Monday, October 28, 2013

Why You Should Do NaNoWriMo

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November is infamous. It's cold and dreary and easily one of the worst months of the year. Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, it's almost forgettable. The only thing worth noting about November is that it's National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo for short.


NaNoWriMo is terrifying. Some of the most stressful moments of my life can be traced back to NaNoWriMo. Of course, when you're trying to put down 50,000 words in the span of thirty days, a certain amount of hardship is to be expected. The benefits must outweigh the costs. After all, I keep coming back to it every year.


What is it about NaNoWriMo that is so appealing? It's not the frantic sprint of fingers on keys in an effort to make word count. It's not the caffeine burning hot through your veins. It's not the blood, sweat, and tears. So come on, what is it? Why do so many people want to participate in this madness?


Because it's amazing. NaNoWriMo just might be the biggest thrill of your life. When you force yourself to write a novel in a month, you'll learn so many new things about yourself. You'll grow in ways you never anticipated. You'll achieve something you never thought possible.


I won't lie to you - it's hard to write a novel. Starting is easy, but finishing is tough. There will be moments when you'll want to throw in the towel. Let them pass. You can do it, I promise. And when you come out swinging at the end, you'll be so proud of yourself you won't know what to do.


You should most definitely do NaNoWrimo.


For more information, visit this website. Also, please let me know if you plan to participate. I'd love to buddy up with you. We all might need to encourage each other!


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Friday, October 25, 2013

Costume Ideas Based on Literary Characters

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In case you hadn't noticed, Halloween is close at hand. It's less than a week away. If you don't have a Halloween costume yet, there's no need to panic. I'm happy to help. Here are a couple of ideas based on characters from famous works of literature.

Hester Prynne

All you need for this look is a black dress, a white apron, some black shoes, and a scarlet letter. Bonnet and child born of wedlock are optional.

Jay Gatsby

Pull off the infamous American Dreamer by dressing in a suit and carrying around a glass of champagne. Be sure to mention Daisy and green lights wherever you go. Also, don't forget to say, "old sport" as much as humanly possible. Bonus points for hosting a legendary Halloween party without sending out any invitations.

Big Brother

Take a piece of poster board and cut out a hole in the middle for your head to fit through. Write BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU in bold letters with a permanent marker. For added paranoia, hide cameras all over your friends and family. And grow some nasty facial hair. By the way, you may or may not actually exist. Keep that in mind.

Mina Harker


Here's another for the ladies. Put on a nightgown, preferably a lacy one. Muss your hair and wear it loose. Apply fake blood to your neck as though you've been bitten by a vampire. Faint constantly throughout the evening. Babble incoherently about uninvited nighttime guests.

I know this post is short, but this should've given you a few ideas for your Halloween costume. 

What do you think? What are you going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Books to Get You in the Spooky Spirit

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I love Halloween. You should know that about me. I also love reading.

Why not combine the two?

There are several books that I love to reread around this time of year. These books are full of thrills, chills, suspense, scares, horror, and mayhem - every spooky sensation that you can imagine. That's what makes them perfect for an All Hallows Eve read. If you're looking to curl up with a creepy classic or a contemporary chiller, check out one from this list:
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker - Whether or not you've read the book, the story of Dracula is certainly familiar to almost anyone. Read about the vampire that inspired them all. The cool thing about this book is that it is told in the form of letters from several different characters.

  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux - Another haunting read whose story is pervasive in modern culture. This novel tells the story of the ghost of the Paris Opera House and his obsessive attraction toward a young chorus girl. Fear, violence, love triangles - what's not to love? And yes, this is the book that inspired one of the longest-running shows in theatre history.

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - Released in 1938 and made into a movie by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca has been dazzling audiences since its initial release. Hands down one of the best books I've ever read. I couldn't put it down. Without spoiling anything, this book is about a young woman who marries a widower with a mysterious past. It. Is. Good.

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - One of the most famous examples of the gothic romance. Jane Eyre is a young woman who falls in love with her employer... and finds that he has a skeleton in his closet (or perhaps in his attic, but I'll say no more). If you read it in school, it's worth a second look.

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - This is the novel that birthed science fiction. And it was written by a woman. Need I go on? If you read this book, you'll understand why some people cringe when you refer to the monster as "Frankenstein."

  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - Okay, okay. This book is not necessarily scary, but parts of it are unnerving. Hester Prynne has an affair and is forced to wear a scarlet "A" on her chest so that everyone will know her crime. This novel is haunting, and I can't explain why.

  • The Shining by Stephen King - The King of Horror writes the King of all horror novels. Just read it, mmkay?

  • Misery by Stephen King - Another masterpiece from the master himself. Man, do I love Stephen King. Even if you've seen the movie, you should probably read the book.

  • Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews - This book creeped me the eff out. A mother keeps her children locked up in an attic for over two years. Terrifying because it reveals the dark side of human nature. I couldn't put this one down, either.
Of course, these are just some of my favorite scary reads for the scariest time of the year. I'm interested to see which of these books you've read and enjoyed. 

What do you like to read around Halloween? What books did I miss?


Helene in Between

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cheap Books and Fried Dough

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I spent this past weekend at school for a couple of reasons, one of which was Deep Roots. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Deep Roots is an all-day event downtown with food, games, vendors, drinks, performances, and live music. It's basically the most exciting thing to happen to this town all year.


I spent a whopping four hours at Deep Roots with my boyfriend, friend, and roommate. While the four of us were out, we watched a STOMP-like performance, danced in a flash mob rendition of "The Time Warp" from Rocky Horror, bought over a dozen books, chowed down on funnel cake, and had a fantastic time.


If you like to read, let me tell you about the awesome deals I got on books. Have you spent much time at antique or thrift stores? Maybe you've noticed that these places also sell books. These books are CHEAP. I picked up twenty for only sixteen dollars. How cool is that?


Also, I'm sorry if I made everyone crave funnel cake. Luckily, I found a recipe that you can try out at home! While you're reading that post, follow that blog. It's fantastic.


All in all, I had an excellent weekend. What about you guys? What did you do?

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