Saturday, June 30, 2012
Liebster Blog Award 2012!
Color me surprised - I never expected to be tagged for this award! I've been seeing dozens of posts about it all over the internet, but for some reason, it never struck me that I could (or would) actually be considered! So, first and foremost, a million thank you's to Sandy for suggesting this award to me. As a new blogger this truly means so much to me so I cannot thank you enough!
What is the Liebster Blog Award you may ask? Well, the Liebster Blog Award is an award given to bloggers who currently have under 200 followers. The award winners are to (a) share eleven facts about themselves (b) answer eleven questions asked by the blogger who tagged them (c) come up with their own set of eleven questions to ask bloggers and (d) tag eleven bloggers who they think are worthy of this award.
So, without further ado...
11 Facts About Me:
1. I am a HUGE Potterhead!
2. My favorite book-to-movie adaptations are Gone With the Wind and Pride and Prejudice (2005).
3. The most exotic place I have ever lived in/visited is India.
4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is my favorite foreign film.
5. If I had lived during WWII, I would have joined Alice Paul's Women's Suffrage Movement.
6. I always eat popcorn in the movie theater (and tend to finish it so fast that no one else gets any).
7. I can't understand why people love Starbucks coffee so much. I prefer homemade.
8. My favorite ice cream flavors are chocolate chip cookie dough and rocky road.
9. I think peanut butter is far better than nutella.
10. I don't watch too much TV except for Doctor Who, Sherlock, Food Network and ESPN Tennis.
11. In case of a zombie apocalypse, my preferred weapon of choice would be machete.
11 Questions and 11 Answers:
1. Do you read the acknowledgments written by the author in the back of the book?
Funnily enough, I'm one of those few people who do, but really, it depends on the author. If it's an author I am familiar with or whose book I really enjoy, I definitely take the time to read through the acknowledgement section. However, if it was a novel I simply did not care for or an author who is rather unknown to me, then I generally just skip over it. The majority of the time though, I do read the acknowledgments. I like reading about the people in an author's life who have helped him/her get to that stage in their career where they were able to publish a book and it also gives a nice bit of insight into the author's life as well which I like to know about if I enjoyed their novel.
2. Did you start blogging because you love writing and perhaps want to be a writer or just because of a genuine love for books?
To be perfectly honest, it's a little bit of both. I love to read - like love to read. I often find myself doing nothing else but reading all day and when I get really involved in a book, I more or less tune out the rest of the world. I have only recently discovered book bloggers and this bibliophile community is not only one that welcomes new comers with open arms, but it is also one that is a tremendous amount of fun to be apart of. I love discussing books with others, reading and responding to comments, and generally getting to know others who are as book-crazy as I am which was a large incentive for me to start my own blog. However, I also do love to write and would someday like very much to become a writer and what better way to practice than by analyzing the writing style and successes of other authors? Although my passion for reading has been my true motivation for starting my own blog, my love of writing has played a small role as well.
3. What is your favorite genre?
For a question that is only five words long, it sure is a complicated one. If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have replied and said, "fantasy," with no hesitation. Recently however, there has been a dearth of fantasy novels published and although I still love fantasy, I wouldn't say it was my favorite genre. I find myself gravitating towards more contemporary reads lately although I tend to be very critical of them and only like very few - if any - of those. I used to adore paranormal fiction but that genre has sadly become filled with way too many love triangles to offer me any amount of comfort. I love dystopian novels, but even they seem to have been taken over by a new genre of dysto-romance in which the futuristic realm takes a back seat to the romantic interest. I love novels with originality, creativity, and spunk. I love stories with gut-wrenching romances, heart-breaking characters, and novels that inspire emotion from me. Off late, I've found that a variety of novels that don't quite fit into one genre have been able to bring about this kind of emotion for me. Thus, to answer this question, I don't have one favorite genre - instead, I have a favorite kind of book and whichever book that genre fits into, I am more than happy to read.
