A World of Love

This month we’ve embarked on a series of romance books, and we come today to the second installment: global romantic literature. I think many of my American readers will have read at least one of the books in my last post, but today we are going to go what may be new territory for you.

Global Romantic Literature

Today we will visit Japan, Russia, and France via some of their books. Be emotionally prepared that things will get pretty rough in these books, because the concept that “Romance=happy cheerful books that always have great endings” is a pretty modern invention, and we are delving into the history of the genre today.

The Tale of Genji

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Probably the most globally well known Japanese book- not including famous manga series because that’s sort of considered a different category of story telling in America at least- The Tale of Genji is also really interesting because it was written by one of the earliest female writers in the world. Murasaki Shikibu, like all women of her time, was not allowed to be taught the sophisticated characters called Kanji every book before her was written in. The uneducated and women were restricted to writing in the basic letters of hiragana, which were made to be simple looking versions of complicated kanji- with the association that it was for simple people. The author was one of the first to write an entire novel in the only form of literacy available to her, but the plot was not simple at all.

It follows our main character who goes from riches to rags, plus the women he loved and his affairs, and how much each of his romances sucked. It’s sort of riches to rags to riches meets family drama, and a romance colors every stage of the story because honestly wooing the ladies is just Genji’s favorite hobby.

In modern terms this book might not sound super interesting. But if you are the kind of person who likes to hear all the juicy details of Becky’s on again and off again relationship with Todd who she sometimes dumps to be with Corey, then you might really be into the novel version of that kind of every day drama. In book terms that means if you really liked the love triangle aspect in Twilight this might be right up your alley.

Anna Karenina

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Apparently you can buy the vintage book on Etsy (photo props not included)

As this one is not a British classic it wasn’t taught in any of the literature classes I took in school, or even college. (Funnily enough “Genji” was, but that’s just because I took a Japanese class in Highschool, for all the good that did me.) That said, it’s definitely a classic- just a Russian one. If you like drama, drama, drama, then this is for you. It’s sort of like Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars and Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” all rolled up in one huge drama of affairs and divorce and spurned love.

Le Grand Meaulnes

9780141441894Called in the English translation “The Lost Estate,” this has become a must read for me. Be forwarned: this French classic is a tragedy. At least I consider it one. All the pieces were lined up for this to be a beautiful perfect happily ever after, but then the characters had to go and ruin it. That’s probably exactly why this is considered a top must read of all French books ever written, according to the French, according to a survey taken of a few French people.Is that complicated enough for you? It gets worse. The plot in this thing twists and turns. As before this has affairs, and heart breaks, and a lot of messiness going on (but the good kind of plot messiness that makes a story juicy, not the lazy plot hole variety at all.)

Which of these books have you read before? Which would you add to your TBR pile?

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Locked on Love

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Every day somewhere in the world people get married, or start dating. Sometimes these couples will show their love with a lock placed on a bridge or fence to show they are locked together for the long haul. Sometimes they’ll show is by exchanging a wedding ring, or a partnership ring. They might raise children or a dog together, or buy a house together.

But those things happen infrequently, or maybe even only once.

So they will remind each other how much they care with yearly tokens on the fourteenth of February.

Valentine’s Day

Whether with flowers, or chocolates (Fun fact, in America traditionally the chocolates are given by the men to their ladies within straight couples, but in Japan women make chocolates for their man), or even cards that just for this holiday are called valentines, it’s important to make sure your loved ones remember you love them.

I don’t like limiting the holiday just to romantic loved ones, though.

#ForeverAlone

I think it really is essential for couples to do small shows of caring, especially since not everyone feels love the same way and it’s easy to let showing you care get lost in the business of life.

That said, I think it’s especially important to let your other loved ones know you care. Be sure to give a few candies or a card to your friends and coworkers, make a special meal for your immediate family, or take your single friend out for lunch and just spend time with them as a friend- of course remembering not to mention the holiday itself or anything about your own love life to avoid the risk of making them feel like an outsider on a holiday that leaves many broken hearted or feeling hopeless and alone.

Most of all just show you care, to the people you care about.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Little Love is Worth a Lot

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A little love is worth a lot

Because even a little is better than none.

And no one has quite an idea of what they’ve wrought

When a person who had no one,

suddenly has a someone.

And you don’t need to have romance in your heart,

Just to care about someone is quite enough-

After all, there are many kinds of love,

But to survive a person needs to receive at least one.

 

Love, Luck, and Literature

With a little bit of luck, most people will someday and at some point in their lives fall in love. Maybe not right away, but sometime.

I am one of those people who is not content with the idea of “someday”, and I’d like to fall in love right now, thank-you-very-much. After all, I may be an author- but I am still in my twenties. I have dreams.

Thankfully, this is the month where it isn’t completely disgustingly soppy to read your heart out through the history of romantic fiction. This month we are going to start a series focused on different genres of Romantic Fiction. Up first today we have:

Classical Romance Books

We’ve been going over classical books every Wednesday for the past few months, and today is no different. Here are my top three picks for interesting classic love stories.

