Some Things I Love About Working in a Bookstore

It was recently my second year anniversary at work and like all jobs there are some things that annoy you (messy clients) and many things that you come to love. Here are some of the things I love about working in a bookstore!

  1. BOOKS.
    A pretty obvious choice but come on. How can this not make the list? You’re surrounded by all kinds of books and everyday is an adventure! There are tons of books that catch your attention and all of a sudden your “To Be Read” Pile went from two books to forty in a week. Hand-in-hand with this point: Employee Discounts (especially during employee appreciation week) :D.
  2. MY COWORKERS.
    Being surrounded by people (Book Lovers) who have similar interests as you, who geek out with you no matter what time of the day it is (I work at 6 am… sometimes it’s hard to geek out so early in the morning) is amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. The atmosphere at the bookstore I work at is something that will mark me forever. I mean, I don’t have much experience in retail, but the little I did have (before the bookstore) left something bitter in my soul if you know what I mean.
  3. HELPING/RECOMMENDING
    I’m not part of the Sale’s Team anymore, usually only during the holidays/peak season, but being that detective for all those: “The cover is blue with a bird on it i think?” cases and solving them correctly just fills you with pride (Or maybe that’s just me). That… And recommending books that people actually enjoy in the end and come back asking you specifically for another recommendation!
  4. ALL THE EVENTS WE HOST.
    -cough- Like Harry Potter events… I’m so sad that’s over. Does this really need elaboration?
  5. Last one: CUSTOMERS – (but not all of them)
    Most customers are pretty awesome, and I actually find a lot of my favourite books through their recommendations. You know, sometimes when they say “The customer knows best” it’s true! :D

Bookmammal made a similar list back in October and shared it with me so check it out [here] ! :D We have a few similarities~
That’s all for nowwww~
Until next time
Sam

P.S: Most of us on this Blog will be on “vacation” for a while because Finals are on the wayyyy… Most of us are busy studying our lives away haha. :)

Halloween Reads!

Halloween is just a few days away so I thought it’d be nice to list books that could/would/does get us all in the mood for this creepy holiday (and to be honest, my least favourite holiday from the bunch– I am the resident scaredy cat here…). * Note, I won’t be reviewing these books. Just naming some that I think are fun for the season.

First on my list is:

The Child Thief by BROM (I do have a review of this one from a while back).

This book makes the list because it’s a dark twist on a very mischievous character Peter Pan. I think that fits well enough with the season. Think of it as a nice blend of trick-or-treat and horror movies rolled into your favourite candy surprise.

Second:

One for the kids that’s pretty popular at work is:
Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Mélanie Watt

It’s cute, fun, and prepares kids for Halloween! What’s not to like? I like this scaredy squirrel series because, as a scaredy… well I could have related very well to these books as a child.

Third:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This one also pretty much speaks for itself. I mean what’s not Halloween mood-ish about it? A boy lives in a graveyard and it raised by ghosts and stuff! If that doesn’t sound like a perfect spooky season read, I don’t know how to help you.

Fourth:

Another Neil Gaiman book, Coraline.

I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read the book… but the movie was pretty good and definitely something I think fits the Halloween criteria! Am I right or am I right?? Plus, how can Neil Gaiman NOT get on a list twice (look at Michelle’s list the other week!)?

Last one:

Let’s go with a classic —
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I think the title is enough of an explanation, no?
:)

What are your favourite Halloween Reads or Recommendations?
You probably noticed I didn’t suggest any horror stuff… well I stay true to my claim, I’m a scaredy cat… I don’t read horror. I barely watch horror movies haha.

Until Next Time!
Sam

To Brave the Adventure that is Nanowrimo?

With Nanowrimo just around the corner, I find myself at that fork in the road… do I join or do I just watch everyone else around me panic?

Well… I’m still standing at that fork in the road, but I’m curious to know if any of our readers are into NaNo! And if you are into it, do you like planning ahead or just winging it when november begins?

On my first attempt at NaNo, I tried to plan out a basic idea for a story… but then it didn’t pan out because once november came around I hated the idea… hahaha… on my second attempt, I tried to wing it… but then I just stared at a blank document for two hours and gave up– then I forgot about it by the second week because life sucks sometimes.

Have any of you been successful? Made it at least halfway? Or just fail miserably like me?

Sorry this is so short~
You’ll probably notice posts to be lacking… well, midterms are around the corner. Ahhh, the joys of a working student right? So fun. :)

Until next time!
Sam

Great Characters!

Hey! Sarah here, and today I’m going to be writing about something more writing oriented.  Keep a look out for a book review soon though, on one of the books that Sam and I received as part of our Random House Canada fall preview!  I’ll also be posting on my own blog soon, about everything that went down there! (http://sressiambre.wordpress.com/)

For now though, I have a post that was inspired by our recent trip to Comic Con Montreal (Sam, Meli, Michelle, and I). And it’s all about great character writing!

Alright, so what is it about characters that make them so memorable?

On the surface, when wandering around Comic Con, I think it would appear that cool looking costumes and weapons are the sole reason for a cosplay choice.  Upon deeper speculation however, I think there’s much more to it.  I believe that good characters have the ability to capture the love of an audience, and that if well written, they can last for many years, even when the book/film in question is not in the spotlight.

Firstly, and perhaps the most popular costume choice is that of a superhero.  Everyone wishes to be more than they are at some point in their life.  Imagining that you can save the world, and protect those you care about? Who doesn’t think that would be great?

