why do you read?

We interrupt this regularly scheduled semi- hiatus to bring you a rare post:

*pats abadoned blog* *consoles abandoned and neglected followers with chocolate*

I'm sure (well, maybe not sure) that my lack of posting has been noticed. So what have I been doing in the the time I HAVEN'T been blogging?

Attempting to do Accomplishing many, many things:

I've been studying in pain. I've been reading nothing study guides. (Pfft, the intricacies of the Calvin-Benson Cycle is about a MILLION more times engrossing than a YA novel. Not.) I've been learning. Kind of. Sort of.

Really, I swear I have retained something. (and now you're all saying, prove it).

*giggles nervously*

Umm, well. I now know that Platyelminthes are acoelomates! DO YOU?! (you know now, so that was a silly question, tehe) That we possess notochords! That photophsophorylation produces ATP! That Andrew Johnson avoided being impeached by ONE VOTE! That Vietnam War led to the uniting of the New Left! That history repeats itself!

And I have proof of that last exclamatory sentence:

(straight from my APUSH Princeton Review Guide. Okay, maybe I added in a little bit).

Of course, this would mean the blog would later wage war on me. And I'd lose. Tehehe. (<--- why am I giggling at war, you ask? Perhaps it's because I just had this image of people conquering a fortress by catapulting chocolate truffles instead of canon balls. Cause that'd TOTALLY distract the enemy. because I'm hyper).

But onto the main mannerisms of the post!!!!!!!!!!! (I eez sorry about the exclamation marks, I'm currently running purely on caffeine. Coffee. Sugar. That stuff!!!!!!!!! EVERYTHING IS SHINY!!!! *twitches*)

BUT TO GET BACK ON POINT and draw attention away from my apparent descent into insanity. AHEM.

Why do I read?

I think my reasons to read have mutated strangely transformed as delicately as a butterfly over the last year or so especially.

Originally, reading for me was solely for entertainment. Fun. Good times. Escapism. This is why I adore children's fantasy--and also why I was such a constrictive reader for such a long time. There was a point where 90% of the books I read were fantasy.

I turned up my nose at everything else. When I picked up a book, I wanted nothing but to dive into a light fantasy every time: one with magic, heroes/heroines that despite their age manage to save the day, and misadventures that always turn out with happy endings. I wasn't open to anything else. I avoided "depressing" books like the plague. I didn't want to touch contemporary YA books with a pole, mistakenly believing everything was Gossip Girl fluff. I was just a very rigid reader and thought I knew exactly what I wanted out of a book every time.

The main reason I read then was definitely for entertainment, enjoyment. Reading was like TV or video games are to my friends. Sometimes addicting. Unthinking entertainment. Just..there.

But now, I've become acquainted with beautiful words that take my breath away. Stories that tug at my heartstrings. The most masterful prose that anyone can pen.

And my reading motivation has shifted. Now, when I'm picking up a book, I want to learn something. Feel something. Be changed.

Find words that speak to my soul.

So now it's like 25% of the time I want to read for fun, and 75% of the time I want to read to learn something or experience something. And most of all, I want to find beauty/ be smacked over the head with it/ notice hints of it when I'm reading. I want to be immersed in words and a story that have been so carefully crafted it's mesmerizing.

And there's always that moment, that indescribable moment before I glance at the first sentence of a book when I don't know what's going to happen. If the book is going to be absolutely terrible, or absolutely wonderful. If it's going to make me mad or sad or happy or combination of all of those. I think that moment of not-knowing--when anything is possible--that makes reading an adventure. Full of endless possibilities.

What about you? Why do you read?


guest blog: how not to suck: special band edition

Candace, the lovely blogger from The Misadventures in Candyland, offered to do a guest post. Make sure to check her blog out!


Concerts are like a war zone. Bodies flying like canons, ear drums muffled from speaker shock, the earth shaking beneath your Chuck Taylor's or (if you're feeling crazy) flip flops or (even crazier) heels. If you've ever gone to one, two, or a hundred, whether it's super mellow circa James Taylor or, in my case, a little harder, via The Used, they still share the same basic fundamentals.

Over the weekend, the hubs, best dude and I, went to see my beloved rockers at a small club in Cincinnati with our games faces on. We've seen them before, so we knew the ramifications of being a tad older (only a tad, people) than said general Used crowd. A few things happened, I think should go in the books for all time, to prevent any more mishaps of pure suckage.

#1: Wear deodorant. A ton of tweens/teens/everythinginbetweens seem to think sweating in a sardine-packed crowd means nothing. Like their odor doesn't salt my tongue and singe my nose hairs off. Wrong.