Pride and Prejudice

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Penguin’s annotation free edition

This image matches the exact edition of the book “Pride and Prejudice” that is sitting on my bookshelf at this very moment. I love it. I’m not a fan of everything Jane Austen wrote (in fact this is the only book of hers I would give five stars to) but I still think it’s great. I think it’s a love story that can connect to many people- two people who don’t understand each other and don’t get along eventually come to realize they are actually very similar and end up seeing each other more clearly and falling in love because of it. It’s a messy plot, which I think makes sense because love is a rather messy thing for most people. The very beginning of the book has been called slow by many people; but the thing to remember is that even though the romance itself does not start on page one, family drama worthy of any modern sitcom most certainly does. And I must admit, I like family dramas. After all, I wrote one as my first book.

You can check out many free versions of the classic online or in any ebook market (Amazon, etcetera), or you can find a lot of copies with notes on the plot itself or included historical notes to give you a better understanding of the setting and how it affects to story.

Jane Eyre

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Penguin’s edition of the book

This one is possibly even more famous than the last. Charlotte Bronte wrote a book that is moody and what many find to be a perfect antidote to happy peppy love stories. Jane’s childhood is plagued by abuse and neglect, and then her adulthood is plagued by poverty and heartbreak when she finds the one man she finally falls in love with is unattainable- because he already has a wife?!? Then the plot rambles about a bit in more desperate circumstances until things finally settle down.

 

I won’t lie, it isn’t the fastest paced book out there. But keep in mind many classical books move super slowly because the authors were paid by the word and had the financial incentive to stretch things out to be as long as possible- kind of like when you have two thousand more words due for your essay but you’ve already covered all your points so you resort to adding junky filler material.

I still think it’s worth a read, especially if most romance stories are a little too grossly cheerful and cheesy for you. You’ll find none of that nonsense in here. I especially recommend this to anyone who loved “Me Before You” and “Me After You”, but keep in mind this one does actually have a fairly happy ending.

North and South

9781496081797This book delves into a romance between an industrialist- one of the many men of the Victorian era hiring even children to work in factories and paying his workers so little they can hardly afford their daily bread and skipping the expense of any safety equipment in the factories- and the woman who loves him even though she is fighting for worker’s rights and the betterment of the working class. The big divide between their morality would make many think that a romance couldn’t work for them, but do they figure out a way to a happy ever after somehow? Read on to find out.

 

 

Which of these would you read?

I feel personally betrayed by this discovery…

Hello friends. As most of you know, I am an author. This basically means I am a full time literature nerd. So, obviously, I like to occasionally dive into learning about my language itself. (Note: I like the history, but please note this DOES NOT mean I have perfect grammar or mechanics in my posts. My books are only close to that level of mechanic perfection because my editor rocks. )

I’ve previously done a collosallialy nerdtastic series of posts on the history and birth of our language from Latin, French, German, and bits and bobs from other languages, as well as what “Old English” actually means. But today I was enjoying a video on YouTube about rare punctuation (it’s basically the book dragon’s version of rare Pepe memes) when tragedy struck and I realized the one letter in the alphabet I had yearned for my whole life had once existed before we abandoned it. Did you know we once had a letter to resent the “th” sound??? Did you realize we once had spellings that were a little less phonetically confusing? And to find out we lost this just because early German printing houses didn’t want to be bothered to install an additional letter on their presses. Imagine my outrage at this! It hit me even harder than Pluto being kicked out of the planet club.

https://www. youtu.be/zUrDUxh5xS0

I am fairly tempted to write a post with the letter time left behind someday just so I can feel like a rebellious hero of letter dom. Not right now, because I’m lazy, but maybe someday.

What do you think about this revelation? Do you have a favorite extinct letter?

Adventures in The Forest

The forest is a pretty magical place to me, but it’s not that way all the time. Any part of nature can be treacherous and threaten your life. Especially if you live in it all alone without the conveniences of modern life to show to you from danger. Today were going to dive in to some classic and some new adventure books based in the wild!

Hatchet

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Hatchet is an adventure classic, a straightforward tale of a boy who ventures into the world alone and must fight against the forces of nature which threaten to kill him even while his secret tries to tear him apart.

My Side of The Mountain

Sam is a 12-year-old boy who hates his family's cramped New York City apartment and decides to run away to his great-grandfather's abandoned farm in the Catskill Mountains. He reads a book about wilderness survival and uses his fledgling skills to stay alive: camping, hunting, and even making a peregrine falcon named Frightful his pet and hunting companion. Inspired an entire generation of kids including probably Richie Tenenbaum to be fascinated by falconry, and was named to the the Newbery Medal Honors list in 1960.

This was one of my dad’s favorite books growing up, but it took me a few chapters to warm up to it. Naturally, when I was forced to read it in school, I wasn’t a fan of it at first just because I was against the principal of assigned reading. once I really got into it though I was a big fan of this! It’s a classic survival book, yes, but it’s cool in the clever ideas he uses for said survival. I will definitely be reading this!

