What I Realized in 2013

What I realized in 2013:

-That it’s hard to find time to read in college.
-That I’m starting to become kinda picky about the books I want to read.
-That although I’ve had the goal of reading 100 books in a year since 2009, I do not see it ever happening in the near future.

Here’s the thing: I’m not upset or confused about any of these three things. And if you find yourself agreeing with any of the things above, you shouldn’t be upset either.

I mean, yes, I would’ve love to have more reading time. But between classes, clubs, and commenting, it really isn’t possible. This past semester, I managed to read about two books a month. Since I had so little time, finding the time to read was nice. It felt special to get captured by a good story. I also know what it feels like to miss reading; which makes reading better when I actually do (that makes sense, right).

Second, I’m obviously getting older. I’m in a new place with new experiences. My taste in books is changing because I’m changing. I noticed that I’m not that interested in a lot of YA books anymore and am more interested in NA and now even a little bit of non-fiction. At first, I was a little upset about this, since YA books are all ever read and that my blog is a YA book blog; but I finally realized there is nothing to be upset about. So what if I like different kind of books? They’re still books; I’m still reading.

I also haven’t stopped reading YA books; actually they’re still a majority of what I read. I’m just not as interested in certain types of plots. This though, gives me the chance to read other story lines.

Last, reading 100 books is still possible, even though I don’t think it will happen. Back in 2009 when I first made that goal, I sometimes read a book really quickly because I just wanted to finish it. I didn’t read into all of the details of the book and didn’t enjoy the story it was telling. When reading a book, you’re supposed to read it for yourself; for your own enjoyment and at your own pace.

Since I have never accomplished this goal, I still have hope of doing so. One day. (:

What I also realized in 2013:

-I feel accomplished every time I write a blog post. I also realized the fact that my blog is small.
-The reason why I am going into my major.
-That some required reading in college is really interesting.

To begin, I know I rarely post. I know that I manage to put out about 2 or 3 posts a month. Honestly, I don’t mind that I post only a little. Blogging is fun, but it isn’t my life. I love to read and I love book blogging, and I have found a way to still incorporate it into my life even with my busy schedule.

Thank you to all of my blog followers. I’ve said this many times and I’m saying it again: I appreciate and I am thankful for your support ❤

Second, I am hoping to be a Marketing major (well really, a Marketing & Advertising Communications major). Going into college, all I knew was that I wanted to work in book publishing. This semester I realized that the reason I want to go into book publishing is to make a change to the way books are marketed. I want promote diversity in books. As of right now the marketing for diverse books is slowly changing and becoming more prominent, but it isn't yet. I hope to find a job one day that will allow me to to make it prominent.

Lastly, reading is a wonderful thing. It lets your mind wander and opens you up to a completely different world. I didn't think required readings in college would be that interesting; but some books were very interesting. I enjoyed the readings from some of my classes, and I hope you did too. I know that a reading from class makes the book less desirable, but keep an open mind; it's required for a reason.

All in all, 2013 was a decent year for me. I read about 40something books and started to blog about the New Adult genre. What are some of the things you guys noticed about yourself in 2013?

I wish you all a wonderful new year! Here's a toast to all the memories of 2013, and the ones to come in 2014 (:

Religion in YA & NA– Or well, Lack Thereof

I have actually had this topic on my mind for quite awhile. Okay, really I thought about it almost a year ago but never decided to write down my thoughts until recently. After finishing Lisa Desrochers’s  A Little Too Far, I decided to sit down and put my thoughts on paper. In the book, Alessandro Moretti has given his life to God…He’s also one of the few book characters that I’ve noticed that is influenced heavily by religion.

Think about it. Can you name five novels off the top of your head that mention religion? Or well, religion in a serious matter? While I typed this post, I can think of two – the book mentioned above and When We Wake by Karen Healy. I’ve read hundreds of books and yet, I can only mention two when it comes to the topic of religion…interesting, isn’t it?

This is what makes me think. Why do books generally stray away from religion? Now, I’m mainly only going to be talking about young adult [and sorta kinda New Adult since A Little too Far is NA] books; I’m sure that there are more adult novels that deal with religion than there are in the YA genre. Why is this?