4. What's the first book you remember falling in love with?
In all honesty, I can't remember the first book I ever fell in love with. I know that some of the first books I read as a child were Enid Blyton's Wishing Chair, Faraway Tree, Mallory Towers, St. Clair's, and Mystery Series; however, I don't remember falling in love with them. I remember liking them a lot, but I think the first book I ever truly fell in love with might have been Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke or Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. I vividly remember my Nancy Drew phase in which I would devour all of Nancy's mysteries in weeks and sit up late in the night re-reading them as well. For me, Nancy was not only intelligent and smart - two things I aspired very hard to be - she was also thoughtful, fun, and really knew how to kick butt. I always remember being awed by the sheer number of items she could hold in her bags, the way her boyfriend Ned would instantly listen to her, and how completely woman-empowered she was. So I guess it's safe to say that those were the first books I was inspired by. Dragon Rider however, was most likely the first book I fell in love with and also successfully started my craze for fantasy novels at a young age. I fell in love with the idea of magic, mystery, and intrigue integrated into our world and furthermore, I grew to appreciate the fact that fantasy novels had resounding themes and messages to them if you only look deeper. I think books like Dragon Rider, Harry Potter, Inkheart, Fire, Cry of the Icemark, and other fantasies still remain the books I automatically fall in love with because they are not only able to transport me into a different world, but I can also learn something new and valuable from them with every re-read which makes them true gems.
5. What kind of music do you like?
Like my favorite genre of books (or lack of rather), I don't think I can specifically pinpoint the type of music I like. I don't like country, but I don't mind a Taylor Swift song on my iPod every now and then. I don't like metal or any type of hard-core music, but I do love rock. Some of my favorite bands include The Script, Linkin Park, One Republic, Coldplay, Daughtry, The Fray, Green Day, Lifehouse, Nirvana, Snow Patrol, The Train, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles (saved the best for the last!). In terms of individual singers I tend to like a lot of single songs here and there, but I also love Vanessa Carlton, Bruce Springsteen, David Archuleta, Michelle Branch, and don't mind some Britney Spears here and there. I most definitely do not like Justin Bieber, Disney Channel Singers, or One Republic (although I like a few songs by The Wanted).
6. Do you create a playlist in your head for books you read?
Unfortunately, I am quite unable to create a playlist in my head for the books I read. I don't always listen to music while I read but when I do, I always experiment until I find a song that I think fits the mood of the novel and that song is generally playing on repeat until I finish the book. Either than that though, I never think up playlists for the books I read. I have always been in awe of people who do do that though and I dearly wish I could. As much as I love music, I love hearing my own thoughts while I read and imagine the scene on paper slowly unfolding in my mind like a movie. Music simply detracts from that experience most of the time and I also struggle with finding the perfect songs to match the tone of a book. I am in constant admiration of readers who can do this though and am more than happy to listen to said playlists. (I fell in love with the playlist provided in the back of Saving June by Hannah Harrington and listen to those songs almost constantly!)
7. Do you prefer happy endings to books or not so much?
Gosh, this is a tough question - the toughest yet IMO. In all honesty, it depends on the book. I like endings that stick to the true characterization of the characters, that make sense to the plot, wrap up all loose endings, and leave the reader with resounding themes and messages - at least of hope if nothing else. I don't like corny, sappy, or too-happy endings but I also don't like endings that are filled with broken people, sadness, death, and loneliness. To me, the best books are always the ones that make me think, imagine beyond the last page, and struggle to find depth in the messages the author inspires. When I think of endings, I always invariably think of Gone With the Wind because that was such a cruel, cruel ending to a 1000+ page novel; however, I love it because of the simple reason that it inspires hope. Even endings like The Great Gatsby that end in death, ultimately end in hope as well as can be seen in A Tale of Two Cities. Yet, that doesn't mean I don't like happy endings to novels such as Anna and the French Kiss or Harry Potter. It simply means that while I enjoy happy endings, I think I prefer meaningful endings better, even if they may potentially be sad or heart-breaking.
8. Do you prefer series or stand-alone books?
I think if you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said, "series," without any hesitation, but now I hesitate. This is due to the simple reason that I have found series books to be exceedingly disappointing as time passes. There are always those few series which I love and I adore the anticipation in waiting for a sequel, speculating about possible scenarios, and getting to spend more time with your favorite characters, but that is always felt with an underlying sense of dread. Perhaps I should clarify - I like series but I don't like trilogies. I don't mind dualogies, or quartets, or even longer series, but I fear trilogies with a passion. In fact, the only trilogy I can think of liking is The Lord of the Rings and that's because Tolkien is a genius. I didn't like Mockingjay, Collin's conclusion to The Hunger Games, and while I loved The Mortal Instruments, I don't like Clare's continuation of this work. That being said, even some of my most beloved series, like Eragon, have ended on conclusions that I didn't find to be 100% satisfactory. Other series, such as Harry Potter, I have loved. Thus, I have found that while I absolutely positively love series, I fear them with an equal - if not greater - passion due the disappointment they may bring me. Stand-alone novels on the other hand, are a lot easier to handle as their story ends within a couple hundred pages, but they also afford me with the issue of not getting quite enough of the characters as I wanted. Thus, I am forced to admit that I prefer series against my better judgement. My only justification for this is that even if I disliked the ending to a series, I at least liked the books leading up to it!
