A Clockwork Orange is a bit bizarre in the sense that it treats violence like nothing, but that's all part of that universe/world the characters live...moreA Clockwork Orange is a bit bizarre in the sense that it treats violence like nothing, but that's all part of that universe/world the characters live in. It gives you this feeling like you're getting a glimpse into an alien planet or something (which is why I think Kubrick did such an excellent job with the film adaptation). Then there is the language that can be tough to grasp as first, but since I speak Polish, I recognized that many of the words are based off of Russian (which, in some ways, is similar to my language).(less)
There are three things I now want to do after reading Gilbert's book: 1. Eat authentic Italian food, and lots of it! 2. Visit Bali and 3. Have relatio...moreThere are three things I now want to do after reading Gilbert's book: 1. Eat authentic Italian food, and lots of it! 2. Visit Bali and 3. Have relations with a foreign stranger who worships me. I understand that the last one may be a little tough to achieve, but this book makes me hopeful. I don't want to sound like a total chick and be all, "OMG, like this book TOTALLY changed my liiiife!" It didn't. What it DID do was make me look at things in a slightly different way. This book is divided into three parts, each part dealing with a part of Gilbert's world travels. In Italy, she became a total glutton and allowed herself to enjoy it. In India, she learned the spiritual power of hardcore meditation and tried to let go of her past. In Bali, Indonesia, she made many friends who had fascinating life stories and experienced more beneath the surface than she could have guessed. After finishing this book, I want to make my life a little more about "me." I don't mean this in a narcissistic way--I merely mean that I want to work on ME and take care of ME so that I may one day be able to fully take care of someone else. Does that make sense? No? Well, it does to me, soooo... ;) Seriously, though, this is a pretty good book and I'm sure there is something you'll be able to get out of it, no matter how you interpret it. (less)
This book focuses on one particular date--July 15--and gives the reader a little peek into the lives of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew and the complica...moreThis book focuses on one particular date--July 15--and gives the reader a little peek into the lives of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew and the complicated relationship that consumes both of their lives. It reminds me of something like looking through a scrapbook and catching a snapshot in time...very intriguing. It begins when Emma and Dexter spend an intimate night together after graduating university, after which they part ways but always manage to find a path leading back to each other. The book goes through the lives of both characters, chronicling Dexter's success and then demise, while Emma goes through experiences in the opposite order. While reading this book, I felt annoyed and then happy for the two as individuals, but there was always a bit of frustration--kind of like, "OPEN YOUR EYES, YOU TWO!" Read it and you'll know what I mean. Overall, it was a good book; the kind that made me want to keep reading even though it was already midnight and I had to be up for work. I recommend this book BEFORE seeing the movie, of course.(less)
In this story, we have two worlds that collide--that of a young Nigerian girl, and the other a London wife and mother who is dealing with the loss of...moreIn this story, we have two worlds that collide--that of a young Nigerian girl, and the other a London wife and mother who is dealing with the loss of her husband. Little Bee reunites with Sarah on the day of Sarah's husband Andrew's funeral and little by little, the two stories are unraveled and the reader learns exactly what happened. I enjoyed this book because I couldn't predict what was going to happen--even the ending caught me off guard. There is enough realism in this book to make you sad, even outraged at times, but Little Bee's spirit is something that is truly admirable.(less)
