The Sun Is Also A Star: BookReview

The sun is also a star • Nicola Yoon

By: Fairouz Tamer

 

Have you ever found that romantic & polite boy, not to mention, a poet too? Well if you haven’t, you may be looking for a Daniel Bae type. Daniel is the good son, the good student, and the good any and everything. Unlike his brother, who is much more of a mess, and is very narcissistic. Daniel does believe in love & fate, unlike his crush jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley. Natasha believes in science and facts and neither in love nor in destiny. And of course not the kind of a girl to fall in love with a boy. Not when her family is being deported from the US to Jamaica. 

Meanwhile, Daniel Bae is preparing for an interview for Dartmouth’s medical school program. He comes from a Korean family, and his parents Dae Hyun and Min Soo encourage him to pursue a career as a doctor. 

Daniel and his friend Omar get on the subway only to be in the same subway car as Natasha when it stalls for a moment. The conductor takes the time to reassure the passengers that everything is fine. He begins telling a story about a friend who missed a train on 9/11 and, had he been on time, would have died since he worked at the World Trade Center. He concludes his point with the notion that they are there for a reason. And, that you should “open your heart to destiny.” The guys get off at Grand Central Station, where Daniel spots Natasha and is instantly smitten with her. He also notices her jacket, which reads “Deus Ex Machina”, a phrase he had been thinking about the same morning. Because of this, he realizes he has to go after her. Did I show enough reasons why Daniel is a real keeper ( a hopeless romantic too)?

Natasha is walking down the street while listening to music, unaware of a crazed driver on the road. Daniel sees him and rushes to save Natasha before she walks into the driver’s path, such a superhero. She’s a little shaken up and goes to sit down. Daniel sits next to her to talk to for a while. He couldn’t help but stare at her face enough, while his eyes spoke what he felt. Daniel says to himself he’ll do an experiment where he can make her fall in love with him in a day. He tells her about a survey that was taken between couples to determine whether they truly love each other. He asks Natasha some questions, trying to impress her. She, however, isn’t impressed and thinks it’s corny. 

On the long journey through the book, Daniel will be uncovering and genuinely willing to win Natasha’s heart, before leaving from the US. Furthermore, some good peaks had to be revealed.

  1. Everything happens for a reason.
  2. You have to start at the beginning.
  3. No one is supposed to be good at everything.
  4. Everyone loses something sometimes.
  5. To grow up is to grow apart.
  6. Having dreams never killed anybody.
  7. Separation is not fatal.
  8. Life doesn’t always go the way you plan.
  9. Everyone has at least a little good in them.
  10. The eyes are the windows to the soul.
  11. Time counts.
  12. If you don’t go now, you’ll always regret it.
  13. You can’t persuade someone to love you.
  14. Uncertainty is your enemy.
  15. Almost everyone believes that there’s some meaning, some willfulness in life
  16. Nothing lasts forever
  17. No one can put a price on losing everything.

The odds are stacked against our central couple due to their fundamental differences — not only their cultural ones but their personalities. She’s a realist; he’s a dreamer. She thinks love is just a series of chemicals that create temporary feelings of arousal and intimacy, while he believes in fate and soulmates and two people — them, in particular — being “meant to be.” What else but fate, he suggests, could’ve led to their meet-cute and subsequent coincidences that brought them together? But despite their many differences, these two are both outsiders from immigrant families. They’re at odds with their parents and struggle to be true to themselves. They find something in each other that sparks a sense of safety, happiness, and ultimately love — even if their future together is uncertain.

Paper Towns: BookReview

Paper Towns by John Green #books #bookstagram #johngreen #papertowns

By: Fairouz Tamer

 

Hey there, if you are not a fan of John Green, you better be one. When it comes to falling in love, you might fall apart and wonder whether he/she was the one or not. What is even messier is if that person is like Margo Roth Spiegelman. A “pretty girl” who runs away from home only to be pursued by her childhood friend. Spiegelman is assertive but is from a dysfunctional family, and is one of the most popular girls at her local high school. She has a love for American literature, music, and travel. 

On the other side of the road, we have the protagonist, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen. Quentin is the rule-follower. He likes things to be neat and clean, making him the complete opposite of Margo. Quentin has had a crush on Margo since they were kids, but the distance he kept from her formed a perfect image of her in his head, which was untrue.

As you can conclude, that Q is in love with someone who does not give a thing about his existence. He did sacrifice everything he had (yes, he did skip school days too) to search for Margo after she disappeared out of the blue, following up clues that would help him find her. And what was even more thrilling was their dialogue after he finally found her:

“Margo: how the hell did you find me?”

