Courage In The Face Of Fear

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I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Today, there will be no talk of books, movies or anything of the fictitious variety. It is not likely, but for those of you unaware of the events which transpired yesterday at Parliament Hill, follow this link: Parliament Hill Shooting Timeline

There are very few times in my life when I can recall experiencing a sense of fear so strong that it was physically crippling. I have been living in Ottawa for nearly five years now, and yesterday was the first time within those five years that I honestly feared for my life simply by being in this city. I could barely convince myself to leave the house, the fear was so overwhelming.

When I don’t have anything I urgently need to be at in the morning, I have a tendency of sleeping in through my alarm clock. Yesterday, I had planned on going downtown in the morning to run some errands, but my bad habit manifested itself and I once again slept in, and you know what? I could not be more thankful. It was later in the morning that I got a text message, warning me to stay away from the Parliament Hill area. Of course, having not seen the news yet, I had no idea what he was referring to. I, being the curious journalist I am, immediately turned to the vast information archives of the internet, and at first I could not believe it; a shooting, here, in Ottawa!? It’s not as though violence was unheard of in this city, but gun violence? That was a first for me.

Having grown up in a small farming community, I must confess, my life was relatively uneventful and sheltered. When I first moved to Ottawa, I was terrified that it would be like living in Toronto, where something horrible seems to occur on a daily basis. I simply had little to no experience with living in a big city, and therefore had no ide what to expect. If I had to sum up my 5 years of living in what to me is that ‘big city’, it would be that it felt safe. Admittedly, I have had moments where I felt nervous walking through certain parts of the downtown area, but I never felt like I was in danger. That is, until today. It just goes to show that, no matter where you go, nowhere is immune to the hate, anger and frustration which plagues the minds and hearts of too many people in this world.

Too afraid to set foot outside, yet too nervous to simply sit around, there was only one thing I could do; I prayed. I prayed for the safety of all of my friends living in Ottawa who were trapped in the university during the lockdown. I prayed for those I knew who worked in Parliament, and even those I didn’t know. I prayed for everyone who was in the downtown area at the time, just going about their daily business, just happening to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And of course, I prayed for the soldier who lost his life, and for the family he left behind. I prayed harder than I ever had before, in the hopes that those words would somehow keep everyone safe.

Today is not a day for reading or reviewing fiction novels. Today is a day for each and every one of us to reflect on our lives and how precious they are, to start living those lives to the fullest if we haven’t already, and to remind ourselves that in times of great turmoil, we must show courage in the face of fear.

Book Review: Star Wars – Heir To The Empire

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I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

I’ve been hooked on the sci-fi genre ever since I first developed an appreciation for the wonderful and constantly growing and changing world of movie entertainment. I should really be thanking my dad, actually. Even though I was born into an era where computers were playing a growing part in making realistic looking special effects, because of my dad, I was able to nurture an appreciation for what movies were like before my time, back when a string and the right lighting were enough to captivate the audience for hours on end.

My love of sci-fi began, of course, with the classic Star Trek. William Shatner, Leonard Nemoy, DeForest Kelly, Walter Koenig and George Takei had pretty much become my favourite actors, although to be fair, I was still in my Pokemon and Digimon watching phase, so I didn’t really know too many other actors yet. When I was about 10 years old, my brothers convinced me to watch the Aliens movie. Let’s just say I still have nightmares about it every now and again, but it did also make me pretty much immune to other gore and horror movies. I think it was also around that time that I watched the first Star Wars movie – or I suppose it was the 4th one, depending on how you want to order them – and like many others before me, the experience just blew my mind.

My friends used to tell me that it was impossible to be into both Star Wars and Star Trek, and that I had to choose one or the other. Well, to this day, I remain to be a loyal Trekkie with a lightsaber strapped to my belt. The stories are just so different, so how can I not be into both? I think it was just one of those things that kids did in order to classify the people they meet into groups, so they knew who and who not to hang out with. Hell, adults still do that, so I guess it’s true that in some ways, we never stop being a kid.

Although I pride myself on having an open mind, whenever someone would recommend that I read a fan fiction based on one of my favourite tv shows, I would always say no. Why? Well, it’s hard to say exactly why. I think I have just always harbored this thought that only the person who originally created the world should have the right to continue expanding that world into more stories. The problem with that way of thinking is that I’m cutting myself off from potentially amazing books, which is something I never want to do. Much like people, I never want to cast aside a book before giving it the chance to show me something I’ve never seen or experienced before, otherwise I will be left with regrets.

That’s why I finally gave in and purchased my first ever fan fiction series based on the original Star Wars trilogy, and I can safely say that I have no regrets.

