I’m Amanda and I’m a bookaholic. It is impossible for me to walk into a store and not detour to the book section. And trips to a bookstore? Never leave empty handed. My bookshelves are overflowing, my Kindle™ is almost completely full with plenty more to be added, but I can’t stop buying new friends to add to my collection. So I’ve created this blog to discuss my obsession with likeminded addicts.
I’ll be reviewing books that I like (and those I don’t), mostly in the fiction category (Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, and YA). I also am extremely interested in True Crime. It’s why I minored in Psychology: I like to try to figure out why people do the things they do. I would have majored in it, but that would mean dealing with planning experiments and learning about statistics and all that other boring stuff. I just wanted to learn the fun stuff, the behavior aspects, the disorders, the quirks that make us individuals. And as a Writing major, I figured Psychology would make me a better writer, would allow me to make my characters more realistic by knowing what happens in all our stages of development, how certain things can affect some individuals one way and others in a completely different way.
Growing up, I always wanted to be the next J.K. Rowling. I wanted to be famous for writing an awesome series and live in a big fancy house. And I was set on that course in college. I chose to major in Writing and thought I was set. But the more classes I took, the less I felt able to reach that dream. My nonfiction classes were atrocious (I didn’t like trying to find something exciting in my own life to write about because, let’s face it, I’m sheltered and okay with that which meant I didn’t have a lot to draw from other than basic teen drama, and the professor was super strict and made me feel like she was strangling my creativity simply because I didn’t write exactly how she did), and fiction was difficult (I’m a perfectionist and have a tendency to self-edit as I go along which creates perfectly worded sentences…but that’s all I had. Sentences. I would start over and over again and never get anything to the point where I thought it was good and finished. Add to that the fact that the professor wouldn’t allow us to write in genre fiction and I was lost. I didn’t want to write about real life or fictional representations of real life. I wanted to write about sweeping fantasy landscapes, quests for relics, heroes battling evil magic with companions who had their own brands of magic or fantasy.)
So with all those a bust, I turned to poetry. I had always written poetry to deal with what I was feeling and to express myself. Heck, when I was little, I wrote a rhyming poem about having a sister who died in a car accident and everyone asked me if I really had lost a sister (I’m an only child). So I thought, here we go, this is something I can do. In the beginning, it went fairly well. I was able to crank out assignments in a few hours instead of weeks. I received glowing reviews in class. But, according to the professor, I have a penchant for using too many adjectives, too much figurative language, and I needed to learn how to edit (too much figurative language? In poetry?). So, for my final capstone project, I was supposed to go through my old poems and tighten them up as well as create new poems, all to showcase what I had learned throughout my four years of college. It was so hard to slice and dice my beautiful poems, but I did it.
After having to change my style to fit into someone else’s viewpoint, I didn’t want to write anymore. I still haven’t really done much writing. It’s as if I’m afraid that my writing is going to be torn apart until I no longer recognize it, until it’s no longer mine. And what writer wants that? But something else did happen in college that made me realize what I can do with my BA in Writing.
I interned at a small independent bookstore right next to campus. It wasn’t much, just Door County coffee and used books, but it felt warm and inviting and was a community gathering space. Patrons could bring in their own books for credit toward store purchases. And the lady who ran it was a sweetheart. Once a week there was a knitting club, and she would spend the afternoon cooking and preparing for the ladies. That even encouraged me to start crocheting again, and I helped an ESL woman learn how to perform the basic stitches. But, anyway, back to the importance of it. The bookstore would host an open mic poetry night once a month. One of the regulars must have talked to the owner about his fiction manuscript, because she approached me and asked if I would be interested in editing the manuscript. I had mentioned to her all my grammatical pet peeves and how my mom had raised me to love correct grammar. So, I agreed and attempted to make the most of this opportunity.
The writing was terrible, at least to me. The author constantly switched from past to present tense and back again, and couldn’t differentiate between active and passive voice. Having never done any editing for real before (unless you count reading over classmates’ papers), I wasn’t sure how far I could go or how much I could suggest, so I simply fixed up some of the grammar and hoped that was enough and not too much. I wanted to tear it apart, provide plotting suggestions, maybe even help him rewrite passages. And that’s when it hit me: I wanted to do this again. Since I was too much of a perfectionist to get very far in my own writing, why not help other people try to achieve what I could not? I just finished my copyediting certificate and am trying to break into the freelance game, hopefully for someone who will allow me to work from home so I don’t have to leave behind my family and friends.
Hopefully this blog will encourage me to keep writing and to keep honing my skills. Hopefully it will be easier to write since it allows me to write about things that interest me and not about topics that I’m forced to write about. I don’t know how many reviews I’ll get out nor do I know how often they will come, but I promise to try to post more than once a month. It won’t just necessarily be my reviews of books, but most likely rants about books vs. movies, maybe some quotes from famous authors and my thoughts on them, or maybe even reviews of TV shows. I’m just along for the ride. Let’s see where we’ll end up.