What I love most about having time off from school and holiday vacations is not only not having to do homework, but all the quality reading time I get to have to myself! I can devote hours upon hours to catching up on my to-be-read list and just spend the day daydreaming about frolicking alongside characters in worlds.
The only thing that would make my vacation better is if I had a super awesome reading nook! I try not to read on my bed cause even though I like to be snug and warm, I don’t want to fall asleep! Reading at my desk feels too much like sitting down to do homework, so I make do by lounging about on the couch, which sometimes can be distracting since it’s in the middle of all the action (i.e. the living room).
I’ve decided to create an “ideal reading nook” complete with pictures – to show you what kind of a space I’d love to create for myself!
My ideal reading nook would consist of:
A really comfy armchair by the window!
A small table right next to me to hold my other books and snacks!
A plate of cheese! Scratch that – endless amounts of cheese!
An ottoman to prop up my feet!
What would your ideal reading nooks consist of, Buzzers? Better yet, tell everyone by completing this activity and earn some buzz bucks for when the store is re-opened and re-stocked in 2012!
If you've been tuning into the epic conversation happening on Christopher Paolini's forum happening right now, then you've probably discovered lots about him you may not have already known about him. One of our favorite discoveries was the list of all of his writing inspirations for the Inheritance cycle. So what are they? Browse through the images below to find out!
From left to right: Brahms, Beethoven, Richard Wagner
Real World Inspirations
From left to right: Montana wildelife, Carlsbad Caverns, Arches National Park
Now that you know Christopher's inspirations, tell us - what are your writing inspirations?
The Inheritance cycle has been published all over the world - in fact, the books have been published in over a dozen languages! To celebrate this global phenomenon, we've done a little digging and have unearthed some of the coolest international covers as we could find for all the books. Browse through and then tell us which ones are your favorites!
From left to right: German hardcover, Japanese hardcover, Vietnamese paperback
From left to right: Dutch paperback, Japanese paperback, Portuguese edition
From left to right: Spanish paperback, Swedish hardcover, Japanese hardcover
Kvetha Shur'tugalar! And welcome Christopher Paolini! The best selling author is joining us this week to discuss all things Inheritance. This is one of his first stops and he's eager to answer all of your burning questions so don't hesitate and post away on the forum here. Not only will you be connecting with the author himself, but by posting you're also entering into our signed Inheritance poster giveaway!*
If your new to the Inheritance Cycle make sure you check out the Vroengard forums and browse through the books, important links and the latest video interview with CP from Boy's Life below and keep your eyes out for Inheritance and dragon-themed posts, activities and more throughout the week!
Published in 2003
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire. Click here to read the New York Times review of Eragon!
Listen to the audio excerpt from Eragon:
Published in 2005
Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life.
Listen to an audio excerpt from Eldest:
OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide. Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep. First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice. Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?
Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?
The idea of Eragon began as the daydreams of a teen. Christopher's love for the magic of stories led him to craft a novel that he would enjoy reading. The project began as a hobby, a personal challenge; he never intended it to be published. All the characters in Eragon are from Christopher's imagination except Angela the herbalist, who is loosely based on his sister.
Christopher was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon. He took a second year to revise the book and then gave it to his parents to read. The family decided to self-publish the book and spent a third year preparing the manuscript for publication: copyediting, proofreading, designing a cover, typesetting the manuscript, and creating marketing materials. During this time Christopher drew the map for Eragon, as well as the dragon eye for the book cover (that now appears inside the Knopf hardcover edition). The manuscript was sent to press and the first books arrived in November 2001. The Paolini family spent the next year promoting the book at libraries, bookstores, and schools in 2002 and early 2003.
Die-hard Inheritance fans will already be intimately familiar with these sites, but for newbies, we suggest browsing through these fun, informative and interactive sites for truly immersing yourself in the Inheritance experience:
The weekend is finally here and we can't wait to settle in for some quality reading time. This weekend we're digging into TRASH by Andy Mulligan -- an extremely memorable, heartwarming and humbling read. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, we highly suggest considering it while on your next visit to the library or bookstore. Before you do, read our chapter sampler posted below!
About Trash:In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city. One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.
We’ve been howling with delight at having Nancy and Debbie visit us this week to discuss the first book in their Wolfspring Chronicles, Unleashed! We devoured our copy of Unleashed and can’t wait for its sequel, Hot Blooded, due next year.
This is what we’ve learned about Nancy and Debbie:
Debbie and Nancy are besties!
Nancy’s favorite werewolf book is Blood and Chocolate!
