Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goodbye Retail, Hello Real Life

Coolest thing ever!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, I am no longer a slave to retail! It's been almost two weeks since I worked my last shift at the bookstore and I've been meaning to write a sort of goodbye post since then but I've been super busy. I took advantage of my first official weekend off and went on a road trip to visit Waterloo. Amazing time, but that's not the point of this post. Instead, I will write a bit about what I'll actually miss about working with books.

But first, check out the site that this wicked awesome picture came from! Gotta love other Harry Potter obsessed people.
Righto, to the point!

As much as I may have complained about my job at the bookstore (and trust me, it was a lot...ask any of my friends), it was actually a decent job to have during school. I got to work with books all the time, see what was popular and selling, and get great recommendations from customers. The discount didn't hurt either. :)
I gave it quite a bit of thought and I think my favourite thing about the job was being able to recommend books to people and get them excited and interested in something new. It was always great to spend some time with a customer and finally find just the right book for them to read. The customers that valued my time and opinion were the best. They knew I knew what I was talking about and took my recommendations seriously. The people who drove me nuts were the ones who wanted something to read but rejected every single book I pulled off the shelf. Or, the ones who thought I was a brainless idiot because I worked retail. But, I'm not going to think of them.

I really liked being able to get people reading something that I absolutely loved too. I think I've mentioned before that Sarah Dessen is my favourite author so I would always try to tell teen girls about her books when they came in looking for something. I found it more difficult in the last few years though with the popularity of all the vampire/supernatural books that girls have become obsessed with. On the other hand, a lot of the people who I used to work with knew how much I love Dessen so they would recommend her books to customers too. Next, I will work on taking over the world. :) (speaking of Sarah Dessen, sooo pumped for her new book coming out May 10th!!!)

One of the other cool things was when someone would come in looking for something but they couldn't remember the title, or author, or sometimes even what it was about. They would have one little bit of information and were hoping that by some slim chance we would know what they were talking about. I found that the longer I worked at the store, the better I was at figuring out what they wanted. My favourite incident was when a woman came in and was looking for a novel that was about a woman who time traveled. Yes, I knew exactly what she was talking about - gold star for me! (the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, in case you were wondering)

The long and short of it is that I will kind of miss the job at the bookstore, but I'm also super stoked to be working a real "grown up" job. I'll miss knowing what books are coming out all the time, and hearing what my coworkers and customers think about particular books. I guess now I'll have to settle for reading many, many book blogs and wandering through the store all the time to keep up. I'll survive :)

One last thing...I apologize if this post is disconnected. I started watching The Kids Are All Right but really wanted to get this posted. Thanks for reading, and let me know whenever you have good recommendations or tidbits to pass along. Have a good night everyone!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Stylish Blog Award

I was recently given this "Stylish Blog Award" by Janine at ...thank you! It's one of those pass it along type awards, so I am happy to accept it and pass it along.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about the award!

7 Random Facts About Me
1. I'm 6' tall.
2. I've worked with books for a total of 7 years.
3. My birthday and my three best friend's birthdays are all in May.
4. I absolutely refuse to watch scary movies. Unless it's Hitchcock. That man is a genius.
5. My all time favourite author is Sarah Dessen
6. I know way more about baseball than I ever thought I would (and am so happy about that :) )
7. This is not the first blog I've written (there were two others for my fourth year seminar that I had to write for and here if anyone is interested.)

15 Blogs I'm Awarding
Thanks again for this awesome award! Stay tuned later this week for another post...hopefully!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Chick Lit Review - "The Book of Tomorrow"

My First Book for the Chick Lit Challenge!
 I spent Sunday reading my first book for the Chick Lit Plus Challenge, much to the annoyance of my mom who had only read about 100 pages of a book while I finished an entire one (sorry, I love you! :) I can't help if I'm a super crazy fast reader).

I chose Cecelia Ahern's The Book of Tomorrow as my first book partly for the title - I found it fitting for the beginning of a new year and the start of this Challenge. Sounds kinda kooky, I know, but that's what I thought :) I've also had it since the trade paperback came out in October 2009 and felt it was high time to pull it off the shelf. For those of you who may not know who Ahern is, she's the author of P.S. I Love You (yes, the book the movie was based on...if you've seen the movie and haven't read the book, get on it! The book is so much more detailed.) Fun fact: she was twenty one when she wrote it. So cool. Since Ahern's other novels fit the criteria for chick lit I decided to give The Book of Tomorrow a whirl.

Here is the snippet from the back of the book (I don't like giving too much away in a synopsis, and honestly, this is so much easier :) don't you agree?)

"Tamara Goodwin has always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. Until a traveling library arrives in her tiny village, bringing with it a mysterious, large leather-bound book locked with a gold clasp and padlock.
What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.
A mesmerizing story about how tomorrow can change what happens today..."
Honestly, I'm still not sure what I thought of the book. I went through a few thoughts and emotions while reading it. First of all, I didn't realize the protagonist was only sixteen. I know I read a few young adult novels, but I think what threw me off is that I wasn't expecting the main character to be so young. I quickly got over that and then found myself frustrated with the time it took to get to the main point of the story - the so-called book of tomorrow. It finally showed up about 60 pages in and at that point I was already intrigued by the main character, who, by the way, is named Tamara, and the mystery surrounding this book.