This book is very touching and emotional and the plot builds slowly, layering itself until it all comes together at the end. The book focuses on a med...moreThis book is very touching and emotional and the plot builds slowly, layering itself until it all comes together at the end. The book focuses on a mediocre circus that Jacob Jankowski joins after his parents are tragically killed and he runs away from college. After hopping a train and getting a job as the show's veterinarian, Jacob gets sucked into the fast-paced and slightly fearful life of a circus worker, eventually falling in love with the horse performer Marlena. However, Marlena is married to the equestrian director, August, who is known for his unpredictable volatility. Things are further complicated and made aware when Rosie the elephant joins the performance roster, bringing the reader a lot of emotional scenarios. The interesting thing is this book is told from Jacob's perspective as an old man recalling ancient memories, so you'll get flashes of him in the retirement home as a grouchy senior citizen (some of the funnier scenes in the story). (less)
Jon Ronson--who wrote "Men Who Stare at Goats," which was later turned into a film starring George Clooney--tackled the topic of psychopaths and how t...moreJon Ronson--who wrote "Men Who Stare at Goats," which was later turned into a film starring George Clooney--tackled the topic of psychopaths and how to identify them. It began when someone involved him in a puzzle, where strange books were being sent out to random academics around the world. From there, Ronson explored what drives psychopaths, how they can blend into the tapestry of "normal" life, and the famous Hare checklist that is used for scoring psychopathy in a person. The scary thing about psychopaths, which I realized after reading this book, is how easy it is for them to seem like any other average person. The thing that makes them different is an inability to comprehend empathy and its purpose. They can mimic emotions without truly feeling them or understanding the "why" of it. As was mentioned in the book, a psychopath may not understand why something is wrong, but they see that its important. Ronson even administers the Hare checklist on himself throughout the book whenever he wants to justify his thoughts or actions; this, along with his general writing style, is amusing and easy to get into. For someone like me who is interested in abnormal psychology, this book is a fun and rather quick read.(less)
This book is divided in two parts--the first focuses on Franny and is brief, while the second focuses MORE on Zooey, who is Franny's older brother, an...moreThis book is divided in two parts--the first focuses on Franny and is brief, while the second focuses MORE on Zooey, who is Franny's older brother, and eventually the story merges into focusing on both siblings. Franny and Zooey are two children out of seven in the Glass family and all of the kids were on a television program that was something like a quiz show; all of the kids, essentially, were incredibly intelligent. Two of the siblings died--Seymour killed himself,and Walt perished in the war.
In Franny's part, we see she is dating a man named Lane. They are both in college. Franny is annoying in the sense that she comes off as too timid and doesn't REALLY stand up for herself; if she DOES, then she immediately apologizes for it. Lane, meanwhile, comes off as conceited and views Franny's thoughts and opinions as there being something "wrong" with her. He disregards her in general. Lane and Franny go out for lunch when she comes out to visit and begins to act "funny"; we find out eventually that she is having some sort of a breakdown. She winds up crying in the bathroom.
When we get to Zooey's part (Zooey is a nickname for Zachary, apparently), he is disrespectful, even to his mother, and seems annoyed with her; he refers to his parents by name and even calls his mother "Fatty." In a lot of ways, Zooey reminds me of Lane. Franny and Zooey both come off as pretty apathetic and jaded when it comes to other people. They criticize everything and everyone, though Zooey does it in more of a cynical way, while Franny is merely questioning the value and importance of it all. Franny becomes obsessed with the Jesus Prayer after reading a religious text and shuts down emotionally afterward, leaving their mother and father to worry incessantly about her. Zooey tries to talk to her, but instead comes off as being critical, so he attempts to get through to her by pretending to be their brother Buddy on the phone, asking to speak to Franny. She figures this out but remains on the line to hear what Zooey has to say. At the end, he gives her some advice that Seymour, whom they both respected and admired, once gave him and it seems to calm Franny down somewhat.
