Books Are My Best Friends

Books Are My Best Friends

The characters in my favorite books are the best confidantes.
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"That's crazy! Books can't be your friend. They're inanimate objects!"

After my professor, a literary scholar, stated that she finds some of her best, most cherished friendships to be those she shares with books, one boy in my class refuted this point.

"You don't talk to your books, do you?"

She replied calmly that she doesn't need to, in fact, for they seem to understand her regardless.

To this, he responded that books do not have souls.

Obviously, he hasn't read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets or he would've known that books can, in fact have souls. Or at least house part of one anyway...

Ever since I was little, I've loved to read. My first stories were read to me by my parents, and as soon as I learned to read I embarked off on my own adventures. Although I never consciously realized it, some of my first friends were those within the pages of my favorite books.

I first found friendship with Winnie the Pooh and co. in Hundred Acre Wood. Whenever I had nightmares and couldn't sleep, the words of my favorite adventures were always there to comfort me as only a friend can.

Soon, I discovered more and more worlds full of new friends for me to uncover. Harry, Ron, and Hermione (and I could never forget friends like Hagrid and Dobby). Percy, Annabeth, and Grover. Clary, Jace, and Simon. These trios, as well as many more, became the people I looked to when I needed a friend, or when I just wanted the warm feeling and stories they provided.

At this point, I was averaging about a book a day, and showing no signs of slowing down. With each new book came new characters, and new attributes for me to admire and confide in.

I still look to these characters as some of my truest friends. Although they cannot be friends in a literal sense, due to not literally existing, the solace they provide is comparable to that of a comforting friend.

The feeling a book provides, especially the empty feeling when one has been finished, make them some of my best friends (no matter what that boy in my class thinks).

Cover Image Credit: Rooted Image Photography

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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#MeToo Has Ravaged Our Industries, But Let's Not Let It Destroy The Integrity Of The Writing Community

Not separating an artist from their work is different when translated into the writing community: Ideas are inherently separate.

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This article is a response to the New York Times' piece, "Must Writers Be Moral? Their Contracts May Require It."

Here's another spark to the debate of whether artists' private lives should be separated from their work or not. The dispute has affected multiple industries within the entertainment sector, the most notably being film, after prominent figures like director Harvey Weinstein and former House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey were blacklisted by the #MeToo movement. Calls for boycotting the work of those accused of sexual misconduct quickly flooded social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Outrage machines hosted on those platforms have caused men to risk losing their jobs over accusations, a theme most appropriately summarized by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his arduous confirmation hearing process.

However, adults are not the only ones involved with the cleansing of industries. Just last year, the same argument was revisited by youths criticizing the pedophilic and homophobic acts of a popular rapper's death. Our obsession with how much weight the author should hold with their work only seems to be growing — stretching its tendrils into other industries.

Judith Shulevitz' piece in the New York Times reminded me how members of the writing community aren't immune to this fight. Similar to how corporations had the right to remove Kevin Spacey from the "House of Cards" cast, publishers are starting to follow suit with "morality clauses" in their contracts. Companies like Penguin Random House have begun reserving the right to pull work from the shelves if:

"Past or future conduct of the author inconsistent with the author's reputation at the time this agreement is executed comes to light and results in sustained, widespread public condemnation of the author that materially diminishes the sales potential of the work."

At the surface, clauses such as these are seemingly innocuous. However, it sets a dangerous precedent, as opinionated writers may find themselves unable to share their beliefs without fear of having their work pulled off the shelves. Of course, in a free market society, the product is entirely dependent on the support of the consumers. It's this type of attitude that has led to accused men like Louis C.K not being able to perform as frequently as before. It's also the logical premise for boycotting: a lack of support for their art will lead to the demise of the artist.

But writing is a sector I'm willing to defend as unique in relation to consumer support. In order to increase the amount of ideas spread through writing, writing must be as available as possible. Popularity of the work is the factor we should depend on to measure its rise and fall within consumerism. Support of the consumer can still be expressed through commendations such as the positions on the NYT Bestseller List or the stamp of approval of Oprah's Book Club.

But under the threat of complete removal, as someone interested in pursuing writing as a career, I simply cannot stand idle.

Because of recent attacks directed towards the media, certain members of the print press, journalists like Maggie Haberman, have recently joined the ranks of journalists who share the title of public figures — a club formerly exclusive to broadcast journalists, such as Anderson Cooper. And because they are now exposed to the public eye as opinionated humans with popular Twitter accounts, they leave themselves to be torn apart by online mobs.

It's these same mobs that get people fired without probable cause. It's these allegations that cause storms online that crowds are willing to jump on. It's the phenomenon called doxxing, where figures like Kathy Griffin call for personal information of the Covington students to be released.

#MeToo allows this doxxing attitude to blacklist authors for causing controversy, and like philosophers in 17th century Spain, they find themselves swarmed by the majority that refuses to let their work be spread.

This isn't a unique scenario, simply uncharacteristically energized. What's different because of the introduction of "morality clauses" are the financial liabilities of controversial writing that writers now face.

In the past, it was easy to brave opposition. After all, opinionated writing has always had its enemies. But when these enemies can use platforms like Twitter to their advantage and start mobs to cause outrage over writing in order to cause a termination of a contract, that is when the line is crossed.

It used to be that if there was uproar, the publisher could deal with the matter internally. However, with "uproar clauses," it gives publishers an advantage by legally allowing them to drop their clients at the behest of digital mobs while still maintaining finances.

This doesn't mean that we shouldn't report allegations concerning authors. It means that just because they spark controversy, their books shouldn't be taken off the shelves.

This policy is dangerous to the writing community, as writers may feel discouraged to express controversial opinions, whether in their writing or on their social media platforms. It's a shame that the art versus artist argument had to extend this far into a unique profession. While it may be acceptable to cancel notable actors for homophobic tweets, it's unacceptable to let the bubble of free thought shrink in the name of consumerism.

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