2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Michael has read 1 book toward his goal of 50 books.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (17)

Hey Chroniclers! Another week has come and gone and we're already at the end of June. Well, almost. Anyway, it's Sunday which means it's time for Stacking The Shelves. For those of you who don't know, Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews where we show you guys the books we bought or received during the week.

This week I didn't get many things but I'm still excited for what I got.

The first book I got was Black Heart by Holly Black which I bought using B&N Gift Cards from Viggle. I now own the whole trilogy and can start reading it soon. The thing is, the books don't exactly match. The first and third one are glossy while the second isn't. Plus, the spine of the third one is cut off and I have no idea why they did it like that. But aside from that, I'm still excited.

The second and last book I got is The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani and I'm actually excited to read it as well. I received it from HarperCollins Publishers and the cover looks amazing. It also sounds like a fantastic read and I can't wait to read them both.

That's all I got this week, what did you guys get? Leave your comments down below!

Don't forget to check out my other places on the web of inter...
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Goodreads: Michael Araujo
Instagram: AntonioMeks


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Author Interview - Steven Parlato

Hello Chroniclers! I know I haven't been posting and this post is long overdue but I am here with it finally! What is it that I am speaking of? An author interview with the amazing Steven Parlato. A while ago I reviewed his novel The Namesake and last week I did a Cast Them Away with the main character and while it would have been better to have everything on the same week, life just got in the way (and bothered to not move out of it) and things got separated. But I now present to thee the author interview!

(Photo Credit: Janet Parlato)
The Author

Who is Steven Parlato?
Why is this such a difficult question? It's like those quizzed where they ask you to describe yourself in three or four words. Steven Parlato is-to his surprise!-a published author. He is still somewhat floored by that reality, and by the honor of being interviewed here. He is also blessed to be the husband of Janet and the dad of Ben and Jillian. He is a poet and teacher who still harbors dreams of being a professional actor, having spent many hours on the stage, in roles including Macbeth, The Scarecrow, and Bambi's emotionally-distant dad, The Great Prince of the Forest. He is a lover of lilacs, Indian food and giraffes.

How did the idea of wanting to become a writer come into play?
It's hard to say. I've always been a huge reader, and as a kid, I wrote stories. I also come from a line of great storytellers so, in a way, it seemed natural to want to tell stories of my own. Just after college, I started a novel, but back-burned it into oblivion because it seemed so unlikely I could actually do it. I had this loud "Who do you think you are?" voice in my head, saying it was ridiculous to believe I could succeed. Luckily, I also have the most supportive wife in the world, who always believed I could.

What authors, if any, inspire you. Along with some of your favorite novels/authors.
I tend to read all over the map, from Shakespeare to contemporary, adult and YA. I also LOVE picture books. Though I'm terrible at favorites of any kind, authors I hold dear include Harper Lee, John Irving, Stephen King, Maya Angelou and Markus Zusak. Zusak's The Book Thief is definitely one of my all-time favorite novels. It is a transformative read, and his poetic language is incredible. Speaking of poetry, some of my other influences are poets, like Anne Sexton and Sharon Olds, both courageous in form and content. And Edwina Trentham, the poet and teacher who changed my life.

If you were given the chance, would you allow your novel to become a movie? Would you prefer theater movie or made for TV or what?
What could be better? I'm a major movie fan, and as a visual artist, I tend to think of my novel in terms of scenes, rather than chapters. I think The Namesake would work really well as a theatrical film. My friend, Joe, who works as a writer/producer in LA, and was one of my early readers, has encouraged me to write a screen adaptation of The Namesake, which is a definite goal for me. I think it would make a powerful film, and could certainly provide a breakout role for the actor who plays Evan. I'm hoping for a small role myself.

The Novel

How did the idea for The Namesake come about?
Sadly, the inspiration came from life-specifically, the suicide of a family member. When my relative took his life, I couldn't stop thinking what it would be like to lose a parent that way, especially during adolescence, a time when life is upended anyway. I was in my first graduate class, Studies in Adolescent Fiction, at the time, and I took the opportunity to write a sample chapter instead of a response paper. My professor encourage me to continue the story, and it eventually grew into The Namesake. So what began as my attempt to process real-life grief became a novel; perhaps that core of "truth" is part of what resonated with readers.

Were you afraid of handling such a tough and heavy subject in a YA novel and being criticized for it being so?
Great question! Actually, yes, though I don't think I necessarily set out to write about a heavy topic. Evan's story sort of unfolded-I worked without an outline-and I was honestly resistant to telling such a dark tale. It was difficult to write, and at times it took an emotional toll. But once I committed to telling it, I knew I had to be frank and unflinching in the portrayal of abuse. It was crucial that Evan Sr.'s experience be horrifying to the reader because, honestly, that level of betrayal should horrify us. At the same time, I felt it was important to have humor and hope.

