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PERUSE FALL 2010


TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE 2

OPINIONS

PAGE 5 BOOKS TO FILM PAGE 10 FEATURES PAGE 13 BOUND BY BOOKS PAGE 18 OTHER PAGE 21 How To Write a Book PAGE 26 LETTER FROM THE EDITORS


BIOS PAGE 4 THE PROBLEM WITH E-BOOKS

PAGE 8 THESE BOOKS SUCK PAGE 12 NaNoWriMo Meets LASA Students: A Love Story

PAGE 16

MUSIC AS LIFE

PAGE 20

THIS I BELIEVE

PAGE 24 WHICH OBSCURE HARRY POTTER CHARACTER ARE YOU?

PAGE 29

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BIOS

WENLAN L Wenlan doesn’t like to write about herself, so I guess I (Caitlin) will do it for her. I haven’t known Wenlan for a long time so I might not be the best person for this job, but whatever. Wenlan likes a lot of things, among them, the number 3, emailing people, music, words, thinking, remembering, forgetting, fighting, forgiving, dreaming, and living. Wenlan seems mildly obsessed with the number three. No, really obsessed with it. Maybe she has OCD, because like every day she has a multiple of three bracelets on. Today its three on right hand and six on her left. When asked about her favorite food she says “I don’t know.” “No idea” is apparently the name of her favorite movie. Her favorite magazine? PERUSE, duh. (Okay, she didn’t really say that but we all know in our heart it’s true.) When Wenlan laughs, she sticks out her tongue.she thinks shoes are stupid so she always wears flip flops so she can take them off. She says she isn’t looking forward to SciTech because they’re going to make her wear shoes. She is giving me really boring things to work with here. She thinks purring is fun, and that you should try it sometime. TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) is amazing, apparently. Oh, and she wants the world to know that Keeping You a Secret is the best book in the world. I’ve never heard of this book, nor has Jiwoon. So we don’t really trust her on that. But, go figure.

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CAITLIN K Caitlin doesn’t like writing about herself, either, but she isn’t going to force someone else to write about her. She has long nails, fairly straight teeth and is double jointed. Her only ambitions in life are to go to Harry Potter World, or even better, Hogwarts, and to meet Indiana Jones. Caitlin is only setting her self up for heartbreak. Despite this, she is a bright, upbeat sunny person. And she’s only just a teensy bit crazy. (Right, Jiwoon?) Caitlin hates stereotypes, pens that are out of ink, the Aggies, cauliflower and the earthworm flavor of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. She likes manatees, narwhlals, Fred and George Weasly, and Lady GaGa. She believes in chuppacabras. Remember how to spell her name, because one day she will be incredibly famous. For what, she doesn’t know. But be ready. Check out her quiz “What Harry Potter Character Are You?“ to see the full extent of her obsession.

JIWOON P Like the baby bear’s bed in Goldilocks, Jiwoon exists in that happy middle. She’s not too crazy, like Wenlan, and not too obsessed, like Caitilin. Still, she finds her teammates’ antics entertaining. She often finds herself wondering how her group gets any work done between arguing about how pens should be organized and the number of bracelets Wenlan is wearing. That’s not to say that she doesn’t enjoy working on Peruse. She does. Really. Some of her favorite things are paperback books, Italian food, graphic novels, butterflies, the clacking sound that keyboards make, musicians on youtube, and the young adult genre. In her spare time, she likes to write about fictional drama and fictional characters. She figures it’s better that it happens to people that don’t exist than to real people in real life. She’s a bit work-phobic, so it’s a wonder why she chose to go to LASA, of all places, for freshman year. In November, she drove herself insane by scrambling to reach the 50,000-word NaNoWriMo goal. She failed miserably. See her feature article “NaNoWriMo Meets LASA: A Love Story“ if you have no idea what she’s talking about.

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OPINIONS

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The Problem With E-Books

Story and Photography by Wenlan L.

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nce upon a time, people bought their books, checked them out from the library, or borrowed them from a friend. Now, however, people are becoming obsessed with these little electronic devices that can hold thousands of books, are smaller, and are said to replace printed books in the near future. However, I think that people should go back to printed books, opposed to buying an e-book-reader, such as a Kindle. After all, there is nothing that you can get from an e-book that you cannot get from a printed book. One reason to not hurry to purchase the newest e-book-reader is that a number of books are not actually available as e-books, especially when they are newly published. For example, the newest model of Kindle, according to Amazon, can now hold up to 35 hundred books. This library for the Kindle has over 725 thousand books, including 107 out of the 111 New York Times Best Sellers; and over 610 thousand of those books are $9.99 or less. It does not seem like a lot, but there are those 4 books from the New York Times Best Sellers list that aren’t available in an electronic form, and there are those 115 some books that are more than $9.99. Many of these books are actually best-sellers because January of this year, Amazon published a letter from their 0 6 Peruse 2010

“Kindle Team” starting with: “Macmillan, one of the “big six” publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and hardcover releases.” Because they were being forced to add $3 to $5 to their previously commercial price. Some people said that they would be fine with the new prices if Amazon would release the newly published books (the hardcover releases) the same day as they were on sale the same day as the hardcover release. Kindle users also said that Amazon should fix the formatting/OCR (Optical character recognition) problems. And finally, that the book sold on Amazon to order are not much more than $14.99. For example, pretend you want to get the books Port Mortuary and The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell. Port Mortuary is number 9 on the list of 100 best-sellers and number 1 out of all of her books on Amazon, and the Kindle version is $14.99, but the hardback is only $15.09. And then The Scarpetta Factor is $9.99 for the paperback and $8.99 for the e-book. So, in all, the e-books are $23.98 and the paper books are $15.08 (because there is no tax on Amazon). The difference? $1.10, meaning that if you wanted to make up for having

