[discussion] fads, minimalism, THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, life

Our world is one filled with ever changing fads and trends. It’s hard to keep up and even more difficult to know what trends are good ones to follow and which are not.

MINIMALISM

Minimalism is not new, but it has had a new resurgence and has gained a lot of popularity recently. Minimalism is the concept of owning less physically so you can focus on what sparks joy and what is the most important to you. By getting rid of the physical (and mental) clutter in your life, you open up a space to find out what you really want to do in life and can focus on your goals and dreams.

I feel like this is a great concept because I live in such a commercialized and capitalistic country that is drowning in the amount of stuff owned. I don’t want to own items that don’t bring me joy and don’t serve a purpose because there would be no point. Once I cleaned my space and got rid of the things cluttering my room and my mind, I was happier, healthier, and more content with what I had.

However, people take it too far by criticizing others for not being hard core enough. Stop putting other people down just to make you (proverbial) feel good! I’m so sick of labels and people having to criticize others just because they feel they are not good enough or not doing enough. Everyone is different and should go about their lives differently. If every person lived the same life in the same spaces creativity and originality would be forfeited for the sake of a fad that a person may regret. So, no. A person does not need to donate everything they own and become a nomad to be happy, but getting rid of the items that are making them unhappy may bring a certain level of peace to their life.

[Here is the simplifying challenge I have enjoyed completing.]

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what do you think about the fads and trends that consume society? minimalism?

lifechangingmagic.jpg

THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP

BY MARIE KONDO

A while ago I read this book and while I didn’t agree with everything in the KonMari method, it does have it’s merits.

a messy room makes a messy life

  • visualize what life you want to live
    • what do you want your space to look like and why?
  • DOES IT SPARK JOY? IS IS FUNCTIONAL? EMOTION? INFO? RARITY?
  • begin with easy items & start with discarding
    • clothes (slope up to right by category, and fold unless the fabric is happier hanging)
    • books
    • digital
    • papers
    • misc.
    • mementos
  • put them in the right place: tidy by category not location // choose what to keep
    • have a tidying marathon and do everything in one swoop
    • get everything in one place. many times the same item is in many locations
    • tidying is a special event // only tidy once
      • not for everyday
      • daily tidying-putting things back // special-putting things in order

 

life update

  • i am currently working on fourteen (yes, FOURTEEN) scholarships for college next semester
  • i have been interviewing a french rap artist for an international magazine (how on earth did i get stuck doing this… ugh he isn’t even a nice human).
  • i just finished the remnant chronicles series (i reread the first two and finally read the last) and am sad it is over, but it has quickly and easily become one of my favorite series! [super old reviews: the kiss of deception, the heart of betrayal]
  • i’m also working (very sporadically) on 2.5 WIPs

Love, Aubrey

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[Discussion Sunday] RETELLINGS: popularity? creative? boring?

(edit: I just found this in my drafts folder when I was cleaning it out and it is from over four months ago… oops)

A retelling is when an author will take an old story and recreate it to make a new one. Some of them twist the stories so they have a different ending, tell the story from a different character’s point of view, or have it set in a different time period.

Retellings have become popular lately. I think it is a nice way to experience classic fairy tales or otherwise in new exciting ways, but it leaves me wondering

HAS THE WORLD RUN OUT OF IDEAS?

Some people argue that there are only a few types of stories to be told and everything else is just a variation of those stories.

Christopher Booker’s book says there are seven basic plots:

  1. Overcoming the monster

  2. Rags to Riches

  3. The Quest

  4. Voyage and Return

  5. Comedy

  6. Tragedy

  7. Rebirth

I don’t know if you agree with this, but the real question is:

are retellings just a way for authors to piggyback off of other successful ideas, or are they truly creative masterpieces?

I believe that there are certainly authors on both sides of this spectrum and it depends on how the readers take it.

How many times can a story be recreated before it gets boring?

I think there are many more retellings I would like to see, and I really enjoy the genre, but I think it will be interesting to see if it is still as popular in ten years.

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TALK TO ME: this is a DISCUSSION after all 🙂

What do you think? Do you like retellings? Do you think they will be around for a long time? Do you think they are boring? Cheap knock offs? Creative twists of the story? Let me know EVERYTHING in comments. (I haven’t done a discussion in a while and I miss it.)

Love, Aubrey

[Discussion Sunday] do you read the book before or after the movie?

First off: is anyone else obsessed with Hamilton? Because I just started listening and am hooked. I have joined the revolution…

Anyway, it’s Sunday which means DISCUSSION SUNDAY brought to you by yours truly. Discussion Sunday is a Sunday in which I decide to… well… discuss with you lovely people.