Now, when writing our protagonists, they will most likely be heroes and heroines of some sort.  Not always with powers, not always with disguises, but they are almost all inherently good at heart and want to take action to overcome the antagonist or obstacle in their way.  We want to write protagonists that our audience will cheer for.  And we want our audience to be able to empathize with them, and many times, wish to be them in some way (though not the situations we put our characters in!).

Next, villains! Writing good villains can be harder than writing our protagonists.  They can come out looking like stereotypes; card board cut outs of what evil looks like, with no redeeming qualities.  Though this type of monolithic evil can work occasionally, I have found that I prefer my villains be more complicated.  I think that a good antagonist had justified reasons for what they are doing, and that it should be less certain that they are wrong in their beliefs.  Having villains as complex and real as your antagonist is what’s going to make your story levels better, and stop it from falling flat.  It keeps readers on their toes, not always sure if good will actually conquer evil, and questioning even where the line between the two lies.

Some of my favourite characters are not necessarily good ones.  And of course, this is my time to once again rave over George RR Martin’s character building in his Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones, for the HBO viewers).

Though there are characters you hate (Joffrey, anyone?), many have gathered a following of fans.  Tywin Lannister, for one.  The things he does are so heart breaking to Stark fans, and yet he still commands a certain respect from readers who see he uses his skills to accomplish what’s best for his family (though the way he treats them is not particularly admirable).  Then there’s a character like Theon Greyjoy, who is so cowardly that he loses all respect, and yet still manages to get pity for the situation he’s in (though I’ll admit, I’m in the minority of those who actually enjoys his character and POVS).  And who can ignore a reader’s (and viewers) favourite: Tyrion Lannister.  Though he’s witty, and relatable, he has still done terrible things (read the books!) and it’s amazing that Martin can still make him so loveable.

The line between a protagonist and an antagonist is not always clear, and I’m sure that’s why the more complex characters are so much fun to choose for cosplay at an event like CC.

Lastly, I want to talk about the more obscure costumes I saw.  Which brings up the topic of secondary and minor characters.  They may seem insignificant, but in reality they run the story just as much as the main ones do.  Now, continuing on with Martin, there are so many characters that this point really becomes important.  A character like Beric Dondarrion may not be on as many pages as Tyrion, but he holds a lot of power and is a fan favourite because of his endurance and skill.  Jaqen H’ghar (a personal favourite) plays a seemingly small role in the books, but has a remarkable presence (I also believe he will have a much larger role in the next books).

Looking at JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, it’s characters like Fred and George, Dobby, Luna and Neville (though I’d argue that they’re main characters by the end of the series) that make readers laugh and cry; sometimes more than I would for the main characters.  Writing good secondary and minor characters could make or break your story.  They can greatly influence the main plot, and can certainly capture the hearts of your readers just as much as your main characters.

So who are your favourite characters of all time? Why?

Do you prefer a more complex villain to a monolithic evil?

How do you go about writing diverse and riveting characters?

Let me know!

A book review should be my next post here.  Til then, hope you’re all enjoying yourselves! Feel free to recommend your favourite books to me!

Yay for New Books I’m Not Sure I Can Discuss Yet~

If the title confused you, I’m sorry!

I have to keep this short and I’m still waiting for an answer about whether or not I’m allowed to discuss the event in better detail… but! Here is what I will say:

Sarah and I just got back from the Random House of Canada Fall Preview 2013 and all I have to say is: I AM EXCITED. I haven’t been this excited for books in a long time. Got a few new reads (I started reading Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas on the ride home and I’m hooked! This is probably be my next book review~) and I can’t wait to talk about them!

Until next time!
I’m sorry this isn’t a really great post, but I don’t want to get in trouble for talking about stuff I might not be allowed too…

Sam

Picture It & Write: Once Upon a Cloud


Once Upon a Cloud

How He wished he could part of that world, the sounds of traffic, the bustling footsteps of hurried peoples, the numerous smells from all corners mixing as one and the spreading out again and the tall structures with their outrageous design reaching up to the sky. They were all blissful to him; he could sit up in the sky for hours and never blink for fear of missing something. Oh how he wished he could experience it all.

When will there be a day where he wasn’t busy rallying the young cloud-dust whom would much rather change shapes than be still or prepare a new weather cloud for another day or be in his office buried in paperwork,

overlooking statements from other cloud-watchers worldwide? Would there be a day where he would wake up in a non-translucent form among the race he feels closely connected to? He knows that the others like him do not think the way he does. They are content and happy, and they say the world of man is filled with much disappointment that we up in the clouds should never stray away from out heaven.

Even if it felt more like hell, was it truly worth staying he wondered but never out loud. These were his personal confessions he carried with himself each time he snuck away to watch over the world so close but far from him. The world which makes him feel much more than just a cloud.

The world in which he is finally free.

This is Meli‘s Entry to this week’s Picture it and Write prompt hosted by Ermiliablog!
Enjoy and join in on the fun! :)

For Sam’s submission click [here].

Until Next time

Real Name or Pen-Names?

If you ever Published a novel would you use your real name or would you use a pen-name and why?

This is a question I’ve asked all my friends who one day want to publish their work. After working in a bookstore for almost two years (and still going), Authors’ names are one of the first things you’re going to look at when putting books away. It’s gotten to the point where I can almost always predict which section a book will be solely based on the author’s name.

I imagine there are tons of people out there not using their own names to publish their work for various reasons. But how do they come to that decision? That’s something I’ve always wondered and still don’t have a complete answer too.

I personally haven’t come to a decision yet. If ever I published something of my own, would I put my real name? I really don’t know. Most of me leans towards No. I want a pen-name. The other part of me would really like to see my real name on my work.

What do you think?
Sam