It's been a long while since I've actually cried while reading a novel and Sarah's Key did just that. Beautifully written with simple prose and entwin...moreIt's been a long while since I've actually cried while reading a novel and Sarah's Key did just that. Beautifully written with simple prose and entwining narration between the title character, 10 year old Sarah Starzynski and journalist Julia Jarmond, I was quickly immersed in the book's contrasting settings of France in 1942 and 2002.
But what I couldn't get over was the feeling of anguish the author was able to bring to life in little Sarah; it made me angry, disappointed, and I felt hopeless all at once for her...it was as though I was Sarah. Julia served as the maternal character in the novel wanting to correct a shameful past secret that linked her family (in-laws, rather) to Sarah's family.
Sarah's Key is an arresting novel that I couldn't put down. It is a quick and easy read, comes with a reading guide and Q&A with the author, and is what I would consider, a great plane-ride read. (less)
**spoiler alert** The prose in this memoir is simple, which isn't what I'm really used to but it didn't bother me since it's written in a "straight to...more**spoiler alert** The prose in this memoir is simple, which isn't what I'm really used to but it didn't bother me since it's written in a "straight to the point" fashion that made reading it that much easier (especially since I can get pretty ADD at times). The book starts off slow in the first two chapters but gets pretty intense when Beah and his friends are forced to face the realities of war and do everything they can to survive. This includes running and hiding from the rebels, stealing food, look for shelter, and eventually serving in the government army to fight against the rebels.
I'll be honest; I cried - no child should ever have to give up their right to a happy, fulfilling childhood and be forced to a life of violence, drugs, and warfare. Beah was one of the lucky ones to be picked up by UNICEF and be repatriated back to society and I think it's tragic that a few of his friends decided to go back to a life of war even after going through rehabilitation.
Even though we know that Beah managed to survive the war, he had to leave his second family behind in Sierra Leone, so I'm left wondering what happened to them. I don't want to think that they died, but with so much violence happening during the time Beah escaped, I wouldn't be suprised (albeit saddened) if that was the case.
Beah's story is proof that when given a second chance, children can reclaim their innocence with the help and guidance of those who believe in them. (less)
I absolutely LOVED this book and I think that if you happen to pick it up you'll understand why this is such a terrific novel. Beautifully written, vi...moreI absolutely LOVED this book and I think that if you happen to pick it up you'll understand why this is such a terrific novel. Beautifully written, vivid and full of life, you can't help but become emotionally involved with each of the characters. What's even better about this novel is that everything comes full circle from beginning to end. Gruen made my toes curl when I read some of the abuse that was inflicted upon some of the animals AND the performers. But don't worry, you just have to remember that it's a work of fiction with historical elements.
What I don't like is that Hollywood is planning to turn this wonderful story into a film starring that sparkly vampire from Twilight. I have a feeling that since it was such a descriptive story full of imagery that's best left to the reader's imagination, it won't translate well onto the big screen. But what do I know other than what I've read from past experience. (less)
I wasn't impressed by this book; perhaps it was just over-hyped, but in reality, I don't usually go for crime fiction. And, yes I know I'm a bit of a...moreI wasn't impressed by this book; perhaps it was just over-hyped, but in reality, I don't usually go for crime fiction. And, yes I know I'm a bit of a book snob, but I also don't usually go for commercially successful books/series. I felt like something was lost in the translation of the text and that the characters and plot line was mediocre at best. Needless to say, I will not continue with this trilogy. (less)
The narrative in this novel is amazing! You can't help but become emotionally invested with each character, especially with Calliope/Cal. Read it if y...moreThe narrative in this novel is amazing! You can't help but become emotionally invested with each character, especially with Calliope/Cal. Read it if you have a chance; I promise you won't be disappointed. (less)
You know, I'm not really all that into inspiration, "live each day as if it were your last" type books. I know plenty of people who enjoyed this book....moreYou know, I'm not really all that into inspiration, "live each day as if it were your last" type books. I know plenty of people who enjoyed this book. It wasn't for me, but I will say that it was a very quick read. (less)
Honestly, this book felt and read like a student project. I couldn't quite relate with the characters and in fact, I felt emotionally distant from eac...moreHonestly, this book felt and read like a student project. I couldn't quite relate with the characters and in fact, I felt emotionally distant from each one, including Susie. The story itself is heart-wrenching, which is what originally drew me to this novel, but I just couldn't shake that feeling of disconnect. Luckily, I sold this book to someone I'm sure will appreciate this novel more than I can. (less)
**spoiler alert** Before my Goodreads buddy Jennie handed the book off to me, her words were, "It's not what I expected, but it's good and I still lik...more**spoiler alert** Before my Goodreads buddy Jennie handed the book off to me, her words were, "It's not what I expected, but it's good and I still like it." That was the most concise review I came across for Room.
My friend was right; the book was not what I expected and yes, I did like it. BUT, I'm glad I borrowed it. Here's why:
You already know that the story is narrated through the eyes of a five-year-old boy named Jack, but did you know that the entire story doesn't take place in the 11' x 11' Room? (oh yeah, spoiler). Yes, Ma and Jack eventually find a way to escape from the prison that is Room and try to adjust (or in Ma's case, readjust to society after 7 years) to the Outside world. Once Outside, Ma thinks that she and Jack should be able to achieve a life of normalcy, but that's hardly the case.