Reading Books Before Seeing the Movie.jpg

I feel like it depends on the person, but I always like to read books before I go to see movies. There is something about knowing all the secrets of the world and characters and actually understanding them that adds to the entire experience. I feel like I get so much more out of reading the book first because I know what is going to happen.

My dad always says that I am really critical of movies and “wouldn’t it be better just to see them first,” but the thing is that is a part of the fun. It is a lot of fun to be able to compare movies and books and to really pick out the favorite parts of each.

The few times I have seen a movie first, it has generally not been as rich of an experience.

  • It takes away some of my creativity and decisions while reading. I don’t get to imagine the characters and what they do how I want, but instead imagine it the way the director of the movie decided to.
  • It spoils the book. Movies are generally more basic than books and so it makes it to where I know the general plot and ending and have gotten a taste of the characters. This spoils the fun of discovering everything.
  • I subconsciously am looking for everything that happened in the movie to happen in the book and may end up missing parts.
  • I realize how much they left out of the movie and realize after I finish the book that I need to see the movie again (which isn’t necessarily bad, but everything is just easier and more rich when I read the book before seeing the movie.)

Generally books are better, but there have been a few movies that have been better than their book.

movies that were better than the book

 

movies that were nothing like the book

 

Let’s discuss: What do you think? Would you rather read the book or see the movie first? Do they influence each other? Please discuss, argue (in a respectful manner), or agree with me in whatever way you would like. This is a discussion after all, so I would love to hear your opinions on the matter. (Also, do you like my new Discussion Sunday graphic?)

Love, Aubrey

 

[Discussion Sunday] originality in graphics // in which i rant and give how tos

 

Discussion Sunday

I know this graphic needs to be redone and doesn’t even match my blog anymore, but I suppose it is a good example of an attempt at making a graphic (a.k.a. what not to do)?

 

Cait made an amazing post about originality and the difference between being inspired and copying here, and everyone should go read it because it is SO TRUE.

I really need to branch off about her post and talk about graphics.

First off, USE GRAPHICS.

Every blogger needs to because it makes posts look better and makes things more exciting. The extra time it takes to make them is worth it, I promise.

Secondly, MAKE YOUR OWN GRAPHICS.

There are many reasons for this.

  1. Copyright infringement. When you steal someone else’s work YOU ARE BREAKING LAWS.
  2. If everything you do comes from other people, are you your own person or a robot.
  3. Uniformity. You can play around with designs and have fun and make all of your graphics look similar so your blog will look amazing.
  4. It becomes fun once you get the hang of it.

If you absolutely adore a graphic someone else has, or if it is something they made for a tag and you really like it ASK THEM FOR PERMISSION TO USE IT and then GIVE THEM CREDIT. Just because it is the graphic for the tag doesn’t mean you have automatic rights to use it without permission. It never hurts to ask and only takes a few more minutes of your time.

How to make your own graphics.

I am not going to pretend that I know much about this or that my graphics are very nice (I actually generally hate them), but I am getting better and learning as I go along.

Picmonkey

This is a great editing site and it does have a free version (you can pay for upgrades). I just use the free stuff because I don’t need all of the fancy editing tools (because I am not a fancy editor).

Canva

Canva is my absolute favorite. It is so easy to use and has SO many tools and outlines to work with. You can choose whatever size document you want and go with it.

For actual pictures…

  1. Take your own pictures (I am not a good photographer and don’t have much time, but a lot of people take absolutely glorious pictures). They always look the best and just have a lot of you in them.
  2. NEVER NEVER NEVER take pictures from someone else without permission. This is illegal and just makes you look bad.
  3. Stock pictures. You have to be really careful about this, but if you look hard enough you can find websites with absolutely free no copyright pictures. Still, you should always ask for permission first.
  4. Can I just reiterate DON’T TAKE OTHER PEOPLE’S PICTURES. It’s not cool.

If you spend a little time looking around, you will find editing programs and a picture style that suits you.

Amanda has practically a million tips on whatever you could ever need to know graphic wise and she is amazing, so go check out her blog for more professional help.

It’s a process.

They aren’t going to start out perfect (at least for me they didn’t, and are still far from). However, they will get better as you go along. Here is the pictures over time that I have made. I think they have gotten slightly better from the beginning…

Quotes:

Cringe worthy:

but, again. it’s a process.

still, they hurt to look at…

Getting better

I feel like I have come a long way, and even though I have a lot farther to go, it is getting better.

 

Picture originality makes your site look better all around. Don’t be a carbon copy of everyone else, and certainly don’t copy other people. It just makes you look bad and doesn’t make your blog seem as reliable or good.