Religion is part of human culture. No matter where you are from, the people from your country have beliefs of higher beings, or higher meanings of life. No matter where you go, a majority of the population identifies with a certain religion. Clearly, most of the United States is Christian. Not only that, but there are many other prominent religions in the US that grow every day.

Almost every YA book I read barely mentions religion. This confuses me. No matter where I go, I meet someone who identifies with a certain religion. I know people who live very religiously; I also know people who laugh at religion, and other people that are atheist. If, as one person, I am encountering all of this diversity, shouldn’t characters in books be the same?

Over time, I have decided that authors do not write religion into books because they want to connect with as many readers as they can. [I know that in most cases, the character writes the story, not the author, but I’m gonna disregard that for the moment.] It’s true; I know more teens/young adults that are not religious. I come to the conclusion that people that are not religious do not want to read about religion, especially if it’s something he or she doesn’t believe in. By having a book stay neutral, the book has a better chance of becoming more popular.

As much as I understand this, I do not think that should be the reason [if that is the reason] why religion isn’t put into books. I loved reading When We Wake because a few prominent characters are Muslim. I’m not Muslim, but I found it really cool to be reading about a different religion. Personally, I love reading about other cultures and learning about the way other people live.

So to all writers: if your faith is calling to be put onto paper, do not hesitate to do so. Religion is very important in human lives, whether it is a part of your life or not. Fiction, although unrealistic, still portrays real aspects of the human life; religion is one of the main aspects. When I talk about wanting more diversity in books, I’m not just talking about characters of color; I want all the aspects of life that make it beautiful.

Now my questions to you: Why do you think religion isn’t prominent in YA? And have you read any books where religion stands out?

Movie Thoughts: City of Bones

[WARNING – There are spoilers if you have not yet read the book.]

If you are an avid YA book reader, I’m sure you have heard of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. If not, then I do not consider you an avid YA book reader. Still, I’m sure you’ve heard that The City of Bones was just released in movie form on Wednesday. (And yes, City of Bones is originally a book.)

I became a fan of the series back in 2008, back when I was an 8th grader. Five years later, I’m heading into college and this novel is finally a movie. My first reaction: YEAHHH; my second reaction: I really hope they don’t screw it up.

Well, I went to see City of Bones Wednesday night with two of my friends – one of which happens to love that series to death, and the other one who enjoys it, but not as much as I do. Three different girls – who like the series on different levels – all went to see the movie, and had similar reactions.

Here are my thoughts:

On the Actors:

Honestly, I wasn’t too sure about Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace. I never pictured him as Jace; I still didn’t see him as Jace walking into that movie theater. But, I’m glad to say that I thought wrong. Not only does his voice scream JACEWAYLAND to me, the way he moves is pretty Jace-ish (he has the Jace swagger).

To continue, I love Lily Collins as Clary. Lily is absolutely gorgeous, and even though she is older, I think she can play the part of a 17 year old well. I was very happy with her performance as Clary.

I also think the actors for Simon and Isabelle portrayed the characters well. The one character that I couldn’t get intp was Alec, played by Kevin Zegers. Alec is supposed to be 18, and I just think Kevin Zegers looks way too old to play Alec…

On the book-to-movie adaptation:

I haven’t read the book in a while, therefore I wasn’t too critical about the way the movie turned out. The movie includes important scenes and memorable quotes from the book, which I was very happy about. But the way the scenes appear in the movie are not in the order that they appear in the book.

There are many parts of the storyline that are changed to fit the ‘movie appeal.’ Some of the changes annoyed me, and some of them didn’t. For example, the whole plot twist of the book (when Jace and Clary find out that they are supposedly siblings) is introduced in a way that is creative for a movie, but nowhere near how it is done the book. Also, some of the movie has awkward pacing and flow. There’s a scene in the movie where Clary goes to see Magnus Bane for information, and it is paced really weirdly and rushed.

The way Valentine looks also really bothered my friends and I. Yes, he’s attractive, but he has the sleezybadguy look going on. They give him braids and dark hair…just no. (Valentine is supposed to have white-blonde hair, by the way.) We all agree that Valentine was given the typical villain look, and the fact that they did that is disappointing, since he isn’t supposed to physically appear that way.

Also, I think the action scenes are done well. They’re exciting and really bring all of the detail from the book to life.

And the CGI for the demons are also pretty scary. They freaked me out! Which is good, since they’re supposed to do that.