to pay either $139 (Wi-Fi) or $189 (3G and Wi-Fi) for the actual Kindle. So you’d have to have have this situation (with a $1.1 difference in favour of the electronic versions) at least 127 or 172 times for the price of the Kindle to pay off. And then, once you have the book, with the Kindle, you have it and that’s it, if you like it or not, but with a paper book, you can go back and re-sell the book (and depending on the condition of the book) for only a few dollars less, which would cause the paper version to be a few dollars cheaper than the e-book, and someone else could enjoy it. Also, the Kindle’s battery can last between three weeks and a month without having to be recharged while books can last forever without being recharged. Books also never have to be set up, or restarted and you never have to wait for them to turn on or load or find an internet connection. These things seem small when you think about it compared to making something such as a computer work, but it seems like a lot when it’s compared to a paper book that doesn’t need to load or anything. Some people may think that it’s more work to go to a bookstore or something, but with Amazon’s book collection, you don’t even have to do that. All you have to do is get on the computer and hit maybe 3 buttons to order it, which you also have to do with a Kindle, so


it doesn’t always have to take more work to get a paper book, it only does if you choose to make it that way. But Kindles by far are not the only kind of e-book-reader out there, and you do not necessarily need a Kindle to read e-books from Amazon’s Kindle Library. If you do not own an official e-book-reader, such as a Kindle, or a Nook, but you have an iPod Touch, or a smart phone such as an Android, you can download a programme to basically turn your iPod or phone into an e-book-reader. Except that these are electronics, and many people are beginning to realise that electronics that are backlit (meaning the light is placed behind the display instead on in front of it) can easily cause eyestrain which causes headaches, back pains, neck pains, or trouble concentrating. Even though these are temporary problems, they can become more permanent over time. So, this electronic was probably between $100 and $200, and the app might cost a few dollars, plus about $10 to $20 for books, and after paying for the electronic in the first place, and then for the

app and the books, most people would tend to use it a lot, so it’s probably going to cause some sort of problem with the users vision and such. Also, thinking about e-book-readers in general, in an article titled “E-book Are Hot, But Are Publishers Making Money On Them?” by Ryan Faas, he brings up the idea that in our era of mass electronic reading, publishers do not actually make a huge profit from them. The thing is, people tend to like e-books because they cost less (or at least many of them have), but the person buying the book is actually the only one who benefits from that, and the publisher actually loses money, which has somewhat recently triggered publishing companies wanting places like Amazon to make ebook prices higher. So in the end, is it really better to get a special electronic to read with, or just to give in and get the actual book? If you’re really crazy about money, it can cost less to get actual books, depending on where you get them and what you do with them when you’re done with them. Some people seem

to need something more portable, where an e-book could be better, but with that, in some situations you shouldn’t be reading where you will start reading because you can and you may end up reading the whole day instead of doing what you should be doing. But in the end, it’s your decision, and it’s based on what your life is like. Time may be the biggest factor in your decision, or maybe money, or portability, or maybe reliability... There are good things about both e-books and paper books, and it really just depends on what kind of person you are.

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Books

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to

Film Photo and story by Jiwoon P

magine that your favorite book’s been adapted into a movie. Everything about the book draws you in: the vivid descriptions, the three-dimensional characters, and the actionpacked plot filled with twists and surprises. About halfway through the movie, though, you realize that your favorite scene has been edited out, it’s set against a modern skyline instead of the twisting, fantastical skyscrapers described in the book, and the plot’s taken a slight detour. you could walk out because the movie isn’t what you were expecting. or you could stay and see where the movie goes with its still-recognizable story, understanding that there are quite a few challenges in adapting literature to film. In fact, one of the challenges that face adaptors is condensing a novel-length piece of literature into a two-and-a-half hour film. This means that certainaspects, including whole scenes and even whole characters, may have to be cut from the story. Being so quick to judge will only seve to disappoint when the movie is, instead of being a “filmed” version of the book, an independent piece of work. Part of the problem may lay in the fans’ sky-high expectations, which inevitably leads only to disappointment. Before the second movie of the Twilight series was released in November of 2009, “the consensus seems to be that Twilight series fans refuse to see New Moon lose its literary luster in the shuffle of becoming a movie,” says Amanda Bell, the source of all things Twilight for the Examiner, an online publication. This doesn’t just apply to the Twilight series, however. Fans of any and all books made into films have been so blinded by their love for the original material that they don’t realize that films, unlike books, aren’t purely literary endeavors. Perhaps it would help if fans realized that it’s a different story whether a movie is “faithful” to the book it’s based on and whether it is a good movie. Even while writing the screenplay for a film adaption, the differences between the mediums has to be taken into consideration. In an interview with Illinois’ Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Craig Titley, the writer for the movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief, the first book of the famous Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, said himself that “the challenge with adapting os always striking the right balance between respect for the source material while taking the necessary liberties to transform it into a whole new medium.” Writer-director Nicholas Meyer told the Los Angeles Times that “the more successful the work of art is in the medium for which it was originally created, the more it’s going to resist a translation into another medium.” The bottom line is that creating a film and writing a book involve vastly different processes. Literature makes full use of words to tell a story. One the other hand,