Once the story really got going, I realized that it was going to be a sort of coming of age story, with a mystical twist, which Ahern is known for. At the beginning of the novel Tamara is a spoiled sixteen year old girl whose world gets rocked and as the story progresses, it gets rocked a few more times. There are some twists and turns that were really interesting, but this was another thing that had me sort of iffy about. At first I thought it was going to be more like The Forgotten Garden (AMAZING book!!!), then I thought it was more resembling The Thirteenth Tale (good, but odd) and a bit of Her Fearful Symmetry (totally weird and I really didn't like it), and even though I've never actually read it, I feel like it had a touch of Jane Eyre too. Any of this making sense? :)

I found I was trying to work out the big twist for a good part of the end of the book, and I think Ahern needs commending for the shocker at the end. Parts of it were, perhaps, more obvious, and I did figure out two parts of the puzzle, but for the most part I was completely surprised. The writing was great, apart from this annoying repetitiveness when Tamara keeps talking about phrases that are redundant like "very dead."

Overall, I did like the book. It wasn't really as "chick lit" as I thought it would be, but that's ok. I would still recommend it for those who like Ahern and books with a fantastical element to them. I think it was a decent first pick for this challenge, but I hope the next one I choose is better.

Stay tuned next month for my next Chick Lit Challenge Book Review. Wonder what I'll pick...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolutions and Gold Medal Hockey Games

It's the most wonderful time of year people! The gold medal game of the World Junior Hockey Championship is happening as we speak. Er, write. For those folks who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a link. Educate yourselves :)

To the point of this post - resolutions! I know we're five days into 2011 already, but between all the Christmas craziness (have I mentioned I work in retail too? Ugh.) and seeing family and then getting sick, I haven't had time to really put together some resolutions. So, here are my ten that I came up with. Some are more serious, some are not, but they are all fairly important. Enjoy!

1. Be a better friend - I've got to keep in touch better, whether it be by phone, email, snail mail, text, Facebook, or smoke signals, I want to make sure that my friends and I are staying connected.

2. Read more, particularly, I want to read more than just chick lit (yes, I am doing a Chick Lit Challenge, but this is new for me and it will expose me to more novels than I would have otherwise) I'd love to get away from the pretty much all fiction that I read and find some non-fiction to dive into as well.

3. Be more organized - my new place is still a mess and I'm not totally set up. I must change that as it is driving me crazy!

4. Keep track of the books that I read and have some sort of rating system. I can never remember what I've read throughout the year!

*I interrupt this list to inform you that I am having a minor heart attack, as Russia just scored twice in 11 seconds. Oh boy*

5. Learn to knit. Laugh if you will, but this is the power great novels have on me (Friday Night Knitting Club, excellent series!!!)

6. Enjoy life and stop worrying so much about money - there is no way that I can do a total flip and spend too much, it's just not the way I was raised! :)

7. Kick ass at work and not be scared and/or stressed out about being in charge of fundraising starting in March.

8. Take at least one fundraising course at Georgian College starting in September, and I will not let it stress me out!

9. Write a story. Just for kicks :)

10. Keep up with this blog all year - and beyond.

Oh boy, Russia's tied it. Alright, time for me to sign off and send tons of good luck waves to my Canadian boys. Let me know what your resolutions are for this year, I'd love to hear some :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best. Gift. Ever.

Unfortunately, this "best gift" wasn't actually one of my presents, though I am the one that gave it. This year for Christmas I gave my sister Harry Potter Film Wizardry.

If you're a Harry Potter fanatic like myself and my sister (which should be evident from my two posts about Harry Potter, found here and here), this should definitely go on your wish list. Or, use some gift cards or Christmas money and buy it immediately! You can get it from the Indigo website here or on Amazon here or from your local bookstore. Seriously, go now. You're still not convinced? OK, let me tell you a little more about why it's amazing.

It has a ton of inside information about the movies. Tons. You want to know how they made Fawkes? They tell you. How they dealt with the Dementors? Yep, you learn that too. Oh, and how they turned Ralph Fiennes into Voldemort? They fill you in on all that as well. With pictures!

There's also a ton of cool extras that the graphic design team made as well (those are some wickedly talented people!). They have the Yule Ball program, a catalogue for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, as well as some of Umbridge's decrees. Oh, and for the best part of this book, I'll show you a picture I took of my sister on Christmas Day...

That right there, my friends, is the Marauder's Map. I'll let you digest that for a moment.


Jaw off the floor? Good. This is the most "real" Marauder's Map we Muggles will ever get. So cool.

What I really loved about this book is that they made sure to put in writings from the producer, David Heyman, and production designer, Stuart Craig. This really emphasized the fact that these people have absolutely loved their jobs for the past decade. Jealous of them? Because I am a little bit, and I've only just started my career! :) Each major cast member got to reminisce about the last ten years and their feelings about the series. It was really interesting to read about what everyone thought and all the behind the scenes bits that we would have never known otherwise.

Now, please tell me that you are sold on this book. Not quite yet? Well, here, I'll show you a compilation of some of the pages I found online.

You must be ready to go out and buy it now, aren't you? :) I know it seems like I'm being a bit pushy and I swear I'm not being paid by them to promote this, but really, this is a great book for any Harry Potter fan. Really. I actually wish I had a copy for myself. I encourage all of you to check it out and let me know what you think!

Enough about that, and now for a quick update on The Christmas Clock. I actually finished reading the book just after I wrote the blog post about it last week. It had a really sweet ending, and tied things up just as I wanted them too. I felt like it actually had a bit of a Miracle on 34th Street ending to it, but I don't want to give anything away, so I will leave it at that :) I still really recommend that book and think it's worth a read no matter what time of year it is!