Sorry for my little rant. Let’s talk. Do you have any tips and tricks on graphics? What do you use? What is your favorite style?

Love, Aubrey

[Discussion Sunday] judging books by their covers

Discussion (1)

I don’t know about you, but I judge books by their covers all the time. I have even bought a few books purely because of their covers. What makes a cover good?

Qualities of a Good Book Cover

  • Abstract
  • Good color schemes
  • unique
  • not too busy
  • says SOMETHING about the book. Maybe? Unless it’s pretty enough/ classic enough to not need to.

 

Qualities of a Bad Book Cover

  • People’s faces… STAWP

pretties

  • Weird dramatic/ shirtless guys or something of the sort… you know what I’m talking about…

city of bones

  • Real people in general… unless it’s a memoir or biography etc. 

 

How about you? What do you like/ not like in book covers? What makes you like them or not like them?

Love, Aubrey

[Discussion Sunday] “I read books that matter.”

Discussion (1)

The other day, I casually pointed out to my father that we read completely different genres of books. I had been looking through the books on the coffee table and saw all of the stacks of work related (*cough* boring) non-fiction books.

He replied by saying “I read books that matter.” (He wasn’t rude about it, just said it like he was stating a fact.) “What do you mean?” I said. “I read books that actually help me with life,” he responded. “Well, I read books that bring me happiness.” I said defensively and then retreated to my room (AKA fortress).

But that is just the thing…

What makes people think fiction books don’t matter?

Seriously? I would be a very different human being without them. Sure, it might not seem as useful to the less educated people of the world, but books teach me so much and they make me “happy” so I would say they certainly matter.

Books teach me:

What it’s like to be someone else

They widen my world view and force me to experience life in someone else’s shoes. I have learned so much about what it is like to live in other places around the world or different family situations.

Travel

Books allow me to travel to new worlds or cities that I would never (at least right now) be able to go to otherwise. They say “a reader lives a thousand lives” and that is most definitely true.

Friendship

There are some of the best friendships ever in books. Also, it is super easy to learn that you can’t expect the world out of your friends because no one is perfect. People make mistakes, characters make mistakes, and although it is a hard concept to grasp BOOKS TEACH US THESE THINGS.

The world can’t always be a fairy tale

(“The world is not a wish granting factory”)

Those who are less educated in the book world may think that books are all ice cream and sunsets and always the “prince invites poor girl to ball” situations. There are a few of those, don’t get me wrong, but most of the time books make you feel things. There is a reason why booklovers refer to “feels” all of the time: it’s because books make you feel all of the feels.

Escapism

I enjoy escaping from everyday life into books. It is really relaxing to me and I love it (you could say I’m an escape artist–one of my many talents). Falling into a good book and experiencing someone else’s life for a few minutes (okay, hours) is (I guess it depends on the book, but for now I’m gonna say) wonderful.

“Happiness”

Now we are back to this. It isn’t completely true. Yes, books make me happy. A lot. BUT, they also make me mad and make me sob my eyes out and they make me feel things. When I read, I am experiencing a character’s life, and so, you know I experience their life. And since life isn’t always icecream and sunsets, it isn’t always happy, but that isn’t the point.

swirl (1)So, although it might not matter to some people because it doesn’t directly teach me to build a car (just an example), I learn so much in every book while not realizing it and while enjoying (for the most part) myself and thus LIFE.

How about you? Has this ever happened to you? Do you think fiction books matter? This is a discussion, so I would love to, you know, discuss!

Favorite/Least Favorite Required Readings

Sorry I have been so absent this week. I’m writing a book! (Also school has been unconventionally ridiculous.) I decided to start playing around with a different graphic look. What do you think?

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There is something about being forced to read books that makes it not as fun. There have been some books I have read for school that I have immensely enjoyed, but there are a lot more that I haven’t.

I don’t know what it is, but being forced to read makes me not enjoy it (as much). I don’t know if you can relate, but all of the time people will tell me “Well, you read a lot, so you probably like this sort of thing,” when in all honestly, I dislike it more than them for that very reason. Since I read so much, I am pickier with what I read, and when I am forced to read books I don’t want to read, I’m don’t enjoy it as much.

Required Books I have Liked

To Kill a Mockingbird is my absolute favorite book I have ever had to read for school. I LOVE IT!

The Kite Runner is such a great representation of modern day Afghanistan. Even though it was really sad, it was still good.

The Great Gatsby. Need I say more?

It was “Okay”

These are the ones I liked but didn’t love.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Huckleberry Finn

A Tale of Two Cities

Julius Caesar

Macbeth

 

Didn’t Like

These don’t even deserve the time it takes to find pictures.

