Monday, July 25, 2011

Looking for Alaska By John Green

There's a reason kids are supposed to stay at home until they're 18. And just because someone dies in a book does not make a book great, it just makes it morbid.

I like John Green, ergo I wanted to like this book. Oh well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Yes, you are right. Slavery is wrong.

The End.

Up Next: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Well..... talk about disappointing.

Honestly? It was a lot like reading a book manuscript. As in, not the final draft. As a reader, my thoughts when reading a book should not be about how much I want to copy and paste the first 70 pages into the third quarter of the book. Or the typos, or the grammar issues, or the "had had" or "was was" that popped up repeatedly. That's just confusing, and frankly, poor grammar. Remember when your English teacher used to write "awk" on the margins of your paper, and you had no idea what they meant? Someone should have done that for every time she did that in this book, and everyone who speaks English would know that it means that it is awkward for a reader to read a professional novel writer's confusing-yet-easily-fixed sentences.

I found myself extremely confused with some passages. There was one passage that was about 15 pages long that was completely insane: I had no clue what was going on; it was totally psychedelic. I swear, it was "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" except not the Beatles, and not appropriate to the forum. Nobody reads when they're high (at least, I don't imagine high people reading. Truth is, I wouldn't know. Perhaps they have a little library in the corner of every rave, I couldn't tell you, but I imagine not). I've noticed that before in McKinley's work, but it was worse this time than ever. What's up with that? Why didn't her editor help her? WHERE WAS THE EDITOR?!

While reading this book, I experienced an inordinate amount of frustration. I expected so much more from my dear, sweet Robin. As in, something polished.

Oh well. My suggestion? Don't bother with this one.

Up next: Kindred by Ocvtavia Butler.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Catcher in the Rye

When I was in 12th grade, I took AP English Lit. One of the books we read was The Catcher in the Rye, but I was overwhelmed by the swearing in the first chapter, so I decided to read Jane Eyre instead.

Jane Eyre changed my life. LOVE that book. It's the first truly transcendental/Gothic novel I ever read, and frankly, I look for that kind of stuff these days. In books, not real life. Unless you count religion as transcendental, which I do. I took a whole class on transcendentalism, and another entirely on Gothic literature. Actually, they were both from the same professor, truth be told. Dr. Perry. He wrote this crazy paper on the influence the film Inception had from the work of Edgar Alan Poe.That guy killed me. There were all kinds of similarities, it was pure madness.

One thing you've got to know about me: I'm intensely curious.

As an English major, I've felt like I gyped myself out of an important milestone in my education: reading a controversial, interesting, poetic novel that changed the face of American literature. I mean, reading The Catcher in the Rye. One time my Grandma told me how my Grandpa had to read it when he was in college, which, it was a pretty new book at that time, I think. She felt it was a shame, and it was a dirty book, and all. I guess I believed her. I follow John and Hank Green's video blog on youtube, and they make Holden Caulfield references from time to time. John Green's book Looking for Alaska has been compared to The Catcher in the Rye. I've read some of his stuff, and it's pretty good. I haven't read Looking for Alaska though. But some of his other books are pretty interesting. So, I read it. The Catcher in the Rye, that is.

The swearing didn't bother me as much this time, and I really enjoyed reading it. Holden reminded me of my friend, Enoch: he's an old soul, but still crazy young for real. He feels things deeply, but doesn't really understand what to do with his sympathy. He's funny, and somehow both crude and eloquent at the same time. No kidding.

I'm glad I didn't read it in high school. I didn't know Enoch then. I didn't know John Green, either. I was so much younger: it's funny, because it actually was only a couple weeks ago, but it seems like such a long time ago, like fifty years or something. When I was there, I thought I was so old. I felt old, and I felt mature -- I was, in a way, but not really. Some things really do only come with time. You don't get that when you're young, because you don't know what time is, so when they tell you, "it comes with time," you think they're full of crap, like they're all phonies or something, and you look like an idiot, because you're dead wrong, but you're certain that you're the only sane person in the room.

It's a funny thing, but I actually feel younger now that I'm older. I know I'm wrong most of the time, and I'm better at believing the many, many people who are smarter than I am about basically everything. In a way, was a lot like Holden, and for that very reason, I couldn't appreciate the book for what it was. In another way, now that I'm older, and a little less like Holden, but still able to remember what it's like to have been that way, I'm so much more able to appreciate the novel for what it is.

Up next: Deerskin by Robin McKinley.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sense and Sensibility

The more I read, the more disenchanting the "classic" authors are. I mean, who ever said that Austin was awesome?

Sure, she's funny. Sure, her characters are interesting, and the plots are intriguing. But honestly? She's mean.

