Why I Like Short Stories

Why I Like Short Stories

I’ve been interested in reading and writing since I was a little kid, and my go to type of book to read was a nice long chapter book. The thicker the better.

My philosophy was, the thicker it was, the more time and effort were put into it, therefore the book must be good right?

Well that’s not completely wrong, but it does have its faults. Just because a book is long, doesn’t mean it is good, but I would say a majority of them are.

What I didn’t realize until the last few years, is that short stories and anthology series really good. I read them in high-school and university, but they’re usually pretty bland and full of symbolism, plus schools rarely ever pick good reading material.

I didn’t mind short stories usually, but they weren’t my favorite thing, until recently. I’ve read a handful of short stories over the past few years, and I’ve really enjoyed them.

Usually a book with a more fleshed out story is better, because they have answers to all the questions and all of the story lines typically end some how.

What’s to complain about in that case? I’m getting the complete story, I should be happy about it.

That’s true, at least in my opinion, but there is another truth that goes along with it. Just because you don’t get the full story, doesn’t mean the story isn’t good.

There is some sort of magic that comes with creating your own story, or finishing a puzzle, and I think that’s something that short stories inspire in people.

They let people fill in the remaining pieces of the puzzle they started, and give people a chance to finish the story how they want it.

If a short story is done well, it tells just enough of a story to satisfy your needs, but not a complete enough story that it gives you all the answers.

It finds the fine line between mystery and answer. Giving you the steak, and you bring the potatoes.

It’s a near magical thing, creating a short story that makes the reader want more. I put the success of short stories up to a test. If a short story is done well, I imagine at least a half dozen different things that could happen in that story.

If a short story is done well, I go looking for more content from that world, author, or anything, just to help me finish it.

If a short story isn’t done well, that’s all there is to it. The story ends at the last word. There’s no wondering what happened next, there’s no finishing the puzzle. The story lives and dies in its own pages.

You might be thinking that you haven’t read a short story that was good, or maybe you haven’t read one that was bad. Either way, everyone has their opinions.

I’ve read a few short stories that fall into both categories, but its the ones that I crave more of that made me fall in love with short stories.

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Write your story…not someone else’s.

Write your story…not someone else’s.

When I started blogging, I never thought that anybody outside of my friends and family would read it.

I mean I’m just an average guy from a smaller capital city in Canada. There’s nothing special about me. I’m not a genius, or a fantastic writer, or even overly successful. I’m okay with all that of course, but I still don’t expect anyone to read this blog I’ve thrown together.

What’s really surprised me, and has made me excited to keep posting, is seeing what countries my readers are from. Canada is the most popular country for my readers at the moment, but the United Kingdom is quickly catching up to them, so for all my UK fans, HELLO! thanks for being your awesome self, and beat these damn Canadians! I know you can do it!

One of my “goals” is to have the WordPress map completely colored in one day which would be so cool! I check the progress every now and then and slowly but surely more countries are being added to the list.

When I started this blog, I did a bit of research into how blogs work, how people come up with ideas, how to get more viewers, and different things like that. I actually had a few pages of notes that I wanted to follow, but I soon dropped all of that.

I didn’t want to fit into some formula that other people made. I didn’t want to do the same things other people were doing. Where is the fun in that anyways?

I’m Andrew, I’m not Peter, or Martin, or Susan, or Erika. I’m me, and I am going to do what I want.

Yeah, my ideas might not be the best, and they are definitely not the most popular, but I like them. I enjoy making them. Some are more fun than others, and some are easier to write, but in the end, I like them all for some reason.

I mentioned a piece yesterday that was all about not taking writing advice from other people, and just doing it your way, and that’s what I want to do. I’ll take advice along the way. I’ll steal ideas and make them my own. I’ll do what I want to do because I’m me, and On My Bookshelf is my voice.

You have to be true to yourself. At the end of the day, the only person you are stuck with for eternity is yourself, and if you can’t enjoy you, or enjoy what you’re doing, then what’s the point?

I don’t come up with some elaborate script for my blog posts, or write every post with the same analytical process every time.

I write in my own way, and if that gives me less followers than someone who posts in the same format as everyone else, I am fine with it.