“Q: I thought you wanted us to.”

“Margo: I sure as shit did not.”

You might call Margo a “psycho”/ “self-centered”, and to be honest with you she is one of those characters that you keep thinking of so much, and most importantly learn things a lot from:

  1. Do not believe you know people, because indeed you do not.
  2. People who do care about you will be sacrificing anything for you.
  3. Leaving is hard at first, but then it is so easy.
  4. Do not expect people to be as you expect them or imagine them to be. They are they; you are you.
  5. Do not get attached to people, because your strings will break; objects will not do so.
  6. Care about the future, with no stress, but consider the things that will make you happy there.
  7. Every moment of your life is lived for the future.
  8. Doing stuff never feels as good as you hope it will feel.
  9. Do not forget to dream.  
  10. Don’t judge a book by its cover.  
  11. You can survive anything life throws at you. 
  12. You’re cute when you’re confident and less when you’re not. 
  13. Everyone gets a miracle.
  14. You have to be ruthless in terms of sticking to your objective. 

In conclusion, Paper Towns follows, along with a physical (road trip) journey, also includes an “emotional and spiritual” one, as Green himself describes it. In our lives, we’re all expected to go somewhere, not necessarily by following the same path, but always forward. As long as we’re surrounding ourselves with the right support and have emotions such as passion, love, drive, and excitement, we’re sure to make the right choices.

 

10 Ridiculously Simple Steps for Writing a Book

By Jeff Goins

Ready to Start Writing?

As the bestselling author of five books, I can tell you without hesitation that the hardest part of a writer’s job is sitting down to do the work. Books don’t just write themselves, after all. You have to invest everything you are into creating an important piece of work.

For years, I dreamed of being a professional writer. I believed I had important things to say that the world needed to hear. But as I look back on what it really takes to become an author, I realize how different the process was from my expectations.

To begin with, you don’t just sit down to write a book. That’s not how writing works. You write a sentence, then a paragraph, then maybe if you’re lucky, an entire chapter. Writing happens in fits and starts, in bits and pieces. It’s a process.

The way you get the work done is not complicated. You take one step at a time, then another and another. As I look back on the books I’ve written, I can see how the way they were made was not as glamorous as I once thought.

How to really write a book


In this post, I’ll teach you the fundamental steps you need to write a book. I’ve worked hard to make this easy to digest and super practical, so you can start making progress.

And just a heads up: if you dream of authoring a bestselling book like I have and you’re looking for a structured plan to guide you through the writing process, I have a special opportunity for you at the end of this post where I break the process down.

But first, let’s look at the big picture. What does it take to write a book? It happens in three phases:

Beginning: You have to start writing. This sounds obvious, but it may be the most overlooked step in the process. You write a book by deciding first what you’re going to write and how you’re going to write it.
Staying motivated: Once you start writing, you will face self-doubt and overwhelm and a hundred other adversaries. Planning ahead for those obstacles ensures you won’t quit when they come.
Finishing: Nobody cares about the book that you almost wrote. We want to read the one you actually finished, which means no matter what, the thing that makes you a writer is your ability not to start a project, but to complete one.
Below are 10 ridiculously simple tips that fall under each of these three major phases plus an additional 10 bonus tips. I hope they help you tackle and finish the book you dream of writing.

BONUS: Click here to download all 20 steps in a complete guide for writing a book.

Phase 1: Getting started
We all have to start somewhere. With writing a book, the first phase is made up of four parts:

  1. Decide what the book is about
    Good writing is always about something. Write the argument of your book in a sentence, then stretch that out to a paragraph, and then to a one-page outline. After that, write a table of contents to help guide you as you write, then break each chapter into a few sections. Think of your book in terms of beginning, middle, and end. Anything more complicated will get you lost.
  2. Set a daily word count goal
    John Grisham began his writing career as a lawyer and new dad — in other words, he was really busy. Nonetheless, he got up an hour or two early every morning and wrote a page a day. After a couple of years, he had a novel. A page a day is only about 300 words. You don’t need to write a lot. You just need to write often. Setting a daily goal will give you something to aim for. Make it small and attainable so that you can hit your goal each day and start building momentum.
  3. Set a time to work on your book every day
    Consistency makes creativity easier. You need a daily deadline to do your work — that’s how you’ll finish writing a book. Feel free to take a day off, if you want, but schedule that ahead of time. Never let a deadline pass; don’t let yourself off the hook so easily. Setting a daily deadline and regular writing time will ensure that you don’t have to think about when you will write. When it’s time to write, it’s time to write.
  4. Write in the same place every time
    It doesn’t matter if it’s a desk or a restaurant or the kitchen table. It just needs to be different from where you do other activities. Make your writing location a special space, so that when you enter it, you’re ready to work. It should remind you of your commitment to finish this book. Again, the goal here is to not think and just start writing.

