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Oct 20,2014

File 26230There are a number of reasons why teenagers seem disinterested in the work of William Shakespeare.

1) It was in the past.

2) It’s hard to understand.

3) We’re forced to read it at school.

4) It was in the past.

5) It doesn’t seem to be relevant anymore.

I can’t understand any of those reasons. Perhaps put it down to my love of linguistics, but I adore Shakespeare's use of words and language more than anything else. He’s one of my favourite parts of the English curriculum, yet nobody else seems to agree. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of reasons to love Bill Shakespeare, or to at least give him a chance.

Firstly, his words are incredible. Not only did he make them up, but he crafted them into household terms (like ‘household terms’, in an alarming twist of meta-layers) and into some of the most famous soliloquies, monologues and segments of dialogue in the English language. Even if you don’t understand them, that’s okay - they are two hundred years old, and some of them are made up, and it doesn’t make you an idiot. (Relax.)

If words aren’t enough, then what about the way he positions them? Iambic pentameter (i.e. one of his fancy poetic styles) is a sensational way of story-telling. When I read Shakespeare it feels more like music than words.

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Oct 17,2014

It's that time of week again - Inky's Choice! Where the only opinion that matters is my own!  Now let's get to it...

File 262253 reasons to read Falling into Place by Amy Zhang:

1. NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us! For those who argue that it's a waste of time and doesn't result in anything....you're wrong. Zheng wrote the first draft of her debut novel throughout her 2012 NaNo effort. She edited it over two months and sold it shortly thereafter. How's that for a success story?

2. The perspecive is not typical, which makes it both surprising and fantastically awesome. I would say more but I don't want to spoil it!

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Oct 13,2014

Applying Logic to Fantasy (Or Avoiding That at All Costs)

Why doesn’t Harry just find himself a muggle weapon and rid himself of Voldemort for good? Why don’t the tributes just refuse to play in the Hunger Games? Why doesn’t Gandalf just get Radagast the Brown to call upon a few giant eagles and save the hobbits a whole lot of time?

Why didn’t the main character just use a real world device to solve the central conflict of the story?

If you’re asking questions like these, then you’re suffering from logic.

File 26213Real world logic is to fantasy what powerful rings are to corruptible hobbits: annoying, hard to dispute, and really just another argument for staying inside and shunning the rest of the world entirely. I can’t make sense of those who think that fake and real should mix. To me it seems that Harry needs to have an epic duel, or that Katniss needs to fight, or that… Well, I can’t really defend Tolkien’s conveniently apparating eagles, but you understand what I mean. The point of fantasy is that it’s not real. Nothing leaches the fun out of a fake world like the real world poking its head in and reminding me that it’s fake.

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Oct 10,2014

3 reasons to read State of Grace by Hilary Badger: 

File 261851. For the feel-good utopian factor. It's set in a paradise-like world where everything is good, and everyone is accepted for who they are.

2. For the uneasy dystopian factor. Because nothing is ever quite what it seems, is it? I confess that the darker this book gets, the more I found myself thinking uncomfortably about some of the real world parallels.

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Oct 08,2014

Pssst! Over here!

File 26163

 

Do you love the Harry Potter books?

File 26160

 

Have you seen all the films?

Then you're in for a treat, because the internet has finally given us images from deleted scenes from Harry Potter. Fans of the books, prepare to squee over those poignant moments that you never got to see in cinema... (obviously: spoiler alert!)

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Oct 07,2014

Hi! I’m a fourteen year old girl from Sydney with one twin, one older sister, two sets of parents and a small dog. My main hobbies are reading, writing and watching movies. I like trivia, nerd culture and really good books. I find silly books marketed at my demographic and the adaptation of said books into even sillier movies interesting out of scientific curiosity (I think this post will show exactly how little respect I hold for them).

My personal mantra is that you need to experience the bad to appreciate the good, which is pretty much a poetic excuse to indulge my appetite for really horrible books and movies. My ultimate dream is to be a writer and have a fandom of my own, but I guess I could settle for going to Hogwarts, because that would be pretty cool too.

Welcome, Clio! Glad to have you joining us as this month's 'Voice', sharing your bookish thoughts. And maybe even your Hogwarts letter. (Please?) - Inky.

 

File 26154A Novel Dilemma

I, a teenage girl, am looking for a fantasy novel about dragons or something similar when I find myself in the ‘Young Adult’ section. I wander up and down the aisles, searching for something to suit my tastes- after all, this is my part of the store- and instead find novels full of barely concealed plagiarism, mysterious bad boys, weak protagonists and absolutely none of the fantastical settings, characters and dragons that I so desire.

Just for a laugh, I pick up a random book and observe the blurb:

Things are going well for Unnecessary Female Protagonist. Life is just really great. Then her (mysterious heirloom/friend/relative/stranger from the bus stop) is (killed/taken/swallowed) by (demons/vampires/aliens/werewolves/mermaids), and she is swept into a world full of (any of the above). Suddenly the (mysterious/brooding/dark-eyed/somehow interesting) Stereotype on Wheels appears, with all of his bad boy looks and tortured past and pulsating abdominals, and she is irresistibly allured by him. He takes her deeper into his world, where she meets Unnecessary Competition, the Third Edge of that Love Triangle; Secondary Characters who will Undoubtedly be Cooler than those Starring; and Strange Creatures Who Have Had Their Ancient Lore Altered for the Sake of a Book. She forgets that she’s in a fantasy novel, and learns a lesson or two about the (pain/torment/fun/dullness) of unrequited love.

I drop the book like it’s burning a hole through my taste in literature. Why is it impossible to write sci-fi and fantasy for teen girls?

