Monday, September 30, 2013

September Update (Update #4)

I have one word for everyone. iPad. This thing has been the single biggest distraction for me ever since our school decided everyone should have them. Was I skeptical of the iPad at first? Yes I was. Did I complain about not even wanting it in the first place? Yes I did. Now, do I use it almost 50% of my day? Yes I do.

It’s almost come to the point where my iPad is a replacement for my laptop. It’s much more convenient to pull out, and it had a much longer battery life.

This is really bad for my writing just because that whenever I turned on my laptop before, I would feel guilty that I wasn’t working on my story and I might look at a page or two. Now that I’m not even turning on my laptop, I don’t even feel that guilt.

This is not only a distraction for my writing, but also for my school work as well. I’ll tell myself, “I’ll just take a second to check on my Dragonvale game or check my Youtube subscriptions” and then two hours later, I’m still on my iPad and I’ve accomplished nothing.

So basically, the whole month of September, I’ve accomplished nothing other than looking into copyrights and self publishing companies, which although is very useful, has not helped my make any progress on any of my writing.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Books I Read as a Kid: Part 1

This is a new segment I am going to start where I go over certain books I read when I was younger and why I liked them so much.

First on the list of books I read as a kid is The Saddle Club series. The Saddle Club was a series that I picked up when I was in about fourth to fifth grade, which was around the time that I was really into equestrian things. I'm pretty sure that the only reason I read this book series was because I was really into horseback riding and I really wanted to be like the girls in the book. I had only been riding for a couple years, didn't have a horse, and only took lessons two times a month so the idea of doing shows and being able to ride horses everyday was exciting to me. I did also like them because even though the books centered around the same plot, the books were all different. There were so many books in the series that I almost never ran out of books to read, and I really liked them because I could read them in any order I wanted, and it didn't really make a difference. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves horseback riding.

Another series I read when I was younger was the Nancy Drew series. Now, this wasn't the normal Nancy Drew series that everyone else read, but this was sort of a spin off series where Nancy Drew was like an eleven year old girl who solved mysteries in her own neighborhood. The reason I think I related to this book more, was because Nancy Drew was more my age, and the mysteries she solved, even though they were small, were realistic and fun to read about. Now this series, like the saddle club, had a large amount of books in it, so many that I never got around to reading all of them, and it was also a series I could read in any order I wanted. I'm not sure if this series is still published, and I don't think it is, but I would recommend it to any young girls because the Nancy Drew in the series is a really good figure for girls to read about.

Another series with a lot of books I never got around to reading all of was The Magic Tree House series. Me and my one friend would always love reading these books and we would have competitions to see who could finish the most books the fastest, which led to both of us just skimming over the books. Now, one of the reason I didn't get the chance to read all of these books was because some of them just didn't seem interesting to me. I'm not a person who likes history and reading a book about them traveling back to the Titanic just didn't seem interesting. The other thing with this series was that unlike The Saddle Club and Nancy Drew, reading these books in order had somewhat of an effect on your understanding of the books. One thing in particular I remember was that the two of them got eight special powers (or something along those lines) that they could used in their missions, and I remember reading that part, having read the books out of order, and having no idea what that meant because it really wasn't explained well in the book. Never the less, this is a great series because it's really creative and it's great for those who love history.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Extra! Extra! Censorship

In honor of banned books week, I thought that I would write a post on censorship, and some of the most commonly banned books today, and the “reasons” why they came under fire.

Censorship is basically when a certain books gets criticized by commonly a group of parents or a foreign government system, who think that a particular book sends a bad message to the target audience, which is usually somewhere between first grade to high school students. Most books are censored for drug use, sexual content, swearing, homosexuality, and most commonly religious views, in particular “satanic influences”. Now, these things seem pretty reasonable to ban books over, but these things often are taken way out of hand. For example, these books below are only some of the books that were under fire for being “inappropriate”.

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

So apparently this book was banned in schools all across the United States, as recently as 2006 because talking animals are apparently considered an “insult to God”. I am not really sure why, and I don’t know who came up with this idea, but I’m pretty sure that the author didn’t write this book in order to offend God. Several institutions in the UK and Turkey also claim that Piglet is an insult to Muslims and several other institutions claim that the book revolves around Nazism. Where people get these ideas, I do not know.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

Yes, this is the children’s rhyming book with colorful pictures that everyone has read at least once in their life. This book if anything should be praised for showing children not to be picky eaters and to try something new once in a while, but no, that’s not how some people see it. Up until 1991 this book apparently has undertones of “homosexual seduction”. Yes, I am being dead serious. This book was banned in parts of California for just that reason.  