Film involves words and images, along with real people in front of a camera depicting to the best of their ability the characters described on paper. “The plot can be changed, but the spirit, the film and the book have to point in the same direction, and sometimes to achieve that, you have to change a lot,” says Fernando Meirelles, the director of the Brazilian film adaption of City of God tells the Los Angeles Times. Movies and books have to reach the same feeling or “spirit” using different techniques. This means, as Meirelles says, that some things will need to be changed. Because of these necessary changes, film adaptations cannot perfectly follow the storyline of books. Titely says that “It is generally impossible to stay true to the entire narrative structure of the source material...With ‘The Lightning Thief ’ the main difficulty was that it was rich with imaginative material, enough to fill at least two movies, so it became a matter of deciding what stays and what goes because it can’t all fit within the framework of a two-hour movie...” Overall, the movie works as an action/adventure film. To accomplish this, the first-person perspective narrative of the book and some of the character development of the protagonists had to be cut out in favor of the moving plot. In regards to the upcoming Deathly Hallows movies, Daniel Radcliffe has comments to the Los Angeles Times, “I think it’s the only way you can do it, without cutting out a huge portion of the book...the seventh book doesn’t really have any subplots. It’s one driving, pounding story from the word ‘go.’” Considering that the seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series is around 780 pages long, a movie adaptation that contained every single detail included in the book would drag and, before you know it, people would be leaving the theater. You can put a book down and come back to it later. Watching a movie, however, must be done in one sitting. In order to keep people in their seats for its entire duration, a film has to tell its story in a concise manner and a way that is interesting to the viewers. This is why, when asked about the decision to split the novel into two movies, Producer David Heyman told the Los Angeles Times that splitting “Deathly Hallows” was the “right narrative formula.” The movie could do its job and tell a story without its watchers being bored while still avoiding disappointing its many fans by cutting crucial plot points out of the bulk. What’s left may surprise you by being a darn good film, due in part of the film makers being unafraid of taking certain liberties with the work. If it isn’t, it won’t win any Academy Awards. In the end, Craig Titley said it best: the book is the book and the movie is the movie.

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Photography by Caitlin K.

THESE BOOKS SUCK By Caitlin K

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eenage pregnancy, abusive relationships and pedophilia: doesn’t this sound like a great love story?

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Stephenie Meyer uses extensive purple prose, casts herself as a Mary Sue and leaves gaping plot holes. of Meyer is her extensive use of adjectives and adverbs to describe Edward’s beauty. In moderation, details about character can enrich the reader’s exierence and give deeper meaning to the book, however Meyer seems to have used her thesaurus to a ridiculous extent. Whole pages are used to describe Edward’s godlike appearance. Some readers have counted as much as 165 references to Edward’s appearance in the first book alone. Take note that these words are not describing Ed’s personality, but his Adonis-like pulchritude. This is excessive use of adjectives andother modifying words is called purple prose. Plot holes abound. Why do the Cullens continue to attend high school year after year? One would think they could get away with the

The men are stereotypical tes tosterone powered controlling beings, while the women are passive and weak. The Mormon author created a world where the dudes fix motorcycles and the women watch. In New Moon ,Bella, the heroine, (and this term is used lightly for there is certainly nothing heroic about her) compares herself to a little moon whose planet has disappeared, when Edward leaves. So basically BELLA’S LIFE REVOLVES AROUND EDWARD. She apparently has no hobbies but describing how gorgeous Edward and elabarating on how lucky she is to have him as a boyfriend. When he leaves her she spends her days staring outwindows and having nightmares. Oh wow, such an empowering role model.

“It’s misogynistic and sets feminism back several decades. The book instates several stereotypes that are insultingly sexist.” home schooling story. What do the teen vampires gain ? Not knowl edge or socialization ,certainly. Stephenie admits having done no research on vampires before writing Twilight. Throw this in with a couple of plotholes and the purple prose and one gets the literature slop that is Twilight. It’s misogynistic and sets feminism back several decades The book instates several stereotypes that are insultingly sexist. Carmen Siering, assistant professor of English and women’s studies at Ball State University says that it sends the message that women are nothing without their man. He fits all the criteria, but some consider him the perfect boyfriend. Is he funny? No. Nice? No. Easy going? Puh-lease. But he is drop dead gorgeous so I guess he’s perfect. Twilight and its sequels implant the exact opposite of characters and relationships that should be looked up to. Its writing is mediocre at best and it instills negative values into the female teenage population. So, hopefully we can turn the page and leave this fandom behind.

Supposedly this is a love story, but the protaganists are not the models of a healthy relationship. Edward is totally controlling and oppressive. At one point is Eclipse Edward removes the engine from Bella’s car to prevent her from visiting her werewolf friends. According to helpguide.org, a website that advocates for victims of dating violence, Edward Cullen would fall under the category of abusive boyfriends. He has constant mood swings, hurts Bella and is extremely overprotective and jealous of her friends.He threatens to commit suicide (or whatever it is that vampires do to take their own lives) if she ever leaves him.

Common Signs of an Abusive BF

Do these remind you of Edward much? *Your partner cheaks up on you regularly by calling or driving by

*Your partner has gone places with you or sent someone “just to keep an eye on you?” *Your partner hits walls,drives dangerously or do other things to scare you *You have lost friends and no longer see much of your family because of your partner *Your partner has taken away your liscense or has diabled your car. *Your partner threatens to kill himself if you leave him. perusemag.blogspot.com 1 1


FEATURES

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NaNoWriMo meets LASA Students:

A Love Story By Jiwoon P

50,000 Words. 30 Days. Craziness Ensues


Anne Kat and her trusty tools

With piles of homework and a myriad of extracurricular activities on their backs, it would be hard for any Liberal Arts and Science Academy student to find time to write 50,000 words in the 30 short days in the busy month of November. However, this is exactly what some students, along with more than 100,000 people worldwide, find themselves doing as they hunch over a computer with a coffee cup ever-present on the desk next to them. This is only part of the endeavor that is National Novel Writing Month, commonly called NaNoWriMo, in which participants somehow find the time to write a novel over the course of the month. Like with any craft, novel writing is easier with practice. In other words, people are more likely to “win” (reach the 50,000 word mark) if they’ve done it before. Whether two LASA freshmen and past participants of this novel-writing challenge will reach the goal again as they have in previous years is anybody’s guess. “I just wanted to have accomplished something, and I couldn’t see myself finishing a novel unless I had done it before,” said Anne Kat A., who unofficially took the NaNoWriMo challenge during the summer before she started her first year at LASA to prepare herself for the event in November, which would inevitably be more challenging. “This 1 4 Peruse 2010