Don’t let others tell you no. If you want to try something, then try it. Don’t let others say this is a bad book, or that’s a bad makeup line. If you like it, then own it.

Be the outlier.

Be you.

People might want this picture perfect idea that hundreds of thousands of people change themselves to fit into, but you shouldn’t want to be everyone else. You should want to be you.

Love your quirks, love your weirdness, write how you want to write, tell the story you want to tell.

Anyways that’s it for my little “rant”. I just feel it’s important to do things the way you want to do them, not how other people want you to do them.

I started a podcast!

I started a podcast!

Since becoming a communications student, I have fallen in love with the idea of sharing my thoughts and opinions on different topics for everyone to see or hear.

I started this blog as an assignment, but went above and beyond what the assignment required me to do, and I have now taken to keep updating the blog, even after school has ended for the year.

It’s a lot of fun. I like sharing my thoughts and opinions, and in doing so, I have had so many great discussions about books, movies or TV shows, and I wanted to keep doing it.

I have my opinions on things, but so often, I find my opinions being influenced by other people’s when I discuss it with them, or other people have an opinion that I had no idea about. Hearing other people’s opinions is something I enjoy doing, and I thought giving my opinion might help other people.

That’s why I wanted to start a podcast.

Podcasting seems like the perfect platform to discuss a certain topic, and the idea of starting one has interested me even before becoming a communications student.

I haven’t released any episodes yet, but I have recorded a few. They’re not great, but they’re a good stepping stone to be sure, and I hope to keep making better content for any listeners that I might have in the future.

The podcast is called The Winespring Inn, and it is about The Wheel of Time. I love the books, and since the books are being adapted into a TV show, I figured it would be good subject matter to start talking about.

Currently, it’s just me, myself, and I, which kind of sucks, because I would like a partner to talk to on the Podcast, but I’m okay with going solo.

I’m going to try to get episodes out every week, but I’m not going to promise that because who knows? I might be busy.

The idea of the podcast will be more of a discussion/encyclopedia type. I’ll discuss certain topics, but also give a sort of encyclopedia entry on different aspects of the series. Whether it is locations, people, weapons, or various other things, The Wheel of Time is a massive book series, and it can be pretty confusing.

But yeah! I started a podcast, and I am pretty excited about it. Look out for it this weekend!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

With Mother’s Day comping up in just under a few weeks, it’s time to start thinking of some cool gift ideas for that special mom in your life.

We all know she deserves the best, so if she loves books, think about getting her these cool gift ideas.

#1 Book Scented Candles

Everyone who loves books love the smell of old books. I didn’t know this was a thing, but you can buy scented candles that smell like old books.

 

#2 Customized e-reader cases

E-readers are becoming more and more popular, and I’m sure some of your moms have them, and use them pretty often. You should think about getting her a customized e-reader cover, with a special message telling her how much you love her on it.

 

#3 Book of the Month Club

Has your mom run out of books to read? Or maybe she is always willing to read new books. If that’s the case, think about getting your mom a Book of the Month subscription. There are lots of different ones out there, so I’m sure it won’t be hard to find one your mom will enjoy.

 

#4 A personal Library Kit

If your mom prefers old-school books, she may want a personal library kit. Plus, if she likes giving books away to family and friends, this’ll help her collect those late fees.

 

#5 A Personalized Embosser

Books, gifts and letters convey more meaning and value when distinguished by your personal stamp. Get your mom a personalized embosser so she can put her own flare on her book collection.

The Book That I Destroyed The Most

The Book That I Destroyed The Most

As any good reader knows, every books can go through a lot of wear and tear during their lives. Some people go out of their way to keep a book in good condition, others don’t really care, I mean how much damage can really be done to a book right?

It’s just some pieces of paper stuck together, and I’m not gonna throw it in a fire or anything so it should be fine (though I do know some people who use old books as firewood and I do not agree!).

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Personally, I would say I’m the type that doesn’t worry about what damage can be done to a book, because I just want to enjoy reading the book.

It’s also pretty hard to avoid ruining the book at least a little bit, in my opinion. Hardcover books are a bit safer because they keep themselves open more than paperbacks, but sometimes I notice that there is an oily fingerprint on the bottom corner of the page, or the cover is faded or ripped a bit from being carried in my backpack all day long.