#2: When mosh-pitting, leave your shirt on. Really. Do us all a favor, (dude with the hairy back, I'm talking to you; children amidst puberty, you too).

#3: When crowd surfing, landing in a security guard's lap, don't defend said surfing by saying “I didn't mean to crowd surf. I was just trying to leave.”

#4: If duty calls, do not—I repeat—do NOT defecate, urinate, or upchuck in your place. Haul ass to the latrine and get it done so I don't have to stand in it all freaking night.
#5: Do not attempt to shove your way past me, in attempt to be seen from the stage. I don't need your sweaty body sliding up against my skin, or your wet hair flinging driblets into my eyes, so you can be one foot closer. Next time you try, I'll karate chop your neck.

#6: When able to meet the band, don't steal my thunder. Yeah, girl in front who collapsed to her knees, sobbing, pleading for marriage and babies, that means YOU).

#7: If you're going to fight, please wait until I
return from the bathroom so I can take pictures and post them on my blog.

#8: Do not release any kind of flatulence when standing withing my radius. My nose is sensitive, you make me want to vomit, and I think you should check your pants because I'm pretty sure something else came out too. Plus, I don't want the hubs and my best dude to think it was me as I stand crinkling my nose.

#9: When jumping to “Take It Away,” (or James Taylor's equivalent song), tall guy, please remember there's a five-foot-five mother of one standing directly underneath your big ass feet. I want to jump too, but can't if you've knocked me down and trampled me.

#10: Last but not least, please PLEASE please, when asked to sing-a-long, test it out on the ride there. Warm up your voice, gargle, drink some H2O, whatever. But when screaming the lyrics on both sides of my face, the place where ears lie, you don't have to be perfect but MYGAH, aim it the other way or bring it down a notch.

Follow these tips, and you'll suck no more. At least maybe, a little less...

-Candyland. Out.


hypothetical bookish situation #2: if books were made from chocolate

So I'm holed in up in my room attempting to be studious, but instead somehow I end up staring at my wall for several hours. (Don't.Ask.Me.How. This.Is.Possible.Just.Don't.)

Tortured Immersed as I am by learning about the reproductive systems of plants, I can still hear my bookshelf calling to me. Rows of lovely, shiny books. Distraction tools. And I'm sort of craving chocolate. Like always.

Sadly, I can't have either.

I'm a deprived child.

But desperation sparks...something.

And it occurs* to me, as I'm staring longingly at Cat's Eye & Darklight & Charmed Life (hey, I need my 500th reread for comfort) & Beloved stacked up on the floor and imagining chocolate assortments that magically appear outside my doorway...

What if I could read as much as I wanted?
What if I could eat as much chocolate as I wanted?

AND THEN...what if books were MADE out of chocolate?!

*le gasp*

And then I think: The world would be pretty interesting.


  • We'd never, ever have to be afraid that buying a book wouldn't be worth our money. Even if the novel you just purchased (in hardcover, no less) had the most painful prose, worst plot, or awful characters you've ever come across, you could eat the book afterward and everything would be alright. Wonderful, even.

  • On the other hand, if you really, really love a book, you'd be forced to buy a new copy upon each reread. This benefits authors who you love very much (I think J.K. Rowling & Diana Wynne Jones would probably earn several million dollars from me throughout my lifetime) and it makes rereading books lots more fun. And expensive.

  • Think of the flavor adventures! Harry Potter and the...1)Milk Chocolate Truffle Stone 2) Peanut Butter Chamber of Secrets 3) Prisoner of Dark Chocolate Heaven 4) Goblet of Chocolate Fondue 5) Order of Mint Chocolate Wafers 6) Half-milk Half-white chocolate Prince 7) Death (ly) by Chocolate (Hallows) !

    I think you get the gist. Imagine the possibilities!

  • We'd have tons more shelf space, for sure. There would never be a need for book piles stacked in teetering piles around the house. I think our bookshelves might acutally be a little on the empty side ;)

  • Chocolate-eating makes people happy and somewhat--delusional. I don't think I would ever post a negative review again in my life. From then on the only thing you'd get out of me would be: ZOMG THAT BOOK WAS DELICIOUS! CARAMEL DARK CHOCOLATE MADE IN SWITZERLAND ZOMGZOMGZOMG SOO GOOD! I GIVE IT A 10/10!!!!! GO BUY THIS BOOK NOWWWWWWW! (and mail a copy to me, if you'd like to.)