Phase 2: Doing the work
Now, it’s time to get down to business. Here, we are going to focus on the next three tips to help you get the book done:

  1. Set a total word count
    Begin with the end in mind. Once you’ve started writing, you need a total word count for your book. Think in terms of 10-thousand work increments and break each chapter into roughly equal lengths. Here are some general guiding principles:

10,000 words = a pamphlet or business white paper. Read time = 30-60 minutes.
20,000 words = short eBook or manifesto. The Communist Manifesto is an example of this, at about 18,000 words. Read time = 1-2 hours.
40,000–60,000 words = standard nonfiction book / novella. The Great Gatsby is an example of this. Read time = three to four hours.
60,000–80,000 words = long nonfiction book / standard-length novel. Most Malcolm Gladwell books fit in this range. Read time = four to six hours.
80,000 words–100,000 words = very long nonfiction book / long novel. The Four-Hour Work Week falls in this range.
100,000+ words = epic-length novel / academic book / biography. Read time = six to eight hours. The Steve Jobs biography would fit this category.

  1. Give yourself weekly deadlines
    You need a weekly goal. Make it a word count to keep things objective. Celebrate the progress you’ve made while still being honest about how much work is left to do. You need to have something to aim for and a way to measure yourself. This is the only way I ever get any work done: with a deadline.
  2. Get early feedback
    Nothing stings worse than writing a book and then having to rewrite it, because you didn’t let anyone look at it. Have a few trusted advisers to help you discern what’s worth writing. These can be friends, editors, family. Just try to find someone who will give you honest feedback early on to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

Phase 3: Finishing
How do you know when you’re done? Short answer: you don’t. Not really. So here’s what you do to end this book-writing process well:

  1. Commit to shipping
    No matter what, finish the book. Set a deadline or have one set for you. Then release it to the world. Send it to the publisher, release it on Amazon, do whatever you need to do to get it in front of people. Just don’t put it in your drawer. The worst thing would be for you to quit once this thing is written. That won’t make you do your best work and it won’t allow you to share your ideas with the world.
  2. Embrace failure
    As you approach the end of this project, know that this will be hard and you will most certainly mess up. Just be okay with failing, and give yourself grace. That’s what will sustain you — the determination to continue, not your elusive standards of perfection.
  3. Write another book
    Most authors are embarrassed by their first book. I certainly was. But without that first book, you will never learn the lessons you might otherwise miss out on. So, put your work out there, fail early, and try again. This is the only way you get better. You have to practice, which means you have to keep writing.

Every writer started somewhere, and most of them started by squeezing their writing into the cracks of their daily lives. That’s how I began, and it may be where you begin, as well. The ones who make it are the ones who show up day after day. You can do the same.

The reason most people never finish their books
Every year, millions of books go unfinished. Books that could have helped people, brought beauty or wisdom into the world. But they never came to be. And in one way or another, the reason is always the same: the author quit.

Maybe you’ve dealt with this. You started writing a book but never completed it. You got stuck and didn’t know how to finish. Or you completed your manuscript but didn’t know what to do after. Worse yet, you wrote a book, but nobody cared about it. Nobody bought or read it.

I’ve been there before.

In fact, the first couple books I wrote didn’t do that well at all — even with a traditional publisher. It took me years to learn this, but here’s what nobody ever told me:

Before you can launch a bestseller, first you have to write one.

Before you can launch a bestseller, you have to write a bestseller.

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What I mean by that is so many writers sit down to write their masterpiece, assuming that’s all there is to it. Just sit down and write. But as I’ve studied the world’s most gifted and successful authors, I’ve noticed this is not what the masters do. They are far more intentional than simply sitting and letting the words flow.

Every great writer needs a system they can trust. You and I are no different. But an author’s system for how they produce bestselling book after bestselling book is not always the easiest thing to access. So, as a matter of survival, I’ve had to figure it out for myself and create a clear book-writing framework that works. This is what I call the “Write a Bestseller Method” which helps me get a book written and ready to launch.

