Read Whatever YOU Want To Read!!

Warning RANT up ahead….turn back now if you don’t want to read my rant….or skip to the bottom for some announcements….

Rant commencing in…3….2….1…..

This Slate article may be old news at this point but go read it, come back here and then we’ll talk….

Okay, did you read it? Good.

There are a few points in this article that I’d like to respond to.
1.) The age range of what is considered “Young Adult”. According to Ruth Graham (the author of the Slate article) says that “Young Adult” readers are between the ages of 12 and 17. Now, There are several novels that are considered “YA” that I wouldn’t let a 12 year old read because of content or language, or any number of factors.

2.)

“Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children”. – Ruth Graham 

I think the fact that the author is tossing around the word children is demeaning to the “YA” readers out there. By calling a young adult a child, you’ve just taken away that label of adulthood you’ve given them. I don’t think an adult should ever have to be embarrassed for what they read. I think if you are a parent you would likely read a book before you let your child read it, as my parents did with the Harry Potter series. After reading this article I asked my dad, “are you embarrassed that you read all of the HP books and his answer was a resounding no…and then he asked for an explanation and I pointed him towards the article.

I don’t think it is up to Ms. Graham to decide who should be reading what.

3.)  ***THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS POINT**** Skip to number 4 if you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars or the Divergent series

“Most importantly, these books consistently indulge in the kind of endings that teenagers want to see, but which adult readers ought to reject as far too simple. YA endings are uniformly satisfying, whether that satisfaction comes through weeping or cheering”. – Ruth Graham 

No, I’m sorry. This is not entirely true. If this was truly the case ***Spoiler alert*** than John Green would not have killed Agustus Waters and Veronica Roth would not have killed Tris. I think this statement from Graham discounts the fact that “YA” readers can be critical readers, and that they are still in touch with reality. Real life doesn’t always have happy endings, and it doesn’t get wrapped up for you in a shiny red bow. There are lots of “YA” books with unsatisfying endings, but yet they remain fan favorites.

4.)  “And if people are reading Eleanor & Park instead of watching Nashville or reading detective novels, so be it, I suppose. But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.” 

I’m sorry but WHAT?!? This comment from the author makes me a giant squid of anger ( <— watch the video, you'll understand). 

By the way, this guy up here, yeah he writes YA for any and all readers that want to pick up one of his books. 
So now, she’s criticizing adults who read YA and adults who read detective novels. I read both. I (at 21 years old) still consider myself young…and an adult….and a reader. I think no matter what age you are, you can learn something from “YA” literature. Adults and young adults alike have a lot to learn from Gus and Hazel, and yes even Eleanor and Park. There is a lot that can we can all learn from Q and Margo Roth Spiegelman of Paper Towns; lessons about life, and rush judgments, and not getting to know someone complexly and deeply. Just because the narrator is in high school, or college doesn’t mean that someone out of that age group can’t learn a lesson or two. 
5.)      

But I remember, when I was a young adult, being desperate to earn my way into the adult stacks; I wouldn’t have wanted to live in a world where all the adults were camped out in mine.” – Ruth Graham