The Sign of the Beaver

It's 1769 and 12-year-old Matt is left on his own in the wilderness while his father resettles their family. He befriends a 14-year-old Native American chief's grandson named Attean and learns to hunt and fish, and is eventually invited to join the tribe and move north. Some of the descriptions of native culture in this book are dated, but the underlying message is of acceptance and understanding.

This book is a little different because it relies on teamwork for the hero to survive. it’s a pretty historical novel, not really because it’s old but because some of the cultural portrayals are. That said a story of a boy basically abandoned by his family coming to find his identity through friendship with someone who is supposedly his enemy by virtue of race alone is both interesting and encouraging. I flipped through it, but I definitely intend to sit down and read it front to back someday soon.

Have you tried these books? What adventure books are your favorites?

Teen Dragon Mischief! Character Profiles: Aeron

In the Shadeworld books,  Aeron is a major player. And by that I mean main character not, you know, an actual player.

My character reference for Aeron

He’s a Dragon. He’s the crown Prince of the entire Shadeworld and all of the magical beings who live there. He’s also one of the most popular guys on campus at Tybolt Hall, a highschool in Wisconsin, USA- so he goes to human school instead of dragon school. which is pretty weird, yeah.

He’s a very interesting character. He’s not sweet, not at all, but he still cares about people. A lot. But he’s also a jerk to people. for some reason he always tries to hide that he’s a bit of a softy. Sure, he gets into fights and starts kingdom scale drama. But he also gives a lot of vacation time and really good pay to his employees at the palace and he’s trying to reform his kingdom’s laws to make life better for his subjects.

All his subjects seem to see, though, is that he fails academically over and over again due to problems humans on earth call learning disabilities. Much of his kingdom sees him as a dumb brute, and it feels like his brother sees him in the same way. His dad at least knows his true capabilities, though having the inheritance of the monarchy in his future doesn’t heal the brotherly divide.

Adventures in The Snow

I recently completed a post on awesome classic adventure books based in the jungle. You guys seemed to be fans of it, so I will take this series further!

The Call of the Wild

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This classic tale is about a man, his dogs, and the struggle to survive. I’m particularly drawn to rereading this right now because I feel I struggle to survive with how the weather has been very gross this winter!

Balto, but the book

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic by [Salisbury, Gay, Salisbury, Laney]

I think everyone has heard of the heroic dog named Balto. The story of a sled team racing to get medicine during a pandemic is still well known thanks to a 90s  animated movie. THIS version, however, is a little more grown-up and a lot more factual! I’m a major dog nut, some definitely reading this.

Winterkill

Winterkill

Something old, something new, right? I wanted to feature a more recent adventure book because it’s awesome. “Outside the gates of Emmeline’s village is a horror no one stupid enough to tempt. But facing the unknown might be the only way to escape the evil hiding among their own…” this is on my must read list for winter and I think it just might end up on yours too.

Have you read any of these books? Can you recommend your own favorite adventure novels?

Meet the Cast of the Shadeworld! Character Profiles: Alyss

I thought it would be fun to do something a little bit different today! I’ve been working on the Shadeworld series for a long time, and publishing them for a few months now, so I wanted to touch base with all of you and add some fun bonus content on here. Let me know if you like this sort of post!

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This is my character reference for Alyss!

Alyss

This girl isn’t so great at being social, but she really wants to be. Her serious approach to life makes some keep their distance from her, but she can still let loose and have fun when there’s the opportunity. Alice uses big words, but she’s not stuffy. She is, however, a little headstrong and willing to jump into a situation she knows nothing about if she feels something unjust is going down!

Alice has brown hair, is a little short, and a nondescript size. With her personality and attributes combined, she probably would be completely ignored by her fellow students if she hadn’t spent her life in primarily white neighborhoods where her darker skin tone stood out so much.

One of the first characters we really meet in this book, Alyss is a girl with her eyes on the prize. After growing up in poor health and with distant parents, she’s desperate to form new relationships and close connections now that she’s moved to a new school and neighborhood. Problems crop up in her social life right away though when I she meets the control freak Aaron who’s weirdly obsessed with her. Besides how weird the people in town and school are, though, there just seems to be something fishy about them – something almost magical!

 

I Hit Publish Today!

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I think hitting publish is one thing I’ll never grow tired of. This second book in the series had its ups and downs, I’ll admit- fiddling with trying to figure out how to format a paperback edition of the first book in the series ended up consuming all of December so I had to push this book back a few weeks to January instead- but we got here. The edit was once again done by Carol Rushing (a professional editor, unlike typo prone me) and the cover was done once again by Beetiful Book Designs, so I have a gorgeous professional quality book.

Even better, this time the story spends almost no time on Earth, so we get to spend more action with dragons, nymphs, wizards, vampires, and the Shadeworld! I know you liked the first book in the series, but I’m sure you’ll love this one as much as I do.