Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sharing the Love

Sorry for the delay in posts, but here's another novel sized one for your reading pleasure :)
I absolutely love being able to get someone hooked on one of my favourite authors or books. One of the two jobs I have is at a bookstore and this allows me to recommend what I like to customers, which is probably my favourite part of the job.
I've been recommending books to people for years. I worked at my town's public library all through high school and that led to me becoming the unofficial book loaner/recommender among my friends. It hasn't stopped, and I love it. I suppose it's not really surprising that this happened - since I was working with books all the time, I was always learning what was new and being exposed to books that my friends and I may never have found.
Just the other week I had a conversation with a friend about how we happened upon one of our favourite authors - Sarah Dessen. We've been reading her for the longest time and still get excited when she writes a new books (May 2011! Can't wait!) After thinking about it for awhile, my friend realized that I had just found one of her books (Someone Like You, I'm pretty sure) at the library one day and decided to give it a shot. Boy, am I happy I did. I now own all but three of her books (store discounts are a wonderful thing) and have lent them to several of my friends. Just this past summer I got a coworker hooked on them too, which was great. She devoured the six books I have in about two weeks. (We booksellers are speedy readers!) By the way, if you don't know who Sarah Dessen is, maybe you remember the movie Mandy Moore and Trent Ford starred in a few years back, How to Deal. That movie is actually based on both Someone Like You and That Summer, Dessen's first two novels. By the way, Sarah Dessen has her own blog, which is a great read, but maybe just for those who are totally obsessed with her books :)
The same friend who got hooked on Dessen with me was also the one who was refusing to read Twilight a few summers ago. Now, I am one of the first ones to say that it is not the best writing and yes, Edward is quite stalkerish and creepy, but...the story itself is pretty addictive. I must also point out that I read all the books before the first movie came out and made teenage girls crazy. Ok, crazier. I had had a lot of girls coming into the store telling me how great the series was, so as soon as I was done school for the summer I decided to check them out of the library (yes, I work in a bookstore but I still love my library). Twilight sat on the table for two weeks before I got around to reading it, and once I did, that was it. I read the next two in quick succession and only had to wait about a month for the fourth. Sometime during this summer, I brought up the series with my friend who immediately said that she really didn't think that she'd like them. Knowing her taste in books, I insisted that she would. Her cousin and other best friend had told her that she would like them, but since I was her own personal librarian, she trusted my judgement and gave them a try. Yes, she now loves them too.
My final sharing story involves another fantasy series, Percy Jackson. This was another case of having customers (young kids and parents alike) rave about the books. I started to really notice it right before the movie came out, so once again I vowed to read them as soon as school was finished. I borrowed them from a coworker and was instantly hooked. No matter that these books are really targeted to ten year old boys. I am a twenty three year old female and I absolutely love them. I encouraged parents to buy them for their kids and had in depth conversations with eight year olds about Percy's world. (Check them out if you've never heard of them.) I had talked about them so much at work with the other people who had read them, that one girl gave me the first three as a going away present. Which I immediately lent to my mom's boyfriend so he could read them too. He's a huge fan of Harry Potter so I knew he would love these too...score another point for me, because he did. I also lent them to my sister's boyfriend at the time because he was about to go away to school for classics. I knew he'd love them because of the Greek myths (which is one of the coolest parts to this series) and he liked them so much that we actually got all five for him for Christmas.
I think part of the reason I'm pretty good at my job (if I do say so myself) is that I love to talk about books and what I like and try and figure out what other people might like too. It's like a puzzle, as long as the customer wants to play along and isn't looking for a book for their grandmother but they have no idea what she reads. Argh. Sorry. Fellow booksellers will know that frustration well. Anyways, getting people hooked on books is a lot of fun for me and I'm glad that my friends give me the chance to do that. They let me ramble on about books and trust me to buy/find ones that they'll love. A big thank you to them. And a thank you to you, whoever is reading this and made it through the whole post!
That's all for now...check back soon for another post :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter Mania

