This is quite possibly one of my most favorite books of all time. No joke. Bradbury's concept, a world where books are illegal and those who own themThis is quite possibly one of my most favorite books of all time. No joke. Bradbury's concept, a world where books are illegal and those who own them are burned amongst their possessions, rocks my world and gives me nightmares at night, even months after I've read the book. It's such a fantastic book that I have nothing to say about it. If I had my copy with me, I would paste all my favorite quotes, but for now this is all I've got....more
I should preface this by saying that I’m a bit of a die-hard Austen fan. That being said, this is my favorite of her works, above and beyond 'Pride anI should preface this by saying that I’m a bit of a die-hard Austen fan. That being said, this is my favorite of her works, above and beyond 'Pride and Prejudice', although I have only read three so far.
Why do I enjoy 'Emma' so much? Because of Emma herself. I’ve heard several people complain about Emma as a character: she’s not stupid, or mean, but she doesn’t apply herself and spends most of the book with her head in the clouds. For some reason, though, I find her much more lovable than Elizabeth Bennett, and much more memorable than either Elinor or Marianne Dashwood. Emma certainly has her faults, as do all of Austen’s characters, but out of all of the ones I’ve so far encountered, I think Emma’s process of growth and development is much more profound than any of the other Austen characters’ (at least of the one’s I’ve read).
As irritating as Emma may be in the beginning, any woman would be a liar if she said she hasn’t behaved in a similar fashion before. Women are born and bred to at least have some slight interest in matchmaking, to have fanciful ideas about what marriage is, and to want certain marriages to come about that might not be practical or even possible. That’s the thing that makes Jane Austen brilliant above all others: she’s masterful at turning a mirror of 18th and 19th century British society back on her reader, even centuries later. We are Emma, and as we read we too develop and grow with her; that’s why I love 'Emma'....more
I generally refuse to see the movie before I read the book, so that's initially why I picked this up. Its main plot, which follows one man's tale of lI generally refuse to see the movie before I read the book, so that's initially why I picked this up. Its main plot, which follows one man's tale of life in a traveling circus, deviates from what I see as the indefinable norm of contemporary fiction. After reading this, I'm somewhat amazed that it even sold well enough to become a movie. I love the way the novel is set up. It starts with Jacob as an old man, detailing his pathetic life in a nursing home, describing why he hates being old. It's terribly depressing because, as my father says, we all either die tragically young or face getting old at some point. Old age is one of those untouched topics of fiction, something that would be incredibly difficult to tackle realistically, and I admire her for even attempting. I also admire her for her albiet brief discussions of sexuality. She's very blunt about it, and (maybe I can't really know since I'm a girl) she does a good job of describing it from a young man's perspective. Even though it turns into somewhat of a classic love story, this book really surprised me, and I would recommend it (and the well-done movie) to anyone....more
This is by far one of my favorite books I read for school this semester, and again it's one I want to read again because of time constraints. In The HThis is by far one of my favorite books I read for school this semester, and again it's one I want to read again because of time constraints. In The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood responds to the backlash against feminism, as well as the 1980s interest in middle eastern countries. As others have said, this book is extremely disturbing in that, despite being a dystopia, all of what happens to the characters and the country seem completely realistic. Many of the restraints on women are based on real restraints in the past, or restraints Atwood sees in the future. I think every woman should read this book, because it both made me appreciate the freedoms I have as a young woman in 21st century America, while also fearing for the freedoms I may lose if certain sects of the population have their way....more
I first read 'Anne of Green Gables' when I was nine years old, and I’ve been in love with the bright, imaginative heroine ever since. So much so thatI first read 'Anne of Green Gables' when I was nine years old, and I’ve been in love with the bright, imaginative heroine ever since. So much so that I’ve determined to name a child after her; although Anne laments her name as incredibly boring, it will always remind me of the character I’ve always admired.
Since I’ve been familiar with her for so long, it’s difficult for me to explain just why I love Anne. Part of it is her fiery, imaginative personality. As Anne would say, she and I are “kindred spirits”: we look at the world in the same way. She’s so full of life, so loving, that it’s impossible not to love her in spite of all her faults.
One of the main reasons I think Anne appeals to readers is that she takes every situation in which she finds herself and she makes the most out of it. Her early childhood is miserable, but she uses her imagination to stay sane through the turmoil. When she finally finds a home at Green Gables, she does her best. She makes plenty of mistakes, but she learns from them. She works incredibly hard at what she does, and she loves everyone so intensely. Despite her humble beginnings, she rises up out of that like a little ray of sunshine in her world.
Even though it’s a children’s book, I think anyone could read this and gain something out of it. Anne is full of insight and her imagination and love for life are absolutely contagious. I read this book once every few years, and I get something new and wonderful every time....more
I had this book recommended to me by the woman we were staying with in Vienna; she said I had to read it because I would recognize streets from the paI had this book recommended to me by the woman we were staying with in Vienna; she said I had to read it because I would recognize streets from the part where Garp goes to Vienna. So I picked it up on a whim, and once I started it I couldn’t put it down.