MEAN. As in, cruel-hearted and condescending. She's a snobby gossip who can't stand the thought of a world peopled by equal creatures, all deserving praise, happiness, and approval.

Sure, blame it on her culture if you will, because yes, I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. I'm acutely aware of the fact that the influence of my own, American culture has something to do with my bias against her works. I guess I bought in to the "American Dream."

I just don't think that you can chalk culture up to the extreme preclusion of simple kindness. Really, I don't.

Up next: Holden Caulfield.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Day of Accomplishments!

1. I finally finished reading all 548 pages of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin! Wow, that only took me.... forever.
2. I got an honest-to-goodness, cancer producing sunburn! Yay for sunburns!
3. I fed missionaries! And I fed them real food, too! And it wasn't even poisoned!
4. I did one of those things that grown ups do to make little girls realize that they are loved, but never really comprehend exactly how excessive that love must be in order to actually compel a grown person to endure. You guessed it! I watched Monte Carlo with my 9-year-old cousin!
5. I wrote a blog post!
6. I got a car.
7. I got a car!
8. I got a car!
9. I got a car!
10. I got a car!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Harry Is My Homeboy.

I remember when my elementary school librarian told me about Harry Potter. I thought she was telling me this huge secret, about this secretly awesome book, and I was one of the few cool people who was going to read it and enjoy the fantasy world which is Hogwarts.

Not so.

Obviously Harry Potter became extremely popular extremely fast. I feel like I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. In fact, and by fact I mean fiction, Harry was born in 1980, making him actually seven years older than I am. That doesn't change the fact that when these books came out, I was about the same age as he was, and I identified profoundly with-- well, Hermione.

What can I say? I had no way to avoid connecting myself with her. I felt different from my peers as every adolescent inevitably does, I had extremely frizzy, ugly hair that I was sure even magic couldn't make normal, I liked to read in extreme excess (and not just fiction, but frankly, please don't laugh, but there was a time when I couldn't fall asleep without reading a couple pages from the dictionary), and back in the day, I was, unfortunately, a know-it-all. I guess I still am, but I really try not to be. Honest. Can I help it if I know things? And, knowing the answer, don't I have an obligation to raise my hand?

The Harry Potter Era is coming to an important, final milestone. The last movie. Of course, there is talk about how Harry will be perpetuated beyond the "original" bounds of the series, but honestly? This is it. Even if Harry Potter goes on, I've outgrown the limits of his reach. I don't read fantasy anymore. It bores me. I've discovered a wider world of reading, and hobbies that actually include other parts of my brain and (gasp!) even other people.

It's important to do things right. So, Harry's going out with proper ceremony. That's right, a Harry Potter marathon extravaganza!

So far, we've watched the first three movies, and our plan is to finish watching the other four movies that have come out on DVD watching part one of the seventh movie the night before we go to watch the last one. We contemplated going to the midnight showing, even, but decided against it in light of our collective experiences with crowds, tiredness, and equal amounts of enjoyment, and even increased amounts, in delaying a few hours and watching the movie a little later.

I'm pretty excited, but I'm also a little sad. I'm saying goodbye to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Perhaps it's time to find a new series with endearing characters, good writing, plenty of adventure, and the hero cycle on a continuous loop?

Or Virginia Woolf.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Are We Ennui? A Post of Three Parts (Just Like a Nucleotide!)

Part: The First: My English Nerd Self = On

"Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of." 
-Benjamin Franklin
-Twelve Oaks Plantation Entrance (the Wilkes' plantation in Gone With the Wind)


1. Waste (something, esp. money or time) in a reckless and foolish manner: "entrepreneurs squander their profits on expensive cars".
2. Allow (an opportunity) to pass or be lost

I squander time frequently. In other words, I allow material essence of life to pass or be lost. How can that not be depressing? And, what is to be done?


I have a short reading list this summer, because frankly, books are not people.  These are the books I have read:

1. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale
3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
4. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
6. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Here is my to-read list:

1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
2. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier 
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
4. The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
6. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
7. Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

It's a very female summer, frankly.

Part: The Second: My Intrinsic Humanity = On

I want to make something. Something of my own choosing and design, something that will be finish-able in the time that I have until school starts again, but will challenge me within that time frame. i don't know what it is yet, and I have been desperately trying to think of it for some time. 

I am open to suggestions. And by suggestions, I mean useful-yet-ambiguous guidance. Otherwise, it would cease to be my own, correct?

I've been thinking of writing something, or doing an art project, or a science project like making batteries out of potatoes, but I don't know.

Part: The Third: Basic Frustration = On

I hate formatting on blogger, and formatting on blogger hates me.