! Any of you bored stiff by my graph talk? Or do you like seeing things laid out logically?

& Fridays: Since I’ve Been Gone…

HEY ALL!!!

Wow, I feel like I have crawled out of a cave and have seen the sun for the first time in MONTHS. It feels weird to construct a sentence that is not part of the novel I was writing this past month.

Which brings me handily to my next order of business:

I WON I WON I WON!

I WON I WON I WON!

I COMPLETED NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH 2015!!!

YES! For three years straight, I said I would write 50,000 words over the course of only 30 days. And I have DONE IT. Every year, without fail, I feel a surge of pride and accomplishment when I press that button saying “I am ready to validate my novel,” when I copy and paste all 50,000 words into that box, and when the winner screen loads to tell me all these nice things about myself and my writing. It is truly a one of a kind feeling.

And if I hadn’t written 50,000 words? I would still be so proud. It is HARD to sit down and write every day, no matter what your life looks like. I don’t currenly have kids, but one November when I do, I can’t imagine how much tougher it will be. I managed to eek out 52,285 words this year, with a full time job, trying to go to the gym, cooking and baking for two or three days for Thanksgiving, and going on a week long vacation with my significant other. Those seem like such weak excuses, but it was tough! From Day 10 to Day 29, I was behind on my word count (I’ll be posting some fun (in my opinion) analyses of my words all three years next week). Several times I had to remove myself from my house, from my living room to be able to write and not get distracted.

There will be many more years, and many more distractions ahead. If you participated in National Novel Writing Month, whether you got in your 50,000 words or just 1,800 words, congratulations. I’m proud of you 🙂

So! I’ve been behind in posting!! I did managed to read a few books during my writing marathon. And currently I have *goes to count* eight books that I have read, but not yet reviewed. EEK! Plus, this little blog has been sorely neglected in terms of Friday posts and Coffee Table posts. I will do my best to fill the void!

So tell me your writing stories, readers! Did you do NaNoWriMo? What is your current word count, and are you still writing? (I hope so! Although me and my characters need a tiny break from each other) I am already looking ahead to my writing adventures in 2016…I’m thinking of trying to write a short story every week. It’s less pressure than writing EVERY day, but I’m still making a commitment to work on creativity!

Didja miss me? 😉

& Fridays: I Am About to Write (Another) Book

I’m sorry, I can’t hear you from the blanket fort I have constructed, bags of chocolate and snacks within arms reach, laptop providing the light for the scene.

Okay, this isn’t actually my set up, but that sounds awesome, doesn’t it?!

You see, ladies and gentlemen, I am embarking on writing a novel this month. 50,000 words in 30 days.

AHHHHHHHHHHH! (multiplied by about a million)

If you haven’t heard of National Novel Writing Month…it’s pretty self-explanatory. You write a novel (albeit a small one) in 30 days. You can start typing away at midnight on November 1st, but you must hit 50k by November 30th.

And that’s it.

The rest is up to you.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo (abbreviated because writing out National Novel Writing Month is exhausting to type and say after a while…) the last two years. And I completed it both times! 50,000 words in 30 days. TWICE! I’m a little proud.

But it’s kind of a lot of pressure to complete it again. Third times a charm, right? (where on earth did that saying come from? Who is doing what three times and why is it charming?!)

I’m always sitting on a couple of major plot ideas, and it took me a while to settle on the subject for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Because I’m a planner. I wanted most of it planned out before I sit there on November 1st and actually have to write the words. When I first decided I wanted to do NaNo, back in 2013, I did a practice run to make sure I could do it (yeah, I’m a nerd…). And I planned EVERYTHING. I had character names and profiles and plot maps and timelines and the point I wanted to get to in the story at each part of the month.

I haven’t been quite that organized since.

But I get really freaked out if I go into NaNoWriMo blind! I’ve managed to chug through, but who knows what might happen??

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty. Publisher: Chronicle Books, September 2004

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty. Publisher: Chronicle Books, September 2004

I have given myself a few more resources though. Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, wrote this great book called No Plot? No Problem! (see, even he is trying to get me to lighten up about lack of planning!). It’s chock full of great information for writing in general, but it’s tailored to the NaNoWriMo format of 30 days to a rough draft.

He’s recently re-released it with new content, which makes me feel like I need to buy the book all over again, DANGIT!!

 

 

 

 

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. Publisher: Writers Digest Books, January 2008

Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. Publisher: Writers Digest Books, January 2008

Book in a Month (again, really self-explanatory) has also proven excellent this time around, with worksheets and exercises for every week that help you suss out your plot, key scenes, and themes you want to explore in the work.

The only problem is that right now, I haven’t fleshed out all of my key scenes OR themes.

ACK!

I’ll be obsessing over and updating about NaNoWriMo all month. And don’t worry, blog shenanigans will continue as scheduled throughout November (I have to have something else to write besides the book!)

& Fridays: Spooky Reads

Not that you probably need any more incentive to get into the spooky Halloween spirit (I know people who are into Halloween, and they get into Halloween…), but how about some creepy, atmospheric reads for these windy, stormy nights? (Oh, that’s just where I live? Okay…)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Illustrations by Jim Kay. Publisher: Walker Books May 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Illustrations by Jim Kay. Publisher: Walker Books May 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness first hearkened to me from a bookshelf because…well, because it was rather pretty. The unbelievably talented illustrator Jim Kay does so much with just black and white in this illustrated version of Ness’ story. The book feels so intricate and special because of the art.

And also, can I say that I currently possess the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, released this month, and also illustrated by Jim Kay…and it makes me squeal with joy. It is also incredible. I might do a post just about that book, I love it that much.

The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs. Published September 1902

The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs. Published September 1902

Or how about some classic spooky? Do you read a little Cask of Amontillado, or The Tell-Tale Heart by our morose pal, Edgar Allen Poe? Do you crack open The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs every year on All Hallow’s Eve like other people do with The Polar Express or‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve?

They had us watch a movie version of The Monkey’s Paw in high school language arts class….a little bit scarred for life now…

Story from Sarah’s Youth time….

When I was younger, I signed up for a community book club for kids where we read the nominees for the next Newberry Medal. The only two books I remember from the list and the club were Ruby Holler and Coraline.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Publisher: HarperCollins, 2002

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Publisher: HarperCollins, 2002

I remembered Ruby Holler because it was my favorite. It was pleasant, intriguing, it had a cool cover (I was a sucker for them even then…)

I remembered Coraline because it was freaking creepy.

THE MOM HAS BUTTONS FOR EYES.

BUTTONS.

FOR EYES.

I was impressionable, and an even bigger scaredy cat back then because I think I was about eleven. At one point I think Coraline gets trapped in a closet with ghost children.

Nuh-uh.

Nope.

It would probably still creep me out now, but I have some distance from it.

And let me just say that the cute-looking stop motion movie made from the book? Not nearly as creepy. The book just ratchets the creepy up to about 11.

So what you read for Halloween? Do you read anything different? Any literary-themed costumes out there?