The Lord of the Flies: No. Just no. Little boys killing each other? Okay.

The Pearl

Animal Farm

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Crucible

Romeo & Juliet

The Scarlet Letter: My teacher originally told my class we would be spending 10 days on this book. Crazy, right? And THEN we read it 3 times and had to spend 8 months on it. (*cough* imbecile teacher alert).

 

How about you? What books have you enjoyed that you have read for school? Do you feel the same way about required readings?

 

(Spoiler) Discussion Sunday // Did TFIOS Have A “Happy Ending”? What is a Happy Ending? Is A Story The Author’s or Reader’s Story?

Discussion Sunday

Another lovely discussion with Josh @ Diurnal Discussions.

Interview

This is the second discussion I have done with Josh, so I decided to also have a mini interview.

What is your favorite dessert?  I’m not a huge dessert person, but I have a severe weakness when it comes to Kraft No Bake Cheesecake.  I will eat it until I die a fat, happy man if given the opportunity.

Favorite Genre?  I’ve always been a huge sci-fi geek.  I love fantasy and really any story that takes me somewhere I can’t actually go, but my love of technology makes sci-fi settings a little more appealing.  It’s also been fun watching some of that fictional technology become a reality in my lifetime.  Still waiting for my working magic wand or pet dragon…

Favorite book?  Ender’s Game has always been among my top books, and definitely the one I have re-read the most often.  I read it for the first time when I was about 12 and so I was able to relate more easily to the main character, but the theme and emotion of the book is what keeps me coming back.  A lot of books satisfy our desires for importance by putting us in the world of someone who is, for one reason or another, important.  Harry Potter is the boy from the prophecy (probably), Percy Jackson is the child of a God, Bella Swan gets to fall in love with a pervy vampire and….ok, so they’re not ALL important.  But in no other story have I seen the darker side of this importance and fame portrayed as accurately as in Ender’s Game.  It shows the often overlooked consequences of such a life and the toll it takes on the person in a way that I feel speaks more honestly than your typical ‘hero’ story.

Josh writes amazing stories about his dreams on his blog. He is a fantastic writer and is also currently writing a book. Go check out his (new discussion based) blog Diurnal Discussions.

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tfios

*Spoiler alert!

Since this conversation would be much duller without spoilers and practically impossible to have, there will clearly be spoilers. Please do not spoil yourself if you haven’t read TFIOS.

There are a few possible endings to TFIOS, and we plan to address each.

  1. Hazel died a year after Augustus. (John Green actually tweeted about this once, but it never actually said so in the book.)
  2. She lived out the rest of her days in agony because she could never love someone enough to amount to what she had felt with Augustus. (a real downer, but hey! she is still alive.)
  3. Hazel and Isaac end up healing each other and eventually find happiness in a world without Augustus Waters. (of course not as happy as a world with Augustus Waters.)
  4. Hazel goes full Frankenstein and finds a way to resurrect Augustus from the dead, only to have him feared by the townspeople, who eventually rise up and drive the affront to the Lord away, at which time he goes to college and develops a cure for cancer.  He then cures Hazel, they move to Amsterdam and together author a book. When writing the last page, they both look to each other, smile mischievously and end the book in mid sentence.  The book is published and immediately becomes the most read book in the history of the world.

Ok…….maybe not that last one….

 

Did The Fault In Our Stars Have a Happy Ending?

Aubrey: When Josh approached me with this question, it really made me think. Was the ending of TFIOS really sad? Yes, I balled my eyes out and then got mad at myself because the world was so blurry I couldn’t see the page in order to keep reading, but is there a possibility that there was a happy ending?

 

Why Do You Think TFIOS Has a Happy Ending?

Josh: Let me start by saying that I don’t think two kids dying from cancer makes for a feel good time.  I cried at the end of the book as much as your average teenage girl, which to be honest, is not something I admit to easily.  

Josh: But I can’t help but look forward past the conclusion of the book to what the future holds for Hazel. Even though the true tragedy of the story is the death of Augustus, her cancer is still very real.  And although the author of the book has gone on record (well, Twitter) as to what her eventual outcome is, the book itself leaves us with two distinct possibilities.  Either Hazel’s cancer kills her or it doesn’t, and my argument is that the happier of the two for Hazel is the former.

Josh: Let’s say that after Augustus dies, Hazel lives on for another 50 years.  Some might consider that a still tragic, yet ultimately happier outcome.  But think of what this means for future Hazel.  She had fallen in love so strongly and yet their relationship was cut so very short.  All relationships start out with infatuation.  That feeling when the relationship is new and you still get to experience all those firsts.  First time you hold hands, the first kiss…other such relationship milestones…  It’s part of what makes falling in love so much fun!  But for Hazel and Augustus, they never got past that new phase.  So why is that a bad thing?

