Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Project: Yearning for YA

So it's been a while since I've posted a review of a novel (besides Journal 3 Special Edition) but I just got Hoot by Carl Hiaasen today and I just finished it a few minutes ago. I should have a review posted either tomorrow or Friday for it.
Anyway, I'm scheduled to take a YA literature course this semester, so I figured why not have a little fun with it? Project: Yearning for YA will cover all of the YA novels I read and how I feel about them, what I like about them, dislike about them, and as the course progresses I'll talk about trends in YA and why there are trends and what they entail. Details to come! 

Thought this was interesting....

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Review of Journal 3 Special Edition

"Against all odds,"

"I'm Back...."

So it took me some time, but I can finally say that I received my copy of the Gravity Falls Journal 3 Special Edition and read it in full. And all I can say is, "Wow!"

It was so much fun to read, even more fun than the regular edition. The same beautiful story is there, of course, but the additions that were put in made this book even more special than the first edition. Like I've heard many people say, the special edition is really a much higher quality product. I won't go into the story (as I already covered that in my Journal 3 Review), but I will say that I loved how the blacklight messages added a spookier, more melancholy tone to the story than we saw previously. I just felt more of a sense of darkness to the story, especially with how the Author was the only person to use the invisible ink, adding to the paranoia and fear he showcases through the pages. 
And I just have to say that the blacklight illustrations are gorgeous. They really added this invisible beauty to the overall book that was just amazing to see. 
And I loved the edition number idea. Since there were only 10,000 copies of this book available, it was kind of fun to see what number you got out of the overall batch of books. I personally don't care about the number itself, but I think putting the numbers on the books really helped to showcase how special each copy was. 
I really adored how each book came with a letter signed by the creator of Gravity Falls and how the photos in the book were removable. I think it really helped to foster in me, and perhaps others, a sense that being a nerd is okay. I like that message, that it's nothing to be ashamed of and knowing the edition numbers and seeing the creator's signature reminded me that I'm not the only one who enjoys this show. 
Children's show or not, I honestly couldn't care less. It was a fantastic show that more than deserved to receive all the attention it did. The Journal, to me, was a wonderful way to remind people of one of the show's main messages: that it's okay to be who you are, it's okay to be a nerd about things and geek out over whatever you feel is worth geeking out over. That's what makes it so special. 

Oh, and before I forget, I did take some blacklight photos. Let me apologize in advance for the poor quality of some of them (I'm not very good at taking photos to begin with, but being in the dark made it even harder), but I wanted to take some of my own instead of stealing someone else's. 


                       
                   The package the Journal came in. Mine was #21




                                        The cover of the Journal moments after opening it. I can't even begin to explain how I felt!


                                           
                                         
             One of my favorite illustrations. This photo doesn't even do it justice - it is so pretty!
                                               



                                                   
                  I just like how badass this illustration is. Brings me right back to that exact moment in Not What He Seems. 



                                   
                  Probably the best photo I took. As horrible as the situation the illustration depicts is, there's a beauty to this illustration that I was somehow able to capture. 


                             
                      
                     Heard about this one - honestly thought it was a joke until I saw it for myself. I think it was perfect, given that it's one of the last things seen on the show, so it's the last thing seen in the Journal. 



 
                                 
                        The best thing in this image is the winding staircase. I just wish the tree had invisible ink so it would have shown up on camera. 




                                          
                      I just like that the skeleton of the Author's hand glows like that. It looks really cool. 


                            

                         The Author's hand under the "Property Of" piece. I didn't want to remove the entire thing, because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it back on right. The "SIXER" underneath the hand is my favorite part of the illustration. 


So, that's my review of Journal 3 Special Edition. And, as pricey as it was, it was so worth buying. It's something that I think I'll treasure for a very long time, just as I will the show that started it all: Gravity Falls 




Saturday, June 17, 2017

I Got Something Special Recently....

So I know it's been a while, but I'm finally out of school for the summer and I was waiting for something I ordered (because I didn't want to say anything until I got it) and it finally came in yesterday. I think some people might be able to guess what I have, but until I figure out how I want to show it to you guys (I might do a video, but that's iffy) I won't be writing about it. I don't have a good video camera, so I might just take pictures of it when I have the chance. 
I also want to say right now that the item I will be showing you is limited edition (only 10,000 of these things were made) and it may or may not be related to Gravity Falls (hint, hint!)
Updates to come, along with a full review (maybe my first video review if I can figure out how it'll be done!)