was something that I thought was relatively manageable, just because the deadline was so short, so you really have to do it.” She first heard about the challenge from a number of authors’ blogs that she follows, such as young adult author John Green. Professional authors may find this event a chance to practice getting a draft of a novel done within a deadline. Even if the authors themselves do not participate, though, their support is felt within the community of those who do. The NaNoWriMo website even offers pep talks from various authors, including, in past years, Meg Cabot, the author of the Princess Diaries novels, Neil Gaiman, who has written numerous novels, including Coraline, and Chris Baty, the founder of the event and author of No Plot? No Problem!. Also on the website is an extensive community of writers to share the experience with. “They’re pretty supportive,” Anne Kat said. “They offer lots of, ‘Yes, you can write this. No, you don’t suck that bad.” In addition to strangers, Anne Kat said that a decent amount of support came from her family, though “most of them thought I was crazy. She found a suitable simile for the situation of sharing her novel-writing efforts with her parents. “It’s like being pregnant,” she said. “As it grows, you can’t hide it any-

more. And, you’re just so filled with joy that you’re going to burst. Not really joy. Mostly just emotion.” Denice R., another past participant, found less support from her parents. “My family thought I should be doing better things with my life. I want to be a pediatrician. What does being an author have to do with being a pediatrician?” Instead, she looked to her friends in the form of an online chatroom in which she and her friends shared their writing to be critiqued. Anne Kat also explained that spreading the word to her own friends and family was a kind of motivation, “Because you told all these people you would do it, so now you’ve got people who expect you to follow through.” And she did follow through. By the end of her chosen time period, the month from the eleventh of June to the eleventh of July, Anne Kat had about 51,000 words written out twenty-three hours or so before the deadline. However, she had the obvious advantage in the summer over official participants in November, having little more to worry about other than writing. “I didn’t have a life,” she said. “Because it was the summer, so I didn’t need to. That was my balance. My life was world cup football and the novel.” Anne Kat predicted that she’d manage this year with “Lots of coffee. Caffeine every morning, knowing I will only get four to five hours of sleep every night.” Denice, on the other hand, took the official challenge in November and won while she was in middle school, somehow finding the time in her chaotic life of homework and divorced parents to write the required 1667 words every day. On average, she estimated, she found about two hours a night to write. She recounted that she wrote with the televeision’s flashing lights and blaring sound, along with music in the background.


drafts of her novel from last year. She had one thing to say about looking over her hastily completed novel: “Oh my god, this sucks so bad.” Denice elaborated a little more, noting that “Authors and artists are their own worst critics,” and that “I might have made my NaNoWriMo story go, but I’m still editing my story from last year.” She is also still working on going through and editing hers from last year. Even with the work that needed to be done with it, however, having

“After I finish the NaNoWriMo challenge, I just think that I’m going to keep where I’m going,” Denice said. The only thing she can hope for while the event is going on is to manage to finish by the deadline. As NaNoWriMo 2011 rolls around, the sound of furiously typing fingers on the keyboard and the scratching of pen on paper will prevail as these tired students try to reach the required wordcount for the day. It’ll be a struggle. However, having such a short deadline for some-

I just really didn’t want to fail because I knew that would really just shoot my motivation. If I couldn’t do it in the summer, then who knows whether I would actually be able to write a novel in a month. at least a draft completed in front of them was an accomplishment in itself. After all, one can’t perfect a story until they’ve got the bare bones down. Next year, both Denice and Anne Kat plan to participate and, hopefully, find the same success that they’ve had previously. What’s to come of their novels when they finish is a question that it’s a little too early to start thinking about.

thing like novel-writing, which is usually a long and laborious process, means that something, at least, gets done. There’s certainly not a grand prize for having the 50,000 words typed out by the end of the month. But, as evidenced by Anne Kat and Denice’s enthusiasm to take part in it again, and the worldwide enthusiasm to take part at all, it seems as though the feeling of accomplishment is worth it.

All photography by Jiwoon P.

To keep up with her school work, she multitasked, burying her nose in the pages of a book while rapidly typing at the keyboard to get the words out. For both of the past participants, regardless of when they took the challenge, the process wasn’t always easy and productive. In fact, both of them, as many other participants do every year, found themselves wanting to abandon the effort. “There were lots of times where, just, I could not see the novel going forward in any plausible direction,” Anne Kat recalled. “And, usually when that happened, it didn’t.” Denice found a discrepancy between what school expected of her and what NaNoWriMo expected of her. “NaNoWriMo is quantity, not quality, but at school it’s quality, not quantity,” and thus, schoolwork won out when it came down to deciding which to do on any night. Despite these challenges, the two writers found their way back to their stories and refueled their drives to keep going. “I just really didn’t want to fail because I knew that would really just shoot my motivation. If I couldn’t do it in the summer, then who knows whether I would actually be able to write a novel in a month,” said Anne Kat. Denice, on the other hand, felt that, “You come almost to the brink of, ‘Oh my God, I can’t do this anymore,’ and when you think you’re about to fall off, you just get this urge to write. You end up taking four steps backwards and end up writing about what you just went through.” This cycle of doubting the novel and then going back to it may have happened again and again until the 50,000th word was written and the final sentence was completed. The month was over, and, for a while, the work was done. The next step for the two writers was what many NaNoWriMo participants joke that the month of December is for: revising and editing. Anne Kat has two or three revised

Denice at work perusemag.blogspot.com 1 5


Bound by Books Austin’s only local bookstore delights the community art and story by Caitlin k.

If one was to walk into Paul Benson’s office -- which he shares with several other people

-- the first thing one will see is a giant colorful poster that proudly proclaims, “ This room belongs to Justin Bieber’s biggest fan!” (He claims that some of the employees “were just having fun “ when they tacked it up there.) Also in this room is a large bulletin board that has several smart Alec sayings, pinned to it along with next month’s schedule of major events. It’s a slightly messy office but it’s a cozy, happy kind of messy, with pieces of paper scattered everywhere and sticky notes stuck here and there. This is a sampling of the atmosphere at BookPeople, Austin’s only local bookstore.