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Oct 02,2014

Here it is! Here it is! The last of the exclusive interviews with this year's shortlisted Inky Awards interviews! Are you ready? Are you set? Have you decided on your favourite? Read, share, love, and vote vote vote

Today Inky Awards Judge Claudia interviews Jonathan Stroud, author of shortlisted book Lockwood &Co: The Screaming Staircase. 

File 26050Claudia: What is your book about?

Jonathan: The Screaming Staircase takes place in a London that’s haunted by an epidemic of ghosts. It’s been going on for years, and is getting worse all the time. No one knows why so many phantoms are coming back, but the problem is that these spirits are dangerous. If you get ghost-touched, it’s not good news. Worse still, they can’t be seen by adults. This means it’s down to some of the children – the ones with the strongest psychic senses – to strap on their iron rapiers and go off to save the day.

My heroes are three kids: Lucy Carlyle, Anthony Lockwood and George Cubbins. Together they make up the smallest ghost-hunting agency in London, and in this book we follow their early career. They’re talented, but they make mistakes: and when they encounter a ghost girl’s vengeful spirit, it nearly costs them all their lives. Throw in plenty of adventure, jokes, scares and murder – and that pretty much sums it all up!

 

Claudia: What inspired you to write a book about ghosts?

Jonathan: I’ve always enjoyed ghostly tales. When I was 13 I had an English teacher called Mr Johnson – he used to come into class sometimes and just read us fantastic stories instead of doing lessons. Often he’d choose scary stuff, and I still remember him reading out A School Story by M R James, in which a rather nasty ghost comes looking for the narrator’s teacher… It was brilliant, and I went straight out to track down M R James’s other spooky tales. (I’d still recommend them: they’re superb.). With Lockwood & Co., I thought I’d try to create some ghost stories of my own, but mix them with other genres too. So this is a detective story, and it’s a story about three kids having adventures, and it’s also got what I hope are some genuinely creepy bits… All in all, I’m trying to write the kind of book I’d have loved when I was 12 – and which I’d also enjoy discovering now.

 

Claudia: What time is the book set in?

Jonathan: The very first scene I wrote (before I knew anything about the story) featured a boy and girl in modern clothes going up to an ordinary suburban house, and knocking on the door. Thing was, they weren’t just modern. They also had long swords at their belts and had heavy bags of iron chains…

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Oct 01,2014

We're down to the final few! This is the second last super-special interview to help you choose which book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards. And there's only FOUR DAYS LEFT to vote!

Today's interview is with Allyse Near, author of shortlisted book Fairytales for Wilde Girls. Inky Awards Judge Lena asks the grisly questions:

File 26018Lena: What is your book about?

Allyse: Fairytales for Wilde Girls is a gothic little slice of YA. It’s about a girl with a whole host of fantasy-guardians, and the trouble she gets into when she discovers a dead body in the woods near her house, and the spirit of said dead girl follows her home. It’s got beautiful illustrations, short fairy-stories scattered throughout, and a slightly sinister talking rabbit.

 

LenaFairy tales (both real and invented) feature quite heavily in your book. What is your favourite fairy tale, and why?

Allyse: Most definitely Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Wild Swans’. It’s somewhat unknown which is a huge shame, because it’s so twisted and fantastical. I always enjoyed it when I was young because the main character was named Princess Elisa, occasionally Elise, which is very close to my name! She flies across the sea carried by swans and accidentally marries a king and sneaks around graveyards and nearly gets burned at the stake. I dream of one day writing a screenplay for a Disney movie based on it!

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Sep 30,2014

To help you choose which amazing book you should vote for in this year's Inky Awards, we're going to get to know a little bit more about the authors behind them. The Inky Awards Judges have been asking the important questions, and the shortlisted authors have answered!

Today Inky Awards Judge Angus steps into the world of Julie Berry, author of shortlisted book All the Truth That's in Me.

File 26008Angus: What is your book about?

Julie: All the Truth That’s in Me is a love story, a mystery, and a thriller. It’s deeply romantic, sad, and hopeful; it can be uncomfortable in some places.

It tells the story of Judith, a girl who’s been boxed in by her community, practically buried in a living tomb. She suffered a trauma that left her unable to speak, leaving her marked, as victims so often are, as damaged, in ways that are both untrue and unfair. Both her silence, and people’s perceptions of her guilt, make her an outcast in her small, repressive, Puritanical and colonial community. Because her town has dismissed her, she can move about rather invisibly, and she uses this freedom to seek the only consolation she can find for her loneliness – she keeps Lucas, the young man she’s loved for a long time, constantly in her sights. When the town faces a direct attack from an invading power, Judith must choose between keeping her silence, or speaking up in the face of terrible peril, to try to protect Lucas and those who once cared for her.



Angus: The place and time were important in your story. Do you enjoy using historical settings?

Julie: I do indeed. I love the research and the reading that goes into writing a historical novel. I loved studying history when I was younger. I feel lucky now that my career allows me to pick a place and a time that interest me, study them to my heart’s content, and use that knowledge to write books. In that sense it’s like getting paid to learn, and to hang out with interesting people, who happen to be dead. Who wouldn’t like that job?

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Sep 29,2014

Hi and welcome to post #5! In this final post I’ll tell you guys about some of the cons of manga and graphic novels (GN).

File 25988

1. Too quick to read.

While a novel takes some time to read, a manga can take far less than that. If you read volumes in succession too quickly, sometimes you can feel suddenly empty once the world you’d immersed yourself in is over. And if you get too used to this ‘light’ reading you may find it hard to adjust back to reading 300 page novels.

2. Doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

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