Debbie’s favorite werewolf book is Unleashed
Both Debbie and Nancy fell in love with Holgar Vibbard, a Danish werewolf from Nancy’s book Crusade, which led to a decision to embark on a werewolf series
Debbie and Nancy have worked together for 10 years, and sold 11 books together. Team work!
When writing together, Debbie and Nancy both sit down, write out a chapter by chapter outline, then take turns writing alternating chapters. They also “write it forward,” meaning that when one sends her chapter, it’s the only draft – the other revises and adds changes and sends it back; changes can’t be undone
Nancy has two corgis – Tater Tot and Panda
Nancy was a serious ballet student
Nancy and Debbie used the basic plot of Shakespeare play King Lear for Unleashed
Debbie first met Nancy at Maui Writers Retreat/Maui Writers Conference when Nancy was assigned to be her teacher. The rest is history!
Nancy’s favorite character to write was Jesse
Debbie’s favorite character to write was Trick, followed closely by Mordecai
Debbie and Nancy argue about two things: tipping and dog training
The ladies had to cut about 25,000 words (100pgs) from Unleashed. So they saved them for Hot Blooded!
That’s just a skim of what we’ve learned about these two ladies! To read the rest of their very detailed responses, check their forum here! If you missed this week’s convo, don’t fret! Christopher Paolini will be visiting us next week so be sure to stop by and leave questions for him!
Happy Friday Buzzers! We hope your week has been going well, but for 5 of you, your week is about to get even better. Congrats to the following winners of our Mastiff Video Contest! The winning videos will appear in a video reel that will also star Tamora Pierce, author of the Beka Cooper series! We'll post the video here on the blog when it's completed, but once again congrats to the winners.
BUZZ STORE: We are gearing up for 2012 and that means it's time to clean house a little. All of the books and swag items in the store have been knocked down to a reduced price so get in there and claim the goods because the last day for orders is Sunday, after that the store closes down until after 2012 when it will be freshly stocked and ready to go!
CHAPTER SAMPLERS: New chapter samplers have been added to our pile! Check out Rapture by Lauren Kate here or The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge here. Of course you can always explore all of our samplers on our Scribd account here.
BUZZERS BEST OF 2011: Final voting has begun! You have until next Thursday to place your final votes and help us crown the winners!
CRITICAL LINKS:A smattering of cool articles, blog posts and news bits we think you'll enjoy!
Christopher Paolini's first post-tour interview is up on Shurtugal. Read it here!
We're down to the wire Buzzers. Close to 300 of you voted in our Buzzers Best of 2011 Awardssemi-final round and the results have been fascinating! Now it's time to vote one last time and help us crown this year's most awesome Best of list! You have until next Wednesday evening (Eastern time) to vote in our final round before the winners are announced next Thursday! So which books have made it this far? Scroll through and find out!
And the final contenders are....
Best of the Best
Best in a Series
Best Paranormal (Angels & Demons Edition)
Best Paranormal (Vampires, Werewolves & Zombies Edition)
So not too long ago, I decided to reread a favorite YA Classic of mine, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Like I remembered, it was so awesome! Vivian is both a ferocious wolf and a troubled teenage girl who is still unsure of what she wants – which makes for a very interesting read and study of character! She’s fierce, she’s feisty, and she has no trouble kicking butt, which you all know I love to read about.
When I said Blood and Chocolate is a YA Classic, I wasn’t kidding – it was first published in 1997 (holy smokes!), so it could be considered a sort of forerunner of the YA werewolf genre. I racked my brains and thought long and hard about my first exposure to werewolves, and I think Blood and Chocolate may have been my first werewolf book! This of course, led me to wonder about when the first werewolf appeared in literature.
So what was the earliest mention of werewolves I could find? For YA, it was Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (published in 1951), and in general literature, a Roman “novel” called The Satyricon (published approximately 61AD). While both aren’t specifically about werewolves, they do allude to and mention them in their text, Prince Caspian more so than The Satyricon.
It turns out that werewolves have long held a fascinating place in folklore, literature, and fiction! While myths of shapeshifting wolves are found all over the world, werewolves are predominantly considered an European myth, due to wolves being a very real threat to livestock and people. The superstitions, remedies, and legends surrounding how a werewolf acts, behaves, and transforms all differ depending on the country, which means that people have been recreating and interpreting the myth of the werewolf for centuries now! Even in contemporary YA fiction, authors take liberties with their worldbuilding and mythology: some werewolves don’t have to transform at a full moon; others retain full human cognizance; while others can be werewolf-human hybrids. In short – werewolves have always been ripe for picking when it comes to worldbuilding interpretations!