Thursday Thoughts: Percy Jackson/Traveling Pants: Multi-perspective Novels

So Thursdays are quickly becoming my favorite days since I started doing Thursday Thoughts. Originally, this week was going to be about my book rules (actually, that’s been the plan since week 1). But every time Thursday rolls around, something materializes in front of me and I just have to write about it. One of these days I’ll get around to my book rules.

Anyways, last Saturday was my first day back at college at Ohio University as a journalism major (can’t spell journalism without OU- I saw that on a t-shirt today). It’s always hard for me to leave home, so the first week back is never fun. In an effort to distract myself, my two roommates and I decided to watch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which is a book/movie that I love to bits because 1) it takes place in Bethesda, MD and 2) it’s all about friendship and the relationships that define you. So I’m watching this book as a movie and I’m sitting on our light pink futon that’s just big enough for three and I’m inspired. I think that this book, which some may write off as cheesy and girly, is a great example of the human condition and what it’s like to love your friends and the struggle of loving yourself with that same magnitude. But I’m rambling. What I was also thinking about was how the movie portrays the four different perspectives of Lena, Carmen, Tibby and Bridget. Now I can’t remember exactly, but I am fairly certain that in the book, each chapter takes place from a different characters point of view. You know, the chapter starts with “TIBBY” and then carries on with her story told from her side. I absolutely adore that method. In most books, you form a relationship with one person, the main character because you are constantly inside his/her head. So you bond with them and love them and hope with them. What could be better than that? How about that TIMES THREE?! I just think that if an author can write from multiple perspectives and make you care for and love each character equally, almost as if you are reading multiple books, then that marks a great story and an excellent story teller. This technique (I’m not sure if there’s a real term for it, let me know if there is) adds so much depth to a story and, I think, makes it much more real. If done well enough, it creates this whole multi-dimensional world filled with countless friendships and heartbreaks and stories and oh my gosh I’m getting emotional.

In addition to this sensory overload of a movie that I just witnessed, two days ago I started reading The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. My friend, Ashley, recommended this book to me because it’s the first in a follow-up series to the Percy Jackson books, which are freaking awesome. If you haven’t read them, you must. Basically, I started reading The Lost Hero and was jazzed because it’s so good, even after two pages it’s so good, and then BAM chapter two comes along and GUESS WHAT Ricky decided to go the multi-perspective route. I wish I could meet this man so that I could tell him he’s a magnificent and fancy man. But really, so far, the multiple perspectives have only made his already awesome books even cooler.

In my opinion, hearing more sides of the story only add to the effectiveness and depth of a novel, unless it’s like Catcher in the Rye or something to that extent. Like, think about it, how cool would it have been to be inside Darcy’s head the moment he first saw Elizabeth Bennet? Or what if we could feel President Snow’s outrage when Katniss and Peeta decided to eat those berries? I think that would have been so freaking cool.

What do you think?

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Thursday Thoughts: Getting too Emotionally Attached? Harry Potter Time

So, I just watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two for the first time since I saw it in theaters at midnight…over a year ago. If you know me, this is weird. I freaking love Harry Potter. And it got to the point where I couldn’t even watch the stinking movie because I couldn’t emotionally handle or fathom “the end” of Harry Potter. Which is just kind of stupid slash amazing. Stupid because it’s just a book-it’s just a collection of words arranged in a pattern on hundreds of pieces of paper. You know? It’s a book, it’s a movie and I should be able to deal with it ending. But that’s kind of why it’s amazing. That I can’t handle it ending? Because it is just a book, but it’s SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT AT THE SAME TIME. How cool is it that J.K. Rowling wrote a series of books that people feel so emotionally attached to that they can’t bear to think about it coming to an end? That Harry and Ron and Hermione become so much a part of someone’s life that they can’t handle their stories ending? I think that, while I am totally ridiculous, this ability to bond with a book and a writer’s ability to write such a book is awesome.

Sometimes I think all of this isn’t worth it. That I should just stop reading and watching movies because of all this, really, emotional turmoil. Because sometimes reading makes me more sad than it makes me happy and I just think that I don’t have to feel all of this. I could just stop reading and never have to get so emotionally attached and feel awful when I finish a book or a movie.

But then I think that, for all the sadness that the end of Harry Potter brought, it never outweighed the happiness that the series brought me as a whole. And I know that, regardless of everything, if I could go back to when I first cracked open Sorcerer’s Stone, I wouldn’t change a thing. Because standing next to Harry and saying goodbye to him at the end sucked. But it was worth it.

How cool that I got all this from a book? All this love, and friendship, and sadness and joy? I think that’s the coolest thing ever. Thanks, J.K. Rowling. You definitely changed my life.

Thursday Thoughts: Character Descriptions?

Hey all, so I am sitting in bed and thinking about the book I just finished, which was Endlessly written by the fabulous Kiersten White and I’m thinking about how the way a character is described (namely, how he or she looks and dresses, hair color, eye color, etc.) can affect the way a person perceives and understands a character. For example, in Endlessly, the main character, Evie, is a blonde bombshell with an affinity for pink. Now, I read the whole first half of this book, picturing Evie as a girl with long auburn wavy hair, a porcelain complexion and a cute but not SUPER HOT visage. And then, at this major turning point, White drops this a-bomb on me with this crazy blonde description. At first, I honestly didn’t know who I was reading about because, for me, Evie was a quirky, but cute, ginger girl. And I liked my Evie, she was easy for me to relate to, to picture. This new description of her changed the way I felt about her. It’s not that I suddenly hated her for being blonde, I was just attached to the Evie that I knew, that I had grown in my mind.

So I started thinking that maybe describing the details of how a character looks might not be the best idea. NOW, I am NO author and basically have no idea what I’m talking about and, yes, of course, the ability to write beautiful descriptions and imagery is a talent that I grievously envy, but just hear me out. One of my favorite things about reading is seeing the story in my head, and that includes creating the characters. So, maybe, leaving out huge defining details like hair color and skin tone is a good thing. It gives the reader free reign to create whoever they want out of the character. My Evie won’t be anyone else’s Evie. I kind of like that. It makes the same book individualized for every reader, which is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I became a fan of John Green. He says that books belong to the readers and the way I read a story will be completely different from the way you read it.

But hey, it’s midnight and I might just be crazy and what do I know?