Tag Archives: Secretly a nerd

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

9781409120544I didn’t like Eleanor & Park. I didn’t connect with the plot or the characters and I pretty much had to force myself to finish it. I was therefore understandably reluctant about reading Fangirl. Sure, everyone was raving about it, but most people rave about Eleanor & Park, too. In the end, I decided to read it, because the concept was interesting to me, and because someone in the library had to…

For those of you who don’t know, who haven’t guessed from the title, Fangirl is a about a young American girl just starting college who obsessed with the (doubly) fictional ‘Simon Snow’ fandom. With good reason too! Cath has been fully immersed in the fandom for years, and her current slash fanfiction ‘Carry On, Simon’ is a cult-hit with tens of thousands of fans eagerly waiting each new chapter. The novel centres on Cath’s struggle to mix her fandom life with her real life – a difficult mix at the best of times, made more so by a twin who is going off the rails, and the confusing attentions of real boys.

Despite my unwillingness to start this novel, I am really glad that I did. (Evidenced by the fact that I finished in a day!) Maybe it’s because I myself have been a fangirl, maybe Rowell’s writing has improved, or maybe I should give Eleanor & Park another chance, but I really enjoyed Fangirl from the moment I picked it up.

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Of Fandoms and Fanaticism

There is something about finding a fandom. A fandom is like a home, for us nerdy folks. A fandom is somewhere you belong, a place that exists where you can share your love for something with others who love it too.

HP fanart by MARTA

For years now, I have ‘belonged’ within the Harry Potter fandom. Harry Potter is a very large part of the reason why my best friend and I ever became friends. It has been something to bond over, something to laugh and cry over. We have read and written fanfiction, ‘awwwww’d and drooled over fanart, and attended the midnight screenings of the last two films.

All of this has cemented our friendship. It has ensured that we always have that special something between us that makes us who we are, that makes us us. Naturally, there are other things now which keep us together. Other pleasures, loves, and hates. Other fandoms, other stories to laugh and cry over. But Harry Potter was the first thing. And we always have it to come back to.

My point has wandered somewhat, but it all comes back to the same thing. I have been contemplating the power of fandoms. The ability of a fandom to share a love of something, to make that thing grow beyond what it originally was. I am talking about fanfiction and fanart, but also about the sharing that exists within a fandom. This has been increasingly emphasised to me through tumblr, where fans blog and reblog the words and images that they love about a particular fandom.

The ability to do this keeps the fandom alive within their minds, and their hearts. The fact is that I never really loved Harry Potter until I was introduced to the Harry Potter fandom. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter fandom made me love them.

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Quotes

I am an avid collector of quotes. I love reading something and have it immediately stand out, immediately connect with me. And I thought that I might share some of my favourites with you all.

Personal

From Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier:

If a man truly loves… he gives no heed to what others may think. His heart has no room for that, for it is filled to the brim with the unutterable truth of his feelings.

From George R.R. Martin:

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

From Frankenstein (1994), spoken by the Creature:

I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine, and rage the likes of which you would not believe.

Study Related

From Edwin Chatwin, about those who study literature and history (my two majors!):

For what was literature after all but the study of idlers who read for amusement, and history but one great field of cram, of reliance on misery, and of dodging?

From Neil Gaiman, on librarians:

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.

Do you have any favourite quotes? I’m always interested in finding more!

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This.

This makes me happy in so many ways. 😀

Lord of the Rings remix by POGO

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud

The easy answer to this challenge, is: most of my favourite YA novels. (At least the fantasy ones, the realistic YA I tend to read is generally pretty far from funny! :P)

Particularly, this applies to my Harry Potter books, and my Tortall novels. Both J.K. Rowling and Tamora Pierce know how to write a funny, fantasy-adventure story. And that is why I keep going back, reading them again and again.

And then I thought about it all a bit more… I never really like things to be all that easy. So, the roundabout (kinda cheating answer) is:

FAN-FICTION!