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It is also one of, if not the most beloved bookstores in town. Perhaps this is because of the many events this store holds, such as book signings and parking lot parties (parties relating to a certain theme held in there spacious parking lot), or maybe it’s the ties they have to the community. Maybe it’s the hip café nestled in the back or the amiable staff. Whatever it is, BookPeople is truly special and unique to Austin.

‘‘

nication can sometimes be an issue.” These issues aren’t really noticeable to the public; they go on more behind the scenes. So one can’t really see these problems when they go to BookPeople’s popular events. And this bookstore has some very crowd-pleasing events, from book signings to parking lot parties (in the past there has been Harry Potter and Percy Jackson soirées). They have guest speakers including former president Jimmy Carter and Rick Riordan who draw large crowds and then less well-known local authors, such as Owen Anderson.

“We are able to be malleable,” Benson, the floor manager says as Some biggest were he leans back inofhisthe chair. “Chains, opportunities like Barnes and Nobles can’t just do hearing that, they have to follow their bosses, who work for their bosses at a national level. Flexibility in responding to the community is very of… heard

people speak about books I’ve never

’’

important to the staff and management of BookPeople.” Because of this, BookPeople does its own thing, and Austinites love it. If one walked into a chain store, they wouldn’t be very likely to find gag gifts like squirrel underpants or band-aids shaped like bacon . Franchises get their ideas from their corporate headquarters, whereas BookPeople looks to the community for its ideas and inspiration.The staff also has more influence here than they might have at chains or other bookstores. “Here we let our staff promote whatever book they want,” Benson says gesturing towards the Employee Picks that line the shelves. If a staff member reads a book he or she likes, he or she creates a piece of paper with a summary or why the book should be read. These reviews are then taped onto the many bookshelves and read by the customers to guidethem on their search for their next purchase. Despite the perks of being local, there is a downside to being small and lacking the big, fancy headquarters, that other bookstores have. “Staffing and communication is a big issue,” Benson admits”. Half of the downstairs employees are part time. In corporate bookstores there is a leader, a top of the chain, here there isn’t one, so commu-

“Some of the biggest opportunities were just hearing people speak about books I’ve never heard of,” The floor manager says. Books one would never expect to be interesting, such as cookbooks, become fascinating when authors talk about them. They share their experiences and the different cultural aspects. “I never imagined that I would enjoy hearing people talk about cookbooks,” laughs Benson. “I’ve never (been) to an event where it wasn’t a little bit interesting... It’s always been fascinating,” the assistant manager admits. So with overwhelming popularity and oozing from BookPeople one would wonder if there might be a second in the near future. Well, it has been mentioned a few times, however BookPeople is in containment mode since the recent economy has been less than favorable. Besides it’s already a handful running the current store. Also the magic of being a single store bookstore would be lost to most Austinites. With three stories of best sellers and unique reads and lots of roomy area to sit down and enjoy them, BookPeople continues to thrive delighting all the Austinites who have been there and continue to be loyal patrons.

recommendation cards created by BookPeople employees

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MUSIC a By Wenlan L

F

or musician, Charlie Richards, art is music and music is art. He says, “his is my job, this is what I do.” To him, music is not just entertainment, or a hobby, it’s a lifetime commitment. Charlie mostly plays Guitar, Steel Guitar, and Lap Steel Guitar, he can also play various instruments such Piano, and he played Alto Horn in band when he was in school. Charlie has been performing since he was about 5 years old, he now does professionally and it’s really just what he loves to do. From a young age he messed around on his father’s instruments and sang with his parents in performances. He moved to Austin in 1994, and claims that music had everything to do with his move. “In a perfect world, I’d get up, have coffee, practice for 4 hours, go for a walk, practice for 4 hours, eat dinner, practice for 4 hours, go to bed. But that’s not really realistic.” In reality, this perfect world made up of blocks of 4 or so hours when he could practice does not exist, but for him, that’s also a good thing. “I do know people that do that and I think they’re shortchanging themselves because I believe that you can spend too much time with the instrument and not enough time with the main thing that influences the instrument, which is living.” 1 8 Peruse 2010

However, Charlie still recognizes the practical need for him to spend time away from his instruments as well and the need for him to organize the priorities in his life and not let music take over everything he does. As he says, “I have to balance that with time I have to spend. So it’s like, ‘this has to happen, but this other thing has to happen too’. So it’s about changing responsibilities in my life. It’s a priority thing.” Charlie realises that “The reality is that when you’re in this business you know there are always going to be times when you work a lot and times when you don’t. So unless you’re at the top of your game and you’re the one who gets called all the time, you know the likelihood is that that there are going to be times when you have to do something else in order to survive.” He says that “[it’s] not necessarily bad, because those other possibilities can influence who you are as a person.” Despite the other paths his life may have taken him, and the many ways they could have influenced him, Charlie’s life has always been built around music, and still

is. His move to Austin sixteen years ago is proof of this, he says: “[Music] had everything to do with [moving to Austin]. Even when I was living in New York, Austin had a reputation--it was synonymous with ‘guitar’”


as LIFE All photography by Wenlan L

For Charlie, living a life in music was not a conscious choice. Music had always been a huge part of his life, for example, he explains that he first preformed when he as five with his parents and that he had fun doing it. He performed off and on, explaining that he didn’t perform every night from when he was five or anything, in fact, he says that: “Really, it was when I moved here [to Austin] that things [relating to music] began to converge for me. A lot of things came together for me at the same time.” Charlie believes that people influencing people and being influenced is a huge part

of the music business, and finding people to learn from is one of the most valuable things that anyone can do. “There were two things that really got past me for a really, really long time, and one is that I didn’t learn how to have fun in music. I was so competitive with myself and with other people that I missed the whole point of creating art. And I just really missed having a good time.” Charlie says, “The other, is that there were people here in town, people who are gone now, and I missed an opportunity to learn something from somebody. And I could kick myself for that. I think

it’s also important to realize that no matter who you’re listening to, no matter what kind of music, they were always influenced by someone else. And I think you should always try to figure out where they’re coming from, how they were influenced.” And what he thinks is one of the most important things to remember is that: “Nobody’s music just fell out of the sky.”