They stay at Room Number Seven at the Cumberland Clinic (temporarily) so that the doctors can keep an eye on both Ma and Jack's mental well-being. Life is confusing for Jack at this point; he wants to go back to Room because that's all he ever knew, but he's also discovering that people are real and not just on TV, sausages and pancakes are delicious, and that needles hurt. Ma, on the other hand, suffers a mental breakdown of sorts and tries to commit suicide. Don't worry, there's a happy ending after all this adversity with everything coming to full circle. Both Jack and Ma experience the closure they need to get on with their lives anew in the Outside world.
Overall, Room is a super quick read, especially since it's told through the eyes a child. There's enough detail to let you know what's going on, and according to the author, it adds a much more innocent approach to the underlying horrors of the story. But because the voice of the character is so distinct it'd be difficult for me to reread the book without having to revert back to the young child that is Jack. I want to be able to grow and age with the character and with Jack, I simply cannot do that again.
The book is worth reading once. It gives us an idea that the author is talented at creative writing, so much so that I may even check out her historical fiction works down the line. Overall I'd probably give the book 3.5 stars but since Goodreads doesn't seem to do halfsies, I'll be generous and give it a 4. (less)
Easily breezed through the first part of the book (Things That Are True) and really, really enjoyed it mainly because I love reading about musicians,...moreEasily breezed through the first part of the book (Things That Are True) and really, really enjoyed it mainly because I love reading about musicians, bands, and has-been actors. The second part of the book, Things That Might Be True, is comprised of articles Klosterman has written for GQ, SPIN, and the like. Also enjoyable, but more anecdotal than anything. His last piece, Something That Isn't True At All, is (I feel) Klosterman's attempt at writing fiction. It was OK, not the way I would want to end the book, but readable nonetheless. Overall, a really quick and good read. (less)
I was surprised at how much I liked this book considering I'm a noob when it comes to the sci-fi genre. The writing style and prose were simple and ea...moreI was surprised at how much I liked this book considering I'm a noob when it comes to the sci-fi genre. The writing style and prose were simple and easy to follow, with a few foreign words thrown in here and there, but not enough to make me stumble along while reading. What's great about Bacigalupi's writing is that I really did feel like I was in the midst of Thailand during the country's futuristic, steampunk era. Believe me, I was always craving sweet, juicy fruit and could feel the stickiness of sweat collecting pools on my skin whenever I opened this novel. The Windup Girl is a great read, filled with politics and action (especially in the third act), and overall giving the novel a very cinematic vibe. (less)
On the Road is a wonderfully inspiring, coming of age novel that's up there with Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. I'v...moreOn the Road is a wonderfully inspiring, coming of age novel that's up there with Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. I've read a couple different reviews and "dissertations" about this novel, but let me give you my explanantion and feelings about this American classic:
From what I gathered, Kerouac wrote this novel as a semi-autobiograpical work based on his cross-country travels with his friends immediately after or soon after the end of World War II and just before the Vietnam War. Most stories written after a period of war and feature the youth of America as the protagonists are usually centered on the following themes: loss of innocence, the search for the true meaning of existence, and forging an identity. Ernest Hemingway was referenced a couple times in the first act of the novel, where coincidentally, his novel The Sun Also Rises shares the same aforementioned themes.
Perhaps this is why I enjoyed On the Road so much; I regarded this novel as a coming of age tale where two friends go on four wild cross-country tours to "get their kicks", "make girls", and "dig" the different people they meet along the way. This may all sound like superficial frills and thrills but underneath this fast-paced exterior (and past the drugs, sex, and couch surfing) lies a spiritual journey on a road that takes our two protagonists, Salvatore "Sal" Paradise (Jack Kerouac) and Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady), from New York to California and back, and New York to Mexico. Friendships are forged and tested, women are loved, and although innocence is lost, life and the experience it offers plant the seeds of maturity and immortality, even though our heroes will never lose their grip on their child-like naivete. Kerouac's dreamlike, stream of consciousness style of prose further adds to the sense of wild abandon that our heroes face during each life-changing, mind altering trip, both figuratively and literally.
On the Road is the perfect example of how the people in your life, the roads you travel, and the decisions you make affect who you will become. Being able to reflect on your own life experiences and learn from them without a cynical point of view is, in my opinion, how you forge your own identity. Beautifully written and truly a timeless classic - a definitive read for anyone who appreciates great literature or is new to Beat literature. Also, if the version you pick up has an introduction by Ann Charters (Penguin Classic version), I suggest you read it especially if this is your first Kerouac novel as it offers some terrific insight regarding the Beat period and Kerouac's journey in getting this novel off the ground. (less)
Well, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell certainly falls under the category of "fratire" for there's copious amounts of alcohol being consumed in every ch...moreWell, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell certainly falls under the category of "fratire" for there's copious amounts of alcohol being consumed in every chapter, along with plenty of salacious details about the women Tucker Max has bedded since college.