By Timothy Zahn

This first installment of the Thrawn Trilogy takes place 5 years after the events of the 3rd – or 6th, if you prefer – Star Wars movie “Return of the Jedi”. The Emperor has been defeated, and Luke Skywalker must now carry the burden of being not only the first of the new order of Jedi Knights, but also the brother of one Leia Solo who is set to give birth soon to two Jedi twins. . Little does he know, however, there is a new threat to the balance of the force quickly approaching, a threat which could put both his life and that of his friends in danger. With all of your favourite original characters, like C3PO, R2D2, Han, Chewbacca, Lando, Leia, and some new faces as well, this was, in my opinion, the best way to continue the legacy that George Lucas began. So, if you’re having a hard time waiting for the seventh movie installment, which has a 50/50 chance of doing really well or completely destroying the franchise, then I would recommend putting your mind at ease by reading this book.

This is coming from someone who was completely adamant about reading fan fiction, and who now can’t get enough of it… so long as it’s good :)

Until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

The Fault In Our Stars: A Role Model For Modern Romance

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I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

I know the movie has been out for some time now, and it seems like rather odd timing to be giving my own review for it, but I don’t believe in putting time stamps on these sorts of things. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Fault In Our Stars, which I just so happened to have written as I watched it :)

I used to always mock romance movies, refusing to lay even one eye – let alone two – on them for fear that their cliche storylines and cheesy scripts would infect my brain and influence my writing in a very bad way. That is, until I found The Fault In Our Stars.

It’s more than a story of two people finding each other and falling hopelessly in love. That may be an element of it, but that does not define this story. From my perspective, it’s about overcoming what life throws at us, which can sometimes be a lot, and accepting it all as part of who we are; taking in both the pain and the pleasures. It is, as some would put it, a story about cancer which isn’t about cancer. It’s also a story about exploring our own existence within this infinity in which we have found ourselves, even if our time within that infinity is short lived.

There is so much depth and insight, and I enjoyed seeing it almost as much as I loved reading it. I found myself laughing and crying all the way through, and at one point was even tempted to go out and buy a pack of cigarrettes just so I could stick one between my teeth, my own little tribute to Augustus’ metaphor.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be so young, with an entire life of possibilities ahead of you, suddenly dwindled down to a nuber of days that can be counted on a single calender page. Where suddenly your greatest fear is whether you’ll be strong enough to fight through another day with the people you love. Cancer is merciless. It has taken people from my life whom I wanted to spend many more tomorrow’s with, replacing those days with relentless tears and distant memories… Well, life is too short to remain in a state of grief, and I’m sure they wouldn’t want me to only feel sadness whenever I thought about them, so here’s a happier train of thought.

Although he may never know of this blogs existence, and will likely never even know my name, I would just like to say that John Green has influenced my life in ways that go beyond what words can say. If I were to put it into words, though, let’s just say that his books managed to take a shy, socially awkward, self-conscious, anxiety-ridden, country girl, and bring her into a world that she used to only day dream about; a world with friends, love, laughter, and where the seemingly impossible becomes a little more possible with each passing day. I’ve even gotten to the point where I can look back on some of the worst moments from my personal timeline and smile, because as much pain as they brought me, they suddenly don’t seem so bad. After all, they were moments which brought me to this very moment, and even if I were given the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a damn thing, because then I wouldn’t have today. Thank you John Green for unknowingly helping me to live my life, as opposed to watching with jealousy and envy as others lived theirs.

I wrote this review while I was watching the movie, which I had never felt compeled to do before. It’s amazing how so many coherent thoughts can suddenly come flooding out through your finger tips when your heart and mind are swimming in a turbulent sea of emotions. Now, I say coherent, but for all know this is only making sense in my head. Nevertheless, I think I’ve managed to convey just how much I was touched by this film.

This is what a love story should be, and all I can think of to say to finish off is that I’m looking forward to seeing more of John Green’s books being brought into a new life like this one was, and that there will also be many more books that me and my fellow BookNerds can continue reading throughout our infinity.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Cheers,

BookNerd

A Vision Of What Could Be, And What Has Been

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I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds

Before you dedicate yourself to reading todays post, I should tell you right off the bat that you will not find a book review, and most likely no mention of a book in any way, shape or form. This is more or less just an offering of my own personal thoughts, inspired by one of my all time favourite classic tv shows; M.A.S.H. For those unfamiliar with this 1970’s sitcom, M.A.S.H. is the story of a group of doctors who worked at the 4077 mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean war. What separates it from most other war themed shows or movies is that the events are portrayed based entirely on the perspetctive of the doctors who had to operate on the soldiers, conveying the more gruesome and bloody side of the war that many people during that time were unaware of.

