For the first time in like, a gazillion years, I’ve been reading books. Some have been for class, yes, but others I’ve read just because. So here’s my mini book review of everything I’ve read in the past few months.

My boyfriend, V, first gave me Twilight when he went to the States for a few days over the summer and his aunt bought it for me. I devoured the book in a day and a half. Once I read the book, I watched the movie (which I found meh). Read New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn shortly after. I found the entire storyline in general to have its ups and downs. Some parts of the book seemed to drag on forever, while others were rushed and over and done with in what appeared mere minutes. Breaking Dawn took me the longest to read, but I liked the way it was split into three sections, each of which offered a different point of view. In the end, everyone got their happily ever after. No shock there.

I took a class in September called “The Art of Writing Life,” which I was hoping would be a creative writing class about writing (auto)biographies. Instead, it was the most tedious of my classes where I read the pictured diaries/memoirs. The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank was a collection of diary entries Anne Frank wrote when she was 13 years old, living as a Jew in hiding during WWII. Honestly, it was a really, really good book. It was raw and it was honest – just like a diary.
I hated the next book, The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, when I first read it. I found myself re-reading things I had already read and I was simply lost throughout the book. After analyzing the book in class, though, I understood the way it was written and what it was about and I fell in love with it. It’s written as a discontinuous memoir split into five “chapters.” Each chapter tells about one point in Kingston’s life and also contains a “story” that’s been passed down to her about her Chinese roots. Each of these stories has (what can be considered) a female warrior that can be matched to one of the people in Kingston’s life.
The third book, The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm, was a snore. In class, we categorized it as an autobiography of Malcolm, a biography of Anne Stevenson and Ted Hughes, and as a biography of the biographies of Sylvia Plath. Honestly, after reading this book, I was still thinking, “So who is this Sylvia Plath chick and what happened to her?” This was the most brutal book I read all semester – it would have done much better as a documentary, or something on TV, than a book. Never reading that book ever again. And I don’t recommend it to anyone else either.
Next book after that was A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. The book was awesome! I loved the writing style, I loved the storyline – I really liked the book. In class, we discussed the issue about Frey being on Oprah and the Smoking Gun article and the fact that some parts of his book were made up. I remember just thinking, “Who cares?” Does it matter that parts are fake? He tells a good story? He tells a convincing story? And I personally feel there is a very, very blurry line between fiction and non-fiction anyway, which I probably why I failed to see why some people were so uptight about his book. All I know it that it was a good book. I liked the way it was written. And I like the story Frey told, real or made up – I liked it.
The last book of the class was The Peep Diaries, by Hal Niedzviecki. This book had me LOL-ing. It wasn’t really an autobiography or a biography. It was more a look a Peep Culture and Web 2.0 and what being online or on reality TV means. This book it a must read for people who like to come online and blog, tweet, etc. — In a nutshell, that was my English class of the semester.

I started reading the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast when a friend lent me the books. The series is about a girl named Zoey something who gets marked by a Vampyre Tracker and then has to forfeit her human life to go attend the House of Night school as she prepares for her transformation into a vampyre (or death, whichever comes first). She becomes Zoey Redbird, with a crescent shaped moon tattoo on her forehead that quickly gets colored in (which is rare). She enters the school as a “freak” of sorts, being the only student with a filled in tattoo (everyone else who is not yet a vampire only has an outlined crescent moon shape). Eventually she becomes even more unique when tattoos keep appearing on her body and she learns that she has the ability to control five elements (earth, fire, wind, water and spirit), which again is rare and has never been known about in the history of vampyres.
The books are cheesy. And yes, I have read all four and am currently on the fifth one. And yes, I will most likely read the next book as well. But jeesh, Zoey’s always finding herself in trouble and then she always manages to get herself out. She’s got like 20 boyfriends – human, vampyre, fledgling, undead, etc. She’s… annoying. She’s a prude. The book itself is written in a very teen-ish language. “Lyke ZOMG!” Ok, it’s not that bad… but it is pretty bad. The cover of the next book kinda leads me to know what will happen in the book I’m reading now, Hunted.
Overall though, the idea of the series, with a school for vampyres, is catchy. However, there’s been so much happening in the books over such a short period of time – Zoey joined the House of Night in September (or October?) in Marked, and New Years just passed in Hunted. And each book contains an un-needed summary of everything that’s happened so far. If Zoey’s going to be a student at this school for 3.5 more years, there’s going to be plenty more books to come. Plenty more things Zoey will mess up and make right again. Plenty more Nyx worshipping and rituals and circle castings (which I find so irksome to read through). Hopefully as Zoey grows up and matures, so will the writing style.