S.P.E.W. Does Not Approve by makani

I have read a lot of (almost exclusively Harry Potter) fan-fiction in my days… Ever since I was first introduced to it way back in 2004. Well, I say ‘read’. What I mean is that I’ve devoured it. In fact, I used to read so much fan-fiction that my dad actually firewalled fanfiction.net on our home network… What did I do? I downloaded stories while at school, copied them into Word documents, and read them on my laptop. I even got some stories professionally printed. I wrote fansfiction (we won’t go there!). Basically, for quite a few years, a lot of my reading was done online.

Why was I so insane about it? Basically, fan-fiction can be terrible, horrendous, bad on a level that is stomach-churning. But it can also be brilliantly written, thought-out and developed. I have read some fan-fiction stories that I could honestly say were just as good as the published works that inspired them. Some very, very talented authors have their beginnings in fan-fiction, I’m sure.

Also, though, fan-fiction can be damned funny! And this was the main reason I decided to go with fan-fiction to answer this question. Sure, Rowling and Pierce and many other published authors have made me laugh, some have even made me laugh out loud (I’m hard to please!), but the stories that have truly made me laugh out loud, made me guffaw and all the rest, have been fan-fiction.

To illustrate my point, follow on for some fanart!

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Dark Side of Harry Potter

Wow. Just wow. I’ve never really thought about the series this way. Sure, I’ve always known that it was so much more than just ‘children’s books’, but to have everything articulated in this way is just fantastic. Brutal, but fantastic.

 

here-is-the-place:

When people say these books are children’s books, as if to demean them, I balk. These books dealt with themes that adults do not fully understand or wish to. It dealt with racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, prejudice, and general ignorance. These books taught us that it doesn’t matter how you were raised, but that you get to choose to be kind, loyal, brave, and true. They taught us to be strong under the pressures of this world and to hold fast to what we know to be right. These books taught me so much, they changed me as a person. So just because they’re set against a fantastical backdrop with young protagonists does not mean that their value is any less real.

Seriously. Read the rest!

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 7

Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite.

First off, I have reaf far too many books over the years to be able to quote and recite any single one. While I’ve re-read several of my favourites over the years, I am no where near being able to recite them! My good friend is able to recite whole passages from pretty much every Terry Pratchett novel… but I just don’t have that much dedication.

Having said that though… I can think of a few books that have particular lines/passages that I love and can recite if need be.

From Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier:

“…it matters not if you are here, or there, for I see you before me every moment. I see you in the light on the water, in the swaying of the young trees in the spring wind. I see you in the shadows of the great oaks, I hear your voice in the cry of the owl at night. You are the blood in my veins, and the beating of my heart. You are my first waking thought, and my last sigh before sleeping. You are – you are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath.”

 

From Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier:

“If a man truly loves… He gives no heed to what others may think. His heart has no room for that, for it is filled to the brim with
the unutterable truth of his feelings.”

 

  Several scenes from assorted Harry Potter books, particularly the earlier ones. (Quite a few, really!)

Mostly I remember some of the amazing one liners from the books. For instance, Hermione claiming she can’t make a fire without wood in the first book. To which Ron promptly responds: “Are you a witch or aren’t you?”
Also, Ron refering to the first years in Order of the Phoenix as ‘midgets’, and – after being told off by Hermione – replying with “What? They’re titchy.” Gold. Always gold.
Ooh! And Fred and George in the first book, saying that they don’t know why their mother bothers putting their initals on their jumpers, as “We know our names are Gred and Forge.” So many great moments and one liners in those books! I’ll stop now, as otherwise I’ll just keep going! 😛

 

And this gem from Page by Tamora Pierce:

“What was that about?” Neal demanded.
Kel turned. All of her friends were arrayed at her back. “He says he’s changed.”
“I suppose he could have changed,” Neal said dryly. “I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil.” The other pages snorted.
Kel eyed her friend. “You do look yellow around the edges,” she told him, her face quite serious. “I hadn’t wanted to bring it up.”
“We daffodils like to have things brought up,” Neal said, slinging an arm around her shoulders. “It reminds us of spring.”
“Does dung remind you of spring, too, Princess Flower?” Cleon demanded irritably.

 

Really, makes me laugh every time! I’m certain that there are many more that I am forgetting, but these are the ones that come immediately to mind. And I did catch myself reciting the scene from Page just the other day. More soon!

 

 

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