I thought it was fitting to do a post about the amazingness of Harry Potter since Part One of the Deathly Hallows movie was released at midnight today...yesterday? What is the right way to phrase that? Anyways, point is, Harry's back for the second last time.
I know everyone is obsessed with the movie right now, but I thought I would go back to the beginning. Way, way, way back to when I first discovered Harry and J.K. Rowling's magical world.
I would love to say that I stumbled upon it all on my own and told all my friends about it, but I really didn't. (Do you ever feel like that? Wish that you were the first one to discover something that ends up being incredibly, hugely popular?) I was just a bit over the target age group for Harry Potter so none of my friends had ever heard of it. I doubt any of my friends read nearly as much as me, so that's actually really not that surprising. My sister, on the other hand, was the perfect age for these books. (Which is funny now because there was such an uproar with the later books being too "dark" and "scary" for young kids.)
My mom's friend told her one day about this amazing series that she was reading to her two daughters and that my mom had to find them for us. So off we go to the library to find the first book in this apparently fantastic series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (because we're in Canada and use the proper title for the first one, the way Rowling intended :) ) And, boy, were we hooked. At this point, the first three had already been published, so we were spoiled and were able to read them one right after another. We were also lucky because it was just before the series absolutely exploded and everyone and their brother was reading them.
My sister and I weren't the only ones in the house who read them either. My mom's boyfriend absolutely loved them too. In fact, the three of us were able to finish the last book in four days. Total. We each read the book in about eight hours. Obsessed much?
I can't believe that the series is finally, totally ending. Yes, I know the books are done, and have been for three and a half years, but these movies are the end for every Potter lover. We've been able to stretch out each book and movie for so long that it's really sad that it's finally going to end. I mean, is it any wonder that Daniel Radcliffe cried when filming wrapped? (though, as an update, they will be doing a re shoot for the epilogue scene over the holidays) It's been thirteen years since the Philosopher's Stone was published in the'll be hard for all fans to see the end of it.
I'm sorry if this is a bit rambling, but it's difficult to discuss all the facets of such an amazing series. (hmm, potential for more posts in the future?)
My main point is that I love Harry Potter and have since I started reading his very first adventure. I'm glad to have found it, and it's so great to share it with so many other people. I'm happy that it got so many kids (especially boys) to start reading and really fall in love with books. And, I'll be sad when it's all over. It was easy to push off this inevitable end with the last book, because we all knew that there would be more movies, but this is it. Come July it'll all be over. This has taken a bit of a depressing turn...but, here's a happy thought (at least for me!) I'm going to be saving my pennies and plan on flying to Disney World to visit the land of Harry Potter. Anything to stay connected with The Boy Who Lived.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finding Something New

It's been awhile since I became obsessed with a new show. And by new, I mean one that's already been on the air and other people already love and I find on DVD. First it was Mad Men and then Glee and now, Being Erica. I just started watching Season One yesterday, and I've already watched seven episodes. Yep. I'm obsessed.

One of the really great things about this show is not the story (but that's awesome) or the characters (fantastic) but that it's Canadian. That's right. We can create great TV shows! :) It's so cool to see Canadian things on TV, like the Macs on the corner, or Erica carrying an LCBO bag, or her and her friends attending U of T. I never got into Degrassi (either the old school reruns or the New Generation) and there haven't really been any other Canadian television shows that seemed interesting to me. The main reason I never picked up Being Erica when it started is that I was in school and just didn't have the time to watch something new, but boy am I glad that I'm watching it now.

For anyone who doesn't know what this show is about, here's a bit of background info:

Erica is a 32 year old woman, living in Toronto, single, and recently fired. Obviously, she's not very happy with her life. Then she meets Dr. Tom, a therapist of sorts. He's able to send her back in time to redo certain parts of her life.

I know that sounds kinda trippy, but it's done in such a way that it seems totally normal. It's also hilarious to see her back in when she goes back to high school in 1992 (they mention the Blue Jays winning the World Series, totally cool) or when she's in college a few years later and recites "Hit Me Baby One More Time" in her poetry class (her prof loved it).

Anyways, I just needed to share my new love with the online world. Trust me, it's a great show and well worth a blog post or two :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just Finished: "Safe Haven"

I just finished reading Safe Haven the other night. Safe Haven is Nicholas Sparks' newest book (released in hardcover on September 14th of this year). I've been reading Sparks for the last nine years or so and have found that I like each new book a little bit more than the older ones. This one, in a way, was no different. Like usual, it was amazingly well written but because of that, I found myself getting very immersed in the story. Let me back up and give you a quick synopsis...

The book follows Katie, a newcomer to a small town in North Carolina (which isn't surprising since pretty much all of Sparks books take place in North Carolina). You realize almost right away that she's hiding a deep, dark secret. She meets a single dad with two young children and starts to develop feelings for him, but the three of them are just getting over the death of Carly, wife and mother.

It was because of Katie's secret that I was getting pretty stressed out near the end of the book. Bits and pieces are revealed along the way and I found myself feeling like I was really there and living this life and dealing with this secret along with Katie. This is a testament to how great the writing is in Sparks' books - I always feel as though I'm right there with the characters.
I don't want to give anything away (read it yourself!) but I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves a good story, particularly women.

I found that this novel, along with his last two (The Lucky One and The Last Song) had fairly evil (for lack of a better word) characters. It started in The Last Song with Marcus (another absolutely amazing book. Don't let a hatred of Miley Cyrus get in the way of reading this one. I, just so you know, have no problem with her. I actually quite like her :) ) and then in The Lucky One with Keith. It's just interesting to note how these characters are coming about in Sparks' books now. Is it intentional? Is he trying to get away from such "soft" and sad books like A Walk to Remember or The Notebook? I suppose he probably has some idea, but it's interesting to think about.

Well, I think I've gone on enough about Nicholas Sparks for the moment. It'll be a little while before I read another of his (I find I need to take breaks between his novels) but I'll be back to talk about the next book I start reading.
Until next time! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Beginnings

Hey all...
I've been meaning to start a blog like this for ages and I'm so happy that I just went and did it. Now there are no excuses! I don't know how often I'll update but, it's a start.
This blog will be all about the books I'm reading or want to read. It'll also have lots of other extra stuff - movies, news, life.
I don't have much else to add right now, but at least I've started this blog. And that was my goal.