The epistolery style is very straightforward and there is no real "story" or plot here other than the fact that Tucker's a real douche. Seriously, if we could capture the essence of his douchiness and put it in a can, we can call it "MAX AXE." Degrading women (and insulting men, but mostly women in general) is part of Max's nature, which means this book is DEFINITELY NOT FOR: feminists, women who have self-respect, men who view women as equals and NOT as sexual conquests, the monogomously challenged, some polygamists, children, teens who are thinking about going to college for an actual education, your church going mom...and for people who have no sense of humor. However, alcoholics, single guys who have no intention on being in a committed relationship, and guys who keep reliving the glory days of their high school/college youth would definitely consider this the Bible of their unclean existence.
The book's dirty, and I have to admit, it was REALLY difficult for me to really READ it without feeling hungover and believing the book was just one big catalogue of every STD known to mankind. However, once you accept the fact that every story will involve alcohol, sex, and douche-baggery, it's a lot easier to get through the book real quick.
Parts of the book are funny, especially the stories where Max gets screwed over in the end (KARMA!!), but I wouldn't read it again. In fact, I can't believe low budget Hollywood even made a movie about this book. Seriously?
Anyway, if you must read this book I suggest doing so while you're sitting on the toilet...it'll help pass the time. (less)
What a smart, mind-blowing, f'ed up, heartbreaking, and fascinating read! Every kid I've known who's read Ender's Game from middle school to college r...moreWhat a smart, mind-blowing, f'ed up, heartbreaking, and fascinating read! Every kid I've known who's read Ender's Game from middle school to college raves about how great the storyline is, and I can finally see why.
The idea of using children to fight against intergalactic space bugs in a war for humanity seems:
1. unlikely 2. ridiculous and 3. like a movie directed by Paul Verhoven
kind of threw me off in the beginning. But I was hooked after I read the first chapter knowing that the protagonist, Andrew (Ender) Wiggin, was a smart (to say the least) 6 year old who had it in him to WIN (and kill) at any cost (this includes fights both at school on Earth and during the games at Battle School where he would fight with and eventually lead his own squadron).
As you're reading through the story you get to grow up with Ender up to about his teenage years. You get to experience what it was like for Ender to be alone, to feel unloved, and as a result, compensate for that lack of affection and parental/sibling love by being the best in Battle School. However, to coincide with that desire for acceptance Ender constantly fought against the idea of serving as a pawn for the benefit of his teachers at Battle School (e.g., they want me to win but they keep changing the rules, so I'll go ahead and finish the game by ending it early). It's messed up with the teachers do to essentially break Ender down, but in the end is it any different than a parent or teacher pushing you to be the best that you can be?
I'm curious to see how Card ended the saga and will definitely check out Speaker For the Dead and Ender's Shadow in the future. (less)
This is a fast-paced novel, kind of like The Da Vinci Code minus all the constant running. A number of characters are introduced throughout the novel,...moreThis is a fast-paced novel, kind of like The Da Vinci Code minus all the constant running. A number of characters are introduced throughout the novel, many who serve as just passing characters who offer a glimpse into their lives after the Flight 753 incident, the eclipse, the vampiric virus epidemic, etc. There's really not much room for character development, but I'd like to see whether the authors will give us a more in-depth look into the psyches of our heroes, particularly Ephraim's son, Zach. Thankfully I won't have to wait long for the second book since I already own it.
3.75...though at times it felt like a 3.5 kinda read. Regardless, it was a fun read. Take it with you on your next plane ride overseas! (less)
It's been a week since I finished this novel and I still can't stop thinking about it. First of all, if you were born and raised in the 1980s, you'll...moreIt's been a week since I finished this novel and I still can't stop thinking about it. First of all, if you were born and raised in the 1980s, you'll recognize most, if not all, of the pop culture references (e.g., WarGames, Joust, John Hughes, etc). If you weren't a child of the 80's or aren't familiar with 80's pop culture, you can still appreciate the novel for what it is and the direction it'll take you down the virtual rabbit hole.
I’m not familiar with Ernest Cline's work; in fact, the only other thing I know he penned was the screenplay for Fanboys, which received a fairly mediocre reception when it was released in theatres which is pretty disheartening because I feel it's one of the more underrated buddy films of the last five years. Ready Player One reads like a cinematic adventure: it's fast-paced, features a few action cut scenes, some drama and romance, and some side scrolling. ;)
I don't want to go into the synopsis of the story since that will definitely lead me to spoiling everything for you, but I will tell you this: each chapter is so good I was scared to move forward with the next chapter. Why? Let's just say I liked the suspense, but really, it's because I knew that I'd be one chapter closer to finishing this fantastic novel. I seriously did not want it to end!
I'm also glad that there were no loose ends at the conclusion of Ready Player One. Lately, I feel that the authors of the last few books I've picked up ran out of time (or steam) and had to come up with a conclusion in two pages or less. Cline did an excellent job working his way up to the final showdown in a span of a couple chapters.
Cline's novel is a story that will hold well ten, definitely twenty years, down the road. I will definitely reread it in the future. (less)