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

In 1928, this book was banned in all libraries of Chicago for having an “ungodly influence” and for “depicting women in strong leadership roles”. Number one, I know that this was back in 1928, but how sexist can the government really get? I mean come on, banning a book for showing women in strong leadership roles? Women being independent is almost as bad as talking animals (note sarcasm). Also, in 1957, the Detroit Public Library banned this book because it has “no value for children of today”. Ok sure, like Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid have such value for kids today.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This was banned in several schools up to 2010 for many reasons including “sexual content and homosexual tendencies”, being “too depressing”, and “pornographic tendencies”. All I have to say is what, what, and what?? Where in this book is there explicit sexual content anywhere? Ok, so I get the too depressing part, but like it or not, this is a part of our history. It may be depressing or sad, but children should learn about it so things like the Holocaust don’t happen again. This goes hand in hand with schools not wanting to teach students about the Holocaust or slavery anymore because they think that we can just erase that part of the world’s history by simply not talking about it. Like or not, it’s already happened, and we can’t change the past no matter how much we want to, so instead of attempting to erase the past, we might as well embrace it and learn from our mistakes.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

So if you know the basics about Harry Potter, if would be pretty safe to assume that this book would be criticized for its witchcraft and satanic tendencies, and you would be correct. Many, many, many, Christian organizations had this book banned for those very reasons. Yes this, book centers around witches and wizards, and yes they teach subjects like divination at Hogwarts, but this book isn’t telling children to go out and worship the devil, and the divination class at Hogwarts is portrayed as being a joke more than anything. This book came under more fire from Christians than Phillip Pullman’s book The Golden Compass which is literally criticizing the church directly the entire book. People can’t even make the excuse that the criticisms it made were indirect, naming the evil government the Magisterium was a pretty big hint and these same people went out of their way to ban Green Eggs and Ham for “homosexual seduction”.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This is one of the more recent books that came under fire, it being a more current book, aimed for the young adult age group. Having read this book, I understand where people are coming from, banning the book for sex, drugs, alcohol, and bringing up the topic of suicide. But mostly, this book was banned for being unsuited for its age group. For one, the age group this is directed towards is high school students, who have already gone through sex-ed and the drugs and alcohol talk. All the topics in this book, aren’t things that a high schooler hasn’t experienced in either other books or movies, or even real life. Saying that a book containing drugs, sex, and suicide is unsuited for high school students is like saying that they think high school is filled with rainbows and sunshine and chastity and sobriety, which even though that would be great, is very far from the truth.

And last by not least…

The Merriam Webster Dictionary

This was banned in 2010 for contain the definition of oral sex. Ok really? It’s a dictionary for goodness sake! The definition in the dictionary is far better than the one a kid is going to learn from his friends or even Google for that matter.

So what do you think? Should books be banned in schools? If so, which ones should and who had the authority to say what is appropriate for children and what isn’t?


Sources taken from:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Writing Tips: Poetry

Poetry is one of the largest genres of literature. Some people find it boring or too hard to write, but most people don't recognize the vast types of poetry that exist. There are many different types of poetry from, rhyming and non rhyming to three lines haikus to page long epics. No matter what type of poetry, there is some type of poetry for everyone. Poetry can be easily used to express emotions, tell a story, or just express a burst of creativity. Here are just some of the basics for those who want to start writing poetry.

Rhyme Scheme

This is what most people think of poetry when you sat the word poetry, most of them go by the rhyme scheme of ABAB. Other types of rhyme schemes include couplets which are paired lines that rhyme (ex: AA BB CC). Rhyming seems easy enough to do, especially with  websites like easily accessible, but the problem most people face is writing forced rhymes. Forces rhymes occur when your writing a poem with a particular rhyme scheme and struggle to find a word that fits, so you make an awkward phrase in order to include a rhyming word Forced rhymes never sound good, so if you're not the kind of person that likes rhyming, then go with a different type of poetry.