As for fear of criticism, it's always a risk to send something you made out into the world, and I did fear people's reception of the work. For the most part, reaction has been positive, and I've been thrilled and humbled by the way readers have embraced my book. I have also been bothered by a couple of reviews that seemed to insinuate my novel exploits or sensationalizes abuse as a plot point. While I realize it's not a story for everyone, I feel strongly it's a topic that needs to be addressed because abuse is so prevalent, has destroyed so many lives, and its victims still feel such shame. I do believe The Namesake is appropriate for mature teens. My hope is that it might even be healing for a reader (teen or adult) who has experienced something similar in his or her own way.

Is there any part of the novel you wish you could take out or something that you could add in, now that it's published?
This is a really interesting question. I tend to focus on the flaws in anything I create, so there are probably some changes I'd make if I had the chance. That said, I stand behind the book, and there's not really anything major I'd cut. It's funny because some readers have called the book "too graphic," and while I agree there are very dark moments, I think much of that graphic stuff actually takes place in the reader's imagination rather than on the page, so I guess that's a success. As for what I might add, in my initial vision of the book, the pages of Evan Sr.'s journal mimic actual journal pages, with a handwritten-style font, scribbled corrections and drawings. I still think that'd be a cool addition, but I'm really happy with the novel as-is; Merit Press did a wonderful job with the design.

What do you honestly think of your finished novel?
It's not a simple answer. Obviously, I'm thrilled to have a novel out in the world, and people have called it "brave" and "important," which is pretty amazing. At this point, I've read it so many times, in so many different drafts, I think I've achieved a necessary sort of emotional distance. On the other hand, there are still scenes (Lupo's "demuralization" project, Evan's discussion with Father Brendan near the end, and others) that make me emotional. Considering I created the story, the fact that it still has impact for me makes me pretty happy. All in all, I feel it's a success.

Future Novels

Do you plan on writing any more novels?
Absolutely! The Namesake has been a real affirmation, evidence that the naysaying voice in my head was wrong. That doesn't make the prospect of writing the next book(s) much less formidable, but I've begun work on a couple of others, and I have lots of ideas for future novels.

Could you let us know a bit about the future works?
I've been working on two very different stories. One is a contemporary novel with a female narrator. It was a Holocaust link, and will incorporate the story of the "lapins," a group of Polish women who were interred at Ravensbruck concentration camp. That one requires serious research to get the historical details right. The other is definitely lighter fare. It's a ghost story, set in Cape May, New Jersey-like seaside resort. [TheSubtleChronicler: GO NEW JERSEY!] That protagonist, Dexter Peregrym, is pretty bummed about being uprooted from life in Connecticut and forced to live with his great aunt in her supposedly-haunted B&B. I also have an idea for a story that revolves around a family store like the one my extended family owned when I was a kid. And some of the characters from The Namesake may well return in a future book or two.

While reading The Namesake, I was reminded very much of Ellen Hopkins and came to the conclusion that you were her prose counterpart. Would you consider writing more novels based on such heavy topics?
First off, thank you! Ellen Hopkins is a YA giant, and I really respect her work, so that's a lovely compliment. As a poet myself, I definitely feel writing poetry helps inform my prose. I try to be conscious of every word, paying attention to both layers of meaning and to sounds. To answer your question, I would certainly be open to other heavy topics, but only if they fit the story organically. I don't think of myself as intentionally controversial-nor am I actively seeking the next dark topic-but there are issues, such as the stigma of mental illness, that strike me on a heart/gut level. These topics to naturally surface in my writing, so I'm sure I'll go there at some point.

Was anything from the novel (characters and/or places) based on real people or inspired by actual people/places?
There are definitely parallels between Evan's world and real life. St. Sebastian's is a lot like my own high school, and Holy Family Merciful Wisdom Center echoes the retreat house where I attended encounter. Fortunately, my encounter experience was far less harrowing than the ones in the book! I've peppered the book with detailed of my hometown via street names and some locations. I actually wrote much of the mall scene at our mall, so it's definitely a case of literature imitating life. Some of the characters owe a debt to real-life folks, too; Gramp, for example, sounds a bit like my dad, and Lex was inspired by some of my close high school friends. And there's a fair amount of me in Evan: we're both artists, both introspective, and we share a certain dark sense of humor.

Serious Questions
[These questions are "serious" questions that can be summed up in a word or two. They're very serious, though.]

Would you prefer humans living in the sky or underwater?
Gosh, since my irrational fear of shark attack outweighs my fear of heights, I guess I'll have to go with sky-dwelling. But I would require a safety harness.

If you weren't a writer you'd be a...
Anything but a Quality Management Representative. That is a job I held for far too long. I'd most like to be a successful actor. Who knows, maybe someday.