This is the part that I never learned in any English class. Producing work that sells is not just about writing what you think is good. It’s about finding an idea that will both excite you and excite an audience. It’s about being intentional and thinking through the whole process while having proper accountability to keep you going.

In other words, the writing process matters. It matters a lot. You have to not only finish your book but write one worthy of being sold. And if you want to maximize your chances of finishing your book, you need a proven plan.

Writing books has changed my life. It helped me clarify my thinking, find my calling as an author, and has provided endless opportunities to make an impact on the world and a living for my family.

If you’re serious about doing the same, click here to get my free guide on how to write a book.

Bonus: 10 more writing tips!
If you need some help staying motivated, here are another 10 tips to help you keep going in the process:

  1. Only write one chapter at a time
    Write and publish a novel, one chapter at a time, using Amazon Kindle Singles, Wattpad, or sharing with your email list subscribers.
  2. Write a shorter book
    The idea of writing a 500-page masterpiece can be paralyzing. Instead, write a short book of poems or stories. Long projects are daunting. Start small.
  3. Start a blog to get feedback early
    Getting feedback early and often helps break up the overwhelm. Start a website on WordPress or Tumblr and use it to write your book a chapter or scene at a time. Then eventually publish all the posts in a hardcopy book. This is a little different than tradition blogging, but the same concepts apply. We created a free tool to help you know when your blog posts are ready to publish. Check out Don’t Hit Publish.
  4. Keep an inspiration list
    You need it in order to keep fresh ideas flowing. Read constantly, and use a system to capture, organize and find the content you’ve curated. I use Evernote, but use a system that works for you.
  5. Keep a journal
    Then, rewrite the entries in a much more polished book format, but use some photocopies or scans of the journal pages as illustrations in the book. You could even sell “deluxe” editions that come with photocopied versions of the journal.
  6. Deliver consistently
    Some days, it’s easy to write. Some days, it’s incredibly hard. The truth is: inspiration is merely a byproduct of your hard work. You can’t wait for inspiration. The Muse is really an out-of-work bum who won’t move until you do. Show her who’s boss and that you mean business.
  7. Take frequent breaks
    Niel Fiore, the author of The Now Habit, says, “There is one main reason why we procrastinate: It rewards us with temporary relief from stress.” If you’re constantly stressed about your unfinished book, you’ll end up breaking your schedule. Instead, plan for breaks ahead of time so you stay fresh: minute breaks, hour breaks, or even multiple day breaks.
  8. Remove distractions
    Try tools like Bear or Scrivener to let you write in a totally distraction-free environment. That way, email, Facebook, and Twitter won’t interrupt your flow.
  9. Write where others are writing (or working)
    If you’re having trouble writing consistently by yourself, write where other people are also working. A coffee shop or library where people are actually working and not just socializing can help. If you’re in a place where other people are getting things done, then you’ll have no choice but to join them.
  10. Don’t edit as you go
    Instead, write without judgment first, then go back and edit later. You’ll keep a better flow and won’t be interrupted by constant criticism of your own work. And you’ll have a lot more writing to edit when it’s time to do so.

How to format a Beautiful Book

Here are the basics steps on formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word for submission to our editorial team.   These steps include including setting up the correct trim size, setting up the correct margins, formatting the text, and numbering the pages.

