When Fangirls Color

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Thanks to the coloring craze, I’ve been able to reach a whole new level of literary geekdom. Over the last couple of months, some of my favorite YA novels have been transformed into some pretty amazing coloring books. Since I’m a total sucker for this stuff – I’ve been an avid colorer and YA reader for years – there was no question that I’d jump at the chance to color images from the The Mortal Instrument Series and The Lunar Chronicles.

When I heard The Mortal Instruments was getting a coloring book, I literally squealed. This is one of my all time favorite YA series, (I may have mentioned it few times)! The book itself is quite beautiful – the illustrations are done by Cassandra Jean, a longtime collaborator with the author, Cassandra Clare, so she has strong insight to the characters that mean so much to me.

The images are beautifully drawn and are paired with select quotations from every book in The Mortal Instrument series. Everything from major plot-twist to fan favorite scenes are included, creating a well-balanced collection of images.

I started by coloring the couples I shipped throughout the series, (both books and TV show). Of course, Magnus and Alec (Malec) are at the top of my ship list, so I decided to color the scene that depicts when they first met.

Next on my ship list are Clary and Jace (Clace). This scene happens in the second book of the series after much DRAMA between these two. It was a moment that drove shippers such as myself into a fit of hysteria. The good kind of hysteria, I assure you.

These images are now loaded into my phone to personalize my home screen and locked screen. ūüôā

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a relatively new favorite series for me, but its easily one of the best I’ve read since The Mortal Instruments. I just got the coloring book and I can’t wait to dive in and color the characters and story that captured my imagination in the books.

The illustrations are done by Kathryn Gee and they are stunning! However, what I love most about this particular coloring book is that the illustrator was a fan that caught the attention of the author. An actual fangirl got the chance of a lifetime to represent not only fandom, but the characters we all love so much. Seriously, how cool is that?

The word fangirl (and fanboy for that matter) often receives negative connotation, but I think this coloring book truly defies the label that fandom is just a bunch of crazy, obsessive people. I prefer to think of fandom as passionate individuals that pour a lot of effort and love into something beyond themselves. That effort and love can lead to some pretty amazing, creative, and innovative accomplishments. Kathryn Gee is a glowing example of that fact.

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c.b.w. 2017

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22 Writers Worth Reading (Part 2)

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The second half of my list of 22 is just as eclectic as the first with writers belonging to a broad spectrum of genres and time periods. ¬†Some I’ve read all my life, while others are recent additions to my always growing list of favorite authors. ¬†Regardless of when I found them, all 22 writers have inspired me to write with the same spirit of creativity.

For Writers 1-11, please see Part 1

Writers 12-22 in no particular order:

12. S√°ndor M√°rai
M√°rai’s work has only recently been rediscovered and translated into English. ¬†He is a Hungarian writer who uses the power of subtlety to convey deeply emotional stories. ¬†M√°rai captures the soul of humanity in his characters, who are so real I feel like I know them personally. ¬†Even more impressive are how his stories often seem like he lifted them right out reality.

Favorite Book: Embers

13. Cassandra Clare
Bring on the romance and the demon fighters! ¬†Clare knows how to spin quite a yarn that includes everything from action, suspense, love, and the battle between good and evil. ¬†Urban fantasy has never been so appealing! Her writing style is clean, fresh, and full of wildly colorful descriptions. ¬†I never know where the story is going to go and I’m always surprised when I turn the page.

Favorite Book: City of Bones

14. Ron Currie, Jr.
Currie only has two books to his credit, but they are magnificent pieces of work.  His writing is crisp, daring, and  openly defiant of convention.   In both of his books, he posits some pretty tough questions about what truly matters in life and how much we take for granted.  The real beauty of it all is his encouragement for readers to answer those questions for themselves.