Listen, this post is not supposed to be some sort of academic response to the Slate article, if it was I wouldn’t be using the “Giant squid of anger” gifs, there is nothing academic about giant squids of anger. This is just to say that a reader is a reader. Whether that person is reading “YA”, detective novels, or non-fiction…or a YA non-fiction detective novel. No one should dictate what you read. You read what you like to read. When I was in middle school, I lugged around my dad’s World War Two books in my back-pack and read them during silent reading when everyone else was reading the books of the day and no one was telling my “you are a “young adult” that wasn’t written for you. So I guess what I’m asking is, why the double standard? 
I guess I just don’t think that what another person chooses to read should be looked down upon by someone, and you certainly shouldn’t be embarrassed by what you choose to read. Authors write for an audience, I don’t think that John Green, Maureen Johnson, or Suzanne Collins would look at an adult and say, “sorry, I wrote that for “Young” adults, you can’t read that.” Of course they wouldn’t! They write so that we can read. Regardless of age, race, or gender authors write so readers can read. Writers write so that hopefully you can find something in their books; whether that is a momentary escape from reality, a lesson about relationships, or even in some cases making a friend because of a common interest in authors and books. 
Readers read so that at the end of a really hard day at work, or a really stressful Monday ( you know what I’m talking about : p ), or just needing to relax at the end of the night we read. We pick up a book and step into a world of someone else’s creation. A world void of phone calls with complaints on the other end, a world with out computers freezing up at the most inopportune moments, a world where you aren’t mowing the lawn. We read so that for a little while at least we are living someone else’s life. We are Q on the search for Margo Roth Spiegelman, we are Hazel in Amsterdam with Gus, or we are Rainbow Rowell’s Cath, trying to navigate college without her twin sister….and yes, those are all examples from YA novels, some of my favorite YA novels. 
Writers write so readers can read. It’s as simple as that. 
(that sort of segues to my next point) 
Camp NaNoWriMo starts in just under three hours and I’m so excited! I’m going to write a novel, for anyone who wants to read it. Whether they be an adult or a young adult. I don’t care who reads it, as long as someone does. Who am I to say that people can’t read what I or someone else writes. That’s not up to me or anyone else to decide. If you are out of the 12-17 year old range and you want to read something that is labeled as a “Young Adult” novel go ahead…if you want some recommendations check out the authors and books that I linked to, I promise you you won’t be disappointed. 
Sorry about the rant, this article just kind of made my blood boil when I read it….anyway, getting ready to start writing in a few hours, I’ll post a word count update as soon as I can. 
Blessings and happy reading, 
Megan 


Random Ramblings

Hello!! It’s been a while since I posted something here other than a Quick Takes post, and I figured I need to get back here and keep things up, so here I am…and let me apologize right now for the random ramblings that are soon to come…..

 I’m actually here hiding…hiding from actually writing…the blinking line on the word document in the other window is mocking me. It knows that I have writer’s block…it knows that I have nothing of substance to add today, but that I need to add something…anything. Now, I should be honest and tell you that I don’t have total writer’s block…I’m just blocked on this first book. I’ve written out a great (at least in my opinion) scene for the third book, but can’t seem to get the first to move forward, and I have well, nothing for the second book. Well, not nothing…I have a concept….and a few characters but I don’t know how it will fit with my timeline. It needs to fit nicely between the first and third while also staying true to the history and the right time period and so far it doesn’t. That means that I have to either adjust the timeline of the first one, the third one, or scrap the second one all together. I don’t really want to scrap it so right now I need to do a good bit of research and figure out what will work for the second one.

At this point I’m basically doing everything I can to force myself to write…I don’t really write in order so that helps. I’m stuck in a scene pretty early on, and I’ve just moved forward to another chapter farther on in the book. That seems to help when it comes to beating the block, but this time I just can’t seem to get the early scene to move… That’s not to say that it’s slow, or hard to follow, or bad (at least I hope not) it just means that I need to sit down and really work on moving the scene forward.

I’m also doing everything I can think of to avoid writing; browsing Pinterest, scanning Facebook, texting my friend and fellow writer about BBC’s Robin Hood and how AWESOME it is, texting that same friend about our mutual love for Marvel villian Loki, and watching the Hobbit as I sit and type this. Can I tell you how much I love the Hobbit? Because I really love it. Of all of Tolkein’s works The Hobbit is my favorite…not just in terms of the movie adaptations but the books as well. Bilbo Baggins will forever be my favorite Hobbit, and I love Martin Freeman in the role. Also Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield doesn’t hurt : )

Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts in theaters this weekend and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited about this one. Pretty much anything Marvel does is good in my book, so I’m really looking forward to this one, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out next summer which is also quite exciting!