Plus hardcovers usually have a sleeve, which hides the damage done to the book itself, so I tend to worry a bit less when it comes to those.

Paperbacks are much worse. Just carrying them to and from school I’ve spilled water on them, been splashed by cars, or had covers rip and pages fold when something else in my bag squished it.

Honestly, even after all of that I don’t care. I don’t want to ruin my experience of reading a book just because I don’t want it to get dirty or ruined.

If a book was ruined beyond repair or pages get torn out, then I might be a bit upset, but that would be pretty difficult to do, so I don’t worry about that too much.

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Now maybe I am going a bit crazy, and people aren’t these perfect book keepers I assume they are, but I have proof of at least one person who is! I know someone who will not and can not ruin a book. It’s impossible. Destiny has forbidden it.

They wrap their book in a soft cloth cover when they aren’t reading it, and they have a special pocket on their bag dedicated to nothing but the book. Nothing bends, rips, or even touches it except the cover.

I’ve even seen them handle the book pretty nonchalantly and it’s like the Book Gods won’t let their books be ruined. There’s a small force field or something around the book that prevents any harmful materials from entering.

They can’t even ruin the spine of a paperback book! How is that possible?

A 800+ page book and they don’t have one single crease mark on the spine? I call bullshit.

It’s either some sort of witchcraft or they only carry around books and don’t actually read them.

Either way, that’s not my life. I’ve yet to ruin a book beyond repair (but I have come pretty damn close) and that’s all I care about.

As long as the book has two covers, legible words on the pages, and the pages are all there, I will read it, though I’m pretty sure I have read a book with no front or back covers before.

Now…

To get to the point of this post… the book that I have ruined the most.

This book has been through it all. I spilled water on it, put oily fingerprints on the pages, dropped food on the pages, squished bugs between its pages, dropped it in dirt, and even dropped it down a two-story building by accident.

The worst thing that happened to it was actually when I first started reading it though. I was on a boat with my girlfriend and her family, and I had brought the book along for the day because it was a nice summer day and I didn’t want to swim…so I figured I’d stay on the boat, enjoy the sun, and read.

It was going well. I had crushed through 75, maybe 100 pages in an hour or so and we started heading back to shore because it was getting late and we were getting hungry.

My girlfriend and I were sitting at the front of the boat, and were getting splashed a bit by some of the waves, so I threw my book and phone under my hoodie and put it at our feet.

WELL that turned out to be a big mistake because not a few minutes later, a HUGE wave came and splashed the boat, leaving the entire floor covered in 4-5 inches of water for a good 30 seconds.

Worried about my phone, I quickly grabbed it and put it somewhere more dry, but as I did my book started floating to the back of the boat.

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I was devastated, but there were more important things to worry about.

When we finally made it back to shore, the cover had been basically torn off, paged bent beyond repair, and some of the words wee smudged, BUT all in all it was still a book, and I ended up finishing it a few weeks later when I was on the boat again…clearly not learning from my previous mistakes.

What’s the worst you’ve ever dont to a book? Let me know in the comments. 

Thursday Thoughts: Interview with author Charm Anderson

Thursday Thoughts: Interview with author Charm Anderson

So this week I had the pleasure of interviewing a first-time author and ask her a few questions about her and her writing.

Her name is Charm Anderson, and she wrote a book called Exploit Me. I hope you enjoy her answers, and you can check out her book here.

If you guys have any other authors you’d like to see me interview in the future, please let me know in the comments. This was a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again some time.

 

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What is your book called, and what is it about?

My first novel ever is called Exploit Me. This novel, that is actually ongoing on Wattpad at the moment, is about a girl trying to overcome a traumatism and live after being sexually assaulted.

She struggles and feels lost about who she is. Though, what’s nice about this book is that it’s not your typical story where she’ll meet someone, fall in love and feel better. There’s drama, romance, humor… In other words, it’s a story about each one of us.

 

Why did you decide to write a book?

Ever since I was young, everyone used to tell me that I have a unique imagination. Teachers would always compliment my work and would tell me that I was talented, but I was way too insecure to write anything. To be honest, I started writing books way before Exploit Me… I wrote 3 of them but never got the chance to finish them because I deleted them; my insecurities got in the way.