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Stories in Media

I seriously need a new book, but I don't have the time these days to read in full sittings like I used to. Thanks, college. 
So I'm wondering about media forms (surprise, surprise) and why we can get sucked into some while others cannot grab us. That, I know, happens often for a variety of reasons, but I want to explore what makes a particular piece of media great. 

I know I talked about this the other day, but I'm going to expand upon it a bit, because I feel like there are several points regarding all different types of media that may affect us when we don't even realize it. 
To use as an example, let's take a look at my favorite cartoon TV series Gravity Falls. I'll be honest, it's the kind of show whose advertising (at least in the beginning) was not very convincing at all to me. I only finally watched it at my sister's urging to watch it with her. She eventually lost interest in the show, however, while I was hooked. I think what makes Gravity Falls really shine is the story the show tells. Of course there are certain stories for certain episodes, but a pattern that the show took on was one of an overarching storyline that extended throughout most of the series. You'd think that, once that was resolved, the overarching would stop. But this show was different, mainly in that it was completely planned out and the writers had an endgame in mind. Once the first overarching story was wrapped up, we immediately see the show transition to another, even more complex story. 
Now, of course, there is a crucial word that I've mentioned several times that plays across all forms of media: story. A certain book, show, or piece of music tells a story. Of course, whether or not the story is good is up to individual taste, but it really can give a media form a purpose and that's what makes it great. The only reason someone may not like a show or a movie or even a book mainly can boil down to the story they think it tells. If the concept doesn't appeal to them, they move on and find something else. 
I read recently that the creator of Gravity Falls worked on the show Fish Hooks, and in all honesty, I hated that show with a passion. The main reason that I found I didn't like it was that the story wasn't interesting to me, and there didn't seem to be an endgame in mind, a plan for where the series would go. As a result, I felt there to be little to no story and it irked me that it was that way. 
I feel like all the shows I like have overarching stories, barring the game shows I enjoy. Sherlock followed a similar format to Gravity Falls in that it had an overarching story in each season, which ultimately built up to the biggest one in season 4. Granted, it wasn't carried out in the best way it could have been, but I do give props to the show's creators for keeping the overarching story in mind along with the individual stories of each episode. 
Ultimately, my point here is that stories are a part of life, and if we can't find a story in a book, movie, or TV show that grabs us, we are much more likely to give up on it. TV shows may have a hard time keeping a viewer's attention if the story it tells doesn't keep them anxious to see the next episode. Likewise, with book series, you need to know where you're taking your story and try to make the clearest path possible to achieving the goal of completing the series and delivering the message you want to deliver. 
But the bottom line is, where do you stand with book genres, movie plots, TV shows and music? Because personal taste will tell you what is most likely to click with you, so that you're willing to take the plunge and see the story that is laid out in the media form you're consuming. 





Sunday, April 30, 2017

What Draws Us to Media?

It's funny how time flies, isn't it? I can't believe I'm actually nearing the end of my freshman year of college. I'm sitting here listening to the Rick and Morty theme just because. I don't watch the show myself, but the theme grew on me very quickly. 
Anyway, the music is making me think about what the term epic means in terms of TV shows, novels, music, and so on. Is merely what we associate with the music the thing that's epic, or would the music alone still be seen as epic without the media form we associate it with? For example, when I hear the theme I'm listening to now, I think of epic intergalactic adventures. Struggles against the forces of darkness and evil. A sort of apocalyptic feeling is in there, too. 
I say this as someone who has not seen one episode of Rick and Morty. Is the show epic in the way I've described above? In other words, does the song encompass the overall theme of the show? Could the show work with another theme, or does the song enforce the atmosphere of the show? 

Honestly, I don't know. 

And this can be applied to novels as well, I think. When I look at a book cover, I believe it is the cover artist's job to show off something about the novel, whether it be the atmosphere or plot or just a main theme. 
Watership Down, for example, has a very peaceful-looking cover, but it does not show the epic nature of the story within. Instead, it takes one aspect (the atmosphere) and shows it off, rather than showing something of the story ahead of time. I feel that that may be the main difference between books and shows/films. Books can't encompass the main message in one image. At least, not with the books I've read. Rather, it draws you to the atmosphere so you are either compelled to open it or decide it's not something appealing, at least in terms of aesthetic appeal. 