Josh: Every relationship she ever has from that point on will compared to a standard that no one else can ever live up to, simply because they will all outlast that infatuation.  As soon as it wears off, Hazel will feel like that relationship is falling short of what she and Augustus had, and must not be real love, even though it’s only after this feeling fades that we really see what true love is.  

Josh: She will be perpetually trying to recapture a love that simply does not exist, yet it’s the only idea of love she knows.  But, if she dies shortly after Augustus, she never has the chance to seek love and to see it fall short of what she believes it to be.

Josh: So while I would consider her early death to be sad, I can’t help but feel that it’s a bit less sad than a lifetime of disappointment.

Aubrey: I hadn’t put much thought into that (until now), but I do agree that it would be much less painful for her to have died not long after Augustus. (Wow, that sounds awful. Let me backtrack for a moment.) I think it would have brought her less pain if she never had to live without him (no one wants to live in a world without Augustus Waters.)

Aubrey: That being said, after I read the story, I had this crazy crackpot theory that Hazel and Isaac ended up dating. They were both broken people who had both lost the people they love, and they were also best friends with Augustus. I think they were the only two people that could have helped each other to heal and live their lives again. If Hazel did die a year after Augustus, think about how it might have affected Isaac. He would have lost yet another of his few friends and would be blind and most likely still wouldn’t have any robot eyes. What a sad life. Do you think that Hazel and Isaac could have been happy together? I do. I think that they could have helped each other to heal and have a more quality rest of their lives.

 

Cry Factor: Just because a book leaves us in tears, does that mean it’s sad?

Aubrey: There are many reasons why a person cries. I cry a lot during books and not as much in “real life”, but I get so invested in books that when anything happens to any character in a book that I have become a part of, I feel it. I don’t generally sob my eyes out during books, but TFIOS did that to me. I knew what was going to happen. I even knew EXACTLY WHAT CHAPTER it was going to happen in. Thank you for spoiling it for me (for the sake of protecting the *cough* uninnocent from the webernet, I won’t name names here).

Josh: I had a very similar experience as I went into the story knowing full well how it ended.  In fact I only read the book at all because I felt like reading something, and my wife had already purchased it on our Kindle, so it was really just out of convenience.  I’ll be honest, I did not expect the book to hit me emotionally.  I didn’t find myself relating to the characters very much at first, as one is a girl and the other was much too extroverted.  I’ve never had to honestly face my own mortality or deal with a condition that, for better or worse, excludes me from normal society.  

Aubrey: I think that is another big part about TFIOS. I personally connected a lot with Hazel and Augustus because 1) somehow John Green understands teenage girls 2) I adored Augustus’ charisma, but I think that anyone is able to end up having a major connection to the characters emotionally. The story requires emotions to be felt and I got invested in all of the characters.

 

What is a happy ending?

Is there truly such a thing as a “happy ending”?

Josh: I have discovered that I am a very cynical person, so the idea of a true “happy ending” just doesn’t bode well with me, mainly because the ending we’re presented may be the end of this story, but it’s not usually the end of the character’s extended stories.  

Josh: In the Little Mermaid, the hunk falls in love with and marries a girl based on feelings he developed when she couldn’t talk to him!  That might be the most superficial happy ending I can think of.  What happens next, now that she can talk?  What do they talk about?  How long before the quirkiness of correcting her calling something a thingamabob turns to annoyance?

Josh: It might sound cliche, but every end to one story is really just the beginning of the next, so maybe rather than calling them ‘Happy Endings’ we should call them ‘Happy Transitions’.  Maybe the happiness lasts, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s never the end of the story.

Josh: Except for the Fault in Our Stars, ‘cause everybody dies.  The End.

Aubrey: (Please excuse my rant and capitalization. I have very strong opinions, and was enjoying this debate a lot.) IT IS STILL NOT HAPPY TO ME. JUST BECAUSE HAZEL MAY BE HAPPIER, YOU KNOW ‘CAUSE SHE IS DEAD AND POSSIBLY NOT BURNING IN HELL DOESN’T MEAN I, AS A READER, AM HAPPY. THE READERS DETERMINE A “HAPPY ENDING” AND EVEN THOUGH I AGREE WITH YOU THAT HAZEL MIGHT BE HAPPIER DEAD SINCE SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH NO ONE ELSE LIVING UP TO AUGUSTUS FLIPPIN’ WATERS, I, AS A READER DO NOT… the end.

