OMGIGOTACOMPUTERAGAIN!

Hey! How have you been? Hopefully you’re all staying safe and hope you’re not too anxious or bored. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m freezing my socks off right now. It’s the beginning of September, and there’s been this sudden cold snap where I am–Spring is supposed to blossom into our lives, but we ain’t feeling it (or at least, I’m not).

But as you have read in the title, I got myself a brand new laptop. So yeah, it sure feels good to type with a “real” keyboard again rather than a cruddy phone touchscreen (and manually adjusting paragraphs to justified via the html editor–ain’t nobody got time for that!). Also, because I kind of go ham with money, I upgraded this blog to a business plan (not that it’s any of your business, teehee), and I also got Adobe Cloud. You know it’s serious business if one gets Adobe Cloud. I purchased it because I need to change my face with Photoshop want to add a little oomph to TABL. That means making better graphics, optimising pictures, and using better stock photos rather than the royalty free ones you get online–sometimes you can’t find the exact image you want to use for your blog post.

I want to invest in a better quality blog/site, so I think it’s fair to say my purchases are justified. At least then, TABL can shine like the star she truly is. This has been my passion project for a bit over four years now, and as each year passes, this blog shall grow and evolve. The most I want for TABL is for it to look professional and appealing to the eye, and to show how far my multiple skills have grown since the inception of this blog. It kind of feels like Christmas, and I’m rearing to make a proper comeback on here.

Anyway, I’m also excited because October is around the corner, and for that particular month, I’m keen to write some sp00ky blog posts because of Halloween. Plus–as of next week, I’m officially taking two weeks off work for a little R&R (yay!). So you may find me on here posting random crap like I used to. Keep your eyes peeled! I shall see you when I see you! Take care always.

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TABL Turns Two!! (Actually Three. My bad)

Hello everyone!

Not much going on here but MY BABY IS TWO( ETA its actually THREE)! Admittedly, I haven’t been writing in here as much as I’d like to, but I’m glad to still be here. As always, I’d like to thank everyone for reading/skimming/lurking/visiting the blog, even if there hasn’t been much content published.

Wow… two three years is a lot of time (duh). I started this blog as something to motivate me to read my set novels for my studies but it completely evolved into something not different, but better. Here, I can share and express what’s on my mind regarding literature, and although I should do this more, see what other bloggers are writing about. WordPress has been a godsend to my life, and having a blog as a writer has its perks.

Since writing is going through a major shift from print to digital, it’s a great advantage for any writer to have a blog. This is because with the skills we learn from having one i.e HTML, SEO, content management systems, possibilities with jobs are endless (take that, naysayers that think Arts is a rubbish degree!). Plus, aside from journaling and working on manuscripts or articles, a blog is one more medium to exercise writing.

Anyway, I’m gonna celebrate with a glass (or two, or five) of some cheap Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve got a night shift on tomorrow, so I’ll be just right getting on the sauce tonight (winky face emoji). But for now, ciao!

Blowing the Dust and Cobwebs Off This Blog

Hello everyone!

First and foremost, a belated happy new year! Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2020 for all of us here at WP and everywhere else.

Anyway… the reason why I’ve been absent during the tail end of last year is because this old Louse has found (casual) employment! So, my shifts at work are kind of sporadic, now drafting up posts for TABL will likely take longer (and I’m binge watching Spongebob to unwind because I can). Though, this doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading during my downtime. I’ve already finished The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and plan to make some combo review of that and its prequel. I’m also currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt, but the more I read it, the more of a dingus I feel like I am (I don’t know shizz about Ancient Greek language, okay?).

I’ve also got a half-done review in the Drafts tab, regarding The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse. Slowly but surely, it will be published soon! Not to mention, there’s a heap of books I still haven’t gotten around to, as well as other dnf’d works that I’m considering giving a second chance.

Well, I don’t want to bore you with my incessant rambling, so I’m going to draw it to a halt here. Stay tuned and keep on being your bookish selves! Looking forward to the new works that this new decade will bring us!

A Halloween Treat and No Tricks! TABL Presents…

sk book tag

Hey all!

