Friday, December 30, 2011

Books of 2011

Yes, this is ripped off of Olivia's awesome blog because it struck me as a good idea. I shall forthwith produce a list of the books I've read this year. The numbers have nothing to do with rank; they just count how many books I've read this year. The ratings I give will be by letter, but one may imagine them as stars: one star fails, and an grade-"A" book gets five. Savvy? Oh, and some of my favorite books may get three or four stars due to more critical, objective aspects, as opposed to how much I enjoyed them. Also, I may change my views over time, so don't be shocked to see a different grade on Shelfari of GoodReads or whatever.


  1. 9 (screenplay) ~ C
  2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ~ A
  3. Animal Farm ~ B
  4. Between Shades of Gray ~ B
  5. Catching Fire ~ B
  6. Catwings Return ~ C (apparently this is part of a series, so I might change the "memory grade" later)
  7. A Christmas Carol ~ C
  8. The Clockwork Experiment ~ B (Olivia's book - not yet published, but I'm rooting for it to catch an agent's eye)
  9. The Crucible ~ A (can't remember if I actually read all of it, as it was for English class and partly read and partly viewed as a film)
  10. Dead End in Norvelt ~ B
  11. Death Note 1 ~ A (although this is my first and so far only manga, so I may not be the best judge)
  12. The Doll's House (Sandman #2) ~ B
  13. Dracula ~ B
  14. Every You, Every Me ~ A
  15. Fahrenheit 451 ~ B
  16. The Floating Islands ~ A
  17. The Giver ~ B
  18. The Great Redwall Feast ~ B
  19. Hamlet ~ A
  20. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ~ A
  21. The Hunger Games ~ B
  22. Lady Windermere's Fan ~ B
  23. Macbeth ~ B
  24. Mattimeo ~ C
  25. MirrorMask ~ A
  26. Misery (screenplay) ~ A
  27. Mockingjay ~ B
  28. Mossflower ~ B
  29. Of Mice and Men ~ B
  30. Othello ~ A
  31. Painted Fire ~ B
  32. Paper Covers Rock ~ A
  33. Paper Towns ~ B
  34. Persepolis ~ A
  35. The Phantom Limb ~ D
  36. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories ~ A
  37. Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman #1) ~ A
  38. Redwall ~ A
  39. Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto ~ F
  40. Robot Haiku ~ C
  41. Romeo and Juliet ~ A
  42. Rot & Ruin ~ B
  43. Salome ~ B
  44. The Shadowing: Hunted ~ C
  45. The Stand ~ C
  46. The Summer of May ~ C
  47. Ten Little Indians (play) ~ B
  48. Through the Looking-Glass ~ B
  49. The Two Princesses of Bamarre ~ A
  50. Vampire Crush ~ F (I didn't even read the whole thing, but it was definitely awful)
  51. Welcome to Bordertown ~ B
  52. Wither ~ B
  53. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ~ A (if you can picture something even better than the beloved late-'30's movie, you know what I mean)
So there we have it. Fifty-three, eh? My goal (and resolution) for 2012 is to read more than that. I'll set it at seventy-five. Maybe eventually I'll be in the hundreds, eh? We shall see!

Too Long!

I am currently in Chicago, Illinois. This is our traditional winter-vacation spot, and to be quite frank, I'm ready to leave. I enjoy some of the more intellectual attractions and whatnot. The pizza is awesome. They sell key lime soda, which I cannot access at home. But in the end, I long to be in my hometown. I plan to travel long and well someday, but for now I have my temporary roots. I enjoyed my time away, but I eagerly await tomorrow's flight back. I miss my family's pets and properties, as well as some of what surrounds them. All in all, I sometimes feel like a fledgling bird on the mast of a sinking ship. Before this ridiculous situation gets too much more out of hand, I'll fly away. Maybe I'll occasionally visit the wreck, but I'll make brief work of it and keep in touch with my friends. Modern technology ought to help with that.

But still, the question is posed: are roots good? As usual, my answer is not a black-and-white one. I think it is good to put down roots in making friends, but material things such as houses and vehicles, as well as other possessions, should be guarded against attachment. Sure, one would be upset if something was stolen or lost. Yet despair would be the incorrect response in my eyes. Get over it. I think it's OK to have roots, especially in friendship, as long as one is able to pull them up if needed. I've had to do it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Love You

My good friend Olivia had a post about different kinds of love, infatuation, and so forth, and how the general public can't seem to distinguish them. (I'm blogging this because the website won't let me comment on anyone else's blog - "Sign In" keeps taking me to the dashboard and it signs me back out when I go back to another blog - grr! So, Olivia, feel free to correct me if I misquote or anything.)