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OTHER

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This I Believe By Wenlan L.


I

believe in a lot of things. I believe in what I believe in because of the people I’ve met, and the things I’ve done… but also because of the people I haven’t met, the things I haven’t done, the people I’ll never meet, and the things I’ll ever do. So basically, everyone and everything. Because my experiences shape my mind, and causes my opinion to be the way it is. But other than that, two things that have made my mind the way it is are the things I read, and the music I listen to... but I’ll just keep this about the reading. I actually read a whole lot. Sometimes it’s books, but sometimes it’s just random things on the internet. The things that I read online are not from news websites or blogs or anything, they’re from places like FictionPress where people can make up stories about made up people. Sometimes people write about their own life and post it online, but most of what I read is fiction, or mostly fiction. And a whole lot of it is full of opinions. It’s not like essays or anything, but I’ve read things that deal with slightly (or very) controversial topics, and the writer’s opinion tends to be in them in some way, so through reading, I learn about a lot of different people’s opinions. I read really random things. There isn’t one type of story or anything that I read--just like there is not one type of music I listen to--I do it for the words. I love words. The strength in them, their effect on people. And words tend to mean a lot to me, and they influence my mind, but also just who I am as a person. And part of that is because I don’t talk that much, and when I do, I rarely talk about things that are really important to me--I just talk about whatever everyone else is talking about. So I write. A lot of people don’t even know that I write, but also a lot of people don’t know exactly what I write. Some people know the general idea of what I write, but... they don’t know everything about it. This is partly because I can’t explain it because sometimes I don’t even know. Like this, I just start typing (or writing) and see what happens. In general, I write about the things that I do not say. Maybe about myself, maybe about someone I’ve never met, maybe about some-

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one that only exists in my head. And by writing, I generally end up with very strong opinions because when I think about something a lot, my opinion becomes very... strong. Sometimes I’ll fight for that opinion, sometimes I’ll just write about it. Sometimes I won’t do anything except think about it for a little while, and sometimes I’ll forget it until I read something about it. And then I’ll probably write about it. And then read some more… So when it comes down to it, reading is this huge part of my life and this huge influence to who I am, because my opinion makes my mind the way it is, which makes me who I am. Well, that’s what I think. Because I read so much, there are countless things that make my opinion, and some of them don’t effect me that much, but there are some books and things on the internet that kind of stick out in my mind--those are the things I don’t forget. One of them is a book I recently found, called Keeping You A Secret.

people have to hide because of being afraid of other people. Not even just physical violence, but also mental. Now, other people who’ve read this book probably don’t get all the same things from it than I do, other people may look at the plot and the author’s style of writing, and critique it, but also because I tend to have a unique mind. But this book really opened my mind to how other people suffer, and deal with hate. Because the Narrator is the person who is hated by almost everyone, even her family, even one of her best friends. But not for something she can or wants to change. It’s an interesting thing to think about. At least for me it is. Which is partly because I liked the way character thought, but also because I just like knowing what other people think in general. I’ve always liked the idea of getting into someone else’s head. I mean, I don’t like the idea of people getting into my head... And I guess it probably wouldn’t be a very good idea… But anyways. That’s part of why I like reading so much. I like to know what other people think. What

So when it comes down to it, reading is this huge part of my life and this huge influence to who I am, because my opinion makes my mind the way it is, which is a huge part of who I am. I mentioned it in my bio, saying it was the “best book in the world,” which is my opinion; I’m not saying that everyone will like it. Anyways, Keeping You A Secret is by Julie Anne Peters, and it’s pretty much about this girl who ends up falling in love with another girl. Yes. It’s about a girl who figures out she likes girls. The book is not really some crazy love story or anything--it’s a normal love story, except it has this whole “self-discovery” part in it. But the point of this was not to give a review or summary of the book, but to talk about how it has influenced me. Alright. So this book actually has really shaped my opinion about some things. Not really about the topic of the book, but instead, it’s opened my eyes to how lucky I am, and how small some things are compared to becoming homeless, or being at risk of losing everything in your life, or even your whole life. LASA is not generally a mean or discriminating place, it’s just not, which might be because people have to want to be at LASA to say here, or even come here, and not everywhere is like that. But the setting of this book is more of a mean place, a place where

matters to them. Why they act the way they act. Why they are the way they are, basically. The things they don’t talk about. The things no one knows. I like secrets. Keeping them and knowing them and everything in-between. And sometimes I get tired of my mind, and that’s when I go looking for some imaginary character’s mind to get into. My mind scares me sometimes, so it can be nice to try to think the way some character thinks. I tend to have an interesting opinion on things. I just do. So, going back to this whole book idea, another book that has influenced the way I think is actually a book I did a “review” of for a blog post. It’s Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. In my little “review,” I wrote that “I figured out that I loved the book. It’s not that I identified with the character or the story, but I kind of identified with the writing. I’m not saying it was amazing good and out of the ordinary… that’s up to whoever reads it. But it was mostly written the way I think. Almost in circles, making everything connected and stuff.” And I still think that. Especially the part about me thinking (and talking) in circles.