Aubrey: Life ends in the middle of a sentence. This is a big part of An Imperial Affliction and a theme of TFIOS. Along with this is what happens to the people that surround a person in their life? When a person dies, the rest of the world doesn’t die with them (unless it’s the end of the world). The same can be said about books. When a book ends, the story doesn’t. Whatever happens to the rest of the characters? It’s human nature to want to continue the lives of the characters in our minds (and sometimes demand the answers from the authors), but do the authors really know? Does a story still belong to the author after it is published, or by that point does the reader have as much of a say as the author?

Josh: This brings up an interesting point I hadn’t considered.  Is the idea of a happy ending based on the happiness of the characters, or of us, the reader?

Aubrey: I believe that once a story leaves the author’s hands and enters the reader’s, it becomes the reader’s story. Readers have been known to interpret or take things way differently than the author ever intended, and the author can do absolutely nothing about it. A lot of authors have even admitted to their readers taking books to places they had never thought about.

Josh: I LOVE the way you put that, and to be honest it wasn’t something I had considered originally, even though now it seems so obvious.  One of my favorite things about writing stories that other people actually read is hearing how they interpret the story in a way I had never intended.  Sometimes it’s due to me not conveying what I needed very well, but other times it’s the reader laying claim to the story and filling in my gaps with their own ideas and imaginations.  I noticed this recently when, as coincidence would have it, Aubrey read a portion of the book I’m writing and relayed to me how she was really starting to hate one of my characters, yet I had never anticipated he would be seen as a ‘bad guy’.  It changed the entire view I had for that character from that point on.

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This discussion was so much fun (even though it took us over a month). I had a blast putting it together. Thanks, Josh, for joining me. What do you think? Did TFIOS have a happy ending? Which ending do you think would have been happiest? Is a story completely up to the author, or do the readers take it over when it is published? Let me know in the comments.

Discussion: Profanity in Books with Guest Josh from Nocturnal Confessions

I plan to start doing a discussion every Sunday (that I can). I love having discussions in comments, but it is also fun to do posts with other people, so if you are interested or have a discussion idea feel free to email me or leave a comment below! I would love to include you one week on the discussion.

Discussion Sunday 1

Josh @ Nocturnal Confessions agreed to do this post with me because he had asked me what I thought about swearing in books. I decided to bring him into my actual post discussion because a) I love having discussions, b) he is writing a book right now, so it is definitely relevant to him, and c) I read lots of books so I have my own opinions.

Swearing in Real Life

Josh: I’ve always had some pretty strong opinions on the idea of there being bad words.  What makes a word bad?  Is it purely the underlying meaning or definition of the word, is there something offensive in that particular combination of phonetic sounds or does the intent of the expression mean more than just the sounds we make?

Aubrey: Huh. I hadn’t really thought about that much, but now that you bring it up, it makes a lot of sense. I think it has to do with what the words actually mean, and what people make them mean. Words are constantly being changed to mean something other than their original intent. The idea of “bad words” is mostly cultural, but can also be attributed to how people use them and what they actually mean.

Josh: The only issue I have with the idea that the meaning is what makes the word bad is that we have acceptable alternatives to the actual words, but they maintain the same meaning.  “Screw you!”  “That’s bull crap”  “Darnit!”  “That was freaking amazing!”  All of these phrases could be spoken in a G rated movie, yet the meaning behind them, especially if spoken in genuine anger, can be just as severe as their profane alternatives.

Aubrey: That is a good point. Why is it that I am allowed to and say darn or dang or crap all of the time, but won’t ever say the “d-word” or “s-word”. Sometimes I feel like the “swear words” that are looked down upon could be perfectly valid words, so who/what deemed them “bad words”. I don’t ever swear in front of people because I have a reputation to uphold, and even though one of these “bad words” may fit the situation, I wouldn’t want people to think different of me from the words I use.

Aubrey: Many times in school I have seen people go through different stages of swearing. There is the “just testing it out don’t really know what any of it means” elementary school phase, then the “I think I sound really cool when I say this” phase, etc. etc. until in adulthood people actually know how to use these bad words and are using them as a regular part of their sentences.

Aubrey: The use of profane language is a culture thing, but also an environment thing. The people a person grows up around and who they might speak to as a child changes the way this child might speak. Kids learn from their parents (or media/other things around them), so if a parent is constantly swearing, the child might do the same.

Swearing Just For the Sake of Swearing

Aubrey: This is the one thing that bugs me. Usually I am not bothered too much by a minimal amount of swearing in books (especially when it enhances the situation as I will talk about in the next section), but when characters are throwing out the f-bomb for no reason other than “just because” I don’t like it. Also when it is every other word, it makes me uncomfortable and I will usually stop reading. I think the only exception to this is in war books, or other situations like war.

