I finished reading this book the night before my book club on it. It's the usual way that I do things. I like readingWriting: 5 Story: 5 Satisfaction: 5
I finished reading this book the night before my book club on it. It's the usual way that I do things. I like reading the books right before so they're still fresh in my mind for discussion. But I couldn't discuss this one right after reading it. It's one of those books that sits heavy on your chest, or at least that's what it was for me.
It's generally accepted that the protagonist, Esther, is a pseudonym for Sylvia Plath herself and as such, the book has an interesting publication history. The book was originally published in London in 1963 but with the objection of Plath's mother, wasn't published in the US until 1971 (Her mother still objected, embarrassed by the semi-autobiographical events depicted in the book, but the public loved Plath's works of poetry and pressured the publishers to release the novel. Well, it's a little more complicated than that but in a nutshell.) to a hugely positive reception.
I've heard it said that The Bell Jar is "surprisingly relevant" 50 years after its initial publication. But I've heard that about many many classics and I agree with very few of those assessments. I was shocked by how many of the issues in The Bell Jar are not only relevant but popularly relevant in today's society. Public awareness of mental disorders has been particularly prominent in this week's news with the recent suicide (RIP) of Robin Williams.
But anyway, the book starts off in a very casual way with Esther starting a new internship at a magazine. She talks about the dinners that they're treated to, the free perks, life in the city, and it's all very nonchalant. Very "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in feeling. Her increasing paranoia is very subtle and the way that Plath writes makes it all feel very natural. I found it alarming how natural it seemed.
She sinks into a deep depression and her behaviors begin to follow a self-destructive routine. By the time she starts contemplating suicide, a sense of numbness has taken over. Plath has done a wonderful job of depiction in this novel. Though I wish that she hadn't understood it quite so well.
The book ends on an uplifting note but I still think this is probably a good book to read while in a good state of mind. Else, probably better to put it aside until later. Very recommended....more
I'll admit to a large amount of bias here. I've been following Skip Beat for a really long time and every time I seeArtwork: 5 Story: 5 Satisfaction: 5
I'll admit to a large amount of bias here. I've been following Skip Beat for a really long time and every time I see that a new chapter has been released, I'm ridiculously giddy.
Kyoko has been in love with Sho for as long as she can remember. She basically grew up in his family's house and learned how to maintain the hotel that they owned. Sho runs away to Tokyo to become a pop star and asks Kyoko to run away with him. She happily agrees but soon after his debut, he spends less and less time in their shared apartment and she walks into a conversation where he's telling his manager that he only brought her along to be a housekeeper. Enraged and swearing revenge, Kyoko is determined to make a debut at a talent agency. (In Japan, things are a little different from Hollywood in that all famous media icons are associated with large agencies who groom potential talent and manage contracts for all forms of media.)
Starting over at the beginning is so interesting. The characters have grown so much over time that I barely recognize them in this first volume.
This is my favorite book that I've read this year. I loved it so much that after I finished a copy from the library, I not only went and Amazon-ed itThis is my favorite book that I've read this year. I loved it so much that after I finished a copy from the library, I not only went and Amazon-ed it but I also picked up the rest of John Green's books.
I plan on reading The Fault in Our Stars again as soon as my copy arrives.
But how to describe the story...it's hard, it really is. There are so many aspects in a comparably short book that it's hard to describe succinctly. The overall premise is that a girl who has terminal cancer meets a boy who has had cancer and they fall in love. That aspect is the YA part, where the love is innocent and beautiful without being tainted by a lot of the baggage that comes with age.
The characters are witty and clever and the romance is sweet and emphasizes the slower parts that adult romances usually skip over. Some common compaints about The Fault in Our Stars is that the characters are unrealistic for teenagers, but the characters realize that themselves which is what makes it realistic for me. There's one line where Augustus (the male protagonist) talks about how they are smart and witty and happen to have/had cancer but not all kids who are their age and/or have/had cancer are like them. They are not the average but they are a possiblity and the John Green does that so well.
It's so amazing to me the level of empathy that the two main characters show in this book. It was amazing. I've never met anyone so empathatic in my life and it was beautiful to experience them on paper.