It’s been a while since I posted on here, and I’d rather post something filler-ish rather than nothing at all.  Now that it’s Halloween season, I decided that I’ll do a book tag that’s all about my favourite spooky author of all time!  The credits to this tag go to Jessie, a fellow book blogger at Book Ballistic, who also translated this from French (if you are reading this, thank you so much!).

So here it goes, and as the Tenth Doctor would say, Allons-y!

The Stephen King Book Tag

Q: How many Stephen King books do you own?  

Freakin’ lots (to the point Dad started calling me Stephen).  Can’t be bothered to count them right now, sorry not sorry.

Q: How did you discover this author?  

When my aunt gave me her copy of Pet Sematary.  She was reading on a flight, and since she was done with it, she gifted it to a young Louse.

Q: What is the first book you read by him?  

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Pet Sematary, of course!

Q: How long have you been a fan? 

Ever since I was in Year 5, so like 14 years or something close to that.

Q: Which one is your favourite book?  

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Don’t be fooled.  Don’t be FOOLED.

Hmm… I’d have to say Night Shift.  I enjoyed most–if not all–of the stories that were in this particular collection.  In other collections, however, the individual stories are either a hit or miss for me.

Q: Who made you most afraid?  

man in black suit

Y’all better start praying you don’t encounter this guy.

The eponymous entity from the short story The Man in the Black Suit.   There’s something’s superbly eerie about this story… not to mention, there are many true stories about encounters with strangers who gave off disturbing vibes to the point that some of these stories feel too supernatural to believe.  But I think this particular story taps into this specific fear of being approached by a stranger when you’re alone, and that this stranger may be quite… devilish.

Honourable Mentions: Pennywise (no duh!) – IT, George Stark – The Dark Half, the creepy black dog demon thing – The Sun Dog, the creepy, ever-so-changing painting of that woman – 1408. 

Q: Which book did you like the least?  

Joyland.  I ended up dnf’ing it because I simply lost interest and stopped caring about it.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea, plot-wise.

Q: Do you have any Stephen King books in your TBR pile?  

Yeppity yes.  Several of his new ones, mainly Elevation, The Outsider, The Institute, and Sleeping Beauties.  However, I don’t have my copies of the last two just yet.  Oh, and I also want to read Nightmares and Dreamscapes, but the book shops never have copies (sad face).

Q: What is your favourite new book?  

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (does this count as new?  Well, it’s new-ish, I guess).  While I do love Stephen King’s long novels, I really adore the various short stories this man puts out.  The short stories just prove how versatile his writing is.

Q: What do you think of adaptions?  What is your favourite? 

Well, taste in movies is subjective.  I like some adaptions and others are kinda meh to me.  My favourite would have to be Stand By Me, and I’ll shamelessly admit that this is a film I’ve watched over and over again.  So yeah!

Anyway, that was fun!  Although I’m reading another novel at the moment, I’ll definitely get to my Stephen King books in my TBR pile.  I’m also looking at purchasing more short story collections in the future (looking at you, Nightmares and Dreamscapes).  But I’ll have to conclude this post here.

For a few years now, Australia’s jumped on board the Halloween celebration train, and since it’ll be the 1st of November tomorrow (Aussie time), I’m planning on hitting the shops and buying some sweets that’ll be on clearance.  Gotta get that sugar in me!

Until the next post, stay reading and stay creative (and if you’re in the USA and anywhere else that participates in trick or treating, I hope you have enough candy to hand out to the kiddos.  But if I was there, I’d be wearing a Ghostface mask and screaming at them to get off my lawn).

Ok, I’ll shut up now.  Toodles!

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Vanity Unfair: When Do Publishing Companies Become Unscrupulous?

Hello, my sweets!

How are you all?  Hopefully good–and if you haven’t been good, I hope you’re feeling better.  Anyway, today’s hot topic is all about vanity publishing.  Since a lot of us are aspiring writers, it’d make our hearts leap if we ever see that a publishing company has taken interest in our submission/s.  We’d think that we finally hit the jackpot and our eyes sparkle at the possibility of making it big, baby!