Recently, I went through something that made me change the way I perceive every single thing; I didn’t want to reach a point where I’ll regret not trying to achieving my dream of becoming a writer. I want to share this story to show people that they’re not alone, that every single one of us struggles with something and that it’s okay to not be okay.

 

What is it about writing that you enjoy/hate the most?

I’m going to start with the things I hate about writing. There are not that many things that I hate about it just the fact that I have to edit everything on my own. Also, whenever I’m editing a chapter or re-reading it, I get this feeling of wanting to add more, change some stuff or delete everything.

Writing is basically one of the things I really enjoy doing. The fact that every single scenario you think about can be put into words is just amazing. It’s a form of creation, it makes me feel like I actually did something even though my book is not published yet.

 

Do you enjoy reading? What book are you reading right now?

Definitely!

I started reading books ever since I learned how to read. There’s not a single period in my life when I wasn’t holding a book in my hands. Writing and reading are two things I can’t live without. I’m currently reading a French book for the third time, which is actually a play called “Huis Clos” by Jean-Paul Sartre which means No Exit or Closed Doors as some like to call it. It’s a spectacular play and i recommend everyone to read it! It’s actually quite popular for this saying: “Hell is Others.”

 

What is the one book you’d take with you in an apocalypse?

That’s a really tough question. I seriously can’t choose a favorite because every single book has a certain story… Maybe mine?

 

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I’d definitely go to Japan. It’s been a dream of mine to go there. I really like the contrast between the city and the village. It’s so fascinating and I find myself “craving” to see the cherry blossoms! (my note: ME TOO!!! I WANT TO SEE CHERRY BLOSSOMS SO BAD THEY’RE SO PRETTY)

 

What is one item on your bucket list you wish you could cross off tomorrow?

Visit every single museum in the world. I have an obsession with museums, it’s crazy.

 

If you could meet any person in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Meet every single person in the Writing Community! Their support is just amazing! I really want to meet each one of them and give them a big hug to show them how much I appreciate everything they’ve helped me with.

 

Who inspires you the most? and why?

Definitely my parents! I can’t think of anyone else when I hear the word “inspiration” or “idol”. They literally started from scratch and evolved in a way that makes me want to be like them. Even though they don’t always support me because they want what’s best for me, I appreciate everything they do. I hope that I’ll be able to make them proud someday.


 

Thank you so much to Charm! This was an absolutely incredible opportunity and a lot of fun. I hope you guys enjoyed Charm’s answers, and I know she’d love for you to check out her book.

 

If you want to follow Charm on Twitter and Instagram, please do. Her book is inspiring and you’ll see a review of it on Monday.

 

Thursday Thoughts: Lending Libraries

Thursday Thoughts: Lending Libraries

So for those who don’t know what a Lending Library is, it’s pretty simple. Basically I put a small library of books in my front yard, usually in a weather-proof containter, and people are welcome to “take” the books.

They’re supposed to return them, hence the library aspect, but that’s not always the case.

I’ve thought about maybe having an lending library of my own one day. You sort of need to have a front yard in a high foot traffic area, which I am not in at the moment.

I kind of like the idea though, but I think I’d make mine a little different from this. Instead of it being a library, I would like to make it more like a swap meet.

You take a book in my little library and leave one in its place. That way its like sharing a story with a stranger, and the possibilities of the books that will be swapped could be amazing.

There would be a few options in there, and they would be books I enjoyed, but ones I’m okay with getting rid of.

It would give people a chance to get a free book that they may not have known about before, and it would give me the chance to discover books that I may not have seen. You can do a lot with it. Each person can write their name and when they read the book inside the cover, books can be traded or put back.

The potential is limitless.

A lending “library” is something I’d like to do one day, but my only concern is that are others interested. Would other people want to borrow books, or would the books just sit there and collect dust.

I guess that’s something I would need to try one day. I just need to get a front yard with a sidewalk in front of it first.

Would you consider setting up a lending library? Or have you seen one in your neighborhood? I’d love to share some stories about it! Let me know in the comments!!!

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