Free Verse

With free verse poems, you basically have all of the freedom you want while writing. There's no specific rhyme scheme you have to follow, it can have as many lines as you want, and the lines can be as long or as short as you want. The only thing with free verse poetry you need to watch out for is rhythm. Even if the poem doesn't have to rhyme, it is still important to make sure the words flow well. Avoid mixing long and short lines, keep all of your lines around the same length, and read it out loud to make sure it flows well.


Haikus are one of the simplest and easiest types of poetry to write. Haikus are three lined poems with a five syllable line, followed by a seven syllable line, and then another five syllable line. Haikus don't have to rhyme and can be about anything you want them to be, but most are usually about nature. They usually don't take long to write, and once you get started, before you know it you have a whole page full of haikus.


Sonnets are one of the more difficult and complicated poems to write. They have a very strict rhyme scheme and number of lines. All sonnets must have 14 lines and follow the rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Although they are more complicated to write, it doesn't mean they are impossible or hard to do. People who excel at writing poems with rhyme schemes will find sonnets easier to write then people who prefer free verse.

Here are just some basic forms of poetry, and are by all means not the only kinds. Overall with poetry, you really have the freedom to write whatever you want. The different types of poems are so vast, it's not hard to find something you like writing. So the next time you pick up a pen or get in the writing mood, try writing poetry for a chance, and don't be scared. You might discover a new talent!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Book Recommendations: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni

Although this isn’t normally a young adult book, it is still one of my favorites and I recommend it to anyone who is a young adult or older.

I actually had to read this as a school book originally. We had to write a research paper on a book from an approved list of books all by American authors. The Kite Runner happened to be one of those books, and I choose to read it, like a majority of my class did.

Not only did I write probably the best paper I’ve ever written before on this book, but I also had fun writing it as well, but that’s beside the point. Let’s get back to the actual book.

Now, unlike probably a lot of my classmates, this book left a long lasting impression on me. The writing was just beautiful, as was the story line in general, and even though the story wasn’t based on true events, I felt like the characters were real, and the author did an amazing job of developing the characters and giving them realistic personalities.

Although I’m not really sure what is was about this book that made me like it so much, I think it was basically this author’s style of writing. The writing just came across as very real and emotional, and I think it really helped to get the point he wanted to get across to the reader.

I also had a personal connection with this book because of the *SPOILER ALERT* adoption elements of the book. Being internationally adopted myself I think helped me to connect to the book more so than other people would have. Although my personal experiences don’t match up with those of the character who was adopted, it helped me realize what a lot of adopted kids go though in real life made me feel lucky because I didn’t have to go through that.

One thing in particular that I really liked about this book was the main character Amir. I just loved following his story throughout the book, from child to adult, and watching him develop as a character. His character development is one of the most important and interesting aspects of the book, and the author does a great job of developing Amir as a character. It’s almost like the reader is growing up with him.

Like I said before, I’m not really sure what else to say about this book or why I really liked it other than I thought it was really good. This was by far one of the best books I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekly Update #3

So here’s just a really fast update on what’s been going on the past few weeks.
So basically, long story short, I’ve have done absolutely nothing in terms of writing in the past two weeks.
I’ve gotten to the point in my novel where I’ve read it so many times that I’m not motivated to give it that last read over before publications. I keep telling myself that I’m almost there, but I’m just really not in the mood to read it over.
Work and school have me really busy too with homework and studying and tests, and the new Ipad I got has just become a bigger distraction than anything.
There are just so many things that I want to do and I just don’t have the time to, and I just really need to make up a schedule or find a balance or something of all the stuff that I need to do.
Every time I do school stuff I just keep remembering all of the books I want to read, the story I have to edit, the other stories I want to write, the anime series I want to watch, and all of these other things that I just don’t have the time to do, and every time I do something fun I just remember the homework I have to do, the book I have to read for AP English, the four tests I have to study for, and no matter what I end up choosing to do, it just ends up as a lose lose situation for me. Finding the time to balance everything right now is just something that I need to learn to do better.
So basically, I’m just stressed right now and I have too many things right now that I want to do but can’t.
This is all the time to write today, and there are probably spelling and grammar errors because I don’t have the time to read it over, but I hope you enjoyed this update!