Why do I bring this up all of a sudden? Well, as I often do when I have run out of original shows to keep me entertained during my sudies, I fall back on the ones I have not seen for quite some time. I happened to be in the mood for something with a bit of comedy, and I thoroughly enjoy the quality of Alan Alda’s acting. It was after I had watched a few seasons of it that I was finally hit with a line of thought that has crossed my mind many times before; what is the point of war?

The history of human civilization, or more accurately our progression towards it, has been wrought with battles, violence and bloody turmoil, enough to make ones stomach turn over at the mere thought of it. We have killed in the name of religion, culture, patriotism, ideology, and some have even gone so far as to create an enemy where one did not exist. Many who have doned the uniform and taken up arms proclaim that they must fight in order to ensure peace, for supposedly peace can only be achieved through war.

At the risk of angering those who firmly believe in this truth, I must confess that I just don’t see it. I don’t see a world where war will ever achieve peace. Our history is primarily defined by centuries of killing and slaughtering, and today, nothing has changed. Perhaps it is not taking place right outside our doorstep, but the endless war still rages on.

One of my favourite quotes from the show was a bit done by the character Benjamin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce about how he absolutely refused to carry a gun. He really couldn’t have said it any better.

These views on the war are told in a comedic fashion, but there is a sincerity in those words that seeps through the jokes and sheds light on the very real horrors people witnessed during that war.

Alan Alda, who played Pierce in the show, really puts it best in an interview about the show and why it ended up doing so well.

My eyes cannot see past the death to the glory and honor that others see. My brain simply becomes scrambled from the confusion of how humans can justfy killing each other for any reason, for I see nothing that is worth taking a life for. There is an episode of MASH where the character Frank Burns is trying to explain why they are in Korea, claiming that the threat of communism will come to the United States if they do not stop it, and Pierce asks what it is that they have that North Korea could possibly want? Burns, thrown off by the question, says that they want their bathrooms, and they will do anything to get them, and Pierce answers by saying he will gladly give them his if it would stop the war. This was one of my favourite episodes, because it shows just how ridiculous war can be, especially when no one really knows what started it in the first place, or what either side is really after.

This could just be my idealism talking, but I really do hope there will come a day when people from every country and continent around the globe will realize that we are all on the same side, and that this senseless war amongst ourselves will never come to an end unless we all throw in the towel and grasp each others hands in friendship.

Thank you for humouring me, for I realize that this rant went on quite a bit longer than I had meant it to. Next time, I assure you it will be of a more literary nature. Until then, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

Yours Truly,

BookNerd

As One Journey Ends, So Another Begins Again

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I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds

It feels as though eons have passed since my last post, and I suppose in the world of the internet that would be an accurate measurement of time. There is a very good reason for my absence – notice how I say reason, and not an excuse, although more times than not they are one and the same – and that reason is my future.I’d say that’s a pretty good reason ^_^

Time really does seem to fly when you spend four months in a town you’ve never heard of, working for people you’ve never met, trying to meet tight deadlines without succumbing to the stress of the job. Don’t get me wrong, though, I would love more than anything to relive it all again, because as I keep telling people, I learned more about journalism in the past four months than I did during my four years of university. It’s further proof that hands on training is the best learning experience.

So in case you haven’t caught on by now, I am a journalist… or rather, I am training to become one. I spent four months out in Huron County doing an internship with a newspaper in the rural town of Blyth, a place I had never even heard of until I applied, and a place I will not soon be forgetting. It was one of those places where everyone knew each other, and it seemed like they all contributed to the paper in one form or another. Although I highly doubt that any of my future jobs will be anything like it, I still feel that it was a step in the right direction.

The place I got to know and love the most, I think, was Goderich, which apparently has been designated as the prettiest town in Canada. I can see why. Just driving into the town is a breath-taking experience, with trees as far as the eye can see, the glistening Maitland River running through and around it, flowing right into Lake Huron, its shores upon which the town rests. I have never been to a place quite like it, and I hope to return one day to marvel in its beauty once more.

Until that time, however, I shall continue my studies in Ottawa, and time permitting, catch up on my blogging. This is perfect timing, to, as I have officially finished reading the first book in the Mistborn Trilogy. All I could really say when I got to the end was… wow. Just, wow. It was the same feeling I got after watching Joss Whedon’s Serenity; a combination of amazement, shock, tears, giggles, and interspersed with moments of utter disbelief. For those who have read it, I think you understand those sentiments. I hate to sound redundant, but there really is no series out there like it.

I shall bid farewell to you for now, and I need not remind you all that any comments, questions or suggestions are always welcome if you wish to jot them down in the comment bubble, and until next time, happy reading.

Cheers,

BookNerd