To read, or not to read, that is the question.

A few weeks ago a friend put me onto some Stephen King quotes about writing.

I found them very interesting, but one of them gave me an idea.

I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read.

This got me thinking – how many books do I read in a year? Definitely not 70 or 80. I’m actually quite slack on reading. Or at least have been.

However, since I got my kindle, and have a half hour train ride morning and night, I have been reading so much more lately. I’ve even begun reading in the half hour before I go to sleep again.

I really do like to read, I’ve always been quite an avid reader. And in order to be a good writer, you should read, because you learn a lot from it, so says Stephen King* again.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

So my idea is to a) keep track of the books I am reading and b) aim to read about 70 or 80 books this year.

Now, I know I probably won’t get there simply because I do have a 9 to 5 job, unlike Stephen King, but you have to start somewhere.

I’m going to set up a “Book Index” like my recipes index to keep track of the books I’ve read and the ones I want to read this year. I’ll also try to incorporate my Goodreads account somehow, as I have it, yet barely use it.

And maybe, just maybe, if I read more, I might be inspired to write more.

*Note to self: read more Stephen King.

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Fifty shades of OMG.

The first introduction I had to Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James was learning it had been banned from libraries in the US. That was enough to pique my interest.

What could possibly be so bad as to have the land of the free ban it from, well, essentially being read?

I googled and soon found out.

Dubbed ‘mommy-porn’ it is a novel about BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism) Not your usual on the sexual menu, but if that’s what you like, whatever floats your boat, yo.

So I was intrigued. Especially after reading on the wikipedia page that the trilogy started out as Twilight fan-fiction. This made me laugh.

So I obtained and I read. Then I read Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

It is Twilight if it was X-rated. I became obsessed. And I really mean it is Twilight; there are small differences, but the events are essentially the same. Many parallels essentially. Just no vampires. Or supernatural exploits of any kind. Twilight if it was actually in the real world.

Yes, there was a lot of sexual content that would make any normal person blush. But actually, you got used to it. By the third book I was over it and just wanted to know how it all ended. It wasn’t all sex all the time either, it does have that never-in-the-real-world love story going on too.

I don’t necessarily believe in banning it from libraries. People should have the right to choose what they read and no one should be able to tell them otherwise. Probably why it has become so popular.

I enjoyed all three books. The writing was absolutely appalling, it was poorly edited, and it was the smuttiest of the smuttiest.

Aside from that, it was a quick easy read (I devoured all three within two weeks) and the plot was compelling. Who wouldn’t want to be whisked away by a gorgeous billionaire? Every girls dream, really. But once again, giving me unrealistic expectations in men.*

And in typical Hollywood fashion, any popular books HAS to be made into a movie. Yes, Fifty Shades of Grey is to be made into a movie. I mostly agree with the Huffington Post’s picks for which actors should play which characters, except for Christian. Ian Somerhalder is Christian for me, hands down. If anyone else gets the part (apart from maybe Alexander Skarsgard) I will be mildly upset. I was kind of thinking that Nina Dobrev would be a good Ana, but then her and Ian together would just be weird. You don’t want to just put The Vampire Diaries cast in there. The Huff’s pick of Elizabeth Olsen is definitely a good one.

If you were hesitant about reading it, I can understand, it is definitely not for everyone. But what I will say is, before you slander it, maybe you should read it?

*It’s wrong that I now want Man Piece to be like Christian Grey, knowing that he can never be that perfect, and it disappoints me.

May the odds be EVER in your favour.

I have recently become quite obsessed with The Hunger Games.

It wasn’t so much a jumping on the band wagon, but more the hype around the release of the movie is what prompted me to finally read the books.

I have had them sitting there for a few months now after being recommended by a friend to read them and I just hadn’t gotten around to it. But then the movie was released and I thought before anything gets spoiled, I should probably read the books to head off any unwanted spoilers.

So I started reading the first book. I finished it two days later. Then I started the second – Catching Fire – by the time a week had passed, all three had been devoured by my hungry little eyes.

There are not many books these days that actually get me to sit down and read that quickly. I like to take my time in reading a book, usually reading a chapter or two before bed each night.

However, for The Hunger Games, I just couldn’t put them down. There were several nights in that week that I stayed up late reading. I just wanted to know what happened next. Only a few other books have had the same treatment – Harry Potter and Twilight. When each HP book was released, I would read them in a weekend. With the Twilight books, once I had finally began reading them, on a recommendation of a friend, I had all four of them done and dusted within a week.

It is incredibly hard to find books like this nowadays. They are few and far between. And if they do exist, sooner or later Hollywood will come a-knocking and they will be brought to life on the silver screen.

Today, I went to see The Hunger Games movie. I even managed to drag Man Piece along with me. He even enjoyed it.

Now, I’m not the biggest advocate for books into movies, it seems these days that every movie made is based on a book. Can’t Hollywood come up with an original thought? No.

Anyway…

The movie of The Hunger Games was actually quite good. I didn’t feel they had missed anything out and they touched on themes that come up in the next two books. Although it would have been nice to include certain things from the book that were missed out, they weren’t that important and for the sake of time, continuity and cutting down, it was understandable. The major themes and events were covered and they didn’t get anything blatantly wrong.

One thought I did have when I was reading the books then looking at the film, was that I imagined Liam Hemsworth (Gale) as Peeta rather than Josh Hutcherson. But having watched the movie now, they do fit their roles and I can’t imagine it the other way.

[Sidenote: OMG JOSH HUTCHERSON IS THAT LITTLE KID FROM BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.]

So, you could say I have actually jumped on the bandwagon, but what a good bandwagon to be on. I look forward to Catching Fire and Mockingjay being made into movies and I might even follow them through production.

Even if you hate following what other people do, Suzanne Collins’ novels are definitely worth a read. They are very big brother is watching you and could even say they are our generations’ version of 1984.

And I’m sure if someone were to study them a bit closer, they would find themes picking at our society today. *cough* survivor *cough* Not that I’m going to do that or anything… NOT AN ENGLISH NERD.

The end is nigh.

It has been 12 years, seven books and seven movies. Come July, it will be eight, with part two of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.

I finally got to see part one last week and it was better than I could ever have imagined. There was just something about it, that made it so much better than the previous six. It could have been the pacing of not having to rush and able to put more detail in, because of the split into two movies, or it could have been the much improved acting. Or, not being stuck within Hogwarts.

I think on this one David Yates was able to be a bit more creative with the set and locations and he seems to be one of the better directors the movies have had. Also playing a part, was probably JK Rowling being a producer on the film – the first she has actively been involved in.

All in all, it is a fantastic start to the finish of a series of movies which have defined our generation.

July cannot come fast enough.