Friday 29 March 2019

That Time I Loved You by: Carrianne Leung

Genre: Short Fiction
Published: March 27, 2018 by: Harper Collins
Pages: 256
Rating: 5/5 stars

In a shiny new suburb in Scarborough, Ontario, Chinese-American adolescent June carefully watches the diverse population of her neighbourhood. Beneath the seemingly perfect exterior, each household on the block has their secrets, and, when a series of suicides ripple through the community, some secrets will be revealed.

I did not think I would love this book as much as I did! I actually had to read it for my creative writing course, and my class got to video chat with the author and ask her some questions. It was fascinating to hear her perspectives, and I definitely think that I want to read more of her writing.

Growing up in Toronto, I could really relate to the diverse population in the neighbourhood that Leung writes about, and this book really hit me hard. Not only was it gripping, and very shocking, but it also teaches some important lessons of coming of age, and how alike some cultures really are.

This book read like The Virgin Suicides by: Jeffrey Eugenides, but better. I am not a fan of that book as I think it romanticized suicide too much, but this novel handled the harsh theme perfectly. By using the backdrop of the suicides, Leung was able to open up these stories of various neighbours from many cultures in the community, and I truly felt bad for every single one of them. I think the really unique aspect of this short fiction, is how unified all of the stories are. Although each one is from a different character's perspective, they all come together in the end. I think that Leung is really talented in writing stories that come full circle, a technique that I have not yet mastered but that I admire in a lot of authors.

This novel has a lot of harsh themes. A big topic in the book is the aspect of secret keeping, and a lot of these secrets are extremely dark. However, Leung handles them very well. At the end of the novel, there is a strong aspect of hope, which I think is extremely important when handling subject matter such as this. Leung put a lot of thought and care into writing on these subjects.

Overall, as someone who doesn't read a lot of short fiction, this book does not read like it at all. The stories come together so well, that it takes on the format of the average novel. I flew through it and I think Leung is a really gifted writer.

Have you read That Time I Loved You? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 22 March 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: Why I Don't Want to Get Published

If my mom comes across this post she will probably let out a gasp. But seriously, everyone in my personal life has just assumed that since I am pursuing creative writing in school, I want to be a writer as a career. For the purpose of this post, I am talking about being a full-time writer of fiction, because I know there are a ton of jobs that fall under the category of writing. We will get to that later. For a long time, I thought that my lifelong dream was to be published. I knew that you could not exit university and immediately become a bestseller, however I expected to do other things on the side, with the ultimate goal being writing full-time. However, I am now here to exclaim that I do not want to write as a career. Quite frankly, I'm not even sure if I want to get published.

Here's the thing, I have never had the time to finish a work. I pretty much only write fiction when I am doing exercises during my class, however on my spare time, you will never see me just pick up my laptop and start writing. I like to think I have a WIP, but the truth is, I haven't touched it in about a year and the only use it has been to me is using it for university assignments.

I'm beginning to find that I force myself to write. I pick up my laptop expecting to find enjoyment from entering a world of fiction, however I am more focused on checking the time to decide when I can be done. I often feel like I am on some sort of clock, that I need to start forming this WIP because if I want to get published in 5-10 years, the process needs to start now.

The others in my program often talk about their extensive plans to immediately start editing after uni, start sending out query letters, and even self-publishing. However, those goals never excite me. I already get so unbelievably anxious when people in my class edit my work, that the thought of some successful executive at a publishing company reading it makes my heart pound. The truth is, I don't think I will ever be at the point where I want to share my writing with the world.

I understand getting published is a dream that everyone in my program, and pretty much every writer shares, but it's not mine. I am perfectly fine with not worrying about a deadline, with not worrying about my writing being perfect, original, flowing nicely with no plot holes. Instead, I would like to just ramble, to write something that makes no sense and sharing it with myself and myself only. I want to do it for fun, but I don't want to do it for my job.