Bacon and Peanut Butter Shake or Bacon Ice Cream? (They both exist unfortunately.)
Okay, the shake idea seems patently disgusting, [TheSubtleChronicler: It's actually a peanut butter ice cream shake type of thing you eat with a spoon with bacon chunks in it.] like something one might be forced to consume on a sadistic reality show. I'd go with the Bacon Ice Cream. Enough hot fudge can salvage anything.

Top 5 countries you would love to live in.
Besides the USA? Well, I've only ever been to Mexico and Canada, and they were both wonderful. There are a few other places that have always captured my imagination. They are (in no particular order):

Thanks for the opportunity, Michael. It's been a pleasure "speaking" with you and your readers, and I really appreciate the support!

All best,
Steven Parlato


There you have it Chroniclers! The Author Interview with the amazing Steven Parlato! Both you and I have gotten to know a lot about Steven and I seriously can't wait for what he brings to us in the future. I wish you much success to you and your family and may this not be the end we hear of you. Even though, I know for a fact, it won't be the end! 

I'd like to thank Steven for doing this author interview. So you all should go check out a few things and then buy his book down below! I'll see you all later Chroniclers! 

Don't forget to check out some of his pages as well!
Like his Facebook: Steven Parlato
Follow his Twitter: @parlatowrites
Check his Website: StevenParlato.com
Add his Goodreads: Steven Parlato & The Namesake
Check his Amazon: Steven Parlato

Don't forget to check out my other places on the web of inter...
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Goodreads: Michael Araujo
Instagram: AntonioMeks

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cast Them Away (7)

Hey Chroniclers! How's it going? It's a bit eh on this side but hopefully it'll get better. The weather is being fantastic today and I feel like it's about time I start working on my tan. Perhaps this weekend but let us step away from tanning and talk about some books. Today is Wednesday so that means I can give out another edition of Cast Them Away! Cast Them Away is a weekly meme hosted by me where I choose an actor or actress to play a character from a book if the book were ever turned into a movie. This week I'll be focusing on a novel that I have reviewed and will be putting up an author interview tomorrow.

The Namesake by Steven Parlato is a contemporary novel about a teen, Evan, whose father commits suicide. The story revolves around Evan trying to find the reasoning behind his dad's suicide and eventually he finds his answers and starts wishing he never had.

The novel is a dark and emotional roller coaster as you learn the secrets of the father. More of the novel can be found in my review of it.

But onto the characters. There's many characters I could try to cast and if I were to keep the trend that I've been doing I would cast a female. But, I'm going to switch it up a bit and cast a male character. Not only because he's a male character but because he's the main character.

It took me a while to find an actor who was young that could take the role of Evan but a while ago I saw a movie trailer in theaters for a film called The Way, Way Back and that's when it hit me that I found Evan! I present to thee...

Liam James! He has done a couple of movies and shows, mostly when he was younger, but I think this would be a great role for him. Not only does he look like the Evan in my head but he has this thing about him that reminds me of his character as well.

One can only hope and dream that books they love get turned into movies and if it ever happens with this one, I'm definitely going to want Liam James for the role. Otherwise they're doing it wrong.

What do you guys think? Yay or nay? Have anyone else in mind for the role? Leave your comments down below!

Also don't forget to check me out on other places around the web of inter...

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Giveaway Winners!

Hey everyone. This is going to be a short post but winners have been selected and have been emailed. I want to thank everyone who entered and followed the site, twitter and facebook and just know that I love each and every one of you all!

I will be hosting more giveaways soon when I get back from Portugal so you're chance to win will come soon!

So again, thank you all and keep on reading!

Monday Novel Talk (70)

Hey Chroniclers! So it was Monday yesterday but I only got home late at night and was super exhausted I just went to bed and stayed there. So, I've decided to put the post up today instead. I haven't exactly gotten that much reading in since last week which is a bit sad but hopefully this week I'll get some down.

I finished The Silent Deal by Levi Stack and it was fantastic! I loved the whole mystery that surrounded the novel and the fun characters and setting. It was all just amazing and you'll need to keep an eye out for the review and author interview as well as who I would cast as some characters and such.

I'm currently reading Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce and I'm currently on page 103 out of 262 so not that far along to go. I've read this book many years ago and while I don't remember every single detail, there's thing I recall as I read and things I knew already. It's still a fun read and pretty cool to go back to my childhood.

That's all I've been reading, what have you been reading? Leave your comments down below!

Also don't forget to check me out on other places around the web of inter...

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler

Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Monday, June 17, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (16)

Hey Chroniclers! Before I say anything I'd like to offer a quick apology for not posting and not announcing the winners any sooner. I must apologize for not announcing them right now as well. The thing is, a lot has been going on right now and whenever I'm in these types of situations where everything is coming at me from everywhere I choose to do nothing. Unfortunately blogging was one of those things I chose not to do. Not because I didn't want to but because I love it so much and care so much that I just didn't want to hurt it. It doesn't make sense really, but in my head it does.