  • Be sure your book is in ONE electronic file.
  • Set up your page size. The Directions below are for MS Word 7 and 10
  • The most common and most economical trim sizes is 5.25 inches wide x 8.25 inches tall. To format to our other sizes, please change the “PAPER SIZE” per the following instructions. All other adjustments stay the same.
  • In MICROSOFT WORD, open a NEW Document and click on PAGE SETUP under PAGE LAYOUT.
Page Setup
  • Set your PAPER SIZE to Custom 5.25” x 8.25”.
Page Size
  • Set your MARGINS to Mirror Margins with the Inside Margins being .75″ and the outside margins being .5″. This creates space for the binding of the book. We recommend .7” for the top and bottom margins.
Margins
  • Format your PARAGRAPHS to FULL Justified and Single Spaced. Indent the first sentence of the paragraph using the SPECIAL box and FIRST LINE by 0.5” as shown below. No spaces between paragraphs.
Paragraph
  • You are now ready to put your book into this format. Close your existing book file. With the above described blank document open in Microsoft Word, go to the top Tool Bar; and the INSERT tab. Click OBJECT and then Text From File. Select your book and click INSERT. You have now put your book in the correct basic format.
Insert Text
  • If your book is in separate files, for example each chapter in its own file, you must INSERT Chapter One, then place the cursor at the END of Chapter One and INSERT Chapter Two, and so on, into the main book file.
  • Once the file has been inserted, view the page size on your as TWO PAGES. This will make the chapter location and the page numbering easier to visualize.
Two Page View
  • Body Text should be set to 10 to 12 point Times New Roman text font. Actually, you may use any font you want; however, it is best to use an easy-to-read font. Also, keep the font and the font size consistent for a professional-looking book.
  • Page Numbers should be positioned “Bottom of page (Footer)” On an even numbered page, the Page Number should be on the Outside Left. On an odd numbered page, the Page Number should be on the Outside Right.
  • To begin page numbering you must first insert a SECTION BREAK on the last page prior to where you want page ONE to begin. In most cases page one is also the first page of Chapter One.
  • You want page ONE and all other ODD-NUMBERED pages to be right-hand pages. Page ONE is always an ODD-NUMBERED and RIGHT-HAND page.  When working in Microsoft Word, this can be a bit confusing. A right-hand FACING page may appear on the left side of your screen when you are viewing the document as TWO PAGES. This will become clearer if you put page numbers on the OUTSIDE. Page ONE will then have the page number on the right side of the page, making it a right-hand page. If page ONE is a left-hand page, simply insert a PAGE BREAK before the SECTION BREAK. Remember, you are creating a book, so think as though you had the book lying open in front of you on the table.
  • Here is how to set the Page Numbers in MS Word 7 and 10:
    • Go to Insert
    • Go to PAGE NUMBER
    • Go to Bottom of Page
    • Choose a Left Hand Page Number for an Even Numbered Page (For example Plain Number 1)
    • Choose a Right Hand Page Number for an Odd Numbered Page (For example Plain Number 3)
  • Each chapter should begin on its own RIGHT-HAND page. This often requires adding a blank page at the end of a chapter in order to make the next chapter begin on a RIGHT-HAND page. If you choose not to adhere to the right-hand Chapter starts, however, that is acceptable to us.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: BookReview

prettybooks

By: Fairouz Tamer

Have you ever felt lost at some point in your life? This phase where you don’t know what you want to do or who you are. The phase where most of your sensitive & triggering mood swings happen, and you are an emotional wreck. Well well, fear not! You are not alone at all, as almost everyone goes through it. Everyone at some point in their lives gets lost and gets hit by a car(metaphorically). Surprise surprise, Charlie Kelmeckis feels the same way as you too.  

Charlie is a freshman. And while he is not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy and intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward. He is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Furthermore, Charlie suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. He describes the suicide of his best friend, and the death of his favorite aunt, Helen. Charlie attempted to navigate his way through uncharted territory: The world of first dates and family dramas. Charlie can’t stay on the side and live forever. 

Alongside this teenage –perplexing phase, here are some things you need to look through so you can survive this mentally exhausting train station: 

  1. Some people do have it a lot worse than you do. They do.  
  2. Sometimes having a friend is more beautiful than a date. 
  3. Challenge in everything makes it look fresh. 
  4. No one can be your whole world, even your mom. 
  5. You’ ll be mostly so lost and overwhelmed in your freshman year.
  6. Being a wallflower is just an extraordinary part in the teenage phase. 
  7. Pictures are always less quality of real beauty.
  8. We are all supposed to think of reasons to live. 
  9. Use small moments for great memories. 
  10. We are in the same circumstances but at different times.
  11. Beauty is not just the outside; it is present in everything.
  12. Good and bad days come and go. You better keep the details of good ones.
  13. People who try to control situations all the time are afraid that if they don’t, nothing will work out the way they want. 
  14. Things tend to get worse before they get better.
  15. Things change, and friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody. 
  16. Sometimes you can’t do anything except “be there.”
  17. We are all gifted in one way or another.
  18. A real friend should always be honest. 
  19. You have to show people the real you, so they love you honestly and realistically.
  20. We are who we are for a lot of reasons, and mostly, we won’t know them.
  21. We don’t have the power to choose where we come from, but we can still choose where we want to go from there.

This story contains bits and pieces from anybody’s life. It touches on topics like family relationships, friendship, drugs and alcohol, sexuality, and loss. But, what makes this story so comprehensive is that it does not dwell on any topic. It makes it seem real like Charlie could easily be any one of us. It makes it seem like when life gets you down, all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to make you feel infinite.