Here’s where I say the big, dreaded ‘BUT’: What if there are publishing presses out there that are taking advantage of writers?  It turns out, I learned that some companies are doing this, and specifically, they target writers who either a) want to make it as a published author or b) are jaded and are tired of facing rejection after rejection.  This is where the vanity publisher comes in.

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TABL Turns Two!: Uncut Ramble Ahead

Hey, hey, hey everyone!

Today’s the day that The Avid Book Louse turns two!  Hurray!  So, to honour TABL’s second birthday, I decided to spice this blog up by recording a video for you all.  I’m thinking that I may occasionally upload videos on WordPress just to add a little more versatility to the content that is being shared here.  Feel free to watch it and enjoy the awkwardness (or cringe).

[Warning: Aussie accent.  I’m sorry if I’m not speaking clearly or repeating myself a lot!] 

Speaking of birthdays, I’ve also got to help my mother prepare for her birthday party tomorrow, so I have to get back to that.

But don’t you worry your cute little head, I’ll be back to writing sooner than you think!

Ciao!

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The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a ****: A Review

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Ah, Facebook.  Something I truly don’t give a flying … about.

(I swear that WordPress’ editor is trolling me right now.  The next post I’ll publish will be a rant on my phone regarding this stupid bloody editor!) 

Hey!  Yes you, reading this post right now.

Do you cuss like a sailor?  Do you like narrators that break the fourth wall to talk to you while they cuss like sailors?  Do you like self-help books with narrators that break the fourth wall to talk to you while they cuss like sailors?  No?  Well, this book isn’t for you.

The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a ****
by Sarah Knight (I’ll shorten to TLM) is a self-help book that does exactly what it says on the tin (or rather, the cover).  This book intended to be a parody of Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, but Knight’s version aims to teach us to tidy up our minds, by giving less f%$#s about things that aren’t that important to us.

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Can We Really Avoid Clichés Though?

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Nawwmygod this image has nothing to do with this blog post but look how cute they are (ignoring the fact that they could shred us to ribbons if we made them angry)

[Edit: I accidentally reverted this post back to a draft, because the editor was being super-glitchy, and I had a bit of a misadventure when I tried the “new editor”, but luckily I’m back to the classic one.  A word of advice, do not switch to the new editor or else your blog will be cursed!]

So, here’s another thing I want to get off my chest.

Anyway, I just wanted to write about this topic because it’s something we all deal with, whether we read or write a story.  We pick up a book, begin reading it, and as we take in the plot, we think, ‘well, I’m sure I’ve read this before’.  Sometimes, if we’re sassy enough, we roll our eyes.  We have times where we have an idea for a story and begin plotting.  Then, halfway through development, we go, ‘aw shucks, this isn’t original at all!’.  For instance, I’m planning on writing a romance novel (something that isn’t mindf%$#ery for once), and while the love interest isn’t a sexy, chiselled, 6-packed bajillionaire, he still has inner demons, and the trials that my lovebird protagonists go through aren’t exactly original either (no spoilers!).  So this was one trigger to my exploration of clichés in literature.
 
So this brings me to the question: can we really avoid clichés and certain tropes in literary works?  As avid literature fans, we all desire a breath of fresh air when we search for new books to read.  I’m a huge fan of psychological thrillers and the like, but then, there comes a point where I can predict a plot twist or pinpoint the true villain of the story (usually a wolf in sheep’s skin).  Are these devices repetitive?  Most certainly.  Are they boring?  Not necessarily.
 
Sometimes I feel that clichés and tropes can be inevitable at times.  It’s almost as if some genres are born to have particular tropes associated with them.  I suppose clichés work, and they sell.  Not only are the tropes and cliches within the story repetitive, so are the book covers!  In romance, there’s a woman in the arms of a very sexy (and often shirtless) man, and in crime and thrillers, there is either a dark corridor/alley or a silhouette of a person, and in sci-fi, there’s usually alien landscapes with a celestial body of some sort in the background (often a photoshopped Saturn).  Perhaps the reason that book covers are designed in a specific way so that they can appeal to their intended audience.  Though to me, I think that most typical romance covers look tacky, but that’s my own personal taste (minimalist covers are my favourites).  But at least they scream ‘ROMANCE’ to the fans of romantic stories.  Vice versa for other genres.
 