  • Book-lovers would be the fattest demographic in existence. I would gain 100 pounds in a month or so. We would also probably have to go to the dentist quite a lot. *shudder*

  • Libraries wouldn't exist anymore: I mean, who in the world would return or lend out a chocolate book?!

  • Reading would suddenly be cool to people other than us. Can you imagine how easy it would be to convince young kids to read? For each page they read, they get a page of chocolate to eat as a reward. I can't think of anything that's more motivational than food bribery.

  • We would have a SERIOUS ant problem on our hands.

  • Maybe chocolate books--wildly popular and successful-- would soon expand to all things print! Newspapers wouldn't go extinct anymore (there's nothing like a chocolate newspaper over Sunday brunch, is there?), I could eat my textbooks instead of studying them, and "my sister ate my homework" might one day be a plausible excuse.
  • We would also be very bad environmentalists, since we'd need specially air-conditioned rooms to keep our chocolate libraries from melting.

  • OR MAYBE: this would pave way for new inventions such as COOL-BOOKS (chocolate books specially manufactured to maintain a temperature below the melting point of chocolate at 36 °C), FREEZE-BOOKSHELVES INC. (bookshelves that are naturally cooling) etc.

  • Or we could all move to Antarctica and set up a colony there, along with the penguins!

[/crazy ramblings]**

*okay, maybe I lied about the burst of inspiration. Chocolate books have sort of been a long-time fantasy of mine.
** I think my brain might've...snapped...from all the biology. It's possible. Very possible. Probable, in fact. Definitely. I've..snapped. *gnaws on Harry Potter Series * IF ONLY THESE WERE MADE OUT OF CHOCOLATE!!


gbs: review of life, after

Abby Stevens, a blogger and aspiring author, offered to guest blog with a book review of LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman. LIFE, AFTER is to be released July 1, 2010. Make sure to check out The Tabby Catt, Abby's blog!


There was a time, Before, when I too was a normal girl…

So unfolds the story of 16-year-old Dani Bensimon, an Argentine Jew trying to cope with the unsettling events surrounding the Argentine economic crisis in the years following 9/11.

When Dani was small, she enjoyed a content, upper-middle-class life. Her father doted upon her. Her mother always had her favorite cookies waiting when she got home from school. She had friends and snacked at her favorite café weekly.

But that was Before. Before an act of terrorism killed her beloved pregnant aunt. Before her father lost the clothing store that had been in his family for generations and sank into a deep, angry depression. Before her friends emigrated to escape the violent poverty of Buenos Aires.

Before America.

In America, Dani must deal with English idioms, a gaggle of mean girls, and her Argentine boyfriend who becomes more distant by the day. Then Dani discovers After in the form of a pair of unlikely friends who understand a thing or two about loss at the hands of terrorism.

Life moves on. Before becomes After. And Dani Bensimon learns that if you don't give up, things get better.

I noticed Littman's novel because of its whimsical cover, but I was delighted to find LIFE, AFTER far more than just a pretty cover - it is a touching, funny book that made me laugh and cry. My favorite moment involves Dani standing up to a bully who really has it coming, and when she finally lets loose, it is a moment of pure, rallying satisfaction.

Dani is a strong character who never fully realizes her own strength. She is frustrated and occasionally sarcastic. She is downtrodden but hopeful, sad but never defeated.

Littman's characters are dynamic, Dani's voice captivating, the story well-paced, and the ending satisfying. Littman expertly weaves themes of loyalty, acceptance, and grief throughout without feeling forced.

The genre might be Young Adult, but LIFE, AFTER is a universal read anyone can enjoy.


gbs: “words, words, words”

My wonderful friend Caitlin agreed to do a blog post for me. She has her own blog over at Tea & Biscuits, and is an aspiring YA author. Make sure to check her out!


“Words, words, words.”

So says Hamlet to Polonius. So sings Eliza Doolittle to Freddy. So shouts the author glaring at the Blinking Cursor of Death.

Words are important. Words make us smile, make us laugh, make us cry, drive us absolutely crazy. And everyone’s got their favorite. I tend to be particularly fond of tricksy (a very cool word which, unfortunately, only Gollum can really get away with), complicated words.

For example, two of my favorites are exacerbate and extrapolate, both introduced to me through The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I simply love the way they sound – they roll off the tongue in a particularly pleasing way, I think. Those are words that seem to go along perfectly with a sardonic tone and a ridiculous atmosphere – hence why using them in H2G2 is so brilliantly entertaining. Complicated words are just FUN. Like Gloucestershire and flibbertigibbet and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. They’re almost like mini-tongue twisters, and the walking-dictionary part of me feels a sense of accomplishment whenever I manage to fit them into a conversation. (Writing them is great. Saying them in real life is truly wonderful.)