Other comments:

What really confused me is the accents that some of the characters have. When is Jace supposed to have an accent? Or Isabelle, or Jocelyn? And why does Isabelle have an accent, when her brother Alec, does not? It wasn’t a major concern for me while watching the movie; I’m just curious to know why the directors decided on accents.

In the end…

I thought the movie was decent. No, it does not match up with the book 100%. And yes, I still think the book is a lot better. But would I go see it again? Yeah. I think it’s worth seeing if you’re a fan of the books. If you haven’t yet read the books, I think watching this movie is going to be really confusing, but enticing since it leaves you on a cliff hanger.

Last but not least, THE GREEN HOUSE SCENE. IT WAS AMAZING. And Jace & Clary’s kiss? Absolutely perfect.

Have you guys seen City of Bones? Thoughts?

Transition from YA

Ever since my blog has been born, I have been a book blog. And since this blog has been a book blog, I have primarily focused on books/novels that fell under the Young Adult category (aka ‘teen books’). Therefore, Lost in Believing has been known as a YA book blog.

This fall, I am going to be attending Baruch College in Manhattan – which makes me a freshman  in college. In a month, I will be turning 18; thus beginning my slow transition from young adult books to adult books. But wait, getting older does not necessarily mean I will be transitioning from one genre to the next, just more likely.

I am writing this post to let you know that this blog will not just be a young adult blog anymore. From this point on, I will be blogging about books that fall under the ‘New Adult’ category, and yes, also books that fall under the plain old ‘Adult’ category. Honestly, this blog will probably remain mostly a YA book blog, but I wanted to let you guys know that those books will not be the only books I will be talking about.

What is New Adult?

Here is a wonderful answer from NA Alley:

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood.

Protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.

If you want to learn more about the new genre, head over to NA Alley; they know their stuff.

As of right now, I’ve only read one book that is classified as NA, but I have a list of NA books on my TBR list AND I’m on the e-mail list for a bunch of NA book tours and news. This fall begins a whole new part of my life, and I’m excited to introduce a new part to my blog.

I know a lot of you have been with me from the start, and I know that I’m not the only one that’s getting older. If you aren’t already familiar with NA, I hope I’m able to introduce you to it!

Leave me any thoughts or comments below. And here’s to the future (:

Come to the Dark Side – They Have E-books [The Positives & Negatives]

I would like to talk about my transition from print books to e-books, and everything in-between. Originally, I had been that person who didn’t want to read anything electronic. I like physical things: the way a book looks, smells, and feels. I’m selfish. If I’m going to get any object, I want it to be tangible. If I’m not able to appreciate the physicality of something, then it’s not worth it.

Yes, e-books were the sensible way to go. Not only did they cost less, you could also carry as many of them as you wanted to at once. They made sense. But at the same time, they didn’t have any of the things that I adored about a book.

A year ago, I read e-books. I only had my little iPod Touch to read on (and that kinda sucked). Why did I do it? Netgalley. Netgalley was the reason I started to branch into the world of e-books. I needed stories to review and Netgalley offered them; except to read them, I had to try something new.

Today, I am all for e-books. In the past few months, I noticed that half of the books I read are electronic. At the same time, that happens to be due to the fact that the publisher that sends me books to review is now only sending titles out electronically. I was devastated when I found out; one, because I didn’t have an e-reader and two, because how could an e-book replace any physical book?! Thankfully, my friend gave me her old Nook.

Let me tell you, the Nook fascinated me. Some of my friends already started to read electronically, but I hadn’t played around with any e-reader until that day. I was afraid that reading on a device would bother my eyes if I stared at it too long; thankfully, that wasn’t the case. The older version of the Nook places the text on a screen that resembles paper – it doesn’t even have a backlight! With my device, I’m not able to read in the dark. Although that should bother me, I find it kinda cool that I’m not able to read in the dark. A physical book doesn’t have a backlight, and the no backlight feature reminds me of a physical book.

Now, if you’re the person that is absolutely against e-books (which I’m thinking a little under half of you are; my poll told me that only 55% of you read e-books), I’m letting you know that I’ve been there. I didn’t want to transition because I wanted all of the physical things a book could give me that an e-book could not. Although I am no longer anti-ebook, I still prefer physical books. I will always prefer an actual book. Still, if you ever get the chance to try out an e-book I suggest that you do so.