Favorite Book: Everything Matters

15. William Shakespeare
When Mr. Miller taught me how to read Shakespeare in 11th grade, it was like he opened a window to a whole new world. ¬†My love and appreciation for Shakespeare’s work only grew when I saw theater productions of Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. ¬†Ultimately, Shakespeare nails lyrical prose and is a keen observer of human behavior.

Favorite Works: Othello and The Sonnets

16. Paulo Coelho
When I read The Alchemist, I went out and bought a copy for just about everyone I know. ¬†Coelho’s spiritual and philosophical style elicits contemplation and enlightenment. ¬†His belief in the individual spirit and the importance of following your heart comes through in almost every one of his works. ¬†Whenever I falter, I look to the wisdom in his stories to pull me back on track.

Favorite Book: The Alchemist

17. Yu Hua
Hua’s body of work delves into the darker corners of Chinese history and familial ties. ¬†He focuses on the Cultural Revolution and the devastating impact it had on families and friendships. ¬†Where other writers would lean towards the political atmosphere, Hua keeps the focus on the human condition. ¬†In doing this, he creates a more accurate portrayal of China’s cultural history than any history textbook could dream of accomplishing.

Favorite Book: Chronicles of a Blood Merchant

18. Beatrix Potter
I remember my grandmother reading Beatrix Potter to me when I was child.  Even then I understood the genius of Peter Rabbit or Benjamin Bunny.  Potter mastered the fine balance between simplicity and distinctive description, a talent that makes her books pure magic to anyone who picks them up.

Favorite Book: The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit

19. Amy Ephron
Ephron writes fantastic historical fiction that takes place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What sets her apart is her ability to use an era as a set piece rather than a focal point. ¬†Her characters and stories could easily be pulled out and transferred to any time period as they are infinitely intriguing and realistic. ¬†However, Ephron’s real talent lies in crafting surprise endings. ¬†My mouth has fallen open more than once after reading the last line.

Favorite Book: A Cup of Tea

20. Benjamin Lebert
Lebert is a German writer who explores the backstreets of adolescence with a blunt and honest perspective.  He holds nothing back as he exposes everything from drug addiction, bullying, sex, and emotional angst.  More remarkable still, he was brave enough to do it at just 16 years old.  His young voice is provocative, intelligent, and deserves to be heard.  While his first novel Crazy was phenomenal, his second absolutely blew me away.

Favorite Book: The Bird is a Raven

21. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Mysteries are not usually my cup of tea, but I can’t resist Sherlock Holmes. ¬†Doyle creates truly unique characters and spins fascinating tales of murder and intrigue. ¬†His writing sparkles with witty dialogue and countless twists that always keep me guessing. ¬†Working a case with Holmes is always a spirited adventure!

Favorite Work: The Speckled Band

22. Walter Farley
I was probably around 10 years old when I first read The Black Stallion and I still remember every part of that book from start to finish. ¬†Farley’s story of a young boy and his horse showed me how beautiful the connection between man and animal can be. ¬†Walter Farley is a huge reason why I fell in love with reading and I can’t thank him enough for leaving such a strong impression on me as a writer. ¬†My original Black Stallion book still sits on my shelf.

Favorite Book: The Black Stallion

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What writers would make your list of 22?  If you take up the challenge, please post a link that leads to your list!

c.b. 2012

A Bookshelf of Organized Chaos

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Recently, the photograph that runs along my sidebar was a topic of conversation with a friend. ¬†It isn’t something I pulled off the internet, but rather a photograph I took of my personal bookshelf. ¬† The shelf is one of the more noticeable features of my home as it covers the an entire wall in my dining room. ¬†It reaches all the way to the ceiling and it is rammed with hundreds of books. ¬†With such a large collection, it would make sense to have¬†¬†a sophisticated system of organization – like alphabetizing or Dewey Decimal – to make it easy to find any book. ¬†I’ve mentioned my highly organized nature, so naturally there is a system in place, but no one really knows how it works except for me! ¬† Nothing is alphabetized or numbered and genre based categories are not utilized. Everything is neatly shelved, but aside from that¬†it looks like a haphazard stack to the untrained eye. ¬†Despite my unorthodox ways, I know where each and every book is located. ¬†Below is a larger scale photograph of my shelf and a list of the categories I use to keep everything in working order.