I am also in love with Augustus Waters. He is my literary soul-mate and the literary figure that I will forever hold all literary loves against. I was devastated (view spoiler)[ as soon as I began to realize - relatively early on - that he was probably going to die. (hide spoiler)] But he still remained a wonderfully romantic figure and I love him so dearly.
I suggest this book to everyone at all ages because the world is a better place with a little more empathy. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Though Words of Radiance is staring me in the face, taunting me fro1st Read: August 31, 2010
2nd Read: March 7th, 2014
Writing: 5 Story: 5 Satisfaction: 5
Though Words of Radiance is staring me in the face, taunting me from my desk, I decided it'd be best to do a re-read of Way of Kings before even trying to broach the second book. Four years? Has it really been four years? Time really flies. I hadn't noticed the time gap but I'm really glad that Sanderson promises a shorter wait time on book three.
Even though I really enjoyed Way of Kings the first time I read through it, I liked it even more on second reading. The first time, I had a sense of anxiety and rushed through some less active sections in order to find out what was happening in the other story lines (because WHAT'S GOING ON WITH KALADIN??). On this second read, I took it slower and noticed a lot more of the detail, especially in Shallan's story and the interludes, and I appreciated the world building more where it seemed to aggravatingly slow the pace down during the first read.
Since I failed to write a proper review of this book four years ago, let me tell you about how awesome this book is. Full disclosure: I think Sanderson is kind of the best.
I enjoyed Sanderson's earlier works quite a bit. The detail of the magic system in Elantris was my first hook and after that, I went on a Sanderson binge with the Mistborn: The Final Empire trilogy. Those books were all really good. Not FANTASTICALLY AMAZINGLY AWESOME but still really good. After all, the Mistborn trilogy was said to be what landed Sanderson the Wheel of Time gig.
As he was writing the Wheel of Time, something changed. He grew an amazing amount as a writer and going back to read some of his earlier works now, it's painfully obvious that Way of Kings has so much more depth to it. Not just because it has a bigger scope but the world itself feels more "real" (almost but not quite the right word).
In a paraphrased version of Sanderson's words, he says that Way of Kings is the story that he's always wanted to tell but had never believed himself to be a good enough writer to tell it. That in itself was enough for me to obsessively wait for book one and I haven't been disappointed.
The Way of Kings has several storylines of which only a few cross by the final chapters. There are three main perspectives: Kaladin, the enslaved son of a surgeon who struggles with remaining optimistic about his fate; Shallan, the ward of the heretic scholar, Jasnah, who both wants to continue her studies and save her family by stealing from her mistress; and Dalinar, the uncle of the king who after failing to stop his brother's murder, dedicates himself to protecting the king instead of advancing the prowess of his house.
Alethkar is a kingdom that has been at "war" for the last ten years. Dalinar Kholin is a highprince and he and the other nine highprinces are stationed at the edge of the Shattered Plains waiting for the call to race the Parshendi to a gemheart. Though the war began over revenge for the Parshendi murder of the king, after the discovery of gemhearts, the war has become a profiteering venture for the high princes and they compete amongst themselves to obtain the most profit (and directly, the most honor for their houses).
Dalinar refuses to participate, instead lending his forces to the protection of the king and maintenance of the kingdom (the two items that he has left of his brother). When he begins having visions during highstorms, the other princes (and the king) begin to question his sanity.
In another warcamp, Kaladin has been purchased and assigned to be in a "bridge crew" for a more war-driven highprince. The tasks for he and his crew are to carry a bridge in front of the army to help them across the aptly named Shattered Plains. This includes the final chasm to the gemheart where the Parshendi may be waiting with arrows poised.
Shallan is farther away, studying in a town called Kharbranth with Jasnah Kholin, the king's sister. She initially became Jasnah's ward with the intention of stealing Jasnah's Soulcaster in order to relieve her family's debts. As she begins her studies, she begins to question her path.
The book ends with (view spoiler)[ Dalinar freeing the bridge crews and hiring Kaladin and his men as Dalinar's personal guard, Shallan being poisoned and saved by Jasnah, and Shallan revealing to Jasnah that she too can Soulcast without a Soulcaster. (hide spoiler)]
Oh and the last few pages of the book, EPIC. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more