There are more books I’d like to read, but it’s always hard to find the time. I wanted to read the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I ended up watching the movie instead. It was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s become one of my favorite stories ever! Maybe one day I’ll read the book as well. And with that, I’ll leave you with some humor that I found while searching the net:

Almost over

The semester went by so fast! Only two more days of school to go, one more essay to hand in, and four more exams over the next two weeks before I am free! For about 3 weeks. My week of hell (last week, part of this week) is winding down. I’ve got a 2,000-word essay to write about song lyrics and life writing. And I’ve got to find some time to finish up my research work in the lab before the holidays – and finally submit my time sheets so I get paid!

Well, this was short. I needed a break from school work – and I feel like I needed to update here as well.

Plans for the break – maybe find a part-time job; relax; sleep; work on a few extracurricular projects; sleep; relax.

Trip back home (ish…)

So back in September, I went back to Europe for a week and saw my grandparents, whom I haven’t seen in forever! Last time I went back was about 12 years ago (holy, I really didn’t realized that it was really such a long time ago until now). I have to admit that while going on a “free vacation” made me happy, leaving two weeks after school just started didn’t make me really happy. But, I went, and brought some school books along with me (which I didn’t read, of course).

We (me, mom, and dad) flew into Hamburg after a seriously long flight with ridiculously uncomfortable seats. I’m used to 3 hour flights, not 8. I’m used to watching one movie, not three. And I’m used to getting one “air meal,” not two. And our journey wasn’t quite done yet. We picked up our rental, which turned out to be a Fiat Punto, and had a long drive….

… from north to south Germany….

… making a pit stop at a McD’s (which had a different delicious flavor to it!)…

… before finally arriving in Poland. The official reason for going to Poland was to finalize all the paperwork with selling my mom’s home. Both my grandparents (her parents) were now dead and my mom didn’t see the point in keeping the home anymore. One person was deeply interested in buying the home for his daughter, so my mom let him have it. Unfortunately for us, he started all the renovations, so 90% of the house was “under construction.” The bathrooms had no doors, the rooms had no doors, the windows had no curtains. The only room still in one piece was the kitchen. And this was one tiny, tiny apartment by the way. Two tiny bedrooms, one tiny “living room”, one small kitchen, one bathroom with a toilet and one bathroom with sink/shower. Small, small home. My mom’s (old) home. Mr. P was the old man buying the house.

He lived on a farm nearby…

… with real roosters!!

He was a nice old man. He seemed slightly nervous and worried, but then I realized that he was buying the place for cheap on paper, and then giving my mom cash for the actual price she asked. I don’t know… it was confusing. I didn’t involve myself in their matters. Instead, I went to the “famous” aquarium mall my brothers and sister kept talking about. From what they told me, my grandparents (the one’s that are still alive and living in the city) bragged about this place, so when my brothers/sister went, they were disappointed because they were expecting some gigantic marine land-type of exhibit. So when my brother told me about it and how it wasn’t that great, I was expecting to see a fishtank in the middle of the mall. It wasn’t actually that bad. Nothing to brag about though. The malls in general were relatively empty. It was like no one shopped. But the outdoor markets were the place to be. They kind of reminded me of our flea markets… kind of… Anyway, my dad ended up stocking up on a crap-load of smokes. He also bought 3 cell phones. I bought…. nothing really. First and foremost, I didn’t have any money to spend. And there wasn’t really anything I wanted to buy. And even buying souvenirs and lil gifts for my friends was hard… which reminds me, I need to give R some magnets still!

But I hope to go back someday. In fact, I was supposed to get one of those European ID cards, but I couldn’t because I needed to present my Polish passport, which was stuck in Canada. But my dad’s willing to go back with me so we can get that done, which would be neat. Like a dual citizenship. And with that, I will leave you with the best part of being in Poland (aside from seeing my grandparents)…

Fresh sunflower seeds to nibble on everyday!!!

Writings: vampire origins

If I were to create a world where vampires existed… Hmm. What story could I tell of how they came to be? I realized my origins could take one of two theories – a scientific one and a magical one.

I was going to post the details but I thought against it. I’ve decided to take the magical route, and I’m now writing the nest story that I’ve been able to wrote in years!!! You have no idea how great that feels.

I am writing once again.