Friday 24 May 2019

Re-Reading The Hunger Games: My Thoughts

This post is well overdue since I am already into summer but- remember that YA fiction course I took where I discussed Twilight? Well, we discussed The Hunger Games too and I thought I'd do a post on it as well! This post will be comprised of all three books in the trilogy, because most of my thoughts are the same across the entire series. So, here's what it was like to re-read The Hunger Games series, eight years later!

Let me start off by saying, that when I first read the series in 2011, I hated it. I thought the first book was ok, but as the series progressed I found it boring and confusing. Come to think of it now, I honestly think that I personally hadn't matured enough to fully understand the intense political themes in the series. Now more than ever, I have a new appreciation for all that Suzanne Collins was trying to convey.

My professor pointed out that the romance isn't the central plot in this series, as opposed to Twilight, and I would totally agree. Instead, I think we get a really in-depth look at political divide, as well as some allusions to the two opposing sides of the political spectrum. Hear me out, the Capitol represents heavy spending, frivolousness, a divide between the rich and poor. In Mockingjay, District 13 is presented as radically opposed to the Capitol, everyone is equal, though their rebellious tactics aren't exactly moral. I think that Collins did a great job at capturing the difference between the two extremes of the political spectrum. It all totally makes sense to me now!

When I got to Catching Fire, I reminded myself how much I love Finnick Odair. His character development is truly 10/10 and my professor pointed out how awesome it was that he didn't really portray hegemonic masculinity as much as Gale did. Finnick should be protected at all costs.

I found myself being less interested in whether or not Katniss chooses Peeta or Gale and more on whether or not she would be swayed by Snow or Coin. The ending of Mockingjay was so unbelievably epic and should go down as one of the greatest plot twists in history. While my class did have a bit of a problem with the epilogue, and I agree, I do think it reduced the power of Katniss' character a lot, I would still say that the ending is satisfying.

Overall, I am really happy that I found a new appreciation for this series. It is political, powerful, and presents morally ambiguous characters that you can root for and somehow also end up hating. I loved every second of this re-read.

Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 17 May 2019

There's Something About Sweetie by: Sandhya Menon

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 14, 2019 by: Simon Pulse
Rating: 5/5 stars

Ashish Patel, fresh from being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, has completely lost his sense of self. His parents insist they can find him a great Indian-American girl to date, and this search ends in Sweetie, a track star whose traditional parents often remind her how much she lacks due to her weight. As Sweetie and Ashish begin to date, Ashish begins to rekindle the romance he once thought was dead, and Sweetie breaks out of her shell and owns herself for who she is. There's Something About Sweetie is a heartwarming companion to When Dimple Met Rishi, that includes lovable characters, witty humour, and a Bollywood reference or two.

I loved this book! I was really curious to see what Menon would do with the Dimple and Rishi world, and this book was that answer. I thought it was really cool to see what Rishi's brother has been up to, and how the two differ from one another. Sweetie was such an awesome main character, and Menon did a great job at writing a fat main character whose worth does not diminish due to her weight. This book is of course, also #ownvoices when it comes to Indian representation, and I very much appreciated every reference to Indian food and culture. Being half Pakistani, I could understand a lot of Ashish's and Dimple's family structures and thought it was extremely accurate.

I liked this book because it was simple, straight to the point, and it was very realistic. Ashish and Sweetie are just two ordinary teens trying to find themselves. They aren't written to be these grand philosophical characters who have everything figured out, and I think that's what makes them very relatable. Their relationship is slow to start and very pure, and I found myself rooting for them every step of the way.

Overall, I thought this was a fun romance that is also incredibly diverse. It is easy to get through, and the ending satisfied my love of the world of Dimple, Rishi, and their friends and family. This was a positive book that I think all should read if you love some fluffy romance!

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 10 May 2019

Paperback's Pondering's: My Favourite Resources for Writing for Fun!

As some of you may know, I put up a blog post recently about Why I Don't Want to Get Published anymore. I just find writing to be a tedious task when I do it with the intent of it being shared with the world. I don't want writing to be a "job." Thankfully, since coming to this revelation, I have started enjoying writing for fun a lot more, and have been using some resources to help. Here is how I like to write for fun:

1. Writing in the "500 Writing Prompts Book"

Check out the book I use here: 500 Writing Prompts

My mom got me this book from Indigo for Christmas. It has some of the funnest writing prompts, with the line space so you can write right in the book. Some are short, some are long, and I have so much fun completing them. My favourite one thus far was "an alien has just abducted you. Provide the reasons why they should return you back to earth." It doesn't have to be serious or philosophical, and I like to experiment with form while doing it.

2. "Story in a Bag" Exercises

This was provided to me by my creative writing professor, with the intent to write longer short stories. Basically you are given a prompt, and after every paragraph, a new prompt is thrown your way to incorporate into your story. Sometimes it turns into a mess, but it's funny nonetheless. Here is one I followed to help with setting:

Describe the setting using all five senses and showing the time of day.
•Demonstrate time passing in a scene.
•Have a character hold a conversation – one character is local to the setting and the other is
Create a conflict and change the apparent temperament of one of the characters.
•Introduce a third character and escalate the conflict. Use mirroring in the dialogue. Include a 
descriptive passage about the surroundings / setting.
•Stage an interruption.
•Create some sense that all is lost for one of the characters.
•Have one character exit the setting and another enter.
•Include a short description of the setting – what has changed?

3. Cute Notebooks for Free Writing

I have found that when I am writing in a cute notebook, it inspires me to sit down and write even more. Recently I have been writing in a Game of Thrones Lannister notebook, and it just feels very whimsical and regal. Perfect for fantasy writing!

4. Writing Without Thought Verbs

Check out this link: Nuts and Bolts: "Thought" Verbs

Again, taken from a project I had to do in university, writing without thought verbs is a great way to develop your characters and show, not tell. It is tedious to do when being marked on it, or worrying about editors and publishers, but for fun, I don't take it too seriously. I just find it as a great way to improve my writing.

5. Writing on Pinterest

You heard me. So recently I had to do an assignment where I had to pick a social media and write using that media. I picked Pinterest and wrote a really fun wedding themed story revolving around the wedding inspiration I found on Pinterest. A now I am obsessed with writing cute little stories to go with some of the most creative photos on Pinterest. Sometimes it really helps to have a photo to go off of!

Those are the things that I am loving to do with writing at the moment! How do you like to write for fun?

Emily @ Paperback Princess