Writers I Admire
Location: Second Shelf

I carved out a special section to store the books of authors who I hold in high regard as a reader and as an aspiring writer.¬† The likes of David Foster Wallace, Ivan Kl√≠ma, John Irving, Michael Chabon, Paul Auster, Dennis Potter, Guy de Maupassant, Vladimir Nabokov, and Paulo Coehlo populate this area of the wall along with a few other new recruits.¬† I keep these writers grouped together because they inspire me to continue experimenting with my own style of writing. ¬†I don’t want to emulate them, but rather write with the same spirit of courage, creativity, honesty, boldness, and heart.

Books I’ve Read
Location: Second Shelf (far right, part of which is not visible in the picture), Third Shelf (1/4 way in from the left and extends to the far right which is not visible), Fourth Shelf (From the left edge up to The Da Vanci Code).

If you have visited the ‚ÄúMy Bookshelf‚ÄĚ tab, you‚Äôll probably spot several of those titles stacked on my shelves. ¬†I keep most books I’ve read if I enjoyed them, (some are double stacked behind what is visible). ¬†Whatever I don’t keep is sold to Half-Price Books where I usually have the cash in my hands for an entire five minutes before buying something “new.”

The books are grouped in such a strange pattern on different shelves in order to link different categories without creating too much disruption.  I tend to read YA at a fast pace, which means just about every book in that section has been read.  That creates a nice meeting point to start stacking all other books I’ve read.  The other meeting point connects to Authors I Admire as the vast majority of those books have also been read.

These books are shelved in the order in which they were read.  Books on the right are the most recently read, which makes it easier to distinguish them from the next category . . .

Books I Haven’t Read
Location: Third Shelf (far right, starting after Martin Amis and continuing to a point that is not visible in the photograph), Fourth Shelf (starting after The Da Vinci Code and extending beyond the scope of photograph).

The largest category by far, but I would rather have too much to read than not enough.¬† The books are stacked on different shelves for a purely logistical reason ‚Äď size.¬† The hardcovers are too big to fit on the third shelf and the collection as a whole is too big to fit all on one shelf.

Almost Finished Reading
Location: Third Shelf (in the middle, right after Water For Elephants and stopping at The Collected Short Stories of Anton Chekov)

These are books that for whatever reason I never got to the last page.  Perhaps another book caught my attention or I just didn’t get into the story.  I can usually remember where I left off and almost always return to them at one time or another.  I figured the perfect place for them was right in between read and unread, like a buffer zone of sorts.

Young Adult

Location: Third Shelf (left Side) and Fourth Shelf (left Side)

Ever since I read Twilight, (yeah, I’m one of those¬†people), I found myself drawn into the YA genre. ¬†There are a number of series of which I’ve become a devoted follower. ¬†What I love about YA is the storytelling aspect. ¬†The writing may not be fine literature, but the stories are usually very original and always a good bit of fun. ¬†After reading something heavy or difficult, I love jumping into a realm where I don’t have to analyze every single word.

The series I‚Äôve collected include, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Twilight series, (which has actually turned into anything by Stephanie Meyer), Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series, Lauren Kate’s Fallen Series, Percy Jackson, and Claudia Gray’s Evernight series.

I tend to mix read with unread, but only because I go through them so quickly.¬† At the moment, there’s only a few I haven‚Äôt read, which means it’s time to start stockpiling again!

Size again plays a role in why YA occupies two shelves instead of one.  Harry Potter and parts of the Twilight collection are too tall to fit the third shelf, while the rest of YA is too short to properly fill up the fourth shelf, (sometimes aesthetics have to be considered).

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