But more than that, this book made me think about how much everything anyone does effects someone else. I mean, that’s something that we’re told all the time “think about what you do because it effects everyone else”.... okay, maybe we’re not all told that as little kids, but whatever. So, I’d thought of that before, but it was one of those things I’d just forget. But after reading this book, I remember it. Because that’s what books tend to do to my mind. This book, Before I Fall, is about a girl who dies, basically, and she wakes up the next day, even though she’s dead, and it’s the same day... So, it’s pretty much like ground hog day. Except she dies at the end of each day. And the story is all about how she’s trying to figure out why she keeps dying. And... It ends up being all about her realising how much what she does change other people’s lives. And stuff like that. Going by themes of books, there is also Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher that seems to make a point on how one small thing a person does can effect another person. This book is told through the point of view of a guy who was given a set of tapes and in the first tape, told that he is one of the 13 people who caused this girl, Hannah, to commit suicide. Probably a majority of this book is made up of the tapes themselves, and so the reader gets to hear Hannah’s story. And her story is of small things that no one else thought about. Things that people wouldn’t think would push someone to want to take their own life, but the point is that it was a combined effort of all those people, all those things piled up over time, and eventually they became too much. So Before I fall and Thirteen Reasons Why made me really think about all the things I’ve done (that I can remember) that could have effected people way more than they effected me, but also about the people who have made me who I am. Moving onto another point, the book So B. It by Sarah Weeks is about a girl, Heidi, with a mentally disabled mother and a neighbor who has taken care of them for as long as she can remember. Heidi’s mother has a limited vocabulary of 23 words (some are phrases, but in the case of those, she always said the words together, they were the same as 1 word). What happens is that Heidi ends up being haunted by this one word, Soof. Her mother cannot explain it to her because she doesn’t have the words to, and so Heidi goes across the country to try to figure out the secret of her past. This made me think about small miracles. Each time Heidi’s mother said a new word,

it was a miracle. In her whole life, she only said 23 things, and when you think about that, most people can probably say 23 words in about 30 seconds, and no one gives it a second thought. But if it takes a whole life time to say those words, people think it’s a miracle. Another book that seems to have this idea of “small miracles” is Rules by Cynthia Lord. This book is about a girl named Catherine, she just wants to have a normal life, but that’s hard when she has an autistic brother. Catherine makes rules for her brother to teach him things like no toys in the fish tank that many kids his age would understand after being told a few times, but his mind doesn’t work like that, so she makes a rule about it. She spends her whole life taking care of him and looking for this idea of “normal,” but when she makes friends with a disabled boy instead of the “perfect” girl next door, she starts to question what “normal” means. She starts to come up with her own definition of normal. And because I was reading it, it made me think about my own definition of normal. And speaking of defining normal, another book that made me think about “normal” was Define Normal also by Julie Anne Peters. This book was about two “opposites” who ended up in this peer counseling programme together. At first they just wanted to hate each other because they were so different, but it turned out that they had a lot in common. Which also made me think about how people are so quick to judge other people. For what they look like or one thing that they say. People have different ways of expressing themselves, and sometimes it’s “too far” from “normal” for other people’s liking. And that’s another thing. Not everyone is going to like you. And that’s it. There’s no way to make everyone happy. There just isn’t. So B. It and Rules also made me think about how much we don’t know. Because in So B. It, Heidi didn’t know about her past, and in Rules, Catherine never knew exactly what her brother was really thinking because he didn’t have the words to tell her, just like Heidi’s mother didn’t have the words to tell Heidi about her past.No one knows everything, yes, and I was aware of that before, but what this made me think about not knowing is not knowing about yourself. And having to fill in huge holes with made up stories. And part of “past” for many people is their childhood. When we are young, innocent children, we believed in magic. We believed that the words in books or that we made up

in our heads were real and we believed in dragons. We believed in anything and everything. We thought all love lasted forever, and our definitions of hate and hurt were much different. At least that’s somewhat what my mind was like back when I was like 5. And another thing we believed in was Santa. And Christmas. (If that was the holiday you celebrated.) The book On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin is about Tess who believes in what she calls “Christmas magic.” She believes that on Christmas eve Santa will come down the chimney and put presents under her tree. But she also believes in Christmas miracles. She believes that this Christmas magic can cure he best friend’s dad from cancer. Her parents obviously don’t believe in this magic, they only believe in doctors and science and reality. Not even her sister or best friend believe in the magic that she believes in. And part of it was because she wanted to believe in it. This made me think about pretty much believing in things in general, but also about how there are some things that we only believe in for 7 or 8 years before we start to think about reality too much. When you’re a little kid, the holiday season is the best time of the year, it’s full of magic, but by now we all see the logic in it and how impossible it seems. And as you get older, you only get farther away from this magic that you had from when you were a little kid. At least that’s what I think. What I believe. These books: Keeping You A Secret and Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, So B. It by Sarah Weeks, Rules by Cynthia Lord, and On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin are all books that I recommend to anyone who has time to just sit and read. I’m not saying everyone would like them, but it’s always worth a shot. And in the end, these books 7 books, along with many others, and things that I have found on the internet have all influenced my mind, and in the end, also who I am as a person. This, I am sure of...

i

this

believe.

perusemag.blogspot.com 2 3


1 8 2 3 4 LET SIT

SPECIFY

First off, specify what exactly oyu want to write. If you’re thinking you want to write a “book,“ you’re probably thinking of a novel, a long work of fiction. A book is the physical bound object, which probably won’t be the result of this process unless you decide to (a.) publish, or (b.) print and bind it yourself.

CHARACTERS

Make up a name, a few basic character traits, a couple of quirks, and maybe a couple of physical traits. Put in a couldron and mix well. Repeat until you have a cast of a suitable size.

First off, pat yourself on the back. You’re done with your first draft! Now go away. I mean it. After all that frantic writing, you’re probably tired of staring at the computer screen or lined paper or stone tablet. Now’s your time to take a break from it. go outside. Play some video games. Sleep. When you decide to come back to it, you’re ready for editing. I recommend you go to the internet for further instruction.

how

WRITE

(When you have littl and a short

By Jiw

PLOT/PLAN

ERROR: Does not compute. This is a step for people who have free time. Think up a vague list of awkward situations to put your characters in and proceed.