This is one of those difficult books to “review” because the plot doesn’t fit neatly into one particular category. I suppose in one sense it’s about marriage, and lust, but in another way - and the part that most speaks to me - it’s about writing. In fact, as I was reading I found myself having to write down various writing-related quotes that stuck out to me, little bits of wisdom I wanted to remember. So instead of talking about the plot, or the characters, I’m just going to leave you with some of my favorite quotes and let you decide for yourself whether it’s worth your time (and it is).
Imagination, he [Garp:] realized, came harder than memory (123).
Perhaps in every writer’s life there needs to be a moment when another writer is attacked as unworthy of the job (125).
What I need is vision, he knew. An overall scheme of things, a vision of his own (153).
Garp discovered that when you are writing something, everything seems related to everything else. …A writer’s job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as our personal memories (163).
As he would learn nearly all his life, nearly everything seems a letdown after a writer has finished writing something (166).
As long as Garp’s new novel progressed, no routine, however mindless, could upset him (182).
“I’m doing what I want to do. Don’t call it by any other name. I’m just doing what I want to do” -Garp (184).
What was “going on,” in Garp’s opinion, was never as important as what he was making up—what he was working on (185).
“You want too much. Too much unqualified praise, or love—or something that’s unqualified, anyway. You want the world to say ‘I love your writing, I love you,’ and that’s too much to want” -Helen, Garp’s wife (191).
He felt he was in danger of limiting his ability as a writer, in a fairly usual way: writing, essentially, about himself (228).
The responsibilities loomed for Garp, every time. What is the instinct in people that makes them expect something to happen? (252).
He was ruthless as a storyteller… If the truth suited the story, he would reveal it without embarrassment; but if any truth was unsuccessful in a story, he would think nothing of changing it (258).
When he tried to write, only the deadliest subject rose up to greet him. He knew he had to forget it—not fondle it with his memory and exaggerate its awfulness with his art. That was madness, but whenever he thought of writing, his only subject greeted him with its leers, its fresh visceral puddles, and its stink of death. And so he did not write; he didn’t even try (363)....more
For the first time in a long time, I read a book that has left me absolutely fangirl-ing.
Several factors allowed me to fall in love with Fangirl. I sFor the first time in a long time, I read a book that has left me absolutely fangirl-ing.
Several factors allowed me to fall in love with Fangirl. I suppose I should admit that I’ve been reading a lot of shitty books lately, books that felt like work rather than enjoyment. A few of them were so poorly written that I had to force myself to finish, and I was only able to read them by keeping a list of notes about why they were so terrible. Fangirl wasn’t like a lot of books about college-aged girls, and that’s exactly why I got swept away.
Having read Eleanor & Park, I knew the writing would be good, and I knew the characters would be slightly quirky. I wasn’t worried, but I was pleasantly surprised. Every single character in this book comes to life on the page. Rainbow Rowell clearly understands people. I have gotten so tired of reading about people who sound like they just walked off the set of a rom com, all flowing hair and glittering eyes. Give me characters with flaws, with baby fat or awkward angles, with massive foreheads and acne and crippling self-doubt. Give me imperfections so that I can remember that I’m not alone.
Reading Cath did that for me. From the first chapter, she felt like my twin, not Wren’s. I knew I loved her from this line:
“She just needed to settle her nerves. To take the anxiety she felt like a black static behind her eyes and an extra heart in her throat, and shove it all the way back down to her stomach where it belonged—where she could at least tie it into a nice knot and work around it.”
Cath has her issues. She’s not good at talking to people, nor is she really interested in human interaction. Her entire world is built around Simon Snow fanfiction, where she has an internet following that clamors for chapter after chapter. This resonates with me, not because I write fanfiction (although I had my time, trust me), but because Cath is more comfortable on the internet than she is in the real world.
I love how Rowell writes Cath and her father as being somewhat crazy, or at least unstable, but she doesn’t blame them, other them, or pathologize them. As someone with depression, it’s incredibly refreshing to read something like this.
“A little manic was okay. A little manic paid the bills and got him up in the morning, made him magic when he needed it the most.”
Rowell could have made Fangirl an overdramatic account of a screwed up family with Issues, but instead she weaves this tale about how they’re all coping. They’re messed up, anxious, manic, sad, but they get through it. This isn’t a happily ever after story. Cath’s mom never makes up for leaving the entire family when the girls were still young. Cath’s dad is still a little unstable. Cath doesn’t morph into a social butterfly. But this is a story of her learning and growing into a bigger person.