Not all the words I like are complicated, though. I also love short, simple words that convey everything we need to know about their definition in only one or two sounds. Like fop. And snarl. And glomp (which is not a “real” word but it certainly belongs in the category of words that sound exactly like what their definition is, whilst still being short.) (Whilst is a good one too.)

More word geekery (another word that is most entertaining): I love words that sound like what they mean. For instance: billowy provides an excellent image of fabric blowing in the wind. Not rustling; billowing. The words have almost a different flavor – it’s like deciding which spice to add to a sauce. Rustling turns the phrase one way, while billowing turns it another. It changes the taste, the tone, everything – all because of one word that fits exactly the way you want it to. Which, on occasion, makes writing an infuriating process. I have occasionally been known to stare for hours (this is only a very slight exaggeration) at the Blinking Cursor of Death because I cannot for the life of me think of the right thing to say. Mostly, it comes to me eventually. Which is nice, and which silences the evil little chuckle of the Blinking Cursor.

There are also words I don’t like. In my opinion, the worst word in the entire English language is “woo.” Perhaps this is because I am a hopeless romantic, and I feel that a word which means “courtship” and connotes “love” should not sound so similar to something as disgusting as “goo.” The only person who has ever gotten away with saying that word without making me sneer with derision is Captain Jack Sparrow. And since very few people can attain that level of sheer awesome, I think the word should just go hide in a corner somewhere so we can forget about it.

But it’s more than just sounds, after all. I like words like ephemeral not just because they seem to glide across my mind, but because they seem to suit their meaning perfectly. If something is ephemeral, it conjures up images wisps of fog withering away in sunlight, or blowing away on the wind. At least, it does for me, which is why I like the word so much.

“Words, words, words.” We see them littered everywhere; it is like we are bombarded by words nowadays. Of course, by themselves, they sound cool and look neat. But string them together, and they become something even better. After all, we don’t read just to look at cool words and go “ooh, exacerbate!” We read the combination of cool words, and it is the combination that makes the writing great.


(gbs) fairy tales: a matter of opinion

Here's to the first gbs (guest blogging series) post!

The lovely Cate of Sparrow Review offered to guest blog for me. Make sure to check out her blog.


Fairy Tales: A Matter of Opinion

"We all like astonishing tales because they touch the nerve of the ancient instinct of astonishment. This is proved by the fact that when we are very young children we do not need fairy tales: we only need tales. Mere life is interesting enough. A child of seven is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door and saw a dragon. But a child of three is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door. Boys like romantic tales; but babies like realistic tales – because they find them romantic. In fact, a baby is about the only person, I should think, to whom a modern realistic novel could be read without boring him."

We've all seen the Disney movies. Most of us spent time as young kids reading and rereading fairy tales, and now we enjoy flipping through a good retelling. For me, I've always been a kind of fairy tale junkie- I don't think I really ever grew out of that phase. My Brother's Grimm collection of stories is still at my bedside, and I'm known to occasionally watch an old Disney film. I never quite figured out why they've been such an important element in my life; the best reason I've come up with is that I'm a sucker for happy endings. Aren't we all? Doesn't everyone love these childhood stories, where things are perfect for a little while, where reality is just out of reach?

I was surprised to learn that, no, not everyone is a fan. Perhaps not in the sense that they disapprove of the stories themselves, but with the messages the stories are sending to young children. A dear friend, feminist, and teacher, blogged about her opinion of fairy tales, in this case, Cinderella.

If I were to teach this story literally, here is what my students would (in theory) learn from it:
1) Whatever crappy things happen to you, you just have to take it because eventually it will get better.
2) That when facing any difficult task in life you will have help to overcome it (birds, fairy godmother).
3) That one must hide one's flaws (Cinderella hiding her poor attire).
4) That step-families are evil.
5) That a man will rescue you from your crappy life if you're attractive enough.

With the popularity of the Disney Princesses line, I think it's a good thing to at least look at what ideas we're introducing our children to. Admittedly, I read this tale and watched the Disney film many times as a child, and I still was able to see past the superficiality of the relationships within it. However, there are lots of little girls (and teenage girls) who believe some of these ideas about beauty and men, so not everyone hears the tale without being influenced by it.

