Monday, January 24, 2011

So Ends Part One? What?

I've been trying to be good and actually make time for reading so that I can be successful in my challenge to myself. If I don't make myself read now, there's a good possibility that I will forget my challenge and pick up whatever book seems sweetest at the moment. I'm determined to stick with my challenge. So I've been reading Little Women, and I was quite surprised when I made it past the halfway mark and still hadn't reached the place where I stopped reading so many years ago. I wondered why I'd been so lazy as to not finish the book when I was so near the end. Well, when there were only about fifty pages left I knew something was up. I'm familiar enough with the story to know that much more had to happen before it came to it's close, and there was no way that everything that was meant to happen could happen in fifty pages.

I kept reading and just now made it to the end of those fifty pages. It was then that I made a curious discovery. The end of my copy reads thus: "So grouped, the curtain falls upon Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Whether it ever rises again depends upon the reception given to the first act of the domestic drama called LITTLE WOMEN." Can you imagine my distress when I realized the story is broken up into two parts and I held in my hands only the first? My reaction was something to the affect of, "What the heck? Why would you only publish part one in a book when there are two parts? Curse you!" I'm still very fond of the copy as I like old copies of books and mine is a printing from the 1960's, and I realize some of you might not think that old at all, but I'm afraid it's before my time. Please forgive me.

Fortunately, I happen to have another copy of Little Women, and it has both parts! So tomorrow I resume my reading. Meg has just become engaged, meaning the next chapter may very well be the one that lost my interest the first time I tried to read it. You will not beat me this time! I think I'm enjoying the book better this time around. I'm enjoying the little bits of wisdom. I also love Laurie, and I have a little rant about him, but I think that should be saved until after I've finished the book since my judgements are based solely on movie representation. It won't be long now until I'm on to book two!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Danielle's Bookshelf Challenge

I have a lot of books. I guess you could say that's one of my guilty pleasures. It's so hard to resist picking up a new book or adopting some from a thrift store. So I've gathered quite I few over the years. I'm sure it's not us much as some people, but it's enough where each shelf is stuffed with two layers of books instead of one, and I'm starting to stack books on top of the two rows as well. The thing is I haven't read a good chunk of them. I picked them up because they sounded good and I fully intended on reading them. I just haven't yet.

Here's my challenge: to read every book on my shelf that I haven't read (excluding nonfiction and some collections of short stories). I thought I should start in order as I do have most of them arranged by author. Any guesses as to what book number one is? I'll give you a hint. The author's last name starts with an A and ends with an lcott. That's right. Louisa May Alcott is the writer and the book is Little Women. I'll admit, I almost skipped over this one. I'm horrible right? I'm familiar with the story. I even read half of it once when I was younger. I read up until the point when Meg got married, and then I was so bored I couldn't continue.

Well, I'm pretty sure I've told you all about my belief that sometimes books deserve a second chance. I obviously thought this one warrented a second chance seeing as I did buy it at some point after I'd read that portion of it. I really do like the story. I'm thinking this time, now that I'm older and a little more used to this type of literature, that I'll enjoy it more. I'll finally be able to say I've read it through instead of just knowing the story from seeing the movie. Huzzah!

You'll get to hear about all my adventures too. It wouldn't be fair of me to leave you out of this. I'll keep you posted on the books I read and what I think of them once I'm finished. Feel free to read along with me and let me know what you think as well. I do love discussing a good book...or even a really bad one :)

Until next time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oh, Storyline. You Make My Hours of Gameplay Worthwhile!

When the movie The Prince of Persia came to theaters, I remember talking with some people about it at work. One of my coworkers commented how the storyline of the film differed from that of the video game it is based off of. Another coworker then said something to the effect of, "Video games don't have storylines."

Bless her heart.

I was thinking about this recently as I finished the aforementioned Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Side note: I love this series and you should to. Play it or die! Or don't and live I guess...) I would have to disagree with my coworker's comment. Even many of the simplest video games have some sort of plot. Want some examples and pictures? Good because that's what you're about to get.

Anyoone remember this beauty? I would remember it years later for it's theme that so easily got stuck in my head... Oh great. Now it's going to be there for awhile. Anyway, the gameplay pretty much consisted of you moving your little dinosaur around, blowing bubbles at enemies, and then popping them once the enemies got trapped inside. You only have to make it through 100 levels to make it to the end of the game! But why? Why would you spend quarter after quarter to make it to level 100 besides the obvious addictive quality of the game? What is your little dinosaur's motive for running around blowing bubbles from his mouth? Well, let me tell you in a very simple fashion. Your dinosaur is actually a guy who as been magicked into dinosaur form! And you have to get to level 100 to save your captured girlfriend and hopefully return yourself to normal! Although, given the choice, I might choose to remain a bubble blowing dinosaur, but that's just me.

My sister and I discovered Burger Island  for the Wii a couple years ago. We were hooked. We played that thing night and day. Everyone knows that a fast food environment is much more fun when you're experiencing it from the comforts of your own home! This game isn't that hard to figure out--a customer makes an order and you fulfill it. Simple enough right? Well, it can get pretty tricky, but it's also addictive. At least, it seems to be addictive to the lady folk. Guys don't seem to understand the appeal. That's the case in my experience anyway. There was one part my sister always skipped over when we played: the bit in between levels where we were told (hold your breath) the story! It's something to the effect of you've crashed landed on the island, you take over the local burger joint, and you get help from the tiki gods to get new recipes.

Then there are games that get a little more complicated with their twists and turns and sidequests. And I bet you can guess one of the first ones that popped into my mind. Besides much loved titles like Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Secret of Mana, I thought of none other than Kingdom Hearts!

The following little clip is from Kingdom Hearts II but it's flashbacks from the first game.

The storyline can be a bit complex, but to put simply, the story follows Sora, a teenage boy who wakes up in Traverse Town after his world has been attacked. With the help Donald and Goofy, they travel from world to world in search of Sora's friends, Riku and Kairi, and King Mickey. At the same time, they must defeat the dark creatures known as heartless before they can take over other worlds and steal hearts.

I first became interested in the idea of storyline and plot in video games after playing the first game of the series. I blame it on studying English in college. All those books and poems and articles you read trying to dig out all you can get and then use it yourself in your own papers! It made me see stories differently. I evaluate movies, books, and even video games differently now. And the reason Kingdom Hearts has stuck with me is for some of the same reasons some of my favorite books remain my favorite. I love the characters, the messages I take from their struggles, the fact that I can relate to them. I love their story, their struggles, their triumphs. I love being a part of it.

It made me think of how much we as people love the concept of "story." We gossip. We tell people about our day. We watch movies and read books. We watch the news. We listen to music which has a story all it's own. Our whole lives are filled with story. A part of us thrives off that I think.

So in case you were left with any doubt, video games like books, movies, and even music have a story. This is not me giving you permission to spend your entire life playing World of Warcraft or any other titles I've mentioned. But perhaps a little video game time in your life isn't such a bad thing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Excuse for my Neglect

It's a new year and it's been over a month since I've updated! I apologize. One of the most recent things to consume a good portion of my time:

That's right. I've set aside my love for books temporarily for my love of Kingdom Hearts. But in my defense, one of the reasons I love the Kingdom Hearts series is the story. That's one thing that it has in common with books! They both have a plot :)

Well, I hope you enjoy the new year as I continue to endeaver to save the world! More updates soon!