I think I'm going to chew on this for a while... 

This has me thinking. Maybe I'll look into the art of cover art and see what really goes into it. 

And to think, I started musing over this all because of an Adult Swim cartoon.... 


Friday, April 7, 2017

Waiting

Waiting hurts. Waiting is hard. I know this because my patience has really been tested for the past four months and there's still two and a half more to go before I can finally say that I have what I want.
Okay, I know I'm being cryptic. I'll explain.
So as you may be aware, Gravity Falls is one of my favorite shows and I read the real-life version of the show's Journal 3 back in, I think, November. There was one major thing this journal was missing that the journal on the show had, and it's the one thing I want to see so badly: invisible ink. I preordered the special edition (which has the invisible ink, a monocle, and a leather cover) back in December and I'm 99.9% sure I'm guaranteed a copy. They sold out in late October, early November, so they expanded the number of books just as I placed an order through Barnes and Noble. I heard Amazon oversold the books, so I'm really relieved I didn't order from them. But now the creator of the show is releasing photos and videos of some of the pages of the journal and it looks awesome. I don't think I've ever been this antsy waiting for something. Then again, I haven't really ever had to preorder a book, so this type of waiting is new to me....
I know: I'm a totally spoiled book geek. But I just can't help it. It cost me $150 and I'm pretty sure I need to go out and buy my own black light for it before it gets here, adding to the price, yet I seriously doubt I'm going to regret spending all this money on something that may seem so trivial. It's still a book, so I really don't mind the price. I just mind the wait.
The series 4 premiere of Sherlock in January kept me distracted from this for a while, but now that the release date is as close as it is and series 4 of Sherlock is over, I have nothing to keep me busy until it comes! That's what's really frustrating me.
I've heard it said that patience is a virtue. And I'm pretty lucky that I even got an order in for one shortly after the number of books was increased. That's why I'm fairly certain I'll get one at all. 



Found this on Tumblr and promptly died laughing. 
Just two and a half more months.... please don't make it feel like too much longer.....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Taking Risks in Writing

So I know I haven't posted in a while. College is kicking my butt. Anyway, I'm rereading The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (#2 on Project: Sherlock rankings) and I'm remembering why it was so high on the list and one of my favorite books. The funny thing is, it was all set to win until a last-minute change occurred. The book is that great. Let me explain why.
I'm a little afraid to talk about the main message it sends (it's very sensitive and I don't want to upset anyone) so I won't focus on that. You'll see what I mean if you read the book.
The one major thing that's sticking out to me on this reread is how dark the story is. I remember when I first read it and the convoluted mystery confused me a bit, but this second reading is really showing me where all the little pieces of the puzzle fit together. And that's fascinating to me!
And the subject matter is something I have not seen any author of any book touch upon. I believe that it's sensitive enough so that no one dared to. Yet Horowitz did, and did so masterfully. Why is this the case? How are some authors able to take such huge risks in writing yet others cannot? Sometimes the risk doesn't pay off.
I remember after I read Divergent (which I hated with a passion) and the final book came out, and people were furious because the author had taken a certain risk - a risk that's practically unheard of, unless done correctly. My guess (I haven't read the book myself) is that she did not.
I read another book under Project: Sherlock that took the biggest risk I've seen any of the pastiches take.... but it failed, because the author was using a character that wasn't his and he damaged that character.
So what? What does that mean?
My point is, it's okay to take certain risks in writing, but for the risk to pay off you have to know what you're doing. You also need to think of your audience when writing, at least put them in the back of your mind. I know it's her book, but the author of the final book of the Divergent trilogy was not thinking about how her audience would react to what she did. I mean, people were so upset that they swore off her books and sent her death threats....
I'm sure Horowitz knew what he was doing when he wrote The House of Silk. I think what he did in the preface of the book was a way of protecting himself, because the narrator lampshades how the events in the book were of an extremely sensitive nature. I think Horowitz was saying to his audience, "This mystery will shock you and perhaps upset you, but I'm writing this book the way I feel it needs to be told. So get ready."
The ultimate thing here is that taking risks in writing is something that a lot of authors do. Whether they do it right or not depends on the book they are writing and how they approach the subject. But I believe that Horowitz rose to the occasion and did it right.


This guy did it right and his book is a masterpiece as a result. I recommend The House of Silk to anyone looking for a great mystery.