A couple of my own opinions on the book (well, it's actually a short story and a novella combined into one) are that I felt that Franny and Zooey grew up and didn't exactly feel challenged. We find out that the Glass children were geniuses and maybe they became bored as adults. Without any challenges of their own, they CREATE them by challenging the world around them--others' opinions, thoughts, etc. Also, Zooey and the way he spoke/thought reminded me a lot of Holden Caulfield in Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." Read it and you'll know what I mean. What annoyed me while reading this book, aesthetically, was the overuse of italics to emphasize certain points in conversations. It was a little distracting, but not something that killed the book for me.(less)
A very short novel, but filled with a lot of personality. Holiday "Holly" Golightly is a young actress and socialite in New York, living in the same a...moreA very short novel, but filled with a lot of personality. Holiday "Holly" Golightly is a young actress and socialite in New York, living in the same apartment as a writer whose name we never really learn (though Holly calls him "Fred" after her brother). Holly lives a life strung together with carefree incident after carefree incident, loving the way her actions seem to shock people. Her idea of coping with tough times is to hop into a taxi cab and head to Tiffany's, where she claims nothing bad can happen. She courts many men, hoping to marry one of them, and every story she tells seems to lend her an air of independence. Eventually, you learn more about Holly's past and see her for who she really is--a young, naive, and very lonely girl who is trying to make up for a mediocre lifestyle. She clings to others as a way to define who she is, and it makes you realize how sad she really is. This edition also includes three short stories by Capote: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory. (less)
If you want a humorous, scientific take on obscure topics, Mary Roach is the way to go! And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way--I genuinely believe...moreIf you want a humorous, scientific take on obscure topics, Mary Roach is the way to go! And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way--I genuinely believe that Roach gives an intriguing spin on various subjects. Spook is the second book out by Roach--following Stiff, which is about human cadavers--and discusses the mystery of life after death, if such a thing exists at all. She interviews various experts on the topic and tackles everything from mediums to court cases that were based off the testimony of a ghost. I tend to find scientific literature droll and tedious, but Mary Roach puts her sense of humor to good use and keeps me hooked.(less)
This is the first Sarah Dessen novel I have read, though I've heard many good things about her work before now. Lock and Key was well-written, without...moreThis is the first Sarah Dessen novel I have read, though I've heard many good things about her work before now. Lock and Key was well-written, without as many cliches and overused YA plot points that I was expecting. Ruby is a girl who comes from a broken home and raised by her carefree, boozing mother--who eventually disappears, leaving Ruby to fend for herself before she is rescued by Social Services. Ruby ends up living with her older, estranged sister Cora and brother-in-law Jamie in their upscale neighborhood, in their huge house, and going to school at a private school. Basically, a completely 180 from what Ruby was used to. Add in a foxy neighbor, Nate, who comes with his own demons and you've got a pretty good book. I was surprised as how quickly I flew through this book. I laughed at parts and I was frustrated at parts. In short, this is a great read that isn't too heavy OR too young adult.(less)
I'm not usually a fan of graphic novels, but this one was amusing, modern and a little self-deprecating. All in all, the perfect formula for me. Scott...moreI'm not usually a fan of graphic novels, but this one was amusing, modern and a little self-deprecating. All in all, the perfect formula for me. Scott is in a band and is dating a girl who is 5 years his junior--and also still in high school. He thinks things are going okay until he begins to dream of a girl names Ramona Flowers and eventually runs into her in real life. The two strike up a little something-something, but it's made clear to Scott that he'll have to fight and defeat her seven evil exes. In this first Scott Pilgrim book, he's up against the first opponent.(less)
The second in the series. Scott fights an actor named Lucas Lee. His "relationship" with Knives is over officially and causes her to go off the deep e...moreThe second in the series. Scott fights an actor named Lucas Lee. His "relationship" with Knives is over officially and causes her to go off the deep end. One of Scott's exes comes back in the picture and has an interesting connection to Ramona.(less)
Touching a lot of the time, but mostly it made me nostalgic for a time and place I've never actually experienced. For fans of the movie A Christmas St...moreTouching a lot of the time, but mostly it made me nostalgic for a time and place I've never actually experienced. For fans of the movie A Christmas Story, this book will seem like déjà vu in some parts but that's ok!(less)
I have read several of John Green's books, so I kind of knew what to expect. A boy has "girl issues" and looks for the answer to why he feels so blah,...moreI have read several of John Green's books, so I kind of knew what to expect. A boy has "girl issues" and looks for the answer to why he feels so blah, with a pal along for the ride. I have to say, it's a formula that works and mostly because Green writes it so well. Colin dated--and got dumped by--nineteen girls. All named Katherine. Spelled "Katherine," not Kathy, Catherine, or Kat. To add to his misery, he was a child prodigy who, after graduating high school, doesn't seem to know what to do with himself. All he knows is he wants to do something that matters, but more and more he feels like he'll never live to be a genius. His best friend Hassan persuades him to go on a road trip and they wind up in Gunshot, Tennessee, where they meet a girl named Lindsey and her flamboyant and hardworking mother, Hollis. Colin attempts to use his brilliance--as well as his past relationship failures--to predict the outcome of ANY future relationship using a mathematical formula. The story has the trademark John Green nerd humor and trivia (which I geek out over) and, in general, is a good read that makes you think about who or what you "should" be someday. (less)