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8 7

RINSE AND REPEAT

w to A BOOK le to no free time

t deadline)

woon P

4

WORKSPACE Find a place you like. Anything with as little distractions as possible will do, be it your comfortably cluttered desk, the quiet park down the street, or a corner in your closet. Equip with the essentials. I also recommend caffeine. Not your thing? Water will do. Just keep in a closed container away from your writing materials.

All photography by Jiwoon P.

Repeat 5-6 words as necessary, until you’ve got however many words it takes to have a beginning, middle, some kind of climax, and an ending. Going by NaNoWriMo standards, this should be a bout 50,000 words. It doesn’t matter right now if it makes sense. What matters now is getting your list (from part 3) down.

6 5 DELETE

After a while, you’ll feel the need to read over what you’ve written. You’ll probably want to delete some or most of what you read. Feel free to replace a couple words, correct grammar, or take away the jumble of words that resulted from repeatedly hitting the keyboard with your forehead. Don’t delete too much, though. You still need something and, appparently, you have little to no free time to write it.

WRITE

Exactly what it says on the label. Put pencil to paper, finger to keys, chisel to stone tablet, and write words. Anything to get those shaky characters and vague situations out.

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1. On rainy nights you can be found....... A. Exploring the night. Just floating around really. B. Just thinking. Maybe crying a little a bit about the good old days C. Watching Comedy Central. Or maybe I’m out with my friends. D.SNOGGING MY BOYFRIEND! DUH! E. Camping.

2.What do you hate? A. Not being free B. Being abandoned C. Rules and restrictions at school D. Know-it-alls who steal my boy! E.People who mess with my family

3. Sports? A. Nah. I’d rather do my own thing! B. Not enough energy C. I’d rather be the center of attention for my humor than for that. I’ll watch my friends play though D.I’m his biggest fan! Oh, do you mean I play them? Not really. E. Sure! I’m into that!

4. Favorite animal? A. Birds..... so free B.Animals make messes..... C. Golden Retrievers! D. Something cuddly E. Lizards or snakes. They are so cool and misunderstood

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6.What is your weakness? A.The color green. B. I become obbsessed easily C. I am kind of defient D. I make up obnoxouis nick names E. I get too mad when someone I love make a stupid desicion

5. What was you best moment? A. I once gave someone an awesome gift for Christmas! They were so excited and that made me happy! B. Wow. That was a while ago.... C.I may goof off a bit but I come though in the end! D.Getting the courage to make the first move! E.I helped someone when they desprately needed it

7. Where would you rather go? A. Anywhere! I want to travel the world! B. I am a homebody thank you very much! C. Some where with lots of adeventure! Like a Safari! D. Paris E. I want to backpack Europe.

By Caitlin K

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MOSTLY As! You are Hedwig! You are Harry’s owl! You gave him his Nimbus 2000. You are one of the most adored owls in literature! Too bad you are dead! Sorry! But you’re still a greatcharacter. This indicates that you are a free spirit. You try to be carefree and you hate being chained! You like nature and dislike rules! MOSTLY C’S Why, you my friend are Lee Jordan! You are friends Fred and George and are quite the trickster yourself! You are a quidditch commentator and have dredlocks! This means you you are fun loving person. You love being in the center of things, but, sometimes you are overshadowed by your friends. You are still valuable and well loved

MOSTLY B’s You are Winky! You are a poor house elf who helped a murderous creep! Well, only because you were forced... but whatever! You try to drown your memories in butterbeer. This means you are worriesome and you like to look back on the good ‘ol days. You hate being abbonded!

MOSTLY ES Congrats, you are Charlie Weasly! You care for and love dragons! You played Quidditch and are generally considered cool. You must be an aventurous person.who like to travel.

MOSTLY D’s You are Lavender Brown! You are a Gryffindor who went out with Ron Weasly! You were kind of clingy and a little too romantic. But that’s okay! You are brave soul who fought for Hogwarts! Too bad you got attacked by a werewolf! You are sweet,but clingy in relationship!

Photography from Wikipedia commons

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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS Dear whoever you are. Hey. It’s the editors of the magazine you’re holding right now, Peruse, and we are very happy to see you. So, it’s actually not though because it’s just me, Wenlan. Caitlin told me to write a letter to the editors, but Jiwoon told me to write a letter from the editors, so maybe this is both. Well, hello there. Nice to see you again. Or... for the first time. I don’t remember, I’m sure we’ve met before... haven’t we? Anyways, this has been fun. So, we hope that you had lots of fun reading our magazine... We sure had fun making it, the whole process included lots of punching people in the face... well, thinking about it. There’s been a whole bunch of unsuccessful shush-ing and sicking out of tongues, but we haven’t killed each other... yet. Well, seeing as we’re not professional and we’re doing it so we don’t fail e-zine, we’ve done a good job and you should appreciate our efforts. The point of Peruse was originally to bring a better understanding of the finer points of our culture through literature, music, and movies. And we planned to review and recommend specific books, music, and/or movies to make sure readers could get the full experience of arts and culture. So, we pretty much have to same point now, but we’re some what more focused on finishing by the deadline than concentrating on how to show people finer points of culture. We all have very different personalities, points of view, and bedtimes, but we somehow managed to work everything out, and we’ve did it, and now you’ve seen it, so, what did you think? We hope you have learned something new, interesting and intriguing from our magazine that you’ll think about all the time and tell all of your friends... and if you haven’t, then hopefully we entertained you for a few minutes. (Don’t worry, you can still tell all your friends about us, maybe they’ll learn something new, nteresting and intriguing.) Thanks for putting up with us, seeya later, bye :)

-The Editorsperusemag.blogspot.com 2 9


Peruse  

A great magazine you should read about literature and culture in Austin, TX.

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