The main argument that I want to put forth is that no, we can’t always avoid certain clichés and tropes when we’re reading or writing particular genres of literature.  Despite critiquing the tropes/clichés, I’m also guilty of using some of them myself (ergo, I’m a HYPOCRITE).  I suppose the reason that we probably get a little too nit-picky with either our own or someone else’s works is because we want ORIGINALITY™.  But, no story is truly original, do you agree?  Stories do follow a certain type of formula to some extent, and we’re kind of pushing pressure on ourselves to try and write something that’s completely out of left field.
 
But I also want to say it won’t hurt to use them, and people are going to be peeved at clichés and stereotypes whether we like it or not, and we can’t impress everyone.  Yeah, they can be annoying and overused, but perhaps they could work if they are written well.  Additionally, is it really that fair to compare books to others in the same genre?
 
I’d like to hear your thoughts, and ask:
  • What do you think of the common clichés and tropes present in literature?  You can talk about genre-specific ones too.
  • What’s your favourite cliché or trope?  What is your least?
  • Have you ever added your own twist to an overused cliché/trope?  How did you do this?
  • Or, has an author whose works you’ve read twisted them around?
Anyway, now’s the time to say toodles, and have a nice day, wonderful reader!
 
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The Body: A Review

train tracks

I was going to insert a screenshot from Stand By Me, but… copyright.  So enjoy these train tracks instead.

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

Or, it could be the afternoon or the evening, wherever you are on this planet.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/whatever you do during the festive season.  Even though I said in the last post that I was going to abandon this blog for a while, I now have some downtime.

Anyway, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, but…this particular review is way overdue!  In fact, there hasn’t been a book review on here for ages!  Well, I’ve been working on this review for quite a while now, but life gets in the way (I was really preoccupied with assignments and Christmas).  Sometimes there are times that I don’t have the motivation or the time to write, and frankly, I value quality over quantity.  I’d rather a decent post once in a while than shitty posts almost every day for the sake of posting.  Anyway, that’s just me.  I’ll stop rambling now.

So, let’s get right to the review, shall we?

The Body is the third novella in Stephen King’s quartet Different Seasons.  As the majority of us know, it spawned the movie Stand By Me (if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour).  Personally, out of all the novellas in this collection, The Body would have to be my favourite.  Out of the four, this one was the least dark, albeit death being a major theme.  The Body takes us back to the summer of 1960 and is narrated by Gordon Lachance, a writer who fondly remembers that summer.

(incoming spoilers under the cut)

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Gratitude

Hello everyone!

How is everybody?  Good?  Great?  Absolutely shithouse?  Well, wherever you are, I just hope things go well for you in your day.

Anyway, I just want to write this post to say, “HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY, TABL!”

Just a year ago, I was on the fence as to whether I would start this blog or not.  I was going through a difficult time in my life and wasn’t exactly sure whether this will be a long-lived project or another abandoned one.  But now, I’m just glad to be here, still writing, despite my posts being sparse.  I totally enjoy being on WordPress, blogging and doing what I love the most: writing.

So, thank you, thank you to all the followers of TABL.  Even though we don’t really communicate much, I’m just grateful for your presence.  You’re all a bunch of talented, wonderful writers and I wish you all the best in your blogging endeavours.  I am glad to have encountered you all.

Thank you to all the readers that come and view this blog.  Although this is a small blog with not much activity going on, I’m thankful for whatever hits the blog get regardless.  (Side note: I’m not really someone who is after clout and a bajillion hits/followers, this is a site that is pretty much a literary diary that so happens to be public, so whoever sees it, sees it)

Again, I’m just glad to be here and glad to be doing this.  I’m really appreciating what blogging is and seeing just what is out there in the WordPress world (or should I say, WorldPress?).

Anyway, I would have celebrated TABL’s first birthday with a beer, but it’s currently winter here in Australia and the region that I live in can get fairly cold, so a hot chocolate will be the celebratory drink of choice tonight.

An enormous thank you to everyone who viewed/read/followed TABL.  Thank you for being on this journey with me.  I definitely enjoyed my year of blogging, and hope for many more years to come!

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