Josh: I think it’s getting a lot harder as time goes on as casual swearing has just become the language of our culture.  As the youth of the previous generation start to become the authors of the current generation this language will follow along with them.  And while I do agree that in books, as in real life, I’m not a fan of overuse of profanity, it is how people talk these days.  

Because of the Character

Aubrey: There are situations where it wouldn’t fit if the character didn’t use profanity. Imagine if a character in a war book was watching all of his friends in battle (some of them not surviving), and was shooting at people himself. Then a grenade hits and takes out the people directly beside him. “Jolly gee.” he says “That was a teeny bit too close.” It would take away from the entire story. If it adds to the character then I feel like that is the exception. It goes both ways though. There are many times where there is absolutely no reason for profanity in a part of a book (or in life), but the character uses it anyway and that bothers me.

Josh: I feel like profanity has become part of our society, for better or worse (probably worse).  To hide from it or to censor it only serves to blind ourselves to what reality is.  Now I’m not saying writing should be rife with swearing of all sorts from every character, but one of the quickest ways to bring me right out of a story is to err on the other side and unrealistically clean up what society has become.  

Josh: Although I do think that it’s incredibly important to consider your audience.  You mentioned earlier about giving war books a pass of sorts due to the unique nature of that situation, and I think the people reading those sorts of books are open to the reality of what war is and how soldiers talk.  If you’re writing a fantasy novel or young adult romance story, peppering it with liberal amounts of profanity might seriously alienate your readers.  

Aubrey: I completely agree. The audience the book is written for is a big part of when profanity is deemed acceptable (childrens book vs. war story). There is a certain level of expectancy in certain types of books.

Censoring: Do you think books/ music/ anything should be censored or that there should be some sort of warning system to warn the readers of what they might come into contact with?

Aubrey: I enjoy warnings because I so strongly don’t enjoy liberal amounts of profanity in any sense. But again, if a person is reading a genre that is known for some sort of possibly offensive material, than I think it should be expected to a certain degree.

Overall Opinions

Josh: I have interesting opinions on the topic as I don’t fully think that words themselves can be considered bad, yet I don’t swear.  Again, for me at least, it comes down to audience, and while I may find swear words to be inoffensive I can’t assume those around me share those convictions.  And so, in an attempt to be considerate to others, I refrain from using harsh language, even though it personally does not bother me.

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Let’s chat: What do you think about the use of possibly offensive language in real life? In books? Do you believe that swearing can take away (or possibly add) to a character or setting? Do you think swearing is just a part of the culture or something more? Please leave any opinions in comments. I would love to discuss with you all.

Movie Review & Discussion: Mockingjay Part 2

THE FIRST SECTION OF THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE.

Hype & Expectation

I went into Mockingjay Part 2 with high expectations.The movies have been amazing and pretty close to the books the entire series, and I didn’t expect the last one to deviate.

First Impression

It was amazing. I really enjoyed it. That being said, I did think they made some of the deaths abrupt, and I didn’t feel much because of them. I remember crying in the books when certain things happened to certain characters, but I didn’t even get close to crying during the movie. I guess this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it didn’t make me super attached to the characters. The action and graphics were pretty good, and some of the pods made me jump. The acting (as always) was great. Seriously though, probably some of my favorite actors ever.

I would probably give the movie 4.8 stars!

The Hunger Games Reread

I tried to reread The Hunger Games series again before seeing it a second time, but I didn’t get through them all. I got through The Hunger Games and about half of Catching Fire.

“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.” (121) -Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to… to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games,” (142) -Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“I do not want to lose the boy with the bread.” (297) -Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, you have provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem,” (23) -Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

*****

SPOILER ALERT!

SPOILER ALERT!

SPOILER ALERT!

THIS SECOND SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS TO THE BOOKS AND MOVIES! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN! Seriously, though. If you haven’t read the books yet, you should really read them!

Consider yourself significantly warned.

Second Viewing of Mockingjay Part 2

I’m pretty sure it was even better the second time. I noticed a lot of things I didn’t at first and it is just so well done.

I felt like the whole ending to The Hunger Games series was a little anticlimactic and rushed. The whole thing starts because Katniss is trying to save her sister from going into The Hunger Games. Katniss volunteers and then goes through two (practically three) hunger games AND SURVIVES (whatta fighter). The end happens so fast and we find out that practically everything was for nothing.

