Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews

Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]

Gathering Blue is one of four sci-fi / utopian stories by Lois Lowry, known informally as The Giver QuartetThe Giver, I’d say, is the most well-known of these books, and for me, it was a mixture of disturbing, fascinating, and thought-provoking content.  The way it handled human emotions, even the beginnings of puberty, was delicate and unoffensive.  Whether you’re reading Number the Stars or The Giver Quartet, I feel like the most important message that Ms. Lowry conveys here is that progress and modernity do not necessarily equal the extinguishing of evil from the world.

The world of Gathering Blue is far more rural and (dare I say) backwards than the world of The Giver, but many of the social problems are the same.  The village people practice euthanasia, albeit a more “natural” type, where disabled or sickly people are usually cast out into the Field for “the Beasts” to devour, or to simply die of neglect and starvation.  Speaking of disabled people, ableism (discrimination in favor of “able-bodied” people) is a very big theme in this book. Continue reading “Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Writer's Jukebox

The Friendship Genre (!!!!)

My lovely friend “Mage” made a phenomenal proposal for a new literary genre:

There should be a friendship genre, if there isn’t one already!

It would be a lot like the romance genre, but the focus will be more on the platonic bonds between the characters. Instead of struggling to get together with the person that they want to be in a relationship with, the protagonist would be trying to make a new friend over the course of the novel. Or, if they already have a friend in the beginning, the novel would be about keeping that friendship going despite all the rough patches that might spring up.

And, like the romance genre, it can take place pretty much anywhere! It could be about the budding friendship of a spaceship’s alien pilot and her human passenger. It could be about two friends surviving against the odds in a dystopian world where friendship is forbidden. It could be about two high school students meeting through clubs and discovering their identities together.

The possibilities are endless!

The best part is that it wouldn’t be restricted to books. There could be movies, TV shows and even podcasts that could all be classified as the same genre.

It would be such a wonderful genre to become immersed in!

I want to write this.  I want to read this.  I am all for this.  Who’s with me?!?!


Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Q&A, Readerly Rants

Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag

I happened upon this tag in the YouTube bookish community.  It apparently originated in a video by a YouTuber called littlespider9.  I’m a blogger, so I thought I’d bring the tag to this medium!


1) A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

Twilight.  I did a little research on the series, as I’m attempting to poke a little fun at it in my Cliche stories.  In Wikipedia-entry synopsis form, parts of it actually sounded pretty gripping, especially towards the end of the saga.  In full-length book-form, however, I think it’s really not for me.  It’s a long, paranormal romance novel with sparkly vampires and werewolf dudes – I can only imagine how gross that’s going to get. Continue reading “Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read Tag”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants

On being an older prude

I might as well come out and say it.  I’m prudish and very proud of it.  I don’t like exposing myself to materials containing inappropriate content.  I don’t listen to most modern music, I don’t watch movies rated PG-13 or more unless there’s a good reason, and I especially, especially, especially do not read books with excessive vulgar language or sexual content.

It’s been 3 years since I made that self-righteous declaration.  Things have changed a little.

First off, “inappropriate content” is either a very generalizing term which suggests what isn’t appropriate for me is universally inappropriate for all.  Either that, or it’s a euphemism for, y’know, stuff (which is what I actually meant, I hope).

In the past three years, I’ve learned to express my feelings with a bit more sensitivity to other people’s preferences.  After all, if you’re a young adult who has no qualms reading swear words in your books, that doesn’t make you a pervert, so I’ll try not to use language which implies it does.  And of course, being prudish certainly doesn’t make me saintly.  (I’ve been known to swear like a retired sailor’s sheltered grandchild’s parrot if riled up enough!)

Time has passed, so naturally, I’m older.  I’ve become less sensitive to certain subjects that made me alternatively blush or indignant as an eleven year old.  I realized this as I was reading Jelly Bean Summer in May; as an older reader, I wasn’t bothered by the fleeting puberty-talk or the couple of times the protagonist said “d*mn.”

I don’t listen to most modern music.

That was a dumb thing to say.  It’s true, as social norms change and loosen up, so do the guidelines for what’s acceptable to say in music, and there are plenty of contemporary songs that make me blush.  But if you look carefully, you can still find plenty of amazing, contemporary artists and acts who, for the most part, compose and perform wholesome music.  I’m glad I did.

I don’t watch movies rated PG-13 or more unless there’s a good reason.