I think she makes some valid points. Reality is not anything like the fantasy world of fairy tales. One aspect of these stories that makes me cringe a little is the idea of love at first sight, and how willing the girls/princesses are to spend their lives pining after their true love. But really, is their love so 'true'? Can you really fall in love so deeply after a single glance, or one conversation? I don't know much about love, but I do know that it takes time. And it takes work. Not everyone rides off into the sunset.

But maybe, just maybe, the fact that fairy tales themselves are so unlike the real world is what makes them so beautiful. They're escapes. They spark a little hope that somewhere, that there is a prince charming and a white horse. There is true happiness, and it's worth fighting a few dragons or evil stepmothers for.


short updates & more on guest blogging

First off, I'm honored to have been interviewed by blogger extraordinaire Steph Su yesterday! Aren't both her and her blog awesome? But anyways, go check it out.

And secondly, I've gotten a lot of responses about guest blogging. Which is a total and wonderful surprise, since I hadn't expected so many people to be interested. But I'll say this: the more, the merrier! I'll still be accepting guest posts for the next month as from now until to early May, I won't be posting as much myself. And I'm so, so excited to share posts by others. Upcoming posts will be indicated with "guest blogger series" (gbs) in the title.

And I'm pleased to announce that gbs will kick off tomorrow! Look out for it :)

To those of you who have emailed me about guest blogging: I'll be responding within the next few days. Thank you for offering and taking the time to contact me.

And I think from this point on I'll just write in italics if I'm making notes before the guest blogging, etc. so not as to cause confusion.

choco= italics

guest bloggers= normal font

Hope everyone is having fun :)

Now I have nothing more to say and I'm rambling so ****RANDOM PUPPY PIC TIME**


a call for guest bloggers

It just occurred to me, while I was falling asleep over studying nephron filtration(I know, terrible) that my blog is sadly neglected. It might even be molding a bit. *avoids breathing smelly rotten smell*

*ignores decay*

But it doesn't have to be!

I've decided to open my blog up to the brilliance of guest bloggers. I don't really have any requirements: you don't necessarily have to have a blog of your own or be an experienced blogger. However, it would probably be a good idea for it to be book related. (Keep in mind that I like random posts too!)

Basically, it's completely up to you what topic you want to choose. Let your creativity run rampant!

But why should you guest blog, you ask?

The benefits of guest blogging:

1) You'll get some extra publicity for your blog
2) You'll be able to get your opinion/ your thoughts out to a wide audience
3) My blog won't be moldy anymore!
4) I'll love you forever

I'd really be ecstatic to have some guest bloggers on here. If you have something you want people to hear about something regarding YA/MG/ writing/ reading/randomness that you think will be well-suited for my blog, send it over. I'm fine with cross-posting as well, or if you have an older post that you think deserves more attention that's fine too.

And to those of you who are hesitant: JUST DO IT! You can't ruin my blog since it's already ruined by me and the mold so there. I need some of your brilliance here :) *makes puppy-dog face*

Email all guest blogs to chocowrites@gmail.com

Also, if you' re unsure about your blog post idea, you can comment below or shoot me an email/tweet about it as well. I'll try to respond within a reasonable time.


april: aka the slow month

I am alive!

(just in case anyone was wondering).

But I've been pretty inactive in the last few days--I haven't been posting, commenting, or answering emails.

Sorry about that, but I'm afraid it's going to be like this for the next month or so. I mentioned this previously on here before, but for the month of April and a bit of May, I will be posting significantly less than usual. I won't exactly call it a hiatus, but more of a slow-down.

This is due to the approaching horror of torture testing/ a gazillion painful projects & horribleness homework/ more torture testing as I strive to finish this year with my sanity intact.

I don't want to do this: I love blogging and it's just so much fun. I prefer spending a good amount of what little free time I have on this blog. But posting pretty much daily on this blog in the next month will be impossible for me if I want to have any time to study for testing.



Hopefully not a full-on hiatus where you wouldn't hear anything from me for a month.

Let's just say....instead of a deluge of posts, it'll be more like...a treacle trickle. The size of the trickle will depend on how weak-willed I am in resisting the wiles of the Internet.

Can't wait to be back to blogging full-force. In the meanwhile, DON'T LEAVE.

*says in Arnold Schwarzenegger voice*



captivating thursday

Captivating Thursday is a meme hosted by me that showcases beautiful things--whether it be photos, quotes, poetry, music, videos, or anything else that I happen upon.

Just wanted to share one of the most beautiful videos I've ever seen. Watch it!

Are you participating in Captivating Thursday? Link here :)