I wholeheartedly concur with the idea of the post, as it were. In my own circles, such as Printz and my writing group, I can freely say to a fellow member that I love him or her, because I do. It doesn't mean anything of the romantic sort; they are amazing people who are not only incredibly talented at writing, art, music, acting, and so on, but in addition to that, they are all kindhearted people in my opinion, and that's what earns them my greater wells of friendly love. Now when I go to school, there are also good people (whom I also friend-love intensely) and the other people. The others are average-to-low intelligence conformists who couldn't think for themselves if I paid them to do it. I'm sorry, but it's true. Still, I love every last living thing to some degree, hate none (that's an evil emotion), and if I mention my standard love to any male member, he assumes I am gay. Now, I see gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and so on as people just the same. I love them just as much, but I personally happen to eb straight. I don't need romance to survive; I'm single and happy. But I am attracted only to females. Still, that by no means prevents me from being equally friend-affectionate to boys and men. There are certain fellows at my school who are not afraid to hug me, and I commend them.

But I may be digressing.

My point is, people seem to think that love is primarily romantic, as well as the only stage of feelings between intimate partners. I love my friends, but I am not in love with any of them. And (sorry Olivia, I sort of found a tangent) I recently heard a request call to a radio station by a woman who confessed her [feelings] to a man and he just wanted to be friends. The woman made it clear that her heart was broken., and needed a song to soothe her hurt.

I find that my heart is strong (my loving mind, actually, but for some reason people place feelings metaphorically into one's cardial muscle). At the end of eighth grade I had it broken when I confessed my feelings to a girl (who already said she loved me in one way or another a couple of years prior to this) who freaked out and spread rumors that I was a stalker. She probably wanted attention; she's also said to be a strumpet in the literal sense. That hurt me, but I healed and built new cardiac barriers so I'll be more careful in falling for infatuation, and to not put it on myself if a lady turns out to be a monster like that one. By the way, she's really nice in person, but not so much on Facebook. Says something about the harlot's backbone, does it not? That is to say, mentality of cowardice; backbone is no more thinking than heart.

I don't need romantic love, but I don't deny it if it appears. To be honest, I currently don't have any special feelings for anyone. If a female agrees to remain friends, however, and there is no awkwardness, I'm fine with that. That is how it should be handled. It just doesn't happen often enough.

So to Olivia, Ezra, Hannah, Emily, or whomever else from my circles may be reading this: Congrats, you've been awesome at being my allies. I love you people. That is to say, I have a massive store of respect and admiration for your talents and personalities as well as you yourselves.

Some sort of love for whoever reads this,
- Lewis

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meeting Cassandra Clare, etc.

First of all, I got over my cowardice concerning meeting writers I've not actually read by meeting Cassandra Clare. She was a super cool person, even discounting the fact that she is friends with Holly Black, and I most definitely plan to read The City of Bones. Cassie spoke to the audience about travel, writing, fictional incest, and many other things. Apparently creative writing classes in college frown upon fantasy and sci-fi, which, while disappointing, I found hardly surprising. People don't consider it serious writing, which I find odd, and would find odd even if those genres were not my own (which they are, with a dose of horror, of course).

Speaking of the three genres, I recently began the fourth Dark Tower novel by Stephen King: Wizard and Glass. The witch Rhea is creepy and fascinating, and I still love Blaine the Mono, as well as the reference made to The Stand. I seriously think this is one of the best epics out there. I also - FINALLY - watched the Season Two finale of Doctor Who. Very sad, but I'm eager to start "The Runaway Bride" (Season Three) as soon as I can.

Winter holiday (not me, but the literal season) is drawing nearer; I look forward to getting a good deal of reading and writing done then. I ought to be visiting my grandparents, which we have done often but skipped last year. I really need to submit something to a magazine soon.... I ought to stop moving from story to story and polish one up to ship off. I've been drawing and sketching lately, but I have yet to learn guitar, or even continue piano for that matter. I'll figure it out - I tend to do that.

Lewis M. Winter

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Project

Once again (and directly after the designated month) I am attempting a novel. I'm not sure if it will reach 50,000 words, but I consider it worth a try. It's sort of a dark fantasy story; I'm rather fond of those. It's also a combination of a short story I came up with in Creative Writing this past spring, one which was much improved but never quite mastered. The characters are from the past novel attempt; the concept is from both, more on the story's side.

I've written several novel attempts in the past - finished first drafts, that is - but they always come up quite literally short. The longest one was written within a matter of days in summer 2009, but it was basically a ripoff of a ripoff (and, according to Ezra, there would be another "of a ripoff" there). Still, we must all learn the hard way in writing, eh? There's no sense in shaming amateurs, unless they're published somehow. Like Stephenie Meyer.

I think I might be able to do novels at some point, but for me it might be a matter of practice. I don't think I'll give up.

School tomorrow, and after that I'll be meeting with Printz members at Quail Ridge Books & Music, where just last night I attended the teen writers' workshop there, and have been for over two years (crazy, what?). I'm most likely going to meet an author I've not read yet: Cassandra Clare. In the past here I've met Mary Pope Osborne and seen Orson Scott Card and Lois Lowry. Wish me luck!

May the stars watch over you.