Which brings me to the romantic element. Again, Cath’s boy problems could have taken up the entire story, but they don’t. There is so much else going on in her life that the romance feels like a side-plot. (view spoiler)[In fact, for the first few chapters, I assumed Cath would end up dating Nick. He seemed into her, and they have a good time writing together. I, like Cath, was lured into a false sense of security with Nick. I loved that Rowell included that plotline though. In real life, it’s never obvious what guy you “should” be with, and sometimes you (almost) fall for the wrong one. As a young writer, it’s too easy to assume that a collaboration will always work out, and you forget to protect yourself. If I had been in Cath’s place, I would’ve gotten Nick in so much trouble for stealing ideas, but that’s not her style. When Nick comes back toward the end of the book and tries to pull another stunt on her, I was that much more proud of Cath for sticking up for herself. And then there’s Levi, the guy who’s right in front of her face for half the book before she realizes how awesome he is. I absolutely love everything about Levi. He’s not written like a romantic hero. He’s incredibly flawed and makes some huge mistakes. But when he’s holding her while she reads to him, I absolutely melted, and I found myself left with a Levi-esque grin. (hide spoiler)] As a side note, I usually hate when authors write a character who works for Starbucks. They usually get everything so completely wrong, but Levi actually sounds like a barista.
“ ‘I like my job,’ he said. ‘I see the same people every day. I remember their drinks, they like that I remember their drinks, I make them happy, and then they leave.’ "
That was a nice touch, and reminded me why I do like my job sometimes. Levi, with all his imperfections, is exactly what I like to read in a male character.
Finally, I loved the meta element of this book. It’s not often I get to relive my fanfiction days, and the subtle similarities to the world of Potterheads just made it even more hilarious. The biggest reason I would call this a coming-of-age story is the way Cath changes her view on writing. When she writes fic, it’s fun and somewhat easy, even when it’s difficult. But when she finally sits down, in the last few pages of the book, to write her creative writing assignment, she grows up and out. When Cath writes, I love her even more.
“Every word felt heavy and hurt, like Cath was chipping them one by one out of her stomach… This wasn’t good, but it was something. Cath could always change it later. That was the beauty in stacking up words—they got cheaper, the more you had of them. It would feel good to come back and cut this later when she’d worked her way to something better… Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity. Cath fell and fell, leaving a trail of messy words and bad similes behind her.”
This, out of everything I’ve read recently, has inspired me to keep writing. I want to live up to Cath, the world she lives in and the worlds I imagine she’ll create on her own one day. And I want to live up to Rainbow Rowell, who writes so honestly that it breaks my heart to see the very last page.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I picked up this book an a recommendation from one of my close friends and my best writing helper. At first I was hesitent: I try to avoid young adultI picked up this book an a recommendation from one of my close friends and my best writing helper. At first I was hesitent: I try to avoid young adult fiction because it so often avoids the issues I feel I dealt with at that age, and the literary value is generally lower level than anything taught in a college course (exception: The Hunger Games and most other young adult dystopias). But as soon as I got into this book, I knew it was different. First of all, I'm a sucker for stories about boring schools for high school kids; something about that environment is fascinating to me since it's a weird border between adulthood and childhood. Second of all, the issues John Green deals with in this novel far surpass most of what I've ever found in young adult fiction. Despite the various ways that the characters do adult things (they're constantly smoking and drinking, which seems impossible to me), their situations feel so real, and the way they respond to life's issues is incredibly real. It was a sad book, but hopeful at the same time, and extremely smart....more
While I was in London for two days, I saw a girl reading this book on the underground. I realize how strange that sounds, but when I see people readinWhile I was in London for two days, I saw a girl reading this book on the underground. I realize how strange that sounds, but when I see people reading books in public - rather than talking on the phone, texting, or listening to an iPod - I immediately mark them as kindred spirits. This girl was so completely absorbed in the book that I sort of memorized the cover; in a bookstore later that day, I picked it up on a whim, trusting that anything that can absorb you in the chaos of the underground must be good.
Let’s just say, it totally lived up to my predictions.
Several things appeal to me about this book. Right off the bat, the story is so incredibly real and tangible to me, like these people are long-lost friends. It’s not just the story of how two people end up together after several years of friendship, either. This book is memorable in how it takes a simple story, one that is almost cliched in a sense of the movie “A Lot Like Love”, and does it in a way that’s totally different, creating a story that will stick in my mind for a while (which is saying something, since I read quite a bit).
Another thing that can be said for this book is that it’s a total page-turner. My friend Tanner read it in two days while we were traveling, and I read it in three while working almost full-time. The way the story is told - only one July 15th of every succeeding year - makes it almost impossible to put down. Every time I got to the end of a chapter, I’d contemplate actually doing something helpful or productive, but then I’d decide that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. At the same time, as I began to near the end of the book, I was honestly sad that I would soon be leaving it behind.
I guess what I loved most, besides the characters, is the way it didn’t exactly just go the way I wanted it to. Often I’d turn to a new chapter, and a new year of the characters’ lives, and discover that one of them did something I really had hoped wouldn’t happen, which, of course, made it even more impossible to stop reading for anything less than an emergency. The cliche of being “meant for each other” gets turned completely upside down; but even though it doesn’t turn out the way I expect, I can’t say I would change anything about this book....more