I will announce the winners later on once I get back from New York City but in the meantime I present to thee Stacking The Shelves. Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews where we showcase the books that we got during the week. This week I'm actually showing some books that I got in the past two weeks.

The first book I got was The Silent Deal by Levi Stack that I received for review from the author himself. I already finished the book and it was amazing and you need to look out for the book week where I'll introduce the book, cast some characters, put up an author interview and a review for the book. It should be up soon.

The second book I got was Starfall by W.A. Fulkerson which I also received from the author himself. The novel seems super interesting and I'll be reading it soon as well as doing another book week with this one as well.

The next two books I bought (more like used Viggle but that's a long story) and they are White Cat and Red Glove by Holly Black. I can't wait to read these two because they seriously seem super amazing. Plus, they're set in New Jersey so heeeeeey. Also, it's weird how both covers are different, one is glossy and the other isn't, yet they were both published at the same time.

But that's basically all I've gotten lately. I don't exactly buy books unless it's through Viggle or I receive a coupon and even then I'm not the one that buys it. So who knows about next week. What did you guys get this week though? Leave your comments down below.

Be on the lookout for the announcement of the winners of my giveaway as well as an author interview with Steven Parlato!

Also don't forget to check me out on other places around the web of inter...

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday's Novel Talk (69)

Hey Chroniclers! It's Monday once again and the weather is blah here with the constant rain and gloomy weather. But aside from that I've been doing good! Kind of. I've just been really tired and haven't exactly got much reading in. Since last week, I've read a little more than usual though. It's just the weekend that's been giving me a tough time. Plus, this post is very late. >.>

I finished Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and I absolutely loved it more than Cinder. I thought it was fantastic and I loved Scarlet, the character more than Cinder. It ended on such an exciting note that I really can't wait to see where the story takes us in Cress.

I also finished reading Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews and again I absolutely loved the book. I caught myself laughing and chuckling a lot through the novel and thought that it was such a light fun read. I'll definitely be re-reading it someday in the future.

I'm currently reading The Silent Deal by Levi Stack a book that I got sent for review and so far it's good. I'm currently on page 44 of 346. I'm really interested in what the hell this whole thing about the cards is about and I just need to keep reading to find out.

Aside from that, that's all I've been reading. What have you been reading? Leave your comments down below!

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!

Also don't forget to check me out on other places around the web of inter...

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Friday, June 7, 2013

To Be Read Pile (June 2013)

Hey Chroniclers! So this post is a little late but that's okay. The problem here is that we're halfway through the year, ALREADY! I can't deal with this. Everything is going so fast. But, to make things better, I present thee, the To Be Read Pile of June 2013!

To Be Read Pile (June 2013)
I no longer have books hanging out in front of other books! I actually have space to ad a book or two. Kind of. Once I finish more books I'll have space so I must get to reading. My problem is, as my shelves get more and more full and I find the need to use these two shelves, where will I put my TBR pile? The horror. But you can notice a bit of difference from last month.

To Be Read Pile (May 2013)
Last month I had 53 books. I received/bought 2 books only! Which is a record because I'm going crazy and NEED to buy more books but I need to learn how to control myself especially being super broke. I finished 4 books and started on my 5th. I was sick in bed with food poisoning for a few days and then left for sort of a mini-vacation for another few days and got no reading in for that week and a half. All in all I am now at 51 books. I thought I would've been lower but I guess not.

Last month I was supposed to read all of my ARCs and I got pretty far into them I think. I have about 3 left but that's okay. My plan this month is to finish the book I'm currently reading (which I actually finished along with another book) and read The Silent Deal and then start A Feast For Crows so my TBR Pile might not be low in numbers but you'll notice a difference from the big book being taken away.

Do you have a picture of your TBR Pile? Leave the link down below!

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!

Also don't forget to check me out on other places around the web of inter...

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday's Novel Talk (68)

So I am back! Memorial Day Weekend basically became longer and aside from other things going on everything is good. So I can now post again as I usually do, or should, and we're starting with today's post!

Lately I've been reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and I'm on page 98 of 452. For some reason, my reading of this has been very slow, much like Cinder. I don't know what it is because I do like the books and am enjoying them but I haven't been exactly reading as much as I should and once I do I only read a bit and feel like stopping. I think I've hit a reading slump and this is not cool!

I do want to finish it this week because I'll be starting some big books this month and it won't allow me to really get my TBR Pile lower. But that's all really with what I've been reading. I'm not that far ahead but I hope I get further today.

What have you been reading? Let me know down in the comments below!

Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!

Also don't forget to check me out on other places around the web of inter...

Twitter: @SubtleChronicle
Facebook: The Subtle Chronicler
Goodreads: Michael Araujo

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