I loved the star squad and all of their adventures and the pods. OH MAN! They did so good with the pods in the movies. The creepy mutt things made me jump so much. The star squad goes on this gigantic treck through the capital in order to save the districts and kill Snow, etc. BUT IT IS ALL FOR NOTHING. Sure, they learn a lot along the way, and they develop as characters, but so many people die–Boggs and Finnick, and they died for nothing.

When everything explodes and Prim dies, and Katniss catches on fire (literally girl on fire, haha), then the rest of the rebels and district 13 take over. Basically everything the star squad did had no impact on the actual rebellion, and people died for nothing. I suppose that is how life is and maybe that is what Collins was getting at, but it was just a little sad that it ended that way. I heard Collins was rushed into writing Mockingjay, and I feel like it shows through the plot.

The mutt scene was beautiful. Just gorgeous. Everyone was taking out so many, but you can just tell (I COULD TELL) that not everyone was going to make it. There were too many mutts. (Yes, I have read the books many times, so I knew who was going to die, but I hoped (for the first time practically ever) that maybe just maybe they would change some of it.

When I read the scene with Finnick’s death in the book, I balled. I love Finnick so much and he became one of my favorite characters very quickly in the books. Finnick deserved so much better. He died so abruptly, and I guess I didn’t realize how abruptly until the movies because I had tried to make it seem a little better in my head. The scene where Katniss is watching Finnick get destroyed and then says nightlock to blow it up is just so heart wrenching. Then the scene with the letter from Annie killed me.

When I first read the books, I was spoiled for Prim’s death, and so it never really affected me a whole lot. I’m not even sure if I cried. I felt like Prim was always just a symbol for everything Katniss loved and was fighting for and so I didn’t feel her death like I did the others.

I didn’t cry in the movies, which was surprising because I thought I would, but I got really close when Katniss was screaming at Buttercup about Prim’s death. Jennifer Lawrence is such an amazing actress and she showed so much emotion during this entire series. When she realized Prim hadn’t made it, she kinda just shoved all of her feelings down, but I knew she was going to explode at some point. She did so well (and so did Buttercup). She just screams at Prim’s cat and the cat just sat there like “tell me all about it” and it was almost as if he was just listening as she threw plates at him and was just destroying everything. Then she finally snaps and just cries while holding Buttercup and Buttercup just takes it.

At the end I loved how Katniss and Peeta were sitting in the doorway and just watching the rain because it’s a reoccurring thing for them, and it was almost like life was semi normal as they were sitting in their old (victor’s) houses even though nothing was ever going to be “normal” for anyone again.

Gale. Oh Gale. I started out (in the very beginning) being a Gale fan, but then I realized he’s a jerk. Even once Peeta was introduced, I still liked Gale, but towards the end (especially after we find out he in a roundabout way killed Prim and a bunch of children.) I started to really dislike him. Gale was obnoxious and every scene he was in was basically just him chasing Katniss and hoping he could get her and saying that when she kisses him it doesn’t count (which basically it doesn’t because she only kisses him when he is in extreme pain)

The Katniss complex: she only kisses/ shows affection for people (Gale and Peeta) when they are in pain. I think this is a part of the reason why she picks Peeta because he is always in pain. Thoughts?

The table voting at the end was really good, but I don’t like the fact that they voted to have another Hunger Games with the Capital’s children. I understand why they did it, but I feel like it is just repeating history and repeating the horrors they were trying to get away from, but just with different people in charge. I suppose history repeats itself, but I like to think that Paylor changed it and decided not to have one.

Johanna! Jena Malone did so FANTASTICALLY! She was so wonderfully insane and I really wish they would have gone into her and Katniss’ relationship more because those were some of my favorite times. I love how Johanna never deals with any of Katniss’ crap, and just treats her like a normal person. She doesn’t let Katniss constantly wallow in her little pity parties and whining, but tries to help her get over herself. (Sorry, I really couldn’t stand all of Katniss’ complaining and whining).

The relationship between Katniss and Snow is so infuriating, but they honestly do understand each other. When Katniss is in the greenhouse and Snow says “We agreed not to lie to each other,” and she knows he isn’t lying but that it was district 13 and Coin, and possibly Gale that blew up the children and her sister. WELL DONE! *claps slowly*

The Jen-Josh-Liam dynamic is so great because they are all friends off set and have chemistry because of that.

Overall Opinions

The fact that one of the worst parts of the movie was that it stuck so closely to the book is astounding. They (the movie people) did so fantastically with the entire series and I have enjoyed it soo much!

Let’s talk: What did you think about it? Which was your favorite book? Do you agree with me about the ending? Do you like The Hunger Games series? Who was your favorite character? Actor?