Here are the good and bad things of e-books compared to physical books:

Positives:

  • They are significantly cheaper.
  • You are able to carry as many books with you that your device will allow.
  • There are plenty of free e-books. If you browse websites, there are plenty of free books for you to peruse. If you don’t recognize the author or title, don’t skip it! There are plenty of free e-books out there that are decent reads.
  • A lot of popular authors come out with e-books as an addition to one of their other books or series. I’ve noticed a lot of YA authors have little prologues or extra stories that add on to popular characters and plots.
  • You are able to get ebooks whenever you want them (as long as you have internet). There is no need to go out to your local bookstore or library.
  • You are able to lend e-books to other people.
  • Your device allows you to take notes and bookmark pages.

Negatives:

  • You can’t physically hold said book in your hand.
  • You cannot sniff said book and smell that wonderful ink and paper smell.
  • There are no details to be seen on the cover, jacket design, pages or spine.
  • An author cannot sign the book. I mean, he/she can, but an electronic signature is definitely not the same as an actual one.
  • You are not able to turn to a certain page as quickly as you would be able to in a physical book.

There are a significant amount of positives and negatives, just like anything else. I went to the dark side, and I’m thinking that a lot of other people will end up transitioning too.

I was talking to my dad the other day about my future (since I’m going to college and all). I told him that my current goal is to work in book publishing when I get out of college. Instead of supporting me like a good parent, he stated his thoughts on how he thinks that publishing is dying. His reason for this: everything is going electronic. Of course I argued against him; there will always be people who will want those print books. Print books have been here as long as humans have been. Civilization started with written language, and with written language brings stories, fiction or non-fiction…

I want to hear what you think. Do you read ebooks or are you only print books? What do you think about publishing? Which way do you think society will lean towards? Leave your thoughts below!

Poll: Do you read e-books?

I’ve been curious…

Teenagers and Reading

On occasion my friends raid my bookshelf and borrow four to five books at a time. I was walking home from one of said friend’s houses with a pile of books in my arms.  While walking home, I passed a man walking his dog. I said hello, the dog yipped and sniffed at me and the man just stared. He looked at his dog and said “Oh she’s carrying books! You don’t see that today.” [Yes, I’m retelling verbatim.] He then proceeded to mumble about how children these days don’t look up from their phones, and seeing me with an arm-load of books was a nice sight.

Now, I do not usually walk around public places with a ton of books. In school I usually only carry one, but it depends on the day. Usually, I’m that teen on my phone. Okay, maybe not since I don’t have a smart phone or anything. But I’m someone who fits into both categories. Just because you don’t normally see someone carrying a ton of books doesn’t mean they aren’t carrying a ton of books in their mind.

My point: Are teens actually reading less – or does it just appear to be that way?

I’ve heard it before. You have probably heard it before. That teenagers – or well, Americans in general – are reading less. I searched ‘teen reading statistics united states’ into Google and the first site [National Endowment for the Arts] that popped up says that 15-24  year olds spend “only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading” compared to the “two hours a day watching TV.”

Now I’m all for promoting literacy and all that, but I started questioning how true these statistics were. This week in school I carried around The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because it was so-fantastic-that-I-couldn’t-put-it-down and unfortunately because it was mid-term week, I had to put it down. During class, I had a conversation with one of my guy friends; it went like this:

Guy Friend: What are you reading?
Me: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s amazing.
Guy Friend: I know.
Me: …
Guy Friend: Yeah, I read it.
Me: You read it?!

And then I proceeded to squeal. I’ve known this kid for four years and I just found out that he reads outside of school. It shouldn’t have come as a shock to me, but it did. It was really cool finding out that he read YA books too. It was also cool that he’s a guy, because it’s harder to find a guy that reads YA books.

Now, teens are supposedly reading less. Maybe I’m just in denial, but maybe they really aren’t. Maybe the kids-that-are-reading ratio has been the same as the kids-that-don’t-read for a while. Maybe the statistics are right. But maybe the statistics are not truly accurate because people read in what I like to call “secret” – they read, but don’t voice that they do because they have no reason to.

I don’t know about you, but I know a lot more people who have picked up a book for enjoyment than someone who has never read a book for fun before.