9. Do you develop character crushes? If so, which characters have you developed crushes on?
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! I develop character crushes and quite a lot of them actually. I think this post is long enough already without providing you all with a giant list of all the fictional guys I'm crushing on, so I will share with you just a few of my favorite literary guys: Jonah Griggs (Jellicoe Road), Jericho Barrons (Fever Series), Wayland North (Brightly Woven), Brigan (Fire), Augustus Waters (The Fault in Our Stars), Etienne St.Clair (Anna and the French Kiss), Rhett Butler (Gone With the Wind), Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice), Jake Tolan (Saving June), Will Trombal (Saving Francesca), Terrible (Downside Ghosts Series), Captain Wentworth (Persuasion), Aragorn (Lord of the Rings), Raffe (Angelfall), Perry (Under the Never Sky), Four/Tobias (Divergent), Sirius Black (Harry Potter), Rowan (Wanderlove), Tom Mackee (The Piper's Son), and Jericho Barrons (I already mentioned him you say? Well, he seemed worth repeating)! ;)
10. Do you partner with your local bookstore/library?
Umm...I'm not sure what it means to partner with my local bookstore/library, but I definitely visit both of them a lot. I'm virtually always at the library, so the librarians know me almost as well as my own parents probably do. I can rather stingy with my money though, so the bookstore rarely sees me, but when they do, they end up seeing me for hours, having to usher me out of the store because of closing time, and usually wind up with a lot of money in their pockets from the books I buy. ;)
11. Is there a genre/theme/characteristic that you see repeated in your reading that's beginning to annoy you?
Love. Triangles. I. Hate. Them. I'm sure dozens of bloggers have said this before, but I genuinely detest love triangles. Not only do I think they are vastly unrealistic, but I also think that love triangles detract from the main plot. I have seen so many debut novels with a tremendous amount of potential go to waste simply because the romance takes over. In addition to love triangles, I am also extremely annoyed with the paranormal genre. This is a genre which I love because of its scope for creativity, but frankly speaking, the fallen angel, vampire, and fairy romances are beginning to bore me. I feel as if I've read so many of the same plots over and over again. This just brings me to the emerging genre of dysto-romance, a genre which takes a perfectly intriguing dysotpian setting and ruins it with - you guessed it - romance! I love romance novels and I read my fair share of contemporary novels and chick-flicks to get my romantic fill, so when I read a fantasy, paranormal, or dystopian novel, I expect an astounding plot with a romance that adds to the story, not detracts or takes over from it.
Phew! That was a wonderful set of eleven question and I hope my answers will be equally as pleasing!
11 Questions to ask Bloggers:
1. If you could bring one book character to life, who would it be and why?
2. If you could pick one book to live in, what would it be and why?
3. What is your favorite classic novel and what makes it your favorite classic?
4. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
5. Do you usually read the book first or see the movie?
6. What was the motivational factor that pushed you to blog?
7. Do you listen to music while you read? If so, what kind of music?
8. If you like an author do you read all of his/her books? Why or why not?
9. Do you a judge a book based primarily on its cover, synopsis, author, or reviews before picking it up?
10. What qualities do you look for in a character for them to become one of your favorites?
11. In case of a zombie apocalypse or the end of the world, what book would you take with you if you could?
11 Tagged Bloggers:
1. Books Worth Cheering For
2. Caffeine and Books
3. Singing the Melody of My Life
4. Finding Bliss in Books
5. My Mad Love Affair With My Library
6. Gabby Reads
7. City of Books
8. A Novel Experience
9. Nerdy Book Reviews
10. The Reclusive Reader
11. Janina Reads
Once again, a huge thank you to Sandy for awarding me with this phenomenal award. I had a tremendous amount of fun answering these questions and writing this post and I am so grateful to be part of such a wonderful blogging community. I hope you all have a terrific weekend! :D