Guess what?  I watched The Matrix, and that’s rated R.  And there was a good reason for it.  The violence and the grossness and the Lady in the Red Dress thing definitely bugged me, but that was a more “gentle,” “tame” R-rated film that wasn’t all nasty and creepy.  (I’m not going to watch the sequels a) because I’m told they got pretty stupid pretty quickly and b) they’re unfortunately not as tame.)

I would not have been able to handle that movie three years ago, mostly due to the violence, but I’ve learned to appraise movies based on their redeeming and detracting values and decide for myself, based on my preferences and maturity level, whether watching it is worth it.

Not all movies are rated R because they border on being pornographic.  Sometimes it’s because someone uses strong language on par with Samuel L. Jackson’s rather infamous repertoire – if that’s easy enough to mute as it comes up, and the rest of the movie’s a-okay, I can deal with that.

I especially, especially, especially do not read books with excessive vulgar language or sexual content.

That is unchanged. 😛

Well, that was me then – here is where I am now:

I’m prudish.  That means, in my case, that I am uncomfortable consuming media with excessively vulgar or sexually explicit content.   I wondered if I would grow out of this, but it seems that I have not and won’t be doing so anytime soon.  This rules out most R-rated films and these days, most PG-13 films as well, but there are exceptions and I will watch many of those exceptions.  Same goes with Young Adult (YA) fiction – I have to look carefully for books at my reading level which do not trigger my sensitivities, but these days, I welcome the challenge.

In these past three years, as I changed, I worried that I was being hypocritical to myself and to everyone I’d convinced that I’m a self-proclaimed, so-called prude.  I’m still prudish, but like everything else in beautiful nature, I’ve continued to change over time.  I’m a prude who grew up and still remains prudish – this is just a more open-minded, grown-up kind of prudish.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews, Uncategorized

Allison Reads Bronte – Jane Eyre, Part 3 [AUDIO EDITION]

I was too lazy to jot down my thoughts in full, so I decided to record them instead.  Yay, now you get to hear what I sound like when I’m not acting.  (Truth be told, I’m not the most polished speech-giver/speaker, so this is actually a good exercise in skill and confidence for me.  It’s scary enough sharing my voice with the world when I’m reading other people’s words.)

For context, I marked various points of interest with paperclips as I was reading this section, and flipped through the pages to find them as I was recording.  (I’ve done my best to edit out all the page-flipping noises.)  Plus, because my hands were full with the book, I couldn’t hold the pop filter over my mic, so #nofilter! 😛

Also, before we begin – this portion of the book deals with a lot of romance and briefly mentions a character’s past affair and the possibility of this character’s illegitimate offspring.  This book, while not vulgar, is not for six-year-olds.

For those of you who are worried about how fast I talk without pausing to take a breath, yes, it’s true, I talk pretty fast, but I also edited most of the particularly long, awkward pauses between my sentences.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

S.J. Penner: a writerly vlogger you should totally watch

When I hear the word “vlog,” YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Elise Buch, and Alyshia Ford (PsychoTraveler) Presley Alexander (ActOutGames) come to my mind – YouTubers who frequently document themselves doing things.  Things which require moving around and going places and opening things.  But a vlog doesn’t need to be those things – it can involve sitting-down things too.  Like writing.  S.J. Penner does just that.  I’ve recently become Twitter-friendly with S.J., and when she started vlogging, I subscribed to her YouTube channel right away because I was hooked!

Vlogs like Mr. Neistat or Ms. Ford’s take me to places I’ve never gone and show me adventurous things I don’t see myself doing – things that are beyond me, way out of my league.  S.J.’s vlog shows me things I do do (or try to do) on a tri-weekly basis, things that I see as attainable and doable, like editing one’s manuscript, and it motivates me to get those those things done in my life.  (Also, can we talk about S.J.’s adorable pet bird, Marvin?  He’s quite the character, and S.J. often adds subtitles to his “Musings” whenever he chirps in the background. 😀 )

I’ve been working on putting the finishing touches to my WIP, Cliche, but there have been countless times where I had time to work on it, but simply didn’t feel motivated.  While watching S.J. write / edit her projects in her videos while trying to work on my own helped a ton – it made it feel like we were hanging out and doing these writerly things together.  S.J. shows us we’re not alone in the writerly world, with its ups and downs.

If that sounds at all interesting to you, I highly recommend checking out her YouTube channel.  Happy writing! 🙂