So recently, a girl in one of my classes who I had helped edit an essay before, asked me to edit something else for her. She said that she loves the feedback I give her and that I would be a great editor. That's when I got thinking, maybe I don't want to write the work, maybe I want to edit it? Now forgive my ignorance, I honestly have no idea if you can even edit professionally without having published anything yourself, but I really want to expand my editing skills and maybe see if I can reach out to others and lend my expertise. I understand that editing does fall under the category of a writing job, but I quite like the idea of keeping my personal writing to myself, and helping others who have a dream that I just cannot share.

So I've finally said it: I don't think getting published is for me. The process, quite frankly, stresses me out, and I don't think I will ever even finish something that is worth being put out there. This is not me just being cynical, or "giving up," this is just me being a realist. And this is certainly NOT me telling anyone else that there's no point in them trying to get published either. I have just found that with my habits, my anxieties, and my future, publishing just doesn't line up with it. Who knows, maybe one day I will change my mind, but for now, I'm just living my life without that goal in mind.

What are some of your writing goals?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 15 March 2019

Poetry Review: Secrets of a Broken Heart by: Lee Martens

*Please note, I received a copy of this poetry collection from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Genre: Poetry
Published: October 26, 2018 by: Secret Midnight Press
Pages: 216
Rating: 4/5 stars

In this poetry collection, Lee Martens explores themes of love, heartbreak, mental health and healing. Using poems of varying lengths, Martens uses her past experiences of journeying into adulthood to guide the reader along a path of healing after a heartbreak. Her poems each tell a different journey, but all stem from the same goal: sometimes when you have a broken heart, you need to learn to pick up the pieces and heal yourself.

I'll be honest, I don't read a lot of poetry. I will pretty much always pick up the standard book over a poetry collection in a book store. I think I've also harboured some resentment towards it in the past because I have never been able to write it myself haha! However, I usually find that when I do read it, it is extremely easy to get through and easy to get lost in. That is exactly what I found with this collection.

I loved the themes in this collection, as sometimes the meanings in poetry can go straight over my head and I don't understand them. However, these poems had a sort of simplicity to them, they didn't try too hard to be overly metaphorical, instead, they spoke for themselves. And I thought that was beautiful.

I had a special appreciation for the poem, "Unrealistic Television." As an avid watcher of dating shows, particularly The Bachelor, that one really stuck with me. I also liked the poems that dealt with some sort of holiday or special event, such as "Valentine's Day," and "I Wrote this On my Birthday." I felt as if those poems really gave me the sense that the collection was moving me through a passage of time, almost a year in the life, and it was really cool.

I wasn't able to give this collection a perfect review, and that's just simply because of personal preference. Like I mentioned before, I tend to prefer regular books over poetry collections, so I don't think that poetry will ever really resonate with me as much as the average book does. That being said, I'm still really happy I gave this book a shot, and I think that if you are a regular poetry reader, it is worth checking this one out!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Thursday 7 March 2019

Month in Review: February

This is LONG overdue, but the shortness of the month underestimated me, so this post is going up in March. I am not one to stray from routine! Here's what happened in February:

What I Read:

Mockingjay by: Suzanne Collins: 4/5 stars
Divergent by: Veronica Roth: 4/5 stars
The Prisoner and the Chaplain by: Michelle Berry: 5/5 stars
Abeng by: Michelle Cliff: 3/5 stars

Favourite Book: I had to read The Prisoner and the Chaplain for my creative writing class, and the exciting thing is, I am going to interview the author! This is a fantastic crime novel from a great Canadian author.

What I Blogged:

I really enjoyed my compilation of Books for People Who Hate Reading. It was fun revisiting some old favourites!

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Lais discusses Outlining Characters vs. Outlining Plots 

Cee asks: What is a Wall? 

Life Stuff: 

February flew by! I had my reading week, so I got to go home from uni, which was really nice. I also started therapy, ended therapy, and now am starting up therapy again! It's a long story (sighs) but, I think I am finally starting to sort out my issues :)

I am really looking forward to this month because it is the last full month of the school year! Then I can relax, and hopefully have a great summer.

That was my February! How was yours?

Emily @ Paperback Princess