It is officially baseball season! (that has nothing to do with anything really, I just thought I’d share my excitement with you)

Okay, that’s enough random rambling for one night…I really do need to get writing! If this blog is good for anything, it sure does help me work through my creative shut-down…and now for a cute picture from the web…

Blessings,
Megan

7 Quick Takes about Writing, Sherlock, and Crazy Weather

Happy Friday! I’m glad to finally be getting back to the blog….I feel like I’ve been neglecting it for a while, but I have a good reason….that I will tell you all about later : )
Until then, here are my Quick Takes for the week:

1.) Housekeeping note: I took the blog back to it’s original design and layout….the green was getting to be a little to much for me, and honestly this look fits me better, and really fits the content of the blog better. Who knows, I may end up changing it again!

2.) There is something to be said for sensory memory! When I study, I almost always listen to music; for one unit of study (usually 8-10 chapters) I will listen exclusively to one album of all instrumental music. I’m taking online classes, so the studying and reading is all on my own time; I usually sit down with my notes and book and turn on that music for the duration of my study time. When I take my quizzes or exams at the end of units, I’ll turn on that same album in my room while I take my exam and the results cannot lie! I have gotten better results while listening to the music that I studied to than nothing at all! For this last unit it was the soundtracks from the first two Hobbit Movies; last unit it was the soundtracks from Sherlock; this last unit it will likely be the Star Trek (reboot) Soundtracks. This method of using sensory memory has always helped me….and it helps that that’s what we were just talking about in this class so I already knew a lot of the concepts : )

3.) Okay, no more psychology talk today….I posted earlier this week that I’ve been avoiding writing, going so far as to not even turning on the computer. I’ve been fleshing out the ideas for my novel in my head, knowing that once I sat down and pulled up the document I’d be making changes….lots and lots of changes. I was sitting in church Wednesday night waiting for orchestra rehearsal to start, and inspiration struck; I took out my phone and opened up a new note….I proceeded to write almost a full chapter right there in the pew before rehearsal. I knew that I’d have to add those changes to the whole document, and that if I didn’t I’d never be happy with the progression of my story.

The changes I made meant losing about five pages total…so my page count is down by half, but I’m happy with the way the story is moving. Before making the changes I felt that the story was too neat, too perfect. Everything was wrapped up for me in a nice little bow (because I’d written it that way) and I wasn’t happy with it….there needed to be a little chaos, some conflict, something other than this perfect plot progression from A-Z…now if I could just figure my characters out a little better….

Via: tumblr

4.) I write late at night….most nights. I will usually spend an hour or so writing just to get the ideas out of my head. A friend of mine gave me some good advice that has really helped me along, she said “Jump around, don’t write chronologically.” This advice has helped me so much with moving my plot. I have already written some of my major plot points and can work backwards from there to fill it in, and move forward with some kind of resolution. I mentioned writing late at night (of course to me, 10:30 is late….), I also sleep with a pad of paper and pen beside me to write down whatever ideas I come up with when I can’t sleep…I haven’t read them yet to see what I wrote but I have four pages from last night alone….I can’t remember what any of them say, so I may not use any of it but it allows me to get the ideas out of my head before I forget them!

5.)**There may be SPOILERS in this take if you haven’t finished Sherlock S3, you’ve been warned** It’s been nearly three weeks now and I haven’t talked about this yet….I think I needed some time to emotionally prepare myself for this topic…the Sherlock series 3 finale. OH. MY. GOODNESS!! The entire season was pretty amazing, but that finale had to be one of the best episodes they’ve done! I was so pleased with the whole season; the character development, the story lines, and the humor. I thought that they handled his return nicely; the reunion scene still gives me goosebumps….Martin Freeman is spectacular, and the emotion in his performance of the reunion scene was simply amazing. I loved seeing Sherlock carry out his duties as best man in the Sign of Three; giving his speech while also solving a murder was quite comical, but then you have His Last Vow. The Magnussen was a more chilling, terrifying villain than Moriarty because there was no way to stop him. The way they handled John and Mary’s situation (I really don’t want to spoil this if some of you haven’t seen it) was wonderful. John had his moments (months) of anger toward her, but still forgave her for her past….and then…AND. THEN. THE. END!!!! I am very interested to see what becomes of Moriarty’s “return”. Is he really alive (I don’t see how he can be, he clearly should be dead)? I can’t wait to see how that is handled in series 4…..when we eventually get it! 
Via Pinterest 

6.) The weather forecast for today is snow, rain, ice, and possible thunderstorms. Welcome to Michigan! Yesterday it rained, snowed, freezing rained, snowed, and then we even got some thunder and lightening. Some of the snow is melting which means for the first time in MONTHS we are starting, yes only starting, to see some grass. We still have drifts of snow that can be measured in FEET not inches, but spring is slowly making its way here….I am so ready!!! (Just a note: As I’m typing this it’s snowing, and hour ago it was raining)

7.) I’m linking up with Jen for Quick Takes today, and debating whether or not to link up for her 7 posts in 7 days….what do you think??
Enjoy your weekend, and if you live someplace warm: Walk barefoot outside from me, I miss being able to do that! 
Blessings, 
Megan

I am SHERlocked

 For Christmas I bought myself the DVD’s of BBC’s Sherlock, series 1 and series 2. As of last night I am finished with both. and if you watch the show and haven’t seen the Reichenbach Fall episode yet feel free to skip to the end!! There are some *SPOILERS* coming your way…..I’m warning you, skip ahead if you haven’t seen the episode and plan to watch either series any time soon….**SPOILERS** ahead……Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!

I am hooked on this show! Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman clearly have some amazing on-screen chemistry playing Friends and Flat-Mates Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson respectively. I watched the Reichenbach episode and with some fair warning from my friend Britt I armed myself with tissue and a cozy blanket, and had to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for what I thought I knew was going to happen. Thanks to Pinterest I knew that the final scene would take place on a rooftop, and that it was going to be the climactic showdown between the hero, Sherlock (of course Sherlock himself would hate that I just called him a hero) and the villain Moriarty (who would LOVE that I just labeled him that!), and that by the end Sherlock would jump. What I didn’t expect was what how this episode worked it’s way up to that heartbreaking climax……..

Throughout the episode, Moriarty set to work planting doubt in the minds of those working with Sherlock. Staring with Sally Donovan, Anderson (who had no problem believing that), and eventually even Lestrade. All it took was one little seed of doubt for everyone around Sherlock to start wondering if this self proclaimed high functioning sociopath was responsible for all of these crimes. Moriarty was achieving what he set out to do, take himself out of the equation and make Sherlock look like the guilty one.

What I wasn’t expecting was the scene in the journalist’s apartment. When Jim Moriarty is there as “Richard Brook”. An actor payed by Sherlock to masquerade as this criminal mastermind, stand trial for these crimes, and drive Sherlock mad. What I wasn’t expecting was that doubt to creep into my own mind. I myself was starting to believe that Moriarty wasn’t real….that Sherlock really had manufactured him in his mind. After all, Sherlock is brilliant, he could easily set up the crimes, solve them in the same clever manner he always does, walk away scott free and be done with it.

That is the brilliance of the collective minds of Steven Moffat and Mark Gattiss. They are the writing team and co-creators of BBC’s Sherlock. They have taken Doyle’s original tales and modernized them. They are also part of the creative team behind Doctor Who, but that is a post for a different time. You find yourself getting so drawn into the show and the stories, you wait for those brilliant deductions, snark from Sherlock and John correcting him when his timing is a little off. Molly looks at him with longing, flirts with him even and he doesn’t notice (if you been there yourself you root for Molly, I myself root for Molly!!), sass from John, the genuine love between Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson……As a fan of the show (and total Cumberbatch Fangirl!!) I love to see how the relationships evolve, how the show progresses across the seasons. As the show evolves so does the writing.

While a major part of what makes this show so great is the writing, it wouldn’t be half the show it is if it wasn’t for the actors themselves. I mentioned how that tiny seen of doubt began to bloom in my own mind, even when Sherlock stood on that ledge talking to John on the phone. I began to believe the whole charade until you saw that tear fall from Benedict’s eye and roll down his cheek. I say Benedict here because there is no doubt in my mind that that was real. This man was telling his best friend that he was a fraud, and that he was going to end his life right then, all to save these people that he genuinely cares about. It broke my heart to see that, but even more so because I truly believe that those tears were shed by the actor being himself and not his character. These two men have such incredible on-screen chemistry between them playing these two friends and in interviews they have said that it can only come from the close friendship that they have off-screen as-well.

All that being said, I am so looking forward to the beginning of series 3 on January 19th, but I do have a few expectations…..

1.) Starting with Sherlock walking into 221B Baker Street, tearing off his scarf, stepping into his chair (I love his blatant disregard for furniture), and saying “Here I am John!! Not Dead!!” and a Bilbo Baggins version of John Watson passing out from the shock….

2.) John comes to, and decks him good….this time going for the nose*

3.) Sherlock and Molly finally becoming a couple (or as much as Sherlock is able to do that…)

and finally 4.) Sherlock embracing Mrs. Hudson for a good long time. For him England would fall if she left Baker St., but imagine what his “death” would do to her.

*In Scandal in Belgravia, Sherlock tells John to punch him in the face, John goes for the cheek and Irene Adler says “Somebody loves you! If I had to punch that face, I’d avoid the teeth and nose too.” 
More than likely (at least in my mind) John would be unhappy, and would have no trouble going for the nose!

There you have it, my thoughts, commentary, and a little bit of what I’d like to see from the upcoming series!

Blessings,
Megan

7 Quick Takes: The one in which, Things get back to normal

…or as close to normal as possible. I realized that I haven’t posted in a month….I also realize that most people won’t have noticed that, and that’s totally okay with me, but I need to keep up my writing/blogging…..so,  Okay, enough off topic talk, I’m back and it’s Friday, and that means Quick Takes so let’s get to it…….

1.) The Holidays are over…and have been for a while…I’m back to work and school, and I’m finally getting back into some sort of a routine. I’ve enjoyed my time off, plus the extra time off that I got due to an ice storm, and subsequent snow storm that shut down our county for a couple of days. It’s nice to finally get back into the swing of things; going back to school albeit on-line, back to work, and normal daily activities!

2.) Last year I began the transfer process for changing colleges and changing my major, I completed my first semester at the new school, and on Monday began the winter semester. All of my credits transferred except for Developmental Psychology which I’m retaking this semester on-line.

3.) For Christmas I surprised my dad with all six seasons of The Big Bang Theory on DVD. Between Christmas, New Year, and all the time stuck in the house due to snow, we finished all of them!! Dad was pretty happy on Christmas morning, and it kind of made my day….that and the look on mom’s face when she opened the box of new pots and pans from dad! It was a great day all around!

4.) I used a combination of Christmas and babysitting money to buy myself some books. I bought The Hobbit and Mary Poppins, She Wrote. I’ve started The Hobbit, and I am so looking forward to starting Mary Poppins, She Wrote before going to see Saving Mr. Banks!

5.) I talked a bit about what I was looking forward to this (now) past Holiday season and one of those things was the Doctor Who Christmas special. It did not disappoint! I was surprised to see the Doctor age so much throughout the episode, but was entirely pleased with how they did the whole thing! It was very well done and I can’t wait to see Peter Capaldi play the Doctor!

6.) Downton Abbey is back….and boy did the first episode deliver! I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the season! I was so sad for Mary at the beginning but after a good cry with Carson she was back in a fighting spirit and this is looking like it will be a great season!

7.) I couldn’t think of anything for number seven so….here.

Via Pinterest pinned by pinner, if you are the creator let me know and I will add an attribute!

Sherlock series 3 premiers on January 19th and I am waiting with great anticipation!

